From: John Guy, Northampton
To: Ian Berry, West Swindon
Sent: 4 October 2011 07:13
Subject: El Adem Visit
The above unit was one that I never got to visit during my time in the RAF.
The pictures were very interesting, in particular one named Aaron Block. Was it named after Arthur Aaron VC DFM?, a 21 years old Stirling bomber pilot?
From: John Belcher, Chippenham
Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2011 10:03
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 090211
Bit late I know but this is Bruce Oram being towed around the Movements School on his last day.
The Station Commander dove by to the Officer’s Mess as Bruce was being pulled along. I can’t remember now if he helped to make sure Bruce left or carried on by laughing.
A few of the names include Sandie Sanderson, Rod Morgan, Andy Machell, Kev Ellis, Mick Sulliavan, Dave Morrow, Rob Norrey, Mark Simpson, Taff Howell
Not sure if this is one of the photos I took or not but if it was - my photo skills have improved since then honest!
From: Thomas Geoghegan, Folkstone
Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2011 14:05
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #092311
Was surprised to discover that a Heavy Lift Belfast freighter still survives!
We at British Airways had a contract with HeavyLift UK to transport RB211 engines. Formerly we would strap them to B747 wing as a 5th pod kit for transportation down the line; this practice ceased as Boeing discovered the kits were causing too much strain on the wing. Once had the pleasure of strapping an engine down on the HeavyLift aircraft.
However we eventually ended up using a Russian freight airline subcontracted from HeavyLift as the old Belfast aircraft had a lot of unserviceability.
After that we contracted Air Partner, a much more professional outfit. Poor old Belfast, never allowed to reach its potential, stop gap to keep Shorts going: wings, tail and engines were hand- me-downs from other aircraft, even the furniture equipment side guidance system, winch etc., too many rivals around at the time. Did enjoy my piece of fame lashing down that engine though, brought back good memories.
Thomas (Tod) Geoghegan
Lockheed pitches retired C-5As to commercial market
The US Air Force has some big decisions to make soon about strategic airlifters. The backlog for the Boeing C-17A Globemaster III runs dry in 2014. That year also is the current expiration date for the Lockheed Martin C-5M programme, which is converting about 50 C-5B models to the re-engined and more reliable M-model configuration.
Perhaps sensing little immediate enthusiasm by the USAF to buy yet more strategic airlifters, Boeing and Lockheed are seeking to extend those products as long as possible.
For Lockheed, the solution may lie in the commercial market, said Jim Grant, vice president for air mobility. The USAF plans to retire between 22 and 32 C-5As within the next two years. Lockheed is proposing to offer these aircraft to either allies or commercial freighter companies.
The Antonov An-124 has proven a market exists for a C-5-sized airlifter to move heavy and out-size cargo. The USAF, in fact, is one of the An-124 operator Volga-Dnepr's biggest customers. The C-5A is likely far more expensive to operate than the An-124, but Grant has a possible solution. The C-5A could be modified to the M-configuration, which includes installing four new General Electric CF6-80C2 turbofans. That upgrade will make the C-5 competitive on price with other outsize cargo freighters in the commercial market.
In 2015, the cost to build and install the C-5M upgrades will be about $100 million per aircraft. The USAF has estimated the C-5A airframe will be viable through about 2030. Compare that to the cost of a new Boeing 747-8F, which is currently about $319.3 million for a 30- to 40-year airframe. Buying new An-124s would likely be cheaper, but is a non-starter for US-based freighter companies.
Grant's commercialization strategy also happens to serve the dual purpose of keeping Lockheed's reliability enhancement and reengining programme (RERP) for the C-5 going for perhaps one or two more years. Perhaps then the USAF may consider upgrading the last 30 or 40 remaining C-5As, which at that point will have about 10 years of service life left.
Converting US military airlifters into commercial freighters is no sure bet. The BC-17 concept was marketed aggressively by the USAF and Boeing for a decade, but was essentially dead on arrival. Lockheed had more success converting the C-130 into the L-100 for the commercial aircraft, but its success was marginal compared to the military programme. Over 30 years, Lockheed delivered only 114 L-100s.
The Dew Line
Boeing is working on collecting even more foreign orders for the C-17A. Meanwhile, Lockheed has some new ideas for preserving the life of the C-5M production line.
