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Green Endorsements ?

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Green Endorsements ?

Old 17th Mar 2018, 11:38
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Green Endorsements ?

Does the service still give “Greens” for notable acts of flying skill, and has anyone been on the receiving end of one ?
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Old 17th Mar 2018, 12:50
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Fonsini (#1),

Never got one myself, but in 1945 got one for a Captain van den Poel (SAAF), loaned to me with his Thunderbolt II, in which, on take-off, he clipped a shitehawk with a wheel, ripping off a patch of rubber outer casing and exposing the inner tube.

He landed on this with infinite care, the tube did not blow out. I sent his log book up to my (225) Group: they put in the Green Endorsement. Forgotten the wording now - it's been a long time.

Never heard of one since.

Old 17th Mar 2018, 13:29
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Another extract from my late father's memoirs. He was awarded a Green Endorsement following an engine flame-out and forced landing at Gatwick in 1950:-

November started with a bit of excitement. On the 2nd I was airborne in the Gloster E1/44 having been detailed to observe the experimental high speed trailing static being towed by a Meteor. The idea of a trailing static source was to obtain true static pressure away from the influence of the disturbed air around an aircraft. This had been done successfully at low speeds for years by attaching a streamlined shape (rather like a small bomb) to a strong flexible tube which could be winched out of the aircraft when desired, and the readings obtained used to calibrate the aircraft’s own static source readings. However, at the higher speeds, the “bomb” became unstable and frequently broke away. Thus the Farnborough “boffins” were trying to develop a modified system which could be used a higher speeds and Mach Nos. On this occasion we had climbed through several layers of cloud in formation and were passing 26,000ft. when I experienced the symptoms of mild engine surge which was not uncommon with the Nene engine at that time. I took the usual remedial action of reducing the throttle setting and watched the jet pipe temperature which could rise alarmingly following a surge, but it was falling quite rapidly as also was the rpm. I then tentatively advanced the throttle and getting no response realised I had a “flame-out” and tried an immediate re-light to no avail. By this time the Meteor I had been in formation with was well ahead and above me and I radioed to both it and Farnborough radar to let them know my plight. Two problems were bothering me. The first was that with no engine running, there would be little or no output from the generator and thus I would have to rely on the batteries to provide electric power for further attempts to re-light the engine and secondly, this aircraft had electrically powered flight instruments (in those days most were suction driven) and I would have to rely on these instruments to descend safely through cloud. I therefore decided not to attempt any further relights until below cloud and in any case a re-light was much more likely to succeed at lower altitude. Farnborough Radar were quietly reassuring and were vectoring me to break cloud over the top of Gatwick which was then a relief airfield. I remembered the cloud base had been about 4,000ft when we took off and as I broke cloud with Gatwick in sight under the nose I mentally thanked the radar operator as I made one more attempt to start the engine. This also failed so I decided to concentrate on positioning for a forced landing. Everything worked out well and I was able to drop the landing gear on the emergency system and also lower partial flap. I made a rather fast touch-down on the mesh covered grass runway and had to brake quite heavily which resulted in a burst tyre as we came to a standstill. Feeling distinctly shaky, I climbed down and waited for some sign of life from the airfield but nothing happened. I walked some several hundred yards to a small building where I found a somewhat bored chap sitting at a rudimentary control desk who told me I had landed without permission but he’d had a call from Farnboro’ asking if I was down OK!
He also suggested that he’d have to close the airfield as my a/c was blocking the runway! I telephoned Aero Flight to report in although they already knew the score and was told that I would be picked up shortly and sure enough, Bob Smythe brought the Balliol two seat trainer in and flew me back to base.

Two subsequent events are worth noting. Because the E1/44 was not really needed any more and had been only used as a “hack” aircraft for some time, and it was not practical to fly it out of the relatively short runway at Gatwick, it was dismantled and taken away to be scrapped. I felt rather miffed at having pulled off a successful forced landing, the a/c should then suffer such an ignominious fate! However, my feathers were smoothed when a month later I was awarded a Green Endorsement in my log book for “displaying resource and exceptional flying skill” in the successful forced landing though I felt that this should have been shared with the radar controller who positioned me so well.
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Old 17th Mar 2018, 13:29
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[QUOTE]has anyone been on the receiving end of one ?[QUOTE]

Hand Up. (polishing fingernails on waistcoat)
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Old 17th Mar 2018, 15:25
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[quote=Fareastdriver;10087039][QUOTE]has anyone been on the receiving end of one ?

Hand Up. (polishing fingernails on waistcoat)
Me too...crew effort. Not recent though....1990
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Old 17th Mar 2018, 15:40
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Do they still do good shows and well done's etc

I got one and was recommended for two more
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Old 17th Mar 2018, 15:50
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Sorry for the thread drift, but does anyone know when the last Red Endorsement was awarded?
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Old 17th Mar 2018, 15:55
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Green Endorsements

AFAIK they are still awarded. It seems like they are heading the way of the VC though. I think you’d need to singlehandedly save half the country to spur anyone into actually recommending anyone for one.

