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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 23rd Dec 2011, 22:16
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The Wessex was once described to me as 'like flying a council house from the upstairs toilet window'. Very apt I'm afraid (sorry old romantics).
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Old 24th Dec 2011, 01:19
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JohnE...

... book ordered, it better be better that the documentary on the subject.

... i have been aware of this exercise for some time - as well as other issues like spelling mistakes on aircraft in the region, B+ in Spanish from Oxfordshire.

All sounds like a lot of fun to me ... though of course i could be wrong ... will read chapter 6 and revert.

But how does the Wessex compare with the Lynx in capability/cost effectiveness?
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Old 24th Dec 2011, 02:06
  #323 (permalink)  
 
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It was the only helicopter that really kept me safe from the passengers and allowed me to look down on them as Pilots should. No one ever peeked over your shoulder for sure!
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Old 24th Dec 2011, 03:57
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Boarding a Wessex

The trip up the side of a Wessex should not be taken lightly. If you are wearing a goon-suit then be careful when reaching over to open the transmission platform. A well tailored suit would need you to undo the rear zipper to provide some slack. Not taking this precaution would see you reach over to the support hand-grip and stretch the suit to its limits thus dragging the one foot supporting your weight off the step and leaving you fighting for survival supported by only one hand, followed shortly thereafter by a curse and a yell as you ended up comically piled up in an untidy heap beside your trusty steed.

It was bad form to do this in front of your 'looker' whose confidence in his erstwhile leader could take a nasty knock.

G.
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Old 24th Dec 2011, 04:28
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Old 27th Dec 2011, 14:10
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Well done Savoia - this is your 1000th post and my favorite Wessex 5 picture.

It was taken near Bardufoss in the late 70s by that fabulous ariel photograher Richard Cooke - a great chap who liked to party! Look up his website and see the wonder of flight.

I know a bit about this picture as I was flying VA. Richard strapped his camera to the rear of a Gazelle of the Brigade Air Squadron RM using a purpose built mount as he had used Gazelles before. He fired the shutter with an air release tube taped to the fuselage.

He had to compose his shots by looking for a good background and then getting his pilot to fly away from it to get the shot he desired, but could not see!

There were one ot two problems as far as the Wessex pilot - me - had. We flew extremely close to the Gazelle, so close in fact that on occasion the Gazelle pilot could feel downwash. (the original photo shows more than Savoias and you can see how close the forward rotor blade tip is to the camera). Also the camera was pointing up with white tape around the lense - if you could not see the tape you were lined up. This meant that to see the camera lined up I was peering down the combing at a steep angle - not comfortable, and as the Gazelle turned or altered speed we had a lot more inertia than him and had to make some fairly sporty control inputs to avoid him. The temperature was below -20c but all three Wessex pilot were sweating like it was Aden in mid summer!

The debrief was suitably alchoholic - we were on duty free and Woods 100% rum is instant happiness!

Great days and some superb shots.

D
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Old 28th Dec 2011, 15:19
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Bast0n, Seasons Greetings!

Its a fine shot indeed and, with the effort involved, a somewhat remarkable achievement.

I've choreographed a number of aerial shoots (both stills and video .. without the benefit of gyrostabilisation) and know how challenging it can be to 'get it right' in a multiple aircraft set up.

Of Norway and Wessex .. I recall the late John 'Chalky' White retelling his tales of icing trials on the Wessex .. to the point where the main rotors began to lose effectiveness. It sounded most brave.

Wessex Memorabilia



This snippet of Wessex memorabilia records the 'International Helicopter Rescue Competition' which was held between 14-18 June 1971 and which was evidently won by "B" crew in a Wessex Mk 1 XP160. The card appears to be signed by 'Powell'.
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Old 28th Dec 2011, 15:44
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The signature is FCH Powell. Chris Powell died of lung cancer in September 2008. As well as being a Wessex Junglie, amongst other things he was SAR at Lossiemouth on the Whirlwind at the time that Winkle Brown was the Captain there.
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Old 28th Dec 2011, 15:54
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Well I never!

Chris Powell was of course ex-Ferranti and I believe a former Commando role driver in the RN. He went on to fly for Gallifords (G-BAKS) before joining Ferranti in 1976. Evidently he moved to Aberdeen in 79-80 where he became S76 fleet manager with BCalH after Speechless Two (who formerly held this post) moved on to assume the fleet manager's role for the 214ST.
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Old 28th Dec 2011, 17:05
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Chris Powell.

When Bcal was bought out by Bristow he went over the other side and flew the S76 line. He was only on it for a couple of yeras before the Big C got him and I lost trace.
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Old 28th Dec 2011, 17:31
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Savoia - re. the Wessex and icing trials - not Norway but Canada in the mid 70s the A&AEE winter trials included a quadruple prismatic camera filming the rotor blades in flight. The movements recorded caused not a little 'interest' and one comment to the effect that "had I known that was what was going on I'd never have set foot in the thing!" Remarkably robust bit of kit!
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Old 28th Dec 2011, 19:19
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CJ: Thank you for the clarification. I was almost certain that Chalky had been seconded to Boscombe Down (where my godfather also flew as a test pilot) but had not recalled that these 'trials' had occurred in Canada.

