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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Old 23rd Jun 2013, 18:00
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The VC10 used to have the front hold fitted out in black drapes, I remember when the Dutchess of Windsor was dying a Ten was prepped and VIP readied. I seem to remember she recovered slightly, so the jet was released back into service and then later another was prepped later which brought her back. If I remember rightly, it was left prepped for quiet a while to await her demise in the end.

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Old 23rd Jun 2013, 20:02
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Just for interest,

The, black curtain fit, on the Herk (C130, Fat Albert) was called the HAZE fit. Despite many years of service on the fleet I have no idea what HAZE stood for. Danny, were it not so serious a problem, your experiences accompanying a fallen comrade home seem straight out of a "pseudo horror comedy movie". I can not even begin to imagine the emotions you went through. I can though salute the fact that you stuck to your duty and did not let the service or the family down. As for New Street, I come from not too far away, and I agree, never a welcoming station, preferred, Tamworth.

Smudge

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Old 23rd Jun 2013, 20:35
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Operation HAZE

The Herc in the HAZE fit was required either as a back up for the VC10 or to go to collect from a place to which the VC10 could not go. Operation HAZE was the name and there was a contingency plan to cover certain events. We re-wrote the plan and Op order that went with it in the late 80s to include the use of a 146 in certain circumstances. I think then there was new name for the Op but I cannot remember what it was.

Last edited by Xercules; 23rd Jun 2013 at 20:37. Reason: factual correction
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Old 23rd Jun 2013, 21:19
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Xercules,

Thanks for that, I have to say that as a GE, explaining acronyms to me was not a priority for the crews I flew with. I do remember doing a very unusual repatriation during Op Northern Watch (I believe). I was tasked with an SF crew and an RAF police SOCCO to repatriate the remains of three journalists who had been murdered by their Turkish guides in northern Iraq (I believe they were contracted to The Times, 2 men and a woman ISTR).

We proceeded to Akrotiri and waited for a couple of days, until the Royal Marines had captured the ground where the bodies had been located. We flew, low level all the way to Sirsinq, and with the greatest respect to him, our Captain (Max B) landed with only a couple of yards either way to spare. The runway had not been fully de mined and the "safe" area was just 2 meters either side of a C130 MLG Track, indicated by a line of dayglo flags.

On landing we were told that the area had been secured, and, we could use that Land Rover over there! We hopped in,all of us, SOCCO drove and off to the hills we went. I do not wish to dwell on details, suffice to say that recovery of the remains was not "run of the mill" for a forty plus year old GE. We returned to the aircraft and placed the remains in lead lined caskets. Our orders were to return the remains direct to BZN, something to do with the Oxford Coroner.

Unfortunately, Albert couldn't make BZN direct due to our low level infil/exfil from Turkey, possibly some sort of political denial on their behalf, we never made radio contact with any Turkish controller throughout the flight, in or out, although to this day I can not understand that. So we went back to Akronelli, refuelled and then went direct to Brize. Arriving at 0130 hrs seemed to surprise both the movements people and VASF at Brize, but the undertakers were there. So we unloaded the coffins as a crew, handed them to the undertakers, and then did a quick 15 minutes back to Lyneham.

Probably, like many C130 people, I've seen my share of repatriation flights, but that was definitely something different. Whilst I was never subject to the crew duty day restriction as a GE, on that day the aircrew operated for more than 20 hours continuous, no one even flinched when told we had to recover the remains, and we all remarked at how VASF and a Houchin at Brize might have made life a little more respectful for the relatives than our GTC. Sorry for the long winded blather, but, for me, a memory that sticks, as an aside Saddam had one of his palaces near the airfield at Sirsinq, and one of the Royal Marines gave me a piece of black Marble, which lined the place, as a souvenir, for me it's quite a morbid bit of stone, which for some reason I hang on to.

Sorry for diverting from thread, but the current subject matter from young Danny brought it all to mind.

Smudge

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Old 24th Jun 2013, 10:44
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Danny, you could always have gone AWOL and enlisted again...
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Old 24th Jun 2013, 13:11
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Ah,the dreaded Shift Change! How many otherwise sound plans have come awry as a result? I'm much relieved that yours at least survived it, Danny (though not half as much as you, I suspect).
From Ernest K Gann (as previously discussed) onwards it has struck without warning, not least of all in the RAF. My experience though was a happy one. Having recently left the Service, I arranged for my wife to be booked into the RAF Hospital, Halton for the birth of our eldest son. Being a "Thoroughly Modern Man" I witnessed his birth, as well as the Shift Change of attendant Doctors and Nurses in the middle of it. Happily, the changeover happened seamlessly, and mother and son spent a restful week with the patients outnumbered by staff, despite the right of any NHS patient to be treated there.
All swept away now, of course, in this Brave New World...