That was uncharacteristicly pessimistic for me. Let’s hope someone can prove me wrong.

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Old 17th Mar 2018, 16:06
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BV, you just need a wordsmith who is prepared to put in the hard work of writing you up. Not just endorsements but other things that require 'work' too.
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Old 17th Mar 2018, 16:16
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I agree.

If I try to get to the bottom of why I sound so negative it goes back to a personal experience.

As a very junior QFI I once had a bird make a hole in my canopy (right above the students head). A diversion followed and (based on my current level of experience I can say objectively) I handled it very well.

Now I know lots of people who’ve had similar and, in some cases, far more exciting incidents than that. I also know people who have been written up for far less. I had a particularly weak Flt Cdr at the time and I guarantee the thought of writing anything up would not have crossed his mind.

I guess my point is where do we make the distinction between gallantry awards (which are rightly awarded sparingly) and a written pat on the back. Why must GEs be given sparingly?

Surely a well handled incident (slightly more than just any minor caption) that resulted in a safe outcome should be sufficient?

Just my thoughts.

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Old 17th Mar 2018, 17:32
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I agree - I’ve seen various write ups be rejected that previously would have got an AFC. I don’t know why we are so miserly with Green Endorsements - it costs nothing and if handed out to a few (but more than is at present!) with suitable gravitas, pomp and ceremony it is more retention positive than a 1% pay rise!

IMHO of course!
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Old 17th Mar 2018, 17:44
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Yup. Got one, but a long time ago signed by some AVM: AOC Training Units RAF Support Command!

Now suitably displayed, in log book No 1, on a shelf, covered in dust some 15000 hours later. Happy though; it could have been my last flight......

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Old 17th Mar 2018, 18:05
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Yup, Multiple bird strike on take off in a Victor. (Roosting Gulls at dawn). Fairly gripping.
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Old 17th Mar 2018, 18:13
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A duck hit me at 500 mph, smashing though the windscreen and blinded me and stopped the single engine. I still landed the aeroplane, but did not get a Green Endorsement. My Nav in the back got a well deserved one
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 08:40
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sharpend wrote
A duck hit me at 500 mph, smashing though the windscreen and blinded me and stopped the single engine. I still landed the aeroplane, but did not get a Green Endorsement.
I thought you were awarded a well-deserved AFC for that, Bluntie?

Lester certainly did deserve his Green Endorsement though.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 08:54
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Indeed he did if this is the same gentleman - taken from the 151 Sqn website:

15 February 1982

S/Ldr Derek Sharpe and his navigator F/Lt Lea Pearce, a former Vulcan Bomber navigator, were flying at low level when they hit a duck as the Hawk was flying at around 500 mph. The duck shattered the cockpit canopy. The Daily Telegraph reported the event in detail as described by S/Ldr Sharpe:

"Suddenly there was a great big thud in the face and I couldn't see any more. The wind was making an infernal noise. I pulled back the stick and closed the throttle. I felt no pain. I wiped what I could away from my eyes and I could just see a little out of my right eye. There was muck and blood and feathers everywhere. I couldn't open my left eye. I could just about make out the cockpit, but couldn't see out. I latched on to the instruments and crouched down under the dashboard because of the gale. As we slowed down to 150 mph I was able to talk to the navigator in the rear seat."

F/Lt Pearce helped to keep the dual-controlled trainer jet in the air, reading out the speed and height and they headed for Wittering, Cambridgeshire, about six minutes' flying time away.

Then the aircraft's speed reduced as it came into land, and the fierce air flow into the cockpit eased.

"I said we would probably be ejecting because I couldn't see, but in the end I just had sufficient vision to put her down in the middle of the runway. The fire crew couldn't believe it. They just stood and stared when this gory, blood covered character got out. It was a bit like driving up the M1 at 150 mph with a shattered windscreen while only being able to see out of one eye."

S/Ldr Sharpe had three operations, including, he says, "chromo-therapy and welding the eye back with a very cold gas." He explained, "My nose is better than before I broke it as a kid and the surgeons have finally straightened it out."

S/Ldr Sharpe was awarded the Air Force Cross ( AFC) for this action.
Did the Nav get a green endorsement? If not then I would suggest he should have?

[Just re-read Sharpend’s post and it seems the Nav did ]

Last edited by Lima Juliet; 18th Mar 2018 at 11:55.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 09:40
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Why not award an AFC for this?

Is it is easier to cofer the characteristic of ‘gallantry’ in cases where the crew had the option to abandon the aircraft but chose not to?

