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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 2nd Jun 2015, 18:37
  #3121 (permalink)  
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The 400,000th Hit

Speed, Time and Distance (all good Nav variables) are going to conspire against us I fear in organising any formal get together ... Also remembering we've got 'contributors' from all four corners of the civilised world who I'm sure might like to join in ... Many places visited by RAF Albert ... So might I suggest the following

If we could have a willing volunteer to tell a really cracking (not too risqué) story as we reach the 400,000th Hit ... Then we invite those who wish to participate, to 'raise a glass' of something special and post a pic thereof (preserving anonymity) as a salute to RAF Albert and all who enjoyed his company in whatever capacity.

Not a perfect solution ... But I do think we should do something a little special

Does that sound like a plan ? Do we have a volunteer storyteller ?

Or are there any other suggestions ...

Coff.
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Old 2nd Jun 2015, 19:21
  #3122 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Coff, I see a venue on offer, the Five Bells at Royal Wooty Whatsit. If Mr Doug M drinks there, I for one would be grateful of a seat. I'm sure a fair few of the thread contributors could put in an appearance. I'm sure I could assemble a few Hammock Hamsters to support the former operators. It won't matter, call the date and I'm sure we can get an attendance worthy of the thread. Besides, as its Dougs local, it's his first round

I can do a really good rendition of O my darling Clementine, subject to a supportive male voice choir.

PS Coff, how do we see the hits ? No doubt I've been in my hammock for too long.

Smudge
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Old 2nd Jun 2015, 19:36
  #3123 (permalink)  
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Smudge ...

Here you go ...

Military Aviation - PPRuNe Forums

And it's the 'Views' stats column or 'Hits'
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Old 2nd Jun 2015, 19:45
  #3124 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks Coff, I really do need to open my eyes a bit more. How about Royal Wooty Whatsit then ? I feel more affinity with that location, as a former K man, than Browse Crofton. A very fitting place for a thread meet I reckon. Fergineer should be OK if he goes overboard in the Med, the "Senior Service" will recover him and deliver his thirsty frame to the Bell. I have already found a few "hangers on" who are game for a night out, and, more importantly, Mrs Smudge has offered a return trip to the venue. Who's up for it then gentlemen, a date is all that's required, venue seems good. For those who need a night stop, I can offer a double room, plus a single, full English next day, at no cost as required. Could be a decent do !

Doug, is that the Five Bells we are discussing ?

Smudge

Last edited by smujsmith; 2nd Jun 2015 at 20:22. Reason: Clarification
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Old 2nd Jun 2015, 20:51
  #3125 (permalink)  
 
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Pi$$ up

48 Sqn association members will be celebrating the centenary of the squadron's founding next April at the Alexandra Hotel in Wroughton - if it is anything like our reunion last year, the best I've been to, it should be a great evening.
PM for the organiser's details!
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Old 2nd Jun 2015, 21:06
  #3126 (permalink)  
 
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400K

Coff, I hope you’ll let me contribute on this auspicious occasion. This is a typical Albert down-route story. It is, however, quite long and I am a two-fingered typist who suffers from ‘cranker’s wonic’ after a while. Because of this I will submit it in two parts……….

Part 1

In the mid-80s a 47 Sqn crew was on an Eastabout. We were en-route from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, to Western Samoa where we planned to night-stop before continuing to Hawaii (Hickum) for a well-earned 2 days off.
The a/c was XV219 and it was performing well apart from a few minor niggles. One not-so-minor problem was that the rudder boost pack had been leaking from the Booster Hydraulic System side and had been isolated.

