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Anyone flown the Wessex?

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Anyone flown the Wessex?

Old 23rd Apr 2006, 17:17
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I remember that Farnborough well, though I'm struck by how young Brian (the Screaming Skull) Sarginson looks there, when we young pilots thougfht of him as really ancient then. He was the CO of 705 Squadron when I went through, so it was a bit of a shock to find the man of whom I'd been in awe as a stude being my first operational CO. At that Farnborough (I think) the Basingstoke Canal burst its banks and we had to go and move the helicopters to higher ground. We were also given a lot of trials motorbikes - much more fun than the 'Dead Sparrers' MGBs and quite a few were badly damaged as we young hooligans wearing Denison Smocks and flying helmets zoomed around the Church Crookham area. I seem to remember that we went over to where the Dead Sparrers had their aircraft parked, stuck lots of Fly Navy stickers all over them and revved up our trials bikes on the soggy grass, covering their flashy cars with mud. I'm trying to remember if that was also the year where, sadly the Breguet Atlantique crashed when flying on one engine and turning in towards the 'dead' engine.
That was also the year we embarked in HMS Bulwark and set off for the first Exercise Arctic Express operating near the Bardufos area in Northern Norway. The Wessex nose doors were modified soon after that as they didn't take kindly to operating in a damp, cold climate and suffered from engine icing, so we had to remember numerous limits of so many Ng for so long, then so many for so long when descending in cloud. It was also around that time we were doing quite a lot of close night formation flying trials with Beta lights fitted in the blade caps and down the top of the tail cone, so they could only be seen from above. ll nav lights were extinguished and just the red cockpit instrument lights left on radiating light in the visible spectrum. It was quite exciting, to say the least, trying to get a formation together as we used to take off from the Rusty 'B' 4 at a time and tried to link up for a 16 aircraft close night assault formation. I thik it was decided that it took so long, it was just as easy to fly the aircraft in 2 at a time in a loose, 'tactical' formation. Ah, long ago, happy days.
Well done John; lovely to see that old photo again. Sadly, after many years of living away from home, house moves, divorce and all the usual pilot disasters, most of my photos from those days are long gone. One day I must get around to scanning and digitising my few remaining ones. If you have any more, keep them coming.
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Old 24th Apr 2006, 03:41
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Wessex (RN) Drops Whirlwind (RAF)?

I once saw wreckage in the scrub behind the beach in Tai Long Wan, New Territories, Hong Kong, which was alleged to be the remains of a RAF Whirlwind that had been dropped by a RN Wessex.

The story went that the Whirlwind had malfunctioned and a Wessex from a passing RN vessel was called into return the Whirlwind, under slung, to Kai Tak. Unfortunately the two helicopters parted company during the flight.

Does anyone remember such an event? Did it really take place? Probably during the late 60s.
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Old 24th Apr 2006, 04:09
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Not in my time, chief. But what RN pilot wouldn't want to drop a RAF helicopter?
With a 4000 lb limit, I would be surprised if the Whirlwind was stripped down to that weight.
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Old 24th Apr 2006, 13:20
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Anyone remember the infamous Stan Sollitt? He flew the Wessex (60) amongst many other types for Bristow, and had a few exciting moments in them by all accounts. Last came across him in 1988 at Cranfield, where he was the boss of Trent Helicopters training, having left Bristows a short while previously. Anyone know if he is still with us?
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Old 24th Apr 2006, 20:18
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Plank Cap

No idea but his son was flying with Bristows up in Sumburgh the last time I heard. Stan was my instructor at Tern Hill, on and off, and it was he who taught me to do 'confined areas'. Haven't seen him since those days even though we worked together at Bristows.

NC43
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Old 24th Apr 2006, 22:14
  #126 (permalink)  
 
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Wessex

Yes I knew Stan Sollitt well and also Tony (son).

I had the pleasure of flying the Mk V and also the Wessex 60. If my memory serves me well my last flight I did was on 3rd February 1977 flying G-ATCB
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Old 25th Apr 2006, 06:00
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Stan's last job with Bristow was the Principal of the Bristow Training School at Redhill, but he continued flying for several years after he retired from that. He is still very much 'with us'.
Tony is presently flying Super Pumas for Bristow in Nigeria and was in PH very recently with the SNEPCO machine which moved down there from Snake Island.
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Old 25th Apr 2006, 13:35
  #128 (permalink)  
 
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RRe Stan Sollitt

Gentlemen,regarding the enquiries about my father,Stan Sollitt.He is still going
strong.In fact,a few weeks ago I had a few beers with him in York on my way
back here to Nigeria.
And yes,I will be found lurking by the bar of the Star King hotel in PH again
next week.
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Old 21st Aug 2008, 10:21
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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Hey Yak - you still out there? I think I flew the WX5 occasionally.........
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Old 21st Aug 2008, 10:44
  #130 (permalink)  
 
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Ok you Wessex fans ...here is a challenge for you.
Has anyone got their helmets and Mae Wests from the Falklands era or can give a steer on where I might find four off?
They are needed for a film about the Falkands so there might be some money in it for you!!
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Old 12th Sep 2008, 12:47
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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YouTube - RAN FAA Wessex 31B Helicopter four formation

best wessex footage on the net out of albatross in 1987
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Old 12th Sep 2008, 13:36
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I flew the Wessex 60 for Bristows many years ago, Lovely old machine. Only twin u could fly single engine!
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Old 14th Sep 2008, 11:15
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Some Wessex stories from 72(NI)

A Walter lands and instantly starts padding heavily. Takes off again, lands and starts padding. Ground crew go out to take a look and diagnose a collapsed oleo. They changed the oleo in the hover. From memory, took about 2 hours and we changed pilots a couple of times during the job.

