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  #301  
Old 02-04-2017, 16:26
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Gannet driver Gannet driver is offline
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Wheels Up!



Aircraft, like most modern mechanical devices, have built-in safeguards against human stupidity. Rather than the modern on-screen question “Are you sure you want to delete etc.?”, micro-switches and the like usually ensure you can NOT do the regrettable thing……..usually.

As with all aircraft, the Gannet had micro-switches that would not allow the undercarriage to retract on the ground, even if the pilot had selected “Up”. The aircraft’s weight prevented the switch from operating. Weight off the undercarriage, leg extends, switch operates. Simple. This was drummed into us during flying training as a thoroughly sensible idea. It was, but open to abuse.

One of our number on 849 worked out a slick procedure for a rapid take-off. I strongly suspect he was not alone, nor was it confined to 849 Squadron, nor to Gannets. Select “Up” before starting the take-off run and hold the aircraft down firmly until you reach flying speed. Then pull back firmly to leave the ground quickly. The weight came off the legs, the switch woke up and did its duty but the aircraft was now off the ground and the tyres didn’t scrub the ground sideways as the legs folded. Meanwhile, what looked like a thoroughly slick take-off was seen by all.

One member of 849 worked out how good this could be during a stream take-off. Used at Air Days and the like, a stream meant all the aircraft involved lining up on the runway in a left-right-left-right staggered pattern and setting off at 3-second intervals. It looked and sounded good and was followed by a rapid formation join-up for whatever followed.

He decided that selecting wheels up just before his start in the stream would give him a slight edge in the formation join – and would look good anyway. So that’s what he did.

Regrettably, he was number three, fairly early in the stream, directly astern of the Leader, who happened to be the CO. As the lead aircraft accelerated away it hurled back a big bubble of prop-wash and turbulence, which briefly lifted his Gannet’s weight…..and the micro-switches operated.

With full power on both engines, his Gannet settled on its belly on the runway, in a stupendous cloud of dust, bits and noise…..and the stream take-off came to an abrupt halt.

I’m not certain at that point in the early 1960’s whether the CO was Bill Hawley or Butch Barnard. Both were noted for their blunt speech when roused and I have no doubt the error of his ways was made abundantly clear to him.

Mike
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  #302  
Old 02-04-2017, 16:49
Scatari Scatari is offline
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

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Originally Posted by Gannet driver View Post

Wheels Up!

Mike
Another great dit Mike - thank you.
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  #303  
Old 02-04-2017, 18:02
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Nice one Mike.
Jim
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  #304  
Old 02-04-2017, 21:01
Gannet Grubber Gannet Grubber is offline
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Thumbs up Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannet driver View Post
WOW! What a splendid sudden flood of good stuff, thank you all.

I left 849 just before the Gannet "ejector seat" was introduced, thanks for the info. Did anyone ever have cause to use it/be removed by it? I don't recall any ditchings after Pete Frame.

Being the old married man on my Hunter course at Brawdy I never made it to that Roch motel, but I'm sure the seven hot-blooded Mids I tried to control were regulars!

Paul, yes Brawdy was remote, but I bet you soon found "The Ship" in Solva!

I'd heard all of the hideous events listed. The RAF had an especially gruesome Flight Safety poster in the early 60's of an ejector seat drogue bullet that hit an unfortunate aircraftsman, he didn't survive.

And Jim, nice to see the old lady looking so good. And VERY pleased to see she was wearing "B" Flight's colours!

Again, many thanks to all. This began as a thread about flying from the deck with a strong Gannet flavour, but all contributions welcomed. If you're interested, there's a Facebook thread devoted to the last flying T5, in the US Mid-west. Try https://www.facebook.com/FaireyGanne...89543601137814


Mike
There is an 849 Squadron facebook page if anyones interested, there are quite a few serving 849 Squadron personnel as members. https://www.facebook.com/groups/849s...c_ref=NEWSFEED
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  #305  
Old 02-04-2017, 21:21
Gannet Grubber Gannet Grubber is offline
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

I hope you like these pictures from my two commissions on D Flight, 1965-1969.

They are not all mine.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 849 Sqdn Officers '67-'69.jpg (53.3 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg AEW3 9.jpg (142.4 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg AEW3 13.jpg (215.5 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpeg Eagle entering Cape Town.jpeg (73.2 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg AEW3 10.jpg (209.6 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg AEW3 6.jpg (1.80 MB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg Eagle Fwd Lift Shaft.jpg (118.9 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg AEW3 11.jpg (189.4 KB, 23 views)
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  #306  
Old 03-04-2017, 02:21
Scatari Scatari is offline
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

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Originally Posted by Gannet Grubber View Post
I hope you like these pictures from my two commissions on D Flight, 1965-1969.

