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Akrotiri Vulcans

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Akrotiri Vulcans

Old 10th Feb 2012, 21:27
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Akrotiri Vulcans

One of my most pleasant memories was when I was sitting in Red Cross 1 alongside the runway at Akrotiri in about 1973. It seemed that every Vulcan that was there at the time was ready to take off, the noise and the vibrations were truly amazing! And watching them depart was a bit sad.
I seem to remember we had IX and 35 squadrons there at some time, what I cannot remember is if it was just one squadron or both that took off that day. Can anybody help me with this and how many aircraft would there have been?

Many thanks
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Old 10th Feb 2012, 21:41
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Just a guess but we usually had an annual generation exercise and a fly-off. It would have been the whole wing. Are you sure it was 1973?

I remember one in I think '72 where the 'master' planner organised the taxi plan. As the aircraft were in two dispersals and parked in two lines nose to nose it had to be carefully orchestrated. One dispersal had to taxi through the other dispersal to reach the runway.

Plan 1 was for the aircraft at the southern end to go first turning to the south with subsequent aircraft feeding in left and right.

AL1 had the northern end going first and turning to the north !!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 10th Feb 2012, 21:52
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Thanks for that PN,Yes it might have been 1972, it seems an awful long time ago now!
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 10:19
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That must have been the day that the Vulcan static display was fired up for its annual airtest. The rest of the time they looked very pretty, decorating the various dispersals.

We used to admire them as we taxied past
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 10:24
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TTN, that would have been the afternoon or the weekend. Now had you been there on Wednesday
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 10:34
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TTN

We used to admire them as we taxied past
Tell me TTN, did they ever get around to painting yellow bands on the tankers so that they matched the rest of the ground equipment?

YS
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 13:29
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I really enjoyed my tour at RAF Akrotiri between 1972 - 1974 on BWSS (Bomber Wing Servicing Squardon) as an A Tech P. If my memory serves me right, I think we launched 18 aircraft in 1973 because we emptied both Delta and Echo dispersals. The first aircraft was rolling down the runway and we still had a number of aircraft waiting to taxi out from the dispersal, a great site never to be repeated. Another great display of firepower was a four ship launch from the 56 Sqn dispersal for CENTO, the flare was fired from the runway caravan which landed on the dry grass and by the time the last aircraft was rolling down the runway, a hugh fire was gathering pace behind us. Happy days.

Great detachments. Scampton for the bombing competion - we had the winning crew with XH562. Coming around the back of Scampton's Operations Block just after midnight after putting the aircraft to bed for the night, who was there, the SWO, he shouts airman, we shout SWO and run like ****, he never did catch us Masirah for the fishing and the nights out in the Turtle Bar. Shiraz, a sad loss for XJ781 in the wadi between the two runways, I will never forget that landing when she went vertical prior to settling on her belly.
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 14:11
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Cool

YS

Never had time to do any painting, too busy flying all over.
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 14:34
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I well remember one day, the checks seemed to be 'brakes on/off, fuel dump on" followed shortly thereafter by a tannoy prohibiting any smoking on the whole station.

Place absolutely stank of avtur. The Mk 1 may have been prettier but it lacked a certain je ne c'est pas.
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 15:49
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PN
Very true. When 55 and 57 used to visit AKR, they must have had the only Victors that ran their Conway's on KEO fumes. Most of the time they were parked on Charlie getting a sun tan. !!!!!!!!
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 21:12
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Tell me TTN, did they ever get around to painting yellow bands on the tankers so that they matched the rest of the ground equipment?

Hmm - had to drag the logbook out for this one:

Wed 4 Oct 73 - Transit Marham - Akrotiri - 5hrs 25min
Thu 5 Oct - Litex (working with 56 practising their AAR) - 2.45
Fri 6 Oct - Litex - 2.10

Weekend exploring the fleshpots of Kyrenia IIRC

Mon 9 Oct -Litex - 2.40
Tue 10 Oct - Litex - 2.20
Wed 11 Oct - Litex - 2.50
Wed 11 Oct - Night Litex - 2.10
Fri 13 Oct - Transit Akrotiri - Marham - 4.30

Which leaves Thursday. As I recall we helped dust down the Vulcan display and swept tumbleweed off their dispersals

Yellow paint indeed!
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Old 11th Feb 2012, 22:24
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FB, noooo, these were Saphires running on kokinelli.
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Old 12th Feb 2012, 10:00
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So that was the cause of the black smoke coming out of the jet pipes during the climbout
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Old 12th Feb 2012, 10:03
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Did Tankertrashnav visit the fleshpots of Nicosia - Suzys and the Bamboo Bar on the way to Kyrenia !!!!!!
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Old 12th Feb 2012, 10:14
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NEAF Bomber Wing 1974

