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DH Vampire

Old 17th Jun 2011, 09:54
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Fareastdriver: Derwent ? not so, it was the RR Nene.
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Old 17th Jun 2011, 10:54
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The Sud-Est Mistral was a licence built version of the single seat Vampire. The main difference apart from the single cockpit were the long fins on the Vampire T11 to counteract the twin seat pod. The French, like the Australians, also fitted it with a RR Dewent instead of the DH Goblin.
Fareastdriver, I was talking about the Mistel, see picture below, because on the picture of the Vampire above it looks like it is connected to the other aircraft by a set of struts

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Old 17th Jun 2011, 14:46
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Good Heavens. I didn't notice that. Well done.
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Old 17th Jun 2011, 18:13
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Ahead of most of us, methinks !!!!

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Old 18th Jun 2011, 13:51
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A quick trim & photoshop later .....

See he really was solo

The nose is so blurred & yellowed because of the 60 year old sellotape on it ..... I still have a few photoshop tricks to learn :-)
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Old 18th Jun 2011, 16:52
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Question ???

Could perhaps, one of you friends of the Vampire remind me/us what the twin ariels on both wing tips served as? I seem to remember that they were rx ariels for some kind of navigation aid. Was it perhaps a sort of short range distance measuring device?

I trundled around in Vampires for a few months in 1964......my logbook shows entries for WZ507 as well ( see photo by Old Photo.Fanatic page 1 )
The first thing I noticed when spotting this aircraft at North Weald a couple of years ago, was that the ariels had disappeared. It's possible that this afore-mentioned Navaid had been removed by 1964, since I have no recollection of ever using it.

One thing I do recall, as mentioned already on this thread.......and that is the seat, and my own reaction to briefings on use and effect of the noisy part. I used to strap myself in so snug, that by the end of the sortie I was somewhat numb from the waist down. There was a test rig opportunity as well, but I don't recall anybody I knew personally volunteering to try it.

.....Happy days.
Old 18th Jun 2011, 17:17
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I have some fond memories of the FB5 Vampire. As an ATC cadet I used to spend the occasional w/e at the local RAFA 614 sqdn helping to refuel them between sorties. We did this in the hope of a trip in their one Meteor Mk7, in vain in my case which is probably just as well as I would probably have been sick. (Just for the record they also had one Meteor Mk8 which no-one would fly because they didn't like the ejector seat)

They had one FB5 which had landed short and dragged the airfield fence halfway across the airfield. Although it was relatively undamaged, it became a bit of a hangar queen as the JTP used to go above limits and no-one could find out why.

Less fond memories are of the incredible, ear piercing whistling noise of the Goblin engine when you had one or two doing engine runs just outside the hangar doors.
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Old 18th Jun 2011, 17:20
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Frightened to death by a Vampire

Not sure if it was one of 504's or a Rolls Royce based Vampire that frightened a skinny 20 month old me. We lived near to RR Hucknall's flight test establishment and a regular Sunday walk was along the edge of the golf course near what is now the Merlin flying Club site. Dad pushing mum poddling along on the rear as we emerged from the shelter of the hedge just as a Vampire scant feet away throttles up and unleashes a gout of flame......From then on I ran in screaming everytime one flew over the house. Funnily ended up working at RRH and spent many years in RAF blue. Another incident happened at junior school, 1930's building outside loos. Crossing playground on abright sunny day I found my head being snapped up to the left ( I still dont know what prompted me to look up) Just in time to see two silver dots merge and explode in a ball of flame. Went back to class and told Miss Parnham I'd just seen to aircraft collide only to be told not to be so so stupid. That night the local news reported two T11's (Syerstons?) collidng to the south west of Nottingham
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Old 18th Jun 2011, 22:28
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1G-H, it is most likely for the `Rebecca Mk8`,rather like a Tacan but range only,so you had a kneepad with range circles from each station,and then tuned 2-3 stations to get your `fix`.Certainly in J-Ps in `63`,but Tacans took over then VOR/DME..
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Old 19th Jun 2011, 09:37
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The wing ariels were for the Rebecca. As Sycamore said you could have a small map with circles on it but nobody bothered at Oakington. They were mounted back to front, ie, the sharp bit was the leading edge. They would pick up ice by the handful and eventually they would start viabrating and shaking so that in some cases thay would break off. It did not happen very often as we could climb and descend through the icing layer fairly rapidly.
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Old 19th Jun 2011, 10:50
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Yes, Rebecca 8 antennae. A DME system operating at around 220 MHz; you selected the code on a big bakelite box (one clunky rotary selector for each part of the code - letters for the 'Tx' part and numbers for the 'Rx' part) e.g. C4 for Cranwell and D5 for (I think) Cottesmore. Then listened for the coding - because it was't uncommon for the wrong station to have been tuned in, despite the selection made! The indicator in Vampires, JPs and Hunters was a single needle against a range scale with a 'homing' section which could only be used at short range - when the needle was centred you were either pointing directly at the station or directly away from it. We only used it the 'homing' part for DME letdowns, e.g. when inbound on the final approach. QGH to the overhead, then a dead reckoning descent in the 'safety lane', before flying the final approach on DME was a lot easier! Quite a few sessions in the Link Trainer to practise though!

