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Short Belfast-why?

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Old 12th Jan 2018, 16:59
  #141 (permalink)  
 
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For those of us who haven't been inside one, I found this cutaway in the Flight archives. I particularly like the overcoat ( or is it a housecoat? ) in the wardrobe.
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 19:53
  #142 (permalink)  

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A question for those in the know. The Belfast at Cosford has what looks like a 1-ton ME, rigged for an airdrop. As far as I'm aware, the Belfast was never cleared for airdrop?. Of course, it could be delivering it to the airhead, to be loaded into a REAL airdropper (like as C130 )
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 22:24
  #143 (permalink)  
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Herod: I'm absolutely sure that you're right, and I've no recollection of any suggestion that the Belfast be cleared for airdropping. It sounds as if the Museum has exercised a touch of artistic licence in its display. The aircraft's rear end was largely the source of its drag problems, and to think that it might have been opened in-flight gives me the retrospective shudders.
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 06:52
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Air-dropping over the ramp was certainly in scope for the original Britannic design; I'll try to find out if / when it was eliminated.

Update: for-but-not-with. The final SC.5 design had provision for drop equipment but the RAF did not specify its installation nor require demonstration of capability.

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Old 13th Jan 2018, 07:08
  #145 (permalink)  
 
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When I last saw the Belfast at Cosford it had an MSP in the back as though it was cleared for airdrop. The Belfast was never even trialled for any air drop much less cleared. Probably a lot to do with the rear end drag which gave the Tynes such a hard time .The real Cold War air transport warrior, the Hercules, sits outside where it will be left to rot and then broken up on Health and Safety grounds just like the vandals did to the Beverley at Hendon.
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 07:18
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At least until 1961 the RAF intended to fit the Blackburn Air Delivery System, having ordered 56 units for the Argosy and specified provision for the same in the Belfast. Source: Flight, 28 December 1961. I don't know what happened subsequently so that it wasn't fitted to the Belfast. If they didn't even try the drop, how would they know that the Mark I rear fuselage was not conducive?

Re: the miraculous, all-dancing Herk. The original requirement in OR.351 was for a tactical aircraft that could spatially accommodate anything a Beverley could. The Herk failed on both points, but was purchased anyway. The Transall had superior soft-field peformance and was more commodious but failed on the range requirements ( for which the RAF had the Belfast anyway... )

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Old 13th Jan 2018, 09:37
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I understand that no wind tunnel testing was carried out on the Belfast and the rear drag problem only came to light on the first flight. Perhaps those more knowledgeable could comment. As for the remarks on the Hercules even the French were eventually forced to buy the C130H !
Yes the Beverley cargo compartment was a clear ten foot square box but had they produced an advanced model (as was proposed) that would have had retracting u/c kike the Hercules and this would have compromised the cargo compartment.
I know of no one of my acquaintance who preferred the Beverley over the Hercules for the tasks it was required to carry out.
Apologies for the thread drift.
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 09:50
  #148 (permalink)  
 
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At the risk of stating the obvious, the Belfast was touted at the time as the RAF's new strategic freighter (as distinct from the C-130, whose role was tactical).

So I'd be surprised if an airdropping capability was ever contemplated at any stage.

The C-133, similarly, wasn't designed for airdropping (though NASA took the doors off theirs and chucked dummy Apollo capsules out to test their recovery parachutes).
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 15:39
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After ten years of throwing all sorts of stuff out of the back end of an Argosy, I was delighted to learn that the Belfast had no air drop capability.

Going back to the bunks; they were pretty comfortable. I seem to remember that with two crews, a 42-hour crew duty was contemplated. I only ever got involved in part of one of those. Crew A flew from Tengah to Gan whilst Crew B took to the bunks. At top of drop into Gan, Crew B took over and Crew A took to the bunks. Crew B did the turn around at Gan and then flew to top of drop into Masirah when Crew A took over again.

We were supposed to do another swop-over at Akrotiri but to everyone's great relief, there was a slip crew already there so we didn't have to operate the last leg back to Brize.

This was just as well for I, for one, had become uncertain as to whether my ar+e was bored or countersunk. For the life of me, I can't remember why we did such a thing.

