12 February 2009

New members joining us recently are:

Geoffrey Cayton, Newport, Gwent, UK

Mark (Turk) Bird, North Rustico, PE, Canada  

Pictou Pete Cheverie, London, ON, Canada

Andy Labrecque, Quebec City, QC, Canada  

Welcome to the OBA!


From: Steve Richardson, Trenton, ON
Sent: 29 January 2009 22:55
Subject: CAF Mystery Photo #013009


The Loadmaster with his hands on his hips is WO Steve Bressette.

The other Loadmaster, rolling the strap, is a Corporal.

I believe that they are out of 436 Squadron, Trenton.

Take care,

Steve Richardson

No name for the corporal? Sheeesh, you missed out on that elusive prize yet again Steve!

Americans spend about $30 billion a year trying to lose weight

From: Ian Stacey, Chicago, IL
Sent: 30 January 2009 12:42
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo #013009

Hi Tony,

I can't believe it but I actually do know someone in your mystery photo!

That's Chas Cormack on the left, the others I don't know.

However, there is another clue, a tin of Tiger beer on the table would point towards this being in Singapore.

We did get "Tiger" in Aden as well, disgusting stuff that forced us serious beer drinkers to consume large quantities of Brandy and Dry Ginger instead!


Ian Stacey

You're correct about Chas and Singapore - it's a shame that you do not have enough points for a prize this time Ian!


From: Chas Cormack, Lyneham
Sent: 30 January 2009 15:20
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo


The names in the Seletar photo are: Chas Cormack (no gray hair!), George Graves, Ron Smyth, Phil Radford (?) , N/K, Joe Gray.



Thanks for the photo Chas

Rabbits love licorice

From: Tony Street, Buffalo, NY
Sent: 30 January 2009 16:32
Subject: 8 MAMS

Hi Tony,

During my tenure at 435(T) Squadron, CFB Namao, (Edmonton), Alberta, I was posted to the Tactical Air Lift (TAL) School as an instructor.

We instructed both air and ground personnel in all techniques of aerial delivery from door bundles to LAPES.  Our course start dates were staggered, so as to have all finish the ground school portion at the same time.  We then started the flying phase together. We also supported Canadian Industry who had items of interest to the military related to airdrop.

This tale concerns the valiant members of 8 MAMS, then based in Namao. The team was led by the renowned Captain Don Fish. All reported in over the weekend to start the course Monday

Captain Fish, demonstrated his leadership qualities when, over the weekend (considering as they were a team and that a team needed wheels) he supervised 8 MAMS members all kicking in toward a car purchase.  I forget the smaller details, but in general, the thing was large and ran well. 

After a party held that night to celebrate the above vehicle purchase, the team headed back to quarters. Unfortunately when leaving the premises, they had all forgotten what the car looked like and couldn't’ find it in the crowded lot. Eventually it was sorted out, but to prevent risk of reoccurrence, “8 MAMS” was painted in huge white letters on both sides of the vehicle. This oddity was seen outside some of the seediest dives in the area, perhaps drawing unwanted attention. In any event, the team reported to the TAL school in the vehicle Monday morning, red eyed and bushy tailed.

MAMS training at that time consisted of bulk and vehicle airdrop load buildup, loading and rigging the loads in the C130 and recovering the loads from the Drop Zone.  The loads were built and rigged in the aircraft in accordance with time-honoured military tech manuals. During the initial phase of the course, the team built many types of loads, all in accordance with the manuals. For the final test, they were given a load and told to rig it without consulting a manual using the basics they had learned on course. The rigged load was then compared to the manual and the team was docked points for any deviation from good practice.

The leadership thing reared its head again.  As test time drew near, Capt Marvel approached me and said, “Look, any idiot can rig another load just as we have been doing here.  We know we can rig any load to meet the manual. We want to do something different. For our final test, we want to rig our 8 MAMS vehicle for airdrop and load it into the C130.  The student Loadmasters can use their checklists to see if we met the criteria. They also benefit from doing something different.”  He had made a convincing argument.

