28 May 2010

From: Brian Lay, Wellington
Sent: May-15-10 00:51
Subject: RNZAF Mystery Photo 051410

This was taken some years back and Budgie Baigent will be able to confirm the year it was taken as he is the Santa Claus along with his helpers at Chrischurch Airport during Op Antartica.

Haggis Harkess is posing as an elf, Wade de Garnham, Daveo Milne, Digby Bently, Tom Kelly, Lorraine Kingi, Tony Wills and a few others whose names escape me. A good bunch of blokes and Shelia's.

All the Best

Brian Lay
Wellington Movements



Death of Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Moran

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Moran.

Air Chief Marshal Moran was taken ill while taking part in a triathlon during the afternoon of Wednesday 26 May at RAF Brize Norton, and sadly died later in hospital.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, Chief of the Air Staff, said:

"It is with great sadness and shock that I announce the untimely death of Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Moran KCB OBE MVO ADC MA BSc FRAeS RAF on Wednesday 26 May 2010.

"Sir Chris had been the Commander-in-Chief of Air Command for the last 14 months.

"During a distinguished career he served in a wide number of appointments; a Harrier pilot by background, he commanded Royal Air Force Wittering and was the Air Officer Commanding Number 1 Group.

"Sir Chris was also Equerry to The Duke of Edinburgh in the early 1990s. A highly respected and courageous leader, this tragic loss comes as a huge blow to the Royal Air Force and, indeed, Defence at large.

"Most importantly, our prayers and thoughts are with his family, to whom I offer my most sincere condolences on behalf of the Royal Air Force, serving and retired."

Defence News

Months that begin on a Sunday will always have a 'Friday the 13th'

From: Keith Parker, Melksham
Sent: May-18-10 05:43
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 051410

Hi Tony

The Flt Lt in your photo looks remarkably like Charles Collier from the back, but what's he doing? Holding back Johnny Boyd and the other guy from speaking to the "Big Cheeses." I can just hear Johnny now..."and another thing shag."

Cheers for now




New role for a grounded Dove

Capertee [New South Wales] resident Col Ribaux is continuing his campaign to have his vintage aircraft placed in a prominent location beside the Castlereagh Highway as a tourist attraction for the village.

But in the meantime he intends to do some ‘low flying’ for important charity causes. As reported recently in the Lithgow Mercury Col acquired a 1950s vintage De Havilland Dove twin engined aircraft capable of carrying eight passengers.

This particular Dove was originally in service with the Royal New Zealand Air Force and later by McPherson Airlines in Western Australia before being retired to a museum in Adelaide.

Similar aircraft were once an important part of the Queen’s Royal Flight in Britain.

Some months ago Col acquired the old aircraft in an arrangement where he swapped a World War II Stewart tank which had been in use as a tractor on his Capertee property.

He has now completed the external restoration of the vintage plane in its RNZAF livery and it’s truly an eye catcher.

Col intends removing the wings from the engines to the wingtips and will seek RTA approval for it to be towed around the regional shows, fetes and festivals as a charity fund raiser.

The idea is that for a gold coin donation, children - and ‘big kids’ - can clamber on board the Dove and explore its features. Money raised would go towards motor neurone research.

Lithgow Mercury

Large kangaroos can cover more than 30 feet with each jump

From: Steve Richardson, Trenton, ON
Sent: May-21-10 22:58
Subject: CAF Mystery Photo 051410

Transportation Controller TL6B Course
13 May - 3 July, 1974

Rear: WO Brotherson, WO Maddock, WO Doucet, WO Hewitt, WO Frantz, Sgt Bowers

Centre: WO Shaw, Sgt Cadeau, WO Charlebois, WO Brien,
WO Duquette, WO Hinds

Front: WO Martin, Sgt Murray, WO Mackillop, WO Appleton,
WO Pelletier, WO Weymouth

The only Warrant Officer, that I knew from this photo is WO George Mackillop. He  was a Transportation Controller, the old MOC 934, who later became a Traffic Technician, MOC 933. The Traffic Technician trade started around 1971 or so and the Army bases had no Senior WO or MWO at that level.

They picked these guys because they had studied mass movements, material  movements and vehicle movements.  I worked for him and MWO Chris Morrison while I was in CFB Petawawa, Ontario 1975-1980.

Take care,

Steve  Richardson  


Giant Glider - Multi Engine Transport - Huge Cargo Loads

The Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant ("Giant") was a German military transport aircraft of World War II. It was a powered variant of the Me 321 military glider and was the largest land-based transport aircraft of the war. A total of 213 are recorded as having been made, a few being converted from the Me 321.

