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Short Belfast-why?

Old 27th Feb 2017, 21:19
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Four of the ten Belfasts ended their days at Southend - they probably got breaking them down to a fine art.
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Old 28th Feb 2017, 04:42
  #122 (permalink)  
 
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I had a look at the Belfast at noon today. No activity on breaking it up.
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Old 18th Aug 2017, 20:42
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Varipitch, I'd love to hear the whole story. Can you message me at [email protected]
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Old 4th Jan 2018, 19:28
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Originally Posted by Wander00 View Post
How easy (or difficult) was it to get the Belfasts certificated as civil aircraft?
Following is from my notes over the years, based on secondary sources so may be dodgy in places.

Total cost of civil certification in 1978 - 80 was around 10 million. Shorts had done a lot of the basic work in the mid-1960s when they planned to build two civilian white-tails at the end of the RAF production. That idea was abandoned when the RAF cut the order from 30 to 10 and thus the CofA work was curtailed. But they kept the paperwork and the RAF also released a lot of service data as part of the fleet sale.

The main certification problem was the Belfast's stall which was reported to be unusual, no pitching or rolling but a fast sink. The RAF were content with stick-shakers but the CAA required stick-pushers too. Smiths removed two of the channels of the triplex autopilot ( disabling Autoland ) and repurposed them for the pushers. I think the work was done at Manston on the first three aircraft which Heavylift later inherited. I don't know where subsequent aircraft were modified, possibly at Southend where BAF did Heavylift's maintenance.

Other civilian mods were the radios and a second weather-radar display, for the left-hand seat. One of the later Heavylift aircraft was also cleared with a long upper deck for passengers instead of just the short gallery.

Heavylift initially had one aircraft based in Singapore under the CAA cert and had planned for at least one more in USA and / or Mexico, but as far as I know never went through the FAA certification process and abandoned that idea.
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Old 5th Jan 2018, 16:49
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We had three Belfasts at Manston owned by Eurolatin in 1978 (G-BEPE/XR362, G-BEPL/XR369 and G-BEPS/XR368). We only ever flew G-BEPS in my time. G-BEPL made a one-way flight to Hucknall and was broken up. The other two ended up at Southend/Stansted.

I can assure you that absolutely no modification to the triplex autoland system was carried out in my time at Manston.
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Old 5th Jan 2018, 19:37
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I often think that the Belfast with a decent engine could have been a world beater in a niche slot above a Herc and something the A400 is just starting to fulfill.
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Old 5th Jan 2018, 19:50
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Would have been even better off with four decent engines.
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Old 6th Jan 2018, 03:46
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The Belfast had a MTOW over 100 tonnes. What specifically was deficient with the Rolls Royce Tynes? Too thirsty? They were used with some success on the Vickers Vanguard and the Canadair CL-44.
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Old 6th Jan 2018, 14:08
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I believe that most of the civil certification was done by Transmeridian/British Cargo Airlines using Mashall's of Cambridge as the design authority. Both PS & PE flew with a Marshalls class 'B' registration during testing.
It had originally been the intention to paint PE in the black and blue colours planned for British Cargo Airlines, the paint was even in the hangar at SEN waiting to be applied. In the end both PS & PE recieved the Transmeridian colour scheme and titles, later modified into the Heaveylift livery.
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Old 8th Jan 2018, 18:35
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Originally Posted by evansb View Post
The Belfast had a MTOW over 100 tonnes. What specifically was deficient with the Rolls Royce Tynes? Too thirsty? They were used with some success on the Vickers Vanguard and the Canadair CL-44.
I think this was done on here sometime ago. IIRC, it was to do with lack of development money. The engine was ment to have an 18' prop and the engine was never developed to accept it and was thus underpowered.
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Old 9th Jan 2018, 10:39
  #131 (permalink)  
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Indeed, we've been over quite a bit of this before. There were, of course, different versions of the Tyne - check Wiki if you want more. The development of the Belfast to its final form as the Shorts SC5/10 is described in near-excruciating detail in C H Barnes "Shorts Aircraft Since 1900." A variety of further options were considered but I suspect that the failure to achieve any civil interest was the final bar to anything happening beyond the 10 ordered by the Air Ministry in 1960. The performance shortfall found in trials was more to do with the initial shape of the rear fuselage than engine power, and the fact that the 'fastback' mods brought performance virtually to spec pretty much put paid to consideration of installing uprated engines with a larger prop. And then, only some 4/5 years after the full fleet of modified aircraft became available to 53 Sqn, we had a Defence Review ..... and the rest is history, as they say.
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 16:42
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I believe that most of the civil certification was done by Transmeridian/British Cargo Airlines using Mashall's of Cambridge as the design authority. Both PS & PE flew with a Marshalls class 'B' registration during testing.
Thanks, in was able to springboard from that and get some more info. The aircraft received its provisional certification in March 1980 but without the stick-pushers were prohibited from carrying anything except cargo. The pushers seem to have been fitted in late 1981 having been tested on the third Heavylift airframe. Designed by Smiths and installed & tested by Marshalls. After full certification support personnel could be carried on the minstrels' gallery.

Two other certification requirements I missed earlier were a CVR and FDR. The reduction of the Smiths director to simplex reduced ILS capability to Cat II. A discretionary change Heavylift ( or its predecessors ) made was to remove three bunks to make space for spares storage.

Heavylift intended to display a Belfast at the Paris Salon in 1983; did that occur? Self-answer: yes.
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Last edited by El Bunto; 11th Jan 2018 at 16:55.
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 21:28
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As an apprentice I was involved in removing the bunks and the liquid oxygen plumbing from G-BEPE.
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 10:01
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Were they comfy bunks? I don't think I've ever seen a photo.
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 11:06
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Yes, comfy and conducive to a good sleep, though I can't say that I ever remained asleep after landing till being interrupted by Movements staff clambering up the stairs outside, as a colleague once claimed. And I recall being advised that, to get the best out of them, one should get properly undressed, no lying there in flying overalls!

In practice, however, I don't recall them being used too often. My impression was that they had been installed against an expectation of lots of double-crew operation, something that didn't happen.
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 12:52
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And in-flight re-fuelling, that didn't happen either.
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 15:21
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In flight refuelling was irrelevant. The limiting factor was engine oil not fuel. No engine oil contents gauges were fitted (only temperature and pressure) so it worked out that if you divided the maximum permitted oil consumption into the maximum oil tank capacity, then you had to land after about 15 hours anyway to have an oil check.
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 15:33
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JW411: I remember a conversation with the RAF test pilot who conducted the In-flight air refueling trials. He said that AAIR could not be done with the Belfast due to the variable RPM/torque schedules on the Tyne engine. (cf. the C130 with the Allisons)
IIRC it was Alan Fisher (see recent obits.)
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 15:58
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ISTR an RAF Belfast set off on a round the world trip with no planned rest stops in order to monitor aircrew fatigue. Off duty crew must have hogged the bunks on that occasion because the medics threw in the towel somewhere over the Pacific!

I trust they enjoyed Honolulu
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 16:56
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There were trials of continuous double-crew ops on both Belfast and VC10. The VC10 trial was in July 1969 and I suspect that the Belfast one was also around that time. Slip crew positioning for the Westabout ATF Exercise Hosanna in January 1970 was accomplished by a double-crewed VC10. I stand to be corrected on this, but I'm not aware of the technique being used after that. (And whilst the VC10 did not have bunks like the Belfast, the Squadron F540 report on the VC10 trial suggested that the medics ended-up more knackered than the crews!)
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