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Jock Bryce 1921-2014 RIP

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Jock Bryce 1921-2014 RIP

Old 9th May 2014, 11:48
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Jock Bryce 1921-2014 RIP

Just heard that Jock Bryce passed away a few days ago. Another one of the greats that has taken his final flight in the last few days.

Gabe 'Jock' Bryce OBE 1921-2014

Gabe Bryce was born in 1921 in Glasgow and joined the RAF as a Direct Entry Sergeant in 1939 and trained to fly at Prestwick. In 1940 he was posted to Special Duty Flight 10 Group flying Blenheims from Leuchars, Wick and Christchurch. In 1942 he was posted to 172 Chivenor flying Wellingtons hunting U-boats over the Atlantic.
He was then commissioned and posted to 45 Group on the North Atlantic Ferry Force. In 1945 he was posted to the Douglas Conversion unit and then went with 232 Squadron for duty in South East Asia Command to initiate long-range transport capability for Tiger Force. In 1946 he returned to the UK and was posted to the King's Flight RAF Benson flying the Viking. Later that year he was demobilised from the RAF.

In 1947 he joined Vickers Armstrong Aircraft at Brooklands and Wisley as a test pilot under Mutt Summers and became Chief Test Pilot upon the retirement of Summers. During his flying career with Vickers, Jock was either Captain or Co-pilot for the first flight of eleven prototypes, the Varsity, the jet powered Nene Viking, the Viscounts 630, 700 and 800, the jet powered Tay Viscount, the Valiant, Pathfinder Valiant B2, Vanguard, VC10 and BAC One-Eleven.
The prototype Valiant was lost as a result of a severe fuel fire in the wing trailing edge and the crew had to bail out. The three observers in the rear did not have ejection seats and struggled to leave the aircraft, however all survived. Jock's co-pilot, from the RAF, ejected first, however he struck the fin and was killed. Jock did eject successfully and Martin Baker record this event as only their eleventh successful ejection. Jock's experience was used by Sir James Martin to improve the performance of subsequent seats.
It is now (July 2012) 50 years since Jock flew the prototype VC10 out of the very short (4000ft) runway at Brooklands over to the BAC test airfield at Wisley.
When Jock retired from flying in 1965 he was appointed Sales Director (Operations) at Weybridge and then he completed his career until retirement in 1975 as the Vice President (Corporate Aircraft Sales) at the Washington DC office of British Aircraft Corporation. During this period the BAC One-Eleven was adopted as a corporate transport by several large US Corporations, such as Tenneco and Ford Motor Company.
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Old 9th May 2014, 20:17
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Very sad news indeed. I never met him but an ex-colleague of mine from Heathrow visited Jock a couple of years ago and said he was the most incredibly down-to-earth person he had ever met. RIP Jock +
Old 10th May 2014, 19:26
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Sad news. I've got an article on my site in which he wrote about the first flight of the VC10 prototype: G-ARTA's first flight
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Old 10th May 2014, 22:42
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A gentleman I never met, but another one of my aviation heroes who did lots of special stuff.
R.I.P. Jock.
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Old 11th May 2014, 21:27
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I've got an article on my site in which he wrote about the first flight of the VC10 prototype: G-ARTA's first flight
I enjoyed reading that. Thanks.
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Old 13th May 2014, 17:44
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No disrespect to Jock, but he wasn't so much demobilised from the Air Force, as court-marshalled and found guilty of crashing a Royal Flight D.H Domini after running out of fuel.

In his word's - "The case against me, put in simple terms, was that I had failed to take on an adequate fuel supply and that as a result of my own carelessness I had run out of petrol.

This to me sounded ridiculous. The tanks had been full when I left Benson. I had done four hours flying, plus a few minutes taxiing. The planes endurance was 5 and a half hours. It wasn’t possible that I could have run out of fuel. In any case the gauges were reading a total of 16 gallons when the engines cut on me.

Part of my defence would be a letter from the de Havilland engine company to say that even if I had flown the airplane at full throttle I couldn’t have run the tanks dry in four hours. This would dispose of the gravamen of the charge against me. But meanwhile, I was removed from the King’s Flight and sent to Northwood, in Middlesex, to face my court martial.....

....I heard evidence given that the tanks had been filled before we left Benson. I knew this was true – I had checked the gauges myself. Then it was my turn. The Form 700 was produced, the form that authorised the flight, with my signature on it, and I confirmed I had taken on a full load of fuel at Benson.
“Did you dip the tanks?”

No, Sir.”

“How did you know the tanks were full?”

I pressed the Gauges.”

“Yes, but the Pilot’s Notes General say you also have to dip the tanks.”

He was dead right, of course, but I’d never dipped a fuel tank in my life, and I didn’t know anyone who had. The gauges had always been good enough for me. But they weren’t good enough for the court. On, what seem to me, a miserable sort of technicality, I was found guilty on all counts......

......Had I stayed in the Air Force no doubt I should have got over it, but while I was waiting my court martial I had a telephone call which was to change my whole life. It was from a man named Mutt Summers.

“Come down and see me.”

I was under open arrest at Benson, but a borrowed a car and slipped down to Wisley to see the great man. I had met him once or twice before when I collected Viking aircraft from Wisley for the King’s Flight. He told me to sit down, and gave me a cigarette.....

“I hear you are in trouble with ‘Mouse’ Fielden?”

“Yes, I certainly am. I’m just about to be court-martialled. I’ve broken one of his airplanes – under very silly circumstances too.”

“How would you like to be a test pilot?”

“I’d love to be a test pilot – but I wouldn’t know the first thing about it.”

“I’d like you to come here and join Vickers.

I could see that there was a misunderstanding somewhere
“Look Captain Summers.” I said, “I think you’ve missed the point here four weeks ago I flattened an airplane in Oxfordshire: I’m jolly lucky to have survived it, and everyone is saying it was my fault.”

“Yes,” he said, “I know about that. But you did a good job at getting it down without killing yourself and your crew. Anyway the offer’s firm. Do you want to be a Vickers test pilot or not?” He mentioned a salary which was four times what I was getting in the Air Force

“Give me a few days to think about it.”

Immediately after the court martial, when one might have imagined that I was in disgrace, I was sent back to Benson and told to fly the Queen’s plane to Cape Town with 28 ground crew. From the Service’s point of view I was still one of the four or five best Viking pilots’ they had, and they were prepared to make use of me. I actually flew the Viking to Cape Town under orders, in 62 hours elapsed time, which was then a record. But in the circumstances I resented being made use of in this way and my decision to resign and join Vickers had been made when I went.

It was a good many years before I was able to think logically about the loss of the Domini and my subsequent court martial, but in time I came to accept that I must have been to blame. The Domini was easy to fly, but I knew little about its fuel system, and no doubt the gauges in that particular aircraft tended to over-read.

Last edited by etsd0001; 15th May 2014 at 09:32.
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