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The Handley Page Victor.

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The Handley Page Victor.

Old 25th Mar 2004, 18:44
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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If you really got to 630 or above and had a rapid decomp, you would have been in big trouble, methinks. Unless you were wearing a full pressure suit.
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Old 25th Mar 2004, 21:19
  #22 (permalink)  
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keithl

Spot on - thanks
 
Old 25th Mar 2004, 23:04
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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I remember from the early F4 days that it required the partial pressure suit plus the Taylor helmet to get the AEA cleared to 65,000ft - any alternative fit in those days would have been the pressure jerkin, anti-G suit and Taylor helmet but the rate of descent after decompression would have to have been quite brisk to survive.
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Old 26th Mar 2004, 09:30
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Compared with the Vulcan, the Victor was made far too complicated. Systems worked in a mysterious way on the B1, largely because Fred's Shed tried too hard. The B1 engine intake was a classic. Who nowadays would put engines behind 52 degrees of sweep? You had to roll forward 1,000ft before any serious thrust kicked in.

I liken the Victor to a Rolls Royce - stately facia and gentleman's control column. But nothing could beat it for high level performance. It is interesting how Avro started with a straight delta leading edge and turned it into a crescent. And the Victor 2's performance was easily underestimated. 543 lost a Victor 2 over Warboys because DH, the pilot, ran in at well over max speed while pulling way over max 'g'. Most other aircraft would not have even let him get so much adrift. DH was notorious for having left his brain behind on the Meteor. His rear crew knew he was lethal and they went to the boss to ask not to fly with him, but the boss at the time was a Nav and he didn't feel up to siding against his senior pilot.

Later on, we lost another at Wyton with all my former crew on because the captain tried an asymmetric overshoot too low and discoverd the hard way that two Conways at idle don't deliver max power at anything like the same rate as two 20,000 lb engines already warm.

When I joined my first Victor crew, I brought the average age down to 45. The captain used to wake up on detachment with nightmares about being chased by Me109s over the desert, and the AEO - the loveable 'Zoom' Summerson - had been shot down in Fairey Battles in 1940. Those were the days!
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Old 27th Mar 2004, 08:12
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Hi Noas Zark.
If you would like to e-mail me I will send you a photo of a passing out day flypast that we did at RAF Swinderby on the 3rd Dec 1970. The reviewing officer was Group Capt. John Smith who was station commander of our base at Marham.
The photo is a bit of a fraud, it is two pictures joined together by the Swinderby photographer.
The reason was that they wanted a photo of John Smith saluting on the reviewing platform with his hat on.
Unfortunately we were a little low as we flew over and blew it off!!
Brgds,
Old fart.

Last edited by old fart; 27th Mar 2004 at 15:31.
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Old 27th Mar 2004, 11:42
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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FOAM BLANKET

On an ATC summer camp many years ago at Manston, I spent a day with the Fire Section. In those days, Manston was one of the 2 MEDAs, had a huge runway and could lay a foam blanket that was supposed to be useful for putting down an ac without undercarriage. Not sure how useful the blanket was; I don't think they are currently in favour.

Back to the thread, the thing that sticks in my mind was that they had Boards all over the walls commemorating crashes at the Unit. A bit like the list of stn cdrs you see on the wall at Handbrake House, but these were huge and all round the walls with dates. I seem to remember they went something like:

Victor
Victor
Vampire
Victor
Victor
Vampire
Victor
Vulcan
Victor
Victor
Victor
Vampire
Vampire
Vampire
Victor
Victor
Victor
Victor
Vulcan
Victor
Victor
Victor

I remember thinking the people flying them must have been hugely optimistic or brave if these boards were indicative of the reliability of the aircraft listed. Manston also had a huge 'ac graveyard' with all sorts for us to clamber around. If it's still there, I don't suppose cadets are allowed anywhere near.
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Old 27th Mar 2004, 14:25
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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543 Victor Landing Accident - April 1973

