Another Navy Wings article...

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TheGreenGoblin
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Another Navy Wings article...

#1 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:24 am

Another anecdote brought to us courtesy of the Navy Wings folks. Please feel free to bung them a contribution , or even better, join up as a supporter if, and when you want or can.

Sea Vixens.JPG

A spot of bother with the Sea Vixens...
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Your destination remains
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#2 Post by ian16th » Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:01 pm

Enjoyed that. The fish heads messing again!

When I was at Marham we were a Master Diversion Station, and we had the equivalent duty crew, it was called Gale & Crash Crew, irreverently called Crash & Bash, a weeks duty under the command of a Corporal or Corporal Tech. The crew was made up of tradesmen from all of the a/c trades and would have been disappointed to be referred to as 'part timers'.

It was a duty that came around infrequently as it was shared by all of the technical Cpl's of 4 Valiant Sqdns. Whenever I did the duty I never lost a nights sleep, and the weekend was simply boring. Others have war stories to tell.
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#3 Post by Ex-Ascot » Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:53 pm

I think that I have told this before so will not elaborate. My senior ops officer (Nav) was on secondment to the RN. He took off a carrier in a Sea Vixen and went splash. Waited the required length of time for the ship to pass over him and activated the flotation device to get him to the surface. Unfortunately his pilot died. Rehab, leave, and back to Yeovilton for refresher training. First flight they had to bang out. He requested a transfer back to the Royal Air force.
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#4 Post by larsssnowpharter » Fri Apr 17, 2020 4:18 pm

One recalls a Fleet Air Arm song one line of which was "if the devil doesn't get you the Vixen will."

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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#5 Post by ian16th » Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:27 pm

For the RAF to prefer the Javelin to the Sea Vixen says it all.
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#6 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Fri Apr 17, 2020 7:14 pm

https://www.seavixen.org/sea-vixen-acci ... ublic-page
The General Public should address a long since neglected fact that that few people have heard of the Sea Vixen. It served as a front line Carrier Borne Fighter Aircraft with the Royal Navy from 1959/1972. It was a mean looking, noisy machine that filled onlookers with awe. There were 55 Major Accidents involving loss of airframe. Out of these, 30 were fatal and of these 21 were fatal to both operating aircrew. In other words 51 Royal Navy Aircrew were lost in the 12 years of Sea Vixen Operations.

145 Sea Vixens were built. The loss rate was 37.93%. The fatality rate within those losses was 54.54%.
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#7 Post by FD2 » Fri Apr 17, 2020 9:34 pm

It was interesting to talk to surviving Vixen crew. They had some wonderful tales to tell! Some transferred to RW but found it a bit tame after thundering round the skies at high speed.

I have a photo somewhere of another incident concerning the Sea Vixen. He flew ashore to Gan (I think) and either a hydraulics failure was the reason or he had a brake failure after landing. The pilot called for whatever he would have called for at Yeovilton to get the arrestor wires raised but no action was taken as the RAF terminology was different. The big brains higher up got together after that to come up with a common expression between the services. The photo, which I will try and find, shows the Vixen sitting up to its wings just off the beach at the end of the runway.

Meanwhile here's an interesting photo of Ark Royal, later in her life, cross operating with the USN. The American F4 didn't have the extending nose oleo so I think had a low fuel state for launch. A friend was the first to land with it extended when he diverted to St Mawgan from Ark in the Bristol Channel when it refused to shorten after launch so couldn't be retracted. 'Interesting' landing he said! Excuse thread drift...
cross-decking in Ark.jpg
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#8 Post by CharlieOneSix » Fri Apr 17, 2020 9:57 pm

THE VIXEN

Picture if you can, a Vixen
Rushing through the starry skies,
Picture too, the intrepid pilot
Peering through his bloodshot eyes.

Long ago he joined the Service
Said he’d like to learn to fly –
Thought it meant some easy money,
Rich retirement bye and bye.

Thought as well of babes and popsies,
And the glamour of those wings,
Or visits to exotic places.
Parties, dances, other things…

Now he sits in frozen terror,
Bathed in moonlight’s cheerless glow;
Trying not to think of landing
On that flight deck down below.

Tiny deck, enormous airplane
Guided by his hands and feet,
In the darkness none to tell him
How on earth the twain shall meet.

His alone the great decisions,
He the Captain of his fate,
Life itself the constant wager
‘Gainst the snares that lie in wait.

But stay, there is one guiding hand
To lead him in the paths of right.
One voice to lend encouragement
When fear strikes deep at dead of night.

For on his right, and just behind him,
Shielded from plebeian view,
Dwells within the Vixen’s bowels
A second member of the crew.

Trained in the arts of navigation,
Versed in interception lore;
Master-mind and shrewd tactician
When the Vixen goes to war.

This is he they call the Looker,
Silent partner of the team,
Thinker extraordinary
Of the cream the very cream.

Aided by his electronics,
Helped by radar’s probing eye;
His vital task the skilled direction
Of the Vixen around the sky.