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Old 24th Jun 2013, 18:26
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smujsmith,

I overnighted in Tamworth several times in the old days, transiting Somerset/Teesside. It was a commercial traveller sort of place where I stayed, name forgotten, but it had partly covered parking space behind, where the Bond could stay out of the rain. I think it might have been an old Post House.

Apropos of nothing at all: Tamworth was where "Del-Boy's" old 3-wheeler Reliant van was built......D.


Reader123,

Don't suppose they would have had me in ! Probably I should have been given a Colt.45, a bottle of Scotch, and expected to do the decent thing ....D.


Chugalug,

I "did time" in RAF Hospitals Wroughton and Halton - both run as Hospitals ought to be run. No "Shift Change" problems - they worked till the job was done.....D.

Regards to you all, Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 24th Jun 2013 at 19:22. Reason: Spelling Error.
 
Old 24th Jun 2013, 19:00
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Danny,

Tamworth, or as we pronounced it "Tammerth". Was famous when I was a lad for two things. Firstly, and as you say, the Reliant. IMHO a finely crafted work of motorised perambulation. Secondly, R Whites, the Lemonade makers, who had a really nice jingly advert around the 80s. Since I left only the two "Tamworth pigs" and their escape have made the town worthy of note. I actually come from a small village around 8 miles from Tamworth, Edingale, and its famous for more than Tamworth, but not mechanical or drinkable therefore not mentionable. Diversion corrected, back on thread. Over to you Maestro.

Smudge
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Old 24th Jun 2013, 20:59
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Ah! the shift change! We were coming to the end of our day shift at Waddington Line Servicing and the night shift coach had arrived. A Vulcan crew arrived for debrief and the Captain asked about the mob milling about outside. "That's the other shift, Sir" said Chiefy. The captain rushed outside and addressed the throng. "So, you're the Other Shift! who cause all the problems. I've heard all about you and finally we meet!"
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Old 24th Jun 2013, 21:20
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Blacksheep,

Absolute cracker. What a wag that captain was.

Smudge
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Old 24th Jun 2013, 23:41
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Crewing in to one of HM's Vickers FunBus tankers in the cold, early morning some years ago, all was clearly not well. Whilst wandering about waiting for someone to arrive with the steps, my navigator happened to peer down the centre line Hose Drum Unit (HDU) tunnel (he must have been bored), only to find the HDU servicing notes lurking therein.

I found another problem, so walked back to the squadron...

"There's no autopilot", I announced to the Eng controller.

"What - both autopilots U/S, sir?"

"No - there is physically NO autopilot. Where the dual amp controller normally lives, there is but a large hole, with various wires and connectors poking out".

"Ah - best I send someone out to see what he can do, sir"

"Yes please!".

They fixed that snag and retrieved the HDU servicing notes, then checked a few more strangely suspicious items before we started up and set off....only for someone to come scurrying out onto the taxiway giving me a STOP signal. Rather strange, I thought. But then the Air Eng exclaimed that someone else had just opened up a large panel in front of the HDU before disappearing inside clutching some large tool and all he could see was a pair of legs dangling out.

"I don't want to worry you", piped up a Flt Cdr in another jet, "but your aircraft appears to have just swallowed a tradesman!".

"I know - when he comes out, we're taxying back. Talk to you later!".

At that point a very annoyed looking SEngO appeared atop the ramparts which surrounded the squadron, clearly wondering what on earth his chaps were doing.

And we did.

It seems that one shift failed to complete the handover to The Other Shift and a whole load of job cards had been left open - including a serious HDU snag. The mysterious stowaway had, it seems, been checking whether some sprojit flobbling widger or whatever had been wire-locked.

SEngO then charged more of his oilies than he'd charged in his entire career up to that point! Which was a great shame; they'd held their hands up to this totally uncharacteristic screw-up and in their can-do manner were doing the best they could to get the jet underway. But the 'stowaway' was the last straw and I guess SEngO didn't have any other alternative.