From: John Belcher, Chippenham
Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2011 10:27
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 070111
Even later reply than the last one!
This was, as Andy Brookes said, taken in Belize in 1989, 14 July 1989 to be precise, after the monthly run to Homestead Air Force Base to resupply LOX in Belize.
The crew would do the normal Belize sched and then fly 2 empty LOX tanks and an empty pallet to Homestead, nightstop, then return the full tanks and pallet of shopping back to Belize before continuing with the normal sched. The shopping was stuff for the few families and messes.
The movers in Belize took it in turns to go to Homestead for a break and have a night away from Belize; normally a Cpl and 1 SAC. By the time my turn came up, it was less than a week before I was due home. George decided that neither of the Cpls, Taff Howell or Bill Barrett, were suitable people to look after me and said he would come with me.
We had a quiet night with a meal and a couple of drinks before going back to the hotel. I got to my room and decided that it was far too early to go to bed so went next door to a bar for another beer.
I got talking to a couple who said they were off to Key Largo and did I want to come along? After being reassured that they were coming back that night and I wasn’t going to get stranded, they drove me in their open top sports car to a bar in Key Largo where I ended up sitting on a little pier drinking beer with them. Next morning I made it for transport, admittedly a little the worse for wear….
The bloke on the left is the Techie stationed at Belize who looked after the LOX, other than that the names were as Andy said.
There was some talk that the LOX tanks weren’t standard hence why JATE did this task. They took some photos and used some things to measure angles of the chains and said it was all fine. The crew did let slip about not having nightstopped in Homestead before…
From: Charles Collier, Devizes
Sent: Monday, September 26, 2011 08:56
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 092311
Tony, I believe this photo is from 1968 at RAF Abingdon and was the Queen's Review of the RAF.
The picture I've attached is of the Royal car with sovereign inside which I took on the day.
I was there on the Air Movements Course at the time or was the SAMO RAF Abingdon after the course I can't remember which!
Canada Retries Fixed-Wing SAR Aircraft
Canada has restarted its politically charged procurement of search-and-rescue aircraft to replace its aging fleet of de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Buffalo and Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules transports.
The Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) project has been overhauled significantly since becoming mired in controversy over claims the Department of National Defense (DND) was limiting competition and the potential for Canadian industrial participation.
After essentially sole-source procurements of Boeing C-17 transports, CH-47F heavy-lift helicopters and C-130J airlifters — and a decision to proceed with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter without competition — politicians accused the DND of directing the FWSAR procurement toward Alenia’s C-27J.
Following a meeting with industry in July 2009, the government agreed to an independent assessment of the stated FWSAR requirements by Canada’s National Research Council (NRC). Released in March 2010, its report concluded the requirements were over-constrained, and recommended DND adopt a capability-based approach.
Outlined to industry in mid-August, the new competitive procurement strategy provides more flexibility to propose service-provision as well as aircraft-acquisition solutions, to offer mixed-fleet proposals and to suggest changes to where the Royal Canadian Air Force’s SAR aircraft are now based. The SAR fleet comprises six CC-115 Buffalos based at Comox, British Columbia, and six CC-130H Hercules based at Greenwood in Nova Scotia, Trenton in Ontario and Winnipeg in Manitoba.
Following the NRC’s recommendations, operational requirements for the FWSAR replacement aircraft have been strengthened to make key elements mandatory, such as a rear loading ramp to increase parachute-jump safety for SAR technicians.
In addition to the C-27J and larger C-130J already operated by Canada, potential candidates include the Airbus Military C295 and a next-generation DHC-5NG development of the Buffalo previously proposed by British Columbia-based Viking Air.
Airbus Military C295
Under the DND’s new approach, industry was invited to comment by Sept. 16 on the procurement strategy and the potential for alternate ways of providing SAR service. More than 20 responses were received, according to one potential bidder.
Toward the end of the year, following completion of the options analysis now under way, the DND is expected to seek government approval to proceed with the FWSAR procurement.
The requirement calls for initial operational capability by the time the Buffalos are scheduled to be retired in 2015, and full operational capability when the CC-130Hs are planned to be withdrawn, in 2017.
