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Apocryphal Tales

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Apocryphal Tales

Old 10th Feb 2014, 18:09
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Apocryphal Tales

We've all heard them. The stories that we all love to regale but rarely, if ever, actually know the true origins.

So I thought I'd start this thread as a way for us to tell those tall stories that we all love and see if we can actually get to the truth behind them. That way, in future when we tell the stories, we can say with authority when and where they happened! Here's a couple for starters, that I've heard but am unsure of their origins:

1. Lightning gets airborne during ground run with engineer on board.
2. Transport aircraft returning from the Falklands where the Captain got in trouble for informing the female passengers that they were all ugly again.

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Old 10th Feb 2014, 18:11
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" 1. Lightning gets airborne during ground run with engineer on board."

Has been written up on PPRuNe with links to the article by the "pilot" himself.

I'd like to hear the story behind No 2
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 18:12
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His story is here

Oops - accidental lightning pilot - PistonHeads
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 18:13
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The Lightning is true. W/C Taffy Holden, well documented on here and by the man himself on BBC Radio. I believe the interview is on YouTube.
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 18:14
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Here is the link to story about the Lightning.

Oops - accidental lightning pilot - PistonHeads
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 18:15
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I think it was only the WAAFs he said were ugly again.
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 18:26
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That was quick!

That's number one answered. Still waiting for number two. So to speak!
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 18:37
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What about the techie who stole a Canberra and crashed it on take off, I believe?

There were several stories doing the rounds in the '50's of pilots becoming unconscious and the aircraft (vampire?) being landed by the passenger.
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 18:53
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The one I always hoped was true was the tale of a Herc load of paras returning to UK from some exercise or other. The troops were not on their best behaviour so on landing at Lyneham the Master Loadie decides on a bit of payback and has his human cargo doubling around outside the aircraft whilst waiting for the pax bus. As is the case this takes forever but finally it arrives and the paras (no doubt not even out of breath!) board the bus. Last on is the Sgt Maj who takes the Loadie to one side and says, words to the effect of, no problems with the 'punishment' but perhaps next time he could fall the colonel out.
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 19:03
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What about the blind Hawk pilot who landed the aeroplane even though the engine had failed. What a tall story that was
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 19:05
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That one made I laff Wrathmonk
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 19:21
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Herc returning to Lyneham during Granby, makes the call to Ops when inbound & in response to the question, 'Do you have any VIPs aboard?' answers, 'Yes, Sheik Yur Wad!' Ops apparently take it seriously & approaching the parking bay crews spots the reception committee including OC Ops. Nav puts on the Arab costume he purchased down the Souk & exits down the crew steps to take the salute. Points at OC Ops & says, 'On your knees, infidel!' Wg Cdr is just bending his knees when he spots the 'Sheik' is wearing flying boots......
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 19:24
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Ken Scott

Thanks, I needed a good laugh this morning
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 20:24
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Stories I've heard.....

A maintainer survived by crouching/coiling back into the footwell of the pilots cockpit of a Sea Vixen just in time as the ejection seat fired. Was this true?

Someone deliberately flew a Sea Harrier under the Sydney Harbour Bridge (I've heard this loads of times and knew and served with the alleged person involved but is it actually true?).

Someone had part of an ejector seat fired through their eyeball and out the back of their head and still survived......

Any of these true, vaguely true or an outright myth?
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 20:35
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High ranking officer returning to UK from Cyprus bullies Herc crew into carrying his tax free car over higher priority freight.
En route crew declare engine problems and jettison car into the Med.

Posted from PPRuNe.org App for Android
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 20:47
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High ranking officer returning to UK from Cyprus bullies Herc crew into carrying his tax free car over higher priority freight.
En route crew declare engine problems and jettison car into the Med.
I've heard it was a homeward bound SENGO who pulled rank to ignore the accepted practice of drawing lots for spare Herc space (?) to get the winners car home, but the resulting car swimming in the Med is the same.

A SWO once spotted me walking across the grass outside SHQ and shouted "Airman" etc etc....
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 20:48
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originally posted by ColinB (2008)

The Night 57 sqn lost a canberra

J/T John Seville ?


Over the next couple of days Fingers considered his situation not only with the police of two nations but also his current problems with his girlfriend and decided drastic problems merited drastic solutions and he decided he would borrow a Canberra.
His master plan included taking off from Gutersloh, flying to Dishforth in Yorkshire, landing on the North/South runway parallel to the to the A1, taxiing to the boundary fence and jumping over it to hitch a lift to North of Manchester where his family lived. It should be piece of cake really he had a key for Canberras and had studied the Pilot Notes.
In the early morning of 15th October 1957 he went out, taking with him a suitcase and small pack, onto the airfield to the 59 Sqdn line and removed all of the covers and external attachments of Canberra XH204. He set up all of the necessary switches to start up on internals, did not arm the ejection seat and at 6:30 pm when Reveille sounded he threw the master battery switch thereby masking the noise of start up.
When the canopy had de-misted and the engines settled at 2700 revs he released the parking brake and started to move forward. He immediately found difficulty in steering with the engines and toe brakes but was making good progress until approaching Runway 09 when the combination of a slight slope and a curve in the track caused him to swing onto the grass and bogging down. Now panic set in and he thought there would be a hue and cry so he decided to abandon the aircraft and run to the boundary fence which he scaled and a German on a moped gave him a lift to Herzebrock Station.
He did not need to hurry because it was almost 2 hours after start up before the missing Canberra was discovered by the Control Tower and 59 Squadron initially denied they had lost it.
When they entered the Canberra cockpit and discovered the suitcase, the police quickly put two and two together and decided the documents in the case may lead to the identity of the tyro aviator.
These events led to a major investigation with more snowdrops on the ground than at Kew in January
This was the beginning of a bizarre and at times python-esque series of events with a surprising ending.
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 20:49
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Victor Tanker operating somewhere in the Far East has a problem with his system and calls the local ATC with the message:

"Request permission to jettison my hose".