Last edited by BEagle; 24th Jun 2013 at 23:49.
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Old 25th Jun 2013, 00:18
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Blimey Beags,

A real one straight out of the annals of "I learned about flying from that", or not in this case. Have to say, some days even with the best will in the world, sh1t happens. But what a comedy of errors, thank goodness you didn't get aloft.

I do remember whilst a Cpl at Abingdon signing a Chippy out to a very nice, elderly chap, who was to give experience to the young ATC cadets. He signed the form 705 (Flight Servicing Certificate) and checked the F700 for reds and greens etc. all things I'm sure you are familiar with. Having signed the form I detailed a tradesman to do the see off with the Squadron Leader. I put the F700 for (lets call it) WP805 back in its slot and carried on sorting out the rest of the Chippies, and both ULAS and OUAS Buldog details for the rest of the mornings flying program. I was surprised to see the Squadron leader appear back in the control room some 40 minutes later. He had had to curtail his flying plans due to lack of fuel in the aircraft, and was not too pleased about it, add to that the engine was certainly not very happy during his one sortie made me wonder what was going on. I asked him to accompany me to the aircraft so that we could go through the problems, one of my lads was going to be in big trouble.

Standing to the side of WP815, I listened carefully do the flight debrief. We then returned to the control room. It was only when I picked up the 705 and F700 for WP805 that I realised what had happened. I asked the Squadron Leader if he would be happy with the aircraft he had signed out and left him to ponder his mistake. I too was at fault, I should have ensured that the tradesman detailed to see him off was aware which aircraft it would be, I ratted on myself to the Flt Sgt and we changed the procedures. Out of interest, WP815 had been awaiting our sumpy tradesmen to investigate some engine snags reported from an earlier flight, it had not been refuelled as the debrief indicated fuel contamination could have caused the problems. I learned about managing aircraft from that. Sorry for the diatribe, I do think though that Beags experience and mine both show that mistakes were never the exclusive property of a particular trade.

Smudge
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Old 25th Jun 2013, 00:48
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Similar at Deci I defuelled Hotel as requested to allow the droppers to be removed with hand held Crux bars.... Lots of swearing later by Armourers Chief and threats of tech charges as tanks were full when released with gravity taking over the removal process.... Looks out window and points out that the aircraft in question wasn't Hotel.... Sheepish apology ensued.

But we are digressing from a Stunning thread by Danny and Co, who should write a book.

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Old 25th Jun 2013, 18:21
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Danny finds that the Best of Friends must Part

Chugalug, Smujsmith ( no Maestro, I !) and Nutloose (you do me too much honour, "write a book" indeed !) Thank you all for the kind words (and thank you to the Moderators for the all-encompassing latitude which they've always allowed to this best of Threads).

BEagle and Blacksheep, Marvellous tales (especially the the one about the Captain, who voiced what we've all thought at times).

This has been a perfect example of a Forum at its best - my throw-away remark about a shift-change, and look what follows in its wake !........D.

**********

Shortly after I got back, I was given the dates for my Air Traffic Control Course: RAF Shawbury from beginning of March until end of June. Now we could make our plans. I was to finish there on Friday 1st July. We would marry on the Monday, the 4th (yes, I know that's Independence Day), and take it from there.

Now a sad parting of the ways lay before me. The Bond was now almost five years old, with 30,000 on the clock. The little Villiers engine was as lively as ever, but the body was showing signs of wear and tear; fatigue cracks had started to appear from the base of the screen pillars, and although I'd drilled them to stop them as soon as spotted, it was a bad sign. Worse, the "soft top" now leaked like a sieve; it was becoming anti-social.

Apart from this I had to acknowledge that it was hardly suitable transport for the Married Man I was soon to become. It would have to be replaced by something more conventional. I scouted round the local village garages. Somewhere (can't remember) they had a 1938 black Vauxhall 12-6 ticketed at £105 (guineas died hard) in front of the tin shed. It had 65,000 recorded (I thought that that was probably genuine).

By the way, I should perhaps remind you that at that time new (or any post-war) cars were scarce and prohibitively expensive. Outside any Service Mess nine out of ten would be of pre-war vintage and in various stages of disrepair. A seventeen year old was nothing out of the ordinary (for that matter, I'm running a 14 year old myself now, and the paintwork's fine).

