About 120 survivors from Palu, the Indonesian city devastated by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and tsunami inside our C-130H (NZ) Hercules.
For aircraft captain Flight Lieutenant Dave Natapu, being able to help babies and young children escape the quake-ravaged Indonesian city of Palu with their parents was the most rewarding part of being deployed as part of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) recent humanitarian aid mission.
“We are glad that we were there at the beginning and delivered aid to where it was needed most.”
During their week-long deployment, the NZDF detachment and a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft transported about 70 tonnes of aid and evacuated 160 survivors from Palu.
"There was a palpable sense of relief from the evacuees when they got into our Herc. They erupted in cheers and gave the thumbs-up sign before we took off."
Royal New Zealand Air Force
From: John Guy, Northampton Subject: Australia
I just had to write concerning the latest Newsletter [August issue - there was not one in September] on the above subject. Until I read it I had no idea just how much the RAF was involved.
Now I can’t help wondering if much went on at RAF Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia? I was called-up in July 1951 to do my National Service and was posted there as a u/t Storeman Non-Tech straight from square bashing. Not that I got there, I actually went to RAF Fanara MEAF 15 (The Canal Zone, Egypt) and spent 30 months in a tent. First time away from home and not the provision of a proper billet!
I am also of the opinion that the afore-mentioned Newsletter was the most interesting that I have ever read. What do other readers think? Is it up for discussion?
Well done Tony from a much appreciative and avid reader.
From: John Holloway, Shrewbury Subject: NSRAF Cosford Branch
Our monthly meeting at Cosford was well attended yesterday and we had a good speaker who gave us a really good illustrated talk on Nimrod XW664 when he worked on the exterior of the aircraft whilst with 51 Sqdn as crew chief. The aircraft was so secretive and security was so strict that even he was not allowed inside; just the pilot, co-pilot, navigator and the 26 operators sat at their desks equipped with their monitoring equipment.
He told us that in his opinion the Nimrods were retired far too early and replaced with what he thought were far inferior American aircraft [The Rivet Joint] that were well used ex-tanker aircraft that had been modified with all the surveillance equipment.
One story he told us was broadcast worldwide - the U.S. soldiers digging Sadam Hussein out of a hole in the desert - it was the crew of Nimrod XW664 that guided them to him after after picking up him using his mobile phone!
XW664 is now at Castle Donnington Aerospace Museum and our esteemed speaker, now demobbed after 22 years, is working at the museum on the aircraft which he said at last he can go inside!
Video - Airbus A400M - Transporter Der Luftwaffe
(The narrative is in German, but nonetheless it's a very interesting full-length documentary.)
From: Barney Fielder, Huntingdon, Cambs Subject: The Early Years
From: Roger Gough, Dubai Subject: Short Belfast at Cairns QLD
Hope all well with you, just a quick bit of info I thought you might like ref the Belfast. I don’t know if you have already seen this - it is looking close to being in the skies soon.
I have just left HAE as the Regional GM after opening the office 11 years ago and now gone into a partnership with an excellent guy called Peter Lonsdale who has been in the cargo industry for 40+ years, ex-IAS DXB, we now concentrate on charter work and large projects. We are looking forward to the Belfast hopefully getting its AWC and AOC and we will have plenty of work for it we hope. I'll keep you updated on what I know.
Short Belfast Under Resurrection in Australia?
The aircraft lost her 'Heavy Lift' markings, being painted overall white some years ago, a short time after she went into storage, and hasn't flown since that time.
Long-rumored to be imminently on the scrapping block, the former RAF transport has somehow avoided destruction.
In recent weeks, there has been a flurry of activity around 'Hector' which has included engine runs... Could a reprieve be in the offing?
Short SC-5 Belfast C.1 XR365 'Hector' at Cairns circa 2012.
Short Belfast Under Resurrection? by Richard Mallory Allnutt
A rare, British cold-war era transport stirred to life recently after several years of dormancy at Cairns Airport in northern Queensland, Australia. The Short Belfast C.1 is a massive aircraft, even by modern standards, being almost twice as big as a Lockheed C-130 Hercules, and only slightly smaller than its more successful U.S. counterpart, the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster. The Belfast enjoyed only a brief career in Britain’s Royal Air Force, with the fleet of just ten examples serving from 1964 until 1976. Only two Belfast’s currently survive: XR371 nicknamed ‘Enceladus’ in preservation at RAF Museum Cosford in Shropshire, England, and XR365 ‘Hector’, which is the example in Cairns.
Here is a nice study of Hector while in RAF service as XR365 with 53 Squadron, coming in to land at her home base, RAF Brize Norton on May 20th, 1976.
