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What is it about the Wessex that makes people so fond of it?

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What is it about the Wessex that makes people so fond of it?

Old 12th Nov 2011, 13:14
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Just visited a very sad Wessex graveyard at Carasco airport in Montevideo. The Fuerza Aerea Uruguay stopped flying them a few years ago due to shortage of spares and 5 of them have been towed round the back of a hangar and left to rot - 2 more are gate guardians. I will post pictures when back in UK and the FAU guys are going to find out the original tail numbers from the maintenance documents.
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Old 12th Nov 2011, 14:09
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Show up quite well on Google Earth. The five hulks beside a hangar and the two gate guardians. One to the Northwest of the red roofed buildings and the other to the South near a DC3 beside the road. Somebody has conveniently posted a photograph of this Wessex. I believe that all seven were the remnants of 28 Sqn when Hong Kong was transferred back to the PRC in 1997.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 13th Nov 2011 at 15:38.
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Old 14th Nov 2011, 18:29
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I know it is not the Wessex but it was done by people with a similar sense of Jungly humour!!

D
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Old 15th Nov 2011, 04:52
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The blurb reads:

Pilot this Wessex helicopter and you are handling a weapon of front-line defence and attack. You search out the enemy at sea and land Commandos with their equipment. Youre around to see the jet squadrons off from carrier deck and back. You take part in reconnaissance and communications, ship-to-ship transport, air-sea rescue. Each task is its own challenge to your proven ability, initiative, toughness. Essential qualities, these demanded by the vital exacting job of flying in the Royal Navy.

You can join the Fleet Air Arm as a pilot or observer between 17 and 26 with a least an O level GCE or equivalent in English, Maths and three other subjects. Basically there are two terms of service either a pensionable engagement to 38 if you are between 17 and 22 or one of 12 years without pension if entry age is 22 to 26. Both of those can be terminated at 5 (helicopter pilots only) 8 or 12 years. Respective gratuities are 775, 1,500 and 4,000. There will be opportunity too for officers to apply for a permanent commission. For further information about life in the Fleet Air Arm write to: Captain G. C. Mitchell, Officer Entry Selection, VR/11, Admiralty, London, SW1
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Old 15th Nov 2011, 06:15
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Gee, I never knew I had all those qualities!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 15th Nov 2011, 11:54
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Nowadays you would need a degree in something or other to join as a pilot.
O level GCE or equivalent in English, Maths and three other subjects.
The standard of 'O' levels in those days is the standard that degrees have dropped to now.
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Old 17th Nov 2011, 05:08
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The standard of 'O' levels in those days is the standard that degrees have dropped to now.
Lol! Oh dear, you're probably not far from the mark, sadly!

Further up the page we see evidence of a RN Wessex which suffered the collapse of its port landing gear during landing. The pilot, Lt. John Foster, aborted the landing and returned to the craft's operating base where a wheel change was effected within 8 minutes (so we are informed) while Lt. Foster nursed the Wessex through a low hover - bravo!

In Australia in 1974 a RAN Wessex suffered a similar fate (see below). The cockpit voice recorder (in those days a duty performed by a member of the Royal Australian Signal Corps) captured the conversation (originally recorded in shorthand) between the Commander and his Co-pilot:

Cmdr: "What a f**king pain!" "Can't those bloody Pommies learn to put these things together properly?"
P2: "You're right Cap." "What are you gonna do."
Cmdr: "Well I don't want to f**k about with the thing, what's your suggestion?"
P2: "Well Cap we're not that far from my girlfriend's place and, as you know, she works with Qantas and has a couple more Shiela's stayin with her."
Cmdr: "And?"
P2: "Well, I was thinking, we could put the bugger on the beach and I could go check-up on me Shiela and see if she and her friends could come down and 'rescue' us." "You know, bring back some of the amber nectar and set-up a barbie!" "Whaddaya think?"
Cmdr: "Its not something the Pommies would do!" "Sounds good to me - let's do it!"


RAN Wessex, Murrays Beach, 12th November 1974



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Old 17th Nov 2011, 22:33
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Doing wingovers all only own at RAF Mona.

