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Harrier cockpit

Old 6th Feb 2013, 14:12
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Harrier cockpit

I had a chance to sit in the cockpit of G VTOL at Brooklands the other week. What surprised me was that the HUD was level with my neck and I was looking down on top of the windscreen. I doubt if I could have closed the canopy if I'd tried, let alone if I'd been wearing a helmet.

But I'm only 6FT tall. There is a bit of padding on the seat that might have made a bit of difference but not that much. Can I assume there is some vertical adjustment and the seat was in the highest position?

Or was G VTOL especiallu cramped being a one off?
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Old 6th Feb 2013, 14:19
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The seat was adjustable vertically like all military fighters.

I think the Harrier seat was electrical with the switch on the left console.

I expect John Farley will be along shortly along with other Harrier mates.

Last edited by Lightning Mate; 6th Feb 2013 at 14:20.
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Old 6th Feb 2013, 17:48
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I sat in the cockpit about three years ago, and one of the volunteer guide chaps took my picture from the port side. I have just checked the pic, and as a 5' 11" tall individual, the top of my head was about 5" below the top of the two side pieces of the ejector seat headrest immediately behind me. These obviously have to clear the canopy when this is closed, so my noggin would have had ample clearance from the canopy.

It seems possible that since I occupied John Farley's former working seat, someone has either raised the seat higher by its adjustment device, or added a fat cushion. Of course, I suppose it's also a possibility that despite your height and mine being only an inch apart when standing, you may have a much greater seated height than me. We are not all similarly proportioned, some have short legs but taller upper body dimensions.
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Old 6th Feb 2013, 19:27
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Dr Jekyll

The correct height for any individual in any military cockpit fitted with a HUD is that which makes their eye line level with the centre of the HUD display.
Known as the 'eye datum' this eye position is what the whole cockpit layout is designed around. This is actually lower than most people would like to sit from a simple external view point of view, which is of course at its best when your helmet is almost touching the canopy.

With everybody's eye at the eye datum height then canopy to helmet clearance is clearly not affected by individual height or sitting height. Although cone-heads may have a problem.

The seat was obviously fully up when you were in it - what a pity you did not ask your guide how to lower it.

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Old 6th Feb 2013, 19:46
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John Farley, what a superb "I wuz 'ere" shot for both on board in Rio!
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Old 6th Feb 2013, 19:46
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Ah... Hawker S.
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Old 6th Feb 2013, 20:15
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John

The guide did remark on my 'tank commander' seating position, but suggested that Harrier pilots were on the small side. So I concluded any adjustment was minimal. I'll remember next time.
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Old 6th Feb 2013, 21:02
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but suggested that Harrier pilots were on the small side.
Have you met Vaughn Dow?
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Old 6th Feb 2013, 21:47
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Do a Hover - it avoids G
 
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Funny I thought they were the biggest pilots in the business..................
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Old 7th Feb 2013, 12:01
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John:

Met many Lightning pilots?.......
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Old 7th Feb 2013, 12:56
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Concorde has an eye datum tool on the flight deck comprising solid 'spectacles' with a hole drilled in each 'eyepiece'. It is stowed in a pocket by the P1 foot well and us used by plugging it into the overhead centre panel and positioning the seat so the pilot's eyes line up with the holes in the datum.

I've asked a few, but I've yet to meet a Concorde pilot who used it!

Last edited by Shaggy Sheep Driver; 11th Feb 2013 at 10:44.
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Old 11th Feb 2013, 05:44
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On converting to the Harrier, I chose the usual high seat position, in order to see as much of the outside world as possible. When weaponeering or combat started and the HUD became more important, stooping forward was needed to see properly through it, whilst keeping the same old picture for VSTOL. After years of G like this, some of us on the squadron had a palm sized callous over the lumbar region of our spines.
Things you do for fun!
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Old 11th Feb 2013, 10:48
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Before I bought my share in the Yak52 many years ago, I had a familiarisation flight in it by the guy setting up the group. I was in the back cockpit and the top of my bone dome only just cleared the perspex.