I took his request to the boss, Major Frank Fay, the finest pilot to ever do up a many zippered flight suit, as was his faithful companion, Ted Parnwell. We discussed the idea and agreed that, seeing the whole thing was about teaching to rig a range of loads, what better gauge of instructional effectiveness could we have?  However, the MAMSmobile fell under the regulations as a “Non-Standard” load, thus requiring ATCHQ/ATOC (Air Transport Command Head Quarters/Air Transport Ops Center) authorization to drop it. What to do?

(During the drop phase of the course, we flew three ship formations. Most of them were low level navigational routes of an hour duration culminating in a three ship airdrop. The final graduation airdrop was three a/c doing a triple platform extraction.)

I got the Loadies and MAMS together and sorted out the strategy. We were to use standard procedures and go along as if there were nothing out of the ordinary, except one particular load.  That meant there would be eight other platforms in the air simultaneously, diverting attention from the non-standard load. Everything was tickety-boo.

Now, the last drop of the course was always done on Friday so the crews could bog off home over the weekend and was usually done in the morning. This time was different; the drop was put off until later in the day to take advantage of the time difference between Namao and Trenton.

The three Hercs were loaded, rigged with crews aboard and ready to start.  At our quitting time our boss picked up the phone and called ATOC.  An old buddy answered the phone. “ATOC, Capt. Wisdom here,”

“Hi, Bill, it’s Frank, ya know we have a TAL course wrapping up here today?

“Hi Frank, yes, whattabout it?”

“Well, it’s like this, we’re gonna drop a non-standard load, The 8 MAMS vehicle.”

Alarmed, Bill said, “Frank, you do that, the General’s gonna have your head!”

“Go ahead? Thanks Bill, we will.” *Click*

The boss slammed down the phone and ran out to the aircraft giving the “Flash ‘em up” signal. At the same time the APUs screamed to life, he shouted over his shoulder to our secretary, “Shirley! Shut ‘er down for the weekend! Go home! Don’t answer any phones!” She told us later that the phones started to ring as she was walking to the door.

The a/c cranked up and taxied out in formation.  They took off and flew a shortened route and came across the DZ in a fine formation.  The drops were perfect, nine platforms in the air with a myriad of ‘chutes suspending them, all backlit by the sun. Spectacular!

The platform carrying the MAMSmobile was in picture-perfect position ringed with other loads as it alit gently onto the bosom of Father Earth.

As the now empty C130s taxied in, the radio on the lead a/c crackled into life. Apparently it was someone of great authority calling from ATOC to suspend TAL Course XXXX drop phase immediately, but to no avail. The course had been over since the Loadie in the last aircraft to drop declared, “Load clear!”

That the position of the MAMSmoblie platform in the air was “picture- perfect” was a boon to the newspaper guys from the Edmonton Journal. 

To capture this magic moment for posterity, someone (Captain Fish? Naah!), had contacted the paper the day before and put them on alert regarding something of great importance going down (or more literally, coming down).  The cameraman was parked on private property, with a telephoto lens.

Above the fold on the big Saturday’s paper, was a very large and perfect-picture of the, now (in)famous “8 MAMSmobile.” It was a beautiful sight, backlit by the sun, suspended under two 100 foot parachutes. The phones started ringing.

Note: The TAL school’s unofficial motto soon, for the above and a few other non-standard things, became: “Facillimus Impetro Venia Quam Permis!” Or, “It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission!”


Tony Street

p.s. Off to England on the 11th Feb for a couple of weeks - I'll have Guiness for you!

Thanks Tony - I can taste it now!


MP's fears over future of Wiltshire airbase

North Wiltshire MP James Gray has told of his concerns over the future of RAF Lyneham because of a shortage of money available from the Ministry of Defence.

The airbase is scheduled to close in 2012 and the fleet of Hercules moved to Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, but it is not certain what will become of the base when the aircraft leave. Mr Gray has been campaigning for all military helicopters to be housed at the base under Project Belvedere, but is worried that not enough money will be put aside for the project.

Mr Gray said: “If Project Belvedere goes ahead, Lyneham is the most likely place. There are three other options but Lyneham fits more of the criteria. “Having said that, in all the discussions I have had with RAF people they have been nervous about the great shortage of money in the Ministry of Defence.

