The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) air transport team sent to support coalition operations in the Middle East has completed the equivalent of three months’ worth of flying in just six weeks.
Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Rhys Evans, the detachment commander, said a C-130 Hercules aircraft and a detachment of 34 personnel from the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) had clocked about 120 flying hours on 15 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan since they went to the Middle East in early June.
The air transport team has been operating as part of an Australian Defence Force (ADF) air mobility task group transporting freight and coalition personnel in the region. “We are currently flying about 23 hours a week and have carried out all the sorties assigned to us by the ADF Joint Task Force. The RNZAF C-130 is definitely holding its own alongside other aircraft operated by the task force and is a great asset,” SQNLDR Evans said. “It has been a team effort getting the aircraft in the air. The air crew and support staff are doing the hard yards to ensure we successfully carry out our mission.”
Major General (MAJGEN) Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said the high tempo was an example of the valuable support the NZDF contributed to coalition operations seeking to maintain peace and stability in the region.
“The 120 flying hours is equivalent to about three months’ worth of flying when the aircraft is conducting standard tasks here in New Zealand. Completing this many hours in six weeks without missing a single mission is a great achievement. It’s wonderful to see the team perform so well on these operational missions,” MAJGEN Gall said. "Night-vision goggle flights had also been carried out as part of the mission," he said. “Some of the airfields we operate in do not have any lighting or navigation aids and so we must position the aircraft for landing and take-off with visual reference to the terrain. To do this we must use night-vision goggles.”
"Searing temperatures that often exceed 43 degrees posed the biggest challenge to members of the NZDF detachment, particularly the maintenance personnel, who had to work outdoors," SQNLDR Evans said. “There are times when we are wearing body armour and helmets, so it’s like working in full safety clothing in the chicken warmer at a fast-food outlet. The blast of heat that you feel when you open an oven is what it’s like every time you step outside. When the aircraft is on the ground the temperature inside can exceed 60 degrees. At these temperatures the aircraft skin becomes so hot that you will burn your hand if you touch it.”
The RNZAF personnel are deployed for six months, until December.
NZDF Air Transport Team a Workhorse in the Middle East
From: Al Sadler, Petit St Vincent, Grenadines Subject: OBB #063016 LM passenger briefing.
Just had a chance to read your latest newsletter and I wanted to thank you for your comments WRT the Loadmaster briefing given by the Canadian C-130 LM during the Fort MacMurry wildfire evacuations.
When it first went viral on YouTube and Facebook I saw lots of comments about how he should be reprimanded for his briefing. I couldn't agree with your reply any more. Considering the circumstances and the audience he was speaking to, that very well may have been the first time in days those passengers had a laugh? As an ex-LM myself, I think at most this LM should have had a debrief of his choice of words, but by no means did he deserve any kind of reprimanding.
Thanx again for your comments.
Al Sadler Cap'n S/V Furling Around
Inside the RAF's new VIP jet for ministers and Royals
The RAF has unveiled a new jet that will provide VIP transport for government ministers and the Royal Family. The converted RAF Voyager, nicknamed "Cam Force One" after America's presidential jet, made its first voyage on Friday 8th July, when it ferried David Cameron and Cabinet ministers to the NATO summit in Warsaw.
But the aircraft's inaugural flight proved to be the Prime Minister's last as it comes only a fortnight after he announced he would be standing down.
The aircraft, based on the Airbus A330, has been fitted with 58 business seats, but will still be able to carry out its main task of air-to-air refuelling missions.
The Ministry of Defence said the new seating would allow the aircraft, based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, to transport large business delegations such as those Mr Cameron took to India and China.
The Government announced last November that one aircraft from the Voyager fleet was being refitted at a cost of £10 million to provide transport for ministers and members of the Royal Family.
Ministers said the conversion would save the taxpayer £775,000 a year in the cost of private charters, while the aircraft would still be available for its primary air-to-air refuelling role when it is not being used for VIP travel.
