Philip Dunne visits new aircraft at RAF Northolt

The Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology paid a visit to RAF Northolt to see 2 new short/medium-range transport aircraft.  

The BAe 146 Mk3 aircraft have added a new capability to 32 (The Royal) Squadron, which is known for its command support air transport role. 

And, as the squadron already has 2 BAe 146 Mk2 aircraft, this means that a prolonged period of conversion training will not be required and the new aircraft can enter service almost immediately.

Known as 'QC' or 'Quick Change' aircraft, the Mk3 can quickly be configured to carry passengers or freight, or a combination of both. The first of the 2 aircraft will enter service in Afghanistan next week, with the second aircraft following by the first week in May.
Mr Dunne said, "A world-class air transport force allows the RAF to deliver personnel and materiel around the world, swiftly and flexibly.

"The UK-built BAe 146 QC aircraft are a further addition to the RAF's transport capability.  These aircraft can be quickly converted from a cargo role for over 10 tonnes of freight to an airliner for nearly 100 passengers. The aircraft can also operate from short runways, making them perfectly suited for operations around the world."

Wing Commander Jon Beck, Officer Commanding 32 (The Royal) Squadron, said, "I am delighted that these 2 very capable aircraft have been added to the squadron's inventory.

"They will provide a welcome boost to our existing capability to support operations in Afghanistan and ensure that vital equipment and personnel get where they need to be quickly and safely."
From: Terry Bell,  Trenton, ON
Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2013 18:08
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #032913


I have been grossly remiss in not thanking you for putting me in touch with Howie Bumford when I was recently in touch with you on a related matter.

It may interest you to know that the last time I saw Howie was when he was my team leader at RAF Lyneham Air Movements (RIP) in 1966 before I went off for two years of fun and frolic in the sun at RAF Khormaksar, Aden.

We had a great e-chat over the course of a week and I was astonished to realize that it had been 47 years since that time! Although I returned to Lyneham after Aden, it was only briefly before a bunch of us were sent over to set up RAF Brize Norton which had then only been recently taken back from the USAF. I still recall being flown to work by the relatively spiffy VC-10s and being flown back at the end of the day as the living quarters were not then sorted out. What revelation it was to see the standard of living the USAF Other Ranks had enjoyed.

I had frankly forgotten most of the characters on our shift, with the exception of the inimitable Charlie Marlowe, and I found myself in stitches at Howie's recollections which caused my own memories to come flooding back. Howie ended his RAF career as a Warrant Officer and Charlie as a Flight Sergeant on MAMS.

So, once again, let me thank you for your very kind assistance in making this all possible.

Best regards,

Terry "Dinger" Bell.

Ex-RAF Lyneham, Khormaksar & Brize Norton Air Movements

From: Jeff Trenberth, Collingwood Park, QLD 
Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2013 20:24
Subject: Helping out after the "Big Wave"

Hi Tony,
Not sure if I have sent these to you already but I found these pics from back when we all helped out with the big wave. Working  with the UKMAMS was a laugh and they were all good people, I included a pic of their sign to help out with possible names for the group pic. The sneaky little "gits" turned my Aussie flag into the Union Jack by quickly folding it behind my back just before the shot was taken ha ha (got them back later as they bogged our forklift so I let them have it joke wise). 

It was very busy and the hardstand at Banda Aceh was full a lot of the time, some crews didn't really want to be there very long. As you can see by the picture one crew unloaded all their light cargo straight onto the tarmac too close to the airframe so you can imagine what the prop wash did to it on start-up!  Also it was a pretty small area as one IL76 pilot found out, he turned the nose wheel too tightly and had to power up to keep turning, his jet wash blew one of our 300kg + generators about 20m into the paddock it was lucky that nobody was behind it.  Had to keep your wits about you with all the "turning  and burning" going on day and night.



From: Paddy Gallaugher, Marlow
Sent: Friday, March 29, 2013 05:47
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #032913

Hi Tony,

Many thanks for my copy of the Brief, which I really enjoy.

