RAAF C-130J does cold weather training in Canada

To better prepare No. 37 Squadron for the difficulties of operating safely and effectively in snow and cold  weather climates, a team of aircrew and maintainers conducted cold weather training in Canada with a C-130J Hercules from January 25 to February 9.

The team is no stranger to flying the C-130J in hot weather, but snow and icy conditions can be encountered both on route and short-notice operations around the globe.

Key among these locales is Afghaniastan, where routine winter snowfallas complicate 37SQN operations in  the Middle East.  Deficiencies in techniques and procedures in those operations heralded the need for  deliberate exposure to, and training in, cold weather procedures.
The opportunity for training in Canada came after the crew supported the units deployed to Nellis Air  Force Base in Nevada, USA, for Exercise Red Flag.

SQNLDR Simon Kerr, Safety and Standards Flight Commander at 37SQN, said the aircraft continued to  Colorado Springs and then CFB Trenton in Ontario.

"We then flew from Trenton to Winnipeg, as well as Iqaluit in Nunavut and St John's in Newfoundland,"  SQNLDR Kerr said.  "We faced wet, icy, cold and snowy conditions on the trip, with temperatures down to -30 degrees Celcius."

Iqaluit Airfield is situated in the far north-east of Canada, and is frequently used by companies such as  Airbus and Boeing to test cold weather performance of new aircraft designs.
For the 37SQN maintenance team, relatively simple tasks become more troublesome when conducted in  extreme cold and with several feet of snow.

"We need to ensure the the aircraft is free of contamination before starting, and determine the procedures  on how to achieve this," SQNLDR Kerr said.  "There's also a duty of care to personnel conducting operations and servicing the aircraft in such temperatures, rotating them so that nobody is in the cold for too long."

The Australian contingent shared its C-130J operating experiences with their Canadian counterparts,  according to FLTLT Gary Harvie, an Engineering Officer with 37SQN.

"Canada has operated the C-130J since 2010, whereas Australia has been flying it since 1999," FLTLT  Harvie said.  "We were able to impart a lot of our technical knowledge for the way we maintain the aircraft, and what  technical issues they may face during the life-of-type," FLTLT Harvie said. "We also looked at their maintenance practices to see what can can learn from them."
Much like Australia, Canada has a long history of operating different models of the Hercules, beginning  with the C-130B in 1960.  That experience proved useful in preparing the Australians for what they might face.

"We found increased issues for hydraulic and fuel systems, seals became cold and brittle, which we  were briefed on by the Canadians," FLTLT Harvie said.  "We also learned the safety considerations for operating on frozen surfaces, wearing appropriate clothing, and ground handling of aircraft in these conditions.

"There are significantly longer before-flight preparation times to warm hydraulics, fuel systems and the  overall aircraft with the C0130J's air-conditioning heat."

The C-30J is largely driven by its avionics systems, which require some extra patience when opersting in the cold.
"We learnt about the vulnerable systems, including the mission computers, avionic displays and the batteries and how to wortk around these," FLTLT Harvie said.

The crew will now record the lessons learned and identify what procedural and technique changes might be required to ensure safer and more efficient C-130J operation in snow and cold weather conditions in future.

RAAF Newspaper
From: Brian 'Taff' Jenkins, Portland, Dorset
Sent: Friday, January 31, 2014 6:33 AM
Subject: Mystery Photo

The mystery photo relates to the Aden withdrawal 1967 - I have the same print which is of the Muharraq airfield prior to withdrawl.

I completed my Movements Course early 1967 and I believe that at least 90% of the course ended up at RAF Muharraq before the withdrawal began.

Reading the account on Operation Ablaut - if I remember correctly - as part of Team Bravo we had been tasked to deliver equipment to a US Airbase outside Las Vegas but got diverted to Cyprus where part of our task was transfer pax from Dhekalia back to Akrotiri - we also assisted in carrying wounded Turkish soldiers to Turkish Medivacs back in Akrotiri - then we spent about 5/6 weeks camping /swimming/sunbathing out on the beach  - held back in reserve if required. - The wives were not pleased as they were given the usual, “the lads will be home in a few days" which stretched on for several weeks. - happy days!

Taff Jenkins (Team Bravo)

From: Bruce Oram, Alicante
Sent: Friday, January 31, 2014 4:15 AM
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo

Hi Tony

Is it RAF Muharraq

Cheers the noo


From: Thomas Geoghegan, Folkestone, Kent
Sent: Friday, January 31, 2014 6:58 AM
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #013114

Hi Tony,

Very interesting as ever. Referring to RAF Mystery #013114, very familiar to me as it will be to Tim Newstead and our old mates circa 1967/8  at RAF Muharraq.

You will notice a PR Canberra in the bottom right hand corner; I swear on one occasion this aircraft flew through the aerial farm shown in the photo', obviously not but it appeared so at the time.

