13 March 2009

A new member joining us recently is:

Christopher Briggs, Stafford, UK "Served at Lyneham 1973-74 and remember the Cyprus evacuation"

Welcome to the OBA!


From: Steve Richardson, Trenton, ON
Sent: 26 February 2009 21:22
Subject: CAF Mystery Photo #022709


The photo has two MAMS guys picking up wooden dunnage. The guy on the right is Corporal Mike Hill and I cannot tell who the other person that is on the left. I would guess that the photo was taken at Camp Mirage.

Also, I worked for Don Lloyd in the late seventies at CFB Petawawa, Ontario.

The original Silver Dart did a demonstration flight for the Army in 1910 at the Petawawa army base. We used the same airfield/area for rigging and slinging vehicles for Chinook helicopters.

Take care,

Steve Richardson


So very close Steve - seems you just missed out on a prize again! Details of the picture: 19 July 2007 Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Logistics Officer Lieutenant Neil Franklin (left) and Traffic Technician Corporal Mike Hill of Mobile Air Movements Section (MAMS) lay out timbers to set flat-bottomed aircraft pallets on.

Verminus was the Roman god who protected cows against worms

From: David Stevens, Bangor
Sent: 27 February 2009 11:30
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB #022709

Hi Tony

The briefs just get better and better. Three (as far as I can count) pieces of feedback:

1. Fiona Buckthorpe - what an excellent example of how far reaching is the Brief. Without doubt there is someone out there who will be able to help Fiona. Amazing.

2. The mystery photo #022709

Could it be an Argosy being loaded at RAF Sharjah circa 1962-63? I cannot name anyone in the photo but I was OC Movements at RAF Sharjah at that time. However, it was probably after my time as I would never allow the wheel chock to be sitting on the aircraft sill instead of being behind one of the generator wheels while the generator is still on the ramp - even if it is still on the powered winch! Too unprofessional.☺

Whilst on the subject, I have the distinction (?) of being the first RAF mover to dent an Argosy boom whilst it was being loaded at Sharjah circa 1963. This was achieved whilst supervising the reversing of a 'tilted' 3 tonner. Fair play - we had only been loading and unloading the mighty Beverleys until these clockwork Argosys came along (quite a considerable difference in height of the booms).

3. Enjoyed the 'Old Pharts' pic from the last reunion. Thanks

Take care, not sure when I will next be in Canada, but hope springs eternal.

Best regards


Thanks for the feedback David. You are correct regarding the Argosy being loaded in Sharjah in what was then the Trucial Oman States and is now the United Arab Emirates. Sharjah is no longer there, having been gobbled up by the obscene construction orgy that is modern day Dubai. Regret you don't get a prize though as you did not know that you never place a chock against a steering wheel - tsk tsk!


From: David Powell, Princes Risborough
Sent: 27 February 2009 12:15
Subject: Exercise Crayon

Hi Tony

I am surprised that the F540 for Exercise Crayon referred to in the latest tastiest Brief did not mention Bob Turner’s finest hour and my luckiest. Many of you will know the story, but for newbies, here it is.

F team were one of the 4 teams deployed to RAF Luqa. On the morning of the 24th of April 1968 we were unloading Army helicopters (Scouts) from one of the RAF’s brand-new-shiny-with-a-fabulous-aircrew-no-expense-spared-cockpit (especially the view)-Belfast when the let’s-save-the-pennies-stuff-the movers-and-refurbish-some-ex-Beverley-bits-down-the-back winch failed.

As a consequence I came hurtling down the ramp with a Scout tail on my shoulder and gashed my leg on its tail rotor. On the way back to ops, we stopped at the NAAFI wagon for soft drinks etc. In ops I was explaining in simple 4 letter words what I thought about MoD procurement in general, ex-Beverley winches in particular and expressing my general unhappiness at being run-over by a helicopter before the bar was open.

Somewhat distracted I put down my drink, picked up my drink, took another swig, it tasted funny. Which was not surprising at the label said ‘CTC’ (carbon tetrachloride, ops china-graph boards for the cleaning thereof.). Luckily, Bob T had bought a pint of milk and immediately ordered me to drink it as a chaser. I woke up in Bigi hospital the following morning with an incredible hangover, as high as a proverbial as a result of an extra large wallop of morphine and the doc saying we don’t know what the cure is, you’re the first live one we’ve had; hence the go-in-peace morphine. I spent a week in the hospital on a diet of pasta by which time UKMAMS and the exercise had moved on to El Adam. I then spent a further week on sick leave at Luqa. (Well wouldn’t you?)

