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Harrier documentary on Discovery Turbo

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Harrier documentary on Discovery Turbo

Old 20th Jul 2007, 17:19
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Harrier documentary on Discovery Turbo

Afternoon all

Caught a little of this doc on Wednesday evening - one of the "Extreme Machines" series I think.

I have two questions:

1/ An American pilot, Jack Jackson (I think) was introduced as "the world's most experienced Harrier pilot" - is that right?

2/In the film of early testing etc, including Bill Bedford's air show prang from the hover, there was some extraordinary footage of an early mark out of control at low level with the pilot ejecting what appeared to be horizontally. Can anyone fill me in on this one?

Thanks in advance

Gareth
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Old 20th Jul 2007, 17:29
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I can't answer the first part, but I suspect the second was the accident in which XV743 crashed, the USAF pilot, Major C.R. Rosburg ejected horizontally, and was killed.

It entered an uncontrollable roll whilst in transition to the hover, and the ejection was outside the seat envelope.
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Old 20th Jul 2007, 17:31
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The second Harrier incident happened, I believe, at Wildenrath in about 1971-72. As far as I'm aware the pilot did indeed eject horizontally but went into some nearby trees and was killed.
I was living at Wildenrath at the time as a kid and recall the shock that the incident caused around the station, the Harrier was after all a new addition to the RAF's inventory at the time.
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Old 20th Jul 2007, 22:10
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Thanks for the info so far!
Gareth
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Old 21st Jul 2007, 07:12
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Harrier crash

Major Rosberg's fatal ejection from XV 743 was at Dunsfold, the film was taken by the then standard Flight Test operative who recorded most if not all flights at the time.

I believe the cause of the roll was intake drag momentum yaw, there was a programme to overcome this, or rather put systems on the aircraft which warned the pilot he was approaching this condition - much of the development & very risky flying involved being performed by a certain Mr J.Farley...
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Old 21st Jul 2007, 09:38
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Ahhhh, looks like I was wrong then. We had that peice of video on the Harrier Maint School back in the 80's and it was widely believed to have been the crash at Wildenrath. I stand corrected.
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Old 21st Jul 2007, 10:16
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Splitbrain, not necessarily wrong, it may unfortunately have been another crash.

In the one involving Major Chuck Rosberg at Dunsfold, which I do know Sky / Discovery etc got hold of somehow, he hit the ground, not any trees.

The late Neville Duke lived in a house actually on the airfield ( mentioned in N.Duke's 'Test Pilot' book ) - he & his wife rushed over & did what they could, and went with him in the ambulance, but he didn't make it.

Amazingly I did know a chap at the design office whose brother ejected out of a rolling Hawk, skidded along the ground and got away with it, albeit badly injured - a matter of a few degrees, obviously.
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Old 21st Jul 2007, 14:05
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D - would that be the "Wake Turbulence" hawk where the guys hit wake turbulence short finals, uncommanded roll and the front seater (iirc) pulled the handle, pinged along the ground and got away with it, whilst the back seater stayed in the jet as it scraped along the ground inverted and had his bonedome scraped away by the ground but also got away with it? Subsequently rescued by lifting the jet with a crane and having a couple of brave firemen get inside and get him out? (bravery mentioned due to the unknown state of the seat/mdc etc) Well worth a read, that accident report.
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Old 21st Jul 2007, 14:38
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Hawk moment

Yup, that's the one, at Bedford.

We had the aircraft back at Dunsfold, all the white part of the raspberry ripple livery was yellowed by the flash fire, which very thankfully didn't take hold...

As unpleasant experiences go, that ride for the guy who stayed in...Not that the ejectee is to be envied either !
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Old 31st Jul 2007, 10:15
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Just dug out "Harrier GR-3: From The Cockpit" (well, rescued it my from my folks loft) by Mike Shaw.

He mentions the story of one Cliff Middleton who ejected sideways when hovering in a wooded clearing in Germany and was deposited alive, sans parachute, in a muddy field.

Perhaps this could have been the one in the documentary? As opposed to the aforementioned fatal accident.

Cheers

Gareth
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Old 31st Jul 2007, 10:46
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Hi Gareth,

There were two horizontal ejections between 71 and 75 at Wildenwrath. Both at ground level. One into woods, the other along the runway.