Mr Cameron and senior ministers have until now used No 32 (The Royal) Squadron, for short haul flights and chartered commercial flights for long haul trips.
Government sources have said the cost of long-haul charter flights can be excessive because they are often arranged at short notice. In January 2015, the government spent more than £100,000 sending Mr Cameron to Saudi Arabia to pay his respects following the death of its king.
The converted RAF Voyager A330 is expected to cost £2,000 an hour, compared to the current average cost of £6,700 an hour. Air Marshal Sean Reynolds, the RAF's deputy commander capability, said, “The refitting of this RAF Voyager to transform it from a standard air-to-air refuelling and air transport fit to an aircraft suitable for the additional role of VIP transport was completed quickly and efficiently with our Air Tanker partners."
It's a 'disgrace': The Prime Minister's newly refurbished £10m jet is slammed by disgruntled passengers for its no thrills feel
It may have cost taxpayers £10m but the Prime Minister’s newly refurbished jet had a distinct no-frills feel. Passengers trooped onto the RAF Voyager, climbing a steeper than usual staircase and dragging their own bags on board.
They were greeted by courteous but no-nonsense RAF crew who donned sombre light blue uniforms rather than the pencil skirts and garish scarves favoured by commercial airlines.
A highlight was the extra legroom on board, even for economy passengers. No need to be able to compete with the most accomplished yogis just to squeeze into your seat - as holiday makers often find on RyanAir or the misnamed Monarch.
Breakfast was freshly squeezed orange juice. A fresh fruit salad and mini croissiants rescued the slightly overheated cooked breakfast. One passenger in business class complained, "Yes the seats are comfortable but there are no TV screens and no champagne. It is a disgrace. It’s more Easyjet than Learjet."
We live in turbulent times, and the skies over Europe were surprisingly bumpy during the two and a half hour flight from the Royal Suite in Heathrow to Warsaw. The rattling and shaking of the plane seemed magnified in an old refuelling jet like this one.
The plane had originally been nicknamed CamForce One but it has none of the grandeur of the US Presidential plane. In the weeks ahead, with David Cameron having departed, it will also be in need of a new name; MayForce One comes to mind.
From: Derek Clayton, Stafford Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #063016
I am one of those who served at Abingdon on MAMS with Basil Hughes (see his e-mail in last month's OBB). Fond memories. Has anyone discovered the whereabouts of Flt Lt Shrimpton who was leader of C team for a while?
Regards to all who remember me
Derek Clayton [ex F/Sgt]
From: Richard Lloyd, Dalgety Bay, Fife Subject: No 275 Equipment Officers Training Course Reunion - Brize Norton June 28/9 2016
Here are some pictures of No 275 EOTS Reunion at the end of June. It was terrific! The old grocers outing!
Tom Iredale, now resident in Heidelberg, was the organiser, and it was attended by Chas Clark, Brian Everett (Instructor), Geoff Haskell, Allan Henchoz, Martin Henderson, Tom Iredale, Allan Knox, Richard (Dick) Lloyd, Ian MacCrae, John Pye and Brian Thomson-Bialy. Many of us had also been Movers, some indeed at Brize.
We had an informal dinner and catch-up on Tuesday evening.
Then we were treated to a comprehensive tour of the base on the Wednesday and a celebration dinner that evening at the 4 Pillars Hotel, Witney, which was graciously attended by Gp Capt 'Polly' Perkins, Head of Establishment, Wg Cdr Ian Florey OC APOE, and Fg Off Wayne Shead OCSCAF. Wayne was also our host throughout the day and many thanks are due to him and the numerous other folk on the base who made us so welcome.
We all felt that while much was familiar, it was at the same time very different. And we agreed that the quality of serving officers, NCOs and airmen was very high and that the RAF was safe in their hands.
Richard (Dick) Lloyd
RAF Red Arrows to fly in China for first time
The RAF’s Red Arrows will perform in China for the first time, as the aerobatics team spearheads a post-Brexit vote trade push in the Far East.
