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Vickers Varsity

Old 12th May 2009, 10:29
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Varsity U/C procedure

Varsity U/C procedure
Nice reading all these varsity threads!Brings back many(groundcrew)memories of Oakington!Now all you Pilots,after take of or maybe before behind the captains seat there was an electric actuator with two positions which was changed over before/after take off,my memory is a little dim on this ,was it to do with the U/C emergency system?Can someone enlighten me please!!I was standing between pilots on at least two "Glide approachs "and can tell you the first was hair raising for me(wouldnt be now though!)also remember a memorable low level from Waterbeach to Oak via the Bedford levels,must have frightened a few fishermen types!If there is an ex pilot reading this who played football for Oak in 66 against Stradishall I have photos you might like!Name I think was "Bas""Basil?"
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Old 12th May 2009, 10:41
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Varsity undercarriage.
As I recall ( long time ago),the gadget you refer to was the u/c hydraulic selector valve. Normally, the pilots used an electric selector button on the instrument panel, which caused an electric actuator to move the valve. If the electrics failed, removing a pip pin disconnected the actuator from the valve. The valve could then be moved to the required position by hand, and locked in that position. It was not normally used by the pilots.
I think it may have been the practice for the ground crew to lock the valve in the down position when the aircraft was not being used. I seem to remember that we had to check that the actuator was connected as part of the before start checks.
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Old 12th May 2009, 11:24
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U/C actuator

Thanks !There was a wheels up landing about 65 (Oakington),maybe something to do with this?All I can recall is the QFI was quicker away from the aircraft than the (younger)student!!
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Old 12th May 2009, 17:14
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I was on detachment at Gaydon in 1966 when I had my first experience with the Varsity.

I was invited to go along on a navex with 2ANS, of course I jumped at the chance!

The thing that really sticks in my mind was that the flight seemed to last forever, I felt as though I saw the whole of the UK from the bomb bay! But I loved it!

Just how long did those flights last?

Had a few more trips after that and enjoyed every one.

The crews were always a great bunch of guys and seemed to love flying the Varsity,

Thanks guys for making me feel part of the RAF even though I was only a medic.
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Old 12th May 2009, 18:17
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Length of sorties at 2ANS Gaydon

Just checked my logbook tilleydog. Sortie lengths varied from 3hr55mins to 4hr15, except for the map reading exercises carried out at 500' on the old low-level route, which were shorter. We had two routes, one went out over Wales and the Bristol Channel then down the Irish Sea and back in over the Scillies and Cornwall. Cant for the life of me remember where the other route went, but the choice of route was made after looking at the met. You must have been bored as a passenger, but we were working like one armed paperhangers grappling with the ADF doing 3 position line fixes, or at the bubble sextant at night doing astro fixes. Mine were rarely within 10 miles of where we were - I always found astro a black art which I could never really master. Does anyone anywhere still use it ?

By the way, ONLY a medic? Dont do yourself down, we were all part of the service, with or without wings/brevets on our chests
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Old 13th May 2009, 17:41
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Agreed. I was at Brize in the 70's when I was very glad of the medics, you were just as essential as everybody else. Talking of the Varsity my logbook also tells me we flogged around for 4hours plus and the bubble sextant was a total nightmare. Couldn't keep it still and could see at least a million stars. How on earth anyone shot the right one was a poser. The periscopic sextant changed all that. If the star wasnt between the two red dots you had got your sums wrong. Throughly enjoyed the aircraft though great memories.
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Old 13th May 2009, 19:09
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Who'd've thought it Dept

Brian Burridge - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BB was a flt lt staff pilot on the Varsity when I went through Finningley in '73-'74.

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Old 14th May 2009, 09:02
  #128 (permalink)  
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Varsitys in Libya

The attached photo is of three Varsity nav trainers from 1ANS Topcliffe at Idris airfield in Libya in October 1958. Four had set out on an end-of-course overseas navex but one had to divert to Cagliari after almost ditching due to engine failure. The aircraft I was in had to have a complete sparkplug change at Orange which gave us trainee navs plenty of time for sunbaking. As you can see the weather improved markedly the farther one got from Yorkshire. Despite these hiccups, the Varsity was a great leap forward from the Marathons and Valettas we started out on.
Despite many efforts to get the photo displayed, I seem to have failed. The URL is http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3529852063/

Last edited by Tea Planter; 14th May 2009 at 09:09. Reason: Difficulty in getting photo displayed
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Old 14th May 2009, 16:39
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Thanks for the reply regarding flight times. I don't ever remember getting bored, much too busy watching the guys at the rear end sweating!