Best Regards

Tod Geoghegan

From: Keith Parker, Bowerhill, Wilts
Sent: Friday, January 31, 2014 10:42 AM
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo #013114

Hi Tony,

Your mystery photo is of RAF Muharraq, possibly during the shutdown of the base in 72ish. I've spent many an hour on those ramps both as a posting, as the stand-in RAFLO and also as a civilian working for the USAF/USN

Cheers for now


From: Jack Dunlop, Aberdeen
Sent: Friday, January 31, 2014 1:12 PM
Subject: Airfield black and white picture

Hi Tony,

We are looking at RAF Muharraq in 1967 during the Aden evacuation.   I was on pax reception with Cpls Bill Wright and Chick Hatch.   That was a busy time for all the boys in movements.  I was 23; where did it all go?

I know I have already mentioned about a Scottish Air Movements Association, but what about a MEAF Veteran Movers Association also?

Jack Dunlop

(You might want to look into setting up a Facebook page for each of those proposed associations Jack - it won't cost you anything and it's an ideal  way to start off.  Once you're up and running let me know the page addresses (URL's) and I'll be happy to let everyone on the distribution list know.)

From: Ken Knott, Nottingham
Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2014 4:10 AM
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 013114

Hi Tony,

This looks very much like RAF Muharraq late sixty’s stroke early seventies but as usual I could be wrong.

From: Andrew Downard, Ballarat, VIC
Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2014 6:44 PM
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 013114

Hi Tony

I reckon that would be RAF Muharraq!  Home of the “HumpyDumpy Man” the Air Movements Squadron ‘dayglo’ tag. 

I was stationed there in 1970.  Memories of Muharraq include the GDT arrival brief where we were told never to walk on the swept sand because of the possibility of mines.  At the same time the Station Warrant Officer had been given a mass of locals to employ… so what does he do?  That’s right send ‘em out every day to sweep the sand! 

There were two ways to detect a ‘moonie’ (a newly arrived person off the ‘Moon Rocket’ from Brize), firstly white knees, secondly they were the ones hopping from one bit of dispersed concrete path to another!  Anyone with some time in would be stamping across the swept sand hoping for a casevac!

The ‘Moovers’ block was up next to the aerial farm top centre, the Pax terminal and movements section was middle of the picture, shed to the right was air cargo and the bigger hanger to the left was home of AAA (Associated Argosy Airways).

From: Charles Collier, Ewhurst, Surrey
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2014 3:45 PM
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 013114

This photo has got me thinking that the aircraft parked are a good representation of RAF Transport Command around 1970! At first I thought it might Aden at the end of colonial status in 1967 or it is down the transport line back home at a staging post and at a guess I’ll say RAF Akrotiri.   

All the best



DC3 - Only RNZAF WWII Veteran Aircraft Still In Service

Representing some truly unique Kiwi history, is a DC-3 that is the only surviving RNZAF World War II veteran aircraft still operating today in a front-line service.

ZK-AWP was built in 1945 at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA. The Oklahoma City factory was constructed to cope with wartime production in 1941, immediately post Pearl Harbour.

With a wing span of 29m, length of 20m and height of almost 4.5m and powered by two Pratt and Whitney R-1830-92 engines with 1250 bhp each, it was ideally suited to military service.

DC-3s operated comfortably into unpaved fields of 1000 metres or sometimes less, carrying a standard load of three tons and featuring a range of 1200 nautical miles.
With its delivery crew ZK-AWP left its “birthplace” at Oklahoma City, USA in April 1945 - on the day the Red Army overran the German High Command in Berlin - and flew to Hamilton, New Zealand. From May that year it became RNZAF Dakota NZ3543 and was assigned to 41 Squadron RNZAF until 1952.

The aircraft’s time in the military was interesting and varied. In Asia it was used for supply drops and immediately post-war for ferrying servicemen home to New Zealand.

In 1952 it was handed over as NZ3543 at Whenuapai to New Zealand National Airways Corporation. It entered service on the 2nd of April 1953, clocking up 10 hours and 20 minutes on the first day.

The aircraft continued in passenger flights for some years after being sold to service Samoa and is still remembered with some fondness in the Pacific. ZK-AWP caused some excitement when it transited through Nadi, Fiji in December last year, some forty years later.
Sold to Southern Air Super Ltd in 1973, the machine was converted into a top-dresser.  In this role, considered by many to be its definitive role in New Zealand, it completed 6722 hours of strenuous flying. At the end of its ag-flying days in the mid 1980’s, it was converted to a freighter for Classic Air Services and then latterly, Fieldair Freight.