The British aircraft manufacturer, Short Brothers, or Shorts for short, dates back to the dawn of powered flight. They are well known for their water-borne aircraft, and probably most famous for their line of large, four-engined Empire Class flying boats which traveled the globe in the days leading up to WWII, and for the design’s military offshoot, the Short Sunderland.
The latter, a long-range maritime patrol aircraft, gained a reputation for doggedly fending off seemingly overwhelming enemy forces… it was so fearsomely festooned with machine guns that it gained the self-ascribed moniker of ‘Flying Porcupine’. However, following WWII, with the abundance of high quality airfields for large, land-based transports, the days of the majestic flying boats were numbered. Shorts half century of association with water-borne aircraft was effectively over.
In 1948, the company moved their headquarters from their long-time home in Rochester, Kent, to Belfast, Northern Ireland. The company built a succession of prototypes in the postwar years, such as the carrier-based Sturgeon and Semew, as well as the Sperrin four-jet nuclear bomber, which never reached production. Shorts survived mostly on piecemeal work, building other company’s designs under sub-contract, like the English Electric Canberra and Bristol Britannia.
One of two Short Sperrin prototypes. The RAF ordered the four-engined jet as insurance in case there were delays in the development of the nuclear-capable V-Bomber program, which resulted in the Avro Vulcan, Vickers Valiant and Handley-Page Victor. The Sperrin never went into production.
Interestingly, it was the company’s license-built manufacture of the Britania which led directly to Short’s design of the Belfast. The initial proposal was to build a heavy cargo transport using the Britannia’s wings and tail grouping around a wholly-new fuselage. The compromise would reduce the type’s expense and development time, but also compromised the aircraft’s performance to some degree, even though the eventual design did evolve significantly from that first concept.
A beautifully preserved ex-RAF Bristol Britannia C.1 (XM496) which reveals the strong similarities to the Belfast’s wing and tail feathers.
Nevertheless, the RAF ordered ten of them, all of which served with 53 Squadron, based mostly at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
In keeping with its long-standing tradition of naming individual transport aircraft in its fleet, the Royal Air Force chose to name each of its Belfasts after a mythological ‘giant’, naming them by RAF serial as follows…
XR362 ‘Samson’ - scrapped Southend, England Feb.94 XR363 ‘Goliath’ - scrapped Southend, England Feb.94 XR364 ‘Pallas’ - scrapped Hucknall, England Jun.79 XR365 ‘Hector’ - in storage at Cairns Airport, Australia XR366 ‘Atlas’ - scrapped Hucknall, England Aug.79 XR367 ‘Heracles’ - scrapped Southend, England 2001 XR368 ‘Theseus’ - scrapped Southend, England Oct.o4 XR369 ‘Spartacus’ - scrapped Hucknall Jul.79 XR370 ‘Ajax’ - scrapped Hucknall Jul.79 XR371 ‘Enceladus’ - on display RAF Museum Cosford The type was a success in RAF service, but suffered the axe in 1976 during a massive spate of defence cuts which also saw the withdrawal of the deHavilland Comet and Bristol Britannia fleets. All ten Belfasts made it into civilian hands, but several succumbed quickly to the scrapper’s torch. Rolls-Royce acquired five Belfasts, flirting briefly with the idea of using the fleet to deliver their massive Trent jet engines around the world, but soon lost interest and demolished the majority at their facility in Hucknall after removing their Rolls-Royce Tyne turboprops for resale. They did at least donate ‘Enceladus’ to the RAF Museum for preservation (but still took her engines).
Eventually, the five remaining survivors joined HeavyLift, a company which became synonymous with the type. HeavyLift used two examples for spare parts (Samson and Goliath), and flew the other three (Hector, Heracles and Theseus) for many years, hauling oversized freight all over the world.
Short SC-5 Belfast C.1 XR365 ‘Hector’ (with XR370 ‘Ajax’ behind) while conducting engine runs in 53 Squadron service at RAF Brize Norton on May 19th, 1976.
Former RAF transport Short SC-5 Belfast C.1 XR365 ‘Hector’ coming in to land at Perth, Australia on May 7th, 2004 while serving with Heavy Lift Cargo Airlines.
HeavyLift even flew significant contracts with their Belfasts for the RAF, especially during the Falklands War and later in the Gulf War. Ironically, the enormous expense of these contracts would likely have kept the Belfast fleet flying in RAF service until the 1990s, had they not short-sightedly retired them in the 70s!