Master too, of relaxation
Soothing words and healing balms,
Oft-times in the air he wanders
‘Wrapped in Morpheus’ blissful arms.

Then it is the wrathful pilot
Bellows forth in angry roar,
Only to be answered with
A small observatorial snore.

At last the moment comes for landing,
When the Looker’s work is done.
When his special tasks are ended
And his test of faith begun.

Now in turn the pilot needs
Must wake from dreams and concentrate,
While the ATCO talks him gently
Down towards the homing gate.

Through the gate and join the pattern,
Cockpit checks and lights all green.
Throttle back and down the glidepath
Till the meatball’s clearly seen.

Closer still and o’er the round-down;
Now the time for faith and prayer.
Hold the speed, check the line-up,
Nearly down….A bright red flare!

Keep your head now, throttles open!
Take your bolter like a man.
Climb away and keep her level,
Visual circuit if you can.

Downwind leg and check the fuel,
One more pass and that’s your lot.
On the meatball, keep her steady,
Steady, steady, steady, ZOT!

Down at last, a perfect landing,
Model of the pilot’s art.
Now see the carefree crew emerge
With sweating brow and pounding heart.

See them weaving down the flight deck
Twitching gently, faces green,
Reporting to the Senior Pilot –
“Normal sortie – just routine.”

---------------------------------

A VIXEN’S MADE FOR PITCH UP
To the tune of “These boots are made for walking”

You keep saying that you’re pretty steely.
That there’s nothing flying that you can’t hack,
But one day you’ll overstep the line, child
And that’s when a Vixen’s gonna bite right back.

CHORUS
‘Cos a Vixen’s made for pitch up,
And that’s just what it’ll do,
And one of these days a Vixen’s
Gonna pitch right up on you.


Pull it hard and tight on finals,
Hear the Looker babbling with fright.
Speeds 120 and a burbling,
But manfully you call out “on sight”.

Well you tell how much you love flying,
But the way you’re flying now fills me with gloom,
And when in the wreckage they find you a-dyin’
They’re gonna write these words on your tomb:

CHORUS
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#9 Post by CharlieOneSix » Fri Apr 17, 2020 10:17 pm

I witnessed two Vixen accidents on Ark Royal which resulted in three deaths out of the four crew - one was when both engines failed after a catastrophic mechanical failure in one engine and the other was when a 500lb bomb detonated just as it left the aircraft, the target being a splash target behind the ship.
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#10 Post by FD2 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:01 am

I have just been looking through my copy of the FAA Songbook after reading 'The Vixen' again. There were some very clever lyrics written to lots of tunes over the years. I wonder what they do for entertainment nowadays. Does the PC/MeToo culture prohibit these songs?
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#11 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:08 am

FD2 wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:01 am
I have just been looking through my copy of the FAA Songbook after reading 'The Vixen' again. There were some very clever lyrics written to lots of tunes over the years. I wonder what they do for entertainment nowadays. Does the PC/MeToo culture prohibit these songs?
A rousing drinking chorus and the change to the Father Jack avatar! Most appropriate!

"Feck, arse etc," =)) :-bd
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Your destination remains
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#12 Post by FD2 » Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:20 am

That’s what I look like after a month of lockdown!

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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#13 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:54 am

Well the annual Navy Wings magazine has clumped down through the letter box and what a good read it is. Despite the the cancellations and curtailments due to the current virus situation, there is some good news this year in that parliament has voted to pass what was the RN Historic Flight over to Navy Wings.

For those who are interested the whole story can be found here.

https://navywings.org.uk

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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#14 Post by CharlieOneSix » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:37 pm

My copy arrived today as well. As you say, a good read! Sad that the MOD has divested itself of any interest or responsibility in the operation of the RN Historic Flight aircraft so the airframes have now been transferred to the charity Navy Wings. They now have to operate under CAA rules and depend on charitable donations to survive.
We will soon be offering the chance to fly in some of our nationally important historic aircraft.
I wonder whether that will include Tiger Moth T8191 - the steed that took me on my first RN solo 57 years ago -'cos I'll be there like a shot!
T8191.jpg
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#15 Post by ian16th » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:20 pm

Can one ask about currency? and I don't mean money!

o:-) o:-)

My son was given a trip in a Tiger for his 30th birthday. His wife paid for it.

Maybe she was trying for a cheap option to divorce!
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#16 Post by CharlieOneSix » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:24 pm

ian16th wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:20 pm
Can one ask about currency? .....
Mine, you mean? I haven't flown a Tiger Moth since 1963. My first solo took place during a few hours pre-flying training assessment at Plymouth Roborough whilst at Dartmouth. Subsequent to that short course we could go there occasionally at weekends for recreational flying in the Tigers - which I did at every opportunity!
The Roborough Tiger Moths 1963 -a poor scan from my logbook...
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#17 Post by ian16th » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:34 pm

We once had a Tiger Moth land on the Parade Square at Yatesbury!

