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BA Crews manning RAF Tristars in 1983

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BA Crews manning RAF Tristars in 1983

Old 3rd Feb 2020, 10:04
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BA Crews manning RAF Tristars in 1983

I came across the following signal in a file I copied in Kew some years ago, but have only just gone through in any detail.


I was wondering if the BA crews did, in fact, operate to ASI and how long this arrangement lasted (in general terms)?
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 10:35
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They certainly did. I can remember a BA crew having a field day at a (tax free) NAAFI in Germany. Gutersloh? I was filling up a C130!
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 10:45
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Of interesting regarding American support for the U.K. during the Falklands War - questioned here several times - read her3 pages 25-35.

https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/documen...s-Campaign.pdf

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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 11:06
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BA trainers carried out the initial Ground school , Sim , Base and Line training , and probably some line flying . Until RAF guys had sufficient sectors under their belts .
RAF crews were still using BA sims[ some with BA trainers ] until at least '98 when I left Cale ' Tristars . And a beneficial agreement for Base training at Brize was used by BA/Cale' crews [ Sim older and not up to ZFT standards ] .

rgds condor .
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 12:08
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And in the mean time BA Line Engineers tried their best to destroy parts of the fleet..
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 12:17
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And a beneficial agreement for Base training at Brize was used by BA/Cale' crews
Well remember the Cally L1011's pounding the Brize circuit on occasion during those days.
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 15:11
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Yes. I was the BA Operational Planning Manager seconded to the RAF for around 18 months to run the project. The aircraft operated worldwide not just ASI; Canada, Italy, Cyprus etc. Ironically my counterpart at the RAF was himself a secondee from the US/Canada.
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 20:20
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I was the briefing officer at Ascension for the first T* air bridge. It was an RAF crew. The captain was the one that made the subsequent hard landing. I subsequently briefed the BA crews on procedures for the Falklands. MOD authorized the release of classified ADIZ penetration procedures but the BA aircraft (not RAF ,T*) only had Mode 3 SIF and VHF. Instead I devised and briefed them an unclassified procedure. They were given an entry point on the edge of the identification zone, a track to fly to a beacon not below 15,000 feet. In the event of no comms, no contact or shepherd to divert at PLE or discretion. Otherwise contact MPA on VHF and follow instructions. I briefed their chief nav, Peter Royce, and subsequently, around May 85, they did a route prover filling ASI and MPA with relief crews.

I ended my detachment in May and returned to UK in an RAF crewed T*. I believe BA then took over the contract while the T* went to Marshalls.


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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 20:37
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I was part of the team who instigated this arrangement and subsequently was the MOD POC for the year or so that it ran. The background was that we were chartering BCAL airlift to cover the shortfall caused by South Atlantic operations and we identified that approx 75% of this cost could be saved if we instead paid BA to provide crews to operate the Tristars that the RAF had bought from BA and were sitting waiting to be converted to tankers. Fortunately, as a result of selling these aircraft, BA had surplus Tristar crews and were therefore in a position to provide them to the RAF. Whilst the operation was successful and made significant savings there were a few wrinkles. One was that the RAF did not own baggage handling equipment able to reach the Tristar belly hold and there were occasions when the containers had to be unloaded in the aircraft hold.Positioning BA slip crews was a problem, especially to ASI a route only served by RAF AT so getting crews to Brize to catch a VC10 could be problematic. Also as these were now military aircraft albeit flown by civilian crews, there had to be an RAF officer onboard who was the 'aircraft captain' who in the case of diversion or any other untoward event would take charge. We therefore had to have a roster of officers available to do this. On the upside a lot was learnt about operating the Tristar before it entered service as a tanker

Last edited by bspatz; 4th Feb 2020 at 08:33.
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 20:37
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I remember driving them down there in our ATLO minibus.
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Old 7th Feb 2020, 15:37
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Originally Posted by Pontius Navigator View Post
I was the briefing officer at Ascension for the first T* air bridge. It was an RAF crew. The captain was the one that made the subsequent hard landing. I subsequently briefed the BA crews on procedures for the Falklands. MOD authorized the release of classified ADIZ penetration procedures but the BA aircraft (not RAF ,T*) only had Mode 3 SIF and VHF. Instead I devised and briefed them an unclassified procedure. They were given an entry point on the edge of the identification zone, a track to fly to a beacon not below 15,000 feet. In the event of no comms, no contact or shepherd to divert at PLE or discretion. Otherwise contact MPA on VHF and follow instructions. I briefed their chief nav, Peter Royce, and subsequently, around May 85, they did a route prover filling ASI and MPA with relief crews.

I ended my detachment in May and returned to UK in an RAF crewed T*. I believe BA then took over the contract while the T* went to Marshalls.
Peter Royce was the chief pilot on the 747 at BA. The 747 operated the Falklands air bridge while the Tristars operated the rest of the RAF "network" mainly for exercises and troop movements.
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Old 10th Feb 2020, 18:53
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At a similar time , several BA 707s had been retired , with crews on gardening leave . BA could not be bothered ; so a few 707 Capts, F/Os and C/C 'gurlfriends dry leased the a/c from BA . Got themselves 'uniformed' from M and S , then wet leased the whole caboodle to the RAF .
Don't know if they got to the Falklands , but certainly got to Ascension .
Met a couple of the 'Gurls [ who'd later retreaded to BA ].

They'd never B4 or since been so well treated or attended to on a night stop !

rgds condor.
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Old 11th Feb 2020, 09:27
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
And in the mean time BA Line Engineers tried their best to destroy parts of the fleet..
Until they'd trained the RAF how to do it?
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Old 11th Feb 2020, 11:28
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Not to the same extent as BA Engineers did, they knew how to do it properly.

Anyone remember those ridiculous freight containers designed to fit through a pax door..
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Old 11th Feb 2020, 16:21
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Not to the same extent as BA Engineers did, they knew how to do it properly.

Anyone remember those ridiculous freight containers designed to fit through a pax door..
I am not sure where this engineer slagging is going? IMO, all the engineers I worked with were excellent and, they generally produced great results, especially in adversity!
As for the "freight containers"... they were small baggage bins for the TriStar K1 that had no freight door and the underfloor compartments filled with fuel tanks. This was a cheapo way of carrying the 155 pax luggage etc.

OAP
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Old 11th Feb 2020, 17:25
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I must admit some responsibility for the much maligned small baggage bins which I discovered during one of my many visits to BA at Heathrow to discuss the Tristar operation (I never did find out why BA needed them). Despite being awkward they were very useful particularly once the Tristars were converted and the belly hold could no longer be used for baggage. Of interest I did submit a savings measure to retain one Tristar without fitting tanks in the belly hold on the grounds that this would allow it to be used in a full pax fit. The offset was that this aircraft operating for 1 day could then replace 2 x VC10 operating for 2 days on the Nairobi and Calgary runs. This measure was taken up but I was always amused to see that subsequently, over the years, getting rid of this airframe was consistently offered as a savings measure; so getting rid of at savings measure to make a saving!
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Old 11th Feb 2020, 17:49
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Hi bspatz! Of course, we eventually operated the three ex Pan Am -500 pax fit airliners. The six ex BA -500 jets became, four KC1 Combi tanker transports and two K1 tanker pax- due to penny pinching. In this case, it was the astronomical costs of the VC10 that robbed the TriStar of the wing pods and a coherent fleet.

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Old 12th Feb 2020, 07:33
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Feeling old ?;-

When it happened, the Falkland Conflict was closer to WW2 than we are today to the Falkland Conflict.

1945 - 1982 - 37 years
1982 - 2020 - 38 years
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