Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

I was an underpants Test Pilot for Marks & Spencers.

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

I was an underpants Test Pilot for Marks & Spencers.

Old 9th Jan 2013, 09:36
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: On a track winding back
Posts: 17
I was an underpants Test Pilot for Marks & Spencers.

Well not me exactly - but a certain Flt Lt O'Mahony who has a style which sounds rather familiar. As recounted on BBC Hometruths
Enjoy!
Underpants Test Pilot

Until now, Owen O'Mahony's contribution to the hidden comfort and support of Britain's men has gone unnoticed ...

"Not many of you know that I was the individual who, for a period of about two years and at Her Majestyís expense, carried out extensive high altitude testing of the intimate garments charged with holding your testosterone equipment. For the benefit of the less medically minded among you, I was an underpants Test Pilot for Marks & Spencers.

I was brought up in a comparatively poor background in Ireland where shoes were a luxury and underpants optional. For probably financial reasons, my Mother didnít take up this option and it was only when I joined the RAF that I discovered that I had been lagging behind the rest of the population. We were all issued with 4 pairs of enormous knee length "Aertex" bloomers with a vertical slot at the front. I assume it was at the front because it was on the opposite side to a label bearing a large arrow signifying that it was government property and bearing a 10 digit part number to ensure that they could never be confused with other military hardware.

Now I wore these with pride for a number of years, my wife even patched them when the small "aertex" holes developed into anything larger. In 1967 I became aware from the various macho advertisements that this type of underwear was passe and that, if one was to succeed in life, then it could only be done with the new "Y" fronts which, in a word, stopped things hanging about.

I am not one to be suckered in by hype so I ignored this call from the manufacturers for many a year. I did however ensure that my successful "macho" mates never saw me in my voluminous "shreddies". At about this time, some voyeuristic comedian introduced ultra voilet lighting into night clubs and dance halls. This allowed the more imaginative among us to view all the ladies in their underwear as they were caught in the lighting - Wow!

0ne particular night, I went to a club in Germany; I was wearing my dark blue Burtonís "Director" suit with only four payments to make before it was mine. I sat down to rest after a particularly vigorous dash around the dance floor to the strains of Glenn Millerís American Patrol. Olga, an Amazonian Russian woman had asked me to dance and from what I understood, said something about being a trumpeter with the Bolshoi Ballet. Now I can understand Olga wanting to dance with me; I was after all, tall, distinguished, fair haired and, according to my Mother and all her friends, handsome. Nonetheless, I was a little puzzled why a Russian Lady, who couldnít speak much English, had chosen me for the Ladiesí invitation dance. It was only when I sat down panting and unravelling my ribs, temporarily damaged by the ample Olga, that I noticed the UV lighting was highlighting the now luminous seams of my underpants. Shock - Horror, I was the only one with seams below my knees; it must have been obvious to the aforementioned lady that I was wearing Government Issue! I sculked around the edge of the dance floor away from the humiliating lights and caught the bus home. With the benefit of experience and hindsight it is now plain to me that Olga was a KGB spy trying to find out the, probably classified, part number on my underpants.

So for reasons of national security, I finally succombed to the manufacturerís hype and my wife dashed off to M & S to buy me some plain white combed cotton "Y" fronts. These new underpants gave me the courage and confidence to face the world; everything was neatly packaged and as a result, if the manufacturers were to be believed, I was now about to reep the benefits.

I started off with six pairs and began to prosper; promoted to Sergeant, commissioned, trained as a Pilot, posted to Singapore; it was all happening just like the manufacturers said. By the time that I got back to UK some three years later, it was time to invest in a further two pairs, but to my chagrin, they had changed the style; higher on the leg and less equipment storage space.

I tried them for a while but I wasnít happy. It was time to burst into print.

Marks & Spencers Ltd

Dear Sir,

I have for some time now been an ardent collector of your white combed cotton "Y" fronted underpants size 34"-36". My Wife recently bought me two pairs and I regret to inform you that they are far from satisfactory. I notice that the overlap at the front on the newer versions has been reduced ( A saving of material perhaps?). Now I am a man of modest proportions but the upshot is that things keep dropping out.

I am, for my sins, a flying instructor in Her Majestiesí Royal Air Force and when strapped into my aircraft, upside down at 18,000 feet, this is uncomfortable not to mention that when I apply "g" forces, the said overlap becomes an effective tourniquet!!!

I would ask you to reconsider the design of these underpants, otherwise I shall be forced to place my annual order for four pairs elsewhere!

Yours sincerely, etc

I have no doubt that this daunting threat caused an emergency Board meeting. Then came their reply:

Dear Flight Lieutenant OíMahony,

Thank you for your letter. We are sorry that you are unhappy about your recent purchase, however you will be pleased to know that we are in the process of redesigning this particular style.

Please find enclosed two pairs of the new prototypes with our compliments and we would appreciate your comments after you have tested them in the unusual conditions in which you work.