The year 2000 saw AWP placed on the international market after some 46,000 flying hours. It joined the team at Pionair Adventures Ltd on charter work and spent many happy hours flying tours around NZ and Australia. In June 2002 while attempting to take off in deep snow at Mt Cook (Glentanner Station) the aircraft skidded off the runway and was substantially damaged. The incident was filmed by a TVNZ film crew present on the day and made headline news that night! It was repaired by Fieldair staff on site to enable a ferry flight to Palmerston North where it was repaired and renamed “Lucille”.
On the 2nd June 2004, at the request of the Crown Prince of Tonga, it left Christchurch equipped with long range fuel tanks and only 7.5 hours later landed at Fua’amotou, Kingdom of Tonga, to work with the Shore Line Group “Peau Vava’u”, in partnership with Pionair, along with its sister-ship ZK-AMY.

In 2006 a violent riot broke out in the Tongan capital of Nuku’Alofa and widespread areas of the Tongan Capital were destroyed by fire and looters, including AWP’s operators, Peau Vava’u's head office. Due to fears that AWP would be destroyed by the angry mob, it was locked away in its hangar and stayed safely thus for the next three years gathering dust and cobwebs.

The aircraft and hangar were purchased later by Craig Emeny from Air Chathams in New Zealand and major work was undertaken to return the machine to airworthiness.

In 2010 AWP began flying scheduled passenger services again for the wholly owned Air Chathams subsidiary, Chathams Pacific. In this role, the aircraft served the Tongan people reliably and safely until Chathams Pacific voluntarily concluded operations in March 2013. It covered scheduled routes to the island groups of Ha’apai, Vava’u and the Niuas, flying a programme exceeding 100hr a month in the busy season.
The aircraft was then flown “home” to New Zealand in December 2013 via Fiji, New Caledonia and Norfolk Island, arriving at Auckland some 20.1 flying hours later.

Now 69 years later, it remains in commercial service and represents a very important part of Kiwi history. It remains today the last flying piston engined example of the RNZAF C-47 fleet, the last flying example of the NAC DC-3 fleet and the last flying example of the Fieldair fleet.

ZK-AWP will be available for rides at the Airshow, details to go onto www.warbirdsoverwanaka.com shortly.
From: Jimmie Durkin, Stafford
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2014 5:30 PM
Subject: John Guerin & Paddy Kane

Hi Tony,

Thank you for another great issue. More on Sam Mold's notes on John Guerin and possibly Paddy Kane.

I was at Gutersloh July 72 - July 75 and am sure I spoke on the phone with John who was then based at RAF Gatow. During his tour there as a WO he was very ill and spent a lot of time in hospital in Berlin.

Next I was at Manston July 75 - June 76 and again spoke with John; at that time I believe he was based at RAF Oakhanger. When we were both Sgts at Abingdon 57/59 he used to visit some of his family, a sister I think, then living in Birmingham. I have heard nothing of him since the Manston days.
I am fairly sure that the first Argosy to visit RAF Labuan, on tropical trials in a full freight role arrived about August 1963 and the AQM/LM fits the description of Paddy Kane but as Master Aircrew.

On that flight, the last item loaded, after changes, almost at the last minute was a small white military vehicle (priority one: of course and satisfying the safety check), delivered by six burly Petty Officers from HMS Albion. Paddy (he was an Irishman, small, bald and really had a bad eye) told me the pilot was flapping in case his a/c suffered damage from this vehicle.
Naturally, the sailors claimed the vehicle had been cleared by COMAIRBOR (based in Brunei) and had some paperwork to back it up. The sailors took off their nice white shirts and helped redistribute the load then joined us in the Sgts Mess for a meal and refreshments. The pilot was also pleased with us as we turned him around in half the 90 minutes scheduled. He happily flew off with his full freight load plus plenty of duty free beer, spirits and cigarettes.
At that time Singapore Customs used the same allowances for duty free goods as the UK, i.e. one bottle of spirits plus 200 cigarettes. At RAF Changi the Customs role was performed by the RAF Police. Excess quantities could be taken away and placed in Bond until you were leaving Singapore when your goods (within the limits) would be returned to you by the Singapore authorities. I hope some of this is of help to Sam.

See you


British Minister for Africa troubled by CAR conflict

RAF Movements staff and French Troops unload vital Military equipment from the back of a 99 Sqn C17 on its arrival at Bangui Airport in the Central African Republic on the 11th of December 2013.

The Royal Air Force effort to carry French military equipment to the Central African Republic (CAR) is ramping up as tensions rise in the strife-torn country. As troop-carrying vehicles were loaded into the hold of a C17 transport aircraft this morning at an airbase near Marseilles the French army had suffered its first fatalities at the hands of the impoverished state’s violent militias.

LONDON - February 12, 2014 UPI - There have been signs of hope for the Central African Republic but lingering violence is "disturbing," Britain's minister for the region said Wednesday. British Minister for Africa Mark Simmonds, briefing members of Parliament on the crisis in CAR, said the deployment of French troops in support of an African Union peacekeeping mission, and the nomination of Catherine Samba-Penza as interim president, were positive developments.
Simmonds said his government is one of the largest humanitarian donors to CAR. A provision for $3.2 million for the AU will help cover some of its costs incurred during CAR operations.