Flight Lieutenant K Green Endorsement​

On 12 November 2015, Flight Lieutenant K was the ​Captain of a Hercules C-130J operating from RAF Brize ​Norton. On recovery to the airfield, at approximately 5000ft ​the aircraft encountered a near simultaneous failure of its 2 ​Inertial Navigation Units above a solid layer of cloud.
Shortly afterwards the crew became aware that their ​Standby Attitude Indicator was also unserviceable. ​Flight Lieutenant K took control from the recently ​qualified and very inexperienced co-pilot.
Using a very faint visual horizon he levelled the aircraft ​and attempted to remain in visual conditions in the Brize ​Norton vicinity above the solid layer of cloud. A PAN was ​declared to ATC and the crew immediately began running a ​set of complex emergency drills in an attempt to regain an ​attitude source. ​
Unsuccessful, Flight Lieutenant K was left with only ​his air speed indicator, altimeter and E2 compass - insufficient ​instrumentation even for limited panel instrument flying. ​
In an attempt to navigate, the crew adopted a ‘no-​compass-no-gyro’​ procedure with ATC; however at night ​and in poor visibility, flight into cloud was unavoidable. ​Flight Lieutenant K now had neither a real nor artificial ​reference horizon available and the aircraft rapidly diverged ​from its intended flight path, accelerating by 30kts and ​descending by 500ft.
Pulling back on the control column increased the speed ​and rate of descent. Demonstrating exceptional awareness ​Flight Lieutenant K quickly diagnosed that the aircraft ​was entering a spiral dive. However, due to the absence of ​any reference horizon, he was unable to effect an immediate ​unusual position recovery. Crucially, by unloading the control ​column, he avoided tightening the spiral and drifting into an ​unrecoverable position.
Following a quick scan outside, lights on the ground ​illuminated a faint horizon against the cloud and, using this as ​a reference he was able to very skilfully recover to straight and ​level flight with very limited references.
The crew then declared a MAYDAY and, under the ​control of Distress and Diversion, Flight Lieutenant K, maintaining reference to the faint horizon, initiated a climb ​and transit north to an area where he knew of better weather. ​He then identified a sufficiently clear area that enabled a visual ​let down and safe recovery to RAF​ Coningsby.​
The Flight Reference Cards do not cater for a double inertial ​failure, let alone accompanied by a failed standby horizon. ​Flight Lieutenant K’s innate flying ability was all that ​stood between the crew and an unrecoverable position.
He showed exceptional presence of mind and calmness to ​instantly assimilate the situation and make a snap decision to ​slacken his pull on the control column, even whilst the ac was ​descending. Flight Lieutenant K went on to demonstrate ​outstanding leadership and flawless captaincy whilst effecting ​the safe recovery of the ac.
He was quick to reassure his crew members, whilst also ​corralling the assistance of Brize Norton ATC, Distress & ​Diversion, as well as a nearby Typhoon aircraft. Using all of the ​assets at his disposal, Flight Lieutenant K commanded ​the situation impeccably, drawing the whole episode to a ​close with a night landing at an unfamiliar airfield just inside ​the crosswind limits of the aircraft. ​

His exceptional awareness, captaincy and raw handling ​of the aircraft undoubtedly prevented a total loss over a ​densely populated area

Last edited by Brain Potter; 18th Mar 2018 at 10:10.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 10:21
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I think that illustrates my point quite nicely. If that is the extremes you need to go to just to get a Green Endorsement nowadays then I guess we won't be seeing many more. AFCs will obviously become like the proverbial rocking horse poop.

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Old 18th Mar 2018, 10:41
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I nearly got an AFC.

Some years after I had left the RAF I was in conversation with my old flight commander about something that I had done in Belize.

There was a medevac call out for a snake bite case at Punta Gorda in the south of the country. There was also the information that it was socked in with fog but I decided to have a look see. We flew single pilot then so my flight commander asked to fly with me as shotgun. Most of the country south of Belize City was covered in fog and without any navaids it was DR and the only track check was the red light on a tall radio mast about half way. Punta Gorda was, as promised, covered in fog.

I was familiar with the town so I identified where the airfield was from the glow and they had placed two landrovers so that their headlights crossed in front of them in the passenger pickup area. This required a long vertical descent through the fog with only the lights as a reference.

On the ground there was a long delay getting the patient because they didn't really think I would get in. Once loaded a vertical instrument take off and back to Belize and the patient only just survived.

When my flight commander got back to Odiham he was going to write me up for an AFC. The Squadron didn't have any history for this so he borrowed the Honours File from our sister squadron who handed out honours like movie tickets. He read the write ups and he thought that they were so nauseous and condescending that he couldn't bring himself to write anything similar so he let it go.

That is what he confessed to me all those years later.

Worried. Not really. It would have been nice for another reason.

My father got an AFC in 1949 when he brought a Halifax back from the mid Atlantic on two engines and landed it at Shannon. KG VI was indisposed at the time so he was given it by the station commander.

I thought that if I was to go to Buck House maybe I could get them to ask Queen Mum to present my father with his AFC properly but that was never to happen.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 18th Mar 2018 at 10:59.
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Old 18th Mar 2018, 11:29
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1 GS, 2 GE, 1 QC, 1 AFC

Never said that before
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