For normal fixing above cloud, we usually used UHF/DF and Eureka/Rebecca; if out of Eureka coverage, a couple of bearings from different stations was fine. Of course there were enough RAF stations around to make that feasible back then. Although we were still without transponders or navaids and using DF/DF fixing in IMC or above 8/8 in HM's Bulldogs in the late 1980s until we were given the magic of VOR/DME/ILS, a multi-channel UHF radio and a transponder.

Eureka / Rebecca disappeared when the Hunter went out of service, if memory serves correctly. Eureka stations were marked on the En-Route Chart as small black blobs with a white 'E' and the legend 'Eur7'.

When the JP 5A first appeared, occasional vibration would be noticed in cloud. Something of a mystery....

Until one day, Geoff St*****l had something go seriously 'twang' in the fin of Finningley JP5; fortunately he managed to lend it safely (at Llanbedr?).

It was found that the fin-mounted VOR antennae picked up ice and could vibrate at sufficient amplitude to fatigue the fin. The LLADTS Finningley Mk5s were probably fleet leaders as regards fatigue, hence Geoff's incident.

The solution was a couple of wires from fin to each antenna tip to stop them moving.
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Old 1st Jul 2011, 14:49
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Sea Vampire

My memories are those of flight deck work . On HMS Vengeance early 1948. We had a Sea Vampire on trials. I remember having to hold chocks under the undercart with an oppo as it was given a full engine run up from time to time......no ear protectors in those days, but just told if the noise was too extreme " Just scream or shout, no one will hear you but it will help with the noise !". If my memory serves me correct the aircraft was very useful helping to de ice the deck !. By the way I hope I`m not trespassing on this site as I`m not a pilot .
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Old 1st Jul 2011, 15:51
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We used to clear the snow of the runway at Oakington with a couple of Vampires. With the Vampire you could manoever it quite easily around the tarmac and a two pairs could clear a strip on the runway sufficient to get off in about two hours with a refuel.

Another aircraft well suited to this task was the Victor; again jet pipes pointing downwards at a slight angle. The Victor required a tug to push it around. They had to stop when they had a bit to much throttle on and it pushed the tug off the runway and turned it over.

Then some Eng Off invented the twin Dewent fuel bowser as a runway clearer. Being engineers they collared all the Dewents the Air Force had instead of the time-expired ones and suddenly the flying Meteors ran out of spares.
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Old 1st Jul 2011, 20:06
  #34 (permalink)  

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Ref the ejection seat test rig, when I went through training we all had to have a go. It was mounted on a Queen Mary trailer and the seat travelled up a ramp. I believe it was a one-third charge (one cartridge instead of three?). The idea was strap in (tight), pull the face blind and bingo, there you were some fifteen feet up the ramp. A couple of months after I left South Cerney, one chap was using it when they had a misfire. While it was being sorted out, he loosened his straps and leant forward. The cartridge went off, and damaged his back such that his flying days were over.
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Old 2nd Jul 2011, 08:10
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Rebecca 8 Aerials

BEagle gives an excellent and accurate description of the Rebecca 8 fitted to Vampire, Venoms, JPs. Hunters and Swifts etc.
It may further interest you to know that cadmium? coating on the outer wing aerials was prone to degrade causing them to rust. It was decided to coat them in seaplane varnish as a temporary measure until a bespoke paint, normally in dayglo yellow or orange was introduced but this was only the beginning of a further problem as it was almost impossible to remove the seaplane varnish.
I do not know if it fixed the vibration problem but I saw at least one entry in the F700 which stated aerial vibration at 133 1/3 cycles was experienced while taxy-ing.
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Old 2nd Jul 2011, 17:22
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Couple of pics of a Vampire, (I think, not too sure of the differences from the Venom) looks like a Dual, at Thermal California, East of Palm Springs.
Talking to some people around the hangar, they said that the owner was not far from getting the paperwork approved to fly it. This was just over a year ago so I don't know the progress. BTW the B-17 tail in one of the shots is the Liberty Belle. Tragically just lost to fire it seems.

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Old 2nd Jul 2011, 19:39
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Here is No.11 Vampire/Varsity course at RAF Valley in 1961. A very young JW411 is on the right.
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Old 2nd Jul 2011, 22:11
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Why a Nav? And any other names?

Last edited by Wander00; 3rd Jul 2011 at 07:09.
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Old 3rd Jul 2011, 02:35
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Prangster - The two Vampires you saw collide were XH321 and XE990; both were from 8 FTS at Swinderby. More here (shameless link to my own website).

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Old 3rd Jul 2011, 08:37
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That Vampire at Thermal must be carrying the last pair of Vampire underwing tanks in the world.
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