From: Terry Mulqueen, Hastings
Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 11:57
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #092311
Just read Ian Berry's piece and photos of El Adem. What struck me was how things must have changed in the 9 odd years between my tour there (1960-62) and his.
He shows a photo of Aaron Block accomodation----how I wish I had been so fortunate. My first year was spent in the luxury of a 6 man tent, and then I moved to an upmarket "Nissen Hut" which while more solid was not much better.
I remember some American tourists were diverted to "Hell" Adem with a u/s aircraft. They stayed with us for 2 days and all remarked on the "squalor" we lived in. Oh happy days. Still my next posting made up for it I suppose---Khormaksar!
From: Ian Berry, West Swindon
Sent: 05 October 2011 21:56
To: John Guy, Northampton, UK
Subject: Re: El Adam Visit
Yes it was named after the VC winner as were all the new blocks at El Adem...
Never got to El A? You led a charmed life!
From: John Guy, Northampton
To: Ian Berry, West Swindon
Sent: 9 October 2011 11:27
Subject: El Adem Visit/Arthur Aaron
Thank you for your e-mail.
Arthur is buried in the military cemetery in Bone North Africa.
I have a personal interest in that Arthur is the one & only ex ATC cadet to be awarded a VC.
For 3 years I was a member of 5F Squadron ATC, then I was called up to do my National Service which actually stretched to 36+ years.
On the night of Thurs 13 Aug 1943 Arthur, aged 21 years, was the captain of an all SNCO crew, flying a Stirling (218 Gold Coast Sqn.) in the company of 150 other aircraft, all on their way to attack Turin. Whilst over the Italian Alps some enemy night fighters staged an attack on our aircraft.
Now it became very necessary to divert to a friendly air base. Consequently the radio operator, my father, broke radio silence and eventually picked up the call sign of RAF Bone. Given a course to follow Allan got them over the base. At this time Arthur insisted on resuming his seat to land the aircraft. The aircraft did make a relatively safe wheels up, bomb doors open, with full bomb load on board, landing. Arthur died of his injuries 9 hours after landing.
Now for some rather light hearted news. In 1945 my father, now commissioned, was to attend an investiture at Buckingham Palace to pick up his DFM. My mother & I (only 12 years old) were to accompany my father by train from Northampton. For the journey can you believe that the Air Ministry issued a 1st class ticket for my father & 2nd class tickets for my mother & I!
In the period leading up to the millennium the people of Leeds, Arthur’s home city, were asked how they would like to mark the occasion, the leading choice being a memorial to Arthur. So on Sat 24 Mar 2001 my sister & I were invited to attend the unveiling of a beautiful memorial depicting a World War II flyer in flying attire of the period, with a nav bag at his feet (yes a nav bag). At the base is a bronze plaque explaining the memorial's existence.
Arthur’s aircraft was severely damaged, the navigator & a gunner were killed in the attack. Arthur’s side of the cockpit also suffered severe damage, whilst Arthur received severe injuries to the entire right hand side of his body. He was removed from his seat & given some basic first aid. Meanwhile Allan Larden, the Canadian bomb aimer, took over flying the aircraft; something which he had not been trained for nor ever attempted before.
Ambulances delivered to Amberley
Everyone knows ambulances help save lives but four new vehicles at the RAAF Amberley Air Force Base have taken that concept to a new level. The new Bushmaster ambulances are designed to give patients and paramedics better protection in combat zones.
Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare said the new vehicles were state of the art. "These ambulances provide blast and ballistic protection.
Federal MP Shayne Neumann applauded the delivery of the vehicles, saying defence personnel deserve the best equipment available.
"This gives patients, paramedics and drivers better protection in high-threat environments," he said.
"These ambulances are fitted with the latest in medical equipment and RAAF personnel will be trained to use the vehicle and equipment in all conditions.
"It's important that both drivers and paramedics can use the vehicle confidently and safely before they are used in operations."
The Bushmaster ambulance is one of seven variants of the Bushmaster vehicle being built for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Sixty three of the four-wheel-drive ambulances are being built for the ADF at a price tag of more than $670,000 a-piece.
The ambulances are specially designed with a 7.2-litre turbocharged engine, black-out curtains and convertible seating for up to four walking wounded patients.