Good to see news of Syd Avery who appears to be enjoying life in Alicante. I would be happy to join his Confradia and not just for the refreshments – Good Friday is something worth celebrating!

Thanks again for all you do to produce such an interesting newsletter.

Best regards

Paddy Gallaugher
ex- Delta Team

Ice landing: Still capable after 30 years

Gathered on the shores of Squaw Lake, Quebec, a group of curious onlookers waits impatiently for the CC-130J Hercules aircraft from 436 Squadron to arrive. The crowd is buzzing.

“Is the plane going to land?” Innu children ask their parents. 

“Will it be cancelled because of the temperature?” wonder some of the reporters who are on the scene.

It’s Feb. 28, 2013, and the RCAF and the Canadian Army are doing something that hasn’t been done in Canada for 30 years: a Hercules will attempt to land on a runway that has been constructed entirely from ice.

The successful landing took place during the Canadian Army’s Exercise Guerrier Nordique, held from February 19 to March 9, 2013, near Schefferville and Sept-Îles, Quebec.

“This type of training is essential,” said Captain Jean-Gabriel Fortin, a combat engineer who was in charge of onsite tasks. “It helps develop certain regimental skills that have been lost over time but are needed to carry out northern operations. Should we ever have to resupply our troops in northern Quebec or northern people in need, we have the capability.”

The last time a Hercules landed on an ice runway was in the High Arctic, north of Canadian Forces Station Alert, on March 24, 1983. The runway was built so the Air Force could support the Canadian Expedition to Study the Alpha Ridge (CESAR).

Captain Ian Wright and Flight Lieutenant James Tabern, a British officer working on exchange with the RCAF, were in the cockpit for the historic 2013 landing.

“The uniform, overcast sky — combined with a snow-covered lake and the recently graded ice strip — created a monochromatic picture,” explained Capt Wright. “This made the standard landing zone markings even more important, as they provided us with situational awareness of the landing touchdown zone and runway remaining.

“We could have landed far heavier with the 6,000-plus feet [1,829 metres] of runway that had been prepared, but the 112,000 pounds [50.8 tonnes] that we actually had made for a great compromise, given that this was the first ice landing in over 30 years.”

“Landing a tactical transport plane on an ice landing strip is a major logistical operation,” said Major Sébastien Picard, deputy director of the exercise. “It involves a number of steps that calls for rigorous planning and a lot of preparation. A range of factors is also taken into account, such as the size of the site, the wind direction and the water currents [in the lake].”

Canadian Aviation
From: Fred Hebb, Gold River, NS
Sent: Friday, March 29, 2013 09:02
Subject: RCAF Mystery Photo #032913


RCAF Mystery Photo #032913 looks very much like the Lancaster that was flown into RCAF Station Greenwood from Thor Bay, NL back in the sixties.

After every one of the young pilots took it for a spin it was put on a pedestal. If I check back in some of my old photos I can confirm it as we had a picture taken in front of it.

Wishing all Movers a Happy and Blessed Easter.

Lancaster KB882

Lancaster Mk 10P KB882 was built in 1945 by Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario and delivered to Britain, where the aircraft joined No. 428 Squadron RCAF in March of that year.

The Lancaster was part of the first production batch of 300 aircraft ordered from Victory Aircraft. The first 75 aircraft were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 38 engines, the remaining 225 aircraft were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 224 engines.

Deliveries commenced to England in September 1943 and were completed in May 1945, with an average rate of production of four aircraft per week.

Flown on six operational sorties over Germany, the aircraft was returned to Canada in June 1945 and entered storage. In 1952, the aircraft was modified to Mk 10P Aerial Reconnaissance configuration and flew with No. 408 Squadron RCAF.

In 1964 the Lancaster was parked at the Edmundston Municipal Airport located on the Trans-Canada Highway in the Saint-Jacques district of New Brunswick.
From: Andy Spinks, Dubai
Sent: Friday, March 29, 2013 23:25
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #032913


Many thanks for the latest OBA OBB.  As always, it is a very interesting read.  Thank you so much for your efforts over this.

