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John Sergeant and The Sea King, 28th Feb

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John Sergeant and The Sea King, 28th Feb

Old 2nd Mar 2013, 19:58
  #61 (permalink)  
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Excellent show - congrats to BBC and John S, rather have a true enthusiast than a so called expert boring the pants over I remember the Mk1-4 a dash 526 bla bla in which the inverter wiring was blue rather than green bla bla . Hope he does more - Lancaster as may have been hinted at.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 20:43
  #62 (permalink)  
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A most enjoyable, memorable, and poignant piece - despite the big girl's blouse.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 21:48
  #63 (permalink)  
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Its on again tomorrow night (Sunday). A click will tell you what time from any TV program listing. Sorry about that.
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 11:31
  #64 (permalink)  
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The production used out of 'cab' clips from a Wessex when 'dramatising' the yacht rescue, how lazy
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 18:48
  #65 (permalink)  
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German Sea King: Mk41. Radar: SeaSpray Mk 3 with nose and rear antenna.


I did enjoy the documentary, quite personal at times, moving stories, a decent (early) farewell to one of the most versatile, flexible, durable and amazing helicopters that ever was around.

(Although the Sea King will continue to fly for at least another 10 to 15 years in Germany)


Last edited by Thone1; 3rd Mar 2013 at 18:48.
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 20:29
  #66 (permalink)  
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Just to be sure, I've just watched it again. I have to say, IMHO, it's not too bad a program. I dread to think how it could have been carved up, John Nichol commentates on Martin Shaw and brother doing the "proffesional" flying. Nah, stick to Jo Brands twin brother, it'll do for me !
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 22:56
  #67 (permalink)  
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Why was the cab in which the baby was born registered in Germany? Was it on attachment from the Marineflieger?
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 12:06
  #68 (permalink)  
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Tucumseh - thank you for that bit of enlightenment ... my time with the SK was early test flying at Boscombe and it seemed to me that there was so much that could have been improved for its intended role - but compromise rules, as ever!
Tourist - the non-relevance of the forward arc for pinging was something which was said to me by my mentors at CulDrose when I did a short introductory course with them. I, generally, accept the view of them 'as knows about' these things. My personal view is coloured by the loss of two crews off Falmouth and two in the Gulf which MIGHT have been avoided by a forward radar view. "If wishes were horses" ... etc.!
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 12:30
  #69 (permalink)  

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You seem very heavy on the CulDrose thing but you do not discuss your reasons. Do you feel Hansard was a mistake? Do you feel the senior RN officer on the prog was also making a mistake? If so I wonder why.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 15:19
  #70 (permalink)  
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Cornish; the two in the Gulf were AEW SK, so their radars have no blind arcs forward!

And what two off Falmouth? i don't remember that one.

Last edited by Mick Strigg; 4th Mar 2013 at 15:23.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 15:30
  #71 (permalink)  
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And what two off Falmouth? i don't remember that one.
Possibly referring to the two 820 Sqn SKs that collided off St Catherine's Point on 6th March 1981 when flying from/to Invincible. Casualties were:

BATEMAN, Robert W, Sub Lieutenant,
LITTLETON, Paul, Lieutenant,
MARCHMENT, Ian J, Leading Aircraft Mechanician (A/CMN),
MCDONALD, Marcus H, Sub Lieutenant, (Service no. two off mine)
ROUE, David F, Lieutenant Commander, (After whom the trophy is named)

Last edited by airborne_artist; 4th Mar 2013 at 15:31.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 15:34
  #72 (permalink)  
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Yes, AA; I was there. Nowhere near Falmouth though! And that accident wasn't due to blind-arcs either.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 18:00
  #73 (permalink)  
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The CulDrose pronunciation irritant is just parochialism as are the non-local's usual efforts at Mousehole, Launceston, Fowey etc. Just put it down to 'grumpy old man' syndrome.
Radar positioning? The only reason I can think of for putting it there is weight concentration close to the mast/CG. My limited exposure to the SK was mainly in the initial stages of winch trials at Boscombe and as a machine intended for THAT specialist role, it seemed to me that there was room for improvement - but that is a universal 'given'.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 19:07
  #74 (permalink)  
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As previously stated.

Bagger cabs have 360 radar.
820 is a pinger sqn.

Pingers almost always work in pairs. At night/IMC a radar is what keeps them alive. The endless "clear blind arc right/left" is imprinted on my brain for ever.
A pinger works from a ship. It has to find that ship. It then has to control itself to the ship by HCA/ELVA which is a radar controlled approach to the ship. Approaching a ship by radar control when you cannot see the direction you are going is challenging.....
Think about it.

