12 December 2009

A new member joining us recently:


Colin Pay, The Isle of Wight, UK  

Welcome to the OBA!


From: Fred Hebb, Gold River, NS
Sent: Saturday, November 28, 2009 7:41 AM
Subject: CAF Mystery Photo 112709

Rear row from left to right: MCpl Paul Turcotte, Lt. n/k, Doug Dearing, Andy Robicheau

Front Row: Duane Bach and Terry Hare.

Fred Hebb

You almost got it Fred!

From: Steve Richardson, Trenton, ON
Sent: Saturday, November 28, 2009 9:34 PM
Subject: Mystery Photo 112709


I only know three movers in this photo MCpl Paul Turcotte on the left and Cpl Robichuad on extreme right. I believe the mover in the front with glasses looks like Duane Bach.

Seasons Greetings!

Steve Richardson

Almost Steve - regret no prize again!

From: Duane Bach, Carrying Place, ON
Sent: Tuesday, December 01, 2009 12:02 PM
Subject: CAF Mystery Photo 112709

Hi Tony,

In response to your Old Bods Briefs 112709 in particular the CAF Mystery Photo, from left to right as I remember is MCpl Paul Turcotte, Capt Bouchard (who became a Tracker pilot later on), Pte Doug Dearing, Cpl Andy Robicheau, Front left – yours truly and Pte Terry Hare.

This was our 6 week MAMS Team in Bardufoss, Norway in 1974. I could be wrong on the deployment date but it was a hazy time back then thanks to good ole Canadian Club…



Correct Duane, but I thought Bardufoss was 'dry' ;o)

One out of 20 people have an extra rib.

From: Charles Collier, Devizes
Sent: Tuesday, December 01, 2009 4:18 PM
Subject: Britannia Incident - Darwin

Hello Tony,

Malcolm Porter's expertise with the Britannia aircraft is now legendary. But it takes my memory back to my team India and our task flying around the Far East to Australia delivering and collecting at flag stops en route.

Everything went swimmingly until we arrived at Darwin where we were to onload a Vulcan Olympus aero engine. Now, everyone will remember that the Olympus does not fit in sideways through the Britannia side-loading door. There is a great deal of reliance on the fork lift driver to approach the door in a turning fashion to give the tail exhaust of the engine entry first. It was at this point I was summoned to go to Darwin ops to take a call from HQ38 Group. On arrival in Ops the controller asked if I had just come from the Britannia loading - I confirmed that I had and he told me to get back immediately as there was a problem!

I arrived back and to my horror I saw that the aero-engine had slipped off the fork-lift truck on one tine so that it was ominously hanging down and the tail exhaust section was in the Brit!

I saw that the fork-lift driver had radio comms so I told him to call for a crane and slings pronto - which he did. They arrived and the engine was gently inserted into the Britannia and locked down.

We inspected the door seals and roof coaming to see if any damage had been sustained, but it was clear. I certainly wiped the sweat off my forehead as I'd been expecting serious damage to the aircraft roof coaming and structure; but we got away with it! We were extremely lucky for this could have been category 3 damage which would have kept us at Darwin until a replacement could be found. We were lucky to get home in good time.

Kind regards


Thanks Charles - don't you just hate it when a story or report title includes the word, "incident"?


From: Budgie Baigent, Auckland
Sent: Tuesday, December 01, 2009 4:12 AM
Subject: RNZAF Mystery Photo 112709

If I'm not mistaken the handsome fellah is none other than 'Budgie' chatting to fellow ex-Air mover Robyn Gell at Trentham earlier this year.

The person who sent this in better be a fast runner, I'm after him/her :-)


The perpetrator has requested to remain anonymous!

A chameleon’s tongue is twice the length of its body.

Reflections by Gerry Davis

Part II - The Airline Industry and Customs Officer's Duty Free Scam

Court Line was a busy airline, headquartered in Luton and operating out of Bristol with BAC One Eleven 500's. It helped pioneer the concept of "cheap and cheerful" package tours to Spain and other destinations in the Med in conjunction with Clarksons Holidays, taking part in the establishment of a whole new way of holiday making for the British public.
I was on duty one day when I noticed this lovely little girl, an air hostess with Court Line, crying her eyes out; she was hysterical. I got the story from some of the other girls that she had not received any pay for that month, in fact she had got an enormous bill from the airline. She had been charged for an amount of missing duty free goods from some of the flights she had worked on as the senior cabin crew member. She had no idea how she was going to pay her rent and other expenses.