On the Britannia (XM392) going back to UK, the quartermaster (old English for load master) came up to tell me that an Argosy had been lost at Got-El-Afrag with 11 killed. My obvious reaction was crew of 5 (pilot, co, nav, eng and Q) and what goes round in teams of 6? It was only later that I learnt that it wasn’t a MAMS team. However, and this is where myth and memory may be mixed up with facts, I seem to recall being told that Chas Clark and his team should have been on the ill-fated Argosy, but exercise ops held them back up at the forward airstrip for a further 48 hours. Can John Bell or Chas close the loop on this part of the story?

Finally, later that year, October 1968, while we were transiting through Malta on an Accra task, I was welcomed by one of the RAF Luqa ground crew with ‘Lock up the meths – he’s back!’

David Powell
F Team 1967-69
PS: It was years before I could go into any dry-cleaners without panicking.

Here's a thought - did you ever reimburse Bob for the milk David?

Space officially begins 62 miles up

From: David Cromb, Brisbane, Qld.
Sent: 27 February 2009 20:17
Subject: Mystery Pic 022709

Hi Tony,

As usual anuva good read mate, ta much. A big hello to all the other readers as well.

A total guess here but methinx it possibly might be at Gibralter, I carnt quite make out the name on the steps. Blue ACHE was common to NEAF wasn' t it ??.The argosy could be from 70 sqdn operating outa Akrotiri, my stomping ground 69-71.

70 sqdn usually did the f n v run to El Adem as well. It's highly possible guru IWB, that's WO ret'd Ian Berry to those who never had the honour of meeting Ian, turned the Argosy around as he was at the sandpit at the same time, Ian might wanna clarify that.

As I remember those bloody ramps for the Argosy were a pig to handle. As was that stupid kbs (Kit Bag Stowage to the newcomers).

As aside Pete Clayton might have to give a clue re his mystery pic. I can only think it is in the Far East, possibly Hong Kong cos Peter toured there, also where he n I first met. From my perspective Honkers holds not so nice memories for me for a multitude of reasons, predominently being sent home in disgrace. Strewth I only missed the Brit which I was supposed to go to Kathmandu in. Did me a favour that in retrospect, no, sorry not gonna tell why.

OK I'm outa here,stay safe n well troops.


DC. Lima 6.

Tut tut DC - wrong and wrong.. oh well, back to the drawing board


From: Konrad Putu, Wellington
Sent: 02 March 2009 03:54
Subject: RNZAF Mystery Photo #022709

Hi Tony

I think the RNZAF mystery photo is of John (Head) Felton ex RNZAF Mover now in the undemocratic Republic of the Congo

I see his choice of female friends has improved 100%


You are correct Puts! See your prize details in the following e-mail

A dog's normal body temperature is 101.2ºF

From: Dougie Betambeau, Swindon
Sent: 07 March 2009 10:52
Subject: RNZAF Mystery Photo #022709


Hi & hope you are in good health.

The one on the right is an ugly chimp & on the left is Jon (The Head) Felton, a Mover who I met & socialised with during & after the Gulf war in Riyadh.

I`d like to take this opportunity to apologise to him for the delay in e-mailing but now I`ve had this "kick up the a**e" will get round to doing

Best Regards

Dougie B

Thanks Dougie... correct. This means that we have two first place winners and, according to the regulations, you now have to exchange prizes with Konrad in Wellington.


Ryanair Toilet Charge is No Joke, insists O'Leary - Pay a Pound to Spend a Penny!

Ryanair is serious about charging its passengers to use onboard toilets, its chief executive, Michael O'Leary, said today, adding that it would involve using a credit card rather than a coin slot on the door.

He said there were technical and safety issues preventing a £1 coin-operated mechanism but alternative payment options were being explored.

The "pay a pound to spend a penny" plan would earn £15m a year for the airline, he said, which could be passed on to passengers in fare savings.

"We have looked into this before and the problem is Boeing can't come up with a mechanism on the toilet door to take coins. We're suggesting they go back and look at a mechanism where you'd swipe the credit card for a quid on the toilet door. They've gone off to look at that."

The proposal to charge for toilets caused a storm last week among consumer champions and industry analysts while Ryanair public relations executives even tried to play down the suggestion.

But O'Leary, during one of his regular press briefings in Dublin, said the charge would be introduced as soon as technically possible.

"(People say) you can't be serious. We are serious," he said.

"If you look at it sensibly, it would reduce an awful lot of the unnecessary visits to the toilet that pisses so many passengers off onboard a plane.

"Our average journey time is one hour. Most people would go to the loo before they get on the plane, or they hold it until they land. You would only have to deal with the people who absolutely have to go.