I was interested to read about Syd Avery's exploits and life in Spain.  He was on F Troop when I took over as the Team Leader in 1975. 

I always remember my first trip with Syd.  On checking the load and tie-downs, Syd said, "Now you're on UKMAMS, you won't have time to check loads every time, nor will you need to. Just sign the trim sheet," or words to that effect.  That was a bit of challenge to me because, in signing the trim sheet, I was taking responsibility for the safety of the aircraft. 

I ignored Syd's advice - I never in my whole career signed a trim sheet 'blind', although I believe I only twice delayed an aircraft because I was not happy with the load (once on a VC10 out of HKG, once on a C130 leaving Khartoum). 

In fact, I had cause to be grateful that I never signed 'blind' because of an incident on a C130 flight from Lyneham to Belize.  I could remember exactly where the dangerous goods had been loaded and how they were restrained.  Sorry I didn't follow your advice Syd - but glad to see you are still well and enjoying life.

I'd be interested to know more about the RAF mystery picture and what had happened to the C130J - and why!


Andy Spinks

I'm showing my support for an icon of British Aviation that needs support to continue flying in 2013. See

There have been several enquires as to the whereabouts and circumstances of this C130J mishap.

Regrettably this picture arrived on my desktop with no accompanying description - it was one of the rare occasions where I published a mystery photo without knowing the details.

Hopefully, someone out there will recognise it and provide us with some information.

First flight of newest CH-47 Chinook helicopters Mk6

Boeing recently completed the first flight of the newest CH-47 Chinook heavylift helicopter for the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force. Boeing had received a $1.64 billion contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to provide 14 new CH-47 Chinooks. The new-build CH-47 Mark (Mk)-6 Chinooks are part of the MOD's Strategic Helicopter Vision to modernize its helicopter force structure, and will expand the RAF fleet to 60 Chinooks. 

“From the Falkland Islands to Iraq and Afghanistan, the RAF has operated Chinooks magnificently for many years in the most demanding environments,” said UK Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox. “These additional helicopters will significantly enhance our existing heavy-lift helicopter capability. This fleet will support our frontline troops in current and future operations for decades to come.”

The CH-47 Mk-6 Chinook has a new, machined monolithic airframe with UK-specific avionics, forward-looking infrared radar, a rescue hoist, aircraft defensive systems, and interoperable communication and navigation equipment. The new helicopters will be compatible with the existing UK Chinook fleet.

Flightstory & The Economic Times

From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury 
Sent: Tuesday, April 09, 2013 15:41
Subject: NSRAF Cosford Branch

Hi Tony,

Today our Speaker was Squadron Leader Richard Head (retired) who gave us a talk and a large show of slides of the Vulcan V-Bomber. He was in the RAF for 43 years, spending ten years from 1971 to 1981 as a Vulcan pilot with 50 Squadron.

The slide show he gave us covered all the general information on the inside and outside of the aircraft and all of their functions, especially the cockpit and the compartment behind the flight deck where there were two navigators and an air electronics bod.

One of the setbacks for those chaps was the fact that if there were major problems they had only two ejector seats which were for the pilot and co-pilot; the chaps behind them had no escape. 

I told him that the only Vulcan I saw whilst in the RAF was in 1956 when a Vulcan, on it's way back from Australia, refuelled at Khormaksar and after take-off did a low-level beat-up of Steamer Point.

The next day we were told that it had crashed on it's approach to London Airport and only the pilot and co-pilot ejected.   There were four crew in the back and they all perished - one being the co-pilot who had given up his seat for a high-ranking officer [Air Marshal Sir Harry Broadhurst] to sit where he should have been.



See Vulcan XA897 Crashes during round the world attempt 1956

RAF airlift Britain's first jet fighter to new home

A Chinook helicopter airlifted one of the RAF's historic aircraft to a new jet museum, Monday 22 April.