On the first flight of the day the customs-sealed duty free containers would be loaded into the aircraft; one in the cabin and the remainder in the baggage hold. On landing the containers would be swapped around, full for empty. The customs seals could only be broken when airborne and so the cabin crew didn't have the opportunity before the flight to check the containers against the contents lists.

Following a Special Branch investigation it all came out in the wash, so to speak. The duty free warehouse manager would short-fill the containers and they would be subsequently sealed by Customs; the spoils being shared by both. There was a court case and the warehouse manager ended up in jail. The Customs department had a huge shake up as quite a few of the officers were involved.

The Court Line flight crews used to hold parties in the cabin at the end of the days flights. The aircraft cleaners used to get very upset as they couldn't get on with their jobs. These parties used to go on for ages during which training and instruction for the various stages of membership of the Mile High Club may have been undertaken.

Court Line, as some of you may recall, had their aircraft all painted in different high visibility colours and they operated a Beverley which was based at Luton used for ferrying spare engines about.

[When Court Line failed on 30th March 1974, XB259 flew in to Paull Airfield, about a mile east of Fort Paull, where it sat for a while before being dismantled for the road-move to the Museum of Army Transport, thence back to Fort Paull where it's currently on display.]

Next Issue: Airlines come and airlines go, just as long as they can pay for their fuel!


Future Brize takes off

Those driving on the A40 near Oxford may have seen the emergence of a massive hangar in the distance and wondered what on earth is going on in the middle of the Oxfordshire countryside.

The answer is that this is the first step to the front line in Afghanistan and under Programme Future Brize the new hangar is just one, admittedly huge, part of transforming RAF Brize Norton into Britain's largest RAF airbase.

What isn't evident from the A40 are the further huge changes and developments taking place at RAF Brize Norton as units are transferred from the soon-to-close RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire.

This will make the Oxfordshire base the future single airport of embarkation (APOE) for UK Defence and home to 15 per cent of the RAF's uniformed personnel.

Amongst the units moving over from RAF Lyneham are the C-130 Hercules force. But Brize Norton also faces the challenge of accommodating many of the RAF's new fleet of aircraft soon to enter service including the new A400M air transport fleet and the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA), together with their attendant crews and support staff.

All this is being planned and carried out while Brize and Lyneham continue to maintain their support to operations, including the strategic air bridge to operations in Afghanistan.

Tasked with the Herculean challenge of delivering these projects on time and to budget without impacting support to operations in Afghanistan is the Future Brize delivery team headed up by Air Officer Commanding Number 2 Group, Air Vice-Marshal Steve Hillier, and led on the ground by programme manager Group Captain David Houghton.

The huge hangar taking shape at RAF Brize Norton

Since its inception in March this year, taking over and expanding on the earlier CATARA (Centralisation of Air Transport, Air-to-air Refuelling and Associated Assets) project, progress has been swift and physical changes can already be seen around Brize Norton. But with just 18 months until RAF Lyneham is due to close as an operational airfield the pressure is on.

The two-bay hangar that will accommodate
the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft

Group Captain Houghton described the task ahead and the potential impact on operations: "Whether it be troops going out to theatre and back, bringing casualties back or the sad job of repatriating bodies, currently carried out at Lyneham, or whether it is re supplying ammunition, critical spares or getting helicopters out - all that will in the future be supported through this single airfield," he said.

"Therefore we have to get this right. The 'head' out in Afghanistan cannot work properly if the 'tail' at Brize and Lyneham does not work. For example, the Hercules force currently at Lyneham are carrying out a lot of supply drops in Afghanistan and they can only do that if the fleet back at the UK is working properly, if the training is going on and the support is there. That is the reason why Future Brize is going to be absolutely pivotal for Defence. We only started in March this year and the C-130 element starts to move across in April 2011. There is not much time left."

However, Gp Capt Houghton is clear that while the changes will benefit Defence in the long term they cannot be allowed to compromise current operations: "So far it has been a real collective effort across Defence as people realise if this doesn't work then Defence output and the front line will suffer and none of us are going to allow that to happen. We are completely focused on providing support to the front line - that is what we are here to do and that is what we will continue to do. We will make sure support to operations does not miss a heartbeat as we amalgamate Lyneham with Brize."

