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-   -   RAF Valley & Missile Practice Camps (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/637967-raf-valley-missile-practice-camps.html)

EXFIN 11th Jan 2021 18:50


Originally Posted by Lima Juliet (Post 10965843)
EXFIN

It sounds like you need a copy of the following book. It comes with a CD with pictures of all APCs with the Aircrew and their names that flew from STAACME. Goes through about 40 years of history.


https://cimg8.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune....56fab52b9.jpeg

I have the book but not the CD sadly, will persevere!

EXFIN 11th Jan 2021 18:51


Originally Posted by Yellow Sun (Post 10965793)
Varsities RAF Gaydon, 2ANS
Vulcan RAF Waddington, 101 Sqn; there were probably crews from 50 and 44 on the detachment.
Jet Provost RAF College Cranwell, 1 Sqn
Nimrod RAF St Mawgan, 42 Sqn

YS

many thanks for your help. Taff

BEagle 11th Jan 2021 19:49

Some more from my JP course at RAFC Cranwell (all with 2 Sqn RAFC):

4 Jun 1974 Jet Provost T5 XW336 Cranwell - Valley Nav 16 (Med / Lo)
4 Jun 1974 Jet Provost T5 XW336 Valley - Valley Nav 18 (Lo / Med / Lo)
5 Jun 1974 Jet Provost T5 XW336 Valley - Cranwell Nav 19 (Lo / Med)
14 Jun 1974 Jet Provost T5 XW367 Cranwell - Valley Final Nav Test Part 1 (Med / Lo)
14 Jun 1974 Jet Provost T5 XW367 Valley - Cranwell Final Nav Test Part 2 (Hi)

Plus from a Leeming SORF refresher course:

11 Apr 1980 Jet Provost T5A XW431 Leeming - Valley LL Nav
11 Apr 1980 Jet Provost T5A XW431 RTB Leeming LL Nav

CharlieJuliet 11th Jan 2021 21:55

First trip to Valley for an Open Day weekend 18/20 June 1965 in 85 Sqn Binbrook Meteor F8 WK 654 and then not again till on MPC. Lightning Firestreak was from 5 Sqn F6 XS894 28 April 1967, and Winder was from 228 OCU FGR2 XV436 on 21 June 1973

dctyke 12th Jan 2021 07:34

As non aircrew (wpns tm at the time) I consider myself extremely lucky to have gone up in a Harrier T4 doing video chase on GR5 live firing of a sidewinder. Was amazed how close we were to the action.

EXFIN 12th Jan 2021 10:39

Many thanks to all who have replied. Please feel free to pass on the request to any relevant groups. Taff

EXFIN 12th Jan 2021 10:45


Originally Posted by dctyke (Post 10966116)
As non aircrew (wpns tm at the time) I consider myself extremely lucky to have gone up in a Harrier T4 doing video chase on GR5 live firing of a sidewinder. Was amazed how close we were to the action.

I remember firing the '9G, it felt like one of the Apollo launches! We arrived at STCAAME to be given the Introductory Briefing which consisted of 'next Squadron that screws up and the RAFG MPC is cancelled!' We got airborne as the secondary firer to the previous Sqn's last firing, they then had a weapon malfunction which put us as primary. The rest thankfully was a textbook firing, after landing at Valley we both were looking forward to a few beers/curry but sadly not to be, RTB Laarbruch! Happy Days

Peter Carter 12th Jan 2021 11:31

I flew one of two Buccaneers into Valley on 8 Nov 78 for a refuel following HE 1,000lb drops at West Freugh. One of us still had a bomb in the bomb bay, so we kept it shut and forgot to mention it(!). I think I have some 8mm silent film of this somewhere.

huge72 12th Jan 2021 12:28

With 3 tours in Ireland and detachments before, I carried out many Wessex change overs. Some we flagged and went onto either Odiham or Benson and Aldergrove on return. and some we carried out the change at Valley. One such trip we arrived at Valley to discover that the cab coming from Benson was delayed. This gave us time to nip to the aircrew feeder for lunch. So there we were pilot and crewman eating quietly in the corner when a young student pilot decides that as an NCO I should leave as ''this feeder is for aircrew only'' My pilot kept stum as I explained to the young gentleman what the eagle on my rank slides signified. Oh Happy Days.

SLXOwft 12th Jan 2021 13:10

Potential Thread Drift.

As a schoolboy holidaying in Rhosneigr circa the late 70's I was loitering in the dunes near the threshold of 32 (as it was then) when a foam carpet was laid for a Bruggen Jaguar (I think of either 14 or 17 squadron) which landed using the full length of 14. The aircraft remained on the runway for sometime as a wing was inspected. I wondered if it was a weapon hang up. Anyone here know any more?