Yours sincerely, F.A.L.Cook (Ex Flt Lt Navigator)

This continued for about two years. New prototypes arrived, I would whizz them up to 20,000 feet, do a few loops in them, roll them, spin them and finish with a stall turn before sitting down to writing an in depth report covering such aspects as security, accessibility, comfort and suitability for astronauts. I assume that the manufacturers had already carried out the more basic tests on the elastic, washability, shrinkage etc.

The high altitude test programme was paid for by Her Majesty who kindly provided the aircraft and the fuel. Everybody was happy, I got free underpants, M & S got in depth reports - I even suggested to them that coloured versions might catch on.

Thatís how I became an underpants Test Pilot for Marks & Spencers.
Bon Giorno is offline  
Old 9th Jan 2013, 11:12
  #2 (permalink)  
I don't own this space under my name. I should have leased it while I still could
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Lincolnshire
Age: 76
Posts: 16,606
Very good, but had he got a Phantom course he would have been issued with Lyle and Scott's finest Y-front long johns is cotton or wool nylon.

The latter were a masterpiece of design that would shrink in the wash and itched like b*ggery.
Pontius Navigator is online now  
Old 9th Jan 2013, 11:25
  #3 (permalink)  

Gentleman Aviator
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Teetering Towers - somewhere in the Shires
Age: 70
Posts: 3,380
And one assumes it's not a problem that's occurred to the Commando Helicopter Force. . .
teeteringhead is offline  
Old 9th Jan 2013, 11:55
  #4 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: On a track winding back
Posts: 17
Very good, but had he got a Phantom course he would have been issued with Lyle and Scott's finest Y-front long johns is cotton or wool nylon.
Sounds very like Australian Army issue John L's - named after the noted bare knuckle prize fighter.

The latter were a masterpiece of design that would shrink in the wash and itched like b*ggery.
Wouldn't know - don't think I ever wore mine. And don't think anybody else I knew did either.
Bon Giorno is offline  
Old 9th Jan 2013, 12:31
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hanging off the end of a thread
Posts: 16,123
We were all issued with 4 pairs of enormous knee length "Aertex" bloomers
A collegue of mine when I joined related to these when he was posted to Aden, apparently true to military design, the shorts they were issued with were shorter in the leg than the said underwear resulting in them sticking out bottom a good couple of inches.
NutLoose is online now  
Old 9th Jan 2013, 12:33
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 25,481
Owen was one of our ULAS QFIs in 1973 - and did indeed have a fine sense of humour!

I seem to recall he flew Belvederes in Singapore?
BEagle is offline  
Old 9th Jan 2013, 12:37
  #7 (permalink)  
I don't own this space under my name. I should have leased it while I still could
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Lincolnshire
Age: 76
Posts: 16,606
Bon, being young and innocent at the time I relate to that picture. The SMO thought he would win some brownie points with AMTC or as a budding David Bailey and I got Joed in modelling the successive layers.

Fortunately,, being an amateur I got to wear my T-vest as well.

Not too keen when the G-pants were added though.

I have no idea what happened to them and fervently hope the film didn't come out.
Pontius Navigator is online now  
Old 9th Jan 2013, 13:27
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Hamburg
Posts: 119
The latter were a masterpiece of design that would shrink in the wash and itched like b*ggery.
Sorry, I am not familiar - buggery itches?
Stuart Sutcliffe is offline  
Old 9th Jan 2013, 15:02
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: London
Posts: 761
...only if you leave yer pants on (so I'm told )
dead_pan is offline  
Old 9th Jan 2013, 15:45
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hanging off the end of a thread
Posts: 16,123
I hope he declared them to the tax man, they will be undies clothed income..




I'll get my coat.

Last edited by NutLoose; 9th Jan 2013 at 15:48.
NutLoose is online now  
Old 9th Jan 2013, 15:49
  #11 (permalink)  
I don't own this space under my name. I should have leased it while I still could
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Lincolnshire
Age: 76
Posts: 16,606
Originally Posted by Stuart Sutcliffe View Post
Sorry, I am not familiar - buggery itches?
Likewise, so I was told.
Pontius Navigator is online now  
Old 9th Jan 2013, 16:10
  #12 (permalink)  
Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Peripatetic
Posts: 10,058
It reminds me of the story I was told by an ex-Javelin navigator, Sqn Ldr Bob Bonus, concerning trial "Sweet Relief" involving condoms, rubber tubing and children's hot water bottles (Teddy and Andy Pandy IIRC) when preparing for long range deployments using AAR for the first time.......
ORAC is online now  
Old 10th Jan 2013, 09:14
  #13 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: On a track winding back
Posts: 17
Fortunately for those who may have put on a few pounds, replacements are readily available.
Bon Giorno is offline  
Old 10th Jan 2013, 09:42
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: beyond the hedge of reason
Posts: 63
Thank you Nutloose - gave me a right good chuckle there! (I believe that the modern idiom is LOL?)
E L Whisty is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2013, 10:21
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Sussex UK
Age: 62
Posts: 6,996
Thanks BEagle for the memory jog

Owen was one of our ULAS QFIs in 1973 - and did indeed have a fine sense of humour!
http://www.pprune.org/military-aircr...-6-1974-a.html

There were two other ULAS QFI names I couldn't remember at the time of the above post ... Owen O'Mahony was one ... the other was a Brian ? who appeared to suffer spine/back problems and, at the time, was hopeful CME would prescribe some kind of back support for him.

