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The VC 10

Old 16th May 2009, 11:47
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I have no idea, but I'd imagine it led to the sweetest-tasting tea and biscuits they ever had!

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Old 16th May 2009, 12:33
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That picture was the famous low flypast at the White Waltham Airshow I believe, where the fast moving fin of the VC10 is in some photographs the only thing sticking above a mound in the airfield. I flew afterwards with the Flight Engineer on that flight. He was still spitting blood. Apparently on the way down there, the Training Captain in charge had them all strap in and said 'he was going to try something'. He then rolled the ailerons rapidly to full deflection, then quickly rolled them the other way. The VC10 did a wild gyration and settled back wings level having lost 50'. So they reach the airshow and are roaring along the runway at less than 30', the the F/E said 'and b****r me if he didn't suddenly do it again! I thought we were going to die!' Not a happy bunny.

I'm pretty sure the Training Captain doing that was Tony Smith.
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Old 16th May 2009, 13:04
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The picture must have been later than 1971 because it's BA rather than BOAC colours. I thought the famous flypast happened around 1976.
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Old 16th May 2009, 13:06
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Silver Jubilee Airshow 1977 with G-ARVM I believe.
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Old 16th May 2009, 13:32
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Flying L.

Aaaahh a little "VC10derness"
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Old 16th May 2009, 14:53
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The names of the crew are here: Testing and early days. Looks like it was indeed that Training Captain.
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Old 17th May 2009, 16:55
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Brian Potter and Cold War Wimp

The RAF did obtain a 'spare' horizontal stabilizer from BA in about 1981. I collected it from LHR and took it to the Storage unit at Carlisle, where it was received with amazement and many 'What are we supposed to do with it?' questions.
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Old 17th May 2009, 16:59
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As an Air Cadet on Summer camp at Brize in 1974I would love to see again the training film "The approaches to Kai Tak" anyone know if its been put on Video/DVD......great entertainment!!!
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Old 17th May 2009, 17:11
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ATR42300, I just tried a search on U-Tube for Kai Tak Approach. There are some 420 videos to look through. You may find it there, but knowing of the approach to Kai Tak I'm sure that you wouldn't be disappointed in some of the other stuff!
Regards, Aerials
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Old 19th May 2009, 06:35
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Thanks for the help correcting the date.

Do you know if any disciplinary action was taken against the Captain?
In the current culture he'd probably lose his job, but I wondered if things were as bad in those days as now.

By the way if you want to hear and see that marvellous a/craft just get near Brize Norton. I was there about a month ago in a village close by and the sight and the sound of the VC10 made me wish I was up there poling the plane round the sky.
I wasn't poling it around the sky (just as well!) but here are a couple of pics from the third best seat in the house.

And a few from down the back.

Pics taken during a GAPAN visit to Brize, July 2007

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Old 19th May 2009, 07:01
  #151 (permalink)  
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The White Waltham flypast was May 26th 1977. The event was the Air Pageant celebrating the Queen's Silver Jubilee run by Leisure Sport.

I believe Rainboe is correct, it was Tony Smith. I understood then it was his swan song!
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Old 19th May 2009, 21:22
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The commander held the post of either Flight Manager or Fight Training Manager at the time. That and his imminent retirement undoubtedly influenced subsequent events.
His co-pilot's career wasn't much harmed by the incident either. He later rose to be Head of Training at General Manager or some similar level... .but that's another story.

Does all this remind you of a certain Concorde incident for which a senior Manager was responsible and got off lightly, I wonder?

I was given a photo of this fly-past showing the aft fuselage at around 15 ft agl leaving a nice trail through the grass - and that was before it rotated to climb away .
I seem to remember a discussion about the radio altimeter, which on VM at the time had a transmitter far removed from the landing gear area. The calibration geometry to correct for this assumed normal landing configuration and attitude: gear down, landing flap, threshold speed etc. The fly-past can be seen to be tail down (gear up, who knows what speed and with what could be approach flap). Anyway if anyone was actually looking at the rad alt at the time it would have given a false indication of the ground clearance of the lowest part of the aircraft - in this case the aft fuselage.