The Bushmaster ambulances are an improvement on the Sprinter ambulances currently used by the Royal Australian Air Force.
The Queensland Times
"That means protection from bullets and artillery fired at the vehicle as well as roadside bombs," Mr Clare said.
From: Graham Leman, Moscow
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 13:01
Subject: Taff Thomas
I would like to add my condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the infamous Taff Thomas.
When I was a very young SAC in Cyprus in the late 70's early 80's, Taff arrived as the AMF WO. He was an amazing man; so friendly, so much trade knowledge and a fantastic and very dry Welsh sense of humour. Friends of mine from other squadrons at Akrotiri were so jealous, as he treated them like movers, like long lost friends, even though they did not work for him. His humour and story telling became legendary amongst us airmen and he was always first on our list for going-away parties.
I will never forget him coming into the cargo shed early one morning, after a rather heavy night out, and asking me, "Ave yer got any medicine down here Scouse?"
"Are you sick Sir, I'll give you a lift to the Med Centre if you want?" I replied.
"A Keo shandy will do me just fine" he laughed.
I'll NEVER forget him.
Graham "Scouse" Leman
Head of Regional Security for Western Russia
From: Helen Thomas, Egham
Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2011 04:25
Subject: Thank you
Thank you very much for the the messages of condolence that you have replied to my sister Julie Clark. We have been very comforted by them at the loss of our father 'Taff' Thomas.
We have taken the liberty of setting up a blog site where we can attach photos and memories in his honour and wanted to give you the details www.taffthomas.blogspot.com
Thank you again and
Helen Thomas (daughter)
Air Movements remain busy over Cyprus as Op Herrick 14 turns to 15
RAF Akrotiri is coping with 2,000 passengers every week as the handover from Op Herrick 14 to 15 continues.
Up to 2,000 passengers pass through RAF Akrotiri every week. From dependants and civil servants flying back for the half term break to personnel coming to and from theatre, the airbase is busy 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Strategically, it acts as a forward mounting base for operations in Afghanistan and more recently over Libya.
British Forces News
From: Gerry Davis, Bedminster
Sent: Sunday, October 09, 2011 14:21
Subject: 4624 Royal Aux. Air Force.
Today, Sunday 9th October 2011, I had the privilege of being invited to a luncheon being held at the AV8 restaurant at Cotswold Airport (formally RAF Kemble). It was for a gathering of retired members of the 4624 (County of Oxford) Movements Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force.
There were 10 former members and their ladies present, plus three other reprobates, Gerry Davis, Brian Kent and an ex mercenary chappy, Malcolm Porter, all three of whom can tell a tale or two about shifting cargo and passengers all over the shop throughout the 60’s and 70’s on all the types of the RAF’s transport aircraft.
The meet-up was organised by Hughie Thompson, an ex Mover and currently the Welfare Officer for the Squadron and the RAFA at Swindon, who incidentally does an amazing job.
No doubt his outstanding personality and his gift of communication in completing this voluntary task must be very rewarding to all the recipients he helps. Honours and gong-issuers please note!
Malcolm Porter, Brian Kent & Gerry Davis at the AV8
After the meal we all ventured off to where Britannia XM 496 is parked up in its retirement. The preservation of The Whispering Giant as the Britannia is affectionately known has been a labour of love for all the volunteers who have taken the XM496 from being close to scrap to a fully restored aircraft.
On board the Britannia, lots of ear bending and general chin wagging was undertaken, together with in-depth introductions, and much hand shaking.
A talk on the history of the Britannia’s and specifically XM496 was given by Eric Healy, Chairman of the Britannia Preservation Society.
This was followed by an address from retired Group Captain Bob Dixon.
Gerry Davis, Hughie Thompson, Bob Dixon & Brian Kent
A group photo was attempted on the aircraft steps, in what seemed like a force 10 gale,
The day went off splendidly and a good time was had by all.
RAAF C-17 working with New Zealand to deliver aid
An RAAF C-17A aircraft from RAAF’s Amberley-based Number 36 Squadron collected a water purification plant from New Zealand and delivered it to Samoa, where a NZDF C-130 aircraft will make several flights to shuttle the equipment to Tuvalu.