They are not all mine.
Some wonderful shots there - thanks for sharing them.
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  #307  
Old 03-04-2017, 15:26
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Gannet driver Gannet driver is offline
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Gannet Grubber (wish I knew your name!) many thanks!

Great photos and a valuable link for the 849 Squadron Facebook page. Plenty there anyway but, by chance, the answer to a question I raised a while back.

In Oct 2015, post 105, I recalled NAM Weetman and our adventures in a Sea Vampire. He went on to become a chopper pilot and I always wondered how things worked out for him. Contact made, I have just had a long email from him.

So, thank you again GG!

Mike
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  #308  
Old 16-04-2017, 17:32
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Wheels Up! – 2




In a recent Dit (#301) I told of an inadvertent Gannet wheels up. On this occasion, a total failure to get them DOWN,

-------------------------


1964. It was a perfect summer day at Culdrose. Choppers buzzed between the airfield and Predannack and “Bomber” Brown was up in a Gannet T5. I can’t remember what the sortie was, but it had a spectacular ending.

Bomber found he had a total hydraulic failure – I’ve had one, in an AEW3, but on the ground (Dit 133) – Bomber’s problem was getting safely back onto the ground. Amongst other things, this involved putting his wheels down. Those who’ve worked on, or flown in, Gannets will recall an emergency air system for blowing the wheels down in such circumstances. Trouble was, no matter how Bomber tried it, they stayed up.

Having informed Culdrose of the situation he was put into a safe waiting pattern while a huge gathering of every possible kind of talent assembled in the control tower. Having taken him through the Litany of Things He Should Have Done (he had), several times, they then encouraged him to try yawing, positive and negative “g”. Nothing worked.

His situation was – no wheels, no flaps, bomb doors hanging open and the hook trailing behind him. There was no great urgency, Bomber had loads of fuel and the weather was perfect. The only potential limitation was his bladder, he hadn’t reckoned on a long sortie.

So preparations for an emergency landing got under way. By now, word was getting around and goofers gathered. The roof of the 849 Squadron Line Hut almost gave way under the weight of bodies. The circuit was cleared while the Crash Crew laid a superb foam carpet. In his lonely orbits of the airfield Bomber was aware of the massive preparations to receive him. And then word got around, ”He’s going to give it a try”.

Having no flaps, he would need to make a low, flat, slightly faster than normal approach and, once down, stop both engines while trying to keep the aircraft straight using rudder. And in he came to an accompaniment of collectively held breath, except for one vocal member of 849 on the Line Hut roof. “He’s coming in now - Oh I do feel for yer, mate – yes, he must be going to – nearly here – glad I’m not in there with him – Oh I do feel for yer, mate – almost here – glad I’m not in there - I……., hey! (Indignantly) The bugger overshot!”

And he did. Bomber had very sensibly done a practice approach and now went around for the real thing. An SAR chopper hovered nearby, Fire trucks were at the ready each side of the foam carpet as Bomber made another long, flat approach. We noticed he’d opened the cockpit hood, quite a heavy job with no hydraulics. And this time, he landed.

He did a spectacularly good job. The bomb doors kissed the foam near the start of the carpet and then crumpled. Keeping the Gannet almost perfectly straight he stop-cocked both engines and must have had everything turned off before the aircraft even slid to a halt. Bomber was out of the cockpit and down the side of the aircraft in a flash.

The crash crew resisted the temptation to cover him with foam and concentrated on the Gannet instead. The MO walked across to Bomber, looked him up and down and said “Are you OK?”. “Fine” said Bomber, “I could do with a tot, though!”

“”I think we can deal with that at the Sick Bay!” said the MO. “Hop in the ambulance and go over. We’ll check you out anyway”. So Bomber got in beside the driver who promptly set off with lights, bells and whistles to the gate, across the road to the Lizard, through the camp and screeched to a halt at the Sick Bay door. He then turned to Bomber with a startled look.

“Here! Sir! There wasn’t anybody else in the aircraft with you was there?!”
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  #309  
Old 16-04-2017, 17:44
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Nice one Mike, hope the medicine cupboard hadn't been raided before he got his share.

Jim
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  #310  
Old 16-04-2017, 21:12
Scatari Scatari is offline
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

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Originally Posted by Gannet driver View Post

Wheels Up! – 2

Another wonderful dit Mike - many thanks for sharing it.
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  #311  
Old 17-04-2017, 09:12
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Excellent once again Mike. Never attended a ,'wheels up'. Did a couple of Vixens that 'wiped' a wheel off in a heavy landing, but that was at sea, and the wires stopped them. Did two 'holes in the ground' at Lossie, Scimitar and RAF Lightning. Both pilots ejected safely (RAF guy sent a case of beer round to the Fire Station). Something sticks in my mind about a Gannet doing a wheels up in front of the crowd at an 'Air Day', stir any memories?.
Jim
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  #312  
Old 17-04-2017, 13:42
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

If memory serves me right, it was 1963 or '64. The pilot, who shall remain nameless, did a single engine flypast and attempted an in-flight relight in a turn.

