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  #326  
Old 16-05-2017, 12:47
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Prop Wash seems a handy thing, never heard it being used to start aircraft though. While on Eagle in 1959 I think it was, we did operation 'Pin Wheel' using Skyraiders. I think we used some of the jets as well. This was in Grand Harbour.
Another unusual occurrence on Eagle, was flying of the complete aircraft complement by 'free take off' both cats being u/s.
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  #327  
Old 16-05-2017, 18:15
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannet driver View Post

The Big Brawdy Blow Job
Wonderful dit Mike - thanks for posting it.
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  #328  
Old 24-06-2017, 14:37
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbryce1437 View Post
High probably dropped a brown pile under his seat that quickly raised it up again.

Jim
Hi Jim, Pete was my Dad and he had a phrase, probably very well known and used by all catapult aficionados, ''If you feel something hot, round and hairy in your throat, just swallow. Its your own a**hole'! Knowing him as I do, I think this may well have been Dads standard ''story recounting 'comment''' in the ward room.
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  #329  
Old 24-06-2017, 15:16
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

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Originally Posted by Gannet driver View Post
I was really delighted by the response (above) from Pete Frame's son re ditching an Gannet AEW3. We have since corresponded and another fragment, concerning Pete, came to mind.

The first few paras are adapted from my original posting in this thread, but it is all completely true, Pete told me the story himself. The event occurred in 1964, when Pete was with 849 B Flight, in HMS Centaur


Into the dark



It's difficult to describe the sensation of being catapult launched. In a small carrier like Centaur or Hermes, you are accelerated smoothly (no jerking) from rest to around 120mph in 200 feet and less than 2 seconds. It's an exhilarating sensation, which I’ve heard compared to a universally known and most enjoyable one that has nothing to do with flying. Not far off the mark, but at 2 seconds it doesn’t last quite as long!

A night launch is the same, but intimidating. There's just a row of dim lights ahead to show the forward end of the flight deck. Everything beyond is black, unless there’s a moon. You've done your pre-launch checks and the Flight Deck Officer is holding a lit green wand high to show he and the Flight Deck Crew are ready.

Checks done, full power, flash your taxi lights once to show YOU are ready, and now you've got about 2 seconds to go - head back, back straight, hands braced behind the stick and throttle so the G force doesn't make you don't pull them back by mistake - the whirling green wand drops......

A firm push back into the seat as the deck edge lights shoot under you and out into blackness, 60 feet above the water. You’re on the instruments now, no visual reference outside. A sudden easing of pressure, IMMEDIATELY establish a positive rate of climb, select wheels up, increase speed, ease the flaps up and continue the climb.

One unfortunate member of 849 Squadron had a night launch like no other…..and it was his first. A bit of background needed.

Fairey Aviation made a very nice job of the AEW3 Gannet’s cockpit. Plenty of room, excellent view, almost all instruments and controls well positioned and visible (there were inevitable exceptions) and plenty of adjustment for the pilot’s seat. This was important, as you would usually spend 2 or 3 hours in it, I once did 6 hours.

So, rudder pedals could be adjusted for any length of leg and the seat height through almost 12 inches. I was one of the taller pilots, I usually had the seat fairly far down and rudder pedals way forward – Pete Frame, whose successful ditching I described earlier, was much shorter. Pete had the seat at the top of the adjustment and the rudder pedals close.

So, on a black night, I think in the Malacca Straits, Pete was faced with his first night launch. Seat at the top, rudder pedals back, full power, everything as it should be, guys in the back ready, flash the lights……and the green wand dropped.

The ratchet that held the seat at the set height slipped as the cat fired. Granted, he didn’t actually NEED to see outside, but a very startled Pete dropped 12 inches and went off into the dark looking UP at his instruments.
Hi Mike, Good to get back on and do some reminiscing again. I have to say that the Strait of Malacca was not a good place for dear old Dad. He certainly had some events and mis-adventures there! Having done a serious read of all the posts on 'The Airfield on the Roof', another story came to mind. It stemmed from an earlier post of yours that suggested he barrel rolled a AEW 3 Gannet. To be fair, I cannot either confirm or deny he was the pilot of said aerobatic Gannet. Suffice to say, it's those kind of stories that remind me of exactly WHY Dad was always getting into trouble and why I am as well, thanks Dad.
Please feel free to adjust or tailor the story if you are aware of it. Anyone who knew Pete Frame will know that, like all pilots, he can tell a story in the most enigmatic and enthralling way and, as I remember it, it went like this......
On deployment with 849 aboard HMS Centaur, around the same time as his ditching (12/7/64), he was to the east of the Malaysian peninsula doing what Gannet Pilots did at whatever height they did it. In his words, "I strayed a little bit too close to Vietnam and that little "situation" the Americans were having". Discounting the fact that the two guys in the back would have been aware of all of the airborne threats etc, Dad went on to say that the first verbal contact he had was an American drawl over the radio saying "My Gad!! That's ugly!! What the hell is it!!" "It says Royal Navy so you gotta be a friend, but, this is our war so get the hell outta here"!!
However poor American Air to Air ordnance was at that time, when you've got an F4 buzzing you and telling you to "move on" you do it. And that's exactly what he did.
I do hope someone reads this and can relate to similar experiences they are aware of. Would be nice to hear them.
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  #330  
Old 24-06-2017, 16:09
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

I have some info on this and just wondered if anyone else has. Would be nice to hear any input. It was an article in Navy News 'back in the day'.
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  #331  
Old 25-06-2017, 06:02
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

A Canberra flying a "missed approach" on Ark Royal.