It was a BIG square. Across one end of it there were about 8 tennis wickets.
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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#18 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:03 pm

CharlieOneSix wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:37 pm
Sad that the MOD has divested itself of any interest or responsibility in the operation of the RN Historic Flight aircraft so the airframes have now been transferred to the charity Navy Wings. They now have to operate under CAA rules and depend on charitable donations to survive.
We will soon be offering the chance to fly in some of our nationally important historic aircraft.
I wonder whether that will include Tiger Moth T8191 - the steed that took me on my first RN solo 57 years ago -'cos I'll be there like a shot!
T8191.jpg
I agree with you, I find it incomprehensible that the MOD could allow this to happen but I suppose the good news is that the aircraft will be kept together here in the UK by a group of people, ex-Navy, Fleet Arm folks and volunteers etc. who care about the history of the aircraft.

I hope for your sake C16 that you get to fly in your old steed again. ;)))
G-BWMK (T8191) was built by Morris Motors ,Cowley towards the end of 1940 and delivered to 15 MU purgatory store near Oxford on 10April 1941.Issued to 3EFTS Watchfield 25 May 1941 and then on to 3(P) AFU South Cerney in 1942.

She was damaged 24 Aug 1942 when the tailskid sheared off when taxiing across Summerfield tracking.After being repaired she was allocated to 4 FIS Cambridge 17Dec 1942 and later used by 22 EFTs Cambridge where a navy pilot broke the undercarriage during a heavy landing on 22June 1945.She was then posted to 5MU Kemble 13 Aug 1946 to be transferred to the Admiralty 3 Oct 1946 and delivered to 3 Ferry Flight RNAS Anthorn 22 June 1949. Serving out her remaining service time in the navy she moved all around the UK starting at RNAYDonibristle 21Jan 1949,RNAS Stretton8 Feb 1949,RNAS Culham 37 Jul 191951,RNAS Gosport 17Sept1952,RNAS Stretton(storage)22 Sept1952,RNAS Anthorn 11 Jul1953,RNAS Stretton 14 Aug1953,RNAS Anthorn 19Jul 1954,RN Gosport(repair) 17 Aug 1954,RNAS Lee on Solent 12 May 1955,RNAS Ford 11 July 1955,RNAS Lee on Solent for BRNC Dartmouth Flight 23 July 1955.

After heavy landing she was stored and repaired at RN Arbroath,31 July 1958,RNAS Lossiemouth 14 July1959,RN Arbroath(engine change)29 Sep1959,Dartmouth/Roborough 16 Nov 1960 -heavy landing,.RNAS Culdrose 14 July1966,Station Flight RNAS Yeovilton 15 March 1972,

Historic Flight Yeovilton 19 March 1973.Took part in “Famous Grouse Rally and came 24th probably caused by being overweight as the Navy insisted on full safety equipment including immersion suits and life jackets (overland!) .

T8191 was withdrawn from service 2 Dec 1986 and placed in store at Lee on Solent,she was then struck off charge due to reorganization of defence funds in 1994.Put up for sale through Sothebys she was purchased by John Lloyd for £12,000 and moved to Pool Quay,Welshpool for restoration..

No work was carried out and she was sold to Schneider Trophy Ltd 9 Feb 1996 who sold her on to Tony Beynon(APB Leasing) 28Feb 2002.She was bought by Kevin Crumplin 30 March 2012 who commenced restoration in 2015 .She has been finished in silver with yellow training bands, as she was at Dartmouth/ Roborough in 1960, and is based at Henstridge.

Her engine was overhauled and zero timed at Deltair Airmotive.

She has now been transferred to the Light Aircraft Association and has just (Dec 2019) received her Permit to Fly.

T8191 is part of the “Navy Wings” associate scheme and will feature in publicity involving the Fleet Air Arm.
I didn't realise that the Navy had flown the Stinson.

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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#19 Post by FD2 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:16 pm

C16 - I remember those chilly Roborough flights well - in my case recreation only at weekends - because I could never land them gently! My best bounce was about 20ft. There was a great team of old and very experienced pilots there who had seen it all before. There is a retired Air New Zealand pilot living nearby here who keeps a Chipmunk and a Tiger Moth - I might get in touch after the plague has calmed down.

Thank God it didn't count towards later flying training - the Chipmunk didn't bounce so high but caught a couple of guys out with ground loops.

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Re: Another Navy Wings article...

#20 Post by CharlieOneSix » Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:01 pm

FD2 wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:16 pm
..... There was a great team of old and very experienced pilots there who had seen it all before.
Yes, Old Man Lucas with a huge handlebar moustache, his son, Young Lucas, and the ancient Mr Brown, Mr Tooth, and Mr Brooks - they all feature in my logbook. My instructor for the pre flying training course was Young Lucas, ex-RAF like his father, the Old Man who did my Final Handling Test. I watched him do a crazy flying display at an Air Day at Roborough. He could make a Tiger Moth talk! I was told he had 10,000 hours on Tiger Moths but I have no idea whether that was true.
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