“The project would cost a lot of money because the infrastructure of the buildings at Lyneham would have to be upgraded considerably. The people in the RAF are concerned that if the Government decide it is a good idea they might not have enough money to follow through.”

Mr Gray said if the base was to shut permanently it would be catastrophic for the county. “One of my concerns is that Project Belvedere will be dropped in 2012 and the place would be abandoned for many years,” he said. “There are an awful lot of runways and buildings there, which would be left vacant. The married quarters for example would be vacant and at risk of being vandalised and left to decline. “This would have a negative impact not only on Lyneham itself, but on the surrounding area.” Other options for the site include selling it for housing or an industrial estate or returning it to farmland.

“Some options are the development of a massive new town – a sort of expansion of Swindon – or a prison community,” said Mr Gray. “There was talk at one stage of Virgin Airways using the space as a refueling depot, but I think that has been dropped.”

Rumours surrounding the future of the base also included it being used as a commercial airport rather than a third runway being built at Heathrow. Mr Gray said: “There were no facts behind this rumour and it has now been decided that Heathrow will be expanded.

“It was decided long ago through many surveys that Lyneham could not feasibly be used as a commercial airport. There is no worry of that.” The rehousing of the Hercules fleet could be delayed if the replacement Airbus A400M transport aircraft are not available on time. The aircraft were supposed to enter service this year, but the 25 planes ordered are now unlikely to be ready before 2012. Mr Gray said: “The Government might delay the rebasing because the A400M replacing the older aircrafts will not be ready on time. “What effect this will have on the rebasing decision we do not really know.”

A decision on the future of the base is expected to be made in the summer. A spokesperson for RAF Lyneham said: “No decision has been made regarding the future of the base. “Several options are currently being considered but it will be several months before anything is decided.”

Wiltshire Gazette & Herald

The pin that holds a hinge together is called a "pintle"

From: Rick Newton, Trenton, ON
Sent: 30 January 2009 20:04
Subject: RAAF Mystery Photo #013009

There must have been a spelling mistake on her nametag.

I believe her first name is "Absolutely" but I know her last name is "Gorgeous"

You are an animal Rick! (but I do have to agree with you!)


From: Charles Collier, Devizes
Sent: 07 February 2009 04:19
Subject: Institute of Transport Administration

Hello Tony,

My institute is tearing itself apart. It's going through the same route that the UKMAMS Association went. On the one side there are the traditionalists who want everything to remain the same and have an old bods (yes, there are women) drinking and reminiscing club; and on the other side the free thinking revisionists who want to do something new to attract new members.

The whole thing has come to a head and we are having an extraordinary general meeting at the Motor Cycle Museum Conference Centre in Birmingham on 21st of this month.

It should be very interesting. If the traditionalists win then I will resign from the institute which will go like lemmings over the cliff to oblivion. If the revisionists win I'll stay as a member of a vibrant organisation attracting younger members to the fold and going on to the future to pastures new!.

I'll keep you informed.


There comes a time when we have to accept changes Charles

Pepper was so valuable during Elizabethan times that it was sold by the individual grain

Compliments of the free services offered by Skype, I recently had some video-phone conversations with both Jack Riley out in Oz and Alex Masson in the UK. (I thought it better that Jack's picture wasn't shown as he was only wearing a 30 year old sarong!)

During the talks we were able to solve a few of the problems of the world.

The future has arrived!


From: Clive Hall, Swindon
Sent: 02 February 2009 13:22
Subject: Any news on Aussie of long ago?

For you Strines out there.

Have you any news on what happened to your 'leader' of old, BUTCH FOLEY ? I was fortunate to work with Butch with ANZUK in Singapore for a couple of heavy drinking years.


Clive Hall

Cats don't sweat

From: Len Bowen, Chisholm, ACT
Sent: 03 February 2009 05:17
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB #013009

G’Day Mate,

First up, great to be on board.  A lot of familiar faces already, including my old mate Vic Smith. 

We last worked together when I was escorting the overseas observers to Ex PITCH BLACK 08 (PB08) through Tindal, Northern Territory, in June 2008 (pic attached), and Vic was running the show there. 

I’m the fat old bugger at the rear ‘herding cats’.  See what I mean about fat?

