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Global Aviation Magazine : 60 Years of the Hercules

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Global Aviation Magazine : 60 Years of the Hercules

Old 25th Jan 2015, 21:07
  #2361 (permalink)  
 
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DCThumb,

That all ties in, my records show the Kigale fracas as lasting from July 31 - August 9 1994. And what an interesting experience it was. My last year as a GE and the boss sends for me one day and says, I want you to organise an Eng Det. The job was to support a stream of frames, trucking through Akrotiri to Dar Es Salaam (DES), there to fly troops equipment and supplies to Kigale, where the Hootoo's had recently been chopping up Tootoos, or vice versa. Unusually, instead of just telling me to go book out a ranger pack, I was told to sort out the engineering requirements for a major through flow of Lynehams finest, I ask your perseverance now fellow posters, it's a story that exposes every mistake that can be made in a couple of weeks of Albert operations, at many levels.

So, the engineering side was pre ordained, 6 GEs, to accompany the aircraft in and out of Kigale from DES, and, the bonus of around 12 Lyneham Line technicians, the worlds finest, to handle the aircraft through DES. Equipment, as I requested, was agreed, with the exception of two spare mainwheels and a nose wheel set, I was told vetoed by OC Eng on weight grounds. Whilst working out what we needed, I had had a look at the situation at Kigale airport, which had experienced a large guerrilla war, and was likely to offer plenty of FOD to deal with. Anyway, OC Eng 1 - Smudge 0. Oh, just as I was getting a bit big for my Chf Tech Boots, I was told that a recently arrived young lady JENGO would be I/C the Engineering Det. My final restriction being that whilst I was to arrange the GE tasking from DES to Kigale and return, I was not to personally accompany an aircraft to Kigale, my job was on the ground at DES.

So, like DC Thumb I spent a night in the back of a packed Albert, it may have been the same aircraft, to arrive at Akronelli around 1000 local. A certain Mr M*** L***y was incumbent at the time, and invited us all to his married quarter for the afternoon. Having loaded up with Keo, we enjoyed his and Michelle's hospitality and after a kebab had an early night for departure early next day. And off we went.

The slip through DES ran well, we were accommodated in a good hotel down town, and with crews slipping through mostly being familiar faces, some good nights were enjoyed. The lads from the line worked bloody hard to try and keep the flow going, and in consultation with Captains and Engineers, my Red and Green pens were put to good use. The first problem was the very attractive young lady Officer who led us. She saw no reason why field type operations should be undertaken on this job, and I spent quite a lot of my working day arguing the toss. My opinion and experience, backed by Captains and Engineers, counted for nothing when compared to the vast knowledge she carried from Cranditz. Now, as Dougie M might say, we come to the tragic bit. As DC Thumb recalled, the whole shebang was cut short because the USAF offered to do the whole thing with those big jet things. So, I, a GE first and foremost, was not to be denied my trip to Kigale before endex, and duly disobeyed my boss and allocated myself as GE on one of the last trips. On arrival, I had a walk around the parking bay, and half filled a poly bag (usually used for water seds, if you know you know) with various shrapnel. Bullets, grenade fragments you name it, I thought OC eng might appreciate the souvineer. My return to DES was horrific, an aircraft that should have been North bound sat on the pan with the RH MLG door raised. I asked, and couldn't believe the response. Our good looking JENGO had grounded the aircraft because the RH rear tyre was worn to (not beyond) limits. She had even used the (very expensive) sat com to order Lyneham to send a spare tyre (not wheel) so that she could organise a civilian company to replace it. Total turn round time, about a week. I stopped the lads taking the wheel off and contacted the Captain of the crew due to fly this one to Akrotiri, and a tyre change. Being already delayed, the Irishman (we'll call him Tim) brought the crew to the airfield, ready to fly. He, his Eng and myself discussed the problem. It was agreed that the empty aircraft would be flown North with a green line for one flight only, intended to be Akrotiri, where the wheel would be changed. Our JENGO was full of fury as Tim, and Albert, departed northbound. Over the next couple of days we slipped the Eng det back to Lyneham as the flow reduced, leaving myself and a fellow GE to "mop up" and return home on the last aircraft. Our chariot duly arrived, and on shutdown we were a little surprised to see that the No2 witches tit had departed during the transit from Akrotiri. It only took 24 hours to have a new one delivered via a BA 747, and we were good to go as they say.

