Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Rotorheads
Reload this Page >

Ted Atkins Ex RAF MRT Flt Lt

Rotorheads A haven for helicopter professionals to discuss the things that affect them

Ted Atkins Ex RAF MRT Flt Lt

Old 22nd Aug 2018, 09:06
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: uk
Posts: 161
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ted Atkins Ex RAF MRT Flt Lt

HEAVYWHALLEY.WORDPRESS.COM Sad to report the death of Ted Atkins, long time RAF MRT, both as an airman and officer. Mountaineer, explorer (holder of the Polar Medal), inventor and all round good guy. A true character who will be sorely missed.
RIP mate.

Paul M
kaitakbowler is offline  
Old 22nd Aug 2018, 17:12
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 1998
Location: UK
Posts: 460
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I remember Ted well during my time on 202 Sqn. Heavy's blog is certainly worth a read - a life well lived.
cyclic is offline  
Old 23rd Aug 2018, 15:38
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The Himalayas
Age: 60
Posts: 47
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A true character who lived life to the fullest extent. Had a few beers with him a few months ago here in Kathmandu.
peely is offline  
Old 28th Aug 2018, 17:27
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Newcastle
Age: 52
Posts: 607
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Obituary from the Telegraph.

Ted Atkins, who has died in a climbing accident in the Dolomites aged 60, was a former RAF engineer turned businessman and an accomplished mountaineer and expert in survival at high altitudes.

Atkins made a number of eventful ascents in the Himalayas, including Lhotse, Makalu, Ama Dablam, Kangchenjunga and Everest, which he summited on his third attempt in 2004. He led the first RAF team up the North Face of the Eiger, and scaled pristine mountains during service in Antarctica, for which he was awarded the Polar Medal.

In addition he set a world record for the highest-ever boat ride by paddling a collapsible boat on a glacial lake below Everest at 6,300 metres (20,700 ft), and another – a skydiving record – as one half of a duo that landed a tandem parachute jump on ground 4,570 m (15,000  ft) above sea level at Ama Dablam.

But perhaps his greatest contribution to mountaineering, and other high-altitude activities, was the invention of a new oxygen delivery system that has become the industry standard. In 2016 it earned him an award from the Nepal Mountaineering Association for helping to cut death rates on Everest from one in every 10 people who make it to the top to one in 700 over the previous decade.

The standard oxygen mask in use during the 1990s and early 2000s had come in for criticism on account of its being uncomfortable to wear, its wasteful provision of oxygen at a steady flow regardless of the needs of the climber, its tendency to leak and its habit of freezing up at high altitudes.

It was on Atkins’s successful third and solo expedition to Everest that he came up with the idea for a modified mask to which oxygen flow from cylinders would be controlled via an on-demand system, providing only as much as the lungs pull in, dramatically reducing the amount of wastage.

“I had taken with me a Tornado pilot’s mask and some fittings with no sure idea of the end product,” Atkins recalled. “Sitting outside my tent with all of these bits in front of me the idea came. It was a condom opened and dropped inside a 500 ml coke bottle and the lip folded over the bottle neck. Then a rubber hose sealed over this which led up to the mask. Now as the oxygen flowed while I breathed out, [it] was diverted into the condom reservoir; when I breathed in, I drew the oxygen here. It worked and the rest is history.”

Doubters predicted that he would die. In fact, after reaching the summit he nearly did die, but not because his mask had malfunctioned. A Sherpa who was meant to come up the mountain with his third oxygen cylinder failed to appear and Atkins began to develop hypoxia. For a while other climbers left him for dead, one even blogging news of his death by satellite phone, “so my wife read of my death before I even knew I was dead”.

He was saved in the nick of time by a 25-year-old Sherpa called Mingma, who gave him his own oxygen cylinder before beating a hasty retreat down to safer altitudes. Despite this hiccup, the speed of Atkins’s ascent had been noted by other climbers and he was asked by the mountaineering expedition organisers Jagged Globe to make a commercial product, though without using condoms.

Subsequently Atkins founded a company, Topout Oxygeneering, to develop the product and went on to produce a new cylinder, cylinder valve, regulator and flow controller. As business took off, he left the RAF in 2007 in the rank of flight lieutenant.

He also built a plant to produce oxygen in Nepal to guarantee the quality of the gas that Topout supplies. In 2005 Atkins’s Multipurpose Tactical Oxygen System (MTOS) became the industry standard – as later did his Topout Aero skydive system, developed for the Everest Skydive Team, which has enabled a number of world records to be set.

The son of a miner, he was born Ian Atkins on August 11 1958 in Newcastle and grew up at Cotgrave, Nottinghamshire. He attended Toot Hill School in Bingham and caught the climbing bug exploring the rocks of Derbyshire while a teenager with the Air Training Corps at Keyworth.

He joined the RAF aged 18 in 1976, training as an aero engineer. He worked on Nimrod and on Tornado jets and later as the chief engineer on Sea King search and rescue helicopters. Between engineering jobs he was the Staff Officer RAF Mountain Rescue Service (which he had joined as a volunteer in 1979) in charge of teams in Scotland.

