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Singapore Trooper

Old 4th Sep 2011, 11:27
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Singapore Trooper

In about 1960, we set out on an epic trip to Singapore on an Eagle Airways Britannia as far as I can remember. The trip was epic and we lost one engine. At one fuel stop we had run out of food and the crew brought aboard pineapples and bananas the likes of which I have never tasted since.
The return leg two and a half years later was by Comet. We were all scared since the early Comet did not have a good reputation. The early ones were designed with 'square shaped' passenger windows. (Ours was by then, oval shaped window version). After several crashes, it was realised that the cause was metal fatigue caused by the failure of the windows in the corners. After this, the aircraft was redesigned and the windows were the more 'normal' shape.

I have finished writing an Autobiography. It's not technical in any way but goes into incidents like the above and later when I was a Missile Aimer in the Royal Navy in 'Wasp' Helicopters. Some of the things that happened are extraordinary looking back and a far cry from todays standards.
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Old 8th Sep 2011, 10:43
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I recall a similar return flight Singapore-London on a British Eagle ac in about 1963: My most vivid recollection is turbulence at breakfast time and my father and I the only takers for sausages (swimming in fat) served from a large tray - we had as many as we wanted!!
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Old 8th Sep 2011, 11:30
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and we lost one engine.
Eagle Airways was run on a shoestring and the crew would shut down an engine to conserve fuel. Same thing happened when I flew to Cyprus with them '63.
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Old 8th Sep 2011, 12:31
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That answers a long held question

Goudie

Thanks for that statement regarding the shutting down of engines on Eagle's Britannias. I was born in Changi in September 1960 and flew back to the UK with my parents about 18 months later (so early 1962) aboard an Eagle Britannia. Being very young at the time I must rely on my parents' story. I believe that we routed from Changi to Bombay to Istambul and then London (LHR/LGW?). They told me that we landed at Bombay with a failed engine and that there was an 'unlocked' undercarriage condition at Istambul. I have never been able to work out how the failed engine was satisfactorilly rectified within the flight servicing so can now assume that it was a case of saving fuel. I will sleep well now.

Long-haul flying in the 50s and 60s seemed to be fraught with excitement as my parents used to tell me how close they came to death every time they flew. One such occasion was an Argonaut flight to or from Butterworth, where they suffered from smoke emerging from the floor and a resultant extended stay in Columbo.
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Old 8th Sep 2011, 23:47
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pjac

Goudie,
That is a load of crap- shutting an engine down, to conserve fuel. In cruise, it can be demonstrated that with an engine out, the resultant thrust setting on the remaining engines, in order to achieve a satisfactory ground speed, is equal to- or greater than that set with all engines operating and the fuel used is thus-the same or more. In addition, the procedure to restart an engine (in the case of an emergency), particularly in the case of a propellor type, makes for a lengthy, if not risky thing. Eagle was not an airline and certainly, most civil operators-carrying passengers-would engage in any such practice. Stop talking through your fundamental NACA Scoop.

Ex-Eagle crew.
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Old 8th Sep 2011, 23:58
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Travelled Eagle to and from Malaya and never seen them shut an engine down, did have fun with CAT and that falling out of the sky feeling which as an 11 year old was fun but the oldies around me were non too happy.
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Old 9th Sep 2011, 05:37
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You've Never Had It So Good!!

Try doing the UK - Singapore run in the back of a Hastings. Night stops and all!!

My old man came back from the war in 1947 on a Dakota (which was being returned to the US). There were several aircraft in the stream and he had to supervise the turnround servicing at each stop - took 5 days.

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Old 9th Sep 2011, 06:54
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pjac

Thank you for politely correcting my erroneous statement. I was merely repeating what I had read somewhere or other. Perhaps it was on pprune!

Last edited by goudie; 9th Sep 2011 at 07:11.
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Old 9th Sep 2011, 10:57
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Try doing the UK - Singapore run in the back of a Hastings. Night stops and all!!
It wasn't very pleasant in the front either
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Old 9th Sep 2011, 21:59
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Got a sense of deja vu, haven't we done this one before a year or two back?

