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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 28th Aug 2015, 23:10
  #3641 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lost again...
Posts: 591
Whilst I've never flown Albert (nor served in the military), I've been hooked since i was around 7 years old. I have a vivid memory of being given a tour of the RAFAT support Herc', as a youngster, during a families day somewhere during the early 80's (Can't remember the airfield but I could pick the crew from a line-up). I grew up around bases with Phantoms, Tornadoes, Sea-kings, Nimrods... you name it, but Albert was all I ever wanted to fly.

Sadly, military flying and I were never meant to be - I'm fortunate, now, to earn my living in the pointy end of civvy flying. But my first and last love will always be Albert.

This is a superb thread and I give my thanks to those who contribute - who knows, perhaps there is someone out there who remembers being at (Leeming???) around 1983 and pretending to be impressed when a 9 year old explained to them what turbo-props and reverse thrust were all about! ;-)

Respect to those the have been there and done it!

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Old 29th Aug 2015, 07:27
  #3642 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: sussex
Posts: 1,618
I think we can now say your 'baby has well and truly grown up.
OvertHawk, I always enjoyed showing Air Cadets etc around the 'K'. I was especially keen to impress upon the curious tax payers how few creature comforts HMG provided ! The Elsan was always greeted with incredulity, 'sat' as it was half way up the wall.
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Old 29th Aug 2015, 07:52
  #3643 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Just over the road from Bicester airfield
Age: 77
Posts: 377

Ah, but even less fun having to use it during less than smooth conditions !. PH.
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Old 29th Aug 2015, 08:46
  #3644 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: M4 Corridor
Posts: 553
Nelsan Eddy

Coff. Many congrats on reaching the half mill hits.

Whilst in Addis Ababa on Op bushel it was my turn for the trots. Venturing afield to drop 15 tons of grain to far flung DZs in Tigre and Wollo provinces demanded superhuman sphincter control until the load was despatched because of the suspended position of the elsan.
Once the freight bay was cleared, I found that I also needed a clearance. The facility was rigged and after giving a heading for Bole field I raced off down the back. Boozy Taylor the skipper decided to return to base via the Nile valley. I had just become ensconced when he pushed over the 5000ft drop to the valley floor. This woke the AD boys who were sleeping on the rollers at this time and they were amazed to see the Nav emerge in a sphinx-like seated posture from above the curtained enclosure and traverse the ramp area colliding with the emergency water containers. The scene wasn't gross because of the immediacy of the evacuation but as the application of positive G took effect there was a heap of painful embarrassment on the ramp as I tried to hold on, cover up, and stand up at the same time. A desultory round of applause from the troops required a bow.
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Old 29th Aug 2015, 17:43
  #3645 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 67
Posts: 2,062
Heh heh Doug,

I'm sure not the first elsan launched orificer seen on Albert It sounds like your bounce off the ramp was better padded than my own. As others have said, well done Coff, a thread worthy of praise, though, if you know Albert, and those who supported it, you will know that there are still stories, discussions and waffle, that should take you easily to a million. Thanks by the way for giving me a chance to bump in to some fond memories, and former comrades who provide a lot of the input to this thread. Who knows, perhaps a forum beer call at Dougs local might evolve one day.


I remember well being instructed on the workings of XV210 when I attended Waddington Open day some years back as the GE on the static display aircraft, from a young man who looked like he had just started his first year in secondary school. He knew it all, the only mystery I could offer him was the "worm drive" from the inboard engines to the wheels, to power the aircraft on the ground I note that thankfully, your Albert experience wasn't at Waddington, I hope you had the respect you deserved sir.

The beast in question

Keep it going chaps, I'm still looking for my Nav bag, and it's "interesting" contents. One day !!!! I'm now troubled with finding my Smith Tartan Tie, as I feel it would be fitting to wear to the forthcoming dining out of a good mate from my GE days. As with the Nav bag, SWMBO declares no knowledge of existence let alone location.


