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Select Star and Combat Ready Select Crews

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Select Star and Combat Ready Select Crews

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Old 6th Feb 2014, 14:05
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Select Star and Combat Ready Select Crews

Pontious et al:

These are terms I remember from the Ladybird 'V Bombers' book when I was a kid. Combat ready I get- was once myself. But I'm sure I remember the idea of, 'Select Star' status among crews.

Wassat all about?

My memories of how the service cares for its people lead to my immediate assumption is that it means, "Congratulations Golf, you have earned the right to die first!" Is that close?

CG
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 15:06
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The terms, Combat, Combat Star, Select and Select Star were classification levels of V force aircrews. They were, in some cases, rewarded with a superior name tag. There was a scheme where they would get a higher priority for 'Lone Rangers' overseas.

A lot depended on the crew. You could have a Combat Star captain, a Select NavRad, a Select Star NavPlotter so the crew would be rated as a Combat Star crew. The co-pilot and AEO didn't count, as usual.

Tanker crews could only get up to Select standard, but that didn't matter as they were punching across the Channel quite regularly. Your Main Force crews would flog their guts out to get up to Select or Select Star standard and be rewarded with two Lone Rangers to Malta, in a tour, instead of one.

I may have been a Select co-pilot on a Combat crew but don't worry about it.
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 15:14
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CG,

When I first joined the V-force the Select Star was one of the categories for an operational crew to reach.

On first joining the squadron a crew would quickly attain a limited ops capability which involved combat checking and aircraft and nuclear weapons acceptance and low level conversion as that was not taght on the OCU (it was new). They then underwent a training regime. This involved the pilots flying to a given instrument rating standard, the nav plotter doing a given number of different navigation exercises, the crew flying two 1500 mile typical profile flights, and two hi-lo-hi. The critical evolution was the number of simulated bombing attacks of various manoeuvres with 50% of the scores falling within set limits. Should all these succeed in the 6-month training period then the crew would be awarded a COMBAT classification. They were allocated about 165 hours to do this.

In the following training period the bombing accuracy requirement was tighter with fewer attacks being required as well. The number of flying hours allocated was also reduced. After 12 months on the squadron the crew would be expected to be COMBAT STAR.

The following two training periods would see greater accuracies required with fewer flying hours allocated as the crew progressed from SELECT to SELECT STAR. A select star crew, after 2 years, would be allocated around 280 hours per year.

The select star crew could also expect to fly more overseas ranger flights. This meant the UK training requirements had to be achieved in even fewer hours.

