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F-117 secrecy.

Old 2nd Jun 2011, 13:59
  #41 (permalink)  
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Didn't an F117 crash on finals at Boscombe Down in 89/90? There was something went down about then that was all hushed up.

Also believe 117s were operating out of Macrihanish in the secret days.
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Old 2nd Jun 2011, 17:01
  #42 (permalink)  
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Googling indiecates that the UFOlogists seem to believe the Boscombe Down crash was of the supposed TR-3B "Astra"
They even go so far as to allocate a serial number: 90-2414

Don't ask me if its true... NO idea

Last edited by jamesdevice; 2nd Jun 2011 at 17:22.
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Old 2nd Jun 2011, 20:41
  #43 (permalink)  
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Interesting. Were you there?
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Old 3rd Jun 2011, 00:41
  #44 (permalink)  
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My understanding is that president Johnson mistakenly announced it as the SR-71 (versus RS-71) and thus the designation stuck (the emperor has no clothes)
The SR-71 designator is actually a continuation of the pre-1962 bomber series, which ended with the B-70 Valkyrie. Late in its career, the B-70 was proposed for the reconnaissance/strike role, with an RS-70 designation. The "RS" prefix (sometimes written as "R/S") was actually allowed as an explicit "special case" in the orignal 1962 issue of the designation regulations. When it was clear that Lockheed's A-12 aircraft (then used by the CIA) had much greater performance potential, it was decided to "push" a USAF version of that one instead of the RS-70. This USAF version was to become the RS-71.

"Conventional" wisdom now says that then president Lyndon B. Johnson messed up the designation in his public announcement and called it the SR-71 - and nobody wanted to correct the president. Because the strike mission had been cancelled anyway, "SR" was quickly reinterpreted as "Strategic Reconnaissance". However, a first-hand witness of those events recently revealed in Aviation Week & Space Technology, that LBJ did not misread anything. In fact, then USAF Chief of Staff LeMay simply didn't like the "RS" designator - he already objected it when the RS-70 was discussed, preferring "SR-70". When the RS-71 was to be announced, he wanted to make sure it would be called SR-71 instead. He managed to have LBJ's speech script altered to show "SR-71" in all places. Using archived copies of LBJ's speech, it can actually be verified that it reads SR-71 both in the script and on the tape recording. However, the official transcript of the speech, created from the stenographic records and handed to the press afterwards, shows "RS-71" in three places. It seems that not the president but a stenographer did accidentally switch the letters, and thus create a famous aviation "urban legend".
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Old 3rd Jun 2011, 07:00
  #45 (permalink)  
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Machrihanish's secret hanger played host to quite a few things in it's time. Once inside, the crew didnt need to re-appear as it was linked underground to the US facility.
The first deployments were as far back as 83. What was unusual was having to work nights when we didnt have enough staff to man ATC and the support facilities, but no concept of why we were havng to do it.

Even more amazing were the steps taken to stop the resident VAS in the hanger from seeing the new arrivals. At night, the duty team were forbidden to look outside of the crew room, whilst the ground handlers wore slip on blindfolds while they marshalled the A/C in. The day staff too wore blindfolds when outside of the offices, which also had the interior windows blacked out. The only person who didnt, was a civilian girl K--- S------- who worked there. Looking back I'm almost certain she was a CIA operative.

In hindsight, I'm suprised non of the 140 misfits who had the joy to be posted there didnt just lift the blindfolds up for a quick peek and blow the whole thing - But thats us guys - professional to the end. We made it look just like another posting in the middle of nowhere with no aircraft and nothing going on.
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Old 3rd Jun 2011, 08:43
  #46 (permalink)  
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whilst the ground handlers wore slip on blindfolds while they marshalled the A/C in.
Ok, I'll bite.