About two hours into the flight, flying over the Solomon Islands, the Loadie reported that the Utility Hydraulic Reservoir was showing less than half full and still dropping slowly. (For the uninitiated, this was the system that was supplying the ‘good’ side of the rudder boost pack.
Obviously we had to get this looked at; we were talking to Honiara Radio at the time and Honiara International Airport (HIR) was the nearest runway. Honiara is the capital of the Solomon Islands. We talked to Honiara Radio and requested a diversion to HIR because of a technical problem. They were very helpful and cleared us to descend and fly direct to the airfield. A quick search of the route bag showed that all we had for HIR was an airfield chart but, never mind, we had our friend in Honiara Radio…..who gave us the HIR weather and runway-in-use.
Nearing the airfield we asked for a tower frequency but were told to ‘remain this.’ At about 2000’ we asked for, and were given, landing clearance. Once on the ground, we stopped on the runway and the radio conversation went like this:

‘Honiara, ASCOT XXXX request taxy instructions’
‘ASCOT XXXXX where are you?’
‘We’re on RW XX, can’t you see us?’
‘No, I’m downtown Honiara………….’
‘??????????????????????????’
‘………..however, turn left and taxy to the terminal building. You are expected’

Suitably chastened, we taxied towards a low, single storey, building with HONIARA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT painted on the roof. The letters covered the whole roof and were not very big – this was not a large terminal building. The only other a/c we could see were a couple of sad looking Britten-Norman Islanders, with 3 engines between them. As we approached the terminal, a local – in baggy shorts and a loud T-shirt – appeared and pointed to a spot on the ground. The Loadie got out and chatted to him and confirmed ‘that’s where he wants us’ so we taxied up and shut down.

This is where the crew, like a well-oiled machine, transited from Air to Ground mode (hey! we were 47 Sqn) The G/E and I decided that I would do the normal servicing while he diagnosed the snag. The Loadie negotiated with the loud shirt – aka the Handling Agent – for catering, customs etc and the triumverate (pilots and nav) got their heads in the books to see if we could make it direct to Hickum. After, of course, the night-stop.

I asked the Handling Agent if there was any ground power – DC only, apparently. He went off and returned with what looked like an old supermarket trolley. On this was a long 13amp extension lead, a battery charger, two 12 volt batteries and a 15ft length of a/c DC cable. The Agent said that all he had to do was plug the extension lead into a wall socket in his office and we were good to go. I showed this to the G/E who fell about laughing, but we decided that we could use it for re-fuelling and essential lights. First, though, we spent a few minutes pulling LOTS of circuit breakers.

The Catering guy appeared next and told the Loadie that, since we were on an island, all the catering had to be destroyed and new stuff issued. The Loadie, ever helpful, said that was no problem…….he had a big blue rubbish bag into which he would tip all the food. He would then pour a can of Racasan over it and it would be safe to get rid of. The Catering guy visibly blanched – then stated that HE had to destroy the food, no-one else. The Loadie gave a knowing look then the two of them disappeared down the back to ‘discuss’ things. The upshot was that a smiling Caterer went off with our catering boxes.

By this time, the triumverate had decided we could make it to Hickum so I went to talk to the Refuellers. The fuel company was a father and son set-up and, when I told them how much fuel we wanted, they nearly danced around the bowser. We were to take more fuel in one go than they sold all month. I was impressed that they had a pressure hose, but we did take two bowsers. The G/E had found our problem.......... Now, Smudge, I know you want a detailed technical de-brief but it was a long time ago. All I can remember was that it was a fault in the reservoir vent line. Apparently, as we were just about to land, the level had gone back up to almost normal.

As I re-fuelled, a stretched Austin 1800 (remember them) with a Union Jack pennant drove up to the a/c. The driver got out and opened a rear door…..out stepped the British High Commissioner, in golf kit. As he explained, he had been putting on the 16th when an RAF Albert flew over with its gear down. He surmised it was landing and came to see if we wanted any help. By this time, we had been on the ground for more than 2 hours so he had, obviously, finished his game first. Our Capt took him on a tour of the a/c and he seemed really interested in the stack on the ramp. Like most Eastabout crews, we had made our first stop in Akrotiri to visit the NAAFI and stock up on ‘essentials’. And, like most crews, we had bought sufficient to last us 3 months – just in case. His Excellency was very interested in a large pile of McEwans Export cases and, being polite, we offered him a couple (of cases). At the same time we mentioned that we needed to arrange hotac. He (or should that be H.E.) said that was no problem, he would fix it. He mentioned that, since the hotel manager was from Yorkshire, a case or two would be appreciated.