Last edited by smujsmith; 29th Aug 2015 at 23:06.
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Old 29th Aug 2015, 22:53
  #3646 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Lincolnshire
Age: 50
Posts: 178
I've just spent an enjoyable few hours 'digitising' all of the video I captured during 4 months in the Falklands. Once I have sanitised it, I will try and publish some bits here for all to enjoy (I hope!).

I miss the sound of 4 T56's - the J just ain't the same!
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Old 29th Aug 2015, 23:02
  #3647 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 67
Posts: 2,062

"I miss the sound of 4 x T56's" - Could not agree more mate, living in "Pig atop the Hill" we see the shape most days, but it sounds like an annoying hair dryer in max mode. Having seen the A400M go overhead a few times, I think that would be a more fitting steed for the likes of Dougie M, Chickenlover and ksimboy to ply their trade in. Publish and be damned sir, I will certainly follow your vids with avid interest, and probably contribute my usual unworthy text. Post away sir. Here's a little T56 fix;

Don't laugh at the bloke on the long lead, only the RAF could put pockets on the ankles of a flying suit, so you can't reach them

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Old 30th Aug 2015, 07:14
  #3648 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
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Location: East Sussex UK
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Looking forward to that DCT
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Old 30th Aug 2015, 12:19
  #3649 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: uk
Posts: 226

The pockets in the flying suit were not designed for you lying in your hammock or standing out in the rain! They were designed for people to reach when they are strapped in a seat!
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Old 30th Aug 2015, 19:20
  #3650 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 67
Posts: 2,062

Thanks for that, I must admit that the "ankle pockets" often afforded stowage space to the odd screwdriver/spanner or Cornish pastie ! That was more easily accessed in those locations when bent double, upside down in a dry bay, or fuel tank. Hammock? never took to one in a "grow bag" sir, shorts and a T shirt were the standard garb for my "air miles" whilst doing my job as a GE. If job it can be accepted as ! I'm afraid I am one of the "old brigade" who believed that the flying overalls, like boiler suits (ground crew denims) should be changed out of, before departure to the night stop hotel. Even the woolly pully was a better looking form of attire, IMHO. I've no doubt that after acceptance of travelling "down town" in the grow bag was authorised by "those who had to be obeyed", the feeling of superiority of the "shiny fleet" was enhanced. Perhaps I'm just old fashioned.

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Old 30th Aug 2015, 19:55
  #3651 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Lincolnshire
Age: 50
Posts: 178
I remember doing a Red Arrows support, back in the day! We all got changed down the back of Albert, as per orders and proceeded down town. Imagine our surprise later that evening when we discovered not only people out and about in red flying suits, but also in blue coveralls!!!
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Old 30th Aug 2015, 20:02
  #3652 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: M4 Corridor
Posts: 553
Route Uniform

Hi Smudge
Things have changed these days with the "new" multi terrain combats but in the bad old days I was one of the protagonists of wearing flying suits to the accommodation and changing in comfort. A Belize trip would involve wearing blue to arrive at Gander and if you were carrying a disassembled Puma there were any amount of suppurating pipes to blotch the uniform whilst getting changed in freezing conditions down the back, mostly in the dark. Then on to Belize where it was K.D. and 35 deg C. The minging overalls were left draped all over the freight bay ready to be donned on the way back to Gander. Suitcases got smaller when that rule changed. I can't say that the folks in either place were that impressed with ill fitting No 2 HD in Canada or the multi coloured KD in Belize. Once we started to wear combats to fly in it all got much easier and now you can't find blue anywhere en route. If they sent us somewhere nice I'd wear mess kit to impress!
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Old 30th Aug 2015, 21:07
  #3653 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 67
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I can relate to your experience, with a wee experience of my own. I was allocated as GE to a Red Arrows support trip to the Jersey Air Show. I believe that the "stars" had arrived the day before, their back seaters doing the A/Fs etc. off we went from sunny Lyneham to be hit with a talk down to the airfield sue to "poor viz", ISTR fog. Our Captain, one M*x B****n did a splendid job as always in some serious meteorological conditions to ensure that "The Reds" had their spares, back up crew and gizzits ! I believe we were the only aircraft to manage to land on that Friday, I'm sure our skipper had some input to that, and, our delight to be invited to the beer call in the hangar on landing was music to our ears. Now, the toe curling bit. A chap with Sqn Ldr rank badges on his shoulders in a bright red flying suit took my Captain to task, he berated him on his own attendance in the hangar. It was for "the performers" not the hangars on, he also took exception to our skipper bringing along non commissioned ranks. From his attitude, it seemed there was a bad smell coming from just below his nostrils. So, surprise that at 0700 hrs the next morning ASCOT 4*** departed for repairs to Lyneham. For some reason FATCOCK were unable to recover the Reds Support crew until the following Wednesday. Might I just say that having spent 30 years in the RAF from apprentice to Chief Tech, I never once came across a more obnoxious and self important piece of crap, wrapped up in a red growbag. I wonder why I don't go out of my way to watch Red Arrows displays these days?