"Frankly, if we think 20% of our passengers in a year would use the facility, if they paid a pound per passenger, it would raise about 15 million quid and would help us to pass on £15m worth of fare savings to the travelling public."

O'Reilly rejected criticism, describing the plan as another "cutting-edge" initiative, like charging for drinks.

"All this pious stuff about if you're serving teas and snacks, you can't charge for entering the toilet. All right then, we'll charge you to exit the toilets and we'll let you enter free, but you'll have to pay a pound to get back out again," he said.

"I think eventually it's going to happen. It's just we can't do it at the moment because we don't have a mechanism for charging you."

text: ©

Talk about squeezing the lemon!

Hands up all those people who just stuck a thermometer up their dog's rear end

From: John Gibson, Lincoln
Sent: 03 March 2009 09:22
Subject: Trip to Hong Kong


I served in Hong Kong 1965-1968 in Air Movements. My wife and I are going back there in June of this year to have a walk down memory lane. Are there any ex-movers living there that I could get in contact with to have a beer and talk about things/times gone by?

We are due to leave LHR on 4th June and will be staying in the Stanford Hotel in Kowloon, then leaving Honkers on the morning of the 14th June.

Very good site, grateful to you.

Regards John (Paddy) Gibson

The only ex-mover that I know of in the Hong Kong area is Don Hunter in Macao. Recently all of my e-mails to Don have been returned as undeliverable and the company's website where he was working, Menzies Aviation, is no longer available. Hopefully some of our OBA members can help out with information about Don and/or any movers in HKG.


From: Dougie Russell, Carlisle
Sent: 3/8/2009, 2:18 pm, EDT
Subject: Guestbook Entry

Now live in Carlisle, working for Eddie Stobart.

Thanks Dougie, I've updated your listing in the Member's pages

Before becoming an actor, Humphrey Bogart was a professional chess player (apparently he worked the knight shift)

RAF Jettisons its Top Guns

Pilots without full combat training are to fly frontline missions in a major break with RAF tradition.

Top Gun-style airmen will be replaced by relatively inexperienced personnel controlling ‘drone’ aircraft flying sensitive surveillance missions over Afghanistan.

Unmanned Reaper planes – which also carry laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles to engage targets they spot – are currently flown by remote-control by highly trained fighter pilots 8,000 miles away in Nevada.

But RAF chiefs last week approved a money-saving plan to use ‘lower grade’ staff after 30 hours’ basic flying training – rather than those who have undergone the £4million fighter pilot programme.

‘We don’t necessarily need highly trained pilots,’ said Wing Commander Richard McMahon. Studies show the best drone crews are often young video-game players rather than experienced combat air crews.

Daily Mail Online


From: Tony Street, Buffalo, NY
Sent: 06 March 2009 16:22
Subject: I've been to see the Wizard!

Attention all you Old Bods out there...I have been to Oz and seen the Wizard behind the curtain!

Last week I had occasion to visit Ottawa and emailed Tony Gale to see if we could get together whilst I was there and we did.

We spent a charming two hour lunch at a very agreeable venue, Dinty Moore's restaurant in Aylmer, Quebec, just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa.

The time went by quickly as we compared notes and lies about our careers in the Air Movements business and regaled each other with tales of derring-do in places such as Honkers, Gan, Aden (not the asshole of the world, but you can see it from there), and other exotic and seedy locales.

We parted with a promise to do it again, something I'm looking forward to already.

I'm sure that if you're in the area and contact the Wiz, he'll certainly be glad to visit with you. Bring a camera.

Thanks for your company, Tony.

Two T's in a Pod

Tony Gale & Tony Street having lunch at Dinty Moore's in Aylmer Quebec last week

The Sonoran coral snake and the western hook-nosed snake both fart to scare off predators



21 March: RNZAF Base Whenuapai  Air Show and Open Day

Your Air Force Working for New Zealand Every Day.

See the Royal New Zealand Air Force in action both on the ground and in the air as Air Force Base Whenuapai opens the gates and hosts its popular air show on Saturday 21 March. A great day out for the whole family.

This exciting day out will feature aircraft from the entire RNZAF fleet, that includes:

Boeing 757
P3-K Orion
Kiwi Blue parachute team
Red Checkers aerobatics team

There will also be guest displays by warbirds, an Air New Zealand biofuel jet engine and a mighty United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster III.

This year New Zealand V8 touring and other customised cars including a hot rod and classic cars will be on display.

