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Valiant Tankers

Old 9th Dec 2012, 15:55
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Valiant Tankers

Valiant Tanker info required please
Am currently browsing a Valiant tanker pilot's (deceased) log book to write up his flying career. Have reached 1958 entries and he is on Tanker trials duties in which he notes during separate sorties: Trial 306: XD816: '2 below'; XD869: '3 below'; XD812: '2 above & 8 below'; XD816: '7 below'. For the month in question: June 1958 he totals: 'Hook-ups: 32 (12 above). I believe all these relate to 'dummy' tanker/receiver flights but it is not clear (to me) what is going on. Is there anyone out there who could interpret this for me please?
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Old 9th Dec 2012, 17:34
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I would hazard a guess that these relate to receiver (below) and tanker (above). Just a guess and I am sure someone will be able to clarify.

Easier to explain is Trial 306. Bomber Command Development Unit used to run trials. Some would be effectively in-house where a piece of equipment could be tested and operational procedures developed. Others were much greater in scope and requirements. One many of us took part in was Trial 505. This was flight carriage of the WE177 Instrumented round. Nothing dramatic for the crews involved we just had to fly it on typical sorties though there were occasional glitches but not no significance to the weapon itself.

Contacting the Air Historical Branch for BCDU documentation on Trial 306 might be worth while.
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Old 9th Dec 2012, 22:00
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Take a look here:

http://http://www.214squadron.org.uk/History_the_valiant_years.htm

I agree with PN - the "above"s may mean contacts (hook-up) as the tanker and the "below"s could mean contacts as receiver.
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 15:31
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Thanks for your help, that makes sense of the notes. Have now obtained further info on 306 & 306A but any further thoughts will be most welcome.
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 17:05
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AP, you would need a timeline for IFR as it was known in the 50s and 60s. If the Valiants were not yet operating as tankers then the Trial was probably so determine flight handling characteristics, flow transfer.

The 'A' may have related to a follow-on trial either with different or modified baskets etc.

I know that in 1964 when I did the receiver course that they were still developing night refuelling. One 'fix' was to strap bicycle dynamos driven by propellers to illuminate the basket.

*Ping!

Above and below might have referred to the position of the aircraft but not actually hooking up as giver or receiver.

Last edited by Pontius Navigator; 10th Dec 2012 at 17:10.
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Old 10th Dec 2012, 21:54
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The terminology used by 214 Sq had pretty well settled down when I joined as a co in 1961. There were still aircraft lined up for a first go. In my time there was a Scimitar that tried and failed, because the probe nozzle was too close to the aircraft nose to fit inside the drogue, A very awkward Argosy trial owing to the speed differential.Then there was a Sea Vixen that not only took fuel from the Valiant but passed some back from its own Mk20 pod. We also had Trial 448 which is possibly still classified but was a very busy time for us.
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Old 11th Dec 2012, 08:41
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Art, if that trial is sufficiently interesting why not write an article from your memory and submit to the MOD?

I saw on here (www) a couple of years back an large article on 51 sqn Comets and their flights in the Black Sea and possibly Caspian (IIRC) that I was really surprised about.
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Old 11th Dec 2012, 16:55
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Tanking Vixens & vice versa

Now there's interesting, I was an engine fitter on 214 late 59 - early 62, HUD trained at Tarrant Rushton no less !, any way regarding the Vixen trials some of us were detached to Ford NAS to work with the FAA ? (or were they Navy ?) during this trial as they were using the Mk20 pod & we had to be fully conversant with FR equipment, little did I know that later would be working on Victor tankers that had not only Mk16 HDU's but Mk20 pods, I also earlier had been detached to Boscombe to assist with the Argosy trials, seem to remember during that trial changing over from the flat nosed probe (Mk6 ??) & relevant basket to the Mk9 "bullet" shaped probe & matching basket, also went through the mod programme fitting the little reflective buttons in the baskets think they were filled with Strontium 90, really glowed in the dark, for night time probing, will dig out some photo's & post of the trials with the Vixen from the air, rgds Paul H.
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Old 11th Dec 2012, 17:14
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The Vixen trials

Hope this helps, the Valant was XD858 the Vixen **489 was from HMS Victorious (sorry for earlier they are RN) that were on base at Ford for the trials, the 2 pictures are from a sequence of the Vixen to Valiant, will dig out the vice versa pictures & post later, notes say the a/c Captain was Sqd Ldr John Garston
rgds, Paul H.

