UK's First A400M Aircraft named "City Of Bristol"
The UK’s first A400M Atlas has been named “City of Bristol” by the Royal Air Force in a rare honour to highlight the important role that industry in the city has played in the delivery of the aircraft.
The wings of the next-generation military transporter plane were designed and manufactured at the Airbus factory in Filton, Bristol, with a number of other businesses in the city, including Rolls-Royce, GKN Aerospace, and Atkins, demonstrating a range of high quality aerospace skills which support the A400M programme.
To mark the honour, the “City of Bristol” A400M Atlas recently completed a fly-past of the Clifton Suspension Bridge which also served as a reminder of the engineering history of the city.
A total of 22 A400M Atlas aircraft have been ordered by the Ministry of Defence’s procurement arm, Defence, Equipment and Support (DE&S), which is also based in the city at Abbey Wood.
Speaking at a ceremony at the Airbus site to mark the event, Defence Minister Philip Dunne said: “The A400M programme has created or secured work for around 900 people at companies based here in Bristol and is providing skilled jobs in manufacturing, engineering and supply chain roles. Many of these jobs require training to acquire specialist new skills needed to help keep the UK aerospace sector at the forefront of this high technology industry.
“The MOD is playing its part in contributing to our long-term economic plan and this A400M programme will become an important contributor to the defence supply chain, here in Bristol, for years to come”
Chief of Materiel Air, Air Marshal Simon Bollom said: “The naming of the Royal Air Force’s first A400M aircraft as City of Bristol reflects a continuation of historical ties between Bristol and the Royal Air Force. Bristol is at the heart of the UK aerospace community which has progressed through time and industry from the Bristol built engines like Jupiter - the most successful aero engine of the 1920s - through to the famous jets such as Concorde.
“This tradition continues with state of the art work being carried out at Airbus’s Filton site on wings for the A400M, supported by complex work packages from GKN, Rolls-Royce and Atkins and this rare naming honour is recognition for the long and entrenched affiliation between the City of Bristol and British aviation.“
Manufactured by Airbus Defence & Space the A400M Atlas will replace the existing fleet of C-130 Hercules and represents major advances on its predecessor, with it capable of flying considerably faster, twice as far and able to carry almost twice as much cargo.
Dave Eggleton's Memorial Service
St Helen's Church, Abingdon
16th February 2015
"...half to two-thirds of the 267 congregation were Movers..." Howie Bumford
"...just a gentle celebration of Dave Egg." James Gallagher
"Despite the appalling rain, the church appeared full..." David Howley
"...a very well attended memorial for Dave in a wonderful setting." Ian Russell
..."Dave would have been so pleased and honoured, indeed, I think even overcome, by the turnout of such a number to pay him tribute." Richard Castle
"... a joyful occasion - which Dave would have loved..." Tim Newstead
"...it was good to be there." Alistair (Paddy) Gallaugher
"I will remember him as always being the perfect gentleman." Eddie Mottram
"The ladies kept bringing out more chairs." Harold Jones
"The church was packed and the service was memorable...." Bernard Connolly
"It was gratifying to see that Dave Egg had a good send-off and to see so many old friends." Allan Walker
"...went extremely well with a full attendance by comrades who filled the parish church to capacity." Charles Collier
"Good representation from all the Messes as well as family and friends.. Allan Walker's platinum blonde wig and skirt completely fooled me!" David Powell
Among those who attended were:
Dave Abrams, Weymouth, Dorset
Colin Allen, Swindon, Wiltshire
Syd Avery, Alicante, Spain
John & Jean Bell, Desborough, Northamptonshire
Mick Bedford, Caerwent, Monmouthshire
Ian Berry, Swindon, Wiltshire
Pete Biggs, Carterton, Oxfordshire
Clive & Camille Bishop, Lyneham, Wiltshire
Gordon Black, Swindon, Wiltshire
Ken & Shirley Browne, Fleet, Hampshire
Howie Bumford, Carterton, Oxfordshire
John Calver, Kempsford, Gloucestershire
Richard (Dick) Castle, Sutton-upon-Derwent, Yorkshire
Derek Clayton, Stafford, Staffordshire
John Cockayne, Chippenham, Wiltshire
Charles & Elaine Collier, Ewhurst, Surrey
Bernard Connolly, Wantage, Oxfordshire
Chas and Pam Cormack, Lyneham, Wiltshire
Liam Devlin, Torquay, Devonshire
Rod Elliott, Brinkworth, Wiltshire
Ian Envis, Crowborough, East Sussex
Ken Felton, Carterton, Oxfordshire
James Gallagher, Sandford St Martin, Oxfordshire
Alistair (Paddy) Gallaugher, London
John Gardiner, Carterton, Oxfordshire
Chris Goss, Cookham, Berkshire
Duncan Grant, Trentham, Staffordshire
Clive Hall, Swindon, Wiltshire
Sam Heaphy, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire
Len Henry, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
David Howley, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire
Merv Johns, Swindon, Wiltshire
Harry Jones, Neston, Cheshire
Jack Jones, Carterton, Oxfordshire
Meirion (Taff) Jones, Barry, Glamorgan
Bill Kearney, Kempsford, Gloucestershire
Brian Kent, Carterton, Oxfordshire
Peter King, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
Allan & Kay Mitchley, Rhyl, Denbighshire
Bryan & Anita Morgan, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
Dave Morrow, Carterton, Oxfordshire
Dave Moss, Clitheroe, Lancashire
Eddie Mottram, Woodley, Berkshire
Ian Newlands, Didcot, Oxfordshire
Tim & Barbara Newstead, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire
Keith & Daphne Parker, Bowerhill, Wiltshire
Mike Perks, Lutterworth, Leicestershire
Dave Powell, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire
Mike Rawle, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
Ian Russell, Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Keith Smith, Swindon, Wiltshire
Rod Stone, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
Hughie Thompson, Swindon, Wiltshire
Allan Walker, Burnley, Lancashire
Download Bryan Morgan's Eulogy to David
From: Duncan Grant, Trentham, Staffs
Sent: Sunday, February 01, 2015 9:55 AM
Subject: Flight Refuelling Pod - A Simple Load?