CAR conflict erupted in March 2013 when Seleka, a Sunni rebel coalition, overthrew the government by force. The International Criminal Court last week opened an investigation into the violence, saying the conflict has "gone from bad to worse."

The European Commission, which authorized its own military operation in CAR this week, said restoring security and public order in CAR was an "immediate" priority.

Simmonds said improved security, humanitarian access and a "strong" political process were "key priorities" for his government.

The United Nations estimates nearly 1 million people are displaced by conflict in CAR.

From: John Rogers, Bournemouth
Sent: Saturday, February 15, 2014 3:11 AM
Subject: Seletar and Tengah Assn

Hello Tony,

Memories of Royal Air Force Bases - Seletar and Tengah, Singapore.
If any service or civilian person who served at these bases would
like to join the RAF Seletar Association, please contact:

John Rogers,
49 High Howe Close,
Bournemouth, BH11 8NN.

Sikorsky Humanitarian Award

The crew of Rescue 912, pictured at left, Jonathon Groten, Aaron Noble, Mark Vokey, Bradley Hiscock and Jeffrey Warden, rescued three seabird hunters from Indian Bay near Gander and for their extraordinary efforts in adverse conditions are being honored with Sikorsky’s Humanitarian Award.

A Sikorsky RH-4 made the first documented rescue by helicopter on Nov. 29, 1945, so it’s not surprising that Sikorsky sponsors the HAI Humanitarian Award. This year’s award goes to the Gander, Newfoundland based flight crew of a Royal Canadian Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter for a successful rescue accomplished under extreme weather conditions on Feb. 9, 2013.

The basic objective - find and recover three seabird hunters on a 16-foot aluminum boat floating in Indian Bay east of Gander - was itself relatively straightforward, but darkness and a fierce winter storm called “Nemo” made the mission particularly dicey, if not impossible.
In fact, several times during the most hazardous part of the mission, as visibility and winds caused the crew to quickly re-evaluate their options and next step, they gave serious consideration to abandoning the rescue, according to Captain Jonathon Groten, who was first officer (copilot) on the flight. “But just as we were about to abort the mission, the visibility would clear a little and become acceptable enough for us to continue,” he told AIN. “We made sure we maintained options all the time.”
Rescue 912, an AgustaWestland AW101/CH-149 of the RCAF’s 103 Squadron, had departed Gander Airport IFR at 10:22 p.m., after waiting for ground crews to clear a path through drifting snow from the squadron’s hangar to the runway. Surface visibility was a half-mile, the ceiling at 200 feet and icing conditions prevailed in the clouds.

The emergency call had been received exactly one hour before the takeoff. The hunters had tried to return to land, but their route became blocked by ice. Nemo had become a full winter blizzard with winds gusting to 40 knots. The hunters had endured 20 hours of exposure, and their chances of survival were diminishing quickly.
Although the distance to the hunters’ reported position was only some 40 nm away, according to the coordinates received from Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax, the actual and forecast weather necessitated an alternate for Gander. The only one available was Deer Lake Airport, which was more than 140 nm due west of the hunters’ location. The distance from Deer Lake to Gander is about 110 nm. Captain Aaron Noble, aircraft commander, and Groten decided to add fuel to the CH-149 to give them enough endurance for 45 minutes on scene for the rescue and a potential diversion to Deer Lake while remaining within the weight limit for a hovering pickup.
Typical endurance of the CH-149 is four hours, Groten said, and it can be extended to five hours by removing some survival gear. Typical cruise speed is 130 knots.
Due to headwinds, it took the three-engine helicopter (a derivative of the original EH101) 30 minutes to make the 40 nm flight to the hunters’ last reported position. Arriving on scene, the crew found the narrow inlet of Indian Bay in blizzard conditions, so the pilots decided to fly several miles farther east to make an automated, overwater descent to a 100-foot hover.

In the hover, visibility varied from a quarter- to a half-mile in intermittent heavy snow squalls. The crew wore night-vision goggles. Although snow degrades the effectiveness of the goggles, “This mission would have been absolutely impossible without them,” Groten said.
The hunters were now about eight miles downwind of Rescue 912. With some 40 knots on its tail, the helicopter hovered forward at about five knots, while Groten checked the map, GPS and radar for the position of the inlet’s coastline and several small islands. The other crew members searched for the hunters’ boat and watched for obstacles from the side windows.

Controlling the helicopter in a downwind hover with severe turbulence off the surrounding 300-foot hills was so difficult that Noble considered calling off the rescue. “The autopilot held a good hover, but it was having trouble holding position,” Groten explained. “Aaron tried to reduce our forward speed with aft cyclic, but could not slow down” the helicopter’s forward groundspeed.