The jets will perform in the People’s Republic later this year as well as in India, Malaysia and Singapore as the team is drafted in to fly the flag for British industry.
The tour which has been in planning since last year has been given fresh impetus by the vote to leave the European Union, sources said.
The Ministry of Defence said the team would “support Britain’s prosperity by performing their world-famous aerobatics in up to 20 locations from the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific”.
RAF Typhoon jets are also due to head to the Far East as part of an attempt to build closer ties with allies.
Earlier this year the MoD said Typhoons would fly to Japan, the first time British fighter jets have been to the country since the Cold War. Typhoon jets will also take part in joint exercise Bersama Lima in Malaysia alongside “Five Powers” allies Australia, Singapore and New Zealand.
Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, said: “Our RAF Red Arrows and Typhoons represent the best of British. The Red Arrows will fly the flag for Britain in key export markets while our RAF Typhoons will exercise with our allies.”
From: Charles Gibson, Monifieth, Angus Subject: Strange or Very Rare Jobs
When I left the RAF in 1975, I had hoped to be a trainer of Guide Dogs for the Blind. In order to qualify they required an education of 5 GCE 'O' levels. There would be a 2 year training course (first year living in), with a wage of £16 per week during training and an age limit of 28 years. I asked if the age limit be waived for ex service personnel; their reply was no. In response to this Avril, my wife, started to sing to me "Grandad, Grandad, you're lovely" bloody cheek!
I then elected to join the Civil Service and was posted to the Unemployment Benefits Service where I was employed paying benefits. Advancement was a case of "Dead Mans Shoes" but eventually a post became available as a Fraud Investigator. This suited me down to the ground and most of my co-workers didn't want to be outdoors interviewing claimants and employers. I did this job from October '76 until March '94 and enjoyed every minute of it.
I knew some of these men and one in particular I knew very well - Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe. I was very touched by Sally Thorneloe's extremely kind comments to me at the Service that although the team at RAF Lyneham couldn't have made the day of her husband's repatriation any easier, doing what we did in the way we did it made the day bearable. That was all I ever asked of my team. Unless we got it right on every occasion, families could have faced an even more trying and difficult time, and that was unacceptable.
To hear Sally compliment us for a job well done, despite how poignant the day was for her, made me think how much I valued my team at the time, how proud I was that they treated every repatriation as if it were their first, and how they took responsibility at every level to ensure the day went as well as it could possibly go.
I always told my team to imagine that it was their family at the repatriation and ask them to think of what their families would want and need at that most tragic of times.
Seeing the Station again and the wonderful Memorial to those fallen men did more than bring a tear to my eye - it made me reflect on the people we lost, the bereaved families and friends, and my team who did so much to make the repatriations as bearable as possible.
The Garden of Remembrance is a fitting way to remember a part of what was RAF Lyneham's role in supporting defence and it gives grieving families a beautiful place in which to reflect upon their loved ones.
RAFBF Additional photographs by John Belcher
4 July 2016 - Group Captain Mike Neville, Director of Strategy and Fundraising at the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, tells us about the recent opening of the MOD Lyneham Garden of Remembrance.
Mike was station commander at then-RAF Lyneham for two years, during which time 200 servicemen were repatriated through Lyneham from Iraq and Afghanistan. Here, Mike tells us of the importance of the Garden.
The opening of the Garden of Remembrance was an amazingly moving ceremony and my first time back to RAF Lyneham since it had migrated to become MOD Lyneham, a centre for engineering excellence and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers training.
The service was attended by a very large number of families who had lost their loved ones on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and who had been repatriated through RAF Lyneham.
I recognised many of the faces and seeing them again reminded me of those dark days when we were repatriating too many of our brave 'boys'. During my two years in command alone we repatriated 200 servicemen.
Further to our announcement last month, please find attched information and an application to attend the 68th RAF Movements Officers' Reunion to be held at the RAF Club in London on Friday 4th November inst.
New members who have joined us recently are:
John Leek, La Ronde, 79380 France
Paul Fitzpatrick, Doudrac, 47210 France
Chris Pomeroy, Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf, UK
Welcome to the OBA!