Last edited by zetec2; 11th Dec 2012 at 17:15.
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Old 11th Dec 2012, 17:16
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Just noted the trials were in October 1961 for the Vixen, PH.
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Old 11th Dec 2012, 17:19
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Getting on top of a Vixen to be a receiver conjures up an alternative image.

SGC
 
Old 12th Dec 2012, 17:50
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Zetec
I was an engine fitter on 214 late 59 - early 62,
You might be one of, or definitely know Dave 'Curly' Garnham, Jock Riley and Roy Monk.

If you could carry an EDG under each arm, I know which one.

I was a Radar fitter on 214 for your entire tour, plus a bit at each end. I arrived Feb 59 and left Oct 62.
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Old 29th Jan 2013, 14:30
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Trial 448

There are entries in log book of the pilot of Valiant WZ390 during July 1962 for 'Trials 448' with no further description. Please can you tell me (to my private box, if you wish) what Trial 448 was all about?
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Old 30th Jan 2013, 08:35
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AP, all bomber Command trials were given a number. Usually they were conducted by the Bomber Command Development Unit - BCDU - which had a small unit with, I think, parts at each main base. It may have had one or two aircraft where equipment to be trialled might be fitted but for larger trials, such as 505, they needed to use the main force aircraft.

448 as clearly a flight refuelling trial. The times when the trial took place might be significant or the details of the receivers. Unless a Ppruner comes up with the detail you could ask the AHB giving as much detail as possible.
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Old 31st Jan 2013, 12:09
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These were uploaded to me a few years ago whilst trying to figure out my Mum's cousins RAF career.

Argosy...



and a Javelin...



With thanks to who ever it was from this forum.
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Old 31st Jan 2013, 13:44
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And it is quite likely that Trial 448 would have been one of the sort of trial shown above.

The Argosy was surely a classic case of Air Ministry cash wasted. If AAR was needed to get them from Aden to Gan and thence Singapore, fair enough, but did they ever deploy east of Aden?

The Javelin was a good case as one Valiant could take one Javelin all the way to Tengah with staging through El Adem, Aden and Gan; very efficient.

When it came to the Vulcan and Victor, we could double stage to the Far East at the same time as the Valiants would have taken to activate the route, and perhaps quicker.

In the 60s AAR was the thing regardless that we never had the proportion of tankers that the USAF enjoyed.
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Old 31st Jan 2013, 16:39
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Valiant Tankers

The Valiants straight wing was not suited to high speed low level flight which became the favvooured attack scheme in the early 60s

The wings developed considerable fatigue problems which were being addressed but still led to several nasty crashes and the aircraft was eventually withdrawn from service rather suddenly after one such

Your man must have been flying them while these events were developing

One such I think was the Stringer crew at Market Raisen
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Old 31st Jan 2013, 17:15
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Tinribs. the wing design and low level fatigue actually were not the root cause of the problem. The problem was one of metallurgy. The alloy was found to form crystalline structure when formed and spars in store were found to be similarly fatigued. From Wiki "premature fatiguing and inter-crystalline corrosion traced to the use of an inappropriate type of aluminium alloy".

There had been one or two Valiants at Pershore with only double digit hours and they had hoped to give them a limited clearance. They checked a few rivets and found no problems. They were about to give them clearance when they checked one more rivet for luck . . .

As for the wing shape I believe the Mark 2 had the same shape. "the "Black Bomber". Its performance at low level was superior to that of the B.1 (or any other V-bomber), with the aircraft being cleared to 580 mph (930 km/h) at low level (with speeds of up to 640 mph (1,030 km/h) being reached in testing). " I don't know about the metal used on the Mk 2.
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Old 31st Jan 2013, 17:58
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The problem was one of metallurgy.
Absolutley correct. WP217's rear wing fracture in flight initiated the Valiants demise. Up to that point there had been no concerns about the Valiant's airworthiness or fit for purpose.
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Old 31st Jan 2013, 18:04
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Was the spar material DTD 683. The stress office where I worked had a chunk that had not been anywhere near an aircraft, but had turned into a crumbling cheese like mess all by itself purely on age.
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