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Vulcan AEOs?

Old 13th Nov 2005, 16:36
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Vulcan AEOs?

Would it be accurate to equate the Vulcan AEO to a USAF EWO?

Studying up on the Vulcan for an article and want to understand most of what I'm reading.

BTW, only two 'bang seats' for the meat servos while the navs/AEOs had to jump from the hatch? Must have made for fun conversations.....
Old 13th Nov 2005, 16:49
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In addition to the EW gear, the AEO also controlled the electrical system, one of the radios and the HF set. He also read the checklists and could use an optical periscope to scan the lower surface of the aircraft's wing.

No rear seat bang seats was a scandal throughout the history of the V-force. Particularly in the Vulcan with undercarriage down as the noseleg was immediately behind the entrance hatch.
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Old 13th Nov 2005, 16:54
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So how did one cover that in emergency procedures briefings?
Old 13th Nov 2005, 17:16
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Regular training in the escape drill trainer.

'Emergency Procedures Briefings' were not given in the same long-winded manner you hear these days. he crew knew what to do. If the aircraft had to be abandoned, the captain would just order 'OUT, OUT!' or words to that effect and the rear crew would react instinctively. If the undercarriage was down and couldn't be raised in sufficient time, the navigators and AEO were supposed to grab the door jacks and twist round them to try to avoid the noseleg.

There was a film of a fit parachute training instructor doing it in a wind tunnel - he was only just able to avoid the noseleg. The average chubby aircrew person wouldn't have stood a chance.

We did all our visual circuit pattern work with the undercarriage down - it gave the rear crew an opportunity to whinge more than normal about pilot play time.
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Old 13th Nov 2005, 21:12
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The 3 rear crew had inflating seat cushions (air at 1200 psi) to help them move upwards from their seats

Why? I would think that in an emergency requiring an immediate egress, one wouldn't need an 'assist.' Did it really do much good in moving toward the hatch any faster?
Old 13th Nov 2005, 21:25
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They were.
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Old 13th Nov 2005, 21:54
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From the reference books, the air-assisted seats were a retro-fit. I guess my point was that in an emergency, the adrenaline would have provided a significant boost to trying to get out (if there was time.) In any case, my hat's off to those who flew the jet. As I discover more about it (see also the Vulcan to the Sky thread), I begin to realize just how much it took to fly/maintain the aircraft.
Old 13th Nov 2005, 21:56
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"They were" original, or "They were" a later modification BEags?

As I understood it, the assist cushions were there to assist the Navs/AEO to stand up in the event of high positive g loadings, for whatever reason, as opposed to simply save a few milliseconds when abandoning in more normal circumstances (if that makes any sense )

Agree completely about the scandalous lack of rear crew ejection seats, even more scandalous when you consider that the primary reason for rejection was cost, and that "The V force would only be around for a few more years" the mid 60's

Martin Baker test rig for V Force rear crew ejection system
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Old 14th Nov 2005, 00:39
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The 3 rear crew had inflating seat cushions (air at 1200 psi) to help them move upwards from their seats - the nav/radar & AEO seats swivelled to face the centre of the aircraft, the nav/plotter's was fixed.
Only in the B2s. In B1/B1A aircraft all three rear seats were fixed and there was no air-bag assistance.
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Old 14th Nov 2005, 12:11
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I have a really good book somewhere, that Mrs Standto has tidied up, which relates a couple of tales where the back office didn't get cleared in time.

Bit harrowing.
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Old 14th Nov 2005, 13:11
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Does anyone know how many times the three rear crew members successfully baled out from a Vulcan?
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Old 14th Nov 2005, 16:28
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Without checking full facts, there were a number of successful abandonments, including from Mk 1.

Five-out over Valley was a Mk 1. It also had a number of secret documents and a couple of filing cabinets on board too - well that it what was said to account for a number of missing inventory items.

Then another 5 in the east coast crash where they again had time to prepare.

One fatal, but ejectable, was the control restriction, due to a bombbay overheat, at Cottesmore. The aircraft was above normal landing weight so, in accordance with current thinking and advice from the tower, the captain burnt down to below 140 000 lbs. As the magic weight approached the control column defelection became excessive and the aircraft rolled in. The coplit banged out to tell the tale and the captain remained beyond the seat limits. He banged out and was arrested by some power cables. The rest was a hole in the ground.