The RAAF C-17A departed New Zealand at 9:35 (EDST) 10 October 2011, and landed in the afternoon at Apia in Samoa at 1:20 (EDST).
The ADF is working closely with AusAID and the New Zealand Government to respond to a request for assistance from the Government of Tuvalu.
Tuvalu does not have a runway large enough to support C-17 aircraft movement so the ADF will deliver the equipment to Samoa, from where the NZDF can move smaller loads of the equipment into Tuvalu.
“An integral part of Australia’s air mobility capability, the RAAF’s C-17A fleet has delivered essential heavy-lift air service to a number of humanitarian assistance missions since the first aircraft was delivered to the ADF in 2006,” Air Marshal Geoff Brown, Chief of Air Force, said.
This year, the RAAF C-17A has provided support to Queensland and Victoria following floods in both States.
It also provided heavy-lift capability to New Zealand following an earthquake in Christchurch and more recently provided assistance to Japan following this year’s earthquake and tsunami.
“This most recent humanitarian assistance activity demonstrates the close relationship between the ADF and NZDF,” Air Marshal Brown said.
“Our interoperability also demonstrates how our countries can work quickly to support humanitarian assistance activities in the region.”
On 14 September, the Minister for Defence took delivery of RAAF's fifth C-17A at Boeing's Long Beach production facility near Los Angeles.
On 23 September, the Minister announced that Australia had sent a Letter of Request to the United States regarding the potential purchase of an additional C-17A, which would give the Australian Government increased options to support a wider range of contingencies that might require heavy-lift aircraft, such as this.
BYM Marine Environment News
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) have together delivered a water purification plant from New Zealand to Tuvalu to help alleviate seriously depleted supplies of fresh water
From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 05:33
Subject: NSRAF Cosford
We had a good day at Cosford and as usual a good turnout, probably over 60 bods 'on parade'
Our visiting speaker Trevor Morris is a veteran from my days in the RAF. He was called up in
1950 to do his two years National Service and he elected to go for aircrew selection, very
unusual as very few two year wallahs were accepted. Anyhow he was sent to Hornchurch where
he became an Aircrew Cadet and was to train as a signaler/w/op
He went to Cranwell and then on to No 2 Air Signals School at Halfpenny Green and had to do
nine months training and the first thing he had to learn the morse code and had to get up to
twenty words a minute sending and receiving. He also had to learn to operate an Aldis lamp as
he would be involved in air sea rescue.
At the end of this he gained his Signaller's brevet and was promoted to sergeant. So with just
over a years service left to to do he flew in Lincolns on air sea rescue. He told us that the rescue
pack that would be dropped, in addition to containing the necessary gear, also had 60
cigarettes in it!
During his training he flew in the Anson, Varsity and Valetta.
Hope the foregoing is of interest
RAF Puma celebrates
The Puma helicopter, currently serving with 33 and 230 Squadrons at RAF Benson, has seen stalwart service over its forty-year career, deploying on operations, exercises and humanitarian relief efforts across the world.
"It's been used in Mozambique to provide humanitarian relief, it's supported NATO in Bosnia and Kosovo, it's supported British and American troops in both Gulf wars; it's pretty much been everywhere that British forces have been in the last four decades."
Current personnel were joined by a few older but familiar faces for the official celebrations, including Mr Noel Fletcher, who flew as an air loadmaster in the Puma when it came into service in 1971.
Mr Fletcher is adamant that the Puma is still as fit for purpose today as it was when he first had the privilege to fly in the aircraft. He said:
"It's got good carrying-capacity for troops, it's got good carrying-capacity for loads, internal and external, and from an operators' point of view we found role-changing very much easier than the Wessex it replaced.
"Did I anticipate that the Puma would still be here 40 years later? Why not, it's a good workhorse!"
Flight Lieutenant James Mastin, a pilot and standards officer with 33 Squadron, believes that the Puma aircraft he flies has a rather unique ability that has not been replicated in other RAF assets introduced during the Puma's 40-year service career. He explains:
"I think compared to other larger helicopters, the Puma has a rather niche role in that it can land in smaller, tighter spaces. It's quite a quick helicopter comparatively speaking, but also a simple helicopter - it does exactly what it says on the tin."