Located at Imjin Barracks in Gloucestershire [formerly RAF Innsworth], home of NATO's Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC), the aircraft, an early 1950s' Meteor, was lifted by a Chinook helicopter and moved to its new home at the Jet Age Museum, located at Gloucestershire Airport in Staverton.

The Meteor was once the 'gate guardian' for the Imjin Barracks site in its former life as RAF Innsworth. Following the RAF station's closure in 2008, transfer to the British Army and reopening as Imjin Barracks in 2010, the Meteor was moved to a new location next to HQ ARRC's Installation Briefing Centre.

Imjin's Meteor was recently purchased by the Jet Age Museum and is slated for restoration and inclusion in its exhibits, which will focus on the region's extensive aircraft production history and affiliation with the aviation industry.

The Gloster Meteor was both the UK's first jet aircraft and the Allies' first operational jet fighter. The Meteor's development was heavily reliant on its groundbreaking turbojet engines, developed by Sir Frank Whittle and his company, Power Jets Ltd.

Development of the aircraft began in 1940. The Meteor first flew in 1943 and commenced operations in July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the RAF. Although the Meteor was not an aerodynamically advanced aircraft, it proved to be a successful and effective combat fighter.

Several major variants of the Meteor were made to incorporate technological advances during the 1940s and 1950s. Thousands of Meteors were built to serve in the RAF and other air forces and remained in use for several decades.

The Meteor saw limited action in the Second World War, while Meteors of the Royal Australian Air Force made a significant contribution to the Korean War, and several other operators such as Argentina, Egypt and Israel also flew Meteors in regional conflicts.

As of 2011, 2 Meteors have remained in active service with the Martin-Baker company as ejection seat test beds.

Imjin's Meteor T7, built in 1949 at Hucclecote, has had something of a chequered operational history and was involved in a number of minor flying accidents, some of which required return to the manufacturer for repairs.

It served primarily with No 604 Squadron at North Weald and was once flown by former Conservative MP, now Lord, Norman Tebbit when he joined the squadron in January 1952.  In 1957, it was delivered to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down, where it performed a variety of flying and ground test roles before ending its flying life some 2,000 flight hours later in

Officially 'struck off charge' in 1977, the aircraft was transported to RAF Innsworth in 1981, where it underwent long-term restoration. It was unveiled as the HQ Personnel and Training Command 'gate guardian' in 1994.
New members joining us recently are:
Dave Green, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK

Duncan Grant, Trentham, Staffordshire, UK

Mark Brierley, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Gary Ferguson, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, UK

Garry Dixon, Courtenay, BC, Canada
Welcome to the OBA!
From: Xavier Sherriff, Richmond, NSW
Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 08:08
Subject: Re: The Next OBA Newsletter

In 2007, 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit (Based at RAAF Darwin) was deployed to Kandahar Afghanistan. Some of the assets moved were by contracted AN-124.

AMS Darwin personnel prepared the cargo and loaded it onto the aircraft in approximately 2 hours. The crew also used the onboard cranes to lift the larger items onto the aircraft.

The cargo was presented 5 days before flight and was due to be loaded on USAF C-17's and C-5's until the final decision was to use the AN-124.


Xavier Sherriff
From: Mark Brierley, Riyadh
Sent: Monday, April 15, 2013 01:51
Subject: RE: MAMS OBA Earth feature


Many thanks for this. It was very interesting to run down the list of OBA members and see where people are.  I noticed Jim Bissell’s name and that he’s now living in Illinois, which brought back a few memories. 

Jim and I were on the same shift on Ascension Island when I was there from Nov 83 to May 84.  No matter what was going on, you could always rely on Jim to crack a joke to keep the spirits up: even at 3 in the morning when the airbridge loading was behind schedule and the aircraft wouldn’t trim!



From: Peter Chappell, Wellingborough
Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 13:22
Subject: Re: The Next OBA Newsletter

Hi Tony,
I will be in Tucson from May 7th to 29th, and in Exeter for most of July . So any movers who may want to join me for a beer are more than welcome.