So, with the a/c fixed and all the paperwork done, we followed the Handling Agent to a deserted terminal to clear Customs and Immigration. Two guys were waiting for us and stamped our passports with, what looked like, hand-made wooden blocks. They explained that it was VERY important that we get our passports stamped on the way out. When we mentioned that we would be leaving at 7am next morning, they looked at each other and said ‘JUST THIS ONCE’ they were willing to do the stamps now. We jumped into the transport and headed towards the hotel.

End of Part 1……….

Last edited by kilwhang; 2nd Jun 2015 at 21:25. Reason: Spelling and grammar
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Old 2nd Jun 2015, 21:28
  #3127 (permalink)  
 
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Don't hold back kilwhang, this is what Albert travelogues are made of. Nice to know the GE came up trumps though, I'm a bit biased I suppose crankers wonic ? An anagram I assume. As for the reducing Utility res, a clogged vent valve filter sounds to be the culprit, but it's been a while since I saw that snag.


Smudge

Last edited by smujsmith; 2nd Jun 2015 at 21:41.
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Old 3rd Jun 2015, 08:19
  #3128 (permalink)  
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Splendid Kilwhang

Now if you can just time Part 2 (which I suspect will be worth waiting for) until the 400th Hit we're good to go

In the mean time I intend to 'acquire' a half descent bottle of something as I reckon by tomorrow evening we'll have reached the 400K mark

Best to everyone ...

Coff.
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Old 4th Jun 2015, 05:29
  #3129 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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It was August 1982 I spent 20 days in Ascension, flew 141 hours on six sorties, two were roundtrip with airdrop and snatch, three of them we landed after Port Stanley had reopened, on one occasion we were recalled after nine hours! A normal detachment? Not quite.

After the war, a House of Commons Select Committee was sent on a fact finding mission to the Falklands, once they reached Ascension by VC10 and had toured the base and an aircraft carrier by chinook helicopter our crew were tasked with their onward journey.

The mixed party MPs rotated on the flight deck during the journey especially during air to air refuelling and were thrilled to find an escort of phantom jets up tight and personal to escort us in as we neared the islands. Cue excitement and many photos.

We were all accommodated in the only hotel on the islands The Upland Goose, something akin to a 1950´s Blackpool guest house, this was disconcerting for us to have a group of MPs breathing down our necks. Mainly because we had to be on our best behaviour, and we had a couple of scams going with Des King the hotel owner, mainly over converting our lunch to wine and bringing him fresh produce from the US military in exchange for drinks in the bar.

We got very friendly with a young politician called Chris Patten who spared the time to chat with us over coffee, he told us that Michael Mates MP had borrowed his son James´ (of ITN fame) camera and was unofficial group snapper, only to later discover that the camera had no film in it.
At breakfast the next morning we were eavesdropping on the conversation of two MPs about an intruder in in there room in the middle of the night, they were not sure if they had dreamt it.

I was pretty sure I knew who it was likely to be. Our co-pilot P*** P***t had drunkenly called for more wine at dinner, the captain told him that he´d had enough so he proclaimed at the top of his voice “Don’t worry the Queen she will pay!” Cue many kicks under the table.
He left the dining room, stumbled into the fire extinguisher, setting it off but he was in a hurry to go out with a fighter mate. He got back at about 2am and despite asking Des´s daughter to leave the door on the catch was locked out, but he still invited his mate in for a night cap.
He incorrectly guessed which window was his bedroom, climbed up onto the conservatory and fell through the open window frightening two labour MPs in the process! He did the normal drunken Shhhhh! And then he and his mate stumbled into the corridor where they sat and cracked a few tinnies.

I had to share with my engineer C**** S***h who liked a drink and a fag and could snore for England. Unbelievably this urge meant whilst I was reading a book in bed he was necking a can and puffing a fag, it was then lights out and SNORE. About three am I would hear a match striking and a can opening followed by the big SNORE, this was repeated at about 7am!!
After two nights my captain C***s M**n took pity on me and I moved in with him.

