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Anyone flown the Wessex?

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Anyone flown the Wessex?

Old 3rd Feb 2002, 03:24
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When I read about tying the Co-Pilots shoe strings around the cyclic I should have known that the Wessex was not the Sea King or as I had indicated the S-61 which I believe is the Sikorsky model number for the SH3-D from which it was derived. In case the readership is unaware Sikorsky tried gas turbines in the Navy version of the S-58 (HSS-1). It used two GE T-58s however it was never placed in production. That was around 1955-56. I do not know when Westlands’ incorporated the RR gas turbines relative to the Sikorsky design. Agusta built the S-61 in three versions. The original design, which was used on offshore btransfers, the SH3-D and a shortened version of the S-61. This model was not well received and had limited or no production. An outfit in Washington State developed a model similar to the shortened version of the S-61 and it was called the “Shortsky.” This was accomplished by removing one or two sections of the fuselage and putting the fuselage together again. I believe this version is used in logging operations because of the increase in AUW.
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Old 3rd Feb 2002, 03:31
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Got a mate in the local Mountain Rescue team, and he mourns the loss of the Wessex from SAR duties, said it was lovely to warm yourself up in the exhausts while loading the casualty.
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Old 3rd Feb 2002, 05:11
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Speaking of standing in the engine exhaust to keep warm here is a story you might find amusing.

While on my training program at Sikorsky I was assigned to work in the mod hangar where we were updating US Navy HSS-1s. All of the engines (Wright R-1820s) were pickled and pull off covers had been installed on the exhaust. One of the technicians had a part time job selling pistachios from his various vending machines. He started to bring the pistachios into work selling them in small bags to the technicians. Pretty soon the shells were covering the work floor. The Forman told the pistachio man that he didn’t mind him selling the nuts but if the shells were not disposed of in a proper manner he would no longer be able to sell the nuts on company property.

He passed the word to his customers and soon there were no shells to be seen. It was a month or so before the first aircraft completed the mod program and it was towed out to the flight line. The cover was removed from the exhaust and the engine was started. Because of the heavy preservative oil in the cylinders the pilot used a lot of priming fuel. When the engine caught it spewed a lot of hot preservative oil along with hundreds of pistachio shells. The fireguard that was not positioned properly got sprayed with hot preservative oil and he was covered in pistachio shells.

The Forman had all of the helos inspected and every exhaust stack was full of pistachio shells. Needless to say the man was restricted from selling any more on company property.
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Old 3rd Feb 2002, 11:15
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Just to bore the pants off you, here are some piccies of the HAS1, HAS3 and HU5. Mk60 pics are tucked away, out of sight...



Grainy shot of Ark Royal SAR flight Wessex 1 during a helicopter gymkhana, c 1974



"Humphrey", HMS Hampshire's Wessex HAS3 during the same gymkhana, high line transfer



RFA Resource ship's flight, same day.

All good fun (IIRC, Resource won.....)
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Old 4th Feb 2002, 13:37
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Heliport,

I am awaiting confirmation of the Pilots name, and then I will post it, but the Heli involved is on the books of 72 Sqdn.
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Old 4th Feb 2002, 19:17
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In which case, vfrpilotpb, he/she would probably not appreciate having his/her name posted on an internet bulletin board. <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">
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Old 5th Feb 2002, 14:03
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Hi Ed,

That is why I am waiting for the said person to contact me, but whatever He(hadn't thought about a She, sorry girls) was magnificent in the execution of the movement of that big copter, and She/He would be welcome to attend my local bar any day at my expense! <img src="wink.gif" border="0">
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Old 5th Feb 2002, 22:04
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It was no fun falling from the steps whilst trying to get in with weapons, body armour and all. Still vividly remember falling back with a corroded grab handle in my hand and the ground getting bigger.. .The exhausts were fine until RR sent some dodgy stator packs and you were treated to a fireworks display inches from your face!!. .Hasn't a Grand Canyon outfit refitted one with 5 blades, reduced RPM etc 'Whisper Flight' or something similar?
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 09:40
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I do not know if the original Wessex design had an American R-1820 or a British built recip. engine. But most importantly I do not know if the throttle rigging was the same as the H-34 or if the Westland version had a hydromechanical clutch. In any case I offer the following. This story deals with turning a brand new helicopter into a training aid in less than 15 seconds.

A brand new H-34 had just been ferried from Sikorsky in Bridgeport, Connecticut to Ft. Eustis, Virginia. When it arrived it had about 16 hours on the airframe and engine. For whatever reason it got through factory inspection with the throttle linkage mis-rigged. A new pilot was being checked out in the starting procedures and he was twisting the throttle while turning the engine over. With the mis-rigging of the throttle linkage the throttle-canceling switch was held closed allowing voltage to the starting solenoid. When the engine started to turn over and started to fire on all cylinders the throttle was more than half-open. The engine oversped to over 2800 RPM.