All photos in Len's e-mail - Click on photo for full-sized image - then use your browser's backspace button to return to the newsletter.

In the second photo with dear old 33 SQN B707 Richmond Town’s last hurrah doing AAR out of Darwin for PB08.

Still, after 45 years in harness and still wearing the red armband, maybe I can be excused.

Lastly, one for the archives(‘MATU 1’).  RAAF MATU ALT1, Richmond, 12 September 1980.  L – R: LAC (later FSGT)Lance Wyote, LAC (later WOFF Loadmaster) Macca McLaren,  self, FLTLT Len Bowen, SGT Lloyd Bradshaw, LAC Clive Collins, CPL Henry Rykert & CPL Wayne Norris. 

Team just back from a deployment to Yogyakarta, South Java, delivering several loads of Australian Aid Abroad (ADAB) equipment to establish a Technical College.  Everything from spanner sets to a full forge and metal turning workshop.  For once MATU won out, as the loads out of Darwin were so bulky that we had to stay in the Sheraton at  Yogyo while the aircrew went back to Darwin each night and stayed on base.  Doesn’t happen often, but sweet!

RNZAF Mystery Photo #013009.  Wild guess, but possibly loading at RAAF Richmond  for an air drop at the Londonderry DZ for the (bi?)annual AS/NZ/RCAF BULLSEYE air-drop competition? 

Probably way off, and having a Senior’s Moment (happens more and more these days) but seem to recognise the hill line and the trees the other side of the Windsor – Richmond road.

Regards to All,

Len Bowen

Thanks for all the interesting stuff Len - for those of you wondering why Len has both the RAF and RAAF flags in the header of the e-mail - he was once in the RAF and served on FEAF MAMS before succumbing to the delights of the Aussie continent.

As for the RNZAF Mystery photo... a wee bit off, so no prize. The photo depicts the rear of C130 Hercules being loaded with land rover vehicles with Flt Lt Tom Fletcher in view. Exercise Skytrain is an RNZAF 40 Squadron exercise focusing on tactical low-level flying. Aircraft from New Caledonia are also taking part in the exercise, which is based out of Napier Airport (Hawkes Bay, on the east side of the north island). On exercise a variety of practice loads are dropped, ranging from large drums strapped to a pallet, to tractor tyres and old military vehicles.


RAF Rescues Walkers

The captain of an RAF Search and Rescue helicopter said that conditions during a dramatic rescue of walkers on Snowdon on Saturday were the most challenging of his career. 'C' Flight 22 Squadron, the Search and Rescue unit based at RAF Valley in Anglesey, North Wales, got the call at 1700 hrs on Saturday 7 February 2009 that two fallen climbers needed assistance on Mount Snowdon. 13 minutes later flight members were airborne and at 1723 hrs they arrived on the scene where they saw that one person was severely injured and one was already dead.

The two walkers had fallen some 1,000 feet (305m) from a path at an accident hot spot called Clogwyn Coch and were lying at the bottom of a cliff. Winchman and paramedic Sergeant Ed Griffiths was lowered from the Sea King Search and Rescue helicopter and confirmed the initial assessment whereupon the severely injured person was winched up to the helicopter and taken to nearby Bangor hospital while Sgt Griffiths gave him some initial treatment.

The injured man had sustained ten fractured ribs and a hemothorax (a condition resulting from blood accumulating in the pleural cavity). Flight Lieutenant David Moran, the captain of the Sea King crew conducting the rescue, said that he and Sgt Griffiths were both of the firm opinion that:
"If the helicopter hadn't got there in the next 10 or 20 minutes he would have died on the mountainside."

On their way back from the hospital the RAF crew were notified that more people from the same party of walkers were injured on the mountainside. Using night vision goggles the crew saw someone waving a faint light on the ground in the far off distance. When they arrived at the scene the light had disappeared but they saw the stranded walker through a thermal imaging camera. This person was stranded halfway up the cliff, some 600 feet (183m) up from where the first casualty had been retrieved. He was just above a 60 degree slope which led to a vertical drop all the way to the bottom.