He flew a sequence of advanced aerobatics - twice! When we got back, there was plenty of space twixt helmet and canopy! It's amazing what a bit of extreme 'G' will do, even though you've tightened the straps as tight as they'll go!
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Old 11th Feb 2013, 17:09
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Do a Hover - it avoids G
 
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Lightning Mate

Yes.

Indeed I tended to admire them (as they seemed to expect) until we had a couple of Lightnings to play with (so that the boffins could understand about shock waves in close formation). After that I tended to wonder wot on earth Lightning pilots were on about. Mind you I could guess.
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Old 11th Feb 2013, 17:56
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John Farley:

Was that G-VTOL at Rio in September 1973 after being delivered inside the CL-44 Guppy before (or after) the air display at Sao Jose dos Campos?

I was in the Belfast that delivered the single-seat Harrier from Wittering to Sao Paulo. What an unbelievable farce that turned out to be!
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 12:35
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What an unbelievable farce that turned out to be!
We demand details!
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 14:19
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Do a Hover - it avoids G
 
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JW411

Yes, that was indeed taken on the South American tour of 73 that you refer to.

Don Riches (the other Dunsfold pilot and in the back in the pic) and I were kept pretty busy. The tour ran from Sept 12 to October 19 and consisted of 63 flights of demonstrations, pilot familiarisations and even carrier operations.

The tour sequence was:

Brazil (Galeao - San Jose - Santa Cruz - San Pedro Galeao)
Paraguay (Asuncion)
Bolivia (Cochabamba)
Peru (Lima)
Ecuador (Guayaquil - Quito - Guayaquil - Quito)
Peru (Lima - Las Palmas and back to Lima where the aircraft was broken down for return to Dunsfold)

I did not realise (or have forgotten) there were dramas with your Belfast based RAF expedition can you remind us?
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 15:35
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BAe decided they wanted to have a single seat "fighting" Harrier at the air display. MOD agreed to lend them one. I was a co-pilot on the Belfast at the time. We proposed an itinerary from Wittering to Rio to our lords and masters at Upavon.

We were told that we couldn't go to Rio for there was no equipment there to unload a Harrier cradle. We asked them how Transmeridian were going to get G-VTOL out of the Guppy at Rio when their freight bay was 12 feet in the air!

The contingency planners were adamant that we had to go to Sao Paulo as they had a transverse loader and a suitable overhead crane to lift the wings back on to the fuselage.

When we got there, the transverse loader (made by Fred Laker's Aviation Traders) hadn't moved in living memory and wouldn't start or do anything it was supposed to do. So, the RAF lads rebuilt it. Next it was discovered that the wonderful crane in the hangar was all rusted up and the lads had to rebuild that.

Finally, the Harrier was ready to go and the pilot (I think he was a Sqn Ldr from Wittering) got in and started to do his checks. As you would imagine, the aircraft was getting a lot of attention from the locals.

Enter a messenger from stage left with an important message. It seemed that there had been a crash at Wittering caused, I think, by some nuts working loose and migrating into the compressor. The aircraft had to be inspected before next flight and if the fitted nuts were pre-Mod xxx then it was not to fly. Needless to say, it was indeed pre-Mod xxx and it did not fly!

BAe were not happy and promised to look after the problem. I think they even offered to buy the aeroplane back but MOD were unbending.

We did an "ET" and phoned home. "What do you want us to do?" "Come home." "What about the Harrier?" "We'll take it to pieces and send another Belfast to collect it."

That's what I call a farce.
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 17:13
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Do a Hover - it avoids G
 
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That's what I call a farce
Sounds reasonable. Mind you it had nothing to do with BAe which was not born until 29 April 1977.
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 17:45
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All right John; then who was it? BAC, Hawkers, Hawker Siddley or who?

The result was still the same.

By the way, I had a beer with Eddie before Christmas and he's still alive and kicking.
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