Flatiron

Later on, we lost another at Wyton with all my former crew on because the captain tried an asymmetric overshoot too low and discoverd the hard way that two Conways at idle don't deliver max power at anything like the same rate as two 20,000 lb engines already warm.
You might be able to help me with a bit of info regarding one of the crew. Please see your PMs

Rgds
YS
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Old 27th Mar 2004, 15:39
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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A quick count of the production list in Andrew Brooke's excellent book on the Victor, it appears that 17 of the 84 built met an untimely end. Not a sparkling safety record, but not outrageous compared with other military jets of the period. Allthough it was a big jet, it's not of the same genre as a passenger aircraft such as the VC10 and should not be compared with such.
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Old 27th Mar 2004, 19:38
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Could some of those listed on the Manston boards have been returned to service? Perhaps the list included emergency/precautionary landings?

STH
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Old 28th Mar 2004, 14:19
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Of the 17 lost I can account for 7. One at Wittering in the B2 era, I know Benny Jackson was the co-pilot, one at Akrotiri due, I believe, to flap selector problems, two at Wyton, the overstress fly by and the double asymmetric, one during a refuelling exercise out of Marham when its tail was hit by a Buccaneer, another at Marham at T/O when a turbine shattered and the aircraft (232) caught fire and the land short at Hamilton, Canada.

STH. I agree I think most of the Manston incidents were not crashes but bogey tipple hook faults (main undercarriage wheel rotation locks) which required a precautionary foam landing.
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Old 28th Mar 2004, 17:45
  #31 (permalink)  
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There was a mid-air over the Wash/North Norfolk about 1968. Canberra out of Holbeach hit a Victor out of Marham, I thinK.

Weather was 100% dog sh1t and ATC radar was totally maxed out with weather. I was the Duty Controller at Waddo, which meant that I was in my pit listening to the Light programme and a colleague, as duty ops officer was in Ops.

BBC reported reports of a huge explosiong over north Norfolk and speculated that an aircraft had crashed. I called ops but none of our aircraft were supposed to be in the vicinity. Plenty of hole borers but none due to be near East Anglia.

I rang Group who quickly confirmed with the other 1Gp stations. AOK then they checked with 3Gp and the bad news began.
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Old 28th Mar 2004, 22:45
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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I was duty pilot in the tower at Cottesmore on the night the Bucc and Victor collided. I had a LOT of Canberras airborne, playing against Boulmer, when the word came through that SAROPS was on for a mid-air in the North Sea. You can imagine what went through my mind...

I called Boulmer allocator and he was not going to tell me who was involved. Only after I pleaded with him did he confirm that no Canberra was involved. About ten seconds after I finished the call, the Staish and OC Ops appeared telling me to find out who was involved. I told him of my phone call but he called the Boulmer allocator himself. Bless him, the man at the other end refused point blank to give the Staish anything more than he gave me - despite the Staish trying to pull rank. Staish stormed out in a fury, but OC Ops stayed for the rest of the evening.

It wasn't until the next day that we learned the awful truth...
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Old 29th Mar 2004, 09:20
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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The Victor B2 accident that Benny Jackson walked away from was caused by the captain shutting down the wrong engine after a fire light on take-off, and then getting so immersed that he misread the altimeter. Reading 140kts as 240kts was easy to do under pressure, and if he thought he had a structural failure the juddering would only convince him that he was right. Eventually the Victor flicked over to the left, even though three engines were working perfectly. The Hamilton accident was similarly due to pilot error.

Kind mention has been made of the number of Victor loses recorded in my 'Handley Page Victor' book. I think analysis will show that the Victor was much more sinned against that sinning.

Yellow Sun. No PM received. Please transmit again.
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Old 29th Mar 2004, 13:16
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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The 17 accidents from Andrew Brooke's book are as follows:

WB771: Prototype - crashed at Cranfield when the tail came off during low level position error checks 14 Jul 53.

XA917. Developement airframe with A&AEE. Crash landed at Radlett Jan 64. This was the first (and only official!) Victor to fly supersonic and the nose section later became the Crew Drill Trainer at Marham.

XA919: Developement airframe with A&AEE. Relegated to ground instructional duties after a flying accident on 3 Sep 59. this could be the Victor who had the Blue danube fly back into the bomb bay during drop trials causing major damage.