HeavyLift’s contracts began to dwindle following the end of the Cold War, which saw the Russian cargo line Volga-Dnepr dominate the market with their far more capacious, and faster Antonov An-124 Ruslan, roughly the size and configuration of a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy. Interestingly, HeavyLift briefly joined forces with Volga-Dnepr, but then folded up their UK operation, with the aim of re-establishing themselves in Australia.
‘Hector’ relocated to Australia in February, 2003, and ‘Theseus’ was due to follow. However, those plans fell through, and the giant cargo plane succumbed to the bulldozer in October, 2004. And then there was one.
But recent reports from the Australian blog Far North Queensland Skies have described a flurry of maintenance activity around ‘Hector’, including a number of engine runs in the last few weeks. So perhaps there are positive plans afoot for resurrecting this resilient cargo plane. It will not be an easy task, and certainly not an easy aircraft to maintain, given the type’s limited production run, and the lack of OEM support for the Rolls-Royce Tyne engines, but hopefully ‘Hector’ will live to fly again one day, even if it is to a museum somewhere.
While dormant for many years at Cairns Airport, new reports suggest that ‘Hector’ may yet find a reprieve. The aircraft has been receiving a lot of attention lately, and has run her engines a number of times. (photo reproduced with permission from email@example.com)
Tony Gale RAF Salalah, Oman, 1971 Just visiting this time
A new member who has joined us recently is:
Matt Davis, Trenton, ON
Welcome to the OBA!
Watch crazy Australians fly a C-17 between Brisbane city buildings
The video starts slowly as the C-17 makes its approach. According to a statement from the RAAF, the plane flew about 330 feet above the ground at nearly 200 mph. This allowed lucky folks watching from nearby buildings to shoot photos and videos of the plane flying at eye level.
While the video may look harrowing, especially after the 1:00 mark, the plane was actually following a river for most of its route, and did have some wiggle room to shift a little left or right. And the plane conducted the flight twice, coming back around after the first pass.
The flypast wasn't without controversy, though. The Aviationist addressed peoples' concerns that it was a "9/11-like stunt," pointing out that the aerial displays are an annual tradition and that the C-17 flying wasn't even the most surprising show they've done there. And, what you don't see from watching the brief clip is that it was well-rehearsed, meaning viewers had a chance to get accustomed to the stunt.
$3.5 billion sale to UK of 36 Boeing H-47 Chinook helicopters approved by US
The U.S. Department of State has approved a possible $3.5 billion sale of 16 H-47 Chinook helicopters to the United Kingdom, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said on Friday.
The U.K. government has requested 16 H-47 Chinook Extended Range helicopters to provide a heavy lift rotary wing capability able to execute missions in extreme environments across a full range of military operations, the DSCA said in a Friday, October 20 release.
In December 2015, Boeing delivered the 14th Mk6 Chinook to the U.K. Royal Air Force, growing its fleet to 60 aircraft. The RAF’s current operational fleet includes the Mk6 and Mk4 aircraft.
The RAF has operated the Chinook in every major NATO operation since 1980, and uses the helicopter for air assault, troop transport and medical missions.
The Defense Post
From: Rob Davies, Woodchurch, Kent Subject: Spitfires etc.
There was a vintage fly-in weekend at Heringsdorf, NE Germany, hosted by Hangar 10 Collection, 26th Sept to 1st October, this year. Here is a video of my test flight in a Spitfire Mk.XVIII which I'm sure you'll enjoy!
Rob Davies MBE FRAeS. Aero Legends test and check pilot. Hangar 10 test pilot.
Mikael Carlson (Sweden)
Klaus Plasa (Germany) Lead Me 109 test pilot. Ex German AF test pilot.
Volker Bau (Germany) Me 109 pilot. Airbus No.1 Chopper test pilot Ex German Army.
Hangar 10 Collection Pilots
Over the years I have flown many Warbirds, including Spitfires. This includes a Mk.11 photo reconnaissance version, Mk.9, Mk.16 and aTr9, two seat trainer. It was the Tr9, that I had to belly land in a field, after engine failure.
Over the last three years, I have been flying the Mk.18, which is the most challenging Spit. Griffon powered, over 2,000 HP and the propeller rotation is in the opposite direction to Merlin powered Spitfires. The torque on take off takes a lot of managing and to assist in countering this, the Mk.18 has a huge Rudder. The Mk.18 is three feet longer than a Mk.9, due to the bigger engine and large Rudder. To keep the C of G in limits, the fin is completely filled with lead. The Mk.18 was the fastest production Spitfire on the traditional wing platform.
This Newsletter is Dedicated to the Memory of Jim Bostock (RCAF)