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Sad news from Rotorheads

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Sad news from Rotorheads

Old 28th Oct 2010, 20:56
  #1 (permalink)  
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Sad news from Rotorheads - AJ Smith

Those older AAC helicopter and RAF Puma chaps might be interested in this post from rotorheads.


As far as I was concerned - a damn good pilot, truly one of a kind and no one fitted the "tells it like it is" description more.

A sad day!

Last edited by Cim Jartner; 29th Oct 2010 at 23:19.
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Old 28th Oct 2010, 21:50
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Very sad indeed, flew with him many many times and he was a pleasure to be crewed with, a pain in the bum with the TV remote control but a true gent.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 07:46
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Liverpool based Geordie, so calm down, calm down kidda!!
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AJ features in my log book many many times, he taught me tons about flying and tons about diplomacy
I had the pleasure of accompanying him on his 'leaving' detachment to Malta, you can imagine how taking a Puma through France, Corsica and Italy with him went!! I have relived the trip this week, thinking about how he handled Italian ATC
He took a Puma to Monahan (blame the TANs), he had no 'O' levels (proud) and he could annoy a saint if it took his fancy. The world has lost a great character
RIP mate

Last edited by jayteeto; 29th Oct 2010 at 08:23.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 09:26
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Never short of an opinion but a man with a big heart, AJ will be missed.

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Old 29th Oct 2010, 11:37
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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I am very sad. Seems to be dust in my eyes at the moment. AJ was one of the great aviation characters. He was my first instructor on Puma. A loyal friend, devoted family man and had very few vices! Didn't smoke, didn't drink but loved a go on the fruit machine! I spent many many times in his company, normally laughing my head off. Watching him on the sim trips in Norway when he would unpack his suitcase full of pot noodles so he could save the rates and have lots of money when he went home. There was never a dull moment with him. My first trip in the sim with him he turned to me and said in his legendary accent "Right then you just sit there, watch me and don't touch a f****g thing" still has me in stitches now. He was a genuine Tigger type.

Ang and the kids, please know that AJ was a much loved character in our world, and his passing leaves a void in the flying world as it surely does your own. He was a fantastic mentor, knew his stuff and would always fight the corner for his men. The bosses would run for cover when they knew AJ was inbound to take them on head to head. I want to cry, but cant help laughing at all the times we had in NI and yes all the stories of remote controls are true. he had a heart of gold. Sincere condolences to you all.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 11:40
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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I flew a Lynx onto SPTA for AJ during your course and allowed him to fly it from the RH Seat with your course mates and the DS. I understand it went down very well. I can remember to this day how well he flew the Lynx great hands. I have known him since 1997 what a sad day

RIP old mate
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 11:43
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Could someone please PM me with Angies address? I am happy to supply details of my connection, but Liz my wife and I desperately wish to write to her as very old friends.

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Old 29th Oct 2010, 12:53
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I was on IOT with AJ. The wings on the pully thing really got quite serious as I recall, and there were even threats of putting him on R Squadron because of his "attitude".

... and he didn't back down for a single second

One of my early "role models"

RIP AJ, Vio Con Dias
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 13:39
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AJ, after a run-in with the engineers, venting off in the crewroom to all, (who had to listen if they wanted to or not!) describing his displeasure after a similar 'engineering' confrontation in Germany some years earlier....

"So I said to this engineer, 'I could walk out to the runway, drop my flying suit, do a **** on the centreline, and IT would have more sense than you!' ...******n' engineers, I **** on 'em!"

We knew it was (mostly) tongue-in-cheek, but no one could make a point like 'Ehh-Jehh'.

Demonstrating a zero speed auto in a Puma...

"Loook, she's perfectly happy, perfectly controllable, yoo can poot 'er where yoo want 'er...this '70 knot' business... what a load of b*******s!"

...and demonstrating Puma stability during NVG sloping ground...

"Just stay light on the controls, it'll fly itself, STOP FIGHTIN' IT!...loook, see?....just touch the cyclic, that's all..."

Whatever his style of delivery, I think most pilots will always remember AJ's flying skills. Few could fly the Puma as he did.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 15:01
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Location: Liverpool based Geordie, so calm down, calm down kidda!!
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What about the famous: "How many O Levels have you got?",
"Err, 5 AJ",
"Then that's 5 between us!"
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 15:26
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On detachment in Portugal with him. Totally refused to come out and eat with us in a local restaurant " I don't eat [email protected]***** fancy foreign food". Real character. Condolencies to Angie and the family (we brought Angie back from Gut for kids half term. Cor, can she talk!).
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 16:19
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When AJ was refreshing or something at Shawbs, just after having become a light blue zob, a panicky junior beefer came into the office and said:

"That new ex-Army refresher bloke is talking to the basic studes!!"

"Your point is???"

"He's telling them how to barrel-roll the Gazelle!!"

"AJ - my office - now!"

RIP - what a character
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 16:24
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Very sad. Great guy. lsh
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 17:22
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Sad news, a true character indeed. We served together in both the AAC and the RAF, the only difference was the colour of uniform. His humour and presentation was always the same. An absolute expert in winding someone up, especially those more senior than himself.
Safe journey to the stars AJ.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 17:52
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Join Date: Mar 2001
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From the tasking cell at Gutersloh (89-92?) when I answered the direct line:

Me: "Syd (Hutch!) - it's "f00kin' AJ for you" (in my best Yorks accent - trying to cover the phone)

I hand the phone over and carrying on my CH47 blah....

Phone call finishes. Syd yaps on for 30 secs explaining the problem followed by "oh yes, and AJ is going to kick you all the way to the runway the next time he sees you!"

So sad to lose these genuine characters.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 20:33
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One of life's true characters and someone who will be sorely missed.
God speed and RIP AJ.
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 21:01
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Simulated Scout tail rotor control failure in manual throttle, eventually on the ground 2 pints of sweat and NR all over the place and a circuit an SR71 would have been proud all AJ could say was

"Ayyyyyuup lad dont be cu*t alllll yaaaa life be gentle with her"

In later life I will always remember how we regularly had breakfast in the mess at Aldergrove together - AJ you were always right - they never get the foooking eggs right, for fooksake, how difficult is it to cooook a fooking egg.

Godspeed mate.
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 12:01
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One of life's true characters. I had the privilege of knowing him in Germany. A sad loss.

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Old 30th Oct 2010, 13:42
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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A sad loss. He was one of those people who could inject common sense when some of our higher-ups were having some incredibly fanciful plans. A true character and one-off in a world where people see conformity as being like the next guy.
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Old 30th Oct 2010, 17:27
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A flock of geese flying overhead Y453.

AJ: 'Look at them, perfect formation and not a degree amongst 'em'.

RIP, mate.

You see, I thought I knew but I didn't.
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