My dim memories suggest that a detachment of 4 or 5 Jags were using the STCAAME ramp for all/part of the week. Anything that would give actual dates was consigned to recycling decades ago.

I remember seeing Super Jollies from Woodbridge which unlike most USAF aircraft actually landed. Even with a knowledge of theory of flight I was always slightly amazed they flew.

dctyke 12th Jan 2021 13:37

when we were at missile camp with a new junior pilot who was flying the spare we would get to the ac the instant it stopped, whip off the winder a fit a used umbilical. As he came down the ladder the ground crew would congratulate him, for a moment some would be in total shock and horror!

EXFIN 12th Jan 2021 13:52


Originally Posted by Peter Carter (Post 10966281)
I flew one of two Buccaneers into Valley on 8 Nov 78 for a refuel following HE 1,000lb drops at West Freugh. One of us still had a bomb in the bomb bay, so we kept it shut and forgot to mention it(!). I think I have some 8mm silent film of this somewhere.

Cheers, do you have the serial/unit please?

EXFIN 12th Jan 2021 13:58


Originally Posted by huge72 (Post 10966329)
With 3 tours in Ireland and detachments before, I carried out many Wessex change overs. Some we flagged and went onto either Odiham or Benson and Aldergrove on return. and some we carried out the change at Valley. One such trip we arrived at Valley to discover that the cab coming from Benson was delayed. This gave us time to nip to the aircrew feeder for lunch. So there we were pilot and crewman eating quietly in the corner when a young student pilot decides that as an NCO I should leave as ''this feeder is for aircrew only'' My pilot kept stum as I explained to the young gentleman what the eagle on my rank slides signified. Oh Happy Days.

Down the Falklands in '84 I flew in a Lynx to Goose Green, on board were 4 squaddies led by a L/Cpl. The gunner gave them the brief not to exit the Lynx until he opened the side door after landing as it would be rotors running. On arrival at Goose, said L/Cpl and his 3 oppos exited without permission. As the L/Cpl was walking away from the Cab the Gunner tapped him on the shoulder, he turned round at which point the Gunner 'decked' him, he then got back in and we flew off! P.S. do you have dates/serials fro the NI changeover?

RetiredBA/BY 12th Jan 2021 14:07

Vampire T11 XE998 to Vy from Swinderby and return. Feb. 28 1964. My landaway from 8 FTS.

Hot 'n' High 12th Jan 2021 14:14


Originally Posted by huge72 (Post 10966329)
....... This gave us time to nip to the aircrew feeder for lunch. So there we were pilot and crewman eating quietly in the corner when a young student pilot decides that as an NCO I should leave as ''this feeder is for aircrew only'' My pilot kept stum as I explained to the young gentleman what the eagle on my rank slides signified. Oh Happy Days.

huge72, we could have a sub-Thread here - "Stories involving the Valley Aircrew Feeder" following my Post #12 above! At least you were aircrew - and an NCO! :E

As you said, "Happy Days!"! :ok:

PEI_3721 12th Jan 2021 15:40

A mixed bag; a few photos to follow if they can be found.
23 Sqn Lightnings MPC Aug 20 - Sept 2 1967
23 Sqn Lightnings Ex 'Midsummer' Nov 21 - Nov 24 1967, a carefree / careless defending the Navy (ship control) in home waters; only 2 Irish airliners bagged.
Lightning F6 XR 763 1May 1968 day visit ?
Lightning F6 XR 763 Nov 25 1968 day visit MPC.
23 Sqn Lightnings MPC Dec 1 - Dec 12 1968
226 OCU Lightnings T5, F1 MPC Nov 11 1971

and during early 70s as a resident incumbent:-
Lightnings more operationally orientated, first battle flight firing non-stop from Germany, plus QRA / Tac Eval.
First of several Phantom MPCs - what a laugh. Winder worked but only went 'pop', AIM-7 'flew' if all the interlocks were out, slow-burn late-light launch could go anywhere (one RN launch fell back and then flew over the wing!). Lost a few Jindis until the radar polarisation was understood - radar reflector didn't like the launch aircraft rolling through 90deg after release. Then / if fusing, sometime.
PR Sqn failed to take a single air-air photo. Harrier VIFF trials, Boscombe Down Buccaneer with Martel misfire.