About two miles from the hunters’ position, Nobel decided to turn the helicopter 180 degrees to put the nose into the wind. This resulted in better control of the hover, but now Sergeant Bradley Hiscock, flight engineer (standing in the rescue door), Master Warrant Officer Jeffrey Warden, SAR tech (looking out the left side window) and Master Corporal Mark Vokey, SAR tech, (looking out the back over the lowered rear ramp) were the only ones who could watch for obstacles and search for the hunters. Constant crew coordination was essential to the safety and success of the maneuver. Warden was the first to spot the hunters’ lights and the two red flares they had lit.
But the additional maneuvering made fuel again a concern. Based on earlier calculations, the helicopter needed to depart now, if it were to make it to the Dear Lake weather alternate. A quick recalculation showed there was still some time to pick up the hunters, and if the crew exceeded that time, they figured they could land on the shoreline (which they could see) and shut down. “Our backup plan was to break out the survival gear and wait,” Groten said. At least, they would have the survivors on board.

With minimal references over the ice and open water, Noble fought to maintain a stable hover, while Hiscock and Vokey endured the full force of the storm and a wind chill of -22 degrees. Vokey also received static electric shocks from the aircraft as Hiscock lowered him to the small boat. Once there, the rescueman triaged the three hunters and readied them for up-hoist. Warden assessed the men as they came aboard the helicopter.
When all were back in the cabin and secured, the pilots took off eastward into the wind, making a maximum-rate climb on instruments to clear the surrounding hills while using radar and the GPS map to monitor the terrain. After making a 180-degree turn, they flew west over the village of Centreville on the Southwest Arm of Indian Bay. “We could see the town’s lights below us,” said Groten.

At a safe altitude of 4,000 feet and with just enough fuel to reach Deer Lake, the pilots had to decide between Gander and Deer Lake. Fortunately, Gander Centre reported a slight improvement in weather at Gander airport. With three hypothermic survivors needing medical attention as soon as possible, the pilots decided to fly to Gander.
They flew the ILS to Runway 13, breaking out just above minimums, and landed. The three hunters were quickly transferred to an awaiting ambulance and taken to medical care. Total flight time was about 3.5 hours, according to Groten.

In addition to being awarded the HAI Humanitarian Award, the flight crew of Rescue 912 also received the AgustaWestland Cormorant Trophy and the Prince Philip Helicopter Rescue Award from the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (GAPAN). Said Jeremy Tracy, AgustaWestland’s head of region-Canada, “This is another outstanding rescue effort by dedicated Royal Canadian Air Force members who had the confidence to push themselves and their aircraft to the extreme to ensure that lives were saved.”

AIN online

Ozzies will have to hang on tight to their breakfasts!

The RAAF will be acquiring the C-27J Spartan commencing next year to replace the DHC-4 Caribou which was retired in 2009

Here then is a demonstration of the aircraft's aerobatic capabilities courtesy of the Italian Air Force.
From: Bruce Oram, Alicante
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 8:39 AM
Subject: Photos

Hi Tony

Norm Stamper thought you might like these photos

Cheers the noo

Movs Autumn Ball - October 1978
Bushmills - September 1978
Of course, now we need names for these faces!

Last two airworthy Lancs to fly together in England

Hamilton's Lancaster will head to England this summer for a month-long flying tour with the only other operational Lancaster, owned by the RAF.

They're calling it a "once in a 'Lanc time' event."   Hamilton's famed Avro Lancaster bomber will take off for England in August to spend a month flying around with the world's only other airworthy Lancaster in a series of Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial events and air shows.

The journey from Hamilton to England will mark the first time the bomber, owned by the Canadian Warplane Heritage museum, has ever crossed the ocean.
It will also be the first time the Lancaster has ever flown with the British-built Lancaster, known as Thumper Mk III, owned and operated by the RAF.

The Hamilton-based Lanc - meticulously rebuilt by warplane heritage museum workers over several years - will depart Hamilton on Aug. 4 with a goal of arriving in England four days later. The North Atlantic crossing will include stops at Goose Bay, NL, Narsarsuaq, Greenland and Keflavik, Iceland, prior to arriving at RAF Coningsby in England.

The trip follows a similar route that Canadian-built Lancasters took during the Second World War to find their way to Britain to become a part of bombing operations over Hitler-held Europe. Many of the transatlantic trips from Canada to England were flown by women pilots.
The bringing together of the two bombers is especially notable because they are the last operational Lancasters from the more than 7,700 built during the Second World War. Of those, 430 - including the Warplane Heritage Lancaster - were built in Malton, where Lester B. Pearson Airport sits today.

David Rohrer, president and chief executive officer of the warplane heritage museum, said there has been talk over the past several years about finding a way to have the two Lancs fly together. Scheduling problems made it impossible.
But this year, he said, a window of time opened up and both sides pushed to make it happen because 2014 is the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 100th anniversary of the First World War. Veterans of the RCAF and RAF are severely diminished in numbers as they are reaching their late 80s and 90s, and everyone wanted a special commemoration.