The genesis of the Me 323 was in a 1940 German requirement for a large assault glider in preparation for Operation Sealion, the projected invasion of Great Britain. The DFS 230 light glider had already proven its worth in the famous attack on Fort Eben-Emael in Belgium (the first ever assault by gliderborne troops), and would later be used successfully in the Crete invasion in 1941. However, the prospect of mounting an invasion across the English Channel focused minds on the need to be able to airlift vehicles and other heavy equipment as part of an initial assault wave.

Although Operation Sealion was cancelled, the requirement for a heavy air transport capability still existed, with the focus now on the forthcoming Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union.

On 18 October 1940, Junkers and Messerschmitt were given just 14 days to submit a proposal for a large transport glider. The emphasis was still very much on the assault role: the ambitious requirement was to be able to carry either an 88 mm gun and its half-track tractor, or a PzKpfw IV medium tank. The Junkers Ju 322 Mammut reached prototype form, but was completely unsatisfactory due to its all-wood construction and was scrapped. The Messerschmitt was originally designated the Me 261w, was then changed to Me 263, and eventually became the Me 321. Although the Me 321 saw considerable service in Russia, it was never used for a Maltese invasion, or for any other such aerial assaults.

Early in 1941, as a result of feedback from Transport Command pilots in Russia, the decision was taken to produce a motorized variant of the Me 321, to be designated Me 323. It was decided to use French Gnome GR14N radial engines rated at 738 kW (990 hp) as used in the Bloch MB.175 aircraft; using French engines would place no burden on Germany's overstrained industry.

Initial tests were conducted using four Gnome engines attached to a strengthened Me 321 wing, which gave a modest speed of 210 km/h (130 mph) - 80 km/h (50 mph) slower than the Ju 52 transport aircraft. A fixed undercarriage was fitted, which comprised four small wheels in a bogie at the front of the aircraft with six larger wheels in two lines of three at each side of the fuselage, partly covered by an aerodynamic fairing. The rear wheels were fitted with pneumatic brakes, and could stop the aircraft within 200 m (660 ft).

The four-engined Me 323C was considered merely a stepping stone to the six-engined D series; it still required the five-engined Heinkel He 111Z Zwilling or the highly dangerous Troikaschlepp formation of three Messerschmitt Bf 110 heavy fighters and JATO to takeoff when full loaden, but could return to base under its own power when empty.

This was clearly not much better than the Me 321, so the V2 prototype became the first to have six engines and flew for the first time in early 1942, becoming the prototype for the D series aircraft. The six engines were fitted to reduce torque - a trio of clockwise rotation engines mounted on the port wing, and a trio of counterclockwise rotation engines on the starboard wing.

As per the Me 321, the Me 323 had massive, semi-cantilever, high-mounted wings which were braced from the fuselage out to the middle of the wing.

To reduce weight and to save on aluminum, much of the wing was made of plywood and fabric, while the fuselage was of metal tube construction with wooden spars and covered with doped fabric, with heavy bracing in the floor to support the payload.

The "D" series had a crew of five: two pilots, two flight engineers and a radio operator. Two gunners could also be carried. The flight engineers occupied two small cabins, one in each wing between the inboard and center engines. The engineers were intended to monitor engine synchronisation and allow the pilot to fly without worrying about engine status, although the pilot could override the engineers' decisions on engine and propeller control.

Maximum payload was around 20 tons, although at that weight the Hellmuth Walter Werke-designed, liquid-fueled RATO (rocket assisted takeoff) units used on the Me 321 were required for take off. The RATO's were mounted beneath the wings outboard of the engines, with the wings having underside fittings to take up to a total of four RATO units.

The cargo hold was 11 m (36 ft) long, 3 m (10 ft) wide and 3.4 m (11 ft) high. The typical loads it carried were: One 15cm FH18 field artillery piece (5.5 ton) accompanied by its Sd.Kfz.7 halftrack transport vehicle (11 ton), two 3.6 tonne (4 ton) trucks, 8,700 loaves of bread, an 88 mm Flak gun and accessories, 52 drums of fuel (252 L/45 US gal), 130 men, or 60 stretchers.

Some Me 321s were converted to Me 323s, but the majority were built as six-engine aircraft from the beginning; early models were fitted with wooden two-blade propellers, which were later replaced by metal, three-blade variable-pitch versions.

The Me 323's powerplants were of differing models of the Gnome-Rhone radials, depending on which wing panel they were mounted on. The starboard wing used a trio of engines and propellers that rotated counterclockwise (as seen from "nose-on") and the port wing's trio used clockwise rotation engine/prop setups.