RAF Lyneham as a base will shut by 31 December 2012, and as an active airfield it will cease operations by 30 September 2011.Just before that, the C-130 Hercules force will move across to RAF Brize Norton and other elements such as 47 Air Despatch Squadron, Royal Logistic Corps, and the other major units like the Air Mobility Wing and the Tactical Medical Wing will be moving across in late 2011 and during 2012.

Moving units with assets such as the Hercules C-130 aircraft poses not just a problem in terms of housing the equipment and engineering support facilities but also the crews and support staff and therefore will be phased over a period of time.

A VC10 carrying out air-to-air refuelling which will
be replaced by the new Airbus A330-200 aircraft

Gp Capt Houghton explained: "It means big changes for Brize. Currently there are 30 aeroplanes here and there are going to be 70 in the future. We can't move everything at once and we need to make sure the life support systems are here - whether that be accommodation or admin support - all the things that make life livable on base."

As Future Brize involves areas such as IT, engineering, housing and personnel, many strands of Defence have come together to deliver the project. Future Brize is coordinating work with other Defence organisations, such as Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and Defence Estates, and this has been a key feature of the plan: "We are working very closely with other teams," Gp Capt Houghton explained. "For example we are working with the individual project teams down at Abbey Wood [DE&S] for the individual aircraft platforms to see how we need to support them and what we can do for their long term support. In all the areas of delivery we need to work together as one big team."

It is not just disparate internal organisations involved in the move either. The FSTA programme is being carried out in partnership with industry through a Private Finance Initiative with AirTanker Ltd which is based on a fleet of new Airbus A330-200 aircraft modified to replace the RAF's ageing VC10 and TriStar aircraft. The programme is a 27-year holistic service, covering everything from provision of aircraft to provision of training and maintenance services, as well as new infrastructure at RAF Brize Norton including the new hangar.

So far the Future Brize programme has delivered the infrastructure building programme which will transform a selection of pre-1960 RAF amenities into modern, updated facilities. Work is also now well underway on the next stage of the FSTA service infrastructure in the form of the construction of a two-bay hangar and associated workshops as well as what will be four-floor office accommodation for the RAF's two FSTA squadrons, the MOD's FSTA Project Team and AirTanker personnel.

Of course, with such an influx of personnel, accommodation is also a consideration and the team are working with Defence Estates to upgrade existing houses and rooms.

The TriStar aircraft are reaching the end of their useful
lives and will be replaced in the coming decade

Brize Norton is the only RAF site in Single Living Accommodation Modernisation (SLAM) Phase 2 and will see construction of 744 new Junior Ranks rooms, 50 Senior Non-Commissioned Officers rooms and 64 Officers rooms. Construction should last approximately three years and work on the Officers' Mess has already begun. Plans are also being developed to replace 600 Service Families Accommodation (SFA) homes, including all flats with around 800 new houses and refurbishing nearly 600 of the current SFA houses. The additional 200 new houses will cater for the increase in personnel entitled to SFA expected as a result of the Future Brize programme and will be a great and long overdue quality of life improvement for personnel.

With such activity the local community around Brize Norton is sure to see changes, but by and large Gp Capt Houghton believes these will be positive: "It does mean big changes for the local community, specifically more people and more flying - though with much quieter aircraft. There will obviously be more people on the base as well and that will have an impact on economic activity in the area, bringing with it more jobs."

Gp Capt Houghton and his team are mindful that Brize Norton will not be transformed overnight but are determined that Future Brize is the right step in creating an airbase that can live up to the needs of current and future operations for the next half-century: "Our focus short term is maintaining operational support. But in the longer term we are focused on making sure Brize is fit for purpose for the next 50 years. Brize is going nowhere and will remain the single APOE so we need to spend the money in the right places to do what's required to make it fit for purpose for current operations and also make sure we are developing it to make sure it works well for the next 40 to 50 years as it evolves over time. We have to get it right for Defence - not just for the Air Force but for our colleagues in the Army and Navy, they rely on us and we will give them what they need."