Oct 6 1977 Sea Vixen XN 653 target for 'trial 1756' 600 kts at 200 ft
Feb 21 1978 BAC1-11 XX105 overnight positioning for early morning fog flying at BHX
Jan 24 1980 HS 748 XW 750 overnight fog flying at GLA
Meteor F8 WH453 ? PD from Llanbeder, June 1979 ? self-auth first flight, and last flight in the RAF !
June 1983 BAe 146-100 ZD 695 RAF evaluation, photo formation with Hawk, and A5 pass.
and one that I took earlier:-

https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune....ddffc28511.jpgJ

huge72 13th Jan 2021 09:55

Hot 'n' High sadly this wasn't confined to Valley. The general service knowledge of a great many in the RAF was lacking when it came to NCO Aircrew. On another occasion I was crewman on a Shawbury Wessex doing crash/incident standby at Scampton for one of the 'Reds' anniversary's. And again at lunch one of the Team asked us to leave as it was for aircrew only. The FJ world in particular were guilty of this and it came as a shock to some in the 90's when redundant FJ Navs were posted to rotary and they had to work with them! I can only hope that things have improved since then but I doubt it somehow.

EXFIN 13th Jan 2021 11:18

Many thanks again to all who have replied. With 6.8k views there must be a few more visits lurking out there! Best wishes, Taff

EXFIN 13th Jan 2021 11:22

PEI_3721
Looking at June '79 the only record we have is WH320:N on 5.6.79. We have a photo of the aircraft at the holding point for in those days R20. Taff

Peter Carter 13th Jan 2021 11:23

Originally Posted by Peter Carter View Post
I flew one of two Buccaneers into Valley on 8 Nov 78 for a refuel following HE 1,000lb drops at West Freugh. One of us still had a bomb in the bomb bay, so we kept it shut and forgot to mention it(!). I think I have some 8mm silent film of this somewhere.
Cheers, do you have the serial/unit please?

Yes: XX889; 16Sqn.

EXFIN 13th Jan 2021 11:24


Originally Posted by Peter Carter (Post 10966977)
Yes: XX889; 16Sqn.

Grand, my first Sqn on the Fin!

Fortissimo 13th Jan 2021 13:13

I was involved in 4 firings from the F4, all of which were 'interesting' in one way or another. My first was an 9G telemetry round on APC when I was still on convex. It was a successful firing but it had been slightly handicapped by the inability of the flt cdr in the boot to read the range checklist; his crime was revealed when the QWI played the audio tape and the assembled crowd heard me ask politely at the -30 secs point (when we got the Punch call) if it would be a good idea to put the Master Arm live. To be fair, he did buy some beers as a result.

The second was a Sparrow III QRA firing, for which we were well aware that failure to get a war-shot missile away would be deemed a foul for the Sqn. We were both chuffed when the radar failed the BIT but pressed to the range anyway. We had to hold off to the north of the range, which gave us more time, but it was also the point where our photo chase pitched up on the wing - we were busy trying to fix the radar and neither of us looked properly at him, which was a shame as he was trying to indicate that he had lost comms. Oops. At the wash-up we found that his nav's Noddy Guide was out of date and the freq was wrong. Full marks though, he guessed from the straight track into the depths of the range that things were close and started filming about 5 seconds after he saw the target smoke - he only missed the first 2m of missile travel. The firing itself went right down to the wire as we could not get the target locked up. We agreed it would be a boresight firing if all else failed, so no pressure... As it happened, the hero nav managed to get a gyros out lock as we approached min range and with just enough radar settling time to keep the QWIs happy. It worked.

My photo chase was a short notice firing and also a war-shot missile (SKF, I think). Everything went very well, the firer eased away for post-launch separation per the brief and I followed the missile. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter it pitched rapidly up, down and up again, at which point the warhead detonated into a rather pretty orange and black ball. I got quite a close look at the continuous expanding rod, which was still expanding, plus a few other chunks of debris, all of which missed us. A good reminder that just because you have fired a missile, don't assume it will always work!

My final missile was another short-notice war-shot. The firing itself was uneventful but we could probably have done without the generator failure 10 miles before trigger press. I'm not sure how many F4 firings were done with the RAT out, perhaps some other PPruners can enlighten me.

EXFIN, I will PM you the details once I have retrieved my log books from the office.

Wwyvern 13th Jan 2021 14:48

RAF Aircraft
17 - 21 May 1971, 113 Basic Helicopter Course mountain flying, wet winching and decks.- Whirlwind HAR 10.
4 Jun 71. Navex from/to Tern Hill - Whirlwind.
7 Sep 71 - 9 Jan 74. Several visits en route Odiham via Valley to/from Aldergrove. Wessex HC2
Dates are available if required.
4 - 6 Feb 74. Mountain Flying training - Wessex.

Civilian Aircraft
5 -6 Aug 94. Privately-owned Piston Provost, RAF Valley Open Day Flying Display.