On returning to the UK in late 1969 from a work-hard, play-hard, year as DAMO in Sharjah (with the likes of Dave Blomley, Brian Shorter, Glen Morton and the quiet (!) Ron McLeod), my past caught up with me in Norfolk. Some bright spark in PG at Barnwood, Gloucester, had looked at my short time as an airman servicing Victor Bombers at Honington and decided I was just the man to be OC SCAF at Marham where the same aircraft had been converted to Tankers. Oh joy!
Fortunately, I had a couple of enlightened bosses (Gerry Pengelly ring a bell?) who let me out of the office from time to time when Charles Collier was away somewhere claiming to work hard as Supply 7. Cometh the man - cometh the hour?
In those days there were regular scrambles to support the Air Defence Lightnings - often out of Leuchars. These invariably resulted in short term deployments requiring ad-hoc supply.
"So Duncan," says the boss, “you need to keep your movements skills sharp and we have to get a flight refuelling pod to Leuchars by air - fast.”
Fine, I thought - an Andover or Herc would do the job. Wrong! Only “1066”- the famous Strike Command Hastings with a side loading, tail sloping cargo door was available (the latter part describing the a/c for the benefit of the younger generation unfamiliar with loading tail draggers).
No Condec or the like, a dodgy fork lift truck and a tight timescale; just like a Movements School training environment! Fortunately, one Andy Gutteridge, our Movements qualified Fly-Away Packs guru, was on hand to offer me stress counselling! The plan /execution resulted in :
a. 1 x Mk 20 Flight Refuelling Pod being slung from 1 x Coles Crane
b. Devise TDS
c. 3 x practice swings away from the Hastings
d. Team briefing (eg: who was going to be inside by the cargo door)
e. Andy inside the aircraft, me outside (being the swingometer man)
f. Two-six! Heave ho - in and round and quick restraint
g. Tie down to non JATE authorized TDS
h. Saving of careers
Russians kept at bay thanks to the Movers and no Board of Inquiry!
From: Victor Smith, Brassall, QLD
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2015 10:54 AM
Subject: Strangest Situation
The strangest situation for me happened during my first tour of Bougainville, PNG with OP BELISI [ongoing peacekeeping mission]. From memory, around January 99 there had been a devil of a lot of rain. We had been having prior issues with large rocks falling onto the road out to the airfield. Anyway, after a particularly heavy lot of rain I decided to do a recce of the road. Got to a point just beyond the Kieta Wharf and could get no further due to a massive land slide.
With at least four aircraft due over the ensuing two weeks that was obviously not good. The upshot was that for at least 2 weeks, trucks loaded with cargo pallets, a forklift, passengers etc., were loaded on to LCM8s to get to a beach between the landslide and the airfield. Some of the passengers were shuttled to and from the airfield by the choppers during this time. It certainly made things a bit interesting!
By way of explanation: LCM8 = Landing Craft Medium. The Peace Monitoring Group (PMG) had two LCM8s operating from Loloho port to do supply runs around the island. Usually, one would sail clockwise and the other anti clockwise. I cannot remember how long their runs took. The PMG HQ was located at the provincial capital at Arawa with the logistics group at Loloho.
There were monitoring teams located at outposts around the island. The airfield we used was at Aropa which was approximately 45 kms away from Loloho. The Peace Monitoring Group was unarmed and the Iroquois helicopters were painted Jaffa Orange.
From: Kenneth Usher, Edmonton, AB
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 1:36 AM
Subject: A Strange Situation
Thule Air Base is the U.S. Armed Forces' northernmost installation, located 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Thule's arctic environment includes icebergs in North Star Bay, a polar ice sheet, and Wolstenholme Fjord - the only place on Earth where three active glaciers join together.
The base is home to the 21st Space Wing's global network of sensors providing missile warning, space surveillance and space control to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Air Force Space Command (AFSPC).
It is also home to the 821st Air Base Group and is responsible for air base support within the Thule Defense Area for the multinational population of "Team Thule." The base hosts the 12th Space Warning Squadron (12 SWS) which operates a Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) designed to detect and track ICBMs launched against North America. Thule is also host to Detachment 1 of the 23rd Space Operations Squadron, part of the 50th Space Wing's global satellite control network. The airfield's 10,000 foot (3,000 m) runway handles more than 3,000 U.S. and international flights per year. Finally, Thule is home to the northernmost deep water port in the world.
The Canadian Forces have been using the deep water port and the aerodrome for many years to supply the most northern CF Base, CFS Alert.
On a C130 flight from Thule AFB to CFS Alert in the late 70's on what we called a "mini" Operation Boxtop - which was usually conducted when there was a supply issue of consumables at Alert - we arrive in Thule the evening before we had the quick 30 minute flight to Alert the next morning.
Like all visiting aircrew to Thule, it was a "wild and wicked" night at the "Top of the World Club". It was always the party place to go. Great food, cheap booze, slots and peelers; a Loadmaster's heaven!
Our lot took full advantage of the "offerings." The next morning there were some rough looking folks climbing aboard for the "pre-flight." Weather was absolute garbage. Wind blowing 80 to 100 knots across the runway. VFR limits good for take-off but not as an alternate to return to. Either Sondestrom or Alert were good.