Canadian pilots dodged an iceberg on take-off, flew in total darkness during South Pole rescue mission
Pilots Wallace Dobchuk, right, and Sebastien Trudel, centre, with maintenance engineer Mike McCrae, left, in Calgary
Two planes from Kenn Borek Air used in the rescue mission, shown here at Rothera, a British research station on the edge of Antarctica
The Canadian crew at the U.S. South Pole research station during the evacuation
A Twin Otter aircraft on a medical evacuation flight taxis on the skyway at NSF's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station
One of the Twin Otters made the1600 mile journey to the South Pole while the other remained at Rothera as a back-up
The hardest part of piloting a bush plane to the South Pole, says a Canadian flight crew, was not landing in complete darkness. Nor was it flying 2,400 km over Antarctica, in a bid to rescue two sick workers from one of the most isolated human outposts on the planet.
No, the hardest part was taking off.
To reach the Pole’s Amundsen-Scott research station on June 21, the Calgary-based crew left from Rothera, a British station on the Antarctic coast - and immediately had to navigate a slim, snowy runway, mountainous scenery and icebergs jutting into the air.
“It wasn’t a ‘holy cow, we have to get out of the road’ kind of thing,” said Wallace Dobchuk, the flight captain. “(But) it could have been a problem if we had any mechanical issues on take-off. Once we got past that, we were into total darkness.”
Through it all, they emerged safely, and won praise from Antarctic research veterans for their tenacity and courage.
The National Post spoke with Dobchuk, first officer Sebastian Trudel and engineer Michael McCrae days after the crew returned to Calgary - two weeks after their dramatic mission came to an end.
What conditions did you encounter on the South Pole flight?
Dobchuk: It was a calm morning at Rothera, with overcast skies. During our two-hour preparation period, the weather started to deteriorate. I couldn’t really tell what the sky was doing, with it being dark. But the wind picked up to about 50 km/h.
By the time we departed, we were almost thinking we would miss our weather window to leave there, because we knew there was another frontal system moving in that day into Rothera. We were trying to get out in front of it.
We got up into cruise and basically just cruised along in smooth conditions for the entire flight. The farther along the trip we went, the colder it got. The whole flight took 9.6 hours.
How did you decide when to leave for the South Pole?
Dobchuk: I think the weather we wanted was more based on Rothera. The South Pole, we knew was going to be good for a couple days - cold and clear. It was forecast to be quite cold in the South Pole, around -70 C, so we were hoping to get there before that.
But Rothera was our big one. It’s a coastal base, and the weather there is more of a factor. There are high winds. It’s in mountainous terrain. The runway is only 2,800 feet long. On the end of it is an area where icebergs typically gather. We actually had one of the icebergs lit up with Ski-Doos, these all-terrain vehicles. We pulled a couple of those down that belonged to the British guys, and they lit up the one iceberg that was right off the end of the runway.
The direction we took is actually northbound, straight towards a glacier and mountainous area. We know that’s coming, but we can’t see it. We had to make a turn back the other direction out over the water, where there’s a lot of wind flow coming off the glacier.
Turning downwind out over the bay at a low altitude is probably the most uncomfortable thing of the whole trip - the first five, 10 minutes.
What was landing at the South Pole like?
Trudel: The folks there, they groomed a real nice ski way. They used their tractors, whatever equipment they had there that they could use in the cold. The only difference landing there rather than another airport at night was the darkness around the site.
How dark was it?
Trudel: Just walk in a closet and turn the light off, I guess.
McCrae: There were some pictures taken with high light exposure that really deceived what the actual light looked like to us. The moon was out, but the only real way you could see was with the reflection of the station lights.
Dobchuk: Sebastian and I just briefed for it as if we were in clouds - as if we couldn’t see anything. The whole flight to the South Pole, we were in dark conditions. The window of twilight at Rothera is between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time. We departed prior to that and did the whole thing at night.
How did you feel at the end of the flight?