The forces were so great in the hydromechanical clutch the energy generated by the fly weights caused the blocker plate to fail and the engine went into a solid engagement at the speed indicated above. Within a split second the transmission not only failed it was torn away from the fuselage attach points and the blades just folded up. The rotorhead failed, as did the dampers. The tail rotor drive line failed and the tail rotor almost sheared away from its’ drive shaft. The engine was also severely damaged. Needless to say, the clutch and the cooling fan were also destroyed.

In complete disgust the CO of the airfield told his mechanics to tow the aircraft over to the training facility.
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 15:33
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Speechless,

Ahhhh. Avpin, the no smoking lamp is definitely ON. ISTR a Wessex HAS1 out of heavy maintenance at CU workshop, first start on the hardstand. Did you know an Avpin starter can still travel the full length of a hangar floor even after being ripped out of the side the Wessex, and then penetrating a closed hangar door <img src="confused.gif" border="0"> <img src="eek.gif" border="0">

Did the early HAS3 have Avpin? The one's I drove had the compressed air start, with two (?) bottles in the nose door, just for'd of the intake. ISTR they were supposed to be good for a couple of starts, often a bit of a crewroom debate whether they'd do the deed and give you an airstart should you need one. Optimistic bunch, in full auto from jump height (150') as if you'd be going for a relight......

Lu, the Wessex never had a recip. It was a turbine model from the start, based on the S58 airframe.
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 18:07
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"Avpin will travel"

I believe they used to say

Wunper
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 18:29
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Speechless Two, EESDL e-mail please !

Interested in finding out how far apart the Wessex seed has spread. Flew with ML in 815.

David
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 20:15
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Re: Avpin

I don’t know the makeup of the Avpin starter charge but from what I understand it is very unstable. On these threads, many moons ago, there was a post by an individual that said when they transitioned in a Wessex from one point to another where the engines would have to be restarted it was his responsibility to sit in the open doorway in order to dispose of the Avpin charges in case something went wrong.
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 20:45
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Lu

I think that you will find that we aer talking about two different parts of the system. The AVPIN starter was ignited by a cartridge - think large shotgun shell but blank; it might have been a blank 50 cal. - that started the whole thing spinning, then the AVPIN started burning.

The starter turned at about 50K as I recall and had blades about the size of one's thumb nail. The starter was known to shed its blades so it wasn't a good idea to stand on the starboard side of the engine bay while the starter was running.
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Old 7th Feb 2002, 00:55
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Lu Avpin

The nasty stuff is Isopropyl Nitrate which being a monofuel supports its own combustion once ignited so fire extinguishers etc are a waste of time, best insurance either to avoid the stuff altogether or to have a good pair of running shoes!

. .Wunper <img src="wink.gif" border="0">
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Old 7th Feb 2002, 23:45
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Ahhh, the Queen of the Skies !!!. .Talk to any ex Wessex driver and you'll see how much they were loved. I enjoyed every one of my 1500 hrs in the Wessex V as a jungly/SAR/HDS pilot.. .In how many other cabs could you encourage a jammed starter with a chock, liven up a lazy ignitor box by stamping on the cockpit floor and bring the SAS on line by getting the crewman to whack the box on the front wall of the cabin which was painted red and labelled 'DANGER DO NOT TOUCH' !. .Whatever you wanted the Wessex would do it. . .My claim to fame is that my mark 5 was the last frontline Wessex in RN service and it finished its service in the same ship that carried it when it was fresh from the factory and the ship was on its first deployment. <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
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Old 7th Feb 2002, 23:52
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Further to the above and going back to the original post about agility, when I was loadlifting at sea, if the ships were tied together for a RAS at the same time that we were vertreping we could shift a load every 30 secs and keep it up for an hour. The only trouble was that not even Ark Royal could shift the loads as fast as we could deliver them !!!
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Old 10th Feb 2002, 14:29
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The RAF still fly the Wessex of course, continuing their policy of using cutting edge technology. They are being retired from the UK and there will be a final flypast at Odiham in March. There will be a reunion of ex- Wessex drivers (like myself) and maybe a couple of light ales being drunk later.. .I understand that they will still be flying them in Cyprus for a bit longer.
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Old 10th Feb 2002, 20:43
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Way back when, President Eisenhower gave an S-58 to the Russian government to be used as an executive transport. Many people in the military establishment warned against it as it would give the Russians state of the art design technology that could eventually be used against the United States military. I don’t know if they ever used it for the intended purpose but if you look at the Russian helicopters I doubt if you will find anything that is obviously of American design influence or even remotely resembles the Sikorsky design.
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Old 11th Feb 2002, 09:10
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I don't know anything about mechanical aspects of the 2 aircraft but the Mi-4 looks like a S-58 with clamshell doors if you ask me. . .Who was first I wonder?
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