My eng and I also suffered embarrassment the following day when out for a walk around Port Stanley surveying the war damage. We took a stroll down to the racecourse where there were a couple of aircraft wrecks; we had not gone far when a voice screamed at us - “Stop where you are! Go no further; you are walking into a minefield!” Luckily we were able to retrace our steps and then returned to the hotel to change our underwear!
Happy Days!
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Old 4th Jun 2015, 07:30
  #3130 (permalink)  
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Great story Alcazares48 ! ...
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Old 4th Jun 2015, 14:20
  #3131 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Norgy Det

A winter's tale.
Our RM mates do love to play in extreme conditions and by close association we used to be dragged along. Some places were more enjoyable than others and Harstad in Norway is one. A number of airdrop exercises over the winter months were popular more with the crews than the Marines. Cosily ensconced in the Viking hotel we ventured forth to support our freezing bootneck buddies from the relative comfort of Albert. Launching one evening to resupply the patrols with night drops we were aware of the changeable weather conditions but it was do able. The terrain in north Norway is very high and only suitable for brooding Norse gods. Very much aware of this, the map reading was backed up by calls of where the high ground was and time to the next turn. Rounding a steep sided valley spur after the last drop after dark and in pretty spag vis, we suddenly went IMC. "Heading" said Uncle Bulgaria. "325" says I. "High ground", "Right and left up to 7000ft and time to next turn 3.5 mins" "I'm going to shit myself" quoth the Captain as he sat Albert on its tail and climbed through the thick cloud.
We blasted into clear black sky at 8500ft still going up. "You can level off a bit now" says I "Point me towards Evenes, we're going home" Says he.
Later, in the Red Barn we are drinking coke. Spirits are so expensive in Norway that the Marines had given us a wizard wheeze. We had plasma bottles of vodka under our armpits and IV leads down our sleeves to a cannula which dispensed a shot into the coke with a bagpipe players squeeze.
The following day was fortuitously weathered out so whilst sitting in the hotel reception we observed what we thought was a women's sports team checking in. A group of young ladies apparently from the Lofoten Islands. The usual lounge lizard approach from one of our PJIs met with icy coolness. "Must be lesbians" he said.
Later at the bar they all arrived together in a much more amenable frame of mind. "Why the sudden change of mood?" "We came here today for "control" they said "You know, cervical smear test so we were like nuns"
The evening perked up a bit after that."
The det flying area was carefully controlled by the Norgies. "You may not fly in these areas because of the Rangers" we were told. "Are they part of the exercise?" we asked. "What?"
"The Norwegian Rangers, are they part of the exercise?"
The Norgie briefer placed his splayed hands, thumbs inward to his head and said in his Swedish cook voice
"The reindeers are migrating" .... "Oh"
I love the place


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Old 4th Jun 2015, 17:44
  #3132 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
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400K - Honiara

Congratulations, Coff. Here, as promised, is the continuing saga (for new readers, continued from Post 3126)

Part 2

The 30 minute drive was through a jungle landscape and the hotel, when we got to it, was just as you’d imagine a South Seas hostelry would be. There were four ‘Long House’ type buildings stretched along the beach with the bar, restaurant and reception areas in the middle. Golden sands stretched as far as the eye could see and the surface of the water was only disturbed by the gentlest lapping of waves on the beach.
As we unloaded our cases, we were greeted by a call of ‘Ay Oop’ and turned to meet the manager. He was a rather large gentleman and definitely from Yorkshire. There were affable handshakes all round and, after we had presented him with the cases of McEwans, he made it clear that our money was no good in his bar. I told this story to some civvy friends a few years back and they asked ‘what about food’. They couldn’t quite understand when I told them that Her Britannic Majesty’s Imprest took care of all that!

We found our rooms and quickly changed into the standard Ascoteer down-route kit (shorts and flip-flops for the NCOs, cravats and Pith Helmets for the officers) and met in the bar (instantly christened the Yorkie Bar). The manager was waiting for us and a very pleasant evening ensued.
He was a really interesting guy, one of those ex-pats you meet all over the world – guys who just seem to drift around picking up nice little jobs and, in his case, a very nice local lady. He was an amateur historian and gave us a very interesting insight into Honiara.