S.A.C.W. White and the Seven Crew Chiefs

"Once upon a time in a far away land called Big 'A', there lived a beautiful young airwoman called S.A.C.W. White. Now S.A.C.W. White's lot was not a happy one. She had gone for a friendly chat in a recruiting office and before she knew it the magic words had been whispered and she was whisked away to the kingdom of Big 'A', there to work in the Hydraulic Bay. Now in this bay lurked a great hairy Chief Tech and two ugly sergeants, and from morning till night S.A.C.W. White slaved away whilst the Chief Tech. and the sergeants rattled the dominoes in the crew room. It was "Whitey, have you got those none return valves tested? Are those brake units ready yet? And what about those jacks?" But there was one ray of sunshine for her - the section kebab. This annual extravaganza was to be held this year at Mahmouts, and there was romance in the air. It was the thought of this that gave her strength to carry on. The day wore on and her excitement grew, but deep in her heart she knew what was going to happen (and it did). Ten minutes to knocking off time the call from V.S.F. with the now routine' cry, "I must have these shuttle valves first thing in the morning". Suddenly S.A. C.W. White was alone, the sound of receding Alfa's and Lancia's was all that indicated others had dwelt there. With a sigh she turned back to the test bench; the visions of succulent sausages and kokinnelli were now beginning to fade. She assembled the first valve and connected it to Big 'A's one and only hydraulic test rig. (it was said Noah had left it there when the floods subsided) but 56 Sqn had been using it all day and it was now as serviceable as one of their Lightnings. This was the last straw; "To hell with it!" she cried, and rushed out. It was dark, and as D.O.E. time switch was working perfectly, all the lights that had been on all day were now switched off. She staggered blindly through darkness, not knowing where she was going. Suddenly she knew she must be in a bomber wing dispersal, for only there could the FOD lie so deep and crisp and even; terror gripped her, here she was, a young girl, alone in a bomber wing. She recalled with dread the tales that told of the carniverous crew chiefs that were daily unshackled and allowed to roam at will in these God forsaken parts. Overcome by fear she swooned away.

The following morning two of bomber wing's intrepid airmen 'Taff and Paddy' were on their way to work. They knew they had a hard day of volley-ball and uckers ahead of them, but never-the-Iess they were in good heart. Paddy suddenly stopped. .
"Hey, Taff, what's that on the pan". "Isn't it a Vulcan?".
"No, that thing underneath".
Oh that! it's only F.O.D."
"It looks like a body to me".

They were only half an hour late for work so they had plenty of time to go and investigate; as they approached, the body moved.
"Taff, it's alive and moving".
"It can't be one of our trade managers then".

They stood staring down at the still unconscious form of S.A.C.W. White looking so lost and forlorn among the F.O.D.
"What do you reckon, Paddy".
"Well, she'd be no good for uckers and we've enough for volley-ball".
"But she still might be dead".
"Let's put her in with the crew chiefs then she wouldn't be noticed there".

They took a leg each and set off for the tine hut.

Back in the dispersal line hut the time was 8 o'clock and six of the crew chiefs had already arrived to start the 7 o'clock shift. An air of complacency hung over the room and the kettle was on. Suddenly the door burst open and in ran their missing member showing grave signs of distress. When he could speak coherently he gasped "They've' done it! The nightshift have worked all night and the aircraft are all serviceable', and we've only got an hour to put them u/s again". This was a challenge all crew chiefs understood, and, as one man, they rose, but he turned to Chalky and said "I'm sorry Chalky but they've, already signed yours up and they're crewing in". Chalky turned white and his knees began to sag. Two of the others led him to a corner to be alone with his grief. They tried to console him but three years a crew chief and this was the third time an aircraft had come serviceable during his shift - he felt the disgrace deeply. The others set forth determined they would not suffer a like fate.

Meanwhile, Taff and Paddy arrived at the hut; there was no response to their repeated knocking so they opened the door and walked in. The place was deserted apart from a crew chief with a vacant expression on his face and an F700 clutched tightly to his breast "Er . . .Chief", said Paddy, but a wracking sob was the only answer he got as the chief's iron control finally gave way. "All Bomber wing has finally got him" said Taff knowingly. "But what do we do with her?" asked Paddy. They looked around and in the corner they saw a pile of amendments that were waiting to be incorporated in the hut's A.P.'s. They were dated 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1974. 1971's had been used as score sheets on the uckers board. "We'll put her on the top of that lot" said Taff, "They'II action her when they get back". So they laid her across the amendments with an old bundle of priority signals for a pillow, and with a sympathetic "hang on, chief". they left.

