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-   -   Vulcans - rear crew disabling pilots ejector seats in flight (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/438906-vulcans-rear-crew-disabling-pilots-ejector-seats-flight.html)

spectre150 18th Jan 2011 08:24

XH556
 
Just to set the record straight - JL tells me that the 556 incident was at Finningley in Apr 66 and he remembers vividly how quickly he egressed between the pilots' seats. The wheels -up landing mentioned elsewhere was presumably a different incident.

Pontius Navigator 18th Jan 2011 09:32

Ask JL if he remembers Kim Bunting and also if he did indeed make the coffee bar before the crash crew made the aircraft.

spectre150 18th Jan 2011 10:10

PN - I will (he remembers you!).

baffman 19th Jan 2011 12:37

Apologies if already done, but I couldnt find the link in this thread.

There is quite a full discussion of the V-bomber ejector seat issue here: BBC - h2g2 - The V-Bomber Ejector Seat Story

I take no responsibility for the content!

Tankertrashnav 19th Jan 2011 13:42

Interesting article Baffman. It's obviously meant for the general reader, not the specialist, so I make no comment on the technical content, but one incontrovertible fact that emerges is that politicians were a similar bunch of lying, prevaricating b****s 50 years ago to the lot we have today.

Brian 48nav 19th Jan 2011 14:18

Doddy Hay
 
Reading the article reminded me of the sterling work done by him. In fact I sat next to his son Barry at Raynes Park GS (sadly now yobbified!), who I believe served as a blunty in the RAF.

As TTN says,same bunch of lying cheating shits in Westminster - I used to think defence of the land was safe with the Tories.

Pontius Navigator 19th Jan 2011 16:05

Brian, while the preception within Services was generally that Tories were good on Defence I am drawn to the conclusion that many of the better decisions were made by Labour (not NuLabour).

WarmandDry 19th Jan 2011 22:26

My rear crew said that if we ever went to war they would never put the pins in the pilots seats. They would, however, attach certain parts of our anatomy to the airframe!"

Lancman 20th Jan 2011 08:25

All these reasons why the rear crew couldn't have bang seats, why wasn't the aircraft designed with their desks running fore and aft instead of athwart-ships?

BEagle 20th Jan 2011 08:39

Because the size of bomb bay needed to accommodate the Blue Danube bomb would have precluded this. Also, the need to pressurise the crew compartment meant that the smallest possible space was essential - don't forget that the aircraft was first designed around 60 years ago!

Rear crew ejector seats were entirely possible; however, as the Vulcan was due to be withdrawn from service with the advent of TSR2...F-111...AFVG etc. etc.

To reduce wear and tear on hydraulic components, in the Vulcan the landing gear was left down for visual circuit flying. The chances of the average rear crew member being able to escape with the nose leg extended were close to zero, so extended circuit work was highly unpopular with many rear crew....

Tankertrashnav 20th Jan 2011 09:10


so extended circuit work was highly unpopular with many rear crew....

It was pretty unpopular with Victor rear crews as well, but for the simpler reason it was a tedious pain in the backside for them. Pontifex will concur, as a QFI he would have been on the receiving end of much moaning from the back on these occasions, as they awaited the longed for "land and stream" call!

Pontius Navigator 20th Jan 2011 10:14


Originally Posted by BEagle (Post 6190667)
The chances of the average rear crew member being able to escape with the nose leg extended were close to zero, so extended circuit work was highly unpopular with many rear crew....

It wasn't just the escape system that made it unpopular but the attitudes too.

In light landing configuration with the gear down and airbrakes extended the aircraft had a pronounced nose up attitude. As the rear crew faced rear it followed that their seat positions were less comfortable.

The other attitude was once of the pilots. At then end of one long night sortie when my captain the QFI/IRE was guiding a new copilot we did a number of instrument circuits - each took 10 minutes with the guest AEO reading the check list. Once the requisite stats had been achieved the AEO suggested 'final landing' whereupon the captain said 'no, into visuals.'

Visuals were unpopular also as there was nothing for the rear crew to do at all.

Returning to ops the AEO asked 'why did you do visuals, you didn't need to.'

'Because I wanted to.'

whop

'What did you do that for?' said the captain holding a bloody nose.

'Because I wanted to.'

HTB 20th Jan 2011 20:10

My memory is a bit vague on this, tempus fugit, but I do recall that we handed the top pins to the pilots (and at some stage found a suitable place to stow the hard bit of their headwear - the Mk 1 bonedome - while they continued with g-type cloth inner helmet straight out of WWII). The canopy firing mechanism, and pin stowage was, I think, housed behind a perspex cover on the bulkhead above and behind the bang seats.

While we're reminiscing about about Vulcan evacuations - both ground and air - the Spilsby crash was a classic example of thwarted expectations. That is to say, the emergency door opening handle did not perform as the one in the crew escape trainer did; mainly because it had seldom, if ever been used for that function and was as stiff to operate as it should have been. The escape trainer's handle was so slack you hardly had to rock it outboard through the gate. The result was that the Rad held up proceedings long enough for the AEO to be standing on his head (I think there was also a restriction caused by the Rad's umbilical snagging and exacerbating the impatience in the queue behind him).