Arriving back at Lyneham, my boss the SAGE (Senior Aircraft Ground Engineer) seen in a previous photograph, posing with Dougie M in Rhodesia, informed me that I was to write an Eng detachment report for OC Eng, as our JENGO hadn't the experience to do so. In the process of writing that I also saw the funny side of it all and wrote a story which I submitted to the Globe. The young fellow known as Guy (you may remember him) duly published the report under the title Goldilocks and the Three Bears, must have been Sept/Oct 94 issue. Well, I was paying a hats on visit to OC Eng before the ink was dry, as they say. He was not amused. He had denied us spare wheels, I had failed to obey orders and remain at DES, and the young JENGO had no bloody idea what she was doing. From an engineering point of view, a real bag of worms, but, having grown up on "I learnt about flying from that", I'm sure that we all learned about supporting Albert a little better. If anyone still has a copy of the Globe with my story in it, I would love to see it again, my copy has long since disappeared. My next submission to the Globe led to a visit to the Station Commander, and not for tea and biscuits. Sorry for the long missive all, I hope it was worth the read.

Coff, thanks, nice to see plenty activity again.

Smudge
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Old 26th Jan 2015, 06:55
  #2362 (permalink)  
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Welcome to the Thread 10KTens
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Old 26th Jan 2015, 08:12
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Thanks for the welcome Coff. I have only found a couple of photographs but I'll look for more.
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Old 26th Jan 2015, 17:19
  #2364 (permalink)  
 
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Op Corporate '82

During Op Corporate, while the UK fleet was in transit between the UK and Ascension Island, there was a massive flying programme designed to get as much kit as possible to the island.
At LYN nearly all training was cancelled and OCU crews got a chance to do some 'real' work.
I was on the staff at STS and here we are on Ascension.

Ignoring my rather unfortunate pose, the rest of the crew are:
Pete B (Boss of STS); Henry P; 'Yanto' T; and Bert H.



A few weeks later some a/c were fitted with Long Range tanks, and others with probes. Things became quite busy at STS.
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Old 26th Jan 2015, 21:16
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Long range tanks and probes Kilwhang. There has to be some background on that. STS return to their role, rather than route support etc. Having seen the efforts made to facilitate the Black Buck missions with IFR, I'm sure the introduction of IFR to Albert must carry some interest on the thread. If you have the time, any recollections from that period would be welcome. We won't mention "the pose"

Smudge
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 02:16
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Kilwhangwhy are you holding onto your parts mate?
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 09:59
  #2367 (permalink)  
 
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Ah STS (Support Traning Squadron) known in my time as TSF (Transport Support Flight) and then TSTF (Transport Support Training Flight) before settling on STS. All part of 242 OCU but trained crews in airdrop. At the time the Falklands was brewing up I was with the Group EU ('trappers'). Some of my early posts with pics have referred to our Op Corporate activities.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 10:58
  #2368 (permalink)  
 
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Unhappy Tactical Training Flight

After being involved with the Tactical side of Lyneham for all my time there, and having had two tours on the instructional and examination unit, there have been many three or four letter abbreviations (TLAs and FLAs) for the best kept secret on the station. As a squadron the STS headquarters encompassed one of the best party facilities on the base and was far enough away from the OCU to be semi autonomous. All tragically brought to an end when it was dragged screaming and protesting across the airfield to "Jurassic" by an antipodean boss bent on getting the OCU under one roof. This was not to last. All OCU squadrons became flights and the saddest thing was eventually to be Ops O on the much reduced TTF - which in earlier times was the TLA for the tanker training flight - in the old 24/30 building because those squadrons had taken over Jurassic with the "mighty J model".
Ozymandias
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 12:11
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Dougie,
yes STS/TTF was 'over the other side' in more ways than one and seldom visited by those in the corridors of power on the OCU. Given my affinity with airdrop when I was the CALMI I tried to spend as much time there as a welcome escape from the inevitable clerking in my office.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 12:24
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STS

I'll try and give you a comprehensive reply Smuj.........

I was on STS from '80 - '82. As Dougie has said, we were in a great building close to the Hilmarton gate.
The unit consisted of; 3 pilots (including the boss), 2 Navs, 1 Air Eng, 3 Loadies, 2 PJIs and a small admin staff.
Our main job was to run Tactical Support (TS) Courses for the crews of 47 & 70 Sqns. The course consisted of teaching low-level flying and air drop techniques. It was quite an intense course, particularly for the Loadies, but it was great fun.
The course ended with a 3 day Scottac to, either, Kinloss or Lossie (very occasionally MAC).
We would take a Land Rover on the aircraft and, on the final dropping day, I would drive off into the wilds of the Moray grouse moors. There I would lay out a basic 3-panel DZ and wait for my lunch to be delivered.
I must have spent hundreds of hours at low-level and enjoyed nearly all of it. And, no, I'm not going to tell you about the bit I didn't enjoy!

