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Flights to Berlin in the Sixties.

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Flights to Berlin in the Sixties.

Old 3rd Sep 2020, 07:38
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Flights to Berlin in the Sixties.

When I joined 88 Sqdn at RAF Wildenrath in November 1961 I was told the the B(I)8 Canberras were flown to Berlin along the corridors to keep the lanes open. Recently a colleague has queried this as the Canberra was a war plane and was unlikely to have been allowed to go to Berlin.

So, which aircraft were regularly flown to Berlin along the designated corridors in the early sixties?
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 08:15
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2 x Chipmunks.(Gatow Station Flight)
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 08:28
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Pembrokes and Valettas might have made the flights mentioned.
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 08:33
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Hughie Green in a Twin Comanche.(nearly got shot down so the story goes.)
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 08:37
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Odd Canberras (PR) have been to Gatow.
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 08:38
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Originally Posted by Less Hair View Post
Pembrokes and Valettas might have made the flights mentioned.
60 Sqn Pembrokes -
I put Pembrokes (?) in my original (edited) post above but wasn't sure from memory,but yes looks like 60 sqn did do some corridor flights.
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 08:55
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RAF Pembrokes were used between 1956 and 1990 to Berlin. Three from Wildenrath and later Rheindalen were PR equipped with five F.96 cameras (9 inch) each. That's what Luftwaffenmuseum at Gatow says. They display a german Pembroke. The local Chipmunks were used for BRIXMIS support.
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 09:08
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Follow this link for full details of the PR Pembrokes and their role in intelligence gathering along the Berlin Corridors and East Berlin.

https://www.16va.be/pembrokes_part1_eng.html
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 09:12
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Excellent source.
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 10:25
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WJ916 (a VERY secret squirrel Varsity) used to flog the lanes. The only aircraft I've ever seen taxy into an empty hangar under it's own power.
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 11:25
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I flew to Berlin in the mid 70s in an Andover. It was an amazingly vibrant city in those days. It showed the way that peoples inner characters come out when under oppression.
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 16:26
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Angel The Berlin Corridors and Control Zone

The Berlin Corridors and Control Zone (BCZ) were established by formal treaty between the four wartime Allies (Britain, France, USA and USSR) in 1945 in the wake of the Potsdam Conference. They were to allow free air access to Berlin. The Corridors were 20 statute miles wide and connected Berlin with Hamburg, Hanover and Frankfurt-am-Main. The Control Zone was 40 statute miles diameter, centred on the BASC building in the Kliestpark in Berlin. The Berlin Air Safety Centre (BASC) managed the traffic in the Corridors and BCZ and authorised flight plans. Physical control of aircraft in them was the responsibility of the US operated Berlin Air Route Traffic Control Center (BARTCC).

Up until 1953 the Corridors and BCZ were from Ground to Unlimited and could be used by any aircraft of the four wartime Allies. In the early days the RAF had regular fighter detachments to Gatow from airfields in the British Zone. This changed in 1953 when the Russians unilaterally imposed height limitations of 3,500 to 10,000 feet in the Corridors and 2,500 to 10,000 feet in the BCZ. They also restricted the types of aircraft allowed to use them to unarmed military transport and training aircraft and airliners belonging to the four wartime Allies. These restrictions were never formally accepted by the western allies but were tolerated to avoid rocking the boat.. Eventually aircraft from other nations could apply to use the Corridors and BCZ but this depended on permission being given by BASC. Aircraft registered in Germany, both East and West were NOT normally allowed to use the Corridors and BCZ. Post 1953 NO combat aircraft were allowed to use the Corridors and BCZ.but there may have been some unarmed (e.g. PR versions) that visited for Open Days but given Russian intransigence, and adherence to the letter of the rules, this seems unlikely

So, any British transport aircraft could use them which accounts for the variety of military transport types seen at Gatow as well as civil airliners (e.g. Britannia B-737 trooping flights). Within Germany 60 Sqn and its predecessors operated Ansons, Pembrokes and Andovers out of Buckeberg and Wildenrath on normal communications flights as well as some more nefarious operations. Also 115 Sqn in UK and EWAU operated into Berlin on 'calibration' flights.

Hope this helps clarify things
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 16:47
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Article in the Aeroplane June 2017, Issue 230, gives details of the Military Sponsored Air Service in which RAF crews were trained on BEA Viscounts to fly the corridors empty in times of heightened tension with the USSR.

Crews were trained at the BEA facility at Heathrow which consisted of basic simulator training and two familiarisation flights of about 5 hrs total. I was the navigator on a crew with two pilots drawn from the Handley Page Hastings at RAF Colerne. It was a rapid conversion course for the pilots who were not turboprop trained and I was rather glad that we did not do it for real due to our lack of familiarisation and experience with the Viscount.

We operated from Templehof airport and flew, as observers, with the BEA crew and flew each of the three corridors on two separate occasions.

I believe RAF crews drawn from the Brittannia and Argosy fleets also took part as did Comet crews who, I believe, were converted to BEA BAC 111's when the Viscounts were withdrawn from service.
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 18:15
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BEA Viscounts outlasted the Argosy, Comet and Britannia in RAF service.
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 20:10
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For a fairly comprehensive account of corridor operations and associated activities try:

Looking Down The Corridors by Kevin Wright and Peter Jeffries
ISBN 978 0 7509 5577 5
Pub. The History Press - 2015
YS
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 21:00
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Originally Posted by Yellow Sun View Post
For a fairly comprehensive account of corridor operations and associated activities try:

Looking Down The Corridors by Kevin Wright and Peter Jeffries
ISBN 978 0 7509 5577 5
Pub. The History Press - 2015
YS
This bok has jest had a revised edition gone to print to-day. Should be available via THP or big river son
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 21:27
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!st May 1959, 30 Sqn Beverley 130, Wildenrath - Gatow. 2nd May 1959 Beverley 130 Gatow - Wildenrath. Vague memories of a lively nightclub, much sharper recall of a huge plate of cold pig's trotters for a late evening Mess 'snack'!!
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 21:39
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I went down the corridor in a Varsity while going through AEOp training in 75.
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Old 4th Sep 2020, 02:03
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7th SOS et al

USAF did lots especially in The early days with EC-97G And RC-130A up and down the Berlin corridor 60s/70s. Then the Fulton recovery equipped mC-130E/H Combat Talon operated by the Rhein Main 7th Special Ops Squadron (now based at the ‘Hall) we’re sighted flying up and down the corridor in the 80s.

Also slightly digressing, the FAA had variety of C-47, C-131, DC-6, T-39 Sabreliner going into Tempelhof from the 60s onwards till the wall came crashing down. Think they were runway calibration / checker a/c.

cheers

Last edited by chopper2004; 4th Sep 2020 at 14:57.
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Old 4th Sep 2020, 07:33
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Originally Posted by chopper2004 View Post
USAF did lots especially in The early days with EC-97G And RC-130A up and down the Berlin corridor 70s/70s. Then the Fulton recovery equipped mC-130E/H Combat Talon operated by the Rhein Main 7th Special Ops Squadron (now based at the ‘Hall) we’re sighted flying up and down the corridor in the 80s.

Also slightly digressing, the FAA had variety of C-47, C-131, DC-6, T-39 Sabreliner going into Tempelhof from the 6ps onwards till the wall came crashing down. Think they were runway calibration / checker a/c.

cheers
I can remember the 60`s, but not the 6ps
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