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Old 27th Dec 2015, 13:47
  #701 (permalink)  

Gentleman Aviator
 
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It certainly was - the term "Army helicopter" was always used in the media, even when the helicopter parked in the immediate background had the words "Royal Air Force" emblazoned on it. Seems that successive governments found it terribly embarrassing that the RAF was involved in a terrorist war on its own soil.
Exactly so Shy we could never understand that either. We also kind of assume that the Army Council (of the IRA) probably had access to Janes, or at least the "Boys Book of Helicopters".

But there was - and still is - an element of denial or embarrassment about Op BANNER, and all three services who were involved. One hates to play "Top Trumps" with casualties, but a comparison between NI and Iraq/Afghan could be instructive .............

O-D why am I not surprised by your suggestion! Perhaps when I retire - and we could start with the first Wessex landing in NI in 1969, flown by one who became a 3 -star knight. And he shouldn't have landed first, he wasn't the formation leader ........
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 15:48
  #702 (permalink)  
 
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TTH,

'When you retire' - surely not already!!!!!!!!!!!

I propose, that you propose, to the committee of the RAF Historical Society that they do a one day seminar on the air force in Northern Ireland. However, by time we get to the mighty Wessex, David Toon had already commanded a squadron of Sycamores there in the late 1950s or so.

Anyway, I commend 'Military Aviation in Northern Ireland' and 'Sycamores over Ulster' to you to start your research.

Old Duffer
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 15:56
  #703 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by teeteringhead View Post
Exactly so Shy we could never understand that either.
Because the media in general are not interested in the military, and a big green(ish) helicopter carrying soldiers must be an 'army' helicopter (Use of small 'a' deliberate), in the same way a serviceman with a camouflage suit and a rifle must be a 'soldier'.
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 16:04
  #704 (permalink)  
 
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You may find that all Press liaison came through Army PR at Lisburn and the media, being simple souls happy to hear 'Shock swoop seizing terror gang' or whatever, simply assumed that it was an Army operation. Despite the Army spindoctor doubtless doing his best to highlight the contribution of you Boys in Blue
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Old 27th Dec 2015, 16:13
  #705 (permalink)  
 
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With the demise of 18 Sqn in Germany in 1980 their Wessex returned to UK. Some went to the SAR force and some came to us on 72. So for a while we had a full alphabet AA to AZ plus I believe 4 with Bravo codes so 30 on strength. This lasted until the Squadron moved to NI from Benson. Firstly 5 were flown to Akrotiri to replace the ex Navy HU5s and our fleet was cut as at that point the Navy were still in NI. It was about the time of our move that we went to single letter codes on the aircraft sides and only during the Falklands when all Navy Cabs were removed did we start to get replacement cabs. Another point ref the playing down of our involvement in NI a little known fact is that we suffered more Battle Damage to our Wessex in NI during the Falklands period than 847 that was formed with stored HU5s and took our place down south after our brief sojourn back to Benson on what for us turned out to be OP Headless Chicken.
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 07:56
  #706 (permalink)  

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O-D

One also understands that the Sycamores had the right of "hot pursuit" across the border into the Land of Green 'Phone Boxes........

That would have been useful more recently.....

[Edited to add] on further reflection, I also believe they had - how shall we say - much less restrictive ROE than latterly!

(All well before my time - but I heard it from J*e W*****t, who was one of the Trg Offs when I was first on 72.....

Last edited by teeteringhead; 28th Dec 2015 at 08:41.
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 11:04
  #707 (permalink)  
 
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You could do REAL torque turns in a Sycamore.
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 15:50
  #708 (permalink)  

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One also understands that the Sycamores had the right of "hot pursuit" across the border into the Land of Green 'Phone Boxes........
This right was given back in the early 90s. For about three weeks, probably until the military lawyers heard about it, when it was hastily rescinded.
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Old 28th Dec 2015, 23:51
  #709 (permalink)  
 
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The sycamore that used to stand outside the OCU was in Taff Walkers logbooks, the Wessex instructor on the OCU.
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Old 30th Dec 2015, 11:00
  #710 (permalink)  
 
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The sycamore that used to stand outside the OCU
IIRC that one was unusual because it had two collectives as opposed to the single collective in the middle. Both twist grips were in line with the collective whereas on the single collective the throttle was cranked so as to be at right angles across the cockpit..

All the Sycamores I flew had a single collective. In the RHS one had one's hand on top turning the throttle forward to increase power and in the LHS one had their hand underneath pulling the palm back to increase power. Irrespective of which seat one occupied the hand action tied in with raising and lowering the collective.

No hydraulics; big trim wheels that tensioned feel springs to offload the forces. 26 (?) pints of water-meth in a tank under the cockpit floor that could be pumped back to the pylon to control CofG and it would cruise, hands off, at 110 knots.

They have it easy nowadays.
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Old 6th Sep 2016, 17:47
  #711 (permalink)  
 
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Quick question, does anyone have a good , clear photo of the specially painted door that was on the 72 Sqn Wessex XV721 in the 1999-2001 timeframe , I have pics of it at RIAT but none clear enough to make out the writing.
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Old 27th Feb 2018, 09:59
  #712 (permalink)  
 
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Interesting talk by John Adair

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Old 1st Mar 2018, 06:16
  #713 (permalink)  
 
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What I remember of 72!

