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Anyone flown the Wessex?

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Anyone flown the Wessex?

Old 8th Mar 2006, 08:10
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Lowlevel ...

You need to get in contact with Brian Taylor ...
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Old 8th Mar 2006, 12:33
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Called the Chinook? Dear boy your envy shows through. There are helicopters and slingloads, better said, there are Chinooks and slingloads.

The Wessex was a very nice slingload as was the S58T.
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Old 8th Mar 2006, 13:25
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Angel

SASLESS.....I coudn't of said it better!!! LOL
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Old 8th Mar 2006, 15:12
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Low levelhell - the ones in Cyprus in the 80s were mainly Navy Mk5's rejigged to RAF Mk 2 Spec and had a horrid traffic light rad alt system and a drop tank on the port side for another 2-300 lbs of fuel. If you have got the ones that were taken out of Cyprus a couple of years ago, they will probably be RAF Mk2s through and through and possibly ex NI. There was so much robbing and plundering of remaining airframes in the last few years to get the required spares that you may have got a complete mishmash of airframes, engines and spares.
Have you got the military tail numbers? I know that makes me sound like a spotter but a journey through the log book might shed some history on them
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Old 9th Mar 2006, 01:46
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Unlike the RAF who only had the twin engined Mk2, the RN had the single engined Mk1 for commando/troop carrying as well as anti sub, then later the Mk3 for AS only. The Mk5 did its IFTU at Culdrose in 1963/4 & went to sea in Albion with 848 Squadron, which was the first overseas operational squadron, to Malaysia via Aden & Mombasa.
I had the pleasure of being involved at the tail end of the IFTU period which was great fun & a huge learning curve. The Mk5 behaved very well considering it was a new machine & all the pilots were off singles. I last flew one in 1967 & never heard any nick names for them.
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Old 9th Mar 2006, 16:38
  #106 (permalink)  

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Originally Posted by SASless
Called the Chinook? Dear boy your envy shows through. There are helicopters and slingloads, better said, there are Chinooks and slingloads.
The Wessex was a very nice slingload as was the S58T.
That's fine if you just want to fly slingloads!
No envy at all, I did fly it a little but lost I too many friends who were killed flying them. I had friends in two unexplained crashes; including one that nosed in vertically from 1000 feet.

Just give me my favourite aircraft, the "Super Wessex", namely a Blackhawk any day (or night). The best helicopter the RAF never had.
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Old 9th Mar 2006, 17:10
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Shy,

A UK operator of the Wessex lost two in Nigeria in similar circumstances....catastrophic failures and quick fall to the swamp. All helicopters are subject to those kinds of tragic events.
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Old 9th Mar 2006, 17:27
  #108 (permalink)  

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Originally Posted by SASless
Shy,
All helicopters are subject to those kinds of tragic events.
Of course, but it's the unexplained nature of the accidents that concerned me most. Now I'm in a position where I'll never have to fly them so it's no longer an issue.
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Old 10th Mar 2006, 05:40
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Shy - that reminds why 2 of the names they were called were 'The Boeing Vertol 52 seat body bag' and 'The twin rotor death machine'.
I presume one of the crashes you refer to was the airtest in the Falklands - memorial still there and recently refurbished.
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Old 10th Mar 2006, 06:16
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I am amazed that so many of you Rotorheaders have had what seems to be a life time of flying experience with the Wsx, from my original post I have re-read all the input and am amazed at how so many of you are able to give so much info on this pathfinder type of helicopter, it is good to read.

many thanks


PeterR-B
Vfr
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Old 10th Mar 2006, 23:12
  #111 (permalink)  

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Originally Posted by [email protected]
Shy - that reminds why 2 of the names they were called were 'The Boeing Vertol 52 seat body bag' and 'The twin rotor death machine'.
I presume one of the crashes you refer to was the airtest in the Falklands - memorial still there and recently refurbished.
Crab, that's correct, Steve Newman and crew. Glad to hear they are still remembering.
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Old 22nd Mar 2006, 09:39
  #112 (permalink)  
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In my comment about the stripped down S-61 in Sikorsky’ bid on the Army’s’ attack helicopter program I was confused. The confusion came from the designations used for license built Sikorsky helicopters. Can you (anyone) please provide your names for these helicopters built by Westland so as to eliminate confusion from this side of the pond?