Group Captain Richard Mason, the Station Commander at RAF Benson and the Puma Force Commander, said: "Right from the early days of the troubles in Northern Ireland, right through to the end of combat operations in Iraq, Puma has really been the backbone of our medium-lift helicopter capability.
A new member joining us recently is:
Denis Culver, Trenton, ON, Canada
Welcome to the OBA!
From: Ian Berry, West Swindon
Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2011 09:41
Subject: Bill Halford
I just learned that Bill Halford died on 26 May following a battle with a cancer-related illness
Bill was one of the original Team Leaders on UKMAMS at Abingdon and have tried to find his dates.
Eventually I will but in meanwhile suspect Ian Stacey may have the missing info?
I met Bill at a TEARS (El Adem) reunion and we met at every reunion since...
From: Ian Stacey, Sleepy Hollow, IL
Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2011 10:24
Subject: Re: Bill Halford
Of course I knew Bill Halford during my time on UKMAMS.
I have very vague recollections of attending his wedding, however I did not keep in touch with him. Nigel Healy did keep in touch with him and about twenty years ago when my wife and I were visiting Nigel Healy at his home in the Lake District, Bill and his wife came over to dinner, I believe that they lived fairly close to Nigel. That was the last time I saw him. As you know Nigel passed away several years ago and so that tenuous link was severed.
Sorry I can't be more helpful. I'm sorry to hear about Bill and if you have any contact with Christine please pass on my condolences.
Bill Halford 1940 - 2011
Australian Government requests pricing for RAAF C-27J purchase
The Federal Government has confirmed it has requested pricing and availability of 10 Alenia
C-27J tactical transport aircraft for the RAAF.
The Air 8000 Phase 2 Battlefield Airlifter (BFA) project aims to replace the tactical airlift capability left vacant by the retirement of the RAAF’s DHC Caribou in December 2009, and has been put off by successive governments over a period of more than 20 years.
The C-130H and C-130J Hercules operated by Richmond based 37SQN have to some extent fulfilled this role in recent years, but the Hercules lacks the short field performance and is much heavier than the Caribou or its possible replacements, while helicopters lack the range or speed of a fixed wing aircraft.
In a statement released on October 19, Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Defence Materiel Minister Jason Clare said the formal request was being sent now because production of 38 C-27Js for the US Air National Guard was coming to an end. “Due to the pending closure of the production line for US Air National Guard aircraft the Government has authorised Defence to issue a non-binding/no-commitment Letter of Request seeking price and availability information on the C-27J,” the statement reads.
While Defence was unable to confirm at time of writing to which organisation the request had been submitted, the ministerial statement suggests the C-27J may be acquired through the US Foreign Military Sales process. This would give Australia an opportunity to tie into the US’s sustainment and upgrade program for its fleet, as well as giving greater economies of scale for both operators.
Recent media reports suggest US politicians are pushing for an increase in the US ANG fleet to as many as 75 C-27Js, as the type is now in operation in Afghanistan and has proven to be far more economical than the larger C-130 with typical loads. The C-27J shares common engines and cockpit avionics architecture with the C-130J.
The formal request doesn’t mean the C-27J has been selected to fulfil the Air 8000 Phase requirement over Airbus’s rival C295. “The information from the Letter of Request will inform Government consideration of capability, cost and schedule issues associated with this project as well as consideration of the acquisition strategy, including whether a roader tender process will be pursued,” the ministerial statement said.
3.11pm 19/10/11: Defence has confirmed that Australia’s letter of request for 10 C-27Js was submitted to the US Government, which means it would likely be an FMS sale through the US Air Force.
But the RAAF is known to have long favoured the more rugged structure and larger cargo hold of the C-27J over the smaller but longer C295, and is likely to push for a sole-source selection. The statement says it expects a response to the request by February 2012, after which “careful consideration of all the options will then proceed.” The statement has also for the first time officially acknowledged that Defence is developing options to retain the C-130H fleet – of which about eight aircraft are operational out of a core fleet of 12 – beyond its planned retirement in 2013 out to 2016.
From: Bruce Oram, Alicante
Sent: Monday, October 17, 2011 12:19
Subject: Please Sign this Petition - HM Forces
This petition should be signed by all HM Forces - we need 100,000 signatures for the Government to sit up and listen!