L1011effoh 13th Jan 2021 15:23

29 Jun 89 JP5A XW351 Solo LL Nav land away Kemble - Valley - Kemble
30 Jun 89 JP5A XW374 Dual LL Nav land away Kemble - Valley - Kemble
04 Jul 89 JP5A XW435 FNT land away Cranwell - Valley - Cranwell
8 Aug 91 JP5A XW316 SCT Hi-lo Nav land away Cranwell - Valley - Cranwell
18 Oct 91 Tucano T1 ZF144 SCT Hi-lo airways land away Cranwell - Valley - Cranwell

All with 1 Sqn 3 FTS RAF Cranwell.

spekesoftly 13th Jan 2021 15:38

16 March 1970 JP4 XP683 Dual Nav land away Linton - Valley
17 March 1970 JP4 XP683 Dual Nav Valley - Linton RTB

Both with A Flt 1 Sqn 1 FTS RAF Linton-on-Ouse



EXFIN 13th Jan 2021 16:40

Fantastic, keep them coming! Taff

EXFIN 13th Jan 2021 16:41


Originally Posted by Wwyvern (Post 10967100)
RAF Aircraft
17 - 21 May 1971, 113 Basic Helicopter Course mountain flying, wet winching and decks.- Whirlwind HAR 10.
4 Jun 71. Navex from/to Tern Hill - Whirlwind.
7 Sep 71 - 9 Jan 74. Several visits en route Odiham via Valley to/from Aldergrove. Wessex HC2
Dates are available if required.
4 - 6 Feb 74. Mountain Flying training - Wessex.

Civilian Aircraft
5 -6 Aug 94. Privately-owned Piston Provost, RAF Valley Open Day Flying Display.

Yes please for the N Ireland changeovers, serials & dates please, Taff

Minnie Burner 14th Jan 2021 09:58

Diverted in.
 
On a very wet and windy day in 1971 a 707, from Airtours I believe, appeared out of the gloom. I remember that the cabin crew were made particularly welcome. BomberH & co might remember more details.
Around the same time a Sea Vixen from 899 broke into the circuit with "a minor control problem". It had a sizeable amount of its starboard wing missing. The details of the incident, and the pilot most regrettably, are now part of FAA history.
A decade later I flew in the squadron's allocation of 8 missiles for MPC and the landing even by my standards was pretty awful. I was convinced that the sparrows, in particular, would never work. Fortunately, that was not the case.
It still seems remarkable to me that the Gnat used to operate virtually autonomously in IFR back in the day. Nowadays it's just virtually!
As Mog would say: "swing the lamp".

huge72 14th Jan 2021 09:58

During the troubles, the NI Wessex Fleet used to transit on a regular basis changing over airframes as they went for Major Servicing etc. Here are the ones that I went through on but obviously a small number from the 33 years of Wessex Ops in NI.

15/05/80 XT606 (O) Odi-Val-Ald NICO

XR511 (L) Ald-Val-Odi NICO

04/07/80 XT607 (P) Ald – Val NICO

XT675 (?) Val – Ald NICO

01/10/80 XT669 (T) Shy – Val NICO

XR525 (G) Val – Odi NICO

22/04/81 XR522 (?) Ald – Val NICO

XV723 (Q) Val – Ald NICO

13/07/81 XR509 (?) Ben – Val – Ald NICO

21/01/82 XT681 (U) Ald – Val NICO

XR517 (N) Val – Ald NICO

03/05/82 XT669 (T) Ald – Val –Ben OP Corporate Deployment

27/05/82 XR517 (N) Ald – Val – Ben NICO

XV723 (Q) Ben – Val – Ald NICO

22/09/82 XT676 (I) Ald – Val NICO

XV728 (A) Val – Ald NICO

01/12/85 XV723 (Q) Wad – Val – Ald Exercise Recovery

05/03/86 XV728 (A) Shy – Ald Div to Val U/S

06/03/86 XV728 (A) Val – Ald Recovery

04/06/87 XR511 (L) Ald – Val –Ben NICO
22/05/92 XR511 (L) Ald – Val – Ben NICO

I have added the aircraft letter codes, sadly there are 3 that I cannot remember.

EXFIN 14th Jan 2021 10:26


Originally Posted by Minnie Burner (Post 10967639)
On a very wet and windy day in 1971 a 707, from Airtours I believe, appeared out of the gloom. I remember that the cabin crew were made particularly welcome. BomberH & co might remember more details.
Around the same time a Sea Vixen from 899 broke into the circuit with "a minor control problem". It had a sizeable amount of its starboard wing missing. The details of the incident, and the pilot most regrettably, are now part of FAA history.
A decade later I flew in the squadron's allocation of 8 missiles for MPC and the landing even by my standards was pretty awful. I was convinced that the sparrows, in particular, would never work. Fortunately, that was not the case.
It still seems remarkable to me that the Gnat used to operate virtually autonomously in IFR back in the day. Nowadays it's just virtually!
As Mog would say: "swing the lamp".