S-51. .S-55. .S-58. .S-61

One small point. When I type in Westland my spell checker notes an error and provides “wetland and wasteland” as an alternative. Care to comment?[/QUOTE]


Lu, love the quote about Westland. They had a subsidiary that made up-and-over aluminium garage doors and truly should have stuck to that!

S-51 = Dragonfly
S-55 = Whirlwind Mks 3-10?
S58 = Wessex Mks 1-5
S61 = Sea King

The only really useful thing Westland did was put a turbine into the S-55 (Whirlwind 9 and 10) and twin turbines into the Wessex 5. The installation of a single turbine in the Wessex was obviously just a character-building programme for anti-submarine pilots. The survivors became strong silent embittered men!
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Old 22nd Mar 2006, 11:51
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MBJ,
You've also forgotten the other S55 derivative, the Whirlwind 7. A lovely machine on which to learn to fly
I also flew the S58T and the Wessex, but despite the power of the Wessex, found the S58T nicer to fly because the bifilars made it smoother and it was nice having manual throttle control if required. I also remember the games that ensued when the original nose doors were changed (I think it was as a result of icing on the original Exercise Arctic Express in Northern Norway). Being a Westland product you couldn't just take one off one aircraft and fit it to another; they all had to be individually fitted. I had a friend who worked as a draughtsman for Westland and always remember him only half-jokingly telling me that at Westland everything was manufactured to tolerances of one thousandth of an inch - then filed down so it fitted I was inclined to believe him when my Westland up-and-over 'Garador' collapsed when I was opening my garage and dented the bonnet of my almost-new Renault 4!
Towards the end of its days in Nigeria the Wessex suffered from shortages of spare parts with long lead times needed for anything ordered. Soon after the loss of a tail rotor (which luckily was brilliantly handled by Richard Sutton and resulted in only very minor injuries) we had some aircraft in Warri flying with no starboard cockpit window because the runners were worn and Bristow were worried about the possibility of a window coming off in flight and damaging the tail rotor. This led to one getting pretty wet when flying during the rainy season and many of our funny blue copy maps getting all soggy and falling apart if not securely sealed inside a plastic cover. I don'tv really remember us having any particular nickname for the Wessex when it was new, but like many others I referred to it latterly as the Queen of the Skies. Haven't flown one now for 28 years, but it would be nice to see how it feels again, with that lovely polished wooden handle on the collective.
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Old 23rd Mar 2006, 06:44
  #114 (permalink)  
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Soggyboxers,
No, I remember the Whirly7 quite well. In my day we did 40 odd hours during training, 10 or 15 of which was IF. Remember how the groundcrew would hit the cartridge starter with a chock some mornings to get it to work? Aaaah, Westlands!
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Old 23rd Mar 2006, 22:29
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The real Queen of the Skies will always be the Wessex 3. The autopilot and flight control system were the equal of anything flying today in terms of accuracy and reliability, even in those days of selsyns and resistors. I spent 1000 hours at 200 feet and below much of it at night relying on the autopilot without a hitch. Only the engine let us down once and that was near Gibraltar, so the water was warm.
As for the Whirly 7 referred to by MBJ, I remember solo wet winching in Mounts Bay as a Midshipman with all of 75 hours on helis where the winchman would go down on the wire wearing a long lead by which to con the pilot to the survivor. Such faith in a sprog pilot would surely merit an award these days. Names like Kentspear, Mooney, Quinlan amongst many others served course after course of embryo pilots.
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Old 24th Mar 2006, 00:04
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In 1962 the RN used the Hiller 12 for basic 50 hours training in 705 Squadron. This was followed by about 40 hours in the Whirlwind Mk 3 & Mk7 to get your wings. This was followed by operational training in 747 on the Mk7 for the jungly pilots & in 706 on the Wessex Mk1 for the pingers.
The Mk3 Whirlwind had a Wright Cyclone radial engine with an electric starter & in autos you had to shut the engine down for an EOL; very exciting for a new student!! I don't recall if it ever became an operational machine as in 1956 I flew in a genuine S55.
The Mk7 had an Alvis Leonides radial engine fitted with an exciting cartridge starter & a fuel prime system. It was used both for pinging & troop carrying in Malaysia & other locations. The main weakness was not so much the engine but the clutch had a dreadful tendency to let go, especially if used harshly. As mentioned students did wet winching in these & one unfortunate crewman was ditched 3 times in 6 weeks in Falmouth harbour, all clutch failures I think. Being somewhat twitched, he put in for a transfer & even more unfortunately was killed at Predanack when a student stuffed up a practise auto & somersaulted the machine.
Having said that both the 3 & 7 were fun to fly. I never flew the Mk3 Wessex, only the Mk1 & Mk5 being a jungly.
Boy, that all seems soooo long ago!!
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Old 25th Mar 2006, 18:28
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A couple more Wessex memories for the scrapbook:-