It didn't work in time and the overall loss of airspeed from the turn gave him no option but to straighten out and belly-land straight ahead - fortunately on grass and not toward the crowd.

Mike
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  #313  
Old 17-04-2017, 19:34
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

I think the crew lined up facing the crowd and bowed before boarding the ambulance to cheers and applause. They thought it was part of the show!.
Jim
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  #314  
Old 21-04-2017, 18:12
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Having found and read through this thread Mike may I congratulate you on all aspects of it .....a sound subject , well presented , with no links , and thoroughly enjoyable

Like others some of the events mentioned I can recall happening , and based on one of my favourite Aircraft since I first became involved in aircraft and indeed my first model kit [ many years ago I must admit ]

So whole hearted endorsement of the praises voiced by others ....please don't stop your grey cells or recollections from airing on this thread
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  #315  
Old 21-04-2017, 23:21
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

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.... with no links .....
Oh yes there are

Careful now Ivor - methinks your prejudice is showing


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Last edited by harry.gibbon : 22-04-2017 at 00:50.
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  #316  
Old 22-04-2017, 17:43
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

........Who Me ...surely not Harry
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  #317  
Old 22-04-2017, 22:53
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Whoa guys! Harry is perfectly right, though I have tried to keep links to an essential minimum.

Ivor, your kind remarks....and Gannet prejudice....much appreciated. There will be more, although other, utterly unrelated projects keep getting in the way. Long retired, but as busy as ever.

Much of what I've put down, as truthfully as I can, was set off by the recollections of others, many in this forum. Naval flying was a combination of everything, joy, boredom, rapture, fear, glory, humdrum and, thank goodness, a lot of laughs.

Go well guys,

Mike
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  #318  
Old 23-04-2017, 17:12
Jetex61 Jetex61 is offline
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

I know this is strictly not the right place to post photos, but I thought this selection, obtained third hand, could appropriately illustrate some of Gannet Driver's excellent reminiscences, as they were taken around the period of his tales. There are even some 849 Gannets...
They were taken aboard Hermes and Centaur, I will leave you all to discover the details in each photo - things such a admiral's flags. I just hope there was navy issue suntan cream along with the rum, but I doubt it!

David
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg img426.jpg (456.0 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg img428.jpg (596.2 KB, 27 views)
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  #319  
Old 23-04-2017, 17:58
Scatari Scatari is offline
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

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Originally Posted by Jetex61 View Post
I know this is strictly not the right place to post photos, but I thought this selection, obtained third hand, could appropriately illustrate some of Gannet Driver's excellent reminiscences, as they were taken around the period of his tales. There are even some 849 Gannets...
They were taken aboard Hermes and Centaur, I will leave you all to discover the details in each photo - things such a admiral's flags. I just hope there was navy issue suntan cream along with the rum, but I doubt it!

David
Some excellent photos there David - many thanks for posting them.
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  #320  
Old 23-04-2017, 19:07
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Pure concentrated nostalgia.
Jim
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  #321  
Old 23-04-2017, 22:10
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Jetex, thank you! This is absolutely the right place to post photos like those, don't ever hold back.

The presence of the Scimitar suggests 1964 or earlier, otherwise I echo Jim, pure nostalgia........great lineup.

Re the name you use, I remember Jetex well, in model cars, boats and aircraft.
I have a suspicion that Jettex motors would not be allowed today.

Mike
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  #322  
Old 23-04-2017, 22:25
Jetex61 Jetex61 is offline
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

I stole the name from an annual air/sea exercise which took place in the Indian Ocean in the early sixties. I came across it when I was researching the operational history of the Shackleton squadrons based at RAF Ballykelly, which is just down the road from where I live.

David
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  #323  
Old 25-04-2017, 23:08
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

This thread began with the actual Airfield on the Roof but , as so many of us have been involved with aircraft one way or another, it has developed into a number of naval flying stories, not always at sea. The origin of this dit began with a Royal Naval Air Service pilot before World War One, a brief explanation follows at the end. So, if you will forgive, a bit more about the actual business of learning to fly in order to become a carrier pilot, and a little-known bit of naval aviation history.


Going for a Spin…….