Trudel: We knew two big flights were behind us - going from Punta Arenas, Chile to Rothera, and then onto the South Pole. We were tired, of course. It’s a long day. But we still had that adrenaline, excitement to get the two flights done and to get the job done.
McCrae: I think everyone was quite happy we arrived at the South Pole. It’s a very rare occurrence this time of year, to get a flight in. To see a few new faces and get the patients out, they were pretty happy to see us show up. Everyone there gave us a good hand. The cooks made us a good meal when we arrived, some good steaks.
Was it tougher than other flights you’ve made?
Trudel: We fly in lots of extreme conditions - summer, winter, fog, ice, snowstorms, we fly around in mountains a lot. All of that together, it worked out really good. If there were a doubt, we’d just consult each other and do the right thing at the right moment.
It’s a big accomplishment that we all pulled off - not only the crew that flew down, but people back in the office, the maintenance, all the logistical work. People were real happy to see us back. It was a little bit of a celebration day, for sure.
From: David Powell, Princes Risborough Subject: Strange or Rare Jobs
I had planned on a lazy couple of hours in the garden making the most of this year’s summer. However, a cursory check of the emails produced your latest topic, and that stirred the old grey cells.
Before moving on from the RAF in 1993, I had a career advice session during which I mentioned that what I really wanted to do was voice-over narration on videos about railways. I was told in no uncertain terms to forget that daft day dream as the world was full of out of work actors clamouring for that line of work. Well to cut to the quick, three months later I had blagged myself a gig with Transport Video Publishing and 23 years later and I have notched up some 195 programmes, some three quarters of a million words, mostly with TVP. On the back of the voice work I have also moved into doing the sound editing and mixing on my programmes as well as script writing and research
Working with TVP has led to some interesting ‘in vision’ work which included driving preserved mainline diesels.
The voice work has led to some unusual projects, included being the ‘voice’ of Thomas the Tank Engine via a strategically placed loudspeaker on the platform while hiding in the signal-box for a Peak Railway ‘Thomas Weekend’ at Darley Dale near Matlock.
I also provided the recorded voice for the life size manikin of Col Holman Stephens in the Stephens Museum at Tenterden in Kent. I am also to be heard each November at the National Model Railway Exhibition at the Birmingham NEC where I work the PA and run the exhibition control room.
On another occasion I was on a marketing prospecting trip to The Fire College at Morton on the Marsh where an ex-boss was now a senior wheel. I arrived at the security post and gave my name and was immediately frog marched into an already darkened committee room where things had already started but ‘... they are expecting you!’ The briefing made little sense and when the lights came on, there was no sign of my networking contact. Just my luck to choose to go to the Fire College when there were two visitors scheduled on the same day at the same time with the same name!
Consultancy introduced me to executive and middle management coaching which in turn morphed into 12 years as a part time university lecturer. I only gave that up last year. Lecturing is fun and rewarding (but not financially in terms of the effort and hours, especially preparing lectures, setting assignments and exam questions and marking). But what was a bit unusual was the range of subjects I found myself deivering under the general headings of management and logistics. My last contract was supervising a Masters’ dissertation on grain transportation strategies in Kazakhstan. He passed! I have also became a university course assessor (not a vacancy normally advertised at the job centre) for a professional institute, the Association for Project Management. I am off to Bournemouth University to assess one of their courses for APM accreditation at the end of the month.
On reflection, it is interesting to note that, except for my first lecturing contract, I never got one job by responding to a job advert; it was all through networking or chance, being at the right place talking to the right person at the appropriate time.
Meanwhile, best wishes, stay safe, and have fun.
David Powell F Team UKMAMS 1967-69
My multi-portfolio existence has included consultancy work. Shortly after retiring, one study meant I had to go and interview my old job at the MoD. My successor’s comment was to say that he had to go to an urgent meeting, so would I leave some of notes of what he should have said as he still hadn’t finished reading the hand-over notes.