"... Tower - Say again over?"

After much toing and froing, a more competent English speaker appears on the tower frequency, but still sounds confused...

".... I understand that you wish to get rid of your socks?"
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Old 10th Feb 2014, 20:52
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Sharpend, I recall a Hawk pilot taking a duck through the windscreen at knots lots. I think that he lost an eye, but landed the jet ok, despite being in a hell of a state.

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Old 10th Feb 2014, 20:55
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Sheikh Yahwad

I was one of the two GEs on that aircraft and could name every member of the crew, but won't in this forum. It began as a joke, and the arrival base was Akrotiri. We had been sweeper for a Tornado deployment return home, and had ended up doing a quick (if Albert could do anything quick) trip from Bahrain to Akrotiri to collect a hydraulic rig, to fix the downed swing winged electric jet for its next leg. On arriving at Akrotiri, the movers and VASS were their usual, brilliant support and we were soon heading back to Bahrain. We had acquired a passenger, who it turned out was a movements officer from AKR who had asked if he could get a quick trip out to Bahrain.

Our Nav, a young fellow with only one stripe on his shoulder, who for brevity we will call Simon, had said to the movements man "no problems mate, jump aboard". It was only a four hour flight back to Bahrain, so quick, as advertised. Unfortunately, it took three days for the Tornado Groundcrew to fix their jet. The movements lad from Akrotiri had arrived in Bahrain believing he would be back at Akrotiri that evening. KD shorts, shirts and Bondu boots were his only apparel, added to which his lack of passport was equally a problem. We managed to get him off base, and Simon shared his room with him. As we had two days awaiting the fast jet boys we went shopping. We had all done GW1 pretty well as a crew, no excitement, but that "all for one" attitude was there. We went shopping in the souk on one of the days and all bought "local" attire. No messing, the full kit, headdress, and nightdress, and didn't we all look a sight!

Come the day, we saw the Tonka head north and duly followed. The flight back to Akrotiri was a laugh, and somewhere along the way it was suggested that we have a laugh with movements at Akrotiri. It was suggested that we call Akrotiri movements (HF) and inform them of the arrival on our aircraft of "Shiekh Yahwad" courtesy of the British Embassy Bahrain. To make it more convincing, the, by now, our compliant movements officer from Akrotiri was asked to confirm the call.

Military precision was called for so, on approach we had a plan. All crew had changed into their Arab garb, and the Captain was to play the part of Sheikh Yahwad. The plan was, Loadie led off and shut down the aircraft. Two GEs follow in Arab dress and stand at attention either side of the crew door. The captain then leads the rest of the crew from the Aircraft down the crew steps, and we all have a laugh. Oh, how the mighty fall. On arrival at Akrotiri, around 1530 local time, we found a reception committee consisting of OC admin, Eng and Ops (thankfully no Staish) all lined up in their finest best Khaki, at the end of a rather nice red carpet, aligned with the crew door of Albert. Now, a few things to note, to my knowledge, nobody above the rank of Sergeant ever worked, outside, at Akrotiri after 1300 hours local, and, Having done a 3 year tour there previously, I had never seen so many Wing Commanders lined up at one time.

The brakes went on, and discussion abounded on intercom. Our Captain bottled out (if you read PPRuNe boss I respect your decision) but as a crew we would continue the fun. Simon (the Nav) was now elected "Sheikh Yahwad" so we duly opened the crew door and got on with it. Following the Loady down the crew door, dressed in full gear, myself and fellow GE position ourselves either side of the crew door and proffer the full Roman Centurion, across the chest fist pump. At which all three Wing Co's throw one up and await the arrival. Now, Simon had probably been a bit short changed in the souk, his nightgown was a bit short, and as he led the Co pilot down the crew door his flying boots were spotted by OC Ops I believe. He dropped the salute and said something along the lines of "what the bloody hell ?". Young Simon, bless him, decided in for a penny, waved his right arm and shouted " kneel infidels" in a very poor Arab/Anglo accent. We were actually taken in to RAFP custody for around 30 minutes until the grown ups saw the funny side of it.

Thankfully, as a mere SNCO, I was not involved in the three Wing Commander "debrief". I did enjoy that evenings night at a local Kebab house, and rounding off the night in the 'O's' mess. Next day we headed north for the 8 hour slog to Lyneham, I realised the consequence of our "joke" about an hour out when I asked the Loady about breakfast. "How would you like your water Smudge" says he. Realising that it was Ramadan, the Wing Commanders of Akrotiri had ordered our rations back home were to be just the standard water flasks. I can't ever complain, the whole trip was great fun, a real team effort where all of us got stuck in to doing our bit. Sheikh Yahwad will always be a happy memory for me


PS Ken, we were sweeping a Tornado Det back to UK from Malaysia, post GW1.
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