All was done, "GTC Clear." "Number three clear." "Bleeds on three." "Turning three." Got all the motors going, clearance given... good to go! Quick run-up at the button to blow off the snow and here we go. The First Officer, Major Billiard Moose (name change to protect the guilty), states, "We are nothing more than a 140,000 pound curling stone rolling sideways down this runway. Very little control." "Vee One!" called by the pilot and we are airborne. The Aircraft Commander, Captain "Maxwell" Smart (Aircraft Commander), says "No Airspeed! - continue!" Boom! Panic... why no airspeed? Looking out the left and right of the cockpit windows, we could see the pitot tube covers still on the pitot tubes. Flight Engineer - "WTF!" The FE states that he thought the #2 Eng. took them off and the #2 Eng. thought that the #1 Eng did the outside of the AC. Thank God someone removed the nacell and intake covers!
So, blame who you have to, but here we are, fumbling around, trying to climb from an IFR to a VFR condition and some clear sky to get our collective poop together. A little bit of arguing, rank pulling and it was then decided we needed another aircraft to rescue us. We needed to know the airspeed! Thankfully, there was another crew in Thule (most likely still in bed) that were scrambled to escort our C130 into Alert. One hour and forty minutes later we were married up with the other C130 and they took us home to Alert. All was good! Butt puckering to say the least! "Determined To Deliver"
Major Ken Usher CLMI,
435 (T) Sqn. Tactical Airlift School,
Avalon 2015: Airbus showcases A400M down under
Airbus Defence and Space (DS) is touting its A400M Atlas airlifter at the Australian International Airshow and Aerospace and Defence Exposition 2015 as it looks to secure its first export customers since Malaysia signed up for four aircraft in 2005.
With an A400M of the French Air Force taking part in both the static and flying displays at the biennial event, taking place at Avalon Airport from 24 February to 1 March, Airbus DS officials are keen to build on the current 174-aircraft orderbook and one-third market share with additional customers in the Asia-Pacific region.
Airbus DS is looking to capture global sales of 400 aircraft over the next 30 years (more than half the accessible market share), and with regional near-term medium/heavy-lift transport requirements in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Japan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, the company stands a good chance of fulfilling that ambition.
Billed as a competitor for the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules, the A400M can carry strategic payloads over strategic distances, while being able to deliver them in a tactical fashion to where they are needed. Figures released by Airbus DS show that with a 20-tonne payload, the A400M can fly an unrefuelled 3,400 nautical miles at 37,000 feet and at near-airliner speeds of Mach 0.72.
Ten aircraft have been delivered to four customers (France, Germany, Turkey, and the United Kingdom) to date, and are currently being used for training and basic logistics flying. In 2015, Airbus DS expects to begin rolling out additional tactical capabilities (featuring full airdrop, self-defence, and a tanker role), leading through to the release of the Full Common Standard Aircraft in 2018.
Airbus DS will then set about retrofitting all earlier aircraft already delivered to this final standard.
From: Charles Collier, Ewhurst, Surrey
Date: 6 February 2015 at 04:13
Subject: Incident in Yorkshire - Spring 1962
My first posting was to No 60 MU RAF Church Fenton Aircraft Repair Flight (ARF). My parents lived in South Manchester so when I was on a 48 hour pass I would travel home across Yorkshire. This was long before the motorway M62 was functioning and this part of Yorkshire was littered with coal mines along my route.
It was late on a Sunday afternoon when I set off from home to return to the base in uniform in my Austin A40 Devon saloon car of 1949 vintage. There were four doors each individually locked from inside, but for safety’s sake they were left unlocked when in transit.
On this occasion as I drove towards a mine entrance the workforce were emerging on a shift change in the roadway in front of me in great numbers. This caused the traffic to slow down and finally come to a stop with me then at the entrance gate to the mine. It was at this moment it happened! The cars three vacant doors were opened and four burly miners entered and were sitting in my car! “You’re going our way aren’t you mate?” They said in no uncertain manner. I said that I was returning to base at RAF Church Fenton and I couldn’t make any diversions. “Good” they said. I was to drop them off enroute to the base.
When the last miner got out I made sure from then on that all the doors were locked when in towns where people are in great numbers. Also, I made diversions so as not to go past any mines in future!
Number 1 Air Mobility Wing Wins MOD Quality Award
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 4:27 PM
Subject: Tribute to Dave Eggleton
When I arrived on the RAF Abingdon Squadron in 1972 from RAF Changi where I’d been a DAMO, Dave Eggleton was the Squadron WO - the critical link between junior officers and men and the Officer Commanding. In this role he surpassed all expectations, smoothing out all ripples of trouble before they caused any unnecessary alarm at the HQ! He was always affable to all he met and made them feel at home.
His standards were always high, both in the trade knowledge he possessed and his own personal appearance in uniform or civilian clothes. It is sad that he is no more but that said the memory of him by all those who knew him and who benefitted by that, will be appreciated by us all!
So, thanks Dave for all the time you gave to make the Sqn the happy place it was.
Charles P Collier
Team India/Ops officer
The Number 1 Air Mobility Wing Standards Delivery Section, led by Warrant Officer Ian Dewar has been awarded the prestigious MOD Quality Award 2014.
In notifying Number 1 Air Mobility Wing of the award, Air Vice Marshal Julian Young, Defence Equipment & Support Director Technical & Chief Information Officer commented that: “We received a number of extremely high calibre applications this year, and this nomination demonstrated a strong quality approach and left the Award Panel in no doubt whatsoever that they are fully worthy of this highly valued award... They are a credit to the Quality profession”.