Moral: never fly with anyone on their last trip, especially if they still have something to prove.
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Old 20th May 2009, 06:39
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Originally Posted by Albert Driver
I was given a photo of this fly-past showing the aft fuselage at around 15 ft agl leaving a nice trail through the grass
You wouldn't happen to have a scanner nearby would you?
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Old 20th May 2009, 07:50
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Not my copyright for publishing on the 'net, Jelle, but there were plenty of eyewitness reports and a number of similar images are out there.
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Old 20th May 2009, 08:00
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I see, still it's always worth asking. Thanks for the quick reply. The funny thing is that this particular flypast still sticks in so many people's memories.

Back to the subject then!
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Old 21st May 2009, 20:44
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I've just had the pleasure of seeing a VC10 low over Evington, Leicester around 1830 this evening, heading south. A very rare treat this way! We hardly see anything military.

I'd love to know where it was heading.
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Old 22nd May 2009, 06:41
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Maybe doing some training at Cottesmore?

I was doing some pre-booked training there many years ago, but was then told to go away as there had been several noise complaints. So off we went to Coningsby at 2500ft to finish off.

Anyway, glad that the sight of the old grey lady was a pleasure for you!
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Old 8th Aug 2009, 10:14
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Once I visited Sir George Edwards at his home after asking him to sign a print of a VC-10 over SFO. When I unrolled the print he said the VC-10 would have been a world beater but was 3 years too late.

As a side note - walking out of his house I saw this magnificent oil painting of a Wellington fitted with the magnetic mine 'hoop' flying just above the sea with a mine explosion behind it. I commented on it and he said that was the first project he was in charge of and he had to reort the Churchill every night on its progress.
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Old 9th Aug 2009, 21:15
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Ref White Waltham Flypast - Saturday

I was a passenger on that flight!

G-ARVM was the training aircraft based at Prestwick. In 1977 I was a trainee ATCO on approach and noticed a flight plan on 'VM to EGVY (White Waltham). So I rang Flight Clearance and told them about the incorrect destination! They informed me that the flight plan was correct and it was indeed going to White Waltham - but not for a landing!!
So I asked if there were any spare seats - yep said the Captain, 'Get yourself to the apron'. So I was granted an 'Early Go' and got a lift to the apron in the ATC vehicle.
A group of us boarded the aircraft and were ushered into an almost empty cabin. There was just a 'pod' of a few seats (10 or 15 I think), and told to make ourselves comfortable.
We went Airways (Amber 1 - Ahh nostalgia), with a few dutch rolls on the way. We all visited the flight deck and chatted with the crew and the trainee pilots that were on board.
'VM left controlled airspace at WOD, and was too early for our slot to open the airshow at White Waltham.
The Captain announced that he 'had a friend playing cricket nearby', so we went off low level 2,500ft looking for a cricket match! Apparently he found the village and the cricket team were treated to a flypast, anyone know where that was?
We then continued to Twyford to follow the railway line to White Waltham. At that time the airfield was inside the London Control Zone, so we had to fly up the 'free-lane' and comply with the level restrictions. Was that (not above)1,250ft?
We did our flypast, just as Prince Charles was declaring the airshow open. In fact that evening it was on the national news with Prince Charles saying 'I declare this airshow - the rest being drowned out by the sound of a VC10 !!'
After that we flew back up the free lane and rejoined controlled airspace at WOD, via the Ambers back to Prestwick.
On the way back we discussed with the crew the flypast. I asked if the captain had meant to do a 'touch and go', he replied 'No, as the wheels were up!' It certainly looked close to the ground from inside!
The return was quite leisurely with just a few more dutch rolls.
I will always remember the galley curtains flying across from one side of the aisle to the other, almost horizontal. We then managed a few 'toasted sandwiches'.
On return to Prestwick 'VM then went straight into the circuit.
Unfortunately the 'toasties' and the 'dutch rolls' took their toll on my stomach, so the Captain agreed to do a 'full stop' and return to the apron to drop me, and those other passengers that didn't want to spend some hours 'circuit bashing'.
So that is the full story of the Saturday flypast at White Waltham.

Thank you G-ARVM, a most memorable flight.

JB (less than 9 months from retirement)!

PS According to A Little VC10derness the crew were;
Captain A J Smith
F/O A Harkness
E/O T Snell

Last edited by Red Spitfire Driver; 9th Aug 2009 at 21:38.
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Old 10th Aug 2009, 06:22
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Lucky man RSD.

Here's another shot from the other side.

Not my picture.
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