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Met Office : Research Flying

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Met Office : Research Flying

Old 23rd May 2014, 11:00
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Met Office : Research Flying

I came across a very interesting publication earlier this week on the Met Office Website and thought that other members might appreciate the link. It covers the 70 years of flying operations at the MRF from 1942 until 2012 and contains quite a few unique photos.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pd...ARF_271112.pdf

Particularly interesting are the two Canberras that served with the MRF ... a B2 WJ582 (1953 to 1962 when W/O WJ582) and a PR3 WE173 (1963 to 1981 - Retired)

Here is a pic of WE173 in formation with Snoopy XV208 (Snoopy served 28 years with MRF until 2001 before becoming an engine testbed for the A400M with Marshalls at Cambridge and apparently is now being broken up )



Image Credit : Crown

I believe WE173 at some point also had a smaller nose radome apart from the "Barbers Pole" shown here. Strangely, through another coincidence this week, I understand that the remaining cockpit section of WE173 is but a few miles from me here in East Sussex in the hands of a private collector ... hopefully going to pop over this Sunday to grab a few pics.

A question for the ex-Canberra community ...

Would that Barbers Pole have likely caused any significant handling issues in asymmetric flight ... say on approach ? Presumably crews would have been required to undertake regular CT including asymmetric config ... just a genuine interest really.



Best ...

Coff.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 13:03
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That is a great find, and I found the article absolutely fascinating, thank you.

Because I was a mainstream weatherperson I had little direct contact with the MRF but they were held in high esteem by us dogsbodies.

The results of their flights were of very direct and real benefit in day-to-day forecasting, not just airy-fairy research.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 13:36
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As a mere amateur as regards the technicalities of weather I found the paper fascinating, and understood most of it. (Better than with the Journal of the Royal Institute of Navigation, where I am doing well if I understand the title!)

Last edited by Wander00; 23rd May 2014 at 14:54. Reason: Finger trouble
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Old 23rd May 2014, 15:42
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A more personal account of Met Research flying (albeit by 202 Sqn, not the MRF) is given here:

Meterological Briefing - 202 Squadron Association

A detailed history of 202's association with Met Research flying will be published later this year as part of the Sqn's Centenary activities. Watch this space!
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Old 23rd May 2014, 16:00
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I have told this tale elsewhere but what the heck ................

At HQ 1 Gp in 1981 I had a colleague who had been, in his youth, an Air Met. Observer.
The above is true, the remainder is a paraphrase of his story:

Whilst in uniform, with his nice M brevet, he was accosted by an elderly Air Commode who demanded to know what the M stood for, it being exceeding rare.

"Midwife, sir!"

"What!?"

"Lot of pregnant women on the trooping flights sir!"

"Carry on sergeant!"

I don't believe a word of it, but it made oi larf.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 16:58
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WE173 with the smaller nose radome ... date unknown ... possibly taken at RAF Greenham Common.



Image Credit : John Canberra Talk

Last edited by CoffmanStarter; 23rd May 2014 at 18:11.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 18:29
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Thanks for that Mr Coffman and for the link to the WJ582 incident. I worked with Allen Lock from 1982 in Bracknell (Met 08 Hydrology) and fondly remember him as a genuinely nice chap. His injuries from the crash were severe and I was told that it was very touch and go at the time as to whether he would survive.


A few years later, I had some fun on board Snoopy. I think that one of the regular RAF crew was a chap named Stokes. I can't recall his rank.


cheers


B


Weatherguesser 1982 - 1988.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 18:39
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As a matter of interest a chap who inhabits the GA section of the forum is head of FAAM. I'll let him know there's interest!
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Old 23rd May 2014, 18:48
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Thanks for joining in B Fraser

Cheers Thing
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Old 23rd May 2014, 18:58
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Thanks for posting Coff.
It was probably seeing Snoopy under construction at Cambridge during a school visit which inspired me. I did a bit of design work for a comms fit in the late 80s when the aircraft was operated from Farnborough.
We had GG come to Cambridge RAeS to tell us about the FAAM 146 a couple of years back. looking forward to finding the time to read the full article. Nice pictures.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 19:02
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Drag ... I had a feeling you might have had a bit of design input somewhere along the line

Best regards ...

Coff.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 19:05
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Coff,

Great subject matter, and the photo at #1 should be included in the other thread on 60 years of Albert. As an ex A line chap, I had little contact with 208 (it was a B Line bucket) but it was certainly an interesting aircraft, that I understand was well thought of by the meteorologists and scientists who used it as a test platform.

Smudge
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Old 23rd May 2014, 19:09
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Smudge ... See #46, #47 on the Herc thread

I just thought the MRF topic deserved it's own dedicated thread ...
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Old 23rd May 2014, 19:15
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Current one

Home

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Old 23rd May 2014, 19:41
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As always, Coff, you an eye for a great thread. Fascinating. Thank you.

langleybaston, good input too. Of course

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Old 23rd May 2014, 19:52
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Thanks Courtney ... Mind you WJ582 up at 70N 48,000 feet North of Leuchars ... I believe that's Air Defender territory
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Old 23rd May 2014, 19:56
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We had GG come to Cambridge RAeS to tell us about the FAAM 146 a couple of years back. looking forward to finding the time to read the full article. Nice pictures.
Who wrote a different take on the history of MRF here.


It shows a few interesting links: the Duxford met flight generating a lot of the planning principles used in the BoB, as well as a training ground for Jeffrey Quill. WV208 went on to be used as a testbed for the engines for the A400M.

Another variant on the history is by Kirsty McBeath here (which should be open access, but doesn't seem to be this weekend.)

(None of the authors disagree with each other about anything significant, but think that different things are important - although there's a bit of good natured bickering between them about the start point of atmospheric research flying in Britain: GG puts it in 1918 with the RFC Meteor Flight, whilst KM puts it at 1942 with Alan Brewer going to the HAF.)

Snoopy's red and white striped nose, incidentally, is now on permanent display in the atrium of the (new) Met Office HQ in Exeter.

G

Last edited by Genghis the Engineer; 23rd May 2014 at 20:08.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 19:57
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Coff,

Apologies indeed, it must have been a "senior moment". Great pics though.

Smudge
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Old 23rd May 2014, 20:11
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Coff,

Air Defence in a slightly adventurous kind of way, perhaps. Enormous fun, though.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 20:30
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Blimey, 30,000 ft in a Hastings !

I was transiting through Nigeria in the mid/late sixties and we met the Minister of Aviation. He was wearing a uniform which didn't fit him very well (possibly belonging to his deposed predecessor) but he was wearing an S
brevet
Apparently he'd been a Sergeant Siggy on the Hastings Met Flight - I think he said they operated out of Aldergrove
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