Gates open at 9.00am

Entry fee: $5 a head and children under 10 years are free

For more information phone: 09 417 7661 or email us


Nimrod MRA4 Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft

In December 1996, BAE Systems were awarded a £2bn contract for the remanufacturing of 21 Nimrod MR mk2 aircraft to the new Nimrod MRA4 (Nimrod 2000) specification including new mission, sensor and avionics systems. In February 2002, the UK Ministry of Defence reduced this number to 18 aircraft, citing a perceived reduction in the submarine threat. In July 2004, the UK Ministry of Defence announced that this number was to be further reduced to 12 aircraft. The Nimrod MRA4 Maritime Reconnaissance and Attack aircraft was rolled out in August 2002. In February 2003, the programme was restructured. Production work on the last 15 of the 18 Nimrods in the MRA4 programme is to cease. Series production will not start until the first three aircraft have demonstrated satisfactory performance.

The first flight of the PA1 flight trials aircraft, which has no mission system fitted, took place in August 2004. The PA2 with full fit mission system first flew in January 2005. The PA3 aircraft began flight testing in August 2005. In July 2006, the UK MOD awarded the production contract for 12 Nimrod MRA4 aircraft. Delivery of the first production aircraft is planned for 2009. The scheduled in-service date is 2010 and deliveries are scheduled to complete in 2012. The aircraft will be based at RAF Kinloss in Scotland. In August 2007, the Nimrod MRA4 successfully released a BAE Systems Stingray torpedo for the first time off the coast of West Wales at the Aberporth range.

The main roles of Nimrod MRA4 are maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface unit warfare, and search and rescue.

BAE Systems is the prime contractor for the programme with Boeing Company of Seattle responsible for the tactical command system. FR Aviation, based in Dorset, is providing major maintenance service for the programme.

The remanufacture of the MR2 Aircraft involves an extensive reconstruction. The aircraft is stripped and the outer wings cut off and the centre box, including both inner wings, are removed from the fuselage which is stripped back to the bare alloy. The new wings are being built at BAE Systems in Chadderton and transported to BAE Systems in Woodford. The aircraft also has new undercarriage and hydraulics systems.

The cockpit is configured for two-pilot operation. The all-glass cockpit features many of the systems, displays and architecture found in the airliners built by the Airbus Industrie consortium. The flight deck has seven full-colour liquid crystal displays. Many of the instruments and controls on the flight deck of the earlier version of Nimrod have been eliminated by the high level of automation in the aircraft's control systems which have taken over the work load of the flight engineer.

BAE Systems is collaborating with Boeing to develop the Nimrod MRA4 Tactical Command System, a variant of the Boeing TMS-2000, as the heart of the overall mission system.

Nimrod's tactical crew will operate seven reconfigurable operator workstations each with large high-resolution multi-function colour display screens. Nimrod MRA4 is equipped with a stores management system from Smiths Industries which carries out inventory tracking and control, air-to-air and air-to-sea weapon control, and built-in test and fault diagnostics. The aircraft has a weapons bay with side opening doors at the bottom of the fuselage which can carry fuel tanks, torpedoes (including the BAE Systems Stingray lightweight anti-submarine torpedo) and sonobuoys. Ultra Electronics are developing an improved version of the passive localisation Barra sonobuoy with digital signal processing.

The new wing has two additional hardpoints, providing four weapons pylons for the carriage of Boeing AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles or AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Sidewinder is an all-aspect short-range missile with maximum speed over Mach 2, for defence against hostile aircraft. The AGM-84 is the air-launched version of the all weather anti-ship Harpoon missile, with a range over 50 nautical miles and a high subsonic speed.

Nimrod MRA4 has a Searchwater 2000MR multi-mode pulse Doppler search radar from Thales Defence and an EOSDS electro-optical surveillance and detection system, supplied by Northrop Grumman and turret-mounted under the nose. The aircraft is also equipped with a radar warning receiver, an Elta electronic support measures system and Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) system.

Nimrod MRA4 is equipped with a Navigation and Flight Management System (NAV/FMS) from Smiths Industries. The NAV/FMS consists of a navigation computer and flight management computer which are interfaced to the aircraft's MIL-STD- 1553B data bus. The navigation sensors include a laser inertial navigation system and two LN-100G Global Positioning Systems from Northrop Grumman which provide redundant position, velocity and attitude data to the flight management system.

The aircraft also has radio navigation, a microwave landing system and a TCAS 2 Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System. The systems automatically control the aircraft and carry out optimum performance calculations, trajectory projections, flight planning, navigational positioning, lateral and vertical guidance, tactical waypoint steering and navigational data storage.