Around the late '60s the system was changed with a different and more difficult award system and the introduction of the BTR (Basic Training Requirements) system.

~~~~

On the right to die first, actually it was the other way around.

On the Waddo wing, during one war plan, I noticed that two aircraft were allocated to the same target and flying identical routing from top of drop. The lower priority ALN was 224 and had a TOT 10 minutes earlier than ALN214, the higher priority sortie. In practise I did not allocate crews by experience but in a clever plan to ensure that every ALN was allocated to a crew that had studied the target. In a full tour, not once did we fail to cover the ALNs in our Friday night prep.
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 16:28
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FED, on our sqn we had an efficiency trophy. It was a silver plated 12.5lb practice bomb.

I noticed that it seemed to be awarded to the Select Star crew that had flown the most rangers in the period but more importantly failed to achieve its training stats.

Eventually we won the trophy. True to form we had failed to meet our training requirements as we had had a lot of overseas rangers.

As for Malta, better Luqa than El Adem

You also remind me, training and stats only counted if flown with your constituted crew. Getting super scores as a guest artist benefited neither crew.

PS, there were a number of simulated targets in the different bomb plots, around 20 or so. Some were very easy such as the NE corner of the SW hangar at Hemswell. This was therefore nominated as a training target. OTOH the centre of the lounge bar of the Hume Arms at Torksey was a classification target even though you could use Hemswell as the aiming point.

An attack on a classification target, with your constituted crew counted towards your classification target. However there were also rules to prevent you making a training attack on Torksey as a guest artist within 6 months of you subsequently using it as a classification target.

And would you believe there was a section of Clerk, Stats at High Wycombe that would pour over the quadruple twos (BC F Stats 2222) to ensure compliance.
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 16:34
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Thread drift (my thread thoughh)
training and stats only counted if flown with your constituted crew.
I understand the concept of co-operation and crew dynamics, and surely, one HAD to 'fit in', in such an environment; so what happened to 'square pegs'? It must have happened.

CG
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 17:19
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Originally Posted by charliegolf View Post
surely, one HAD to 'fit in', in such an environment; so what happened to 'square pegs'? It must have happened.

CG
Crews formed up informally while attending the survival course at Mountbatten before they even got to the OCU. Usually it worked.

Occasionally where it didn't, and this seemed pretty rare, exchanges as people were posted could happen. At the time however the Air Sec's Department would 'hand over' aircrew to Bomber Command P-staff for 5 years and double tours were not unusual. On my first sqn one crew had come complete from the Valiant with their co-pilot become the captain John B-Y's crew.

There were also 'hard' changes too

One particular crew did not get on with their AEO. During once exercise scramble the AEO was the first to get off the 32-seater coach. From the platform he jumped before the bus had stopped moving, but no one warned him that he was facing the wrong way. He broke his thigh. I believe the crew still achieved cockpit readiness without the AEO.
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 18:19
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Digging in to the old brain cells, an example was the 2A evasive bomb run.

A would be Combat crew might have to get 3 attacks out of 5 within 1600 yards. The Select Star crew might have had to get one within 1000 yards and one within 1200 yards.

In both case, for example, the Combat crew might get # 1,2 and 5 in the limits and therefore succeed. OTOH if they got 1 and 5 they then needed to get 6 and 7 in limits. If 6 was out they would need to get 8 or 9 in.

The Select Star crew merely had to get 2 together.

Operationally the evasive bomb run would have been flown around FL 480 or higher at about M 0.86. The wind direction was in the lap of the gods.

In training crews tended to fly at FL 410-430, chose an in to wind track, and brought the speed back to 0.84. They would also aim to roll out nearer 20 miles to bomb release rather than 15.
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 18:31
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I believe the crew still achieved cockpit readiness without the AEO.
On at least one occassion, before PN's time, there was two Victors engine running with six in one cockpit and four in the other.

They won't talk about the Vulcan that had its exhaust blanks frozen in when they hit the Simstart button.
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 18:50
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FED, I remember the former but not the latter.

I do remember the QRA with a Vulcan 1a. As the crew approached the CC hit the sim start. All 4-engines spooled up, as usual, as the crew approach (2-man control were different in those days).

Unfortunately the door lock broke and they couldn't open the door.

Next question: how long will it take until the fuel runs out? The brains trust pondered this problem and other likely options - blow the canopy - open the engine bays etc etc
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 20:04
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The story I heard was that the aircraft was sitting in freezing conditions when the hooters went. The crew rushed out and the airman responsible for pulling the exhaust blanks had a tail break as he pulled. He rushed to get a giraffe so the chief thought he had the blanks out and then he hit the button.

The engines spooled up, lit and then there were four frisbies hurtling across the airfield.

I was never involved with buckets of sunshine but I think that those who were could fill a book with QRA events.
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 20:07
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FED, Quite.
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Old 7th Feb 2014, 15:47
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FED

Like the time a Blue Danube fell onto the tarmac!
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Old 8th Feb 2014, 10:15
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...or the time in mid-winter when an airman got swamped with HTP from a Blue Steel missile and was lifted off his feet and rushed to the HTP plunge bath at the side if the dispersal. After breaking the ice on top of the cast iron bath he was punged in without hesitation, even tho' the temps was below freezing.

He was ambulanced to sick bay suffering from hypothemia, which was better than the effects of HTP burns!
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Old 8th Feb 2014, 12:19
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FJJP, today H&S would probably insist on it being heated. Say a Jacuzzi at each dispersal.

On second thoughts H&S would not allow HTP

At Coningsby outside the gin palace was an emergency shower (late 90s) with a pull cord cistern IIRC. Probably need more courage to do it yourself
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Old 8th Feb 2014, 19:08
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PN, I have just bought a number of emergency showers for certain installations at Grimsby and Colchester. I was amazed at the specification. 1200 l tank. It automatically did a water change every so often (to prevent the water going stagnant re legionella). Operated by a treadle platform, a micro switch to sound an alarm, most importantly they were heated. Not just to prevent freezing but so the water was tepid to save the user from getting two lumps in his throat.


Is NaOH as harmful as HTP?


Enjoying this thread as usual.
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Old 8th Feb 2014, 19:55
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Drag, just goes to show.

Sodium in liquid alkaline form is I believe an excellent melter of skin.
I don't know about comparsions but I suspect rapid immersion after HTP contamination would be less harmful.
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