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FB: Navy Wings: 'The Wrong Sort Of Air' ……......….....

soleil

War Hero
"Thank you John Ford, Commander (Air) about this story about the Sea Hawk!

We are all professionals round here?

'In the more relaxed days of Naval Aviation long ago, before the Public Accounts Committee took to scrutinising Defence spending so ruthlessly, it was sometimes possible to take an aircraft away for the weekend.

This was a much treasured concession, especially when serving at a distant airfield in Scotland and concerned about the waning affections of your southern girlfriend. If you had been a good boy and approached the Boss tactfully, you could be lucky.

Permission granted, it was necessary to get airborne after the day’s work and before the airfield closed at 1700 on Fridays.

No time for all that stuff about preflight and navigation – just kick the tyres, light the fire and blast off.

The Seahawk was a delight to fly, cruising at 0.7 M and with enough range to comfortably reach the south of England. It did not, however, have any navigation equipment and only one VHF radio.

The designer had also failed to take into account the need for a suitable stowage for the pilot’s dinner jacket. This had to be screwed up into a tight package, protected by a bin liner, and offered up from below into the radio bay, from where it emerged on landing, more often than not, somewhat oil stained.

So soon at 30,000 feet on track 180 degrees and call up one of the military radar stations.

“Thanks Border Radar, just give me a steer for Bovingdon in Hertfordshire, that will do nicely”.

Bang down at Bovingdon, which was an American transport airfield and taxi rather fast to give them a bit of a show and watch mouths open as the wings fold passing the tower.

Memory does not recall whether the girlfriend was receptive or not.

Back early on Monday morning, it was time to get the aircraft home for the daily task at Lossiemouth.

All Naval pilots were “QS”, qualified to sign for first line servicing so that they could turn the aircraft around while away from base.

Everything still seemed to be in the same place as on Friday, but ...... hang on a moment - what’s this?

3 small gauges up in the nose gear bay and one needle is at zero.

Don’t seem to remember ever having seen them before but it looks as if the bird needs air.

Help in the shape of a massive US sergeant arrives and shortly afterwards returns towing a trailer with large air bottles.

We connect up and give him the OK to turn on the tap.

Immediately there is a loud explosion and a cloud of smoke and dust surround the aircraft.

Bad news, the inflatable rubber cockpit seal has split from end to end.

Wrong sort of air, it obviously doesn’t like 3000 psi.

On the way home at height with the weekend hangover not helped by lack of cabin pressurisation time to reflect and consider the consequences.

No more weekends - a dismal prospect.

Try a confident saunter into the line shack to sign off the A700.

“Sorry Chief, it just blew up on me at 30,000 feet”.

Could anything so incompetent ever happen in a professional Naval Air Squadron?

Obviously, yes, but perhaps with the stakes that high some economy with the truth is justified?'

Do you have a Fleet Air Arm story or 'dit'?

We would love to hear from you! Please email [email protected] or send us a message on Facebook!"

 
Last edited:
D

Deleted 97779

Guest
"Thank you John Ford, Commander (Air) about this story about the Sea Hawk!

We are all professionals round here?

'In the more relaxed days of Naval Aviation long ago, before the Public Accounts Committee took to scrutinising Defence spending so ruthlessly, it was sometimes possible to take an aircraft away for the weekend.

This was a much treasured concession, especially when serving at a distant airfield in Scotland and concerned about the waning affections of your southern girlfriend. If you had been a good boy and approached the Boss tactfully, you could be lucky.

Permission granted, it was necessary to get airborne after the day’s work and before the airfield closed at 1700 on Fridays.

No time for all that stuff about preflight and navigation – just kick the tyres, light the fire and blast off.

The Seahawk was a delight to fly, cruising at 0.7 M and with enough range to comfortably reach the south of England. It did not, however, have any navigation equipment and only one VHF radio.

The designer had also failed to take into account the need for a suitable stowage for the pilot’s dinner jacket. This had to be screwed up into a tight package, protected by a bin liner, and offered up from below into the radio bay, from where it emerged on landing, more often than not, somewhat oil stained.

So soon at 30,000 feet on track 180 degrees and call up one of the military radar stations.

“Thanks Border Radar, just give me a steer for Bovingdon in Hertfordshire, that will do nicely”.

Bang down at Bovingdon, which was an American transport airfield and taxi rather fast to give them a bit of a show and watch mouths open as the wings fold passing the tower.

Memory does not recall whether the girlfriend was receptive or not.

Back early on Monday morning, it was time to get the aircraft home for the daily task at Lossiemouth.

All Naval pilots were “QS”, qualified to sign for first line servicing so that they could turn the aircraft around while away from base.

Everything still seemed to be in the same place as on Friday, but ...... hang on a moment - what’s this?

3 small gauges up in the nose gear bay and one needle is at zero.

Don’t seem to remember ever having seen them before but it looks as if the bird needs air.

Help in the shape of a massive US sergeant arrives and shortly afterwards returns towing a trailer with large air bottles.

We connect up and give him the OK to turn on the tap.

Immediately there is a loud explosion and a cloud of smoke and dust surround the aircraft.

Bad news, the inflatable rubber cockpit seal has split from end to end.

Wrong sort of air, it obviously doesn’t like 3000 psi.

On the way home at height with the weekend hangover not helped by lack of cabin pressurisation time to reflect and consider the consequences.

No more weekends - a dismal prospect.

Try a confident saunter into the line shack to sign off the A700.

“Sorry Chief, it just blew up on me at 30,000 feet”.

Could anything so incompetent ever happen in a professional Naval Air Squadron?

Obviously, yes, but perhaps with the stakes that high some economy with the truth is justified?'

Do you have a Fleet Air Arm story or 'dit'?

We would love to hear from you! Please email [email protected] or send us a message on Facebook!"

Just what sort of professionals are you alluding to?
Well remember those concessionary flights.
On one occasion I found myself for a few nights at Siskin now Sultan and for a Friday While took advantage of a
free trip to Bournemouth. Should never have bothered as getting back to Defiance was a nightmare.
 

slim

War Hero
HMS Fulmer or RNAS Lossiemouth in the late 60s.
Occasionally on a Friday afternoon a pipe would be made saying that there would be an aircraft leaving for London in one hours time with seats available.
Anyone could ask for a seat and normally permission for leave would br granted.
When they arrived at the aircraft they would find Prince Philip was the pilot.
He used to come to Lossiemouth to visit Prince Charles who was a student at Gordonstone School.
Being the gent he is he always offered any spare seats for the return journey.
 
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