The citation reads as follows:
“The Standards Delivery Section (SDS) has actively transformed 1 Air Mobility Wing’s (1 AMW) culture towards quality following the Unit’s relocation from RAF Lyneham to RAF Brize Norton in February 2012. This has significantly enhanced the professional reputation of the Unit and has had an extremely positive impact on flight safety within the Wing.
When 1 AMW arrived at RAF Brize Norton from Lyneham in 2012, it was evident that significant work was required to fully integrate 1 AMW into the RAF Brize Norton Quality Management System. The arrival also coincided with the Logistics (Mover) Trade becoming QA compliant. SDS quickly delivered an extensive overhaul of orders, terms of reference and work procedures, alongside a comprehensive Self Audit (SA) programme. This enabled 1 AMW to be fully integrated, in short order, within the RAF Brize Norton Quality Management System, as a result of a laudatory Stn Audit Report.
Providing invaluable evidence of both good and bad working practices, detailed trend analysis exploiting lessons from tasks, SDS were able to modify existing working practices and alter, often ingrained scepticism of Quality and Continuous Improvement. This resulted in further extremely positive internal and external quality audit reports, including receipt of a Best Practice QOR, which are testament to the progress made by 1 AMW under SDS’s tutelage.
Other key work strands which have improved operational effectiveness are: individual awareness training of QA throughout the Wing’s Force Rotation Cycle; promotion of Continuous Improvement (CI); production of a rally board; and, instigating best practice by utilising a variety of different personnel in the Station Audit programme to assess quality.
When the 1 AMW Mobile Air Movements Squadron identified errors with the Capability Management System, a management tool that higher command had mandated the Unit to implement, SDS initiated a CI rally incorporating key stakeholders of all ranks to identify a more efficient method of capturing personnel data. As a result of this event a robust database system was developed to collate personnel information, technical abilities and deployment qualifications. By enabling the assurance of preparedness SDS have greatly enhanced the ability of 1 AMW to deploy, at scale and within readiness, for a raft of Contingency Operations since 2013, including support to French Armed forces in West Africa, humanitarian operations in the Philippines and evacuation of UK nationals from South Sudan.
One of the team's greatest achievements has been the instigation of a range of measures to instill a just reporting culture that enables ground handling incidents to better reported, analysed and trended. This has enabled long-standing issues such as fatigue management, the standard of consignor Dangerous Goods preparation and Engine Running On/Offload procedures to be addressed. Convincing personnel of the benefits of honest reporting was a considerable cultural shift on its own and required great skill and awareness by the Team. Consequently, accidents have reduced from an average of 3 per quarter to current negligible rates.
SDS has made a critical contribution to operational output by generating initiatives to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and safe working practices of 1 AMW. Creating a culture of continuous and enduring change on the Unit has undoubtedly enhanced the Unit’s operational output, greatly improved its professionalism and governance whilst developing 1 AMW’s reputation for excellence”.
From: Charles Gibson, Monifieth, Angus
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 2:44 AM
Subject: A Strange Situation
We were sent to an airfield just outside Blackpool which some University Air Sqdn were using. There was only one hangar and a wooden hut called The Officer's Mess and bugger all else.
The task was to transport 1 Army Landrover and trailer and 4 Army bods to the Isle of Man. Whilst waiting for the aircraft it was decided that we would need to be fed and eventually agreed that rather than go into Blackpool we would have to eat in the Officers Mess. This did not go down well with the civie steward and plates were placed in front of us with a wee bit of force. At the end of the meal this steward gave each one of us a bill and was most upset when we passed the bills to our boss who was carrying the imprest.
When the Andover eventually arrived, from nowhere an Army sergeant and 6 troops marched onto the aircraft pan and advised us they would be loading the aircraft. This sergeantt then went on to the aircraft and started to draw chalk lines on the floor which was fine until theLandrover was loaded and as it was raining; the chalk lines washed away!
At this point our boss (Flt Lt) told the Army bods to "biss off" and we loaded the aircraft. From memory I think we did about 4 loads.
From: John Bell, Desborough, Northants
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 4:49 AM
Subject: A Strange Situation
In 1975 I was stationed at Kai-Tak, Hong Kong. Every month a Herc took a detachment of Brit soldiers to Seoul, South Korea. These guys formed the UK element of the international "Honour Guard".
On one occasion the return flight landed as normal and the pilot asked to be parked in a remote part of the pan. The shift met the Herc and the passengers were offloaded through the rear side door onto a bus and taken to the terminal. My shift sergeant attempted to board the ac to start the baggage offload and was refused entry by the loadie. He was told to keep clear of the ac until the crew had left and to go away and collect the baggage later. Nobody was to be near the ac. I was informed of this (I was the shift FS) and went out to the ac to try and speed up the baggage offload and get our passengers away. I was given the same brush off and the co-pilot came out and ordered me to return to the load control office. The pax and cargo manifests did not indicate anything unusual in the way of VIPs etc so I sent the shift away, as ordered, but positioned myself a few yards away from the crew door.
The crew transport arrived and the crew left the ac and boarded the coach, all in flying suits. I noticed there was one extra crew member and told the driver not to go until I had sorted out the situation. The captain was livid and ordered the driver to go. I called a RAF policeman, who was not far away, over to help me. When I boarded the bus and checked each crew member one of them pulled "his" hat over his face but it was too late. The so called crew member was a girl in her 20s. Not on any manifest and a civilian with no military connections. It seems that one of the crew had befriended her in Seoul and offered her a lift to Hong Kong. The crew had put her in a flying suit and kept her on the flight deck.
The policeman escorted the bus to Ops where the movers lost track of the saga. I believe the captain was interviewed by the Air Commodore before he left Hong Kong and again by 38 Group AOC on his return to the UK. We never did hear any more about it!
