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JP Low Level Sqn at Finningley

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JP Low Level Sqn at Finningley

Old 4th Oct 2022, 19:57
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JP Low Level Sqn at Finningley

Could anyone explain the purpose of this unit and the timescale of it's existence. It was referred to recently in another thread and raised my interest.

What was the units official description?
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 20:34
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From at least 1973 to about 1993 ish (Replaced by Hawks). Part of the Nav School fleet providing FJ low level 2 seat training to student navs. Known variously as “JP Sqn” and later LLADTS ( Low Level and Air Defence Training Sqn) part of 6 FTS.
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 20:49
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All nav students completed the Basic JP course following the Basic Dominie Phase (classic navigation using radar and a couple of Air Position Indicators). Some later courses did start with a handful of Bulldog trips. The basic JP syllabus was at 240 kts initially and increased to 300 in the second half. It taught the basics of visual navigation at 250 feet using map and stopwatch using half mil charts for the route and 50 thou OS maps for IP to Tgt runs.

Following the Basic phase students were streamed Group 1, fast jet, or Group 2, heavies. The Group 2 guys returned to the Dominic to learn the dark arts of astro etc. The Gp 1 guys then did a low level phase on the Dominie using the radar at 500 ft, as a potential lead in to terrain following radar. But it was essentially about sensor management and mental capacity assessment. Following this phase the studes returned to the JP where there was a common phase and following role disposal an advanced Air Defence or Strike Attack phase where role specific formation exercises were completed.

Happy Days!
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 20:54
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Originally Posted by 2Planks View Post
All nav students completed the Basic JP course following the Basic Dominie Phase (classic navigation using radar and a couple of Air Position Indicators). Some later courses did start with a handful of Bulldog trips. The basic JP syllabus was at 240 kts initially and increased to 300 in the second half. It taught the basics of visual navigation at 250 feet using map and stopwatch using half mil charts for the route and 50 thou OS maps for IP to Tgt runs.

Following the Basic phase students were streamed Group 1, fast jet, or Group 2, heavies. The Group 2 guys returned to the Dominic to learn the dark arts of astro etc. The Gp 1 guys then did a low level phase on the Dominie using the radar at 500 ft, as a potential lead in to terrain following radar. But it was essentially about sensor management and mental capacity assessment. Following this phase the studes returned to the JP where there was a common phase and following role disposal an advanced Air Defence or Strike Attack phase where role specific formation exercises were completed.

Happy Days!
Some of my most attentive customers, the JP lads.
There is a marvellous official RAF film extant of the briefing, planning and flying a JP low-level navex ............ yhe use of the specialised 50 thou and stopwatch fills me with admiration: bad enough at 60 mph in a car.
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 20:57
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They used Jet Provost 5s with tip tanks fitted to allow for longer sorties.
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 20:58
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Langleyb
We may well have met! 86-87 and 92-5 for me.

Dave

There was also some 5as, with a basic VOR and ILS. But no tip tanks. The 5 only had DME, double DME fixing across the airways of Europe to far flung destinations was a highlight. Hours of fun drawing circles on charts and fibbing on the flight plan.
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 21:02
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Before that the flow was Varsities-JP 3-Dominies.

Dominie kit was originally 2 x Ground (not air) position indicators. Later 1xGPI and 1 x TANS (rudimentary digital Nav computer). Later still a full refit with pseudo GR1 kit just in time to be binned.
TL - Student 1973. Instructor (LL Dominies) 88-92
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 21:05
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Time Lord, sorry you are right, GPIs, providing the Doppler was working or the screen hadn't turned it off as a test!
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 21:17
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Originally Posted by 2Planks View Post
There was also some 5as, with a basic VOR and ILS. But no tip tanks. The 5 only had DME, double DME fixing across the airways of Europe to far flung destinations was a highlight. Hours of fun drawing circles on charts and fibbing on the flight plan.
The handful of JP5As were (for 6FTS only) fitted with tip tanks. This did come with a limitation that prohibited solo flying, only dual. No drama for the 6FTS role of course... apart for a Scampton trapper who ignored the advice of the ground crew at F700 time when ferrying the aircraft from Cranwell with a new display paint scheme applied.
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 22:03
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The JP was affectionally spoken of as "having constant thrust, variable noise". Just last week I was reminiscing, as I drove through the Lake District, of how we flew parallel to the M6 waving at car passengers who were on the same level on the motorway as we were at 250' in the Lune River valley near Tebay. That was 34 years ago under the tutelage of the likes of Bill Brandy and the infamous Dukesy of Cranwell IOT fame.

My saddest memory was the tragic incident which caused my last JP flight to be delayed on 22 Dec 1988, then moved to the New Year. Of all places, my final IP to Target run started at the Lockerbie A74 roundabout just hours after the events of that fateful day, the 21st.
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 22:03
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Understood so far, but either JP5 or 5A did they have normal JP full dual controls or a nav fit in front of the student?