C-130J: One Aircraft, Many Missions
From: Richard Lloyd, Dalgety Bay Subject: Strange or Rare Jobs since leaving the RAF
In 1980, I joined BAe Hatfield as a salesperson or 'Regional Marketing Executive' at Hatfield on the sales team for the BAe 146, short-haul, 90-110 seat, 4 jet engine commuter liner with French-speaking Africa as my territory. But this story is not about that time, but a time which was to come later.
I got pretty fed up with BAe for a number of reasons, among which was their astonishing messing system, consisting of no less than 6 levels of eating according to the subtleties of rank and position which were beyond me.
So in 1980 I joined a little company who had done our sales training, AMM by name, and run by a man called Edgar Francis whose immediate background was IBM, but who had been one of that very rare breed, a National Service Meteor night fighter pilot. Edgar and I got on very well indeed, and in due course, he and I delivered the initial and ongoing sales and support team training for Airbus Industrie in Toulouse and Hamburg.
At that time Edgar owned a Piper Cherokee 6 and we regularly flew to Toulouse from Elstree in support of our client. As time went on, our relationship with Airbus deepened and we also started to work with their training arm, Aeroformation. Edgar later traded in the Piper for a Beech Baron, rather more reliable for the long flog to Toulouse.
Our aviation expertise led also to work with BAe Kingston and I am glad to say I had the privilege of training the Hawk, Harrier and Sea Harrier sales teams at Kingston and Dunsfold over a couple of years. Nothing compares with trying to deliver a training course with a Harrier hovering outside the training room window!
It was always exciting to embark on a new training event with Airbus, and I look back with great pleasure on my time with AMM, and the amazing people I met and worked with at Airbus and later at BAe.
Richard (Dick) Lloyd
From: John Guy, Northampton Subject: The Topic of Strange or Rare Jobs
After leaving the service my civilian job was neither strange, or rare, but my reason for writing will eventually become apparent. I was taken on by a firm that had been in existence for over a hundred years, it was then taken over and six of us were made redundant. So at the age of 61 years and with a mortgage to pay I looked for another occupation. I came across an advert where the Police were looking for six part-time Traffic Wardens, that is how I found myself back in uniform as Traffic Warden 6 based at Campbell Square Police Station, Northampton.
One day I was on duty in the centre of Northampton, when I came upon a car parked on double yellow lines. I politely informed the driver where he might be able to legally park and he drove off. Not 20 minutes later I found the same car parked in another location, but still on double yellow lines. This time I politely explained that he would have to move, or I would issue a ticket. He and the female, presumably his wife, got out of the car, there followed a brief conversation between us whilst the driver explained why he needed to remain in the town centre. I accepted this explanation, but still politely told him that he would have to move. Then the female said to the driver, “Darling, I think that we have an ex military person that we are dealing with.” She thought that I was ex-army, to which I said “How dare you!” To cut a long story short, it turned out that he was ex RAF, once employed as OC Cargo, RAF Brize Norton. Anybody recognise the name Flt Lt Jeffress H Jones Bsc RAF Rtd? After all this I gave him a blue card to display on the dashboard, which was my permission for the vehicle to remain for a further one hour without fear of being moved on.
Following this the Chief Constable received a cheque to be donated to an appropriate police charity. In the accompanying letter he explained that whilst delivering his son to Nene College he was having a bit of bother in Northampton when he came upon Traffic Warden 6 who was endlessly kind and efficient in providing help. I apparently displayed generosity of spirit which would surely be common for all Traffic Wardens in Northampton, furthermore my appearance and bearing was an example for all!
One very sunny afternoon I was on patrol in Northampton close to a local park when I came upon a motorist legally parked and with a map draped across the bonnet. I asked if I could be of any help, & he told me that he couldn’t make sense of the map. I enquired as to his destination, but couldn’t make any sense of the map either. Then I asked him if he knew where he was, to which he replied yes, Norwich!
In Northampton again, a lorry driver asked me for directions, I explained that he would have to negotiate a one way system, when I realised that it was partially on my way back to the police station. I asked if I could ride with him. During the short time I was with him I became aware that he had been a coffee jockey on VC10’s at Brize Norton.