New members who have joined us recently are:
Merv Johns, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK
Len Henry, Abingdon, Oxon, UK
Tony Ross, Wilberforce, NSW, Australia
Welcome to the OBA!
Bird’s eye view of former airbase solar farm
Here's the latest work going on at the former RAF Lyneham airbase as work continues to turn the site into a 83 hectare solar farm.
The farm, approved at the end of last year by Wiltshire Council, will take up an area greater than 100 football pitches when it is complete and consist of around 160,000 solar panels. It will have the capacity to generate 40MW of power which will be enough to supply the Defence College of Technical Training which is set to open at the former base in November.
It is thought that the farm will also be able to generate enough surplus power to fuel around 10,000 homes with electricity. “The use of solar energy to power the college reinforces MoD’s commitment to the use of renewable energy sources,” said Steve Jeffries, principal project manager for DIO, who are overseeing the project. “By bringing together training in one place we are not only improving efficiency but also helping to save money for the taxpayer by rationalising the Defence estate.”
From: Ronald Meredith, Spalding, Lincs
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 8:36 AM
Subject: A Strange Situation
In about April 62, I was DAMO at RAF Idris, Libya, where our shift arrangement was 24 on and 48 off, unless all hands were required for some
The big oil companies were moving into Tripolitania in strength and opening up oil fields. About lunch time on a day when we had absolutely no
forecast traffic, I received a call from Mitchell Cotts, who looked after the civil side of the airfield, to ask if I could supervise the loading of some
explosives belonging to the Oasis Oil Company and destined for a forward strip. Having been assured that it was a bona fide load and that the
Libyan Police would also be present throughout, I went down to the civil terminal to be taken to a very tatty DC3 on a remote hard standing on the
far side of the airfield.
There was a large lorry nearby flying red flags, numerous police and a civil Libyan load supervisor, Ali, whom I knew. He explained that the explosives were nitroglycerine, his load team were refusing to handle it and it was clear that he was not a happy bunny himself and had sent for their traffic manager. I was pleased that I had not invited any of my own staff to assist. The flight crew wanted the ac loaded before dark and Mitchell Cotts wanted the ac away as soon as possible. I wonder if anyone ever saw the film, I think called “ Where Eagles Dare”, set in the Andes where light ac dropped nitroglycerine on the nests of Eagles that were trying to bring down their light ac? The knowledge that this stuff was quite volatile was uppermost in my mind. However, as the load had come by very poor roads in an ancient lorry from the docks and no bang had ensued, not having much else to do at the time, I agreed to supervise, if civil load supervisor could persuade his staff to assist.
The problem was solved by Mitchell Cotts offering them a substantial bonus and very very careful loading proceeded, with myself having to secure the straw wrapped glass jars of nitroglycerine in wooden crates, which were then lashed to the floor with rope, about 1½ tons in all. With the ac ready to depart, I was asked by the Captain if I would like to sit on the flight deck for take-off. I advised him that there was no way that I was travelling on that ac with that particular load, I only supervised the loading. He assumed that I would fulfil the same function at the other end and even the offer of US$200 would not make me change my mind, however, for that sum, Ali, the civil load supervisor agreed to go and another odd ball task was duly completed. I advised Mitchell Cotts never ever again, to ask us to handle that particular load.
NZ must keep heavy airlift capability
Replacing ageing military equipment is often fearsomely expensive. As much has been re-emphasised by the visit to this country of a Royal Australian Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster.
The aircraft, seen as a possible successor to the air force's five Hercules C-130s and two Boeing 757s, was test-driven by members of Parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee this week. Any enthusiasm would have been tempered by the $250 million price attached to the giant aircraft.
That tag seems to have persuaded the New Zealand First defence spokesman, Ron Mark, that this country can do without them. If it wanted to take troops long distances, it should be able to call on "the club", the Prime Minister's description of its American, Canadian and Australian allies, he said. Wielding the begging bowl would not, however, be wise. There will be times when this country's interests and priorities are different from those of its allies. Its air force should be able to carry troops on peacekeeping operations or deliver humanitarian aid when and where they are needed.
Equally, not having that capacity risks making New Zealand the butt of jokes. Already, the Hercules, three of which are 50 years old, have ventured into that territory. In 2003, for example, the dispatch of military equipment to the Solomons had to be delayed because all four of the Hercules then in New Zealand were out of action. Subsequently, some $170 million has been spent upgrading the aircraft. But if there have been fewer embarrassing breakdowns, the Hercules are an ongoing challenge for the air force's engineers.
The Boeing 757s have also had their problems. In 2013, one of them, with Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully on board, had to make an emergency landing at a fog-enclosed Antarctic airfield. Like the Hercules, the 757s do not have the range to be able to turn back to Christchurch if they pass a point of no return. The Transport Accident Investigation Commission said the incident raised questions about the suitability of the 757s for Antarctic operations.
That indicates both the Hercules and the 757s should be replaced by an aircraft more suited to the needs of New Zealand in the interests of a balanced Defence Force which has the flexibility required for its sphere of operations. A decision must be made soon. The upgrading of the Hercules was intended to give them 15 more years of life, a period that expires in 2018. The choice is between an upgraded version of the Hercules, at a cost of $90 million to $100 million each, and the Globemaster which, at more than twice the cost, can fly faster and further than the Hercules and land on shorter runways.
There are strong arguments for both aircraft. Over many years, the Hercules have proven themselves the durable workhorses of many air forces. In disaster zones, they may be more flexible. Cost is obviously also a strong point in their favour. The versatile Airbus A400M is another possibility. Either way, the Government must not abandon a heavy airlift capacity.
Not if it wants a credible Defence Force.