Funnily, i received an email a couple of days ago referring to 1.12.71 which saw a 'shed' load of diversions into Valley including a few Boeings! Possibly the same day? Will trawl to see if I can find a few more details of the Sea Vixen. Do you have the date/serial/type/unit of the visit regarding the 8 Missiles? The IFR bit reminds me of my time at Valley in '87, airborne solo but prior to the IRT Valley was covered in cloud on my return, having worked in ATC there i just called for a cloud break and landed, walked to the Sqn but no one was on the Auth desk, got to the Bar to be asked 'where the f**k have you been, on telling i was rewarded with a bollocking for disobeying rules!

EXFIN 14th Jan 2021 10:26

Huge72

Many thanks, Taff

Old and Horrified 14th Jan 2021 13:47

I went there twice during my initial commercial training with Oxford Air Training back in Nov 1971 and Feb 1972, each, coincidently on the same aircraft, a Cherokee G-AXTM. Logbook copies sent. Both were navigation exercises, the second one solo (followed by a nightstop to visit an old friend and then a little trip around the island before setting off home!)

doodledog 14th Jan 2021 14:43

First ever Valley landaway was 23 July 1985 in an RAFC Cranwell JP5 XW290.

Later, I spent a week on MPC at Valley with IX Sqn from 5-11 Jul 89 (mostly hanging around Bardsey Island.as the airborne spare!). Finally got my chance to loose off an AIM-9G at a flare pack that was being towed unfeasibly close behind the Jindy - fortunately, the rocket did the job and took the flare pack clean off the wire, much to my relief. Jets noted in my logbook from the detachment were: ZD793 CA, ZD745 AA and ZD792 CF. There was also a guesting 20 Sqn jet (GB) for which I don't have the serial.

In a later life as a Valley QFI, I also flew quite a few missile chases for STCAAME, highlight being watching an AA-11 firing from a German MiG 29 in July 1993.

EXFIN 14th Jan 2021 16:32


Originally Posted by doodledog (Post 10967850)
First ever Valley landaway was 23 July 1985 in an RAFC Cranwell JP5 XW290.

Later, I spent a week on MPC at Valley with IX Sqn from 5-11 Jul 89 (mostly hanging around Bardsey Island.as the airborne spare!). Finally got my chance to loose off an AIM-9G at a flare pack that was being towed unfeasibly close behind the Jindy - fortunately, the rocket did the job and took the flare pack clean off the wire, much to my relief. Jets noted in my logbook from the detachment were: ZD793 CA, ZD745 AA and ZD792 CF. There was also a guesting 20 Sqn jet (GB) for which I don't have the serial.

In a later life as a Valley QFI, I also flew quite a few missile chases for STCAAME, highlight being watching an AA-11 firing from a German MiG 29 in July 1993.

Many thanks for the info Doodledog, I fired mine a couple of weeks later, your serials are confirmed and you're correct, there was a 20 Sqn jet present too. As you mentioned over the Years there were the Fulcrums and also later Gripens & Viggens. Best wishes, Taff

sarn1e 14th Jan 2021 21:31

OK, here goes...these are the highlights since there are many transits to and fro to start/end Trials, MPCs and one-off/QRA firings. No pictures, I'm afraid.

Lightning Firings with 5 Sqn:

28 Oct 85 F6 XR727 AP72 Firestreak
08 Sep 86 F6 XS922 AP72 Firestreak
08 Sep 87 F6 XR728 AP81 Firestreak Photochase
11 Sep 87 T5 XS416 AP72 Firestreak
15 Sep 87 F6 XR758 AP71 Firestreak (Night) Abort Wx
17 Sep 87 T5 XS416 AP71 Firestreak (Night)
18 Sep 87 F6 XR758 AP81 Firestreak

Tornado F3 Captive Carry Trials and Firings with 229OCU, F3OEU and 25 Sqn:

5 Dec 88 ZE339 QWI MF1 SkyFlash Firing

20 Mar 90 ZE911 AIM-9L de-chirp Trial
21 Mar 90 ZE 911 ditto
22 Mar 90 ZE911 ditto
14 Aug 90 ZE889 Op GRANBY SkyFlash Firing
17 Aug 90 ZE911 Op GRANBY SkyFlash Firing
21 Aug 90 ZE911 Op GRANBY AIM-9L de-chirp Firing
29 Aug 90 ZE889 Op GRANBY AIM-9M Firing

9 Mar 94 ZE797 QRA SkyFlash Firing
15 Jun 94 ZE199 AP5 SkyFlash Photochase
16 Jun 94 ZE762 AP4 SkyFlash Secondary SkyFlash Firer
22 Jun 94 ZE341 AP2 2 x SkyFlash Firing
28 Jun 94 ZE165 AP2 SkyFlash Photochase

Typhoon PDs with 17 Sqn:

30 Jan 04 ZJ803 First in-service RAF Typhoon PD to Valley

A few stories to go with the data...