When I did the British Eagle trooping flight in 1967 it was Heathrow - Kuwait - Columbo - Changi (or was it Paya Lebar?). Dont know how much longer that contract lasted, because the next time I flew home it was in a 10 Squadron VC10 - much quicker, but no cheap booze on board, just that inevitable Transport Command orange squash.
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Old 10th Sep 2011, 11:16
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TTN,

I think British Eagle normally went into Paya Lebar.

How did you fly from Singapore to HK? First time I went Argosy via Saigon, second trip was back via Labuan (I'd only left there a couple of months earlier), third time was a BE Britannia and the last was a VC10.

brakedwell

You've trumped me, I bow in humble salute!

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Old 10th Sep 2011, 20:29
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How did you fly from Singapore to HK?
Would you believe in a Bristol Freighter of 41 Sqn RNZAF! Not one of the most comfortable trips I've ever made, but the high point was a refuelling stop at Qui Nohn in Vietnam, a couple of weeks before the 1968 Tet offensive. Never seen so many helicopters (mainly Hueys) in one place in my life, before or since.
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Old 11th Sep 2011, 20:16
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As an old Far East hand I appreciate reading these comments, apart from Tevios' assertion that the Comet crashes were due to metal fatigue around the pax cabin windows. I hope the rest of his book is more rigourous and accurate than that.
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Old 12th Sep 2011, 14:57
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Singapore Trooper

Thanks TTN

That filled in a few blanks in the memory! did the BE trooper to Singapore in Oct 63, I don't remember any three engine stages, but for the life of could not remember where we flew from, okay Heathrow it was. Next a landing at Istanbul airport and admiring the way they had cunningly disguised all the wrecked aircraft out on the airfield with bushes, just time for a cup of sweet mud onto Columbo and finally landing in Singapore in the middle of the night (still not sure where exactly) then onto Tengah by bus which took nearly as long as the flight.

CliveR
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Old 13th Sep 2011, 09:30
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cliver029,

I'm as certain as can be that the BE trooper went to Paya Lebar civilian airport.

As to interim stops outbound and inbound, these did vary from time to time. I did the BE trooper bit several times in 1965-6, mainly because the air force couldn't make up its mind if I was to be detached to a far east station or actually posted there. Eventually, they decided I was there to stay! I visited Istambul, Abadan, Bombay, and Negombo in various permutations.

As to the three engined bit, one day between Singapore and Hong Kong and with one engine shut down, they lost one for real. It was quite exciting for a few minutes but Captain Speaking and First Officer Here sorted it out and we carried on our way. At that stage in the flight, probably the nearest diversion was Hanoi!

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Old 13th Sep 2011, 09:57
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Been there 3 times. First time was out by Britania? in 1956. Back 6 weeks later in a Casavac hastings. Stopped every night for the patients to spend the night in hospital and then back at dawn for another leg. It took 5 days and i couldnt hear properly for 2 days afterwards because of the noise.

Out again a year or so later by troop ship(remember those) round the cape as the suez crisis was on. Back by Britania. Out again in 67 by RAF VC10. Went tec in Gan. No food only orange juice left. Not been able to face it since.
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Old 13th Sep 2011, 10:04
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Travelling all that way in a Hasting as a three year old would have put me off flying for life
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Old 13th Sep 2011, 16:07
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oldchina

apart from Tevios' assertion that the Comet crashes were due to metal fatigue around the pax cabin windows
A quick Google will tell you that Tevios is largely correct
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Old 13th Sep 2011, 21:35
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Except that the fatigue cracks were around an escape hatch and an antenna cut out in the crown skin, not the passenger windows.

I flew out to Changi in a Transport Command VC10 on 9th March 1969. The trip was fine and comfortable and we were fed and watered at Akrotiri, Muharraq and Gan, as well as on the aircraft. The worst part was at the arrivals terminal. The married accompanied pax were processed nicely and boarded coaches to their allocated hotels - with porter assistance for the officers. As a single airman, I had to lug my 66 pounds of kit uphill for half a mile to the transit block in the steaming tropical heat and humidity. It was fine once you'd acclimatised a few weeks later, but three days previously I'd been operating a "Snowblow" on the runway at Waddington.
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Old 15th Sep 2011, 05:28
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Cumulusrider,

I think your 1956 trip to Singapore might have been in a DC6 or DC7, rather than a Britannia. They look similar in some respects but not sure about the performance/range etc.

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