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XW231 and XW222 - Whats the story?

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XW231 and XW222 - Whats the story?

Old 28th Sep 2007, 16:54
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XW231 and XW222 - Whats the story?

Just had an interesting tour around Eurocopters deep maintenance/accident repair hangar at Marignane. Tucked away in a corner and covered in dust are Puma's XW231 and XW222, both with identical damage. Big hole in the underside below the pilots feet, various external fittings ripped from stbd side and deep skin scratches on stbd side.
There was nobody in the hangar who could tell us what had caused the damage or what was going to happen to them. General consensus amongst the visitors was that it looked like transportation damage.
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Old 28th Sep 2007, 20:09
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Old 28th Sep 2007, 20:16
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Not so Low Loader and low bridge.
But donít quote me!!
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Old 28th Sep 2007, 22:16
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Ahhh... XW231... Recognized that the moment I saw it. I remember her well... So much so I checked my logbook.... I first flew her on May 14th 1985 abseiling chaps out the back with a FO Stubbs, (don't recall the chap). I last flew her on the 11th February 1988 on BSE with an ex AAC pilot Flt Lt Dave R*****L.

I don't have XW222 in my log book so I'm guessing it was a 230 Sqn kite back then...
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Old 28th Sep 2007, 22:29
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Surely you can't get 2 Puma on one low loader. Or did the same fwit driver take the same route twice?
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Old 29th Sep 2007, 03:57
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Good old 'ttttrrrrrembbbbbllllllllling ttttttttwo'. I was on 33 but 230 took delivery of XW 222. When it arrived it had a peculiar vibration that gave it it's name. These were before the days of Chadwick and suchlike and they could never find the reason. It used to have to fly around on 14 degrees pitch to make it bearable. The boss wanted the aircraft declared a rogue and be sent off to fester in an MU but those days had gone. It fell out of the conversations eventually so I suppose they sorted out something.
I haven't got my log books with me but I think I picked up 231 from the factory. Westlands had lots of forms to fill in and after that I saw a Stationary Office lined book that appeared to be a temporary F700. The first entry was for 0:05 mins.. 'Severe vibration in Hover.' / 'Main rotors, MRG .and tail rotor transmission changed'. It had a further 3 hours and then I flew it to an MU where it was Xmas treed for spares. It came on to 33 later when we had bent a few.
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Old 29th Sep 2007, 10:13
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So, we are banjaxed for anything with a fan on the roof and there are two (OK, rather bent) Pumas festering in France - when are they gonna be fixed then?
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Old 29th Sep 2007, 13:44
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First of the Mk IIs?
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Old 29th Sep 2007, 15:02
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They could probably make an NH90 between them, and be usefull.

SF NH90 with lots of toys aboard

..& take a lesson from the French in New Caledonia, a fixed forward facing cannon tends to make people keep their heads down.
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Old 1st Oct 2007, 03:20
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SJW could be right. Once they get the go ahead they will bin the fuselages, start again with a new 332 blank with the stronger top deck, replace all the dynamic components and charge Aunty Betty the same as a new 332 plus the cost of environmentally disposing of the knackered, time expired components.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 1st Oct 2007 at 05:20.
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 16:34
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I last flew XW222 in September 1983, from Gutersloh, with the late George Blackie.

Now, by a strange twist of fate and coincidence, I've just bought part of her, although it was removed at RNAY Fleetlands in February 1995.

So what's happened to the rest of old "Trembling Two" - anyone know?
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 20:25
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I've discovered that XW222 was "alive and well" last summer. I've found some online photos of her taking part in the 2012 Olympics security operation.
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 21:53
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Back in the days of an Air Force that could repair itself - Units called "MU's" used to repair Puma Nose Gear Box Structures without any issues. When on 431 MU at Bruggen we repaired two Harrier GR3's (One CAT 4 the other CAT 5) and at least one CAT 4 Puma.

I know that there is a small unit now that does some repairs - but I am not sure of its real repair capability. I have even heard recent talk of the RAF team being ingraciously replaced for a more capable civil team.

What does the mention of any registration mark spark so many Logbook hunts? Are there really so many spotters out there?
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Old 5th Jan 2013, 09:40
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Repair capability

Another example Rigga, albeit at what was at the time the naval equivalent of an MU - DARA Fleetlands

MoD admit RAF Chinook was made by fusing two old helicopters together | The Sun |News|Campaigns|Our Boys

Though The Sun did overdramatise somewhat
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Old 5th Jan 2013, 10:35
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Not new. One of the Belvederes was a ringer.
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Old 5th Jan 2013, 13:11
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Wasn't the 'half' fitted to ZA704 the rear pylon and some ancillaries from ZH257?

Given The Sun's previous I'm surprised the article wasn't title 'Bodgecha' or some such twaddle.
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Old 5th Jan 2013, 16:42
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I believe that following an accident, one of the Puma's on 33 had the tailboom from an Argie puma that was brought back from the Falklands. Then they decided to use the Argie fuselage to make up for an attrition loss by demodding the Argie fuselage and had to buy a new tailboom, then mod it to RAF standard and it was still flying around 10 years ago. So there are plenty of cut and shuts. However, having flown on some of them, you would never know.
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Old 6th Jan 2013, 14:30
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Rigga, 431 MU would never have repaired CAT 4 or CAT 5 aircraft, CAT 4 was manufacturer repair using production / special jigs by CWP or back at their plant and CAT 5 = beyond economical repair/ totally fooked.. CAT 3 was the level they worked to, same as RSS did in the UK (bar all choppers that was the preserve of MARTSU then DARA Fleetlands). RSS did all the CAT 3's on the navy fixed wing fleet mind.

RSS still exists in some form based at St Athan... Been there 21 years in June (I escaped to Colt when it moved from Abo.) Any repairs to RAF fixed wing that is catorgorised beyond CAT 2 used to go through them for further assessment or repair (any repair over 250 hours to do was the old trigger) although I'm no longer in the loop if BAE have taken this over within their maintenance contracts for CAT 3 work during maintenance, as rumoured when I was leaving.. But you know more about that than I do!
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Old 6th Jan 2013, 15:29
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Anyone remember MARTSU, mostly navy types that used to frequent Odious doing major repairs....

Cannot understand why the services are looking at farming it out, you will probably find a lot of civilians that would make up the team would be ex Services who would have a lot more experience than the average serviceman in the field, it's not rocket science and you could soon bring service personnel up to speed on such repairs by farming them out on loan, they would then be able to form a nucleus such of a team.
The services these days seems to have lost a lot of the skill base they once had with farming everything out to the civilian world, much to the degradation of the core structure.

Last edited by NutLoose; 6th Jan 2013 at 15:31.
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Old 6th Jan 2013, 16:05
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Yes Albert - I do indeed know what the categories are. The categories were as I stated and I do know what I helped repair.
The Harriers were both jobs that BAe turned down but "we" at 431 replaced both undercarriage mounting Beams and an integral water tank after a maintenance overpressurisation. The jobs took several years to complete.(mainly waiting for BAe to complete there tasks)

The Puma rolled over on the side of the river in Hameln and side skins, the Nose-Gear Box Structure and the Tail needed significant repairs. Giggest job was re-jigging the Barbeque Plate on the cabs roof inside the MU MT Hangar.

MARTSU (MASU) did not deploy to NW Europe which was the sole reserve of 431MU
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