5 Sqn conducted the last ever Firestreak MPC hence why we took 45 missiles to Valley and did our level best to get rid of them, both day and night. The weather was truly terrible, but we managed to fire about 35, if I recall correctly.

It was a fun, but very odd, detachment that included a spell of open arrest during the middle weekend for the (I think, all QFI - I was on the desk) 4-ship that we were begged to put up for a course graduation - apparently offending the Valley Stn Cdr through the use of a lag-pursuit roll (both legal and authorized) to regain formation at low level. This led to one of the best displays of leadership I saw during my time in the Service. At 0830 on the Monday morning following, having just come out of main Met Brief (during which we had been publicly berated by Valley's Stn Cdr as "amateurs" - to the extreme embarrassment of the 4FTS students and staff present) our Stn Cdr arrived in the Valley circuit doing what looked and sounded like about 600 knots. He demanded a car and disappeared over the other side from STCAAME for about 20 minutes, stopping only briefly on his way out of the door to berate the "guilty" party with "that'll teach you for being a fighter pilot!". After the said 20 minutes our Stn Cdr reappeared, climbed in his quick-turned jet and then proceeded to carry out a "f-you" rotation departure. All done by 0900. We never heard what was actually said, but we certainly appreciated the sentiment.

Even odder was the vibe at Valley, where, because the jet was going out of service, the students seemed to be discouraged from asking us for a trip (which rather undermined why we'd taken the T5 there in the first place). We stood up in our first Met Brief and offered pax rides on firings, but the only takers in the two weeks were there were ex-Lightning guys and exchange officers. I flew the Canadian and French guys who, unsurprisingly, thought firing the Mighty Firework - especially in the dark - was awesome. Not sure they liked the RHS circuits quite as much, though. As an aside, Firestreak was much more basic than Red Top, but also went bang more reliably.

During the Op GRANBY modification circus there were a number of firsts, which was both challenging and great fun. One particular SkyFlash firing involved a weapon-system mode that was classified need-to-know. Unfortunately, OC STCAAME was not on the list, which led to a bit of a Mexican stand-off in the ops room after we landed. He expressed some surprise at the mode the missile had launched in and asked to see the tape. I asked him to confirm the (successful) telemetry results and then, in the face of very robust objection, politely-but-firmly told him that I could not provide him with the tape and that we were leaving. This earned me a mildly-amused-but-supportive lecture in tact and diplomacy from my boss when I got back to Coningsby.

There were a good number of other STCAAME-involved firings, including some quite esoteric stuff, but these took place in the Hebrides with us flying out of Leuchars.

Everyone should know that the slot to get on an MPC is armed photochase. Something always goes wrong with one of the firers and you (nearly) always get in there on the day. Given my tally, it was clear that I had no business being near the firing list when it came to 25 Sqn's MPC. The programmers thought they had sidelined me by relegating me and Baby Nav (now Dreamliner Driver) to armed photochase. Cometh the hour, cometh the snags on start, followed, once airborne, by the second firer's (we were shooting 2 SkyFlash at one target to see the effects on the second missile of the first hitting the target) radar refusing to hold lock. Cue Baby Nav screaming (in the cockpit, not on the radio) at the Second Firer to admit defeat after three radar recycles and hand it over, since the contingency was a double firing!

And lo it came to pass. "Firing, firing, now" followed luxuriously by "firing, firing, now". Two stores away and a double "drop kick" (at least, I think that was the banter). Baby Nav never let the QWIN - for it was indeed he - forget it. I was not forgiven and never allowed (armed) near a firing detail again, but it was totally worth it. As it happens, I was guesting some years later on an F3OEU ASRAAM shoot in Florida, but my reputation preceded me and they refused to let me fly armed as the photochase just in case!

If only my posting hadn't come through before that first Typhoon AIM-120...

ancientaviator62 15th Jan 2021 07:44

sarn1e,
did you think to offer a trip in the T5 to any of your groundcrew ? I am sure the armourers would have been very interested to see the fruits of their labours being used as intended.