The island we were on was better known as Guadalcanal. As I’m sure you all know, during WW2, it was the scene of one of the pivotal battles in the Pacific. The Japanese were incredibly well dug in on the island and it took a huge force of American troops to dislodge them. The Japanese were given the infamous ‘no surrender’ order from their superiors and many of them (including families) preferred to commit suicide rather than give themselves up. You’ve all heard the stories of Japanese soldiers being found in the jungle years later. The last Soldier of Nippon surrendered in Guadalcanal in 1947, but there was one stubborn guy in the Philippines who held out till around 1980. Of course, there was a lot of equipment abandoned in the jungle and ‘Ay Oop’ told us that the Australian Armed Forces had been involved in clearing up well into the 70’s.
The loss of men and machines was horrific and the waters off the north of the island were full of sunken ships of all kinds – from landing craft to destroyers – both US and Japanese. There is so much metal on the sea bed that the stretch of water has been named Iron Bottom Sound. A lot of the ships were sunk in shallow water and at the end of the war, instead of taking equipment home with them, the Americans dropped a lot of it into the shallows. This has become an artificial reef and is now teeming with marine life.
Apparently, you could get a very good view from a low-flying a/c and we decided to ask our friend in Honiara Radio if we could do a low-level departure.

At some point in the evening I was ‘tired’ enough to go to bed and it seemed no time at all before there was a knock on my door. Half asleep, I remembered that I had ordered breakfast in my room and staggered to the door. The waiter, in local dress, pushed a trolley out to the balcony. I watched amazed as he produced a parang from about his person and, in a blur of hand and blade, reduced a fresh pineapple into nice edible chunks. I have to admit that, even in my fragile state, watching the sun come up was a treat.
We gathered in Reception, waiting for transport and saying our farewells to the manager. We told him that we would say hello to Yorkshire next time we were there. He looked around at his domain and, without a trace of sincerity in his voice, said ‘Aye…….I really miss it!’

On the transport, the Capt said that they had managed to file the Flight Plan and we were good to go. The driver switched on the radio, it was a local station but in a couple of minutes we heard the familiar strains of ‘Lilliburlero’ followed by six pips and ‘This is the BBC World Service – The News’. A 5-minute bulletin followed and the only bit I can remember was something about the Duke of Edinburgh on an overseas visit. The News was followed by 10 minutes of music then read again…….but this time in Pidgin English. We had a great time trying to work out what was being said. One bit I liked was when they mentioned the Duke of Edinburgh – in Pidgin, ‘Man Blong Queenie’.

The airfield was deserted but, of course, Albert was sitting there eagerly awaiting his next task. The transport dropped us off at an open gate and we wandered out to the a/c. There was an, apparently, abandoned catering wagon under the stbd wing but a couple of bangs on the side caused the driver to wake up and do his thing.
The pre-flt preparations were efficiently carried out. The Loadie said the catering looked really great and we were in for a treat. Those of you may be wondering about the, somewhat relaxed, catering arrangements need not worry. Everything was done by the book – and the Loadie had a receipt to prove it!

We called up Honiara Radio for Start Clearance. He excelled himself – giving us the HIR weather, runway-in-use, Flight Clearance, Start Clearance, Taxy Clearance and finished by saying ‘Call ready for line-up’. Now, THAT is efficiency. Cotswold Radar, eat your heart out! (God, that dates me) We asked if we could do a low-level departure to look at the reef – of course, that was no problem.
So, ready for line-up we called Honiara and were given clearance to Take Off. As soon as we were airborne we headed towards the reef. It was amazing. This was 30 years ago and the shapes of the ships and equipment were still clearly visible – a real treat. I believe it is now one of the most sought after dive sites in the world.

We climbed to our cruising altitude and completed the flight to Hickam arriving 20 mins behind our original schedule. On-time arrival was very important to us because, two weeks previously, we had arranged a tee time at the Pearl Harbor Golf Course on our day off! (Note the American spelling)

So that was our visit to Honiara. The entry in my logbook says, simply:
Port Moresby – Honiara 3 hrs 45 min
Honiara – Hickam 10 hrs 30 min

But, like all logbook entries, there is always more to it.