I think the only time I was really bored flying was doing an aeromed flight from Akrotiri to Addis Ababa in a C-130, that was a loooong noisy flight!

I had the pleasure of flying in all of the transport types (except Valleta) during my service and the only one I preferred over the Varsity was the Andover, just something about that aircraft.
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Old 14th May 2009, 18:01
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The longest Varsity sortie in my log book was 5:20 out of Machrihanish in the summer of '69 (Ex Strong Gale - an ASW ex in which (IIRC) we spent our time patrolling the North Sea and then returned to Mac!). I was on a refresher prior to MOTU so was 'co-opted' to be co for one of the QFI's on 5FTS.

I must admit I thought the barrel roll incident was later 'cos I remember seeing the ac in the hanger in Jun/Jul 68 with the engines drooping and being told:

1. Never Barrel Roll a Varsity.
2. If you do don't chicken out.
3. If you chicken out don't pull too hard.
4. If you pull too hard own up on recovery (if you recover!).
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Old 15th May 2009, 07:18
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I'm still interested to know what the dome under the aft fuselage is for: http://www.pprune.org/aviation-histo...ml#post4591073
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Old 16th May 2009, 07:50
  #132 (permalink)  
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Varsity memories

Oh this stirred up a few memories! On a freezing cold January morning in 1961 two terrified members of Trenchards finest were introduced to the "Real" RAF outside of Halton. Taff Day and myself were posted to RAF Valley and onto the Varsity Flight. I shall never forget the Chief Techs words of greeting, "Bloody ex apprentices, you know it all so get on and do a major service on that" Thankfully a much more friendly Sargent took us by the hand. They were a very forgiving aeroplane, certainly able to absorb an incredible amount of punishment.
Detached for a season with the Red Pelicans, came back to Valley but on Vampires. Very fond memories of the old girls.
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Old 18th May 2009, 04:56
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Varsitys at Topcliffe and Lindholme

Following on from my earlier entry this month and noting the evident interest in the Varsity's history, I've reattached the photo of 1ANS's Varsitys at Idris using PhotoBucket. Not great resolutionwise but still evocative I hope.
For the afficionados, according to my logbook, Varsitys operating at Topcliffe from June 1958 included WJ895 (A), WL625 (C), WJ905 (D), WL669 (E), WF382 (F), WL637 (G), WJ920 (H) and WJ480 (M).
From the same source, Varsitys operated by Bomber Command Bombing School at Lindholme during April-July 1959 included WL627 (P), WF334(R), WL624 (U), WL638 (V), WL623 (W) and WL642 (?).
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Old 22nd May 2009, 19:42
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Rolling Varsity

I was there and I know 'who dunnit' The way it came to light was bizarre !
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Old 22nd May 2009, 20:10
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Pindi, don't leave us in suspense, reveal all!!

AFAIR, a strong rumour at Finningley in '76 that the last flight of a 6FTS Varsity was rolled by a Flt Lt Harrington? Errington? I cannot remember for certain, but he was a bloody good bloke. There was also a Sqn Ldr UTP who did all the post major airtests (JP's/Doms and Varsity's,) (not Vin Nadin), who was rumoured to have done the dirty deed.

Oh, and what was WJ916's secret? The only airframe I've seen to land, taxy directly into a hangar, then shut down and for that hangar to be point-guarded whilst in there.

Last edited by taxydual; 22nd May 2009 at 20:13. Reason: Asking a stupid question about WJ916
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Old 23rd May 2009, 09:45
  #136 (permalink)  
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Wyton Radar Flight /E.W.E.& T.U. "Calibration". Anything to do with Wyton/Signals was hush-hush.
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Old 23rd May 2009, 11:16
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taxydual - the Sq/Ldr UTP - could that have been Don Brittain or Dave Clark?
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Old 23rd May 2009, 19:25
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Sorry, those names don't ring bells ( not as UTP's anyway). No, the guy (who name I cannot for the life of me remember) was a 'senior' Sqn Ldr with Wellington's in one of his (many) log-books.

He also has a very short temper, as I found to my cost, when I couldn't get him Airways Crossing approval for Blue 1 on a continual climb-out off 03 at FY. I was called every name from a cat to a dog over the R/T.
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Old 24th May 2009, 20:27
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Finningley UTP

IIRC the surname of the UTP back in 76 was Marsh.


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Old 25th May 2009, 07:33
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In a flash of brilliant memory (actually, an old FY mate), the guy I'm thinking of was Sqn Ldr 'Kim' Kimmings.
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