Krystal n chips 15th Jan 2021 09:59


Originally Posted by Minnie Burner (Post 10967639)
On a very wet and windy day in 1971 a 707, from Airtours I believe, appeared out of the gloom. I remember that the cabin crew were made particularly welcome. BomberH & co might remember more details.
Around the same time a Sea Vixen from 899 broke into the circuit with "a minor control problem". It had a sizeable amount of its starboard wing missing. The details of the incident, and the pilot most regrettably, are now part of FAA history.
A decade later I flew in the squadron's allocation of 8 missiles for MPC and the landing even by my standards was pretty awful. I was convinced that the sparrows, in particular, would never work. Fortunately, that was not the case.
It still seems remarkable to me that the Gnat used to operate virtually autonomously in IFR back in the day. Nowadays it's just virtually!
As Mog would say: "swing the lamp".

It was a BOAC 707, bringing the great and the good for the grand opening of a certain aluminium plant...I recall rumours that finding enough air to start it again caused a few heart palpitations at one point, but was finally resolved.

The Sea Vixen did indeed do a credible impression of having met a can opener.....how it remained airborne was quite remarkable really. The VASF pan suddenly became over populated you might say.

EXFIN 15th Jan 2021 10:06


Originally Posted by sarn1e (Post 10968049)
OK, here goes...these are the highlights since there are many transits to and fro to start/end Trials, MPCs and one-off/QRA firings. No pictures, I'm afraid.

Lightning Firings with 5 Sqn:

28 Oct 85 F6 XR727 AP72 Firestreak
08 Sep 86 F6 XS922 AP72 Firestreak
08 Sep 87 F6 XR728 AP81 Firestreak Photochase
11 Sep 87 T5 XS416 AP72 Firestreak
15 Sep 87 F6 XR758 AP71 Firestreak (Night) Abort Wx
17 Sep 87 T5 XS416 AP71 Firestreak (Night)
18 Sep 87 F6 XR758 AP81 Firestreak

Tornado F3 Captive Carry Trials and Firings with 229OCU, F3OEU and 25 Sqn:

5 Dec 88 ZE339 QWI MF1 SkyFlash Firing

20 Mar 90 ZE911 AIM-9L de-chirp Trial
21 Mar 90 ZE 911 ditto
22 Mar 90 ZE911 ditto
14 Aug 90 ZE889 Op GRANBY SkyFlash Firing
17 Aug 90 ZE911 Op GRANBY SkyFlash Firing
21 Aug 90 ZE911 Op GRANBY AIM-9L de-chirp Firing
29 Aug 90 ZE889 Op GRANBY AIM-9M Firing

9 Mar 94 ZE797 QRA SkyFlash Firing
15 Jun 94 ZE199 AP5 SkyFlash Photochase
16 Jun 94 ZE762 AP4 SkyFlash Secondary SkyFlash Firer
22 Jun 94 ZE341 AP2 2 x SkyFlash Firing
28 Jun 94 ZE165 AP2 SkyFlash Photochase

Typhoon PDs with 17 Sqn:

30 Jan 04 ZJ803 First in-service RAF Typhoon PD to Valley

A few stories to go with the data...

5 Sqn conducted the last ever Firestreak MPC hence why we took 45 missiles to Valley and did our level best to get rid of them, both day and night. The weather was truly terrible, but we managed to fire about 35, if I recall correctly.

It was a fun, but very odd, detachment that included a spell of open arrest during the middle weekend for the (I think, all QFI - I was on the desk) 4-ship that we were begged to put up for a course graduation - apparently offending the Valley Stn Cdr through the use of a lag-pursuit roll (both legal and authorized) to regain formation at low level. This led to one of the best displays of leadership I saw during my time in the Service. At 0830 on the Monday morning following, having just come out of main Met Brief (during which we had been publicly berated by Valley's Stn Cdr as "amateurs" - to the extreme embarrassment of the 4FTS students and staff present) our Stn Cdr arrived in the Valley circuit doing what looked and sounded like about 600 knots. He demanded a car and disappeared over the other side from STCAAME for about 20 minutes, stopping only briefly on his way out of the door to berate the "guilty" party with "that'll teach you for being a fighter pilot!". After the said 20 minutes our Stn Cdr reappeared, climbed in his quick-turned jet and then proceeded to carry out a "f-you" rotation departure. All done by 0900. We never heard what was actually said, but we certainly appreciated the sentiment.