Peter C
From: Howie Thomas, Caravonica, QLD
Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 17:54
Subject: RE: The Next OBA Newsletter

Hi Tony,

Hoping you can spread the word amongst your great network of friends and any other Movers and perhaps  Aussies you know.

Online donations for the National Memorial to all the fallen Australian Soldiers of the Afghanistan conflict called THE AVENUE OF HONOUR are now open at
We have raised $200,000 so far and we open on June 22nd and have around $50k to raise still.

Avenues of Honour are an important part of Australian culture please see HERE since the Great War ended in 1918.

Some quick facts..

  1. This is and will be the ONLY national dedicated memorial to all the soldiers who have died from across the nation in Afghanistan.
  2. It is actually the first dedicated Avenue of Honour in Australia for our forces since World War 2.
  3. It opens the same week that the first Battle Honour since the Vietnam War is awarded for the Shah Wali Kot Offensive in Afghanistan

Please share with any of your friends and if you can spare a little please help

Kind regards

Howie Thomas.

From: Syd Avery, Guardamar, Alicante 
Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 07:05
Subject: Semana Santa - Easter Week.

Hi, Tony, et al,

Well, we managed to survive the two processions over the Easter Week.

The Monday before Good Friday was not too good. During the past year, the roads had deteriorated a bit, and coupled with the fact that the legs on the Paso had been lengthened slightly gave us Costaleros a bit of a shock when the legs skimmed the ground several times!

On Good Friday, things went brilliantly and the thousands of spectators appreciated our efforts, as well as those of all the other Cofradias. People would come from the crowd to thank us for taking part. A bit humbling really, and people who know me would not think I could think that way. We finished on the Friday sometime after midnight, and had a couple of beverages to replace lost fluids. There are like-minded people from various other Cofradias, and invariably, a pleasant soirée develops. As one wobbles home, there is  a discrete absence of Guardia and Police!
In front of each Paso, there is a lady such as this, dressed in black, with the mantilla. This particular one was from a different Cofradia, but we have a date! Same time, same place, next year!

If anybody watched it on the TV link, I’m sure it was pretty boring, nothing like actually seeing one with the atmosphere, etc.

One more to Google: Moors and Christians Guardamar. This takes place in July, and celebrates the Christians kicking the Moors out of Spain. Hoping to take part in that next year.

Another activity which the Spanish people appreciate is a “club”, for want of a better word.

It’s held in an education centre in Torrevieja, and Spanish people come in and we sit for a couple of hours just speaking English. They already know quite a bit, and it is to improve their everyday conversational abilities. Both sides benefit.

Rearguards to all,

From: John Wickham, Abu Dhabi
Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2013 10:41
Subject: Just back from Addu Atoll

Hello Old Chap!

Just spent the last 10 days in the Sgts Mess at Gan! Fantastic holiday full of up’s and down’s.  So many memories from the days of staging thru to doing a stint there.   I took loads of pictures so I thought perhaps it would be good to share some of them.



Thousands up early to salute



THOUSANDS of South Australians woke in the early hours of this morning to honour the fallen at Anzac Day dawn services across the state.

An estimated crowd of more than 7000  gathered before the sun rose at Adelaide's central war memorial on North Terrace, with young and old paying tribute to the men and women who have fought for our country.

Reverend Robert Paget, from the Royal Australian Air Force, told the crowd that he remembered the men who were lying in cemeteries in France, those buried in the desert in Tobruk, in the jungles of Malaya, Burma and New Guinea, and the men and women who served in Korea, Vietnam, Borneo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Australian

And so we bid a fond farewell to Flt Lt Coole and the gang at the west country transport station, 1977 to 1982.

Thanks go out to Mark Finn-Kelcey, Chas's son, who gave us permission to republish the series, saying that his late father would have been delighted to know that he still had a readership.