Loady and pilot swap jackets on a pongo insert. Arrive at the cab, and in ear short of pongo the loady (who's really the pilot) says to the pilot (who's really the loady), "Mind if I fly this one sir? I've been practising a lot". Pilot (loady) says "Not sure, remember what happened last time you had a go? Oh, alright then. But don't tell anyone". So, they all strap in, start up and lift off - at which point the loady(pilot) gives the controls a good stir. It was everything they could do to stop the pongos unstrapping and jumping off!

Pilot would take up a tin of fruit salad emptied into a sick bag. At some good point in the cruise, he'd start making puking noises over the intercomm and pretend to vomit into the bag. Then pass the bag between his legs to the loady and ask him to throw it out of the door. Before dropping it, the loady would open the bag, peer in, take a sniff then dip in a finger and taste it. Pongos down the back are now reaching for their own bags.

Me climbing up from the cabin into the cockpit by lifting the pilots seat and sliding up - a common way in. Somehow, I managed to snag the srpring loaded flap guard over the emergency cable cutter and press the button! Bigish bang and there's a cable hook and a couple of metres of cable lying on the pan. I worked late that night!

Walter gets back and is put to bed for the A/F during which a fairly neat set of holes is found right on the curve at the base of the tail. Maybe caught the fence on the way out? Nope, they're holes not tears. Local with an air rifle or .22? Nope, the holes go in from both sides! Complete mystery. About a week later, a VHS tape arrives in the squadron mail with some footage from CCTV at Bessbrook. As Walter lifts off, a dog runs across the pan, jumps up and sinks it's gnashers into the tail! Hangs on for a few seconds before letting go and letting Walter get away. Rumour had it that poor doggy tried the same thing on a Gazelle a little later and stuck his snout into the tail rotor with weekend spoiling results.

Hope this stirs a few memories for people out there - and for any ex-72s, hello!!!!
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Old 14th Sep 2008, 13:39
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The first tale happened to a Wessex 1 of 845 Squadron in Borneo about 1964 or 65. They made a heavy landing in a clearing for reasons I don't remember, took off immediately & flew back to their base at Nanga Gaat. Unfortunately all the Wessex were airborne a distance away & no spare oleo was available, only wheels. They stayed in a hover for quite a while, changed pilots & refueled in a low hover. When the first Wessex came back, the engineers jacked it up to remove the oleo & replaced the broken one still in a low hover. No problem for the good old Wessex!
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Old 14th Sep 2008, 17:07
  #135 (permalink)  
 
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Simonta - if memory serves, the dog incident happened at Dungannon in 1984 and yes it did try to eat a Gazelle fenestron with unfortunate consequences.

Walter was very good at ploughing as well, either with the TR (J** Ch***ler memorial trench at Aughnacloy) or with the nose door (Slack-Dick memorial trench near Middletown) and trimming trees (VDB, Cookstown).

Happy memories of 72
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Old 14th Sep 2008, 20:51
  #136 (permalink)  
 
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Sat here with nowt to do so have just re-read most of this thread, Seven years ago it was started, where the hell does time go!!

Vfr

Peter R-B
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Old 15th Sep 2008, 06:48
  #137 (permalink)  
 
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My Father's youtube video (he didn't shoot it), might be of interest.

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=o3z0oEG4mhI

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Old 15th Sep 2008, 07:55
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As Walter lifts off, a dog runs across the pan, jumps up and sinks it's gnashers into the tail! Hangs on for a few seconds before letting go and letting Walter get away. Rumour had it that poor doggy tried the same thing on a Gazelle a little later and stuck his snout into the tail rotor with weekend spoiling results.
That was put down in the report as an IRAte dog.
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Old 15th Sep 2008, 12:40
  #139 (permalink)  
 
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Fruit salad

Ive heard the 'fruit salad' one before, told by an old (over 30) BOAC Capt at Kuching in the 60s, re training new hosties, except they used chicken soup. FO calls hostie, says 'Capt is not feeling well can you get him a bag?' Capt trades that for the bag with the chicken soup, as he hands it across FO grabs it says 'Don't waste it it's warm!' and drinks it. In general, collapse of new hostie.

But it was probably apochryphal even then!
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Old 15th Sep 2008, 13:02
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Fruit salad?

What is needed is an oyster out of its shell- and you can do this anywhere - pop the oyster into your handkerchief, sneeze very loudly and obviously into said handkerchief - pre briefed friend leans across and eats oyster! Used to use it to clear train compartments when they had them, and it really does work. You have to like oysters though!

Try it and post how you get on.
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