Next year the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal will be presented to service personnel, emergency service personnel and prison officers with more than five years service.There are no plans to award the medal to veterans, many of whom have given a lot more than five years' service during the reign of Her Majesty.
This petition asks that the medal should also be awarded to veterans who served Her Majesty during her 60 years on the throne. Click on the link and please sign it.
From: Charles Cormack, Lyneham Village
Sent: Friday, October 21, 2011 16:07
Just been up in Aberdeen and went to see one of the very early movers, a certain Bill Sheehan and both he and his wife Sandra are in fine fettle and he goes online.
He was on MAMS in 1962 and was incarcerated with me at Akrotiri during the first evacuation in '64 when I was attached to the MAMS team from JATNE Nicosia, but that's another story.
Former RAAF 707s flown out by Omega
The aircraft are initially bound for different locations in the US. N624RH – the final RAAF 707 to be retired – will fly to Brunswick in Georgia where it will receive a major check before entering service with Omega early next year. For the short term, it will retain its wingtip mounted hose and drogue refuelling pods, but it is planned to convert this to Omega’s twin point fuselage mounted hose and drogue system at a later date. N629RH will fly to Omega’s San Antonio home base in Texas where it will also receive a major service and will be equipped with the twin point system, and is expected to enter service with Omega in late 2012.
N623RH will initially be placed in storage at Victorville in California for about two years, but is scheduled to be the first of the three aircraft to be re-engined with P&W JT8 engines – common to the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 airliner – which provide 20 per cent more thrust, are Stage 4 noise compliant, and consume 30 per cent less fuel than the current P&W TF33s. It is not known whether the other jets will be re-engined.
Omega has also acquired the RAAF’s former 707 simulator which is located at Richmond. The sim is scheduled to be removed from the 285SQN simulator building with the assistance of CAE Australia in early November, and transported by ship to the US before being installed at the Pan Am training facility in Las Vegas. It is expected the sim will be installed and certified by March next year.
The RAAF retired the last of its 707s from service on June 30 2008. On that day, the operating squadron 33SQN ceased operations at Richmond, and stood up the following day at Amberley to prepare for the delivery of the first Airbus KC-30A MRTTs. But the MRTT delivery has been delayed by more than two and a half years, with the first example arriving in June this year.
During the interim period, the RAAF has been forced to use USAF tankers or to lease Omega’s 707 and KDC-10 tankers for major exercises and deployments, and for the Super Hornet delivery flights. Omega lost one of its two 707s in a fiery crash on takeoff at NAS Pt Mugu near Los Angeles in May this year.
Omega personnel arrived at Richmond in June this year for an initial survey, and were followed in September by maintenance and flight crews to begin working and training on the 707s. Simulator training was conducted on the former RAAF sim, and flight tests and an FAA inspection were conducted in the week prior to departure. Anecdotal reports suggest the aircraft were in relatively good condition considering they were only placed in preservation storage designed to last six month, with few new parts and just one engine change between the three being required to make them airworthy.
Two former RAAF Boeing 707 tanker transports have departed Richmond where they have been laid up for over three years, bound for a new home in the US with Omega Air Services.
The aircraft – N624RH which was formerly A20-624, and N629RH which was A20-629 – departed Richmond about 20 minutes apart on October 23 bound for the US via Pago Pago and Hawaii.
A third 707 – N623RH, formerly A20-623 – is scheduled to depart Richmond by October 26 after a delaminated rudder trim tab has been repaired.
All three are former Qantas 707-338Cs which were acquired by the RAAF in the 1980s, and all three were placed on the US register in June this year.
From: Gerry Davis, Bedminster
Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2011 07:51
Subject: Times gone by
Have things changed since my days as an Air Mover? The daily life as I knew it, during my stint as an Air Mover (Humper and Dumper) whilst serving both on Air Movements sections and MAMS, came to an end in 1971. So, seeing as that’s more than a fortnight ago, can I just reflect on some of the finer aspect of the joys of all the toil and trouble that I had to undergo?
I see that Fat Albert, the C130 Hercules, is still around, although some of them have been stretched a bit, together with some newer models that you can now play with.