The Me 323 had a maximum speed of only 219 km/h (136 mph) at sea level and speed dropped with altitude. For defensive armament, it was armed with five 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine guns firing from a dorsal position behind the wings and from the fuselage. They were manned by the extra gunners, radio operator and engineers.

By September 1942, Me 323s were being delivered for use in the Tunisian campaign, and entered service in the Mediterranean theater in November 1942.

The high rate of loss among Axis shipping had made necessary a huge airlift of equipment across the Mediterranean to keep Rommel's Afrika Korps supplied.

On April 22 1943, a formation of 27 fully laden Me 323s being escorted across the Sicilian Straits by Bf 109s from JG 27 was intercepted by seven squadrons of Spitfires and P-40s, with the loss of 21 Me 323s. Three of the P-40s were shot down by the escorts.

In terms of aircraft design, the Me 323 was actually very resilient, and could absorb a huge amount of enemy fire, unless loaded with barrels of fuel – the Afrika Korps' nicknames of Leukoplastbomber ("Elastoplast bomber") or even more derisively as the "adhesive tape bomber", were somewhat unfair. The Me 323 was something of a "sitting duck", being so slow and large an aircraft. However, no transport aircraft can ever be expected to survive without something close to air superiority, and it is believed that no Me 323s survived in service beyond summer 1944.

A total of 213 Me 323s were built before production ceased in April 1944. There were several production versions, beginning with the D-1. Later D- and E- versions differed in the choice of power plant and in defensive armament, with improvements in structural strength, total cargo load and fuel capacity also being implemented. Nonetheless, the Me 323 remained significantly underpowered.

There was a proposal to install six BMW 801 radials, but this never came to pass. The Me 323 was also a short-range aircraft, with a typical range (loaded) of 1,000-1,200 km (620-750 mi). Despite this, the limited numbers of Me 323s in service were an invaluable asset to the Germans, and saw intensive use.

Facts & Figures

  • Rocket boosters were needed to get a Gigant into the sky
  • One Me 323 evacuated 220 soldiers from North Africa to Italy - 140 in the cargo compartment and 80 inside its wings!
  • A weapons carrier Me 323 carried 11 automatic cannon and a crew of 17 men.
  • The Gigant's cockpit was as high as a third-storey window.
  • Me 323's saw service from the ice on the Eastern Front to the heat of the desert.
  • The Gigant introduced many features now standard on cargo aircraft, including clamshell loading doors and high wings.

Goats do not have upper front teeth

From: Gerry Davis, Bedminster
Sent: May-26-10 15:49
Subject: A Meeting of Old Pals.

Hello Tony,

Malcolm and I met up today and had a brilliant time reminiscing over old times. He took me to two farms, where there is a huge collection of both ancient and modern small/light aircraft. A good time was had, and we shall do it again ASAP.

We discussed the probability of purchasing this modern super jet. Malcolm has assured me that it is (or will be when he has finished with his wire brush) fully airworthy and has nominated me as the driver, cos he hasn’t got a driving licence anymore.

He said it would be a piece of cake to fly, especially for the trip we are planning over to Canada, to visit the UKMAMS Old Bods web site Webmaster, Tony Gale.

I was further assured that the fact that it has been abandoned at the rear of the farmer's cowshed for some 20 years will have no bearing on its airworthiness.As a good-will gesture Malcolm has given me sole responsibility for the test flights (how kind of him!). He even suggested that we would have no problem giving it a push start!

After inspecting this wonderful machine, a visit to a local ale house was arranged, where an exchange of tales was undertaken, of distant times within both the RAF and civil aviation.

Per Adua Ad Astra.

Gerry Davis
ps. I am the short fat bloke.


Royal Air Force Museum unveils 116m high Battle of Britain monument plans

The Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, UK has unveiled plans to construct an UK£ 80 million (€ 93.5 million) tower in honour of the RAF pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain.

The 116 m-high Battle of Britain Beacon, which will house an exhibition on the World War II air conflict, will mark the 70th anniversary of the battle fought over the skies of Britain from July to October 1940.

Museum director-general Air Vice-Marshal Peter Dye said: "The new structure will be a 'beacon of freedom' providing a witness to the sacrifices made by pilots and ground crews from over 13 nations who took part in the battle."

The steel and glass tower will feature a high-speed lift.

The project is set to be funded privately and the museum is currently consulting on its plans.



Avocados have more protein than any other fruit


Cats’ urine glows under a black light

That's it for this issue

Have a great weekend!