The story was this: it had been owned from new by a bank manager who'd taken it into his retirement. He washed and leathered it down every week and treated it like a baby. On his death 18 months before it had passed to a young carpenter, who used it as his work van. (Timbers ? - Easy, open sunshine roof (sort of sash window affair) and shove them through onto back seat. The inside trim was knocked about a bit, but what's the problem ? Bang any loose bits in with an inch nail). The Registration Book backed up the story. A year later the Carpenter had prospered sufficiently to buy a van, ELY 410 was on the market again.

A buyer in those pre-war times didn't have to worry about rust as much as we've had to do in recent years. You started with a steel girder chassis which could have come from the Forth Bridge (and would last as long). They mounted this on four cart springs and put a beam axle across the front (and a solid back axle behind). Stick an engine and transmission in the chassis, and an ash frame onto it, bolt-on the body panels. Four wheels, and that's about it.

Consequently, after I'd seen that the inside would be acceptable after a thorough clean-out, I turned to the mechanicals. It was a wreck. Everything needed doing or replacing. The thing would move and (after a fashion) stop. But again, in those days, this was no cause to despair. Any garage or machine shop in the land would tackle the task, and you could buy a reconditioned anything quite cheaply. I decided to take the job on.

Now we got down to business. After some haggling, we shook hands on £50 plus the Bond (I think they gave it to the apprentice to play with). The deed was done. As I drove away, I looked back at the poor little thing sitting forlornly at the side of the shed. We'd come a long way and had a lot of fun together (my fiancée and I did our courting in it). Smoke gets in your eyes. (Where are you now, EY 9548 ? And was he kind to you ?)

The smoke was all coming out of the back of the Vauxhall. Most cars smoked then, but this had to be seen to be believed. You could see nothing in the driving mirror at all - it was just a solid wall of smoke. Oil consumption was about 50 mi/Quart, but again the garages catered for this. "Reclaimed" oil (ie filtered old sump oil) was on tap everywhere at 1/- a quart.

In this appalling vehicle I made as many journeys back to Teesside as I could. It was not noticeably quicker than the Bond. Again I overnighted at Tamworth, or once in a nice little pub across the green from Kenilworth Castle. Steering was a bit funny as the primitive Vauxhall IFS ("Knee-action Ride") was in the same state as the rest (knock-kneed). The weeks went by.

Evenin' all,

Danny42C


Say not the struggle naught availeth.
 
Old 26th Jun 2013, 02:07
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Crikey Danny!

Again I overnighted at Tamworth, or once in a nice little pub across the green from Kenilworth Castle.
I grew up in Kenilworth. Here's the castle. They used to charge an entrance fee, but a castle wall was no barrier to an adventurous little scrote such as myself. I honed my climbing skills here. Kenilworth is a delightful little town for a growing boy.



Castle green with pub in background.



And the pub. The Queen & Castle (original, eh?). Photos taken in 2010.

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Old 26th Jun 2013, 11:34
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It shows you how times have changed. You talk about a pub in Kenilworth and somebody posts pictures of it from Japan.
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Old 26th Jun 2013, 21:02
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It shows you how times have changed. You talk about a Vauxhall 12 and somebody in West Sussex posts a video of one in Portugal.
(but is it the right one,Danny?)
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Old 26th Jun 2013, 22:17
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1938 Vauxhall 12-6.

Yamagata Ken,

Lovely pics - a bit of Old England ! Yes, I remember the Castle well, didn't have time to look it over it as I just overnighted there. But what lad with any spirit wouldn't scramble over a wall, or find a gap in the hedge, to play "Cavaliers and Roundheads" for free in a magnificent setting like that ?

The pub is more faintly recalled, but if it's the only one on the green, it must be the right one.......D.


Fareastdriver,

And it shows this Thread and the PPRuNe Forum up as the wonderful thing it is.......D.


Chugalug,

That's the one ! Think they mostly came in black (on Henry Ford's dictum), can't remember a coloured one, but suppose there must have been some - probably export models.

I think the very similar 14-6 had a rudimentary boot, but it is obscured by the man at the rear. * They both had essentially the same straight-six engine, 1508 cc, I think in the 12-6, bored out to 1700 + cc ifor the 14-6. The 12-6 was a bit slow, but very smooth.

* Are my old eyes deceiving me or is there a small "bump" in the shadow behind the car ? (a 12 had a straight back, but a door opened to reveal the spare wheel, and folded down to act as a luggage rack.