Even odder was the vibe at Valley, where, because the jet was going out of service, the students seemed to be discouraged from asking us for a trip (which rather undermined why we'd taken the T5 there in the first place). We stood up in our first Met Brief and offered pax rides on firings, but the only takers in the two weeks were there were ex-Lightning guys and exchange officers. I flew the Canadian and French guys who, unsurprisingly, thought firing the Mighty Firework - especially in the dark - was awesome. Not sure they liked the RHS circuits quite as much, though. As an aside, Firestreak was much more basic than Red Top, but also went bang more reliably.

During the Op GRANBY modification circus there were a number of firsts, which was both challenging and great fun. One particular SkyFlash firing involved a weapon-system mode that was classified need-to-know. Unfortunately, OC STCAAME was not on the list, which led to a bit of a Mexican stand-off in the ops room after we landed. He expressed some surprise at the mode the missile had launched in and asked to see the tape. I asked him to confirm the (successful) telemetry results and then, in the face of very robust objection, politely-but-firmly told him that I could not provide him with the tape and that we were leaving. This earned me a mildly-amused-but-supportive lecture in tact and diplomacy from my boss when I got back to Coningsby.

There were a good number of other STCAAME-involved firings, including some quite esoteric stuff, but these took place in the Hebrides with us flying out of Leuchars.

Everyone should know that the slot to get on an MPC is armed photochase. Something always goes wrong with one of the firers and you (nearly) always get in there on the day. Given my tally, it was clear that I had no business being near the firing list when it came to 25 Sqn's MPC. The programmers thought they had sidelined me by relegating me and Baby Nav (now Dreamliner Driver) to armed photochase. Cometh the hour, cometh the snags on start, followed, once airborne, by the second firer's (we were shooting 2 SkyFlash at one target to see the effects on the second missile of the first hitting the target) radar refusing to hold lock. Cue Baby Nav screaming (in the cockpit, not on the radio) at the Second Firer to admit defeat after three radar recycles and hand it over, since the contingency was a double firing!

And lo it came to pass. "Firing, firing, now" followed luxuriously by "firing, firing, now". Two stores away and a double "drop kick" (at least, I think that was the banter). Baby Nav never let the QWIN - for it was indeed he - forget it. I was not forgiven and never allowed (armed) near a firing detail again, but it was totally worth it. As it happens, I was guesting some years later on an F3OEU ASRAAM shoot in Florida, but my reputation preceded me and they refused to let me fly armed as the photochase just in case!

If only my posting hadn't come through before that first Typhoon AIM-120...

Very impressive tally of Missiles fired, no wonder they banned you later! I found the same as a GR1 QWI in Goose/Alaska, not allowed to drop any 1,000pounders but every time I crewed into the spare there would be 8 of the bloody things underneath!
I went through Valley in '87, if I'd known you were giving away pax rides I'd have been over like a shot! I have around half a dozen photos taken on the STCAAME line during your detachment, if you'd like a few copies just give me a shout on [email protected] Also have a few of 'AQ' which came in on Monday 14.9 but don't know if that was Fynes'ey visiting or your Staish. At the St Athan Air Day in I think '95 the UAS were complaining about the Mess Sec who was an Engineer so we 'transported' his room outside onto the garden. Said Mess Sec came up & was greatly chuffed saying he hadn't seen that done for Years - UNTIL he asked whose room had been transported - YOURS!!!
All the info is much appreciated, many thanks for your time, much appreciated which goes to everyone whose contributed. Best wishes, Taff

EXFIN 15th Jan 2021 10:09


Originally Posted by Krystal n chips (Post 10968298)
It was a BOAC 707, bringing the great and the good for the grand opening of a certain aluminium plant...I recall rumours that finding enough air to start it again caused a few heart palpitations at one point, but was finally resolved.

The Sea Vixen did indeed do a credible impression of having met a can opener.....how it remained airborne was quite remarkable really. The VASF pan suddenly became over populated you might say.

Many thanks, will chase that up. There must be a photo of the Sea Vixen damage floating around, will give the FAA at Yeovilton a shout. Wonder how many palouste's it takes to start a '707:) Best wishes, Taff

Wwyvern 15th Jan 2021 14:02

Hi EXFIN,

Dates of Wessex change-overs Northern Ireland:-

7 Sep 71 XR498 To Aldergrove via Valley. XR674 Odiham via Valley.
13 Sep 71 XR606 Transit Valley to Aldergrove.
18 Sep 71 XR606 Transit Aldergrove to Odiham via Valley.
31 Jul 72 XV725 To Valley nightstop.
1 Aug 72 XV725 To Aldergrove. XT669 to Odiham via Valley.
22 May 73 XR523 To Aldergrove. via Valley. XT670 to Odiham via Valley.
9 Jan 74 XR 523 To Valley. XR 520 Valley to Odiham.


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