The crew chiefs returned and it could be seen by their attitude, as they headed for the table and a game of clag, that success had been theirs. Only Smudge had that look of apprehension as his aircrafts condition had still to be decided, but he was confident as it was now in the hands of bomber wing's highest technical authority, S.A.C. Malone. They took their places at the table. "Somebody's been sitting in my chair" said the crew chief leader with the air of a dethroned monarch. "Somebody's moved the dominoes and crib board" said the deputy, who was responsible for the hut's athletics. "And someone has been lying on the uckers score sheets and they are still there, fast asleep", chirrupped the U/T crew chief who was irresponsible anyway. They advanced on the inert form of S.A.C.W. White.

In the, wing itself a change was felt.. The atmosphere became tense; an air of expectancy hung over the place and all knew our hero was abroad - 'Warrant Officer Charming'! He had been known as 'Stan' to his friends but the last of these had long since past away - now he lived with the loneliness that only power can bring. Whenever he sallied forth trade managers sank deeper into their armchairs, tradesmen quaked, and their volleyball became erratic. Even the ground equipment tried to look serviceable.

Today he was happy, at a conference with Wing CO God (he ascended from Scampton) they'd both agreed they were damn fine fellows. It was also S.N.C.O.'s assessment time and as he was a fair man he hated them all equally, and it was with delight that he mentally permed the threes and fours he would award them. So all looked well in bomber wing. His wanderings took him near the crew chief's tine hut, he pondered whether to enter, as he was fully up to date with his innocculations and vaccinations, so he knew the risk was minimum. Fearlessly he strode in and quickly he sized up the situation, and in a flash he whipped out his red biro. "I'll categorise it", he said. At the sight of that red biro the crew chiefs fell back, they'd seen that biro at work before, it had scarred many a F700.

At that moment S.A.C'.W. White opened her eyes, and finding herself surrounded by crew chiefs, knew all was lost. "Woe is me" she cried. "No, me, is WO", said our hero, but when she looked into his baby blue eyes she knew never again would she fear the great hairies, and he knew that someone would call him 'STAN' again, and the crew chiefs!! Well, uckers is uckers!
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Old 12th Feb 2012, 16:48
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Blocked runway early 70's

Due to very strong tailwinds we were about to break the BZN - AKR Britannia East Med speed record when we reported downwind for RWY28. Unfortunately a Lightning ahead of us suffered a burst tyre on landing and came to a stop two thirds of the way along the runway. We were told to hold overhead at 1000' while they sorted it out. Ten minutes later an Akrotiri Vulcan arrived from a low level navex and announced he was short of fuel. After a lot a phaffing around nobody could say how long it would take to clear the runway.

The Vulcan pilot threatened to divert to Nicosia if he couldn't land within the next ten minutes which, he said, would be no problem with the strong westerly wind. When ATC cleared him to land at his own discretion I positioned the Brit above the Vulcan as it was on short finals. It appeared to be almost hovering as it crossed the threshold and stopped well inside the first third of the runway - most impressive. Half an hour later they towed the Lightning off the runway and we landed on schedule.

Last edited by brakedwell; 13th Feb 2012 at 11:55.
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Old 12th Feb 2012, 17:22
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Fan Blade - great story, and confirms all my suspicions

No, never stopped off at Nicosia, which is a shame. The salubrious watering holes of Limassol were as much as I could take (anyone remember The Green Rock?)
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Old 13th Feb 2012, 11:39
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TTN

Green Rock! Been trying to forget it for the last 40 years!

A favourite hang-out for not very discerning Herc' crews, though I did bump into my schoolmate and then 'brother-in-law' there with his Vulcan crew out from Waddington. Well not really 'his crew' as he was the co-pilot.
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Old 13th Feb 2012, 14:11
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AT crews were put up in the Panorama in Hero's Square so partaking of the 'hospitality' of the Green Rock, Hermes and Olympus (lady on a white horse) was not too difficult. The Russian ladies looked very lush after a few Keos/kokenelli.
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Old 13th Feb 2012, 14:25
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I admire your memory and sense of awareness. All I can remember is where my favourite bar was. The southern entrance to the square, the bar on the immediate right, the roof could come off in the summer and an amazing roller-boot show with the young lady spining on a mouth brace and ankles just missing the roof supports.

Of course I can't remember anything about the waitress called Jasmine.

I also remember another show on the other side of the square. An old boy and a gamine daughter did an act. He was a magician IIRC and she would dance and writhe on a light box. She remained fully clothed and it was extremely erotic.

She then went round as a boot boy blowing bubble gun and polishing the audiences shoes. She did a really good job and got them clean and shiney, but she only cleaned one shoe per person.
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