They eventually got out, but the Rad was never quite the same again. Also, the co-pilot didn't fare too well, as he was biffed on the bonce by the drogue gun slug - saw him in Nocton shortly after while I was in for something trivial. I think it curtailed his flying career too.

The captain had been my first on Vulcans and was praised roundly for avoiding the primary school at Spilsby, which he said was miraculous as the cause of the crash was a bomb bay fire which burned through the control rods (can you believe that, electric powered flying control units actuated by multi-section rods). So big daft B*b was merrily poling around to no effect before he left the sinking ship.

The ground evac that I have in mind took place at Shiraz and left the nose section rather crumpled with the front end pushed upwards and the crew compartment filled with dust and rubble entering via the vis bomb aimer's position. It took a feat of might and brute strength for the AEO to lift the desk that was trapping the rear crew in their seats before they could beat a hasty retreat through the cabrio top. Details a bit vague because I never did listen closeley to the AEO (with whom I crewed for 6 consecutive years), mainly because he mumbled.

The pins in thing was crewroom yak, I don't think anyone seriously contemplated such a ploy. As rear crew you paid your money and tokk your chance; leave it to fate (and training, skill and...)

Mister B

Fareastdriver 20th Jan 2011 20:25


so extended circuit work was highly unpopular with many rear crew....
It was not popular with co-pilots either, especially yours truly. On the Valiant checklist you were required to jettison the remainder of the underwing tank's fuel at REP 3 (radar entry point, 30,000 ft for your airfield). I used to hoard as much fuel as I could in the bomb bay and transfer tank and at the last moment pump the contents into the port underwing. Whoopee! there would be a massive contrail over the east coast and surprise, surprise, we would be down to 10,000 (minimums) lbs on the approach.

Bugger the Ozone layer.

Pontius Navigator 20th Jan 2011 21:29


Originally Posted by HTB (Post 6192086)
My memory is a bit vague on this, tempus fugit, but I do recall that we handed the top pins to the pilots (and at some stage found a suitable place to stow the hard bit of their headwear - the Mk 1 bonedome - while they continued with g-type cloth inner helmet straight out of WWII). The canopy firing mechanism, and pin stowage was, I think, housed behind a perspex cover on the bulkhead above and behind the bang seats.

Quite right. They used to fasten the bone dome to the yellow grab handle behind the respective seats. Then some bright copilot (amazing) said if you put MY bone dome behind the Captain's seat and HIS on my seat then we can reach our own without the Nav Rad having to pass them forward.

And on Shiraz - Steff E. This was yet another IX Sqn wreck.

At one point, without checking my book, I think IX had 5 consecutive crashes.

PS, Checking my book I find Scampton managed to reduce the orbat at some point.

BEagle 20th Jan 2011 21:49


...the cause of the crash was a bomb bay fire...
Wasn't that actually a cocked-up RAT/AAPP drill? Drop the RAT, volts and frequencies out of limits, but hey, connect it to the synch busbar anyway. Then impossible to disconnect from the aircraft AC system, cue fire, brimstone and shortly afterwards, one less Vulcan...:uhoh:

After which came the RAT field switch mod, which would kill the RAT in such circumstances if it over-volted.

BEagle 20th Jan 2011 21:53


...the cause of the crash was a bomb bay fire...
Wasn't that actually a cocked-up RAT/AAPP drill? Drop the RAT, volts and frequencies out of limits, but hey, connect it to the synch busbar anyway. Then impossible to disconnect from the aircraft AC system, cue fire, brimstone and shortly afterwards, one less Vulcan...:uhoh:

After which came the RAT field isolation switch mod, which would kill the RAT in such circumstances if it over-volted.

Pontius Navigator 20th Jan 2011 22:27


Originally Posted by BEagle (Post 6192295)
Wasn't that actually a cocked-up RAT/AAPP drill? Drop the RAT, volts and frequencies out of limits, but hey, connect it to the synch busbar anyway. Then impossible to disconnect from the aircraft AC system, cue fire, brimstone and shortly afterwards, one less Vulcan...:uhoh:.

XM600 - 17 Jan 77 - fire in bomb bay area spread to port wing.

BEagle 20th Jan 2011 23:19

And your official source of information?

Remember where the RAT was actually stowed - the overvolting caused a wiring fire which then spread to the left wing. Or so our OCU AEO instructor told us in 1977 during an electrical system lecture. Hence the mod. to introduce the RAT field isolation switch.

Pontius Navigator 21st Jan 2011 07:35

BEagle you are splitting hairs. The RAT was outside the port wing at the time. The electrical controls and circuitry are inboard. While the RAT caused the fire it does not follow that the fire started at the RAT but by the RAT.

We once had a similar RAT problem. It fell out at 350k/500ft over the Libyan desert. Things went suddenly dark and quiet as loads were shed.

We recovered to Akrotiri and changed the fuses in, IIRC, the nose wheel bay.


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