XA929: Accident on take off from Akrotiri 16 Jun 62.

XA934: Engine failure near Gaydon 2 Oct 62.

XH613: 4 engine flame out on approach to Cottesmore 14 Jun 62.

XH617: Damage caused by generator drive shaft failure 19 Jul 60.

XH618: Collision with Buccaneer during AAR 24 Mar 75.

XH646: Collision with Canberra over Norfolk 19 Aug 68.

XH668: B2 prototype. Crashed after unscheduled deployment of leading edge flaps over St Bride's bay during testing 20 Aug 59.

XL159: Stalled near Newark 13 Mar 63.

XL191: Crashed on approach Hamilton, Ontario 19 Jun 86.

XL230: Lost control during roller landing at Wyton 10 Mar 73.

XL232: Uncontained Turbine failure on take off at Marham 15 Oct 82.

XL513: Crashed after rejected take off from Marham 28 Sep 76.

XM714: Stalled after take off from Wittereing 20 Mar 63.

XM716: Crashed at Warboys 29 Jun 66.

Last edited by Dan Winterland; 29th Mar 2004 at 13:29.
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Old 30th Mar 2004, 20:59
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Having had control over a few, and also produced a definitive paper on the subject way back, I can confirm that foamed runways provided a largely psychological boost rather than any practical value. There was never any evidence produced that foaming or not foaming made any difference whatsoever, and the USAF once produced a study which confirmed that fact.

It could also only be completed at those airfields that were provided with the purpose built equipment which was towed down the runway. If all you had was your standard crash/fire vehicles, it wasn't really practicable because they were designed to produce a lot of foam in a hurry, but not over any length of time, and replenishment between discharge meant that the foam path would take too long to lay and would be breaking down at the start point before you finished it. Those vehicles also could not produce foam while moving, [always a huge disadvantage], so they would have to be towed by another vehicle. Meanwhile, there would be the problem of the aircraft itself having to circle for an additional hour or so...

XA 929 and XH163 were both Cottesmore based at the time they were lost, in the same week.
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Old 2nd Apr 2004, 09:49
  #36 (permalink)  

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Exclamation Seat Change

Well Pontious Navigator, after due reflection I have decided to reply to your post about the "Borex incident."

Firstly some background - the Tanker Squadrons at Marham had just received the K1a 3 point tanker - which opened the possibility of Victor to Victor refuelling. The powers that were, as soon as we were all trained up on receiving, scheduled horrendous trips of 11 plus hours with two max load transfers and time to do all the navex's that you wanted. 14 hours, by the way was the limit, because the K1a had no oil qty guage and at worst predicted consumption you could have an engine at minimum oil qty. I am sure that even longer ball-breakers would have been planned were it not for that...

As FO, or Copilot as we were then called, I rode jump seat on many a max load training session to check the fuel balance - as the right hand seat had an instructor in it and the left, the Captain under training. On these trips it was commonplace for the various crew members to try out someone else's seat - indeed on one of them, our senior Captain and instructor coached his AEO round a couple of visual circuits, while I worked the AEO panel and read the checklist.

This was of course completely against all rules but was the state of play as I went through my copilot career. It was not a good example to the new boys, though it encouraged understanding of the other crew positions.

Now Pontious let's compare stories! The date was Aug 13 1970, the base Marham, the sortie not a Borex, which were not performed from Marham (no jammers) but a max load transfer / max endurance trip and the ship was XH588. Following the first fuel transfer, the Copilot went for the pee tube and the plotter sat next to the Captain for five minutes. After the Copilot was back, he took control and the Captain, who had backache, went back. The Nav radar sat in the Captain's seat. Each time the pins were put in. The seats were not live. On the K1a it was neccessary to change oxygen hose adaptors to make these moves and this also was done. The Captain had a sandwich at the Radar's table. About half way through the sandwich the Radar, who was a tall lad, asked the Copilot on intercom how to lower the seat. The Co replied that there was a handle like a car handbrake lever which first had to be squeezed.