The longest flight I can remember in terms of time aloft was one crew flying Masirah to Brize direct and that was something like 15 hours 15 minutes.

My longest in terms of distance was Cold Lake, Alberta to Brize and that was 4303 nms (which I think was a Belfast record). That took us 13 hours 30 minutes.
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 16:19
  #150 (permalink)  

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Yes, the C130 was bought as a tactical aircraft, but to the RAF's surprise also proved to be a very useful strategic one.

Somewhere deep in my memory is the thought that at one point the rear doors of the Belfast were opened in flight...only to be closed very smartly when the flying characteristics became obvious. Any Belfast experts like to confirm?
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 21:30
  #151 (permalink)  
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I've no recollection from my 53 Sqn time of ever hearing of any attempt to open the doors in flight.

I find the continuing interest in these 10 aircraft rather fascinating, particularly as they were scorned so widely in their RAF time. And that interest could prove unexpectedly widespread. We landed at Los Angeles early one evening in October 1969 and parked the aircraft by the handling agent's office, close to the side of the airport area and a passing freeway. Whilst we were doing our business with the agent's staff, a chap entered the office and explained that, driving past, he'd seen an aircraft fin that shouted "Shorts" to him and he simply had to investigate it. He'd had something to do with RAF Sunderlands in WW2, we explained who/what we were and he went off quite delighted.

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Old 14th Jan 2018, 16:49
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Originally Posted by JW411 View Post
After ten years of throwing all sorts of stuff out of the back end of an Argosy, I was delighted to learn that the Belfast had no air drop capability.

Going back to the bunks; they were pretty comfortable. I seem to remember that with two crews, a 42-hour crew duty was contemplated. I only ever got involved in part of one of those. Crew A flew from Tengah to Gan whilst Crew B took to the bunks. At top of drop into Gan, Crew B took over and Crew A took to the bunks. Crew B did the turn around at Gan and then flew to top of drop into Masirah when Crew A took over again.

We were supposed to do another swop-over at Akrotiri but to everyone's great relief, there was a slip crew already there so we didn't have to operate the last leg back to Brize.

This was just as well for I, for one, had become uncertain as to whether my ar+e was bored or countersunk. For the life of me, I can't remember why we did such a thing.

The longest flight I can remember in terms of time aloft was one crew flying Masirah to Brize direct and that was something like 15 hours 15 minutes.

My longest in terms of distance was Cold Lake, Alberta to Brize and that was 4303 nms (which I think was a Belfast record). That took us 13 hours 30 minutes.
Good to hear the USAF wasn’t alone with this scurvy idea. It was tried in the early C-5 day’s; crews revolted and never again.

Oil turned out to be the ultimate limit in the C-5, too. KSAV to HCMM, engine running off-load, to Cairo West was about 27-ish hours of engine running and low oil press lights on descent and landing.

GF
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 12:29
  #153 (permalink)  
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Out in Brunei we needed to fly in a replacement PW4060 for one of our B767s and Heavylift were contracted for the job. A Belfast was assigned but went U/S in Indonesia so the engine eventually arrived on an AN124. I think the Belfast was about on its last legs at that time.
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 14:32
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When two westbound Belfasts ended up in Bahrain needing engine changes I flew a Britannia from Brize to Bahrain with a pair of replacement Tynes. Their combined loads were transferred to the Brit and we flew them back to Brize via Akrotiri. To be fair it was before the GT rear end mods were installed, but it resulted in a lot of mickey taking
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 14:47
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Herod:

"Yes the C130 was bought as a tactical aircraft, but to the RAF's surprise also proved to be a very useful strategic one".

Let me say right away that the purchase of the C130K was one of the smartest moves that the RAF ever made and it did indeed make a useful strategic freighter but it could never become a Belfast replacement for it was too small.

The whole point of the Belfast was its ability to carry large indivisible loads. The main part of the Belfast freight bay was 63 ft 7 ins long and 12 foot square at its narrowest point. The C130K main freight bay was 40 feet by 10 feet. It was really the height and width that made the big difference. The only other aircraft (outside of the USSR) at that time that could carry a 12 foot square object was the Lockheed C5A.

