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Vulcan Fiasco in Washington

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Vulcan Fiasco in Washington

Old 19th Nov 2022, 12:31
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Vulcan Fiasco in Washington

I am reading old copies of Air Pictorial that have generously been made available https://www.steemrok.com/airpic/blanktop.html and in a letter about Polaris vs. Vulcan in the April 1963 edition I read



What happened?
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 13:03
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IIRC a Vulcan on a Red Flag exercise or similar evaded/jammed US air defence and "bombed" Washington. Red faces all around. The Vulcan was pretty stealthy due to its shape when seen end on (or sideways).

I'm sure there's another similar story of a Vulcan puling up to reveal 2 Tornados which had "hidden" behind it, which promptly bombed their target!

There is definitely one (not sure which book) of a USAF squadron leader or similar having a large picture on his office wall of a part circle caved into the desert.....by a Vulcan flying low level in a turn!

Like most (but possibly more so) the US doesn't like being proved second best!
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 13:22
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 13:22
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I only know basic details but in about 1960 or '61 I think, Vulcans managed to penetrate US airspace by flying above the radar coverage of the US defences, so the USA beefed up its high level radar coverage only for Vulcans (or it could have been Victors - I only know vague details) to penetrate US defences again but this time below their radar coverage.
I understand that Chapman Pincher, then defence correspondent of the Daily Express, was taken along on one of these trips, that could be b0ll0cks; but it was told to me by the then OC of Strike Command Bombing Squadron at Lindholme..
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 14:02
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Think is from the book “Under the radar” by James Hamilton-Paterson

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Old 19th Nov 2022, 17:49
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
I only know basic details but in about 1960 or '61 I think, Vulcans managed to penetrate US airspace by flying above the radar coverage of the US defences, so the USA beefed up its high level radar coverage only for Vulcans (or it could have been Victors - I only know vague details) to penetrate US defences again but this time below their radar coverage.
When a friend shows their friend that there is a problem, it is appreciated....even if they were a bit embarrassed.
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Old 19th Nov 2022, 19:01
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Originally Posted by punkalouver View Post
When a friend shows their friend that there is a problem, it is appreciated....even if they were a bit embarrassed.
​​​​​​My older brother, training at Cosford in 1961/62, told me about it first then when I myself was training at Lindholme in '73 I was told about it too seemingly confirming the story..
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Old 20th Nov 2022, 00:10
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The exercises were part of OP SKY SHIELD between 1960-62, with RAF Vulcans participating in OP SKY SHIELD II on 4 Oct 1961.

Of the 8 participating Vulcans, one 27 Sqn aircraft flying at 56000ft from Bermuda covered by the other 3 Vulcans providing jamming, successfully evaded the defending F-102 interceptors and tracked round to the north before landing at Plattsburg AFB New York.
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Old 20th Nov 2022, 00:24
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Here's Mark Felton's video, without the inane third-party commentary:

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Old 20th Nov 2022, 17:06
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Novel “ The Penetrators” by Hank Searls is very loosely based on the events in question.
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Old 20th Nov 2022, 18:53
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I bought a copy of The Penetrators. Complete and utter garbage!
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Old 20th Nov 2022, 19:13
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There was another novel dating to about 1970ish whereby a BEA operated Trident (which flew faster than most other airliners at over 500 kt true) was 'shadowed' by a Buccaneer which could fly about the same speed on a flight from Heathrow to Moscow in order to deliver a 'message' direct to the Kremlin by simply breaking away from the Trident as it was coming in to land.
Years later, I found this was feasible when a Yak 42 inbound to Farnborough for the airshow, when I asked for number of persons on board, replied '12 on the big aircraft and 2 on the little one'.
Apparently a Sokol Yastreb (which had been flight planned but for which no 'departure' message was sent) had taken off in formation with the Yak and unbeknown to en-route ATC had flown all the way from eastern europe tucked away underneath; it was only when the tower controller at Farnborough got both aircraft visual that this was confirmed; certainly I could only detect one 'blip' on radar.
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Old 20th Nov 2022, 21:27
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Thank you all. I had imagined it must be egg on the faces of the RAF; maybe a secret Vulcan had been intercepted by a flock of Pawnees.
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Old 21st Nov 2022, 10:25
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I remember a Vulcan "incident" in the USA when I was on Britannias at Lyneham in the 1970's. A Brit had flown out with Vulcan groundcrew/spares and equipment to support a bombing detachment in the southern USA. On the way back the almost empty Brit received a message that a pressurisation test machine had been found to be broken and there could be loose mercury in the Brit. The Flight Engineer made a check and found loose mercury in the floor rails and seat mounting holes. They diverted to Montreal and called Upavon for help. I was called out from standby and flew an empty Brit to Montreal together with a couple of technicians. The other crew then flew our aircraft back home and we stayed to fix the mercury problem. The next day we all went down to Montreal market, bought several containers of flowers of sulphur and a big pack of glass pipettes then headed for the aircraft. Using the whole crew with the two technicians we managed to remove almost all the mercury. Upavon suggested we wore oxygen masks for the return flight, but that would prove difficult, so we set off for Lyneham, minus masks, three days after our arrival in Montreal. It turned out to be a very expensive breakage of glass!

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Old 21st Nov 2022, 10:59
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Every day's a school day!


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Old 4th Dec 2022, 16:08
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An interesting video of the effect of mercury on aluminium:

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Old 5th Dec 2022, 09:25
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flowers of sulphur
In the late 70s, before I saw the light and joined the RAF, I was a Physics teacher in Yorkshire. When away from the school on a course, my laboratory/classroom was used by a non-scientist.
One of his unruly pupils knocked over my Boyles Law apparatus, smashing it and sending mercury all over the floor. They panicked, got everyone out and closed the windows and locked the door.
​​​​​​​It took 2 weeks for the environmental cleaners to declare the room safe! If they had merely opened all the windows and doors and sprinkled sulphur it could all have been over in a day or so!!
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Old 8th Dec 2022, 11:30
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We used to play with it at school pushing it around on the desk!

On the Chinooks on air tests we needed an accurate reading of the outside temp at various altitudes when carrying out adjustments, this was done by calling up and getting the figures from the Odi station met office. After one flight the figures varied wildly, so the staish met man was asked where his figures came from and it turned out it was from wherever a weather balloon had been launched, in this case it was Liverpool!
As that was no good, a pole with a thermometer strapped to it was devised to take an outside temp reading... all went swimmingly until they dropped it in the cab smashing the thermometer, the floor and structure all had to be pulled out and cleaned to remove it all, it was down for a considerable amount of time and it was a brand new Chinook.

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