"This is a once in a 'Lanc Time' event where the only two Lancasters in the world will be brought together in a formation as a flying tribute to those who served in the RAF and RCAF. It's a special opportunity that we didn't want to miss," said Rohrer.
Most air shows in Canada take place in June and July, he says, so the Lanc won't miss out on much while it's in England in August.

Six pilots from the warplane heritage will take part, including Rohrer, either as part of the crew flying over, flying back, or as pilots in the heavy schedule of air shows. In all, the Lanc is expected to log about 60 hours of air time and warplane heritage pilots will do all of the flying, Rohrer said

Hamilton Spectator
From: Pete Donald, Harmondsworth, Middlesex
Sent: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 7:40 AM
Subject: VC-10 Banana

Hi all,

Desperate for some help. I need a VC10 banana and trying to source one I find they're now as rare as hen's teeth. Any help, even a picture would be wonderful!
Paul English with the banana in situ
The banana was used to protect the door seals on left and right sides of the main upstairs cargo door by fitting over them.  It was made of an outside hard plastic, with a black foam substance glued to the inside so it fitted over the door frame protecting the seals from mover's enthusiasm!

It was coloured yellow and due to its shape was called a banana as it really looked like one!  They were used in conjunction with the sill protectors (coloured red) but all I need is either a banana or a photo of one in use, or of one itself.

BA uses a thing called a noodle to help prevent damage to door seals. These things look like snakes (and have been mistaken for them recently on opening the hold when someone left the noodles fitted! I believe the loader's face was a picture).  They're black and look like, as I said, either a noodle or a snake depending how you look at it of course.

To be honest, I think we could use something that can't be left in situ nor can be missed when suppossed to be in use.. so something bright yellow and of a substantial material would be better... strangely enough, just like the VC10 banana!
Thanks all you great movers of the world...

Keep moving...

Pete Donald

(I believe we might have found a cage pallet full of 'em!)

The Centenary of Military Aviation 2014 Air Show

The Centenary of Military Aviation 2014 Air Show is proudly presented by the Royal Australian Air Force at RAAF Williams, Point Cook, Victoria over the weekend of 1st and 2nd March 2014.

Point Cook is the birthplace of military aviation in Australia and the oldest continually operating military airfield in the world.

Encompassing a spectacular Air Show with air displays and ground displays, the Centenary of Military Aviation is a national event celebrating 100 years of military aviation in Australia.
Gates are open from 8am to 4pm. Flying displays will be held from 10am to 3:30pm. The event highlights the significant advances in military aircraft during the past 100 years.

On display for the first time at Centenary of Military Aviation Air Show 2014 will be a newly built replica of a Bristol BoxKite aeroplane. The Bristol BoxKite was the first military aircraft flown in Australia at RAAF Point Cook, on 1 March 1914. No original Bristol BoxKite aircraft survive today. Three reproductions were built for the making of the film ‘Those magnificent men in their flying machines’. One is on display at the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, another is on display at the Shuttleworth Collection in Bedfordshire (where it is still flown during flying displays), and the third one is on display at the Museum of Australian Army Flying in Queensland.
For comprehensive interactive information click on the Point Cook logo above

New members joining us recently are:
Russ Knight, Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland
Dave "Skull" Elliott, Skelmersdale, West Lancashire, United Kingdom
Welcome to the OBA!
From: Gerry Davis, Bedminster
Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2014 5:15 AM
Subject: Leaving the forces and getting demobbed

I'm a great listener to the radio, especially BBC Radio 4, with its current affairs programs . "The World at One" and "PM" at 5 o'clock being amongst my favourites.

So I was glued to the "PM" broadcast recently as the subject was servicemen leaving the Forces.
The discussion centred around those ex-service personnel who found the transition into civilian life extremely difficult. It would appear that there are many who take to drugs and crime, as well as those who cannot adjust to the loss of the privileges and the service camaraderie.

The programme turned into a sort of "Failure of the Services to prepare those leaving the Forces to adjust to civilian life."

The programme directors had found an interviewee to tell of his personal experience in leaving the RAF after 25 years service as a sergeant. He cited the procedure for discharge, with the handing in of his uniform and the shredding of his F1250 Identity card and the effect this had on him; especially leaving his camp for the last time and realizing that he was all alone in the world. 
He said there was no help after leaving the RAF to seek advice or to find help in getting work.

He did not mention to the interviewer what trade he was, or the type of work he was seeking or indeed the wealth of experience that the RAF had given him over the years.

I was further amazed at his blame at the RAF for not preparing him for demob. So why did he not prepare himself?

I thought of my own experience on leaving the RAF, after Boy Entrant service and 12 years an airman, I too felt as though my feet had been swept away from me, but I had prepared myself for this earth-shattering experience and changing way of life.

Yes, I bet all we ex-service chaps felt a sense of loss at leaving the forces, and yes it is initially hard to find a slot in life's great challenges out there in the big wide world,  but I got on with it, how about you?