The Nav climbing down from the LHS at night in the hover and using the cyclic as a grab handle!

Happy days!!!!
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Old 18th Nov 2011, 09:59
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Originally Posted by Nigel Osborn
Gee, I never knew I had all those qualities!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I thought the 11+ would see you by in your day, Nigel
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Old 18th Nov 2011, 11:21
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Engine Offs in a Wessex 3

September 17th 1974 - John Tookey was doing his refam on the Wx3 (XM331) prior to replacing me as staff QHI at 737 NAS (RNAS Portland - HMS Osprey).





I stood by with fingers crossed watching him do it all by himself for the first time and took these piccies.

G.
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Old 18th Nov 2011, 12:51
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John

They didn't have the 11+ in my time!
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Old 18th Nov 2011, 13:12
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Nigel,

11 plus was not taught in private schools, so that is why you were not given the chance to fail it

I seem to remember also that if you were on the Flypro all the cabs went and hid - as in the photo below...............................

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Old 18th Nov 2011, 19:13
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Baston. A rotary heaven or haven. What a picture ! UG
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Old 19th Nov 2011, 04:58
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Bast0n you'll forgive me for asking what may seem obvious to others but .. which vessel was this please?
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Old 19th Nov 2011, 10:22
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Savoia

The mighty HMS Albion seen here entering Aden

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Old 20th Nov 2011, 06:53
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Very sad to see















This was the only one with a visible tail number - definitely in my logbook


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Old 20th Nov 2011, 08:21
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Wessex V

They look in good condition - what a pity that a lack of spares caused them to be grounded.

The pictures brought back many memories, prompted especially by the wooden collective grip, the SSLs and the huge torgue meter!

It was a great aircraft to fly.

What a pity Westlands marketing and support was so poor. If they had been on the ball the S-58T would never have made it.
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Old 20th Nov 2011, 10:12
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Wessex 2 and 5 - Toy Boy Wessex

Now this is a man's Wessex, single engine and no drab colours. Ark SAR seen in the plane-guard position on Ark Royal circa 1970, probably Smudge (Keith) Smith at the controls.



and this is an 824 Sea King about to land as soon as the planks were on-board the ship would turn hard-a-port and Flyco would say "land the plane guard, Sea King to Fly3" and we would dash in to land in our tiny parking spot behind the island before the deck became a sloping moving gust-ridden hell.



Of course mini carriers like Albion would have been fun but life on board a proper carrier like Ark was a whole different kettle of fish. Sea Kings flew the plane guard whenever our Mk1 Wessex were 'indisposed' and that was amazing. The Phantoms of full re-heat made such a racket that you could not even feel the noise and vibration from your own machine.

G.
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Old 20th Nov 2011, 11:00
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Geoff,

6 Spot: what a delightful place to land, and later we were relegated to the starboard wait, out of sight & out of mind!

Chris Johnson was Flight Commander of Ark SAR in these photos:







This one was on Eagle, taken from the LSO platform:



RFA Resource often wandered around after us, hoping that some of the Pinger gloss would rub off upon them. They were even allowed to play in our games, just to encourage them: one attempt during a Helicopter Gymkana:



Although Humphrey from Hampshire had to show them how....



Having one donk in the Wx 1 was an issue when it went cough, but CJ was a pinger by trade and was able to provide a re-useable airframe after the landing. Just

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Old 20th Nov 2011, 11:15
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Wx3 memories

The highlight of my Wx3 time was the night we were tasked to assist a frigate (at Portland) that was doing a night IFR (in flight refuelling) task during a CASEX (simulating a submarine attack). The brief was to hook up then simulate fuelling. All was well until the skipper of the frigate announced that now he was free to manoeuvre he would be taking avoiding action on a suspect submarine contact. He then proceeded to 'tow' us around at high speed into wind, cross wind, down wind, and all on a dark night. It was almost comical but when we finished I can reassure you that I was completely knackered!! Never again! If you ever hitch your helicopter to anything that moves be sure you know where you are going.

G.
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