This was true but on the left of the seat was another handle - also like a type of car brake lever in use in those days - and this was the hatch jettison lever. This lever was supposed to be striped yellow and black but actually had little yellow on it. Before anyone could intervene there was a loud bang and strong smell of explosive exhaust in the cockpit. The hatch, which had, as it transpired, not been designed to blow with a pressurised cabin, stayed on. The aircraft did not depressurise.

Having got the by now white faced Radar back to his position and examined the damage (jacks partially torn from the structure - torque mechanism hadn't budged) the Captain returned to his seat. In order to reduce diff pressure on the hatch, he ordered a depressurisation and max rate descent. A Pan was declared and the ship returned to Marham, avoiding built up areas and landing there after 6hrs 55minutes.

There was no court martial. There were two courts of inquiry. The first one was for the Radar, who received an almighty chewing out by the AOC. The second was for the Captain, who was, however able to prove that he needed a longer break from the seat and put the Radar there to assist in lookout., while he was absent. He got a somewhat milder bollocking. This mildness was, in part due to an engine failure on takeoff and successful heavyweight circuit in the month following the incident (coincidentally also in XH588). The aircraft was repaired at unit level - thanks to some sterling work by the squadron engineers.

One important fact to emerge, was that because the hatch would not blow in the pressurised state, an unpremeditated ejection would also have been impossible - the hatch detachment being neccessary for initiating the timing mechanism. The drill for evacuation was in any case to depressurise and evacuate the rear crew before ejection.

If I seem to have intimate knowledge of this trip, believe me, I do! It is in my log book and the Captain is listed as Self. Not a trip I am proud of. It brought an end to the musical chair scenario at Marham and generally made crews a bit more serious. The flip comments about "don't know - pull it and find out" however, belong with some of the other details in Pontious'summary in the recycle bin.

FC.
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Old 2nd Apr 2004, 19:21
  #37 (permalink)  
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FC, thanks for telling it how is was. I was either in 1st division north at the time or on my way to NEAF. Oddly, to the modern air force, there was little interchange betwixt the Victor and Vulcan clans.

My recollection was obviuosly at fault given only the rumour cotrol at the time. Thanks again.
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Old 3rd Apr 2004, 07:49
  #38 (permalink)  

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Vulcan Victor contact

True enough Pontious - unless someone got transferred it was another world.

Until Paul Milliken got to 55sqn years later - but still flew the display Vulcan in his spare time...
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Old 3rd Apr 2004, 11:23
  #39 (permalink)  

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I have at last managed to mount an expedition to the far side of my loft, and unearthed a commercially produced video of the Victor, which I new I had, but had lost track of.
It is taken at Marham (at least, it shows the Marham village sign at the beginning!)
The vid. sets out to show each individual in a crew, their task, and where they are situated in the a/c. It then goes on to show a typical training sortie, tanking from another K2, and also refuelling some Harriers and Tornado.
It's not "blessed" by hideous background "music", but the soundtrack is the R/T between the crew, and the a/c and ground.
It features K2's of 55 Sq., and the aircraft which can be identified, on the ground, in the air, etc, are:-

XM715
XL161
XL164
XL190
There are three names, two of which I can have a guess at, as their name patches wee partially obscured, or w.h.y., and the third is clearly legible.
Of the first two, the only part I can read on one is the surname, Flynn.
The second, a pipe-smoking chap, is definitely Bill, and the surname looks to be something like SCRADO. Apologies of course, if I'm wrong.
The third, definite, is Tim Butler.
By the way, a comment in the dialogue tells me that this was circa 1993.
A comment, if I may. It looked naff for the guys in the back, working with the huge parachute strapped to their back all of the time. And finally a question. What were the two retractable air scoops on top of the fuselage in front of the fin for?
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Old 3rd Apr 2004, 13:28
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Not SCRADO, but Bill Scraggs, ex-Vulcan plotter (and a damn fine one at that!)

The 2 scoops refered to are the air intakes for the retractable RATs (or Ram Air Turbines), that produced power in the event of a total (or partial) loss of engine-driven electricity.
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