How do you marshall an aircraft in if you can't see where it is?
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Old 3rd Jun 2011, 09:54
  #47 (permalink)  
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How do you marshall an aircraft in if you can't see where it is?
That was the easy bit. - The 'LONGARMS' project in 1982 fitted RF detection and audio alert syestems at the back of each parking bay - It was the first commercial use of parking sensors. The audio was interpreted by the Handler who moved his lightsticks accordingly.
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Old 3rd Jun 2011, 10:50
  #48 (permalink)  
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you know you won't go to heaven,
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Old 3rd Jun 2011, 11:44
  #49 (permalink)  
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How can it be stealthy if it goes "Beep! Beep! Beep!" when taxying into a dispersal?

As for the so-called "Boscombe Down incident" - a load of old guff. The last post on this thread fits my understanding of what happened. There was no crash. I reckon that the tinhatters lumped together a bunch of innocuous things that happened over a week or so, and spun a story out of them. It seems that the only mildly dramatic thing that did happen was that there was an A-road closure in the middle of the day due to a returning trials Tornado with a problem.
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Old 3rd Jun 2011, 12:16
  #50 (permalink)  
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Mmm, how many consipracy theories can you get into one PPRuNe thread??

Regarding the model kits, Testors were so taken by the sucess of their 'F-19' kit that they produced a rival 'Mig-37 Ferret' - the blurb on the box stated along the lines that as the Soviets were less technologically advanced than the US, their Stealth fighter used older facetting technology to achived low radar visibility.

I'll bet there were a few wry smiles at Lockheed when that came out - and some perturbed security dudes!

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Old 4th Jun 2011, 12:58
  #51 (permalink)  
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How can it be stealthy if it goes "Beep! Beep! Beep!" when taxying into a dispersal?
A common misconception. It only makes that noise when it's reversing.
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Old 4th Jun 2011, 13:18
  #52 (permalink)  
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dur! they don't beep, they have them set on vibrate.
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Old 4th Jun 2011, 15:36
  #53 (permalink)  
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The tinfoil hat brigade and the 'Elvis is alive' mob will always believe what they want.....

But it's quite fun when a sneaky-beaky event turns out to be bunkum.

Back in the mid-70s, the NAVFAC (or 'biscuit factory*') at RAF Brawdy was ultra sneaky-beaky as it housed a humourless bunch of USN folk who worked at the SOSUS installation - we mere Hunter students weren't supposed to know anything about it. I had to punch off my tanks into St. Bride's Bay once and remarked to one of the Yanks at lunch "Hope I didn't blow your headphones off when my tanks hit the ocean!" Cue some very frosty looks and a typical "I can neither confirm nor deny" type answer....

One day, a mate took a short cut to the simulator section through the USN SeaBees' compound and, in doing so, spotted a mysterious bell-like object partially concealed under a tarpaulin. "Ah-hah", he thought, "I'll bet they use that for checking their cables on the sea bed....". The word went round and soon others were looking at this 'secret' bit of kit.

Unfortunately the next time they saw it, it had been painted up and was taking part in the US 1776-1976 bicentennial celebrations as the Liberty Bell - it was actually made of foam plastic and wood!

*so-called because it was commanded by a Captain Jacobs.

Last edited by BEagle; 6th Jun 2011 at 16:34.
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Old 4th Jun 2011, 23:29
  #54 (permalink)  
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Was told by a mate of mine who worked for the old Bond Helicopters, that in the 80s, one of their S76 had landed at Macrihanish roughly about that time for some unknown reason, probably refuelling / pit stop purposes in 83/84 and there was a bit of humour with regards to lunch. Whoever was on Ops at the time said that the captain and the licensed engineer could eat in the Officers Mess, while the unlicensed engineer who tagged along for the flight was only allowed to eat in the Sgts Mess. The aircraft captain apparently kicked off a stink and said he would not be separated from the engineer, thereby saying they'd all eat together in the NCO mess

Anyhow was told that their S76 had landed and parked next to a then HH-53 deployed up from Woodbridge and a Herk, probably a HC-130 also from Woodbridge. But that was the only US presence there that particular day.