As the late, lamented Chas Finn-Kelsey might have said ‘Just another episode in the lives of a crew, from a secret airbase somewhere in Wiltshire’.


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Old 4th Jun 2015, 18:37
  #3133 (permalink)  
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Cheers everyone ... We've now passed over 400,000 Hits on our Thread

Not that I need an excuse for a drink ... But I'm raising a glass this end to salute RAF Albert, along with all his crews both Air and Ground, who served with him throughout his 60+ years of sterling service ... I do hope some of you will join me.



I'm particularly grateful to every 'contributor' to our Thread (over 3,000 individual posts) ... especially AA62 and Smudge for helping keep things entertaining (I mention you chaps specifically given you've posted over 400+ times Smudge ... and you AA62, over 700+ times )

If you 'Click' on the 'Number' (c 3,000) in the 'Replies' Column against our Thread on the following URL ... a list will appear of everyone who has contributed ... Again "Thank You All".

Military Aviation - PPRuNe Forums

Kilwhang, Alcazares48, Dougie M ... Thanks to you Gents for the recent stories ... with material like this (I'm thinking we might start issuing Master Green Story Telling Cards) ... we might just make 500,000 Hits

Very best wishes to all ...

Coff.

Last edited by CoffmanStarter; 4th Jun 2015 at 19:21.
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Old 4th Jun 2015, 18:58
  #3134 (permalink)  
 
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400K

Congrats Coff for running a brilliant thread. Happy memories and good company
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Old 4th Jun 2015, 19:11
  #3135 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Well done Coff,

An achievement indeed. The glass is being hoisted as I type. Your kind mention of my contribution made me wonder why I just keep coming back, it's like the fleet I worked on a few years ago, a fine aircraft crewed by some great people, and maintained by some of the best, something I think most would agree is worthy of comment. This thread reflects that, and for me the first 400,000 have been a privilege, here's to post #1,000,000. Cheers to all.

Smudge
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Old 4th Jun 2015, 19:21
  #3136 (permalink)  
 
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Well done to you all. I've never even been close to a Hercules but I have been and still am enjoying the whole thing.

ACW
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Old 4th Jun 2015, 20:30
  #3137 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Well done Coff and best regards to all of the contributors. Had a great exchange, made some friends and learned a few things.


Just got in. cracked a bottle of Aspels premier Cru. An Air Despatcher mate told me you never get a headache in the morning dinking cyder! he lied!


Cheers
Drag
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Old 5th Jun 2015, 12:57
  #3138 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Well done everyone, what a fantastic find this forum was.

kilwhang what a great story, didnt we all want to go U/S in a place like Honiara?

Dougie´s story about "Reindeer" reminds me of the crew in the Caribbean who sat waiting for the Catering.

The co got onto the tower and said:
"We are still waiting for our RATIONS, can you chase them up?"

Ten minutes later the tower called back
"Ascot we have spoken to the RUSSIAN embassy and they know nothing!"

Or..... on descent into Lyneham the Eng says to the Belgian Loady.
Loady you got any SNAGS?
He says: "We have a few of those little pasty things or some sandwiches."

"Snags Loady, not Snacks!"
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Old 5th Jun 2015, 13:36
  #3139 (permalink)  
ICM
 
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Age: 79
Posts: 410
So which one of you is going to write the book that clearly resides in all of this?
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Old 5th Jun 2015, 15:04
  #3140 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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ICM,

I reckon you could be correct. I've just finished reading Valiant Boys, having also read Lightning boys 1 & 2, Buccaneer boys, Victor Boys, Hunter Boys, Jaguar boys and Vulcan boys, with Phantom boys having just been delivered, I think there's space on my bookshelf for Albert Boys. As the instigator of the thread, has Coff got a book in his grasp though ?

Anyone familiar with the H****y J*****n story on the approach into, I heard, Trinidad ? Now that's a belter, though perhaps not politically correct.

Doug M,

Norway from a GE vantage point;



Smudge

Last edited by smujsmith; 5th Jun 2015 at 15:22.
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