Having read much of this thread I reflected on my time on 72 Back in 90/91 working in those freezing, drafty and crammed (listed) hangars. Trying to keep a fleet of equally ancient Wessex in a flying condition. Followed by a happy summer running a shift on the flight line where it struck me the division between US (ground crew) v Them (air crew) was greater than any other squadron I had been on (and that includes 617).
Other observations:

Ancient Wessex, and its crew, often consisted of:
Captain, Elderly (Bitter) Sqn ldr.
Co pilot, long in the tooth Flt Lt.
Loadmaster ( Yes!Loadmaster, there is no crewman brevet) an even more elderly (Invariably bitter) Warrant officer.
The task! Deliver a 20 year old lance corporal and his squad of teenagers to where the real job was to be done, or deliver a load of toilet paper to a fob and take out the crap.

It did not matter what your previous experience was, if it was not rotary wing your opinion did not matter.

If you were rotary wing but not ex SAR your opinion did not matter.

Only aircrew need have any knowledge of what the Squadron was doing, ie motivation.

Any bites?
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Old 1st Mar 2018, 18:56
  #714 (permalink)  
 
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It is 'aircrew' not air crew just as it is groundcrew.

It is 'Air Loadmaster' not Loadmaster; though I grant you the brevet is/was 'LM', and latterly 'RAF' with a crown.

There is no such thing as an aircrew Warrant Officer in the RAF. They are Master Aircrew unless of a suitable vintage to be Master Air Loadmaster - and there cannot be many of those still serving.

I know of a Combat Ready check not getting as far as engine start because the pilot did not know the name of the groundcrew standing outside.

Apart from that:- I'll have a beer as you are clearly already pi**ed!
First post on PPRuNe as well - tosser.

90/91 pity you were not out in the heat of the desert being injected with all sorts of concoctions; at least then you would have something to whinge about.

Last edited by Spot 4; 1st Mar 2018 at 20:08.
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Old 1st Mar 2018, 23:23
  #715 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Flickhammer View Post
Having read much of this thread I reflected on my time on 72 Back in 90/91 working in those freezing, drafty and crammed (listed) hangars. Trying to keep a fleet of equally ancient Wessex in a flying condition. Followed by a happy summer running a shift on the flight line where it struck me the division between US (ground crew) v Them (air crew) was greater than any other squadron I had been on (and that includes 617).
Other observations:

Ancient Wessex, and its crew, often consisted of:
Captain, Elderly (Bitter) Sqn ldr.
Co pilot, long in the tooth Flt Lt.
Loadmaster ( Yes!Loadmaster, there is no crewman brevet) an even more elderly (Invariably bitter) Warrant officer.
The task! Deliver a 20 year old lance corporal and his squad of teenagers to where the real job was to be done, or deliver a load of toilet paper to a fob and take out the crap.

It did not matter what your previous experience was, if it was not rotary wing your opinion did not matter.

If you were rotary wing but not ex SAR your opinion did not matter.

Only aircrew need have any knowledge of what the Squadron was doing, ie motivation.

Any bites?
I guess I'm imagining all those nights in the Swift then, and the queue of pilot and flying officers signing the 700 under the close supervision of Chiefs still fondly remembered so many years later. Happily, my memories are the polar opposite of yours.
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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 00:26
  #716 (permalink)  
 
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I had a ball..

You must have been very unhappy Flick..
I was there 90-93 as a wet-behind-the-ears PO, first tourist who was guided and tutored by all across the rank spectrum. I met the likes of the sadly late Wally Wilson and Paul Green there who went out of their way to show us young stick monkeys how to properly interact and respect ALL on 72, regardless of rank or trade. Those were defining times of my burgeoning SH career..
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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 08:52
  #717 (permalink)  
 
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and the queue of pilot and flying officers signing the 700 under the close supervision of Chiefs
Didn't FOLA originate on 72? Flick, the clue is in the acronym.

CG
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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 09:03
  #718 (permalink)  
 
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...Elderly...long in the tooth...even more elderly...
Hueymeister, what was the average age of your crew on that Y453 Christmas with Bertie and the Gangster?
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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 09:31
  #719 (permalink)  
 
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Having read much of this thread I reflected on my time on 72 Back in 90/91 working in those freezing, drafty and crammed (listed) hangars
Eeeeeeeeee Luxury lad, I was on 'T OCU and none of those fancy brik sh+thouse's you worked in, ours was made 'o tin lad.
Nay 'twere bad, I 'ad 't run gauntlet of weather to just get from crewroom 't hangar, nay luxury of a built in 't hangar crewroom for us.

Eeeeeee, you 'ad it lucky Lad..
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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 13:11
  #720 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Hueymeister View Post
You must have been very unhappy Flick..
I was there 90-93 as a wet-behind-the-ears PO, first tourist who was guided and tutored by all across the rank spectrum. I met the likes of the sadly late Wally Wilson and Paul Green there who went out of their way to show us young stick monkeys how to properly interact and respect ALL on 72, regardless of rank or trade. Those were defining times of my burgeoning SH career..
Wally was still there, and Paul had just returned from HK, when I rocked up as a first tour JEngO in 1997, and they were both legends in every way.
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