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Probing the Nimrod

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Probing the Nimrod

Old 21st Apr 2020, 11:10
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Probing the Nimrod

I came across a photo of an early Nimrod MR2P with small finlets on the tailplanes, rather than the usual large rectangular fins.

I had a look at all the various Nimrod books on my shelves (a surprising number) and could find no explanation, but started to wonder if it was a feature of the initial Falklands UOR-type MR2P conversion (to XV227, 228, 230, 232, 234, 236, 237, 238, 239, 243, 247, 248, 253, 254, 255 and 260), with the larger finlets being applied to the R1s* and subsequent 'production' MR2P conversions.

Initially I wondered if the big rectangular finlets were associated with the MR2s 'Yellow Gate' wing pods, but then found photos of 249 with wingtip pods, no finlets, and no AAR probe.

Does anyone remember this episode?

*(I know that the first 'probed' R1 initially still had Chelton hockey stick antennas on the tailplanes).


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Old 21st Apr 2020, 12:23
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Working with BAe at Ice Station Kilo I remember the large fins on the tailplane were part of the LORAN, (or was it LORAL?), wing tip mod which took place post Falklands. That would have been '85 - '87 as each aircraft underwent a major service.
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Old 21st Apr 2020, 15:19
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As far as I can remember, the fins (in fact Aerials I was told) were part of the probe mod. When aircraft went in for their next major service, (I do not know which), the fins were replace by the larger aerials and the refuelling pipes (2 of) than ran down the inside of the fuselage (Yes, as used on the bowsers) were replaced by proper fuel lines in the bombay. Although the original mod was a bit gash looking, the pipe was very robust with many an item dropped on it and it never gave off any fumes.

LORAL was another name for the Yellowgate ESM, (I believe the manufactures name) and was a major MOD fit, the fins had nothing to do with it, I believe they were replaced at the same time. LORAN was a navaid that was on the MR1 and was removed from the MR2 when GPS was added, (I think), or when the ground stations were taken off the air.

All that from a wettie, so some details may be wrong.
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Old 21st Apr 2020, 15:43
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The hideously ugly Nimrod AEW3 had a probe also, but no vertical surfaces on the tailplane.

My FHT on the VC10K course included a Nimrod AEW3 as one of the receivers during the AAR element of the test on 5 Nov 1984. Watching that thing trying to prod was a giggle a minute!
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Old 21st Apr 2020, 15:58
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Originally Posted by BEagle View Post
The hideously ugly Nimrod AEW3 had a probe also, but no vertical surfaces on the tailplane.

My FHT on the VC10K course included a Nimrod AEW3 as one of the receivers during the AAR element of the test on 5 Nov 1984. Watching that thing trying to prod was a giggle a minute!
The larger nose and tail cross sections of the Nimrod AEW3 actually improved the aircraft handling and the aircraft did not Dutch role like the maritime version (so I was told by the flight deck). It had to have something go for it - however small!
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Old 21st Apr 2020, 16:46
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As I recall, the larger 'finlets' were associated with the probe installation because the basic aircraft had a mild PIO, dutch roll, when tanking.
Initial evaluation in the 'reprogrammbale' design sim at Hatfield considered several different fixes.
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Old 21st Apr 2020, 18:11
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Just to complicate matters a little further, I have on my wall a large photo of XV238 behind a Victor and it has no fins just the ventral keel. The photo was taken on the flight trials and came to me from BAe.

Tony Blackman describes the design and testing process in his book Nimrod Rise and Fall, pp145-6. He states that Banfield and Cruse made the first successful dry contacts with a Victor on 28 April 82 and first wet contacts on 30 April. He goes on to say that XV238 was delivered with flight refuelling modifications complete on 1 May. I do know that I never saw a probed aircraft at Kinloss without fins.

He describes the addition of the fins as being a R1 mod that was utilised for aerodynamic purposes and having no electrical connection on the MR2. I cannot recall (never knew) what function they fulfilled on the R1 but they don’t seem to have been associated with Astral Box.

WRT The AEW 3’s handling characteristics, it wasn’t only directional stability that was improved, the pitch response was sufficiently improved that there was no longer a requirement for the two stage elevator gearing with Fine Gear being selected passing Fl200 in the climb. The gear change system was removed on the AEW 3.