Combats ? Is the fleet on a constant war footing these days, or is the garb hand me downs from Army purchases ? I must say, I spent some time with SF GW1, and a growbag was never contemplated, DP trousers and a T shirt worked nicely, a black T shirt helped to hide the sweat from some of 4Ds low level work. A memory, GE wise, of the days of changing in to blues to go to the hotel in Gander. I did a couple of trips with a fellow GE who had to have his fun. The crew changed and went off to the Albert Ross as we completed the After Flight and refuel. After changing in to our own blues, he enjoyed spraying a good misting of water over the growbags, lined up along the para seat support rails. End result, with an average January overnight temperature of minus umpty ump, some serious laughs as the front end attempted to don their kit the next morning ! Akin to trying to doff a Jacobs cream cracker. Why my fellow GE felt the need to spray the water I still can't work out, we struggled to get changed ourselves, and we didn't spray ours. Now, did you do Pizza Delight, meet Vera and experience the stretchy soup ? I'm sure, like jungle jogs in the night it was just another tick in your log book.


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Old 31st Aug 2015, 15:52
  #3654 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: wiltshire
Age: 61
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Smuj, that's nearly as bad as the tale of the Captain who fell asleep in the TV room at Goose Bay with his boots off. Seemed a good idea at the time to fill them with water and put them in the freezer. He spent the next 3 days flying in trainers !!! Also removed blue light from RAF Police car en route to Gib, In flight very kindly lobbed it in their blast freezer. Never realised RAF coppers had so little sense of humour.
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Old 31st Aug 2015, 19:44
  #3655 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 67
Posts: 2,062

Some people just never change

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Old 2nd Sep 2015, 16:21
  #3656 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: RWB, UK
Age: 73
Posts: 68

Those with young children in the 80s may remember Mr Ben, the children's TV character.
The 2nd day of a Belize schedule in the late 70s we were all Mr Ben only Albert was our wardrobe. (Mr Ben used to come out of his wardrobe in a different outfit and then have an adventure in his new outfit!)
Gander to airport in blue, change to green bags as above then for the refuel at Nassau the Ruperts had to change into KD just to go into the terminal to file the ATC flight plan and check the met. Back to Albert, back into green bags to Belize then KD to the hotel. I think it said in GASOs that shirts were to be long sleeved presumably because the shiny fleet operated in KD or blue. For a long time there seemed to be no concept that the Herc crews did not need to wear long sleeves because there was no flash fire risk off the a/c!
Forward to Feb '82. We were used in the Brize taceval to test the movers and armourers by taking lots of concrete bombs to Wittering and then bring them back to Brize. There was a fuel crisis at the time and the MT fuel budget could not stretch to bringing the bombs back by road!
The best bit was turning up to 10 Sqn as the ACC and seeing all the mature aircrew, who always looked down their noses at any Albert crew partly because we wore sweaty green bags, looking very uncomfortable in various sizes of ill fitting green bags. Hard not to take the piss!
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Old 2nd Sep 2015, 17:46
  #3657 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 67
Posts: 2,062