Lots of bomber guys liked to do this... I've seen photos of a Vulcan and a B-52 doing this.

Here is a site with an account of B-52 passes by carriers... in the comments is one from a former B-52 pilot concerning his two approaches on a USN carrier in the mid-1980s (B-52G): http://tailhookdaily.typepad.com/tai...ilots-and.html

RAF Avro Vulcan makes low pass over HMAS Melbourne (R21) during Exercise Bersatu Padu South-East Asia - 1970:

B-52 - FLYBY USS RANGER CV 61 IN PERSIAN GULF IN 1990 - BELOW DECK ALTITUDE (3 photos):
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  #332  
Old 25-06-2017, 12:23
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

The Canberra low pass, that MUST have been your Dad! Just the sort of thing Pete Frame would do.

Mike
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  #333  
Old 25-06-2017, 15:10
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Any more dits lads or are we on a FOD alert
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  #334  
Old 25-06-2017, 17:36
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Hoping to produce more soon, a bit distracted by family health issues at present.

However, Andy Frame has a pretty good one at 329 above, under "Into the Dark". I knew his dad well and introduced him a while back under "Ditching a Gannet AEW3". Pete was a character!
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  #335  
Old 26-06-2017, 06:05
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Yes and thanks Mike , and very enjoyable they were to
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  #336  
Old 28-06-2017, 16:16
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

As I'd mentioned, a bit distracted for the foreseeable but will continue posting when I can. Meanwhile, appropriate FAA and carrier-related dits by others more than welcome!

An offering from almost exactly 50 years ago........


Sea mist at Gibraltar



I wrote in an earlier dit about Gibraltar’s unique airfield, North Front. Nowhere else, to my knowledge, has a 1,200 foot high obstruction inside the landing circuit combined with a main road across the runway and no overshoot area at either end, just the sea……

There’s another feature, not unique to North Front, but certainly one to keep your pulse racing and your eyes wide open – sea mist.

Under certain conditions, a low-lying but dense blanket of mist forms on the surface of the sea east of the Rock. If it then drifts westward, aircraft operations become interesting. As North Front is only a few feet above sea level and there are no obstructions like buildings or trees to break it up (well, none in the 60’s, no idea about today), the blanket slides smoothly across the airfield and covers it to a depth of 30 feet or more.

The problem then becomes paradoxical. You approach in brilliant sunshine with the Rock and the town clearly visible. You can see where the airfield IS…..but you can’t see the airfield itself, just a fluffy white blanket with odd bits poking out. There’s a runway under it, but where?

So, one day in early 1967, 849 Squadron B Flight Gannets disembarked from Hermes were exercising some 50 miles east of the Rock. The word came about potential sea mist. A few minutes later we were advised firmly to come home.

On this occasion, the approach was up through Algecieras Bay and a sharp Finals turn to starboard to line up with the runway – which was already invisible at the Eastern Beach end. By the time I touched down the mist had almost reached the road to Spain and I needed a marshaller to get me back to dispersal. There was a squadron of Shackletons parked between me and my destination.

As Senior Pilot, Paul Bootherstone was last to land on a rapidly vanishing runway. The airfield was gone, there was just a tongue of runway extension left. He said it was a unique experience – he touched down on the numbers in bright sunshine and perfect visibility and charged into a white wall, almost finishing his landing run on instruments. He too, was glad of a marshaller to take him in!

Mike
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  #337  
Old 29-06-2017, 07:53
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Thanks Mike. I landed there in a Britannia to rejoin the Ark which was in dry dock .
Jim
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  #338  
Old 29-06-2017, 08:23
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Ah the infamous "Follow me " truck Mike ?...

Reminds me of and event along similar lines :- albeit on a crystal clear summers day at Duxford early eighty's

I recall working at Duxford Airfield at an Air show and whilst waiting for the start of the display where I was working on the fuel bowser.... I was asked to assist in the landing of the "Spam cans" which referred to the private aircraft flying in with various and sundry arrived

The guy who had taught me how to handle aircraft and egg beaters who was a serving member from RAF Honington whom I was respectful of asked if he could take over an aircraft that had brought the commentators and was on the perry track..... having been advised over our headsets

I deferred to his seniority and batted him over ........

The pilot cam racing along towards his allotted position and despite several slow down signals continued to come roaring along towards us and ignored us just carried on oblivious of other aircraft in his immediate vicinity .


The marshaller was clearly visible and the pilot was becoming a danger to others ...at which point the RAF guy threw his bats at the Aircraft as it stopped having ignored all the slow down and position signs clearly given


The pilot alighted and ran towards him swearing and ranting at his behaviour yelling " You bloody pretend Groundcrew think you know it all dont you " !