The New Zealand Herald
From: David Powell Princes Risborough
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2015 6:24 PM
Subject: A Strange Situation
Not so much a strange situation, but an unwanted strained situation.
From the tasking notice Exercise Calypso Hop should have been a straightforward run in the sun. A primarily pax army training rotation which only justified a half team, myself, with Taff Price and Jack Murray, two very experienced SACs to keep me on the straight and narrow. What could possibly go wrong?
The task started out well, MT from Abingdon to Lyneham on 16th September 1968 to join Flight 6558, Britannia XM517 ‘Avior’ and Flt Lt Cane and his crew for the short hop to Leuchars to collect our freshly trained returnees for the 16 hours 45 minute run to Kingston Jamaica with a stop at Gander to pick up the slip crew led by Flt Lt Linton.
At Jamaica we would be dispatching three Brit loads troops returning from jungle training, and this would mean a couple of days R&R for the three of us before the aircraft arrived for the returning chalks. Meanwhile, XM517 would trundle off northwards to rejoin a complex plot involving several other tasks in the North Americas.
All was going very well until I happened to skim through the return passenger manifests.
There are indications that both the Hercules and the 757s should be replaced by an aircraft more suited to the needs of a balanced Defence Force.
To explain, I must turn back the clock to late 1966 when, as an easily expendable single O i/c Secondary Accounts in the Supply Squadron at RAF Changi, I had been ‘borrowed’ by the exercise planners at 224 Group, Seletar, as a supplier/mover for an exercise in South Malaysia. This involved a forward deployment by road (my first convoy!) to follow up securing a forward defended airhead at Penerak airstrip which would be taken by a helicopter assault mounted from Terendak Camp in Malacca. As part of the planning, I was dispatched to Terendak to check-out the parade square for parking the assault force transport of assorted Whirlwind 10 and Belvedere helicopters.
I duly presented myself at Terendak to be met by an immaculate parade square, a fearsome RSM and an even more fearsome Lt Col Sir Gregor MacGregor, 6th Baronet and Chief of the Clan MacGregor, Officer Commanding 1st Scots Guards.
The RSM had obviously been delegated to do the talking while the Col glowered over the proceedings like a local version of the Cairngorm mountains in a thunderstorm. “Aye, now laddie.” (The RSM appeared to have a somewhat jaundiced view of persons in light blue - even though we were all in KD.) “These helicopters - they’ll no be a’spoilin’ the Regiment’s parade square?” Except it was not a question - it was a direction!
Bristol Belvedere HC1 of 66 Sqn lifting off from the square at Terendak Camp Malacca, 1966
“Of course not” I volunteered the required answer. “They’ll be in and out in no time at all, just need to position a few drums of fuel, refuel, load-up and off to war!” I lied, knowing full well that a Wessex and particularly a Belvedere started piddling oil like colander within minutes of coming to a rest anywhere. But as I had no intention of returning to the camp not just in the short term, but ever, and knowing that the detailed exercise orders had already been signed off, what the hell!
Hell returned 2 years later in Kingston Jamaica. How did you guess? Our return loads comprised the 1st Scots Guards complete with the Sir Gregor, and, amongst the returning kit - the regimental dueling pistols which always went with the Colonel. Furthermore, the devil’s little helpers then conspired to litter unserviceable Britannias across Canada and the USA. A sweet little 2-day run in the sun extended into a week on the edge, as I spent every time I was up at the airport trying to find out the latest plot, hiding and dodging an increasingly irate Lt Col trying to find out what, where, when and how this incompetent expensive English airline would deign to turn up! And, where was the **** Movements Officer? All the time knowing that should we meet face to face, the memory of a wrecked parade square would probably mean cracking open the dueling pistols.
Needless to say, the lads, particularly, a professional blarney peddler like Jack, kept my 6 o’clock covered until the first aircraft out and the Colonel were heading back to Gander.
Keep the faith!
David Powell F Team UKMAMS 1967-69
Australian C-27J crews commence training in USA
Australian personnel are embarking on flight training related to the new Alenia Aermacchi C-27J tactical transport.
In a presentation in Melbourne ahead of the Avalon air show, parliamentary secretary to the minister of defence Darren Chester said that Royal Australian Air Force air crew will commence airborne training in the USA.
RAAF personnel involved with the C-27J programme have been present in the USA since January. The personnel comprise the first batch of pilots and loadmasters for the type.
“The C-27J significantly improves the Australian Defence Force’s ability to move troops, equipment and supplies,” says Chester. “It can land at more airfields and provide disaster relief support in a range of environments.”
Australia has orders for 10 C-27Js, with the first example to arrive in the middle of 2015. Australia obtained the type under a Foreign Military Sales agreement with the US government, that sees green aircraft delivered from Alenia Aermacchi in Italy to Texas, where the US firm L-3 converts them to the Joint Cargo Aircraft configuration.
The work takes three months, and involves the fitting of an electronic warfare and infrared countermeasures suite, US-standard communications equipment and ballistic matting around the cockpit and loadmaster’s station.
From: Gus Turney, Chippenham
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2015 8:45 AM
Subject: Strange Situations
The very nature of service life presents many strange situations, and I'm sure every mover will have a few to tell. On one particular occasion, whilst serving at Kai Tak as a pax JNCO, I found myself in both a strange and awkward situation.
The duty pax JNCO would routinely work alone at the air terminal, based at the British Airways check-in facility. The first job was to meet inbound passengers from the UK on the BA charter, and ensure any transfers were expedited, and any other problems dealt with.
On this particular evening, I was met at the check-in desk by a uniformed Army Officer. He explained to me that one of his soldiers, a young female LCpl, was returning to Honkers, post leave.