What a shambles of a nightmare you describe. I was only a few years after those days, and common sense seemed to get a grip, somewhere around 1990. Grow bags to the Hotac, no loitering in the bar etc, and the same on return to Albert. I never saw anyone break the rules, by diving in to the bar in flying kit, with the exception of one C***n B****r, in Brussels, who did remove his growbag, but retained his "shoes DMS" with his civvies. I say retained because the said Captain didn't do "boots flying - aircrew for the use of" and preferred to operate his rudder through the "superior feedback" of his BATA made DMS airmen's shoes. Certainly saved on luggage space "down route" one pair of shoes does the lot !!! I deny any knowledge of being the NCO responsible for his free supply of flying shoes. I can certainly imagine the thought of "shiny" 10 having to don the growbag. If we have reached the time of "interaction" with other RAF units, I have a "wee" story of C130, navigational superiority, that might (or not) raise a chuckle. Though I doubt it's anything new to many current posters, along with a question for R4H. Next post gentlemen if I may.

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Old 2nd Sep 2015, 22:03
  #3658 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: UK
Posts: 61

Hi Smuj, go ahead with the question.

I was around during the kd / blue / growbag era. Changing in the back with the ramp open and -30C in Calgary and the wind blowing in. MAMS not really appreciating my instructions to close it up and give us a few minutes to sort ourselves out. On a route check, as a B Cat, it was mentioned in a debrief that some of the crew were in short sleave shirts and no-one was wearing a tie, Belize +30C 85% humidity, and that I was responsible to ensure compliance with GASOs! Fair enough, make a point, but it was so heinous a crime it was then included in the formal write-up.
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Old 3rd Sep 2015, 07:54
  #3659 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 67
Posts: 2,062
Albert Tales

During my time as an AGE I heard the following story regarding aircraft navigation and its "relative" merits re FJ and Trash Hauling. I was also led to believe that our current raconteur of directional consultancy was the main protagonist from the Albert side.

" Sometime in the very early 90s ASCOT 4*** was detailed to return the remnants of the Ground equipment, ground tradesmen and the non flying aircrew (see, I even got the seniority right) of a Tornado Squadron to Marham from their exercise at Akrotiri. Due to loading delays (they couldn't get the Houchins on with the pitchforks they had used on the rest of the freight) the leg was continued, but the Albert crew were told to night stop Marham, as they would be out of crew duty hours. On landing at Marham, the crew were told that they would be accommodated on base, and so, never wishing to miss some sort of "route steal" accepted the invite of a beer or three at the passenger squadrons HQ on base. On arrival at the Royals only invite, the crew soon split to Nav and Drivers, and therefore mingled within their own environment. Our Albert Nav was soon in conversation with one of the Tonka squadrons senior navs, who showed him their flight planning room. A large map of Suffolk/Norfolk was mounted on the wall, with several different tracks emblazoned upon it. "what's this" asks our compass smith from Albert ? "Why" says senior FJ Wizzo, "that's our standard Nav routing from Marham". Our "hero" draws,from one of his ankle mounted pockets, a global map, festooned with loops and lines emanating from a small Wiltshire village, "no" he says, this is routing, that's local flying.

I have no idea of the veracity of that tale, I was certainly not on that particular route, but perhaps someone on this thread might know if it happened. I like to think it did.

My question for R4H,

I also heard of a "supersonic" Albert and an Air experience flight for a lady JENGO from a Phantom Sqn on an Akronelli Det. Not sure why, but your name came up as occupying the LH seat. Any truth ?

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Old 3rd Sep 2015, 09:20
  #3660 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2006
Location: west
Posts: 20
Nav Kit

Reading the threads reminds me of various new bits of kit - Supersonic flight transition was frequently used with visitors to the flight deck. Also a special addition to some airframes, was the talking autopilot used by a visitor to the left of right hand seat - oh happy days when discussing this at Akrotiri with fast jet mates.

But I could never forget the LOX runs to Belize and the faff of changing in Gander & Dulles in mid winter

OR living in Riyadh during Granby with the strange water used from water bottles for tea - funny how my worst ever hangover was in a dry country. Who remembers SID at the BAe compounds.

14 happy years on Albert directing the pilots around the sky - hope to upload photos over the coming weeks - keep the stories flowing
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