In his early career he was an RAF champion at boxing. A proficient skier, he also became a Joint Service ski instructor in Alpine and Nordic skiing.

During his mountain rescue service, Atkins led the first RAF team to climb the North Face of the Eiger, and in 1983 made his first visit to the Himalayas to climb Manaslu. After that he served as a mountain leader, surveyor and cartographer on an 18-month Joint Services Expedition to Brabant Island, Antarctica, where he made the first ascents of 28 mountains.

There followed a period of service with the Royal Navy in Endurance, both as an engineer and as a mountain leader for the Royal Marines. He was awarded the Marines’ Green Beret for work on an Antarctic rescue mission, when he led one of two detachments.

Atkins made his first attempt on Everest via the West Ridge with the Joint Services Everest Expedition of 1988, which got to within 3,300 ft of the 29,028 ft summit before being beaten back by severe weather. He might have succeeded had not his sleeping bag been stolen by another climber. He tried grabbing some sleep in his rucksack, but by the morning his feet were nearly frozen and he gave up the attempt.

In 2001 he returned, leading a 12-strong RAF expedition up the north side. Two members of the team made it to the summit. Atkins, however, had stayed behind to help a friend who had fallen sick because his oxygen supply was not working and had had to be evacuated from the mountain. He gave up at 8,500 m (28,000 ft) in deteriorating weather.

During an eventful trip he had to cope with a sudden outbreak of violence when the yak men, who herd the animals carrying the climbers’ equipment, attacked one of the expedition’s Sherpas and its sirdar – the head man who pays the porters and yak men – in a dispute over food handouts. The RAF team had to arm themselves with spars, shovels and tent poles to ward off the knife-wielding tribesmen.

The team had taken a lightweight collapsible boat with them, having heard of climbers who had found their route blocked by large lakes of meltwater on glaciers. When they unfolded it to cross one glacier at 20,000ft, they found that the yak men had vandalised it by removing some of the foam ballast from inside.

None the less it proved seaworthy enough to allow them to cut several hours off their journey and set a world record for the highest boating trip. “This is one we have over the Navy,” Atkins said. “They have a few world records themselves but this is one seafaring record I don’t see them getting back. We plan to get on to the Navy News for an article, just so we can rub it in.”

A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Atkins was a Science and Engineering Ambassador, involved in supporting teachers by inspiring young people about science, technology, engineering and mathematics and related career opportunities.

A gifted motivational speaker, he gave talks around the world. In Nepal, where he spent much of his time, he was involved with several charity organisations, was trustee of an orphanage and was a regular contributor to the Nepali Times on issues of climbing safety.

For the last three years Atkins had been living in Italy. He died while descending from a via ferrata (protected climbing route) on the more than 3,000m-high Civetta in the Dolomites – a mountain that he had climbed many times before. The exact circumstances of the accident are still unclear.

He is survived by his wife Shona and by their son.

Ted Atkins, born August 11 1958, died August 20 2018
MATELO is offline  
Old 28th Aug 2018, 17:41
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Newcastle
Age: 52
Posts: 607
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by kaitakbowler View Post
Mountaineer, explorer (holder of the Polar Medal), inventor and all round good guy. A true character who will be sorely missed.
RIP mate.
My thoughts too.

Not exactly a mate, but heard of his passing through a mutual friend. Always had time to pass on his knowledge to a rookie.
MATELO is offline  
Old 29th Aug 2018, 10:17
  #6 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: uk
Posts: 161
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would like to "fill out" the DT obit. a little.

Ted joint up as an MT Technician, I first met him when he was a Jnr Tech at Gütersloh, a "singly" there was always something going on with Ted.

Up he pops in the office, "Sarge, if I'm going off camp at easter do you need a leave pass?" Yes says I. Ok here you go says he and pass my a 295 with no leave address, handing it back, need a leave address Ted, quick scribble and back it comes, "The Eiger Switzerland" as leave address. Went through no problem. Climb it he did over the easter grant.
The Brabant Island expedition was an 18 month trip split into 3 6 month phases, Ted was initially selected for the first phase, as technician for the expeds snowmobiles, he had persuaded our famously hard Warrant Officer to let him go for the 6 months, whilst in the UK on pre exped training the leader asked him to do the second phase as well, cue W/O melt down, PMC played ball and Ted was posted off our strength and we got a replacement.
After the second phase, Ted was returning to UK on Endurance, he mucked in with the crew repairing a lot of their kit, the skipper asked him to stay on board and support the last phase of the exped, so he did 18 months down south.

On arrival back in the uk and returning to Innsworth to sort out his pay and posting he discovered that the Governor of the Falkland Islands had written to the CAS singing his praises, prompted by the skipper of Endurance, so everywhere he went at Innsworth he was greeted with "So you're Atkins" as he was hustle'd through a medical and an extension of service paperwork.

Just a filler of his early years as an airman.

PM
kaitakbowler is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.