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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 15th Jul 2015, 12:57
  #3441 (permalink)  
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R4H ...

I'm the sad one on this Thread who loves the science behind trials like this ...

I'd be very interested to hear how these were conducted ... and what was expected of the Flight Deck during the trials

Cheers ...
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 14:37
  #3442 (permalink)  
R4H
 
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Strip trials

Hi Coffman,
Initially we wanted to do data collection on a runway in order to prove ODM numbers but were told that that wasn't needed as HATS had done work on it plus they had collected data for grass strips. Beaches were easy. 1 or 2 guys at touchdown end with handheld GPS, watch for touchdown then go to the mark and take GPS readings. 1 guy at the stop area with GPS. When stopped he came to ac and GPS marked nosewheel position. Same at start of take-off point and rotate point. Nav backed up with onboard Mark on his kit. Met and surface conditions noted by ground party and by us on flightdeck. Gravel slight change as 2 guys for each event position, spread out at each then forward on a bearing to establish each GPS position. X / head wind component from us and ground party data. Groundspeed at touchdown from us.

Flying it was easy enough. Main point was to be very accurate on speeds and straight at touchdown and to be very consistent. Start of the take-off run had to be gradually moved forward as we dug bigger and bigger dents when powered up to full power against the brakes.
Some of the J work was done using squadron pilots in order to qualify them. This gave some inconsistencies but these were noted by the instructor and gave us a set of data deviations that could be used in the analysis. Use of both Saunton and Pendine gave more data points. Generally beach work is done as the tide starts to ebb in order to give as much time as possible before the tide was due to take the beach back. This would have meant that the sand was always wet so timings were adjusted to give differing degrees of wetness / firmness.

Trials Management Officer (brains the size of planets these guys) and I worked out a spreadsheet to help analyse the data. Hours of pouring over the ODM graphs and establishing baselines from me and geek bits from the TMO). Once complete everything was sent off to guys with brains the size of even bigger planets at Waddington to do all sorts of number crunching. (As a simple airframe driver I would have taken the largest and smallest away then divided the sum of the rest but that doesn't work for statisticians and analysts) They then worked out the factors required for each case.
Some of the J work was also done on later sorties using squadron pilots in order to qualify them. This could lead to some inconsistencies but these were noted by the instructor and gave us another spread of data.

As an aside, using a cone penetrometer could take ages on a natural surface. A fast run with a landrover without going through or sinking worked well. Another non-scientific guide was to use an old fashioned biro pen cap. Push it into the grass holding the tang end. If it didn't go in beyond the start of the tang with reasonable force you were probably good to go. No use on sand.


Another aside. Years ago the powers that be realised that the 146 was only cleared natural surface grass. In case the Queens Flight ever had to use a beach I was tasked to teach the 146 QFI beach landings in a 146. Great chance to do something different but it never went ahead. Powers that be decided it would be difficult to justify a 146 being damaged if there was a problem and we couldn't get off before the tide came in. As we shutdown on beaches for FARP/ALARP I asked why it was ok for us. Told that although 3 engine take-off wasn't allowed from natural surface they were sure that we wouldn't leave the ac on the beach - basically don't ask!
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 15:15
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Sand Trials

This is all very illuminating but in the time of Gulf War l when they said "We have a wizard wheeze to outflank Saddam. We'll pick up all the troops from the east of the line and fly them at low level up the pipeline road in front of all the coalition nervy, trigger happy and some downright loony outfits and land them at Hafir al Batin". "Eh?" we said. "It's a desert strip" they said. "Natural surface" ... "It's been raining for an effin' month" we said.
Well off we went to find it.
No GPS here. No ground party. No fire protection and worst of all No hard surface on the strip!
It DID dry out in February, though




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Old 15th Jul 2015, 15:28
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Many thanks R4H ... Much appreciated

Presumably all TO's were done at full power but did you explore various flap settings and AUW during the trials ?

Fascinating ... even though my brain is quite small in comparison to your boffins

Cheers ...

Coff.
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 15:45
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Dougie ... Did you get off again OK after 'delivery' or where you stuck for a while ... All sounds a bit 'hostile'
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 16:13
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Al Jufair

There were 600 of these boys to be moved and we sat them down in rows, leaning on their bergens. I don't know exactly how many we took per lift but the strip got a bit dodgy on landing. The boys weren't too happy about the place either, they had been rained on for days and the freight bay had this pervading smell of wet Labradors.