Tyres are oversize on this specimen.......D.

Cheers to you all,

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 26th Jun 2013 at 22:21. Reason: Typo
 
Old 27th Jun 2013, 21:58
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Danny and Friends help a Lame Dog over a Stile.

March ended, and I was off to Shawbury. The Joint Air Traffic Control Course assembled for the "Welcome" party (I think we had one RN officer in our number). Witold Suida was a welcome familiar face, all the rest were strangers, but ex-wartime aircrew officers and SNCOs to a man. I particularly remember one case, whom I shall not name, for he may yet live.

He had been a W/Cdr Nav at the war's end. Leaving the Service, he'd joined British South American Airways. Not as a nav, but as some sort of Station Manager at Rio or Buenos Aires. As I don't suppose they ran more than one service a week, he was pretty well placed - and then BSAA folded. He was out on the street. It was downhill for him from then on.

He was a family man, they were reduced to penury. At last a life-line: he was offered a SSC as a Flt. Lt. in ATC. But of course this was conditional on his passing the Course. So it was for many of us (including me, I was in the same boat with my LCPC, and others had SSCs or LCPCs at stake).

But this did not worry us in the slightest. All aircrew are "naturals" for ATC to a greater or lesser degree. Above all pilots and navs are genetically fitted to become "poachers turned gamekeepers". This Course would be a doddle: it was impossible to fail, we were all convinced of that.

But so much was riding on it for him that this poor devil set about working himself to death. Every night he'd be up to the small hours mugging up his copious lecture notes, he never came into the bar. By day, when he wasn't at a lecture or in the "Mock", he'd be wandering around in a kind of trance, muttering his mnenomics. He was clearly heading for a nervous breakdown unless we could get him to relax.

As I was without wheels for much of the early part of the Course, I was stuck in the Mess for most of my time. I was sorry for this chap. He reminded me of the few ex-servicemen whom I'd been able to help in my brief sojourn as a Resettlement Advice Officer, although goodness knows the miserable little jobs in the Civil Service I was able to shoe-horn them into would hardly keep a newly born wolf cub from the door, they were pathetically grateful. It is a mistake to suppose that with "full employment" in Britain in 1946, life was a bowl of cherries for everyone who came out of the Services.

Two or three of us rallied round this man, ostensibly to form a sort of Question and Answer "Jam Session", to review the instruction and lectures we'd had during the day. After an hour or so of these, we were usually able to entice him into the bar for the odd half-pint. In this way we gradually eased him back into some semblance of normality, and I'm happy to say we kept him sane; he sailed through the final exam - might even have come out on top, but I can't recall. Whatever happened to him afterwards, I don't know.

And the Course was a "piece of cake". The Nav, Signals and Met were what I'd had at ITW. We knew all about airfields, signals squares and lighting. The R/T patter was second-nature to us. In fact, I can't remember much that was new on the Course, except possibly the operation of the new CR/DF wonder machine, and of course Crash Action, Crash Action, and still more Crash Action !

In those days nobody had radar in the Tower. You might have a Mobile GCA on your field if you were lucky, but there was a separate month's Course for aspiring "Talkdowns".

Goodnight again, all,

Danny 42C


Not to worry.
 
Old 27th Jun 2013, 22:36
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Danny,

Your latest brings memories of my Ground Engineer course on the C130 to mind. Being an Airframe Fitter by trade, the intricacies of the Omega navigation system left me somewhat nonplussed! The six of us on our course comprised, four airframe, an engine man and only one "fairy" (Avionics). At the end of one evening, studying the Omega Nav system (we needed to know what it had to do, how it did it and then the boxes involved) our "fairy" told us all to report to the line squadron that evening. He had booked an aircraft on the ground for 2 hours, gave us a one hour talk on the bits and bobs, and then had managed to "borrow" a Nav for a further hour to explain what he wanted from the kit. The next day we did the exam and the lowest score was recorded by our "fairy", 96 %. Another example of helping fellow course members through.

PS. We took the Nav to Lyneham Bowl (the only legal drinking place on base) and thanked him properly. Your story just brought all that back. Sorry to digress, from thread (yet again), its just that its funny how the RAF seems to have been "fixed in aspic" for years.

Keep it going Danny, its compulsive reading for my family.

Smudge
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