With heavy snow showers intermittently blowing Flight Lieutenant Moran had to position the Sea King with the blades just 15 feet (4.5m) from the cliff face. Sgt Griffiths was winched down but the helicopter blades were whipping up more snow from the cliff so the winch operator lost all visibility of Sgt Griffiths. Flight Lieutenant Moran who has been a pilot for six years said:"They were the most challenging conditions I've ever flown in."

The winch operator and Sgt Griffiths were able to communicate through radio contact and the walker was found to have no serious injuries. With him safely onboard the Sea King worked its way up the cliff to the top where they picked up a further two walkers from the same party who were just cold and shaken.

After all the casualties were recovered the crew recovered the dead man, who was not part of the main party and is believed to have fallen several hours earlier, as well as a mountain rescue team, taking them back to their base. 'C' Flight arrived back at RAF Valley at 2140 hrs some four-and-a-half hours after beginning the rescue:"I've been at Valley for two-and-a-half years and had a fair share of rescues," said Flight Lieutenant Moran. "But this was the most difficult rescue technically I've had. The helicopter is inherently unstable and, combined with the difficult conditions and
the severity of the cliff face, the need for precision is all the greater.

Source: MoD

  Q. Why were they called the "Dark Ages"?  
  A. There were a lot of knights (The joke wasn't funny then, either)  

Eston girl swaps office work for RAF

A Teesside woman swapped office work for days loading large aircraft on a windswept airfield - and she’s loving every minute.

Zara Durrant, of Eston, is an RAF movements operator with No 1 Air Mobility Wing at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire. Just six weeks out of her trade training at nearby RAF Brize Norton, Zara, 20, is now gaining the job experience that will allow her to deploy to overseas operations.

Leading Aircraftsman Durrant and her colleagues provide the RAF and their allies with a vital specialist freight service. The Air Mobility Wing also provides a mobile flight team of six personnel, ready to move at a moment’s notice in support of military operations.

Back at Lyneham, they could be dealing with up to 10 freight charters a week, with air cargo ranging from clothing, food and medical supplies to mail for service personnel. Despite the long hours and physical work, Zara takes the aircraft, cargo and passenger handling in
her stride. She’s one of only a few women in what is largely a male dominated trade. But the former Inland Revenue administrative assistant is enthusiastic about her new role and recommends her trade choice as a great option for women. Zara said: “Joining the RAF was the best thing I’ve ever done. “The opportunities to travel and the social life are great.

“This isn’t just a man’s job. I’ve never felt there is anything that I can’t do.” She added: “And don’t be put off by how it sounds - it’s so much more than moving boxes!” Zara worked for the Inland Revenue for four years before joining the RAF last year.

RAF Lyneham is home to the RAF’s 48 Hercules aircraft, and is the second largest Hercules base in the world.

Gazette Live


Lyneham crews make arm of law longer in Afghanistan


Hercules aircraft are being used to carry local police over hostile country so they can take control of areas after insurgents have been driven out. One recent task involved transporting 200 Afghan Border Police recruits from Camp Bastion to a training camp in the west of the country. The policemen were all flying for the first time. Their interpreter said: "They made the most of the experience and were transfixed by the view from the C130 aircraft's porthole windows. The use of the aircraft's toilet by some of the passengers generated unprecedented interest.

"But seriously, the Afghans were exceptionally grateful to the men and women of the RAF for giving them a lift and for their help in the ongoing situation in Afghanistan." Moving the police recruits by air avoided the need to make a tough and very dangerous trip by land in a country with almost no transport infrastructure. Captain Kevin Walton, an Afghan Regional Security Integration Command officer from the United States Air Force explained: "The RAF is currently the most reliable airlift in theatre for our organisation.

"Missions like these enable the Afghan security forces to take control of areas when insurgents have been driven out, enabling vital reconstruction projects to proceed," he said. "The Hercules continues to prove an extremely effective Counter Insurgency platform in Afghanistan, said Group Capt Phil Beach, commanding 904 Expeditionary Air Wing in Kandahar. "Looking to the future, this type of mission will become a task for the burgeoning Afghan National Army Air Corps."

Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard

In Germany, frogs say "quaack-quaack"

Second Boeing Back At RNZAF Whenuapai

The Air Force's second Boeing 757 arrived at the Whenuapai air force base late today [Eds: 5.30pm Wednesday Feb 11] after modifications in the United States.

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said that the modifications are the latest steps in improving air support capability. The aircraft has had cargo-carrying capability added to its traditional passenger-carrying role and upgrades to its communications and navigation systems.

"A great deal of hard work has gone into significantly increasing the aircraft's versatility, and therefore the ability of the Royal New Zealand Air Force to support a wide range of tasks around the world," Dr Mapp said.

"The previous Labour government clearly miscalculated the complexity and exclusivity of this upgrade, resulting in delays to the arrival of this state-of-the-art capability.

"The communications and navigation systems upgrades have future-proofed the Air Force's two Boeings so they can meet planned regulatory requirements for unrestricted global airspace access.

"The 757 upgrades are just one part of a massive modernisation programme that will see all of the Air Force's operational aircraft either upgraded or replaced in the coming years," the Minister said.

The first upgraded Boeing arrived home in August last year and is now operational.


From: David Eggleton, Abingdon
Sent: 10 February 2009 12:04
To: John Bell; Dave Cromb
Subject: Forest Fires.

It is with great sadness we have all heard of the terrible Forest Fires in Australia, so much loss of life, so many people have lost their homes and everything they possess. We can only say that we are thinking of you all, and hope the nightmare ends soon. This is not only from the Movements world, but from everyone in all walks of life.

Take Care, Kindest Regards To All,


The world's first airline, DELAG (Germany, 1909), used zeppelins, not airplanes

From: John Bell, Cairns, Qld.
Sent: 11 February 2009 16:28
To: 'David Eggleton'; 'Dave Cromb'
Subject: RE: Forest Fires.

Thank you for you kind thoughts for the folk in Victoria. It has been a very tragic week all told. Here in Far North Queensland a five year old boy was taken by a crocodile while he was walking with his brother along a nearby river. 7 people drowned in N Queensland in the floods created by a cyclone and extra heavy monsoon rains.

Then hundreds killed in the horrendous bushfires. Some bodies will never be identified and some will never be found. Most fires were started by lightning strikes but some were arson.

Many people all over the world saw our Prime Minister in tears on TV. This is how the whole nation feels. There really are no words to describe this.

Best regards



From: David Cromb, Brisbane, Qld.
Sent: 11 February 2009 18:38
To: John Bell; 'David Eggleton'
Subject: Re: Forest Fires.

Hi Everybody,

I can only but concur your message, very tragic times indeed.



Canada has the 4th lowest population density in the world

Thousands farewell an iconic airbase

A record crowd of more than 10,000 has turned out for the final show at Wigram airbase in Christchurch (Sunday February 08, 2009). It was a plane lover's paradise as the pride of the Royal New Zealand Air Force showed off its fleet for the finale.

The day began with flying displays as the aircraft, including Iroquois helicopters, showed off their manoeuvrability. More than 2,500 people entered the gates in the first hour of the show, some paying up to $2,000 to fly in the old war planes.

The Red Checkers put on a polished performance in the air and a few boyracer moves on the ground.

Squadron leader Scott McKenzie says it is a pseudo burnout for the air trainers but "very safe. It's quite easy for us to do but has a massive visual impact and a lot of the crowd love it," he says.

The RNZAF's Orion, Hercules and Boeing 757s also showed off during a piece of aviation history never to be repeated."It's a sad day really, certainly for the people of Christchurch who have had Wigram operating as a military and civilian airfield for 93 odd years now," says Air
Vice Marshall Graham Lintott.

But as the Wigram runway makes room for a housing estate it's not all bad news. The Air Force museum has more than 30 hectares to fill with planes.

© Television New Zealand Limited


Featured Video

Canadian Air Force Tribute



In Nepal, rubbing yogurt on your forehead on your birthday is said to bring good luck

RAF Mystery Photo #021209


CAF Mystery Photo #021209

  Q. What's an "Olf"?  

A. A unit of indoor odour equal to one day's effluence from a sedentary human


RAAF Mystery Photo #021209



RNZAF Mystery Photo #021209

That's it for this issue

Have a great weekend!