The new Airbus A330-200 aircraft which will replace
the RAF's ageing VC10 and TriStar aircraft

Defence News

Approximately one-third of the population can't snap their fingers

MP grills chief on RAF Lyneham base closure

North Wiltshire MP James Gray has questioned the Chief of the Air Staff about the future of RAF Lyneham, which is set to close in 2012. Mr Gray said: “I took the opportunity at an All Party Group for the RAF meeting with Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton to raise the dual issue of a replacement for the ageing Hercules C130K fleet and the closure of RAF Lyneham. The Air Chief Marshal was plainly concerned that the current RAF heavy lift planes, the C17s, are being massively overused at the moment, and seemed doubtful that their planned replacement, the A400M, would be ready in good time to replace the Hercules.

“I strongly advanced the argument that the A400M should be cancelled in favour of a larger C17/Hercules fleet, which would then increase the likelihood of RAF Lyneham being saved.”

He added: “I also raised the matter of the risks of putting all of our transport fleet into one runway at RAF Brize Norton.

“The Chief of the Air Staff’s answer, that in the event of the runway at Brize Norton being closed, we could consider using an emergency runway at Bournemouth, seems to me to be wholly unsatisfactory.

“I will continue to advance the argument that Lyneham and Brize Norton together, with a C130/C17 fleet, is best placed to serve the nation’s air transport needs.”

The base is set to close in 2012 following the rejection of proposals to turn it into a helicopter base.

Gazette & Herald


From: Brian Kent, Carterton
Sent: Sunday, December 06, 2009 12:13 PM
Subject: Another Meeting of OBA Members

Hi Tony.

Another meeting of OBA Members on Britannia XM496 at Kemble.

On Sunday 6th December Brian Kent (left) and Mal Porter (right) met up with Chas Cormack (centre). Our last meeting was many years ago, around 40 I reckon.

Also met with members of the Bristol Britannia Preservation Society with lots of reminiscence of past loads carried on XM496 and other interesting Britannia stories.

Nice to see you again Chas.


Thanks Brian, but no one took a photo... so I manufactured one!

Hands up all those who just snapped their fingers!

WWII Era Glossary of RAF Slang & Terminology - (G to L)

sowing mines in rivers, ports and oceans from low heights.
the earliest form of Ground Control Radar installed in Italy
the automatic pilot.
information. Either good (see "pukka") or bad (see "duff").
a person on squadron who knew what he was doing, as in "a gen bod"
Gerry or Jerry
Get some in
advice given to "sprog crews" who felt like advising "old lags" on their opinion of operational flying. Often paired with "chum" as in, "get some in chum, before you tell your grandmother how to suck eggs".
originally a horse drawn cart, it came to mean any form of wheeled transport.
"the screaming hab-dabs", "the trots in the extremis" - dysentery
Gone for six
a service medal.
Goolie chit
a scrap of paper or piece of cloth that when shown to the natives of a country over which you might be shot down offered a reward if they would return you to the nearest Allied unit unharmed
part of body that if shot off would provide a very nice soprano voice for the remainder of the owner's life - as in "I almost got my goolies shot off, last op".
General Purpose Bomb as in "6 x 250 GP".
a mythical creature that lived on certain aircraft and caused it to go "u/s" at the most inconvenient times and then could not be located as the source of the problem
Green, in the

all engine control gauges operating correctly. A needle which swung into the "red" indicated a malfunction.

