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Arrestor Barriers

Old 2nd May 2015, 23:10
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Gnome de PPRuNe
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Arrestor Barriers

Was passing by the end of the runway at RNAS Culdrose on Thursday while a Hawk was doing several circuits - noticed the arrestor barrier was raised.

Cant recall ever seeing one raised before while fast jets were flying at UK bases; is it normal to have them up while flying is taking place, or more likely to be
because the Hawk had a brake problem or similar?

Just curious... as ever!
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Old 3rd May 2015, 05:17
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Unless things have changed, if the main operating type from a base was cleared to take the barrier, then the departure end was generally left up if the a/c had no other means of stopping in an emergency. Now that most fast pointy things have hooks then things are different. For types that are not cleared into the barrier such as the Tucano, then the barrier is (or should) always be down. It was not unknown for ATC to get it wrong and raise the approach end barrier by mistake, this certainly happened with a Lightning and I believe a Javelin.
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Old 3rd May 2015, 06:42
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In the days of Hunters, Jaguars and Lightnings with braking parachutes, it was mandatory SOP to raise the upwind barrier for takeoffs and landings in case of chute failure and you always had to advise the pilot of barrier position along with landing/takeoff clearance.
If your runway has cables as well as barriers (which I believe Culdrose and Yeovilton both do), each pilot flying a hook equipped aircraft eg Buccaneer would have to do a practice cable arrest every 3 months. The hooks on Hunters and Lightnings were 'emergency only' so this didn't apply to them.
Don't think the Royal Navy Hawks have hooks, I think it was only the US Navy version which did.

Last edited by chevvron; 3rd May 2015 at 08:08.
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Old 3rd May 2015, 08:56
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chevvron will recall an incident when a barrier subject to the morning inspection was not isolated, and then raised in error. I'm told that the inspector became highly strung.

Probably safer to refer to barriers geographically rather than w.r.t. any runway or threshold designation!
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Old 3rd May 2015, 09:41
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Gnome de PPRuNe
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Thanks folks, it was the barrier at the departure end of 30 so I guess that given the proximity of the A3083, guarding against the possibility of an overrun makes perfect sense.
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Old 3rd May 2015, 10:01
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It's nothing to do with the road. It's SOP for Hawks to operate with a barrier in the up position on light setting if it is available. They're used for the GR4 too but in the heavy setting. It's in case of a hydraulic/braking, or in the GR4's case arrest or hook, failure.
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Old 3rd May 2015, 11:35
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Gnome de PPRuNe
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Thanks Dagowly!
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Old 3rd May 2015, 15:45
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First time I took the approach-end wire in a Phantom, after stopping, I noticed the man outside jumping up and down.

He could not push me back to release the cable because, in the deceleration,
my left arm had moved forward and was pushing the thrust levers to full power...
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Old 4th May 2015, 04:55
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This talk about barriers reminds me of an incident we had at Coltishall whilst I was going through the Lightning OCU.

There was an very new USAF instructor on the staff and on said sortie he was demonstrating a reheat takeoff in the T5 which was done with the flaps down. Now, the T5 was heavier at the front end than the single seaters and the flaps could give quite a strong nose down pitching moment plus on this demo only the top reheat lit giving a further nose down push. No problem but the a/c would have left the ground in a flat attitude rather than the nose wheel coming off some time before the mains in the conventional manner. As he tried to raise the nose at @155kts, nothing happened so our hero decided to abort the takeoff (as I said, he was very new to the Lightning). He shouted sh*t, the stude thought he said 'chute' so pulled the handle, as the burner was still lit the chute disappeared in a ball of flame with the a/c approaching the barrier going very quickly. They pulled the barrier out of the ground and shot across the subsequent ploughed field with the whole lot nearly parked on the Norwich/Cromer railway line, highly amusing at the time.
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Old 4th May 2015, 07:07
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Audax, that aircraft XS420 now sits outside the FAST Museum at Farnborough. It looks much happier now than it did in that field. There is more on www.xs420.com
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Old 4th May 2015, 07:23
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I was working up by Wattisham in the 90s when the Phantoms were still operating and was sat having lunch on the perimeter near the centre line when one of the tubines let go as it climbed off the centreline into low cloud trailing fire and smoke. Chunks of the core all over the adjacent golfcourse to the side and pockets of small fires. Arrestor nets deployed and short while later , a very noisy single engine phantom came out the clouds and hit the net. The pilot was baling out before she had stopped. Nothing ever appeared in the news at the time unlike the F111 from Heyford that dumped large chucks of burning engine all over the animal feed mill car park at Bicester on approach destroying a few cars and making the red tops t the time.
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Old 4th May 2015, 10:10
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Audax - to complete the story, the No1 nozzle did not auto-cancel from 'reheat' and thus No 1 thrust was another 30% down and, of course, some of us know who the stude was................

A/C airtested 13 months I recall later after lots of TLC.
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