Edit Sorry for poor positioning of this post given the previous sensitive one.
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 22:11
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I have a feeling that the cockpit modification for Nav training consisted of an extra stopwatch.
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 22:41
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The Finningley JP5s were unmodified with the spin stakes and roughened leading edges, unlike the Mk5As used for pilot training. This gave them a lower fuel consumption in the order of 5lbs a minute at low level, which was significant, and with the tip tanks increasing the fuel load to about 2600lbs, the range was improved at low level. Some Mk5As were transferred to Finningley when they were released by the introduction of the Tucano, they were fitted with tip tanks and known as Mk5Bs, but they retained the strakes and the leading edges. In about 1993, they were replaced by Tucanos.
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 23:34
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In 1970 I was lucky enough to get onto a low level nav course at Linton on Ouse flying JP 3, 4 and 5s. These last had just been delivered and had less then 10 hours in their F700s We were each allocated a pilot for the course and I was lucky enough to get a South African pilot called Al Colesky. Al had previousy led the Linton Gin formation team and he was keen to introduce me to the mysteries of aerobatics. On my first flight, which is in my logbook as "aircraft famil" , Al said we would skip the boring stuff like straight and level, and go straight into some aeros - thus it was that the first manouevre I carried out in a JP was a loop, which Al was kind enough to say was "not bad for a first effort".
Great fun, although what use the course was to me I couldn't see, as soon after I was on tankers, where FL 250 was about a close to low level as we ever got!
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Old 5th Oct 2022, 08:04
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Originally Posted by Cerney218 View Post
Could anyone explain the purpose of this unit and the timescale of it's existence. It was referred to recently in another thread and raised my interest.

What was the units official description?
At the end of both phases on the Low Level training the budding fast jet navigator had completed 35 hrs of visual navigation using only a stopwatch and compass. On their final trip they were given a 'time on target' 3hrs before briefing, this was for the second of usually 3 targets. They then planned, briefed and led a pair with an 'aggressor' intercepting them before the second target leading to controlling the pair in evasive tactics and off route navigation. The standard which most achieved was to be over the target within 10 seconds of their tasked time. The target was either for recce or dive attack. The staff pilot contributed tuition and flying and on the final test was 'mute' as far as running the mission. Number 2 of the pair usually had a staff navigator.
I was always very impressed by the standard achieved with so few resources.
​​​​
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Old 5th Oct 2022, 09:22
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Perched in the Duty Pilot's seat at Scampton many years ago, I was waiting for one of our Vulcans to return from a trip but there was nothing else going on. I was gazing out of the window whilst the local controller was busy with his crossword, when I was surprised to see a JP appear over the Lincoln edge at low level. It then flew a very steep 180 turn directly over the nuclear weapons storage area before Foxtrot Oscaring whence it came.

A JP5 with tip tanks could only have come from one place, so I rang the JP outfit at Finningley...

"Duty Pilot Scampton here. Nothing official but that was a most impressive low level steep turn by one of your jets! Fortunately neither ATC nor anyone important noticed, but if you Blyton was your target, it's about 10 nm north west of here!"

Perhaps not one of the better student navs?

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Old 5th Oct 2022, 09:56
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Justthisonce. I believe the 5as were fitted with tip tanks sometime in the late 80s. I went through training with tankless 5as. Handy for the air defence phase above cloud as fixing was much quicker.
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Old 5th Oct 2022, 10:19
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Originally Posted by BEagle View Post
Perched in the Duty Pilot's seat at Scampton many years ago, I was waiting for one of our Vulcans to return from a trip but there was nothing else going on. I was gazing out of the window whilst the local controller was busy with his crossword, when I was surprised to see a JP appear over the Lincoln edge at low level. It then flew a very steep 180 turn directly over the nuclear weapons storage area before Foxtrot Oscaring whence it came.

A JP5 with tip tanks could only have come from one place, so I rang the JP outfit at Finningley...

"Duty Pilot Scampton here. Nothing official but that was a most impressive low level steep turn by one of your jets! Fortunately neither ATC nor anyone important noticed, but if you Blyton was your target, it's about 10 nm north west of here!"

Perhaps not one of the better student navs?
There's many a tale like that! Well done for looking out the window
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Old 5th Oct 2022, 11:06
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Originally Posted by BEagle View Post
Perched in the Duty Pilot's seat at Scampton many years ago, I was waiting for one of our Vulcans to return from a trip but there was nothing else going on. I was gazing out of the window whilst the local controller was busy with his crossword, when I was surprised to see a JP appear over the Lincoln edge at low level. It then flew a very steep 180 turn directly over the nuclear weapons storage area before Foxtrot Oscaring whence it came.

A JP5 with tip tanks could only have come from one place, so I rang the JP outfit at Finningley...

"Duty Pilot Scampton here. Nothing official but that was a most impressive low level steep turn by one of your jets! Fortunately neither ATC nor anyone important noticed, but if you Blyton was your target, it's about 10 nm north west of here!"

Perhaps not one of the better student navs?
Summer of '73 I was at Lindholme doing Area Radar. On a day off, I was exploring the airfields of Lincolnshire and started up a small hill to find a JP opposite direction coming up the other side at considerably less than 250ft agl!
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Old 5th Oct 2022, 11:24
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I remember the typical flying program on the JP sqn at Finningley was three waves of eight aircraft, which would fit nicely into an 8 to 5ish working day. However, in 1980 cracks were found in the fin rear spars of all but three aircraft and for several weeks thereafter three waves of eight became eight waves of three!
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