Back to Owen ... I enjoyed an hour of spirited aero's over the Isle of Sheppey along with some PFL's with him during the ULAS Summer Camp of 74. As we walked out to the pan he turned and said "I'm suffering from a peptic ulcer young man ... if it bursts are you capable of getting us back on the ground ?" I smiled and said "I'll do my best and try not to disappoint Sir" ... he smiled and whilst the sortie was authorised as SCT for him ... he gave me a good instructional session

Best ...

Coff.

Last edited by CoffmanStarter; 11th Jan 2013 at 10:31.
CoffmanStarter is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2013, 13:04
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 66
Posts: 2,063
'.. the other was a Brian ? who appeared to suffer spine/back problems and, at the time, was hopeful CME would prescribe some kind of back support for him.'

I think you will find that the Gentleman in question was a chap called Flt Lt Mike Blee, ex Nimrod driver and a really nice bloke. I was fortunate enough to be the airframe man on his aircraft (B), so was able to beg some great flying with him on SCT days. Unfortunately he died in a mid air collision whist doing air experience flying for ATC cadets. I believe the cadet passenger also died in the accident which involved a glider. Hope that helps.

Smudge
smujsmith is offline  
Old 12th Jan 2013, 19:29
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: The Marches
Posts: 16
The Brian in question may well be Flt Lt Wheeler, ex 47 Sqn C130 driver. But meanwhile back to the Owen saga. OO'M was indeed a raconteur and bon viveur san pareil. An ex Belvidere driver his image is still on the wall on 60(R) Sqn at Shawbury (the successors to the real 2 Squadron, 2FTS). Just before the 1973 move to Abingdon he left a dining in night at Murphy's Bar (the Officers Mess at White Waltham) early and had to be ambushed and dragged half way back from the quarters patch before he fought his way free from the ambushing drunks. He completed a much needed reorganision of the Town Headquarters and did a memorable tour down the spiral staircase to the platform at the former Brompton Road tube station. His apocryphal? F1369 preferences of Dominie, Dominie, BOAC was a superb lesson to the wannabe youth; he got Dominies. I last saw him driving an HS125 with the registration N125AS and have heard he has retired to Malta. Unless the Flying Lawyer or the Senior Student can add any more.
RSuppards is offline  
Old 22nd Feb 2014, 23:07
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Rugby
Posts: 2
Underpants Test Pilot for Marks & Spencers

Dear All,
I am the 180lbs of spring steel and rippling muscle who was the former "Underpants test pilot for Marks & Spencers". I am now 75 years old and
I am trying to get a job as a "Toy boy". My CV is superb but I keep failing the interviews; can't think why, I always wear a stick-on hairy chest and a medallion for interview - nevermind, it's their loss, not mine.

After 18 years in Her Majesty's Royal Air Force, which I always described as "A champagne lifestyle on beer money", I discovered that I wasn't a "real" pilot after all. It cost me £3,000+ of my own money (in 1977) to get all the necessary paperwork to become an "Airline Transport Pilot". I joined a holiday airline company flying Newcastle to Torrylominos twice a day with pink donkeys and "Kiss me quick hats". That was so exciting that I quit in less than 1 year and went into executive aviation.

I have only ever worked for 4 straight employers; Ayrton Senna & Michael Schumacher being two of them. The others were egocentric meglomaniacs
or gangsters with more money than sense.

There was mention about Flt Lt Brian Wheeler, a former ULAS QFI. I met him briefly in Bahrain in 2009 where he was flying Gulfstream Jets for the Bahraini Royal Flight. Sadly, he was in the throes of a divorce and was planning to retire in South Africa.
If you don't believe me, please feel free to contact me on [email protected]

.
Owen8125 is offline  
Old 23rd Feb 2014, 00:34
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 25,481
Owen8125 wrote:
I am the 180lbs of spring steel and rippling muscle....
Hmmm. This was you in (I think) 1972 at WW:


I'd been attempting to....err, 'get to know' the young lady (a ULOTC babe) in the photo and suggested that a flight with my gallant Chipmunk QFI might be rather fun for her. (And perhaps move things along rather for me... )

Well, she enjoyed her trip, but sadly that was all.... DNCO for yours truly!

Glad to hear you're still in good form, Owen!
BEagle is offline  
Old 23rd Feb 2014, 11:27
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: South East of Penge
Age: 70
Posts: 1,390
Atmospheric shot that Beags. Plus one year I think.
Haraka is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.