Perhaps the greatest compliment I have seen came from one of our own - I take the opportunity to re-print an e-mail from Keith Parker that originally appeared in the Old Bods Brief #112709:

From: Keith Parker, Melksham 
Sent: Tue, 17 Nov 2009 15:59:02 -0000
Subject: Sad news - Chas Finn Kelcey MBE

Hi Tony

So sorry to hear the sad news of Chas Finn Kelcey, both Phil Smith and myself will remember him for a lot more than "Rompers Green" although that said both of my sons were avid readers of the article and still talk of outings to Swidnod and Woolley Bassett and if we are at an airshow it's always good to see " The Red Barrells," sadly the real stars "The Green Gottles" (Herc formation) are no more.

No Gents! what Phil and I remember were the times when Chas used to fly into Masirah during the Seeb/Bait shuttle he was so skilled at flying low level we all used to crowd onto the flight deck to witness the spectacle of approaching Masirah at the end of a knackering day.

Skimming the plateau near Palm Wadi, zooming down to zero feet shooting along the runway and then a steep climb and a wing over at the end of the runway, we all clung on for dear life feeling like our heads were coming through our underpants but what a finale to a hard day.

But we weren't alone, the whole station would turn out to see the flypast on the ground if they knew that Chas was flying. Thrills and spills were few and far between in those days, but a quick announcement on Radio 65 of the pending arrival would bring out everyone.

The last time I had the honour to fly with Chas was on the last Herc out of Masirah, Phil and myself had managed to yet again get on the flight deck to witness Chas's last pass over Masirah. 

We took off, flew the usual circuit and then he dropped down as low as he could to skim up the runway waggling his wings.

Chas, as relaxed as ever, just turned and said in true Flt Lt Coole fashion, "Right, that's that - now let's find those pyramids in Egypt!"

Wherever you are Chas thank you, keep those wings out of trouble and stay the right way up.

Cheers Tony

As the close down of Masirah drew ever closer, we didn't see too much of Chas, except that is for the night we were all sat at the open-air "freebie" cinema in the NAAFI, when suddenly Chas arrived overhead in usual style, I swear we could see the grooves in the tyres he was so low, and this was in the dark he did at least have all the landing lights facing down on us.
From: Mike Lefebvre Oromocto, NB
Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2013 10:02
Subject: RE: MAMS OBA Earth feature - update and change of address information

Hi Tony,

Noticed that I am still listed as living in Oberammergau Germany. We returned to Oromocto N.B. 3 yrs ago after a fantastic tour at the NATO School.

Thank you for the great work you do keeping us in touch. I've spent about 10 yrs of my life checking the LMA web site daily to hear the news that obviously is important to me, and some is...

We still care for our trade-mates and I am still reaching for the last straw to say, "Hi, to my old friends!"

Thank you Tony for the hope.

Mike Lefebvre 

This newsletter is dedicated

to the memory of

Chas Finn-Kelcey, MBE

The relocation of the Meteor T7 to Gloucestershire Airport means there are now no reminders at Imjin Barracks of the site's RAF past. HQ ARRC spokesman Major Chris Hyde said: I can't think of anything more fitting than for Imjin's Meteor aircraft to 'fly' to its final destination. We're honoured that we have had the opportunity to host this splendid aircraft, one that has been part of Britain's and the Allies' treasured history.

Major Hyde explained: The Meteor aircraft represents a very important link to Gloucestershire's military and industrial heritage. It embodies a period of rapid technological progress in the region that is still represented in the area today. In military terms, the Meteor defines an era where former adversaries forged military alliances that aided the development and establishment of NATO, the ARRC's parent organisation.

HQ ARRC is a NATO Rapid Deployment Corps headquarters, founded in 1992 in Germany, and headquartered in Gloucestershire since August 2010.  Although HQ ARRC's 'framework nation' is the United Kingdom, comprising
approximately 60% of the overall staff, the ARRC is fully multinational in nature and organisation, with 15 partner nations contributing the remaining complement of personnel (Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Denmark,Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain,Turkey and the United States).