The Utility Management System (USMS), supplied by Smiths Industries, provides integrated control, monitoring and test of the main Nimrod M RA4 systems: flight controls, undercarriage, hydraulics, environmental control, fuel, electrical systems, engine starting and auxiliary power unit monitoring. The USMS uses four general-purpose computers which automatically control the systems and are interfaced by a digital databus to the aircraft's systems. Data are downloaded to the USMS from more than 800 aircraft sensors.

The aircraft has four Rolls-Royce BR710 engines which, together with additional fuel capacity, increase the aircraft's performance and endurance, and provide a maximum speed of 0.77 Mach.

23% of American couples sleep in separate beds

From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: 10 March 2009 12:28
Subject: NSRAFA Cosford Branch

Hi Tony

Back to normal this month. Usual turnout about 65 + guests for this month's meeting.

Our guest speaker today was Terry Harvest of the Boulton Paul Heritage Association; he started as an apprentice for the company in the 50's. and gave us a talk and a video introducing us to A.E. 'Ben' Gunn, chief test pilot for Boulton Paul.

He was released from the RAF in 1949 to become their test pilot working at Boscombe Down and Farnborough on the P111a which he demonstrated at the Farnborough Air Show in 1953 (I was there!) and later with the P120 Delta aircraft.

In the video, Gunn tells us of many narrow squeaks with both aircraft but the hairiest was when he lost control of the P120 and was down to 3000 feet. The aircraft was in a continuous roll and was upside down when he hit the ejection seat button, so he was probably the first person to eject downwards.

He was lucky getting out of the seat in time to try and open his parachute which 'roman candled' but he fell into some trees which broke his fall. He did break his arm and both ankles about which the press said he had only "superficial injuries"!

He went on to test the Sea Balliol trainer which was ordered in quantity by the Royal Navy

He retired in 1971 and passed away in 2001



The quick Brown Fox

Ministry of Defence May Scrap £2.5bn Aircraft Order

The Government is considering whether to scrap a £2.5 billion order for military transport aircraft after delays of at least three years to the project.

EADS, which owns Airbus, said yesterday that it would not meet production targets for the A400M and, as a result, its customers would be able to walk away from the project with no penalty.

The Ministry of Defence has ordered 25 of the giant propeller-powered A400Ms, which are capable of carrying up to 32 tonnes of equipment, but it is looking at alternative options because of delays.

One possibility is to scrap the project altogether, which is thought to be favoured by the Royal Air Force. The Commons Defence Committee also recommended last month that Britain should pull out of the A400M programme. The MoD may also choose to reduce the number of aircraft ordered and replace them with C17s from Boeing or C130Js from Lockheed Martin.

The first A400M was due to enter service this year but problems with its avionics and

propulsion system have delayed this until at least 2012. After six years of development, the aircraft has still not taken to the air.

EADS, which employs more than 17,000 people in the UK, said yesterday that it took a €704 million (£647 million) writedown last year because of the A400M's problems. EADS said that if all ten countries that had backed the launch of the aircraft pulled out, it would cost the company €5.6 billion.

Some governments are thought to be unwilling to abandon the programme as work on the aircraft is parcelled out based on the number of planes ordered. In the UK, for example, EADS is building the wings at Filton, near Bristol.


Isaac Newton, considered one of the most important scientists in history, often forgot his brother's names

This presentation was filmed at Leeuwarden in the Netherlands during an Air Force Open House and highlights a Royal Air Force C130J demonstrating a Tactical Air Land Ops (TALO) offload.

(Left-click on title bar if you know the answer)

There are 92 known cases of nuclear bombs being lost at sea (that's ambiguous - how many bombs are there in a case?)

(Left-click on title bar if you know the answer)


(Left-click on title bar if you know the answer)

Alexander Graham Bell never phoned either his wife or his mother - they were both deaf

(Left-click on title bar if you know the answer)

From: Ian Berry, West Swindon
Sent: 28 February 2009 05:13
Subject: Andy Wilson

Appreciate you publish this notice I found about Andy in the latest RAF News

Sadly there is no clue as to where they are living and I have no idea if anyone knew about it.

Andy took a commission when he was a Sergeant and I met him whilst he was on the strength of the Services Booking Centre in london in the early 80's.

I met him again when he was the first RAF Flight Lieutenant to be posted to RNAS Yeovilton to work with the Royal Navy.

Sad news.



WILSON Andy, Sqn Ldr Ret'd. (Supply & Movements 1972-2006).

Tragically died in a road traffic accident on 28 November 2008. Funeral was on 17 December 2008.

Adored husband of Tess and loving father to Richard and Iain.

Will be missed by many - both family and friends.


That's it for this issue