How does this matter? Let me give you a practical example; one Belfast could (and did) carry two Puma helicopters to Belize. (The first Puma was loaded nose-in at a slight angle and the second one backwards). Apart from removing the main rotor blades (of course) the two Pumas remained intact and all that was needed on arrival was to re-attach the rotor blades and after a bit of blade tracking etc, the helicopters were good to go.

When the Belfast went, it took three C130s to carry just one Puma which had to be seriously dismantled and then rebuilt in the field on arrival. I have no idea how many days that took but somebody out there will have the answer.

We could carry a Sea King helicopter. Just not possible in a C130.

So, we are trying to compare apples and oranges, much as the C130 was/is a quite wonderful invention.

I have taken the liberty of attaching a couple of diagrams from Molly White's excellent book about the Belfast (an aircraft that she absolutely loved). The Super Hercules that she uses for comparison is a Lockheed L100-30 (382G). The C130K was 15 feet shorter.
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 15:04
  #156 (permalink)  
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Can you see the Sea King? It's there, believe me. At Shannon, July 1970, on its way to Edwards AFB.
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 16:39
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Originally Posted by JW411 View Post
Herod:
The Super Hercules that she uses for comparison is a Lockheed L100-30 (382G). The C130K was 15 feet shorter.
That's not quite correct.

Tbe Hercules C1 wasd 15 ft shorter, the C3 was exactly the same length as the L100-30 model.
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 16:57
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Brakedwell:

Apples and Oranges.

John, I realise that you are having a bit of fun but just how many Pumas could you get in a Brit? And even if you could get one in, how would you have got it on board since you didn't have a tail ramp?

Oh; I've just remembered, you carried a dismantled transfer loader in the back which weighed almost nothing at all.

I can remember parking alongside a TMAC CL-44 (Canadian Britannia) at Tehran. The crew came over for a cup of tea in our rather spacious galley. They were trying to offload a large truck which was designed for drilling exploratory oil wells. Of course, the truck was in the freight bay - 12 feet above the ramp.

They had five pieces of ground equipment involved in the exercise. Two GPUs were chained to the nose jacking points to stop it from sitting on its ar+e. The hi-lo wasn't strong enough to support the weight of the truck so they had two large forklifts, one on each side of the hi-lo to help support the weight. Of course, being Tehran nothing could possibly go wrong.

We were unloading lots of Chieftain tank engines (the locals went through them like there was no tomorrow - apparently, their tank drivers could not get out of second gear). The TMAC captain remarked that it would all have been so easy to drive the truck down the ramp, if he had one, and be on his way.

Apples and Oranges.
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Old 15th Jan 2018, 18:18
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Originally Posted by JW411 View Post
Brakedwell:

Apples and Oranges.

John, I realise that you are having a bit of fun but just how many Pumas could you get in a Brit? And even if you could get one in, how would you have got it on board since you didn't have a tail ramp?
I’ll bite Jock

I did carry 1 Rhino, 4 Cheetas, 3 Leopards (4 legged) + assorted snakes, gazelles ad cuddly animals from Kilimanjaro to Lagos. Only scary bit came after the rhino’s pallet was safely on the ground and the said animal started to pee. It must have lasted ten minutes, saturating the peat before watering a large area of the cargo ramp. Had the Rhino been incontinent it would have been goodbye to the Britannia’s notorious electrics.

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Old 15th Jan 2018, 20:11
  #160 (permalink)  

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JW.

I take your point entirely. To get a Wessex into the C130 meant removing the main gearbox and a chunk of fuselage. IIRC, this could only be done three times before the rivet holes went beyond spec. However: during Bersatu Padu in 1970 (I was on Wessex then, C130 later), we were supposed to have ten Wessex in Changi. They got there eventually, but my memory is of two assembled and flying, two in a U/S Belfast in Gan, two in a U/S Belfast in Masirah, two in Akrotiri (guess where?), and two in a U/S Belfast at Brize. A long time ago, but I think I have the facts right.

Great load-lifter though, and a wonderful crew transport.
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