YS
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Old 21st Apr 2020, 20:51
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The way I remember it - probe only aircraft had the small finlets. Probe and Loral fitted aircraft had the large finlets. Aircraft with Loral but no probe had no finlets.
It is all some time ago so I could be mistaken!
The finlets were fashioned from aerial antennae but had no associated radio fit.
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Old 21st Apr 2020, 21:50
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lonsdale2 - That’s exactly the way it was. On the original AAR trials to ensure adequate directional stability the small ventral fin was fitted below the rear fuselage and small finlets above and below the tail plane were fitted. The larger finlets were fitted when the ESM pods were fitted to AAR equipped aircraft. Also as you say the finlets were not part of any electronic fit.
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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 04:54
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Every time I hear mention of this aircraft I am reminded that the USA and the UK are "two great nations divided by a common language."

Yes, Nimrod the biblical figure was a mighty hunter, but in the USA, the name is only ever used sarcastically. "Nimrod" is what you might name that fellow in the warehouse who managed to impale the office wall with the tines of a forklift truck. Twice in one week.

We Yanks are always astounded that you Brits chose that name for an important military aircraft.
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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 07:44
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Originally Posted by Gauges and Dials View Post
Every time I hear mention of this aircraft I am reminded that the USA and the UK are "two great nations divided by a common language."

Yes, Nimrod the biblical figure was a mighty hunter, but in the USA, the name is only ever used sarcastically. "Nimrod" is what you might name that fellow in the warehouse who managed to impale the office wall with the tines of a forklift truck. Twice in one week.

We Yanks are always astounded that you Brits chose that name for an important military aircraft.
Nimrod....
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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 07:59
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Originally Posted by safetypee View Post
As I recall, the larger 'finlets' were associated with the probe installation because the basic aircraft had a mild PIO, dutch roll, when tanking.Initial evaluation in the 'reprogrammbale' design sim at Hatfield considered several different fixes.
Spot on. The aircraft would yaw upto about 1.5 degrees per minute and was a sod doing astro. Obviously this became more apparent and a problem during AAR. Sticking two pair of VHF aerials was probably a quick and dirty fix. The larger fins were obviously a later design and manufacturing job. Whether they were fitted for Loral and with Loral is another matter. Maybe better stability would improve bearing accuracy.
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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 09:04
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Originally Posted by Gauges and Dials View Post
We Yanks are always astounded that you Brits chose that name for an important military aircraft.
We Brits are always astounded that you Yanks chose that man for an important position...

The Loral pods caused potential significant wing drop at the stall and that was controlled by the positioning of wing fences on each outboard upper surface of the wing. Therefore, I don't think the taiplane fins were to do with Loral on its own. Don't remember seeing the smaller aerial type fins so not sure how common that was.
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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 09:28
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Originally Posted by Gauges and Dials View Post
Every time I hear mention of this aircraft I am reminded that the USA and the UK are "two great nations divided by a common language."

Yes, Nimrod the biblical figure was a mighty hunter, but in the USA, the name is only ever used sarcastically. "Nimrod" is what you might name that fellow in the warehouse who managed to impale the office wall with the tines of a forklift truck. Twice in one week.

We Yanks are always astounded that you Brits chose that name for an important military aircraft.
And we are probably equally astounded that you "Yanks" don't appear to appreciate that there is another Nimrod well worth knowing about, namely

I also wonder what the Southerners feel, observing that the name Nimrod may have originated from a Hebrew word meaning "rebel", rather than a misinterpretation of Bugs Bunny.....

Jack

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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 09:49
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And you named an aircraft the growler.....
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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 10:12
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US people speak "American" not English!
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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 10:35
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More about linguistics than aircraft having worked for a US company for ten years (based in the souuth complicated matters further) i often half jokingly said I spoke American as well as English. There really are a lot of alternate meanings and meaning for words and phrases often more subtle than the giggle inducing versions of fanny or thongs but many analogies or phrases cause confusion in both directions, playing straight bats or coming out of left field dont cross the Atlantic at all clearly.

interesting to read about the Nimrod, an ugly duckling in disguise really, turning the lovely elegant comment into we err an ugly duckling but no doubt a functional one. Not a wholly Brit thing when one compares the original lineage and final form of a King air and Beechcraft1900 the later of which seemed to have every imaginable bolt on aerodynamic quick fix added to make it work in its 'airliner' guise
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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 10:37
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Union Jack..
Thank you for the youtube post...I would write more, but I seem to have something in my eye....
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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 12:22
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The use of 'Nimrod' as a derogatory word originates (I believe) from a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Bugs said sarcastically, to Elmer Fudd, 'You are such a Nimrod'. He meant 'you are such a mighty hunter' but the sarcastic tone was missed and the use of the word as an insult caught on.
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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 12:47
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