She had been driven to Heathrow by her mother, who then left the airport after seeing her daughter through departures. On her way home, the mother was involved in a serious road accident, which left her badly injured. Her daughter, who was now airborne to Hong Kong was, of course, unaware of this. With no way of contacting the daughter directly, the family contacted BFHQ Hong Kong, to get the message to her. This would be done by her Commanding Officer once she was through Immigration and bag reclaim. The officer was not authorised to meet her airside, so he requested that I meet her, and escort her through the formalities, but on no account was I to let her know the bad news regarding her mother. "Oh spiffing, cheers mate!" I thought to myself. "No problem, sir... leave it to me!" I told him.
The flight arrived, and I met the young girl, who I knew vaguely from previous social encounters downtown. She commented on how odd it was, that so much attention was being paid to her, as she was only returning from a spot of UK leave. The wait for her bags seemed to take an age, and all the time I was trying to waffle about anything other than the bad news.
I eventually escorted her to the chaos of the pax reception area, where her O.C. was waiting for her. She spotted him and threw me a quizzical look, and asked what he was doing here. I said nothing and kept walking. Once the two were united, I did a quick about face and retreated to the security of the airside ops facility.
The young lass returned to UK as a comp B two nights later. I was on duty again when she checked in. She told me that once her O.C. had explained the situation to her, she understood why I had behaved so oddly two nights previously. I looked at her sheepishly and apologised. She thanked me for looking after her, and told me that although her mother was badly injured, she would, in time, make a full recovery. I then cheered her up a bit by telling her that as a Comp Bravo, she was upgraded to Business Class. Once all my other passengers had checked in, I met up with her airside, and she bought me a beer, which of course, as per standing orders, I couldn't drink, as I was on duty! I have dealt with many compassionate cases, but this was definitely my strangest one.
One more strange situation... coming in to land at Addis Ababa during Op Bushel, I jumped down off the freight stack, post kip, and landed on one of the passengers feet, almost breaking his ankle (flying boot vs flip flop = no contest!). The passenger happened to be the Archbishop of Ethiopia! I did not know the Amharic for "Sorry your holiness for nearly crippling you", but I would like to think that he eventually forgave me.
Light visors solve sleeplessness at CFS Alert
Visor that shines light into eyes touted as solution to darkness-induced sleep problems at Arctic station
The winter dark and cold are hard on the mental health of Canadians, and especially hard on the people running Canadian Forces Station Alert in the High Arctic, the most northerly inhabited place on the planet.
Now after more than 60 years, the Canadian military has come up with a solution to help the people deployed there cope with sleeplessness, a common symptom in a place where the sun disappears entirely for four months.
A ground-breaking military study tested "light visors" - devices worn on the head that beam light into the eyes - on eight people at CFS Alert and found the treatment dramatically improved the quality of their sleep.
So successful were the visors, which had no side-effects, that the researchers are considering them for use in other northern outposts staffed by the military. The findings are in a newly published study of "countermeasures for the treatment of discordant human circadian rhythms."
Cheltenham airman awarded the Air Force
Cross for saving the lives of 182 people
An airman from Cheltenham has been awarded the Air Force Cross for saving the lives of 182 people during the escalating conflict in South Sudan.
Flight Lieutenant Timothy Eddy, 31, is one of 14 people to receive an operational honour in recognition of his courage and service. They were revealed during a ceremony at Lancaster House, London, yesterday, in part of the latest round of military honours and awards.
Speaking after the ceremony, he said: “It is a great honour to have been presented with such a prestigious award. I feel however that it represents the exceptional tenacity and teamwork displayed by the entire crew. No one person can operate a C-17 and on that day it took us all working together to ensure the mission was a success.”
The airman, of 99 Squadron, based at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, was the captain of an RAF C-17 on a mission to evacuate what was thought to be 45 British nationals from Juba, on December 19, 2013, after fighting between government troops and rebel factions broke out in the African state.
However, it soon became clear the number of civilians wanting to leave was rapidly increasing as the security situation deteriorated, far more than the C-17’s normal maximum capacity of around 100.
Ten minutes from landing, Flight Lieutenant Eddy was advised the runway was blocked by a crashed Boeing 737.
Running low on fuel and using binoculars to judge the situation as he flew overhead; he decided that around 5000ft of runway was still useable. Aware of the dangers - but equally concerned for the civilians on the ground - Flt Lt Eddy calculated he could make a steep approach and land with the 737 ahead of him using maximum braking. Following a successful landing, the ground situation was clearly chaotic with far greater numbers of civilians that originally assessed wanting to leave.
Already low on fuel due to the delayed approach, Eddy established he could take an unconventional approach in keeping all four engines running during refuelling. This ‘hot refuel’ allowed all 182 civilians to board and the aircraft to get airborne forUganda just as the airfield closed for a security curfew.
This is just one example of his courage, determination and exceptional devotion to duty where his captaincy, judgement and trust in his crew enabled him to execute outstanding mission command and safely evacuate civilians.
Flt Lt Eddy said: "While we were aware of the dangers of the civil war below us, and the added complication of a 737 blocking the runway, I was more concerned for the safety of those on the ground. Our mission was to evacuate our people to safety and that’s exactly what we intended to do.
“The C-17 has incredible landing and take off performance. We practice assault landings regularly and so I was in no doubt we could safely execute an approach and then, should the runway still be blocked, have the ability to take off again once the evacuees were on board.”
Air Commodore David Lee, Air Officer for Air Mobility who was in attendance at the event said: “The work of our men and women in the Royal Air Force is pivotal to us being able to defend the United Kingdom and our interests overseas and it is absolutely right that we publicly recognise their contributions on operations around the globe.”