As well as the course, there had to be periodic checks carried out on all crew members, except the Air Eng - who only had to complete the course. This is the reason I was the only Eng on the staff.

We did the occasional route trip, to keep in practice, and normally picked up a 5 or 6 day trip to somewhere nice. Sometimes, I was unable to fit that in - so I would give my place away to the guys in the sim.......who didn't get out much

We, also, ran ad-hoc courses for 47 SF and carried out trials on the 1st generation NVGs.

SKE (Station Keeping Equipment) was another challenge. SKE was a piece of kit that allowed up to 4 aircraft to fly at low level in formation.

As an added bonus, I was the standby Eng for JATE and got the opportunity to fly with them now and again. I vividly remember doing 4 or 5 ULLA trips - very exhilarating.

Then came Op Corporate...........

As the fleet moved south of Ascension, it quickly became obvious that the range/payload equation was going to be a big problem.
The first solution was to fit 4 Andover long range tanks, in pairs, in the freight bay. A metal box containing 2 fuel boost pumps was included and suitable plumbing was fitted to allow fuel from the tanks to get to the x-feed manifold. As you can imagine, this didn't leave much room for payload and it was obvious this could only be a temporary solution.
We devised a one-day course to qualify crews on this fit.

Next came the brilliant idea of fitting a probe for Air-to-Air Refuelling. After the first probe was fitted, the aircraft went to Boscombe for trials and I believe the first 2 crews (Capts Harry B and Max R) were trained there.

Further a/c were fitted with probes and the training was given to STS.
To give you an idea of how basic (and clever) this mod was, initially the AAR was controlled from down the back. The a/c refuelling panel (aft of the stbd wheel well) was simply turned around to face inboard (yes I know there were pressure hull issues - I'm trying to keep it simple).
This was less than ideal so, very soon, another refuelling panel was fitted at the Air Eng's station.

As you can imagine, the training schedule was hectic because of the need to get as many crews trained as possible. One of the problems was getting tankers. The Victors were heavily committed down South, so we had to use Vulcan tankers also. Plugging in behind a Vulcan was a wonderful sight.

Not long afterwards, someone came up with the idea of fitting a Hose Drum Unit (HDU) to the a/c with the long range tanks. The C130 Tanker was born.

Initially, we did that training as well but it was obvious, with the re-introduction of the TS courses, that we were short staffed. The tanker training became a separate entity.

I can honestly say that my time on STS was one of the best jobs I've had in aviation - Service or civilian.

Now, I know you are going to say 'where are the pictures?' Unfortunately, in '92 I went through a 'major domestic upheaval' and they were lost.

If you are still awake Smuj, I've done my best to be accurate but this all happened a long time ago, and I left the fleet in '88.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 12:29
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Fergie,

When in deep thought, some people scratch their heads. Others.........
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 12:45
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Kilwhang ...

Plugging in behind a Vulcan was a wonderful sight.
I've posted this before ... But some little while back I had the great privilege to share a coffee and chat with Pontifex who is a PPRuNe regular ... I'm sure he won't mind me posting this remarkable pic again. He was the lead TP flying Albert during the AAR trials at Boscombe Down. He might just pitch-up with a bit more to tell



Best ...

Coff.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 13:23
  #2373 (permalink)  
 
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It MAY have some bearing

It COULD be that Kilwhang was doing a kit check after remembering THAT Eastabout because the story continues.
As we sat in the coffee lounge in the Ops Dispatch building at Anderson Air Base in Guam a clerk came out and asked if we could take a "space available" indulgence pax to the States. On hearing that the pax was U.S. Navy Dave C. our skipper, said that we had an exchange agreement with the U.S. Air Force but not the Navy.
Seconds later a very well set up U.S. Wren appeared at our table in full No1 whites. She must have been from Devizes because her left breast was covered in awards and medal ribbons and her right one had just a couple of gold badges.
"Who is Captain Ascot here?" she said. Dave C very bravely said "That would be me."
"Why are you so shitty to the Navy?" she demanded "I need to get home for my wedding!"
So that's how we ended up in Hawaii with our own imported totty. After several margaritas she even started to look attractive. Whilst sunbathing at the pool though it was obvious that she was a disciple of Archbishop Makarios which was rather off putting but we carried her on to Sacramento where she went home to her unsuspecting fiance. We thought about sending a card saying "Thanks for everything, Captain Ascot and the boys" but she may have hunted us down cos she'd seen the squadron badges. The memory also made me very protective of the jewels for some time afterwards.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 14:04
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I joined TSF in 1972 from 48 now in the UK. From there I went to JATE and then to the Group EU. So I was in at the start of the Lyneham airdrop training once it all had moved up from Thorney Island. And then we had JATFOR which has been described in some detail in earlier threads.
Anyone remember the Nicosia TS training detachments ?
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 20:23
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I am enjoying this latest round of stories.