Green, to get the
to receive permission to take off, generally expanded to refer to getting permission for anything. To give an aircraft permission to take off the airfield control officer would signal in Morse code using an Aldis Lamp with a green lens. Usually the Morse code signal was the letter of the aircraft
Greens, three
both main "undercart" legs and the tail-wheel down and locked. This was indicated by three lights on the flying panel. Up and locked would be indicated by "three reds".
Grief, to come to
to be destroyed or to get into trouble
Ground wallah
an officer who did not fly (also see "penguin" and "mahogany Spitfire").
Group Captain - usual rank of officer who commanded a Wing
a formation of "Wings".
equipment or needed material (eg: "has that kite got the gubbins for dropping a cookie?").
Guinea Pig Club
after an incident where aircrew were extremely badly burned they would be sent to East Grinstead Hospital in the U.K. where some of the foremost plastic surgeons of the day performed "cutting edge" surgery. The term was made up by the patients themselves. Many today proudly wear the maroon tie of the club
early airborne centimetric radar used by Halifaxes. From "How To See" or "hydrogen sulphide" (implying the system "stinks") according to the two most popular legends
aircraft on squadron used for general communications duties or as the CO's private aircraft
Half-pint hero
a boaster
Handley Page Halifax - bomber used by 614 Squadron in the Pathfinder role
High Capacity - see "cookie".
flying so low that the aircraft appears to hop over the hedges
A Bristol Hercules sleeve valve air cooled radial engine of the type used on the Wellington Mk.X.
Hop the twig
Canadian term meaning to crash fatally
a crew tasked with dropping flares on a night target so that the following aircraft could aim accurately - usual load was 54 parachute flares
intelligence officer or intelligence report
Irvin Jacket
Standard R.A.F. Leather Flying Jacket lined with fleece
to be put "on charge" for a violation of service discipline
Jerry Can
excellent German invention of heavy duty portable can for holding water, gasoline or other liquid. It quickly replaced leaky tin cans used by RAF and was manufactured in England to the German pattern
Jink away
sharp manoeuvre, sudden evasive action of aircraft
aviation fuel (as in "we are low on juice"). Also "gravy". Aviation fuel was 100 Octane gasoline
Khaki Drill. The R.A.F. tropical uniform replaced R.A.F. blue battledress in tropical and desert climates
eager or reliable - "keen as mustard "- a pun on Kean's mustard powder
Killed in Action
Kipper Kite
Coastal Command aircraft that protected fishing fleets
ones belongings, both issue and personal (hence kitbag). Also used to mean equipment, as in "Does that erk have the kit to repair the hole in the starboard wing?".
an aircraft
a desert dust storm
measure of air or ground speed - one nautical mile per hour (1.150 statute miles per hour).
King's Regulations - see "jankers".
Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" bomber
Line shoot
exaggerating one's accomplishments, usually responded to by the line "there I was upside down, nothing on the clock but the makers name...."
Lack of Moral Fibre - inability to continue on ops.
Lose your wool
lose composure

To be continued...


Group captain hands over command at Lyneham

After two years as the Station Commander of RAF Lyneham, Group Captain Mike Neville has finally passed on the baton of responsibility.

Group Captain John Gladston has taken on the role at the base and is prepared to take on the challenges that lie ahead, including the Future Brize project. He said: “Clearly I am delighted to be returning to the best Station in the Royal Air Force. It is a great honour to be given the opportunity to command RAF Lyneham: its operational record speaks for itself and its people are magnificent. There are of course many challenges ahead, not least of which is the Future Brize project. Throughout these challenges operational output and people will remain my top priorities. Mike can be justifiably proud of his achievements during his tenure as Station Commander and I wish him and his family all the best for the future."

Group Captain Neville, who joined the base in December 2007, was recently awarded a civic award for his heavy involvement in creating links between Wootton Bassett and Lyneham, as well as his role in repatriations. Before he left the station, he paid tribute to the people at the base who he says have made his tour so special. He said: “No matter how nice a place is or how interesting a job is it is the people who make it work, make it enjoyable and make it rewarding. The men and women of RAF Lyneham are outstanding and I would gladly welcome the opportunity of working with them again. I leave the Station in the very capable hands of Group Captain John Gladston and I do so with great expectation that he will continue to look after the people, achieve success on operations and maintain RAF Lyneham's position as the best Station within the RAF.”

This is Wiltshire

Cattle are the only mammals that pee backwards.

Girl group launches Christmas Box campaign for overseas troops

Girl group and Armed Forces' fans 'The Saturdays' launched the uk4u Thanks! charity's 2009 Christmas Box campaign alongside Defence Minister Kevan Jones and charity trustees at RAF Northolt on Tuesday 1 December 2009. The campaign will see some 23,000 boxes full of festive cheer being sent to servicemen and women right across the world who are working away from their families this Christmas.

The Saturdays arrived at RAF Northolt today in a four-tonne military wagon and, along with Father Christmas, delivered Christmas Boxes to sailors, soldiers and airmen.

The charity uk4u Thanks! works with the MOD to send the boxes, which contain some 20 items, out to locations such as Afghanistan, the Falklands, and ships and submarines across the world in time for Christmas Day.