At which point the guy announced his rank , Sqdn and trade ......
And enquired as to his ...and his lack of safety whilst handling his aircraft ..

This very embarrassed and clearly thrustrated aviation "Expert " stomped off and apparently complained to his commanding officer who on receipt of this written derge interviewed the offending soul and reprimanded him on " losing it " but remarked in saying that the pilot should always acknowledge the ground crews actions which were given to him correctly ....and invited the offending pilot to attend a recognition course at the airfield to complete has sadly lacking apppreciation of ground movements ....which needless to say he declined

The following year this same scenario transpired but the pilots response was a credit to the instructor who taught him his good manners

Perhaps the pilot felt he was entitled to spit his dummy out , but the "Circuit " airshows of that period were organised and all "civies" were trained and supervised by serving RAF trades who were about to leave the service but loved aircraft and also attended North Weald , West Malling ,amongst others , and were all a tight knit community of handlers which continued for about ten years or more to my knowledge ....happy days
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  #339  
Old 02-07-2017, 14:56
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Thank you, Ivor. More please!

For those interested, several great Facebook pages are filled with any amount of FAA photos and stories. “Fixed Wing Aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm” and “849 Squadron” are the two I follow, there are plenty more.

Photos in both of a Gannet with no nosewheel taking Ark’s barrier (the props really chewed it up!) reminded me of a story from the late ‘50s. I can’t authenticate it, but suspect there’s some truth in it.




“That’s a bloody clever trick!”


A pilot took off in a Seahawk from Brawdy for general flying practice (GFP), which usually meant aerobatics. As he left the ground his nosewheel dropped off and his radio got stuck on Transmit – something that has embarrassed many of us over the years. All your unfortunate comments are heard by everyone, until the awful realization breaks. He had no idea of either problem and pressed on.

The real problem was, how to let him know about the nosewheel, he’d be back in less than an hour. So the story goes, a small, slim young pilot volunteered to cram a nosewheel into his cockpit with him, find the other guy, formate on him and show him the wheel.

The tower had no problem telling him where the other aircraft was, out near the Smalls lighthouse. The difficulty was getting into the joyful series of aerobatics with it and then attracting the pilot’s attention. After pulling a lot of G and some wild throttle fluctuations he succeeded and they settled down together in straight and level flight.

The small, slim pilot struggled to maintain position while holding up the nose wheel and making frantic gestures. Then, loud and clear came a remark from the Seahawk as yet unaware of its troubles.

“That’s a bloody clever trick! Now let’s see you put it back again!”
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  #340  
Old 02-07-2017, 15:27
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Nice one Mike!.
Jim
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  #341  
Old 02-07-2017, 18:25
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Default Re: The Airfield on the Roof

Well heres one for you Mike ....

Were you aware of a very regular attendant at air shows and a pilot who we all liked called Angus Mc Vite ....?

Well one day after having refuelled all the display pilots aircraft which ranged from Spitfires to Yaks to Seafurys to Mustangs to varies trainers , we had a "New Kid" on the block who was full of it and loved to parade in front of the public flight line .

As Trained we had checked the specific Gravity of our load and checked all the filters and water traps on the Bowser before starting , but this self embroidered soul came up to us whilst refuelling one of Ray Hana's Aircraft , and demanded that we refuelled his Aircraft next ...

Being the ever obliging soul I am I asked him when his slot in the display was to see if the information I had been issued was at at fault ....which it wasn't .... but as he was" new" I allowed him some slack and rescheduled my list to facilitate his demand ...

When we arrived at his aircraft and started to refuel it... he jumped on the wing root and laid into me saying that I did not know what I was doing and proclaimed that any one knew that all avgas should be filtered through a leather to ensure that no impurities contaminated the fuel tank ..!!!!!!!

I explained that the fuel had been delivered checked before refuelling the bowser and periodically checked during the day and the results logged , and enquired as to wether he would wish to inspect the logs ...

He was having none of it and stomped around like Mussolini looking for backing to his protestations , at which point Angus intervened and picked him up by the collar and walked him round the back of the aircraft and read him the riot act and a very crest fallen pilot returned and pretended to fold his nice new Kid leather gloves and sought adulation from the crowd and signing programmes .

Angus returned and winked and said he had educated the new be'....

One of the genuine gentlemen who flew and had the admiration of all the ground crew .........especially after the two day Air Show's when he brought the crew slabs of canned beer to relax after a full twelve hour stent in the summer sun ...unpaid ..and ever eager to help ..

We knew all the RNHF crews and the BBMF and the RED ARROW boys... absolute professionals to a man

Under field conditions in an emergency Airfield refuel situation .... I would have been more sympathetic to his argument ....but having been a Raf Fuel source I thought it unworthy of his comments .. I had the benefit of being trained by the Stanstead Airfield Fuel Crew , and the .. then full time Duxford Crew , so new the do's and dont's of refuelling fuel with a flash point of minus 32 only to clearly

I continued to hold this position until I moved to pastures new and enjoyed both the camaraderie as well as the hard work , and working with the Forces personnel for whom I met many characters in many trades , but ALL professional to their core .......and knew how to down our beer with zeal and vigour
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