SAR cabs require a radar on I would guess 1% of shouts. Usually on your own, got GPS, and very rarely actually radar "search".
It happens, of course, but even the low level landfall apprach is rare. You could pretty much do away with a radar, and the RN never even used to have observers on the SAR for exactly that reason. If you needed somebody on the radar we just pinched an observer from a pinger sqn.

Blind arc effect on SAR, almost zero.
Blind Arc effect on Pinger, huge.

Oh, and by the way, it is CulDrose! Always has been , and in fact before the program had never heard it mispronounced.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 19:14
  #75 (permalink)  
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before the program had never heard it mispronounced

By the big girl's blouse!
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 19:38
  #76 (permalink)  
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Tucumseh, your post on 2nd March is, unusually for you, only half the story – it’s also written from the engineer’s perspective and not the operators.

When the Sea King replaced the Whirlwind in RAF service it was recognized that trained radar operators would be required, and these were recruited from AEOps from the Nimrod fleet, experienced in operating ASV 21D. However, you’re right to say that by the mid-90s the standard of radar operating was not good. The main reasons for this were quite complex, but boiled down to the fact that many RAF Sea King radar operators (or radar instructors, for that matter) did not come from radar operating backgrounds – they were a mix of Navigators, Nimrod acoustic operators and SH-trained Loadmasters. Those few Nimrod radar operators that were selected for SAR (on a course designed solely to assess winchop and winchman skills) were, as you say, trained on and experienced in processed radar. However, your assertion that the radops were staring at the screen wondering what all the noise was is plain wrong, almost to the point of insult. I remember the period you allude to as I was a radop at Lossiemouth at the time and although I didn’t have the overall perspective you had, I remember that the radars as fitted were weak and seemed underpowered. None of the radops at Lossie at that time would have rejected radars because they “expected clean digital displays” as at least two of the five of us were ASV 21D trained. The Swept Gain story is also a typical engineer’s tale – whilst I’ve no doubt it happened as you say, the fact was that radar instructors at that time advocated leaving swept gain alone, as it had a very powerful effect on the display and without understanding exactly how it worked you could get yourself in trouble with it. It’s also quite likely that the operator you dealt with at Finningley was not an experienced radar operator, or even a radop at all. Still, your tale paints (geddit?) a MoD-satisfying picture of untrained operators so incompetent they couldn’t understand either the display or the controls, rejecting serviceable radar after serviceable radar through sheer ignorance.

The real problem was that instructors could not see the operator’s display because of the Fresnel lens over the CRT. Without this supervision, it was difficult to convey to a tyro radar operator exactly what he was expected to see in front of him. The RN had a very good rig down at Culdrose, which was made available to our students on SKTU, but once they moved on to the SAR flights they never saw a rig again. I don’t even remember the “full training rig” you delivered; I certainly never received training on it. This was the reason the RAF opted not to upgrade from old RN stock, but instead to procure a display that both the operator and instructor could see simultaneously – it also had the side benefit of being a processed radar that all future radops, recruited from the Nimrod MR2, would be comfortable with. Although a bit of a lash up, it was not a “neither here nor there hybrid”, it was a radar that could provide phenomenal SA in busy sea areas such as the Thames estuary and one which gave the crews enormous confidence.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 19:54
  #77 (permalink)  
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Tourist, your assertion that SAR cabs could do away with radar, and that blind arc is so much more important to the pingers, is just plain rubbish. I've often used (not just 1%) radar on SAR, for searching, let downs (both coastal and open water) and general SA. I understand blind arc limitations as well as any pinger crew - I would imagine they affect us equally. It's not a major problem, and coping with it is relatively straightforward, but when you're in the hover near a busy sea lane and trying to prevent being run over by 40,000t of container ship, blind arc is a pain in the @rse. I'm sure my captain, asking me in our MS10 after the event why I didn't see that ship coming, would take great comfort from my reply that the chances of that happening to a SAR cab were "almost zero".

You have a very strange idea of how SAR crews operate...
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 20:52
  #78 (permalink)  
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I'm and ex pinger and ex SAR...

Unlike you, I'm not imagining anything.

I know which has more use for a 360 radar.

Radar u/s in a SAR cab in most cases mildly irritating.
Radar u/s in a pinger, no point in going.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 22:15
  #79 (permalink)  
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Radar u/s in a SAR cab in most cases mildly irritating.
Yeah, alright then. I suppose after all these years I still don't understand radar...at least, as comprehensively as a Looker...

Last edited by sargs; 4th Mar 2013 at 22:19.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 22:26
  #80 (permalink)  
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The 820 crash in 1981 had nothing to do with the radar - despite the weather being awful. Nope, it was all about running when we couldn't even crawl. ...too fast too soon.

RIP Ringbolters.
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