Few things made the student pilot more nervous than a pre-flight brief that began with “Right, Spinning!”. Learning to stall was OK, the first solo was exhilarating but spins were the stuff of fairly terrifying legend and they HAD to be learned. How you might inadvertently get into one and…..how to get out again. This is a true story about an unusual spin, with a humourous result. But, a bit of explanation will help:-

For those unfamiliar, a spin usually involves a steep nose-down attitude, 45 degrees or more. The airspeed is relatively low but the rate of descent is huge, 10,000 to 20,000 feet per minute. The aircraft is locked into a really tight spiral to port or starboard and is rolling, yawing and pitching simultaneously. By itself, this can lead to disorientation, it’s like a really wild amusement park ride. Now add the visual impact of the ground coming up at you fast, looking like a multi-coloured 78 rpm gramophone record and panic could set in.

Unintentional spin entry can be from a variety of causes, too tight a fast turn, too heavy-handed a recovery from a stall and sometimes it seemed, just a bloody-minded aircraft. But there is only ONE method of recovery, nothing else will work. And that is imprinted on my mind as clearly today as it was 55 years ago.

Naval fixed-wing pilots did their initial training in the Jet Provost, chopper pilots did an initial 90 hours in a Chipmunk. This dit concerns spinning the JP, to my regret I never got my hands on a Chipmunk. The JP was a very docile and forgiving aircraft and would allow the makee-learnee pilot to get away with just about anything. It also had a very gentle, very safe stall.

A stall happens when the aircraft is flown so slowly that the high nose-up attitude (needed to keep it in level flight) causes the smooth airflow to break away from the upper surface of the wing - and the aircraft loses height rapidly. Invariably, one wing stalls just before the other, resulting in a sudden wing drop and potential spin entry. Setting up a deliberate spin was simple, throttle back, maintain level flight and, as the aircraft stalled, kick in a bootful of rudder……and down you spun.

So, recovery: boot in full opposite rudder, pause of two marching paces, push the stick forward steadily – and you’re suddenly in a steep dive. Centralise the rudder, ease the stick back, all’s well. Easy! So once your instructor was satisfied, you were sent up to practice spinning on your own with stern warnings – NEVER start a spin below 18,000 feet, ALWAYS bale out by 10,000 feet if you haven’t recovered. Just occasionally, the docile Jet Provost refused to recover and ejecting was the only solution. If with an instructor, the ejection height was 6,000 feet.

In the 1960’s the Vale of York was filled with RAF and RN pilots learning how to fly. What follows actually concerned an RAF student pilot, it could easily have been one of our lot. Instructor and student on a spinning detail and the JP absolutely refused to co-operate. This was in a spin to the left, anti-clockwise, a significant detail.

“Right Jones, eject!” The student reached up for the top handle and, seeing this, the instructor fired his own seat but, overcome with what he was about to do, Jones had hesitated and was still in the aircraft, minus the cockpit canopy and the right-hand seat. An interesting, unintentional, never-to-be-repeated experiment had just taken place.

The student realized the aircraft was no longer in a spin, but was still heading down. The force of the ejector seat gun on the right-hand side of the aircraft had thrown it out of a spin to the left, it was now in a dive. He rapidly lowered his hands, took control and leveled out.

Other than being more than a bit startled, and minus a cockpit canopy, he was fine. So he flew a couple of orbits around his highly embarrassed instructor who was now floating down under a parachute and took the aircraft back to Base. He received, with as mixed feelings as the authorities who bestowed them, an AOC’s green ink endorsement in his log book for his initiative in saving an aircraft………and loss of a month’s seniority for failing to obey an order!

------------------------------------------------

Originally, a spin was known as a Parke’s Dive. On August the 25th, 1912, Lt. Parke Royal Navy, inadvertently got into a spin. He initially tried stick back, then rudder, It didn’t work. So he calmly reversed the procedure…….and recovered just in time.

Generations of aviators world-wide have cause to be grateful to Parke, but very few even know his name. See https://airscapemag.com/2015/01/13/in-a-spin/
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  #324  
Old 26-04-2017, 09:22
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Thanks Mike , ...having been in a spin which was successfully recovered [ nothing as bad as your description I hasten to add ] I know how what I can only describe as " Electrifying " it all was.... not pleasurable.. but more akin to a couple of hundred volts frying your brain

As my carcase bares as witness , this one was successfully recovered from by a very able Pilot in small passenger plane which was being sold and in which the pilot wanted some baggage to demonstrate the aircraft's ability .....cant remember the type but it was named after a bird ....Dove....Heron...???????

What was indented on my brain was the panic from pleasurable flight to total concentration in a split second but as I say this was under a controlled exercise ........which must have been true... as he kept repeating it to me when we landed
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