Well, it's obvious that the chap being interviewed is a plonker of the first water - and possibly chosen because of his soul-sucking negativity!

Personally, I had a wonderful experience - I was offered, and accepted, the opportunity to partake in a "resettlement course" in my chosen civillian occupation - spending the last three months of my service life doing just that.  I was also provided with indulgence passage for myself and family on a VC-10 from Brize Norton to Ottawa.  I have no complaints whatsoever - hats off to the RAF!


RAAF to get eight new Poseidon ocean patrol planes in $4bn deal

The Abbott government will spend $4 billion buying eight highly-sophisticated P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol planes for the Royal Australian Air Force. The US-built aircraft will be delivered in 2017 to replace the Cold War-era P3 Orion aircraft.
While the purchase has been planned for some time, today’s announcement comes a fortnight after China sent several warships, escorted by a submarine, through the Sunda Strait between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra.
The government will also have the option of buying four more of the aircraft at a later date.  The Poseidon will come equipped with torpedoes and harpoon missiles to destroy submarines and warships.  The aircraft are already in operation with the United States Navy.

They will operate with several unmanned Triton long-range patrol aircraft the government also expects to buy.  The aircraft will be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.

Tony Abbott said the aircraft would be at the heart of Australia’s surveillance and maritime strike capacity for decades to come.  “This is a very important defence acquisition. It has been quite a long time coming but now we are going ahead,’’ he said. All eight aircraft would be operational by 2021.
Mr Abbott said the government was committed to the security of Australia’s borders.  “Yes, these are maritime strike aircraft. Yes, they are anti-submarine aircraft but they are also border security aircraft with an enormous capacity to surveil our oceans as required,’’ he said.

Mr Abbott said Australia’s economic zone comprised four per cent of the world’s oceans and the search and rescue zone 11 per cent.

“It’s an enormous part of the Earth that we are required to supervise and if necessary control and these aircraft are going to be a very important part of our capacity to do that in the decades to come,’’ he said.

Mr Abbott did not expect the Poseidons would have a role in helping to stop asylum-seeker boats. “We expect the first one to be in operational service by 2017 and I think the boats will be stopped by then,’’ he said.
In 2007, the government gave initial approval to acquire the Poseidon, an aircraft based on the widely-used Boeing 737 airliner and which is now replacing Orions in US Navy service.

Australia initially contributed $150 million to join the P-8A development program, subsequently adding a further $100 million.

The RAAF operates 19 Lockheed P3 Orions, which entered service in the mid-1980s.

The Australian
Knowing me, knowing you
RAF Abingdon, 1971:  The Team Leader of Juliet team was a renowned gentleman who went by the name of 'Uncle' Bill Wellman.  Bill had a twin brother, who, for several years, used to play in a band at squadron dances.  Bill and his brother were identical twins and an idea was hatched to grant one of Bill's brother's wishes.
One of the squadron's 'bread and butter' tasks was the twice-weeky missile exchange run from West Raynham to one of the stations in Germany.  This entailed picking up Bloodhound missiles and exchanging them with the ones in Germany which required peridioc routine maintenance in the UK.

Bill's brother had always admired Bill and hankered to perform a MAMS tasking, and, as such, the team conspired to make this possible.
Bill's uniform and flying suit fitted an absolute treat and his F1250 ID photograph did his brother more justice than himself. Yes - Bills's brother completed the task without anyone being the wiser!
From: John Wickham, Basrah
Sent: Saturday, February 22, 2014 11:27 PM
Subject: Gulf Jobs

Airport Duty Manager Airport Operations - Muscat - Etihad Airways
Posted: 22 Feb 2014 09:20 AM PST
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standards within a cost effective environment. Liaises with Airport Authorities and third party service providers ensuring that Etihad Airways
ground handling requirements and customer service standards are met at all times. Manages all elements of the ground operation whilst on duty.

Airport Operations Officer - Muscat - Etihad Airways
Posted: 22 Feb 2014 09:20 AM PST
You will supervise the landside operation delivering an optimum guest experience at all ‘touch points’. Acts as a senior point of liaison for third
party customer service staff ensuring that Etihad Airways ground handling requirements and customer service standards are met at all times.

RAF Brize Norton's 'farewell' to Tristar heritage

The RAF has begun to run down its fleet of Tristar transport and air-to-air refuelling planes at Brize Norton.

The former airliners, which joined the RAF 30 years ago, are being replaced by new Airbus Voyager planes, converted from Airbus A330-300 airliners.

The first Tristar to be withdrawn, ZD952, was flown earlier this month to Cotswold Airport, at Kemble, near Cirencester, where it will be broken up for scrap.

The commanding officer of Brize Norton’s 216 Squadron, Wing Commander Peter Morgan, said: “It’s extremely sad to see a piece of RAF heritage begin to disappear.”

Oxford Mail
How to get a truck off a moving RNZAF plane

In a combined effort between the army and air force, a truck has been dropped from a Hercules.