If I remember rightly he mentioned that these events took place at around 10,000ft and that more than once the Nr droop was so severe that they had to effect autorotation during which process, descending into slightly warmer air, they were able to regain sufficient effectiveness on the blade airfoils so as to sustain the auto and ultimately cushion the landing!

As my godfather used to tell me .. he and his kind had to venture beyond the aircraft's boundaries in order to ascertain exactly where they were. No computer modeling in those days!
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Old 28th Dec 2011, 19:55
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Sav..,if you go to the `Rotorheads around the World` thread , post 299 ,you will find some photos of the Wessex/Wasp/Gazelle/Sea-King trials we did in Canada from early `69-`76..Chalky was flying a S-K one day in natural icing,at altitude,but generally stratiform cloud,when the main transmission oil-cooler/filter let go,covering the side of the aircraft in oil.Anyway, Chalky flew back to overhead the airfield,with all the crew ready to bale-out(as we always wore parachutes) and nobody believed the g/box would run dry for 30 mins,but it did,and put it back on the runway,calm as ever...
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Old 28th Dec 2011, 20:56
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Something like this maybe....


Last edited by Senior Pilot; 28th Dec 2011 at 23:30. Reason: Fix YouTube link: again....
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Old 28th Dec 2011, 21:13
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SASless - precisely, except that the film showed all four blades via the prisms.
Sycamore - went looking for those photos you mention but couldn't find anything. I'm probably having yet another senior moment However, I did find on Page 19 the Pathe newsreel of the Thorney Whirlwind ditching. We were shown that at Thorney as a warning about the perils of failing to check your fuel contents!! (Yep!! they ran out!!) Boss driving and Grant Scroggins in the back, so the intermediate 2 crew stage between the Sycamore and the 3 crew Whirly 10. Such memories!

They're at RATW Post 299
SP
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Old 29th Dec 2011, 06:58
  #336 (permalink)  
 
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Wessex/S58T

Talk about long lasting threads... 2004 >> 2012? Wow

Never having flown the Wessex but have flown its cousin the S58T I can only say that the aircraft has a charachter to it that the other 11 types I have been lucky enough to get under my belt have lacked.

That aircraft was nice to fly just because it was. No APs, No SAS, just bare bones basic helicopter with a style all its own. Climbing up the side to sit "up top" is just a unique feeling.

The aircraft was just different. Not fast (used to get the start of retreating blade stall at 115 knots in the summer sometimes). Not sexy, unless you like Miss Piggy. Just different.
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Old 29th Dec 2011, 16:30
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Thank you SP - got it!
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Old 11th Jan 2012, 10:05
  #338 (permalink)  
 
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Wessex in proper commando mode (845 NACS Farnborough 1968)







HMS Bulwark in Harstad, Norway on the first exercise Arctic Express, 1968. This was not without its perils, not from our cold war opponents, but from Norwegian power lines



Exercise Grecian Vase, Cyprus 1969



There haven't been many photos of the Cr@bs Wessex here yet, so here's one at the 1971 Lurgan Tattoo

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Old 11th Jan 2012, 10:38
  #339 (permalink)  
 
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Some of the Wessex 60 in civil ops

Shell Warri, Nigeria, 1978







One for the Whirlwind lovers (also Shell Warri 1978



The S58T was similar (Figuera da Foz, Portugal 1977)

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Old 15th Jan 2012, 13:34
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Hope this in the right section...and of interest...

For those who don't know me, I'm an underwater photographer with an interest in all things submerged. Some of you may recognise the name from the recent story in Flypast about the Junkers Ju52 in Norway...or maybe not.

Recently I dived at the National Diving and Activity Centre near Chepstow. Sunk as diving attractions are couple of Westland Wessex, one of which is XT607. The conditions in the quarry that day were nothing short of stunning and one of the images I took of XT607 that day can be seen here:-

Westland Wessex XT607

This image is lit with three underwater flashguns, one on the camera and two remote, one being inside the fuselage and the other held by the diver.

Diving in the UK is not always this good...its rare...

The reason for posting is that I'm looking for former crew who would be willing to be interviewed about their experiences with XT607, or to see if anyone out there has any topside images of the helicopter in her heyday, either static or (better) in flight. By way of exchange, I would like to offer former crew a print of XT607 as she is today in return.

Often divers will visit an inland site like NDAC and swim around the attractions, blissfully unaware of their history. I hope that knowing just what XT607 got up to during her career will give a little education and insight into just what these pieces of military hardware did.

Either a PM here on the forum or email simon (at) simonbrownimages.com (replacing (at) with the @ symbol) will be fine.
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