I hope not to break any Prune rules and will try and keep this short. I was Lyneham way a few weeks back at an Aunts funeral. Her husband died several years back. His last posting was as supply officer at Lyneham. Gave me a chance to catch up with my cousins on my mothers side. One of my cousins mentioned her uncle by marriage on her Fathers side. One Peter Walker. Sqn Ldr or Wg Cdr Pilot on Hercs at LYN. He retired early 80s and went to Laker so I never new him from my Herc exploits post 95 through 2011


Accordingly he has many stories to tell. Perhaps he even participates in this forum. If not I wished to contact him and invite him to participate in this living history. I have a postal address for him not far from Brighton. Thought I would try this first as he may be known to you folks. I would have met him at another uncles funeral in early 90s in my Nimrod days.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 20:47
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There was one Sqn Ldr Peter Walker on 30 Sqn mid to late 70s (pilot), so it might be he . . .
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Old 28th Jan 2015, 08:19
  #2377 (permalink)  
 
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When I first joined TSF as an airdrop instructor we used to take the courses away in the winter to Nicosia for low level and para training. This was always a very welcome exercise for many reasons.
On one of the dtachments I was asked if we could arrange to give some of the resident British Army soldiers a flight. It was arranged that the RSM would go first and he flew on a LLXC and was a very happy chappie as he spent all the trip on the flight deck. His soldiers soon followed on subsequent trips.
We the NCO Aircrew were usually invited to the army mess for drinks afterwards.
One day the RSM mentioned the fact that he would be absent but that we could still use their mess bar. Normally the bar could not be opened until he was present and declared it open. However he had briefed the barman that I (a very newly promoted MACR) could deputise for him. So that is what I did concious of the honour and the trust !
Happy days.
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Old 28th Jan 2015, 15:32
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That's funny about the RSM thing.

Whilst I was at Wyton I had to do a course down at Ashford. Went in the bar and they were all stood about like spare Richards at a wedding.

So I went to the bar and ordered a beer (it was after the published opening time). The barman muttered something about the RSM not being present, so I encouraged him to do as I'd asked and give me a beer - NOW was good for me.

Standing, leaning against the bar and sipping my pint, I noticed it all go quiet behind me and then a 'presence' beside me. The guy was huge! He asked me who I was (I was in civvies) so I replied 'Master Engineer Brian May' and he obviously hadn't got a clue what that meant.

He then said 'What rank is that?' so I said 'Same as you', then added I was also CMC of the Sergeants' Mess at Wyton. I offered him a beer - that said, his and another one for me arrived almost immediately - his shout.

I could sense the disappointment behind me when it was 'expected' this Crab was going to get his'. Turns out I was also senior too (he checked ever so subtley).

He was a really nice guy, however I would think it would have been a slightly different outcome had I been a different rank. I've always found being aircrew quite fun . . . never had to wait all the time I was there.

Strange customs . . .
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Old 28th Jan 2015, 17:45
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Kigali

Smuj,
That brings back memories. I seem to remember that we had more crews than aircraft and it was a bit of a bun fight to fly.
The flight across the Serengeti and the view of Kilimanjaro were amazing.
Kigali was interesting, I believe one of the cos was going for a pee near the tower and had to be stopped because he was going into a minefield where to local dogs had been blown up recently.

What I remember the most was the trip back. Albert was full of crews stretched to, in hammocks, in fact in all sorts of places. One aircraft went direct to Cyprus and we dropped into Jeddah to pick up some GEs then arrived at Akrotiri for an expected quick turn round with the slip crews in place.
However the movers had other ideas and we were sent for brekky and the aircraft were loaded with cars.
I seem to believe there was a near mutiny. When we finally got on a few hours later there was hardly any room at all.

I wouldn't believe any stories about cars having flat batteries and the odd unfortunate scratch.

What I would say that there weren't any mythical slabs in the cars.
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Old 28th Jan 2015, 18:09
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A slight thread drift but I thought those of you who no longer live near the once mighty fine place might be interested in the redevelopment of Lyneham into the DCTT. Photo taken last Saturday.


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