Regardless of its being now Campbeltown Airport, the airfield still plays host to USAFE exercises in particular, the 352nd SOG. Theres pics on the USAF/USAFE website of one particular exercise involving the Special Tactics Group in NBC conditions 6 years back

352nd SOG closes out ORI deployment at RAF Machrihanish

That wouldnt be inside the Gaydon hangar, one of those pics?

AR1, silly question if god forbid, whatever was parked in hangar at said time, that didnt make an appearance in either Bill Gunston's books or Jane's or Flight International pubs, had a mishap and said crews had to bail out, I take it it would've been up to the folks then at Woodbridge to fly out with their Pave Lows and Combat Shadows to rescue and recover rather than say D Flight at Lossie
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Old 5th Jun 2011, 13:00
  #55 (permalink)  
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Machrihanish, hmmmm....

IIRC the first mentions of spookiness there involved very loud noises in the 1991 timeframe.
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Old 6th Jun 2011, 14:34
  #56 (permalink)  
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When one was a cadet in the 80-90s the rumours around the squadron suggested that MIldenhall be The 117 hang out when in UK. I laughed it off then remembered the 2 disused ex SR-71 'barns' and the Lockheed Skunk Works reps and staff that be around. Plus looking at books on the 117 and the similar looking individual 'housing' at TTR, wasn't so much difference to the larger BLackbird barns.

I read in the very first Air Forces Monthly in 1987 that supposedly the 117 had been seen flying from Sculthorpe when it was still in USAFE hands.

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Old 28th Sep 2012, 15:42
  #57 (permalink)  
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Diary of Events | Machrihanish Airbase Community Company

Guess we can say goodbye to any future spookiness or ghosts appearing from the designer boards / CAD/CAE/CAM workstations Phantom Works or Skunk Works

Wished I now dug out my spare quid from my Marco Polo wallet and raised my hand now
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Old 28th Sep 2012, 18:44
  #58 (permalink)  
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Oh yeah the boscombe "black day"

fwiw, there is something hinky about this - less perhaps than they make out but more than us pooh pooh ers say.

And why is no one giving more info on the Aurora - or its replacement......
or its replacement's replacement......

Does Uncle Sam still put all of its go fast new sexy toy budget in the hands of Bubba Boeing, or is the "overruns" on various projects the way to fund Uber Black death machines?

Ah, also - the Omega Men, they now drive Audi's........there is one outside.
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Old 28th Sep 2012, 19:04
  #59 (permalink)  
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I am surprised at the level of interest the 'Wobblin' Goblin' has aroused. It's only real claim to fame was its much hyped invisibility to radar and even that could be compromised in rain. It wasn't very fast, it couldn't carry a heavy load and it was limited to nocturnal raids. It was however the first serious stab at making a stealth aircraft and very much a product of its time so it gains my respect.
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Old 28th Sep 2012, 19:21
  #60 (permalink)  
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I was on exchange at HQ TAC - as it then was - 89-91 - during GW!.

The division in which I worked had Bandit 03 and 04 - I think. I can name names, but might have their bandit numbers wrong - but I think they were both the first USAF boys to fly the 117.

A few weeks before the jet was due to "come out" I found, in a model shop in a mall in Norfolk Va, a 1:72 model which I bought. I glued it together over the weekend, not very well, and on Monday I put it on display on the filing cabinet next to my desk. It took just a few minutes before Bandits 03/04 - AW and WM - arrived to assess the Japanese model manufacturer's views of their "Black" Aircraft. From their reaction, the model was surprisingly accurate!!

Having watched the jet on its first public outing arriving at Langley en-route to GW1, the model makers had done a remarkable job given the "Black" nature of the programme.

Whatever - it most certainly did a quite remarkable job during GW1 - and probably during other conflicts since.

It must have been a great experience for those lucky enough to fly it!!
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