There was another at height involving a 4 Squadron aircraft. Flap drive shaft sheared, uncontrollable roll, ejected, koch (sp?) fastener not connected to chute. Successful ejection but chute did not open.
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Old 31st Jul 2007, 12:02
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Thanks IM

I'm guessing the learning curve was somewhat steep in those early days in service!
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Old 31st Jul 2007, 14:52
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Gareth, wow, two names from my past. If they were contemporaries of each oter I went through training with them both - MS and CM.
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Old 31st Jul 2007, 15:37
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Mike Shaw mentions flying Hunters in the text - including an interesting sounding incident where a C-141 nearly landed on him as he prepared to take off from Bahrain!

It's a bit of a "where are they now" I guess but the two Harrier pilots featured are Tony Harper (who I seem to recall has been a Harrier man for many moons), Dave Robinson and also a mention for Ian Stewart.

They don't mean much to me but it's always nice to jog a few memories along the way!

PS just noticed that the book was published 19 years ago - scary!
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Old 31st Jul 2007, 16:49
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The Rosburg crash has appeared on TV a couple of times, and also in at least one video covering the Harrier
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Old 1st Aug 2007, 22:06
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Hi Gareth

The Rosburg crash was indeed caused by intake momentum drag, which also claimed several other victims and sundry near misses in the early days. The great saviour was a simple windvane which stood on a little pole just infront of the cockpit. If you started running out of aileron authority it was time to put in a boot of rudder and formate on the windvane. We later got some rudder pedal shakers and later some auto-stabilisers but nothing was as good as the old windvane. Mind you that was in the days when we were able to fly the jet without the hindrance of a two-seater or a flight simulator!

PS Thanks for digging out my book! Lots of history on this thread, not just in the lst 19 years since I wrote it, but in the 38 years(!) since I first flew it...

Best wishes all

MS
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Old 2nd Aug 2007, 09:48
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Hi Mike

Great to hear from the author himself.

I don't recall there being many books written on this basis and it must have taken a lot of work. For a wannbe like me in those days it really was a great read - and still is if I may say so.

Don't those GR-3s look strange now compared to the Harriers we see today - almost a completely different aircraft.

Can you tell us any more about the C-141 incident?

Thanks

Gareth
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Old 2nd Aug 2007, 20:33
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Gareth

Thanks for your kind words. The book was easy and fun to write as it took me back to No 1 Sqn for a few days. Tony Harper and Dave Robbo helpe me to concoct the ficticious sortie that was the theme of the book. Tony had been a student of mine at Brawdy in about 76, and had previously helped me on the re-write of the 1 Sqn history in '83 following the Squadron's return from Op Corporate. Did you get to read that?

The C-141 returns to me through the mists of time, just as it appeared that morning through the mist of a Bahreini heat-haze. I was lining up with a 4-ship of 208 Sqn Hunters with the likes of Whitney Griffiths, Stefan Karwowski aand Bob Partridge when this huge aloominum overcast blotted out the sun. I can't remember whether he overshot because he saw us lining up, or because of the red very pistols, or because he'd suddenly realised he was not landing at Dhahran (20 miles away acros the water, but in a parallel universe known as Saudi Arabia). Actually, it was a rather minor and un-memorable incident in a wonderful first Hunter tour. But that's another story.....

Wader2, you trained with me?...gizza clue?

MS
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Old 2nd Aug 2007, 20:39
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Hi Invisible Man..

Re: Wildenrath ejections. Sadly I remember all three all too well, and lost two good friends in the last two events you mention (among the 6 men and about 12 Harriers we lost during that tour).

Were you there?

MS
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Old 3rd Aug 2007, 13:29
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Mike........

I haven't read that one - is it still available? I am currently in the middle of David Morgan's "Hostile Skies" which I am enjoying very much - interesting to compare to Sharkey Wards account! You got great access for the book - I wonder whether anything similar would / could be done today?

I was also interested to see some photos from Wittering recently including Messrs Harper, Morgan and Pook to commemorate the Falklands 25th. Tony Harper is still on Harriers it would appear - that is some career!

The Starlifter story is great and I'm sure you've got plenty more!
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