Wessex 1 on 771 - Always fun to park it on the spot with the exhaust facing the squadron buildings. When done with precision you could usually take out the CO's office window when the starter turbine blades shed on the next start.

Wessex 1 on Ark SAR - Much better than pinging.....the Stovies not only spoke to you but bought you beers as well !

Wessex 3 on 737 - Horrible horrible aircraft (but this memory may possibly be coloured by being thrown out of Portland when Wings thought I was knobbing his girlfriend).

Wessex V on 771 - Queen of the skies. So many people around the coast of Cornwall owe their lives to that beautiful aircraft and the amazing antics of the guys down the back of the bus. Two or more hours over the '79 Fastnet Race and the Chief got us back to shore within 100 yards of where we'd left.....all on dead reckoning!

......Leaning out of the door when the windscreen iced up

......Peeing quietly and carefully down the crafted metal tube. At least it would have been quiet if only someone had put the rubber bag back on the bottom of the pipe. Our German aircrewman was anything but quiet by the time I'd emptied my bladder all over his neck.

But my absolute favourite Wessex story comes from the "Green Parrot" at Portland (which I never flew). Tasked with flying Admirals and their white suited ADCs to and from various vessels this job could be a pain. A certain Lieutenant from Yorkshire found his oil temp rising on the trip back one day. He duly put out a Pan call and warned the crewman who was sitting down the back with an Admiral and his ADC, both wearing ear defenders and reading their ironed copy of the The Times.

Secondary indication of falling oil pressure.....pilot warns crewman of imminent ditching.......puts out a Mayday.....briefs that he'll hover for a moment whilst crewman puts passengers in the water with a dinghy. Wessex comes to hover.....crewman unstraps surprised Admiral and throws him roughly out of the door. ADC (with earduffs, therefore no comms, therefore unaware of impending doom) takes offence at losing his Admiral and starts a fight. Crewman wins....(what a surprise).....and hurls ADC into the oggin....closely followed by dinghy inflated with lanyard.

Pilot hovers clear and prepares to ditch when......astonishingly......temp begins to go down and pressure begins to rise. He tentatively tries forward flight which seems to further improve the situation. He climbs to autorotative height and nurses his stricken machine successfully back to land. Great applause for pilot.....Admiral and ADC eventually recovered by another cab.

It was quite a while later when somebody noticed that this had been the last scheduled flight for that pilot on that squadron and that he was due to leave the Navy the following week. What a stylish departure!

Cheers to the Wessex.
JerryG
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Old 23rd Apr 2006, 07:07
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Nigel,

Farnborough 1968: too late to be you?

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Old 23rd Apr 2006, 08:12
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Hi John

Yes, too late for me. I left the RN,707 Sqd Culdrose in April 1967; just the other day surely???
I had the pleasure of performing at Farnborough with 848 & the Wessex 5 in 1964. 848 on Albion replaced 845, who had the Wessex 1, on Bulwark in 1964 in Singapore & on their return got the Wessex 5. I remember Bryan but was never in any of his squadrons.
How do you keep finding all these old memorabilia????
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Old 23rd Apr 2006, 08:14
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Originally Posted by Nigel Osborn
How do you keep finding all these old memorabilia????
SWMBO told me to clean out the office at home
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