Then there is that colossal American thingy, The C17 Globemaster 111, the size of the aircraft amazes me; that should give the modern movers a challenge filling it up. When is someone going to invite me to have a good shufty around one?
Should I mention the VC10 and its contribution? Well, what can this old Mover say, other than to comment that most civil airports would ban it from their skies as it is just too noisy. I came across my first one whilst in Nairobi, in BOAC colours, during the Oil lift in 1965.
Now look what the future holds for you? Those new types of aircraft which you will no doubt have to sweat on will be coming on line before too long. That’s if the defence cuts don’t get at you!
I understand that ‘Condec’s and the 12,000 lb fork lifts are still in regular use and very useful they are too. Do the movers still drive them these days? Ah… the joys of being in possession of a F1629. (Airfield Driving Permit).
I bet that the challenges sweat and tears in fulfilling the many tasks that are thrust upon all the young movers nowadays (They are all younger than me!) are just as tiring and frustrating as ever. In those early days of the trade, there were such titles as ‘Air Movements Clerks’, they could reach the dizzy heights of corporal. To progress further they had to take the Suppliers course. Air Movements was an offshoot of trade group 18.
People like me, started off as Boy Entrants. I was a 29th Entry Supplier 11. It wasn’t long before I found myself on Air Movements, with other Blanket Stackers.
It may be hard for the modern Mover to understand, that a lot of the old movement shifters received absolutely no training at all, and had to undergo ‘On the job familiarization’ and completing a tour on Movements, before being placed on an Air Movements Course. In those early days I was continually amazed to be serving with SNCO’s and others,who had no idea about loading aircraft, or not even possessing a driving licence, civilian or the RAF type. As I saw things, it meant that to actually do the MAMS/Air Movements work on aircraft, there were only three team members who got their hands dirty, the Cpl. and the two lads. I wonder if the frustrations within the trade these days are similar to what they used to be. Oh well, I suppose we can find fault in everything.
I remember the paperwork that was required. There was of course a trim sheet, a separate one for each type of aircraft. Even longer ago there was a weight and balance sheet which tackled the brain box a bit.
Then there were the manifests, a yellow one for freight and a pink one for passengers. You had to write them out firstly by hand, and then make out masses of copies on that ‘stinky’ awful hand wrenched copier, making sure that the copies lined up with the original. Incidentally you could get a jolly good ‘HIGH’ on the smell of the copier fluid. Just as an after thought, at that time they used these copiers in Civvy Street too, so if you were partial to a spot of sniffing, you could carry on!
There was always the possibility that your next posting would be back to some EPAS or stores or POL or whatever. The thought of which used to scare the daylights out of me.
Then after I had left all the excitement and the joy of fulfilling my movement’s stint, I took the shilling and departed off into the great unknown. (Civil aviation actually) Having got rid of me they, (The powers that be) the blighters, managed to organise at long last a separate trade of ‘Air Movements.
Ah the memories!
Keep your powder dry.
Then there is, or was, the Argosy, Andover/748, Britannia, Beverley, Belfast, Comet’s, Hastings, Valletta’s, Pembrokes and Twin Pioneers together with the many civil airlines on charter work, all of which managed to complement my apprenticeship within the air movements world.
I laboured on them all and they took me to places I would not have ordinarily gone to. Some I wish I hadn’t.
From: Tony Street, Buffalo, NY
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2011 01:57
Subject: Meeting Ken Davie in Singapore
It started out innocently enough with Deb and I heading over to Marina Bay Sands Casino to meet Ken Davie for a quick sundowner, prior to our leaving.
After an hour or so of this, it was time for coffee and brandy while taking our goodbyes with promises to do it again soon.
Another day in Paradise!
We started out on the 57th floor Sky Park where one turned into several as we took in the breathtaking 360* view of the eternity pool and the Singapore skyline while, idly, discussing your character, and wishing you were here.
As darkness fell, we repaired to the hotel's modest (1/2 hectare) buffet. In spite of there being only 87 choices of starters, 127 mains and a lot of dessert choices, we were able to find something to tickle our palettes.
This was washed down with a few bottles of the house's best reds, reminiscent of the old MAMS days.
East meets West - Ken Davie and Tony Street
We finished our discussion re your character and moved on to more interesting MAMS "War stories," boring Debi stiff.
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