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Old 15th Jul 2015, 16:30
  #3447 (permalink)  
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Thanks Dougie ...
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 18:17
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XV204

First flew 204 on 6 July '72 with A---- M----- and last time was 12 Dec '72 with P--- S------. Logbooks at the ready!!
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 18:41
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Welcome to the Thread Gumpied

All stories welcome ...
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 20:56
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C O B and C B both later ended up at different times in the left hand seat of Snoopy. I well remember the smoke signals from the flight deck when CB was driving. Happy days.
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Old 16th Jul 2015, 07:41
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R4H,
when I was an Air Radar Fitter on 33 (Javelins) Mick B was one of the pilots. I recall one evening down route we discussed the 'JAV' and all the interesting aspects from both sides. Great bloke.
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Old 16th Jul 2015, 07:46
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Dougie,
how quickly our lords and masters had forgotten what it was actually like in the Middle East in winter. Yes it does rain and can get very cold !
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Old 16th Jul 2015, 07:54
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R4H,
ah the 40 mph Landrover technique. When I was at STS(or whatever it was called that week) I blagged a trip on an army Beaver to a remote place in Scotland to check out a proposed strip. We had an expert with the CBR kit to check out an new Tac landing strip. In the end he borrowed a landrover to 'validate' the cone penetrometer !
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Old 17th Jul 2015, 08:00
  #3454 (permalink)  
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Strips

Hi Dougie


Concentrates the mind going into a non-marked, non-recce'd strip doesn't it, especially on goggles!!!
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Old 17th Jul 2015, 08:25
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Gumpied

I'm still mates with A.... M..... - didn't the boy do well?
When we were first tourists, for some reason whenever we met at a party or big piss-up in the mess we always ended up throwing beer over one another - neither of us can remember why!

Top man though!
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Old 17th Jul 2015, 12:00
  #3456 (permalink)  
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Strip trials weights etc

Hi Coffman
We started each set of trials at the maximum planned allowed weight for the strip length, 2500ft, taking into account temperature, planned headwind component etc, then AUW came down as fuel burnt off, approx. 4 - 5000 lb/hr giving a reasonable spread of weights and data points throughout each sortie. Flaps were always at 50% for take-off and 100% for landing, standard for all take-offs and landings and as scheduled by the ODM. Also, there were no VR or VAT figures for any other configuration. Take-off was at TacVR using strip limiting technique and landing was at TacVAT.
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Old 17th Jul 2015, 12:20
  #3457 (permalink)  
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Many thanks R4H ... All understood
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Old 17th Jul 2015, 19:17
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Crikey Coff, respect ! You understand all of that ? I always had the impression that 19700 lbs torque would drag Albert off most surfaces it had landed on (18k being the norm). I suspect though that R4H knows a lot more than I ever will, because he flew it. Approach and departure from unmanned strips was the ultimate reason for the foreshortening of my career, due to an event during GW1, but I like to believe that all "adventures" lead to "lessons learned" and improved safety. I reckon that a lot of the beach landing input has shown that Albert was well capable of getting in and out of such "strips", and, offering a useful platform in that respect for SF for infil/exfil and re supply missions. It certainly confirms the extended expectation the RAF had for the aircraft, compared to other nations, I think ? R4H and Doug, great photographs both, did either of you ever get involved with Tac on snow (Norway for instance) ? I bet the parameters were a whole lot different, or were they ?


The GE perspective !

Smudge

Last edited by smujsmith; 17th Jul 2015 at 20:17.
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Old 18th Jul 2015, 13:37
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Smuj - was it this strip ? I can't remember the name but one of our crews had an incident here that injured a few down the back. It was an awful night on the goggs with virtually no starlight and some blowing sand. I'm surprised we didn't break more really. I think we ended up abandoning this strip as not even the unimogs and LSVs could get in to pick up stuff from the landing hercs. It was a lottery after touchdown where the ruts took you....
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Old 18th Jul 2015, 13:57
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Chickenlover,

It may well have been, as I recall though the place where I did my "superman" flight was on an Island. We had been there that evening and FARP'd a couple of 7 Squadrons finest. If it helps Captain was C**** F***. Hope you are well.

Smudge
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