The sequel to the east coast crash, same pilot, was a rather firm landing at Malta and a take-off to sort out the problem. On the recovery teh aircraft became uncontrollable and the pilots both departed. A couple of friends of mine also 'bought the farm.'

Several other crashes were controlled flight into the ground so the bang seats would not work.

We once tried a low-level simulated abandoment after a massive bird strike with undercarriage up. Impressive, we made 1 500 feet on flight idle before the speed decayed and we started a gentle descent. The real bastard was the loss of control.
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Old 14th Nov 2005, 17:55
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Inflating seat cushions? How did they work to get you out of the seat? How large were they? And would they not just trow you off balance?

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Old 14th Nov 2005, 18:12
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I believe Doddy Hay (MB 'test pilot'...well, test seat occupier) Trialed a live ejection from the rear of a Valiant (from about 3000' as I recall). Quite a good dit about it in his book 'Man in a Hot Seat'. It goes into a bit of the politics of the time ref V Force rear crew bang seats.
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Old 14th Nov 2005, 18:23
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As another mere co-pilot; not sure about the human servo jibe, I also tried the Nav Plotters and AEOs seat. The inflating cushions just tipped you up into a crouching position and were designed to assist in exiting the aircraft in high g situations.

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Old 14th Nov 2005, 18:33
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IIRC There was a successful crew abandonment near Spilsby in the early 80s as a consequence of an electrical (what else!) problem following a RAT drop. I am sure that someone will have the details.

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Old 14th Nov 2005, 19:34
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As another mere co-pilot; not sure about the human servo jibe

Meant good-naturedly....

"Meat servo" was a term a friend who is working on UCAVs introduced me to....
Old 14th Nov 2005, 19:37
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Cheers for that, I suppose it could be quite useful. A novel idea really.
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Old 14th Nov 2005, 20:04
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Yellow Sun: Broken Wings has an entry
17.1.77/Vulcan B2/XM600/101Sqd/near Spilsby, Lincs/Caught fire in air; abandoned.

The is no mention of any fatalities so presumably the crew survived.
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Old 14th Nov 2005, 20:42
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They did - but if I recall correctly, the abandonment by the rear crew wasn't exactly textbook..... The AEO got stuck and one of the brave navigators didn't stop to free him - or so I was told. But he then managed to free himself and escape.

I was told that this was a routine RAT/AAPP drill. When deployed, the RAT volts and freqs were well out of limits, but for some inexplicable reason the AEO connected it to to the synch bus bar regardless. Perhaps unsurprisingly, an electrical fire in the wing susbsequently developed and the a/c had to be abandoned.

Once the RAT was connected to the synch bus bar, it couldn't be subsequently disconnected in those days. But as a result of the accident, a RAT field isolation switch was fitted which would 'kill' the RAT output if it subsequently became erratic.

Around 22 years later I was on a VC10K2 ELRAT air test when the RAT volts and frequency became unstable on the approach and the voltage went off-scale high. Again, there was no way of isolating the blasted thing. A smell of smoke became apparent even though the smoke detector didn't operate; I threw the a/c on the ground, gave it full reverse and max braking and we subsequently buggered off sharpish. The reason for the failure was that the a/c had been in so-called 'storage' out in the open at St Athan and the ELRAT voltage regulator inside the a/c had become badly corroded. After that 'they' introduced much more stringent ELRAT checks throughout the fleet.

The same 'stored' aircraft had also caused us severe problems on the original air test 2 days earlier during a routine in flight shutdown when multiple bus tie breakers tripped - again due to corroded components. This gave us the doomsday no.1 & no.3 AC bus failure - no attitude instruments at all and a climbing cabin altitude amongst other annoyances. Fortunately only temporarily as we restarted the engine and recovered the system.

Such a good idea, storing a/c outside in the pi$$ing Welsh winter rain.... The no.1 voltage regulator had become corroded as had the ELRAT regulator - and the smoke detector was also found to be unserviceable...

But what a pity that the lessons learned from the Spilsby Vulcan accident weren't applied to other aircraft.

Last edited by BEagle; 14th Nov 2005 at 21:38.
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