Finally, in Northampton again a mystified motorist asked if I could help him locate the address that he was looking for, having told me that there was no building, only a big space. It came to light that he was in the correct street, and there was a space where he expected to visit. I asked him where he thought he was, he replied Kettering! At this revelation he was not a happy hector, having just paid to park the car.
John Guy (ex Tango Whisky 6)
From: Keith Parker, Bowerhill,Wilts Subject: Strange or Rare Jobs
Here's a picture taken sometime in early 2000 of a bunch of ex-RAF Movers.
We were working for DynCorp Traffic Management and were located in Thumrait, Oman. We had responsibility for the USAF pre-positioning program in Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.
In Oman we had sites in Seeb, Masirah and Thumrait where we were. We handled all sorts of US aircraft, mainly C130's. We also loaded trucks and the occasional ship. In short, it was the sort of job that would suit any red blooded ex-MAMS guy!
Pictured are: Keith Parker, Don Hazlewood, Al Irving, Nigel Clewley and Gordon Hepworth.
From: Peter Orton, Camberley, Surrey Subject: NEAF MAMS on Safari
Given custody of an army Landrover, several jerry cans of fuel and water, the odd case of Tusker beer and Coca Cola, Blue Team NEAF MAMS bravely followed in the steps of Stanley and Livingstone.
There were some excellent photo opportunities, but in Tsavo National Park, Kenya, we were getting bored with with elephant, giraffe and variations of gazelles; not to mention Dik-Dik and colourful baboons. We wanted lions! We had come across some spotty pussy cats having a snooze (we never did work out if they were leopards or cheetah). We craved a little excitement!
It was the sighting of a rare white rhino that got our attention. Sammy was driving, and having assessed the surface of the bondu, gently closed in on 4 tons of armour plated hostile mammal. I tried to explain the principal of a telephoto lenses, but the rest of the team convinced me that rhinos were vegan; I just hoped it knew. We got ever closer...
The Rhino is of course short sighted, relying on sense of smell. As we closed in, the horned beast started to show a mild interest in us. I assume that pheromones of 6 sweaty movers resembled those of a female rhino. The aforementioned 4 tons of horny heavy armour became aroused and started to take an unhealthy interest in Aktotiri's finest. I think he had the honest desire to procreate.
Despite a common misconception, a Landrover can outrun a charging rhino. 'Swift to Move' - Sammy proved it! What followed was the finest white-knuckle cross-country ride of a lifetime! The resulting tense silence was potentially toxic.
Now was the time for a good leader to refocus the team. Our attention was directed to the bright blue tail and the fully deployed main gear of a patriarchal male baboon. Frankie's perfectly timed "Look at the stones on that!" became my life-time recovery trigger in future times of tension.
Life lessons so hardly won
Nostalgia was so much better then.
Pictured: 1973, Blue Team, NEAF MAMS, Frank Holmes, Peter Herring, Pete Cowan, Neil Middleton and Colin (Sammy) Allan. Pete Orton was behind the camera.
Timelapse: Royal Air Force 50 Years of C-130 Paint Scheme Application
In July 2016, a Royal Air Force (RAF) C-130J Super Hercules received a special paint livery to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the delivery of the RAF's first C-130 Hercules. Take a look at how this design was applied at Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group's facility in Cambridge, UK.
From: John Tudor, Stevenston, Ayrshire Subject: Baz Chappell
I have known Baz for 50 years and have spent many a merry night in Brize, Lyneham, Aldergrove and latterly in Vegas. I had lost contact with him for a good few years until his name appeared on the OBA and contact was rekindled. He and his wife (Peggy) made us so welcome when we visited and they came over here and we took them to his old stomping ground which unfortunately was the last time he came over the pond.
He will be sadly missed by all who knew him as even as the cancer was getting worse he never stopped smiling.
This newsletter is dedicated to the memory of Baz Chappell