The boxes, or square stockings as they are known amongst the troops, are sent using existing spare space in the supply chain. They are not sent through the British Forces Post Office system so therefore do not place additional strain on the system nor disrupt the delivery of mail from families and friends. Members of the public who wish to support the Armed Forces this Christmas are being encouraged to donate to an existing charity rather than sending their own parcels.

Defence Minister Kevan Jones said: "The MoD is an enthusiastic supporter of the Christmas Box campaign, bringing cheer to those members of the Armed Forces serving abroad on operations over the festive period. Knowing that the public are behind them when they are working in often very difficult conditions, especially at this time, is a real morale boost for our servicemen and women. Donating to charities such as uk4u Thanks! is the best way to say thank you to our personnel at Christmas. Making a donation instead of sending an unsolicited parcel also means less pressure on the Forces' postal system at this time, which means more post from families will reach their loved ones in time for Christmas Day."

The Saturdays said: "We are honoured to be supporting uk4u Thanks! and their quest to send 23,000 Christmas Boxes out to the brave men and women of our Armed Forces. They are very much in our thoughts, and we wish them and all their families a very Merry Christmas."

Sally Little, uk4u Thanks! trustee, said: "uk4u Thanks! is extremely grateful to everyone who is supporting us. What we undertake is no small task, but the letters and emails of thanks we receive each year make it well worth it. The overwhelming sentiment from our Armed Forces is that they are so very pleased and touched people are thinking of them."

Along with donations from the public, the charity is supported by a number of defence companies including BAE Systems and Finmeccanica.

The Christmas Box takes as its inspiration the 1914 gesture of the 17-year-old Princess Mary, who had the idea of presenting a gift from the nation for everyone wearing the King's uniform and serving overseas on Christmas Day.

Since 2004, forces charity uk4u Thanks! has raised money and sponsorship throughout the year to provide these boxes as a way of saying thank you to our Armed Forces and to let them know that people are thinking of them over Christmas.

The boxes, which are the same size as a 24-hour ration pack, are filled with approximately 20 items, some Christmassy, some amusing, some useful, some entertaining, and some just plain fun.

The charity does not send on items from the public, the contents of the boxes are carefully chosen to be relevant to all working abroad, and also do not contain perishable items or those which could cause offence in the country to which they are being sent.

Regimental Sergeant Major Adam Ross chats with a member of girl group 'The Saturdays' who helped uk4u Thanks! launch their Christmas Boxes for 2009

Defence News


From: Charles Cormack, Lyneham
Sent: Wednesday, December 02, 2009 1:25 PM
Subject: Mystery photo

Hi Tony

Names as follows for your mystery photo:

Bottom left Mike Stepney SAMO

Bottom right Glyn Marshall OC (Spec Aircrew Nav)

Going up
1 Kerry Spalding
2 Mike Powell (eng)
3 Darren Hughes
4 P/A
5 Paul Bolland (ops)
6 Richie Burke (eng)
7 Glen Wilson
8 Chas Cormack
9 Andy Rice
10 Bob Henstock
11 Taff Kelly
12 Goughy (I think)

I believe it was the 1,000th charter aircraft handled by the RAF Movements Unit Kai Tak, Hong Kong and was in 1989/90

The OC was making a guest appearance from the golf club.



Right you are Chas!

The only king without a moustache in a deck of cards is the king of hearts.

From: Malcolm Porter, Upton-upon-Severn
Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2009 10:53 AM
Subject: A glimpse into the past

Hi Tony,

When all the Movers emigrated from Nicosia to Akrotiri, a small (miniscule) Movements Unit was left handle any traffic that either diverted or used the civilian airport. SNCO i/c was Sgt George Fyfe-later posted to Upavon.  