“I am proud and privileged to have been amongst some of those individuals today who have so deservedly been commended for their actions, representing the true spirit and professionalism of the Royal Air Force having displayed commitment and dedication of the highest order.”
After meeting the recipients at Number 10 Downing Street this afternoon, the Prime Minister David Cameron said:
"These people represent the very best of our country - selflessness, determination, courage. And these awards are just a small way to express our gratitude and respect for what they have done."
The Air Force Cross (AFC) is a military decoration awarded to UK Armed Forces personnel for acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty while flying, though not in active operations against the enemy.
From: Steve Tomlinson, Tenerife, QLD
Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2015 4:18 AM
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 060509
It’s been a while since we conversed, why is it the older you get, the busier you get?!
I seem to have missed the subject photo, but, having seen Bruce Holliday’s comment, I thought an explanation might be in order. The photo was taken at Gordon Lines which was the remote Passenger Mounting Centre, in Stanley, prior to the start of “Interim Operations” at Mount Pleasant.
In early 1985 RAF Mount Pleasant was ostensibly a “Building Site” but with sufficient infrastructure, (Runway, Apron, ATC, Main Hangar, Fuel, etc) to support wide-bodied flight operations.
The 3 attached photo’s [at left] show the state of the build when we started operating, the aerial photos clearly show the Main Apron only 1/3 complete and the Plan shows the completed areas in Red, the Aircraft Dispersals, Technical Services Area, ESA, etc, still to be built.
Passengers & Bags were processed at Gordon Lines then bussed to Mount Pleasant for final pre-board processing & enplanement. It sounds simple but the whole site at Mount Pleasant, of up to 3,500 workers, was temporarily closed each time an aircraft operated through the airfield, not an inexpensive exercise!
The Port Stanley Movers, still supporting the C-130 Airbridge operations into PSY, would process passengers through Gordon Lines then travel with the PAX to supplement the Movers based at Mount Pleasant. As Bruce explained, most of the arriving Passengers were also “processed” through Gordon Lines where they were usually re-united with their baggage.
The subject photo [at right] shows two of the Port Stanley Movers (sadly after 30 years, my memory fails me as to names), however, the officer, far-right, is Charles Hill (OC Air Movs Flt, Port Stanley), who, during operations at Mount Pleasant, became my Pax Officer, a job he relished to the Max! I’m the poor sod in the middle of the two guys from Stanley (SAMO MPN soon to be re-branded as OC S&M Flight MPN due to the fact we also had a couple of Suppliers based at MPN and more Jet Fuel than I’d seen in my whole life that needed a Supply Officer to complete “weekly dips”!).
Having completed a really enjoyable tour as OC Air Movs Flt, Port Stanley, the previous year, I also enjoyed my time at Mount Pleasant, enormously, in 1985. A great Team of guys at Mount Pleasant (Movers, Suppliers, Engineers, Ops, Air Traffic, British Airways Reps and Contractors), supported by an equally great team from Port Stanley. You will have to ask me about what happened on the first couple of flights, the Route-Prover & Inaugural, another time!
From: David Stevens, Bangor
Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2015 11:14 AM
Subject: A Strange Situation
Ubon circa May 1964 was an RAAF base in north Thailand. We were deployed there as part of an ongoing SEATO exercise. 'E' team comprised myself (Plt Off Stevens), Sgt's Mooney and Snell, Cpl Redman and SAC's Gibson and Yeoman. We were sent to Ubon from Kuching where we had been for one month already in support of the ongoing operations in Borneo. That's another story!
Towards the end of our stay in Ubon, which was all pleasure and no pain, we had run out of fuel for our Landrover and the Aussies could not spare any of theirs; no gasoline downtown; imprest finished also. What to do?
No problem. When the next Beverley came in I spoke with both the engineer and the captain and they agreed with my plan and gave the go ahead. A set of servicing step ladders was put in position under the starboard wing and young Yeoman was sent up the ladder with a couple of 5 gallon jerry cans. And, we all know how high up is a Beverley wing! The engineer had already been up the ladder to unscrew and remove a fuel cap.
With Yeoman holding aloft the first jerry can I gave the engineer in the cockpit the thumbs up. He gently released the stop valve and out rushed the Avgas into the jerry can as well as a modest amount over Yeoman. He was not impressed. We repeated the operation with the second jerry can. Tarrrrrraaa! We had our fuel for the Landrover. Well done Yeoman! We then attended to the loading of the Beverley and saw him off. Yeoman duly filled our Landrover with the 10 gallons of avgas and we were on our way. Smoking was forbidden in and around Yeoman and in the Landrover!
Two days later, and with our detachment finished, we loaded said land rover and ourselves onto an Argosy and flew back to Changi via Don Muang. The Landrover was handed over to the Air Movements staff in RAF Changi for return to FEAF MAMS in RAF Seletar. We subsequently got a signal from Chuck Bonser, the OC FEAF MAMS at the time, thanking us for returning a vehicle with such a clean engine - his MT fitter was well impressed. I told Gordon Spiers, our OC UKMAMS at the time, the story and I think his comment was along the lines - Stevens you will go far and you'd better start now!
From: Bryan Morgan, Abingdon, Oxon
Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:26 AM
The Flower Shop has just delivered the most beautiful trough of miniature daffodils - given my Celtic background they could not be more appropriate.
It was very kind of the Old Bods to think of my 80th next week and I have to say that I was very touched indeed!
I think you mentioned recently that you have the next Newsletter out tomorrow - if you could include my very sincere thanks on the end that would be great.
From: The Worldwide Membership of the UKMAMS Old Bods Association. Have a Happy Birthday!
That's it for this edition
Please feel free to make a donation!
Have a great weekend!