The Defence Force is increasing its ability to deliver aid through new air-drop techniques.

In what was believed to be the first of its kind in New Zealand, the New Zealand Army and Royal New Zealand Air Force combined to drop an army truck from a Hercules aircraft from a height of about 230 metres (750 feet).

Lieutenant Jonathan Steele, of the army, said the drop had been three weeks in the making.

"We had to go through a series of steps to make sure we researched every aspect of the drop.

"It's been about three weeks and it's been tested twice and rerigged twice over that period."
It was essential the two forces worked closely on these kinds of operations to enhance their ability to deliver aid, Steele said. "For example, if there is damage to the local infrastructure then air deliveries are a real possibility because it's fly over once, drop in the aid and it is straight to where it needs to be."

Flight Lieutenant Alex Tredrea, of the air force, said the drop was a first for the RNZAF. "The load today was a LOV [light operation vehicle], I believe it was the first time we have dropped one. "It was pretty heavy and you definitely feel it go out the back of the aircraft when the chutes inflate. "It was satisfying to see the load come out safely and hit the target."

Steele said he had been apprehensive watching the massive load float gently to the ground. "[I was hoping] that it would stay as it was looking, looking like it was all going to plan and [it] came down perfectly. "I couldn't have asked for a better result."

Fairfax NZ News
From: Charles Collier, Ewhurst, Surrey
Sent: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 3:48 PM
Subject: B17 Survival Story

Hi Tony,

This is a remarkable survival story - given the damage sustained by the aircraft from both conventional attacks and a mid-air collision - and all the
crew survived to tell the tale!



WWII B17 Survival Story

In 1943 a mid-air collision on February 1, 1943, between a B-17 and a German fighter over the Tunis dock area, became the subject of one of the most famous photographs of WW II. An enemy fighter attacking a 97th Bomb Group formation went out of control, probably with a wounded pilot, then continued its crashing descent into the rear of the fuselage of a For-tress named "All American," piloted by Lt. Kendrick R. Bragg, of the 414th Bomb Squadron.

When it struck, the fighter broke apart, but left some pieces in the B-17. The left horizontal stabilizer of the Fortress and left elevator were completely torn away. The two right engines were out and one on the left had a serious oil pump leak. The vertical fin and the rudder had been damaged, the fuselage had been cut almost completely through connected only at two small parts of the frame, and the radios, electrical and oxygen systems were damaged. There was also a hole in the top that was over 16 feet long and 4 feet wide at its widest; the split in the fuselage went all the way to the top gunner's turret.
Although the tail actually bounced and swayed in the wind and twisted when the plane turned and all the control cables were severed, except one single elevator cable still worked, and the aircraft miraculously still flew!

The tail gunner was trapped because there was no floor connecting the tail to the rest of the plane. The waist and tail gunners used parts of the German fighter and their own parachute harnesses in an attempt to keep the tail from ripping off and the two sides of the fuselage from splitting apart. While the crew was trying to keep the bomber from coming apart, the pilot continued on his bomb run and released his bombs over the target.
For a brief time, two more Me-109 German fighters attacked the All American. Despite the extensive damage, all of the machine gunners were able to respond to these attacks and soon drove off the fighters.

The two waist gunners stood up with their heads sticking out through the hole in the top of the fuselage to aim and fire their machine guns. The tail gunner had to shoot in short bursts because the recoil was actually causing the plane to turn.

Allied P-51 fighters intercepted the All American as it crossed over the Channel and took one of the pictures shown. They also radioed to the base describing that the appendage was waving like a fish tail and that the plane would not make it and to send out boats to rescue the crew when they bailed out.
Two and a half hours after being hit, the aircraft made its final turn to line up with the runway while it was still over 40 miles away. It descended into an emergency landing and a normal roll-out on its landing gear.

When the ambulance pulled alongside, it was waved off because not a single member of the crew had been injured. No one could believe that the aircraft could still fly in such a condition. The Fortress sat placidly until the crew all exited through the door in the fuselage and the tail gunner had climbed down a ladder, at which time the entire rear section of the aircraft collapsed.
From: Jim Aitken, Mooloolah Valley, QLD
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 4:27 AM
Subject: News

G'day Tony,

Just heard this evening from Jude Riley that Jack is currently in Intensive Care at the hospital in Hervey Bay. He went in last Thursday with breathing difficulties and has been on oxygen. Jude reported that he was making a slow recovery and was up out of bed and sitting in a chair.

Jude thought that he may be back home within a few days. Of course at Jack's age these things can take a bit of time.

Maybe a mention in the next newsletter will give his friends an opportunity to wish him a speedy "get well soon".


Jim Aitken
Let's all send our very best wishes for a speedy recovery to Jack - his e-mail address is jjriley1@bigpond.com
(Actually it's a combi RAAF and RAF)

This issue is dedicated
to the memory of
Bernie Cotton - wife of Graham