Here we see the full complement - Cpl Terry Smith and Sgt George Fyfe with the section's hire car. Many former Air Movs Nicosia personnel will recognise the freight shed in the right background and the empty boxes left over from a previous El Adem fruit and Veg run

VC10 arrival over Changi Creek - Many will instantly recognise this-the daily VC10 flight from and to BZN   On the Padang at Changi 1970-ish
Back row: Pete Mahon (Cargo Hangar) Army guy, Mick Peard, Me, Taff Challingsworth, N/K, Tom Marshall Manager
Front Row: George Elder, Mick Campbell (Pax), Bill McGinn (ATLO), Ken Goodman, Dusty Miller (MT), N/K but I think a Flt Sgt Lew someone


Sad times here - 2010 is the final reunion of the CL44 Association. Regrettably, Jock Hutchinson (437T Sqdn Yukons) cannot make it - he and several other Yukonites still live in Belleville - great guy Jock - Mr Pickwick to his mates - spitting image of the Dickens character - will try to send you his Pilots licence which I have here.

Did you see my CL44 book? We have in there a picture of the Op in Africa - we were carrying goats and we put captains shirt on a goat, sat it in captains seat and fotoed it. It is eyeing the Jeppessen chart in the picture - not because it understands it - it wanted to EAT it!

Also, here's a fact for you - did you know that the Britannia was the first real fly by wire aircraft?


Thanks for all the good stuff Malcolm and a happy 69th to you!

Airbus reveals A400M's debut flight test plan

Airbus Military has revealed its long-term flight-test programme for the A400M transport, with its first example expected to launch the schedule with a 3h debut flight late next week.

Aircraft MSN001 has already completed several medium-speed taxi trials to above 80kt (148km/h), and should make high-speed runs this weekend, says Eric Isorce, head of the A400M integrated flight-test operations team. The work will culminate in a rejected take-off run at about 120kt.

Ground activities conducted by the test team since mid-November have identified several minor faults, says Ed Strongman, Airbus's chief test pilot, military programmes. These have including a tachometer fault caused by loose connectors which limited the aircraft's braking, and poor anti-skid performance. A new software load has been supplied to rectify the latter hitch.

Past experiences on the A380 programme have expedited fixes to address minor electrical faults, says Strongman, who adds: "We are working 24h a day in three shifts to get the aircraft ready to fly. We are ahead of my expectations. Each time we go out, we are achieving what we wanted to, and there are no showstoppers to first flight."

MSN001 will fly with two pilots, two flight test engineers, one handling qualities specialist and one engine specialist on board, and will relay real-time information to telemetry rooms in Seville and Toulouse, enabling about 100 more personnel to monitor its performance. The aircraft is expected to lift off at a take-off weight of about 125t, says Isorce - 16t below its maximum limit.

With two of its Europrop International TP400-D6 engines being fully instrumented and with strain gauges installed on their Ratier-Figeac propellers, Strongman says clearance for the debut sortie will be "limited to VMC, clear weather conditions".

The transport's landing gear will be retracted as it climbs to an altitude of about 10,000ft (3,000m), where it will accelerate to its maximum cruise speed of 300kt/Mach 0.72 before being brought back to minimum manoeuvring speed, says Strongman. This process will be repeated before its handling qualities are assessed at a lower altitude.

Strongman expects subsequent ground inspections to last at least two days, and says: "Within a month or so, we will be building to a high rate of maybe two flights a day." The team plans to fly five days a week, with minor maintenance to be performed at night and more major work to be done at weekends.

Test activities will soon be expanded with the addition of aircraft MSN002 and MSN003 in March and May 2010, respectively. Strongman expects the work to last at least four years, with about 100h to be flown each month at peak activity.

All five test aircraft will be involved in the programme by mid-2011, and the fleet is planned to log a combined 4,370h before the A400M enters service in December 2012. Development and qualification work will be split between three aircraft based in Toulouse and two in Seville, and will also conducted at locations throughout Europe and the Americas, plus north Africa and the Middle East, says Airbus.

Flight International

Hands up all those who currently have a deck of cards next to their computer!

Jack says, "The last edition of the Old Bods Briefs for 2009 is scheduled for publication on 22nd December, with a material deadline of Monday 21st.

"Do please take this opportunity to pass on your Christmas and New Year greetings to the membership of the OBA. (If at all possible attach a photo of yourself)."

E-Mail Greetings


From: Peter Clayton, Wroughton
Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2009 1:01 PM
Subject: Hot off the press


Some photos of the UKMAMS meet & greet last night at the RAFA Club in Swindon.




(Left click for larger image - backspace to return)

It’s a common practice in southern India for a man to marry his elder sister’s daughter


The Australian $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes are made out of plastic.

That's it for this issue

Have a great weekend!