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"I'VE LOST MY RIO" by Lt. Geoff Vickers

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"I'VE LOST MY RIO" by Lt. Geoff Vickers

Old 14th Jun 2008, 15:34
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Did I dream this, or did a Vixen Obbo get half ejected during the enforcement of the Rhodesian sanctions? If true, what was the outcome (my dream must have run out of tape!) The Beira Run, was it?

CG
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Old 14th Jun 2008, 21:44
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This was a hideous accident and certainly not one to be flippant about.

I was onboard at the time and the accident shook us all, especially as the observer was a splendid character, well-liked by all.

The aircraft had a problem that developed to the extent that the crew had to leave it. The Vixen seat / hatch combination had given problems before, and this time it resulted in the observer being stuck half-in / half-out of the aircraft as he struggled to manually bale out. Unfortunately, he did not make it, and his pilot left it incredibly late to eject, though he, fortunately, survived.

I have left out further details, including the names of the crew out of respect for the observer.

GW
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Old 15th Jun 2008, 18:17
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not flippant, I assure you- I recall the incident dimly from an age of about 10, so had no idea of the outcome. I was expecting a happier tale. No offence meant.

CG
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Old 15th Jun 2008, 20:28
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None taken, and sorry if I appeared testy. However, after all this time it still ranks as one of the saddest accidents I have been close to.

GW
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Old 15th Jun 2008, 22:09
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Back before I escaped from ADGE to Satcom, I remember the Fighter Controllers recounting how one of their brethren had done something similar from the back of a Hawk during the mid-80s. The analysis wasn't as forgiving as the one in this article!

Heard the story while at a now closed unit not far from a Hawk MOB, when back seat rides were offered. I said to the guy organising the jolly’s, any chance of getting on a ride during a Mirror Image ACM sortie. The reply, No because they don’t take passengers on any ACM sorties, after a Fighter Controller called Wedge had banged out of a Hawk on one.
Funny you should mention that......last night, I was told a similar story by a Sq Ldr about a fighter controller grabbing the handle who swears blind that he never touched anything. Wonder if it's the same guy.

It is, though what is probably a myth was the part of the story that I was told at the time, which had the maker of the bang seat putting a large reward up for the recovery of the seat, to prove that he had pulled the handle (the incident happened over the sea).
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Old 16th Jun 2008, 06:28
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Back before I escaped from ADGE to Satcom, I remember the Fighter Controllers recounting how one of their brethren had done something similar from the back of a Hawk during the mid-80s. The analysis wasn't as forgiving as the one in this article!
ISTR a similar case during the 80s involving a similar red-coloured aeroplane and a member of the ground crew. The incident resulted, amongst other things, in the RAF getting a rather large bill from the Southern Scottish Electricity Generating Board for damage to some cables and pylons. OC Supply tasked me with raising the subsequent F34(write-off) for presentation to the CinC because the amount involved, plus the cost of 1 x ejection seat, exceeded everyone's powers except that of 'god'.

Last edited by 4mastacker; 16th Jun 2008 at 06:29. Reason: wayward comma
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Old 16th Jun 2008, 09:27
  #27 (permalink)  

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Ah yes, as the MoD PR man touted it at the time, the pilot "dropped his map and inadvertently lost height while trying to retrieve it".

Anybody know the break-out force for the seat firing handle? ISTR 40lb or 60lb?
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Old 16th Jun 2008, 11:01
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The story of a ME gentleman and an unexplained empty cockpit in an aircraft at the end of the runway was told at the Hunter OCU in 1960.
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Old 16th Jun 2008, 12:25
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I have a recollection of an Intruder that had a seat malfunction and half ejected the Nav (or WSO or whatever they call them). Fired the drogue throught the canopy whicheh pulled the seat part way up the rail or similar, leaving the poor bloke stuck out in the airflow

(edit: heres a link, ain't google a wonderful thing.

Along the lines of Black and Yellars F4 story, I also seem to recall, not an ejection but an abandonemnt, during the days of the Bulldogs nasty string of spinning incidents / accidents. IIRC the aircraft would not recover, QFI called for abandonment, but as the canopy and the stude parted company the spin characteristics changed allowing the QFI to recover it. Or something like that.

pb
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Old 16th Jun 2008, 13:40
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Once upon a time there was a fighter controller who managed to get a ride in a hawk during an 11 group AD exercise in the mid 1980's. (Please note this is a fictional tale. Any similarity with subjects and names mentioned above is purely coincidental). The controller wore thick glasses, so although he liked to think he could be a jet jocky one day, he had no chance. Anyway, the mission called for 2 x hawk to run a race track just off the coast and "hack" anything that flew through their area. At the end of the race track the 2 x hawks executed a cross over turn. (For the uninitiated, both turn towards each other to protect the "6 o clock of their mate) one goes high and the other low. Perfectly safe. In this case, our hero was calling out the range of the other hawk, and (so said the pilot afterwards) was underestimating the range by a factor of 10. Anyway suddenly the voice of the passenger went up by a couple of octaves and there was a loud bang and considerable buffet. The passenger had departed thinking there was about to be a collision. He was seen on a fully deployed parachute, and a may day was put out. In due course a S&R helicopter arrived and collected our hero, by now sitting in his little rubber raft.
Later in hospital, the tric-cyclist (well can you spell it!!!) said that although our hero claimed that "it just went off gov - honest" he had pulled the handle. His reasons were that normally, if a car passenger is involved in a crash, he has 2 or 3 seconds blacked out because he was not concentrating and things happend so fast. The driver however, often sees the same crash in slow motion because he can see it comeing, and is in adrenalin overload. Our hero could describe the whole thing in great detail (therefore knew what was happening) and the clincher was that he caught his pebble glasses in his hands as the seat accelerated up the rails and gravity pulled them off his face. As the hawk mk 10 seat only had one handle, and that between his legs, that is where his hands were and how he caught his glasses. However, as the seat was in the sea, this was only a guess. The navy sent a minesweeper for about a week, but the seat was not found. In the mean time, all the hawks and tornados were grounded as they all used the same seat, and it was just faintly possible that the seat did go off by itself (yer right)
Later our hero wrote an article in the in house fighter control newspaper and that upset just about anybody who had anything to do with the incident. I understand that our hero may have achieved a fairly senior rank in later years, but as I said, this is a fairy story, and I am making it all up.
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Old 16th Jun 2008, 22:08
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If its any consolation I think I might have dribbled gravy (steady) on said legendry FC on a dining-in night on a mountain in the Falklands – I was very, very drunk and shouldn’t have been serving…..
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Old 17th Jun 2008, 07:23
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Wasn't there a GR1 mate circa 1970 who rapidly left the office after an engine failure, only to watch as it spooled up again and disappeared towards Denmark as he floated ponderously to earth?
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Old 17th Jun 2008, 08:36
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Yep, Peter Squire, I read somewhere that as he was dangling in the 'chute, watching the jet becoming a dot towards Denmark he thought "Oh F***, now what do I tell the BoI".

Didn't stop him going on to great er.. greatness.
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