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Howling vulcan..........

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heirflick
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Had them going over the house for a few years, you do get used to it. Did lose a Thermos flask to one once, the noise just broke the glass liner.

 

If a Vulcan catches fire, sometimes you just have to bugger off and leave it to burn...

 

385_scampton.jpg

 

..the two extra tanks and the engines are still there, the rest might patch up..

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what happened her Jim?

 

Nothing to do with me - I never touched it, Sir!

 

Compresser disc came out of the far engine - all fuelled up, too much of a fire to do much about.

 

They had an ATC cadet aboard, in the back, his parachute opened when trying to get through the hatch, adding greatly to the excitement.

 

The two drivers had ejection seats, but no use at ground level, it's all five out through the hatch...

 

The three in the back had a hard time evacuating a Vulcan in flight, often there would be three fatalities. There was a move to provide ejection seats for them, but it came to nothing in the end.

 

The structure would only allow one hatch and so a sequential system was envisaged, the central seat out first, followed by each of the side seats, after it had been moved to the empty central position. A rig was built, but it never even got to flight-testing.

 

rearofvulcanrig.jpg

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The two drivers had ejection seats, but no use at ground level, it's all five out through the hatch...

 

The three in the back had a hard time evacuating a Vulcan in flight, often there would be three fatalities. There was a move to provide ejection seats for them, but it came to nothing in the end.

 

Doddy Hay's autobiography, 'The Man in the Hot Seat' (a great read in general), touches on the issue of ejection seats for V bomber crews, and describes his test ejection from the rear crew position on a Valiant.

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has there been many mishaps with her in service? and don't take a wrong meaning out of the question:rolleyes:

 

There were a few losses alright. If something happened at low level, the rear crew couldn't bail out, and the pilots were left with the agonising decision of whether to abandon their colleagues or go down with them. Some did, some didn't...

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Fatal crashes with Vulcans were not rare events, particularly after the conversion to terrain-following, when the original high-level missions became both unnecessary and unlikely to succeed. As designed, a high-altitude evacuation was a plausible procedure, but just not practical at low-level.

 

By 1967, when that fire above occurred, they didn't really have much of a real task left. They had the wrong sort of enemy for HE bombs, just the tribesmen in Yemen, which would have resulted in just re-arranging the gravel. The nuclear task was largely undertaken by the Navy with Polaris.

 

Some Vulcans were converted to tankers, using the bomb-bay tanks and a hose-drum. I'm not sure if that one was hose-fitted, but the hose-drum might not have survived in a recognisable form. The supplementary tanks were stainless steel, hence their survival.

 

Most of the tankering was done by converted Victors, as they weren't structurally up to sustained low-level flight.

 

The mark of a good Vulcan pilot was always said to be if he could pull a 1G barrel roll without getting any comment from the back three. A few could do it, though I only ever saw one rolled - and that was at a rather lower altitude than I might have liked to be involved in.

 

You can just see the bottom of a supplementary tank here, at the front of the bomb-bay of Cosford's Vulcan.

 

QxJoLnJ.jpg

 

The Balck Buck missions to the Falklands were probably more impressive for the refuelling arrangements than for the couple of bombs that actually hit the runway. They had to fly tankers to refuel the tankers that refuelled the single Vulcan that was bomb-armed, so that it could have a fully available bomb-load, in order to run a stick across the airfield.

 

Stanley-Airport-Runway-Bomb-Craters-05a-740x479.jpg

 

The flight out required the bombing Vulcan to be refuelled seven times - and once on the return

 

Other Vulcans flew with Shrike missiles - and one of them ended up in Uruguay after the refuelling probe failed and there was nowhere else to go with the remaining fuel..

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Some of the non-fatal incidents, of which there were many, could be quite "entertaining" - Delivery flight to Filton from Boscombe Down for engine handling trials with the Olympus B.01 21 engine. The aircraft had been allotted to Handling Sqn to enable flight trials to be undertaken to update the advanced issue Pilot's Notes. The Captain Flt Lt Wareham had 15 hours on type and the co-pilot Mr Frost none. After touching down fast, from an ACR 7 approach, 550 yards beyond the threshold on a flooded runway in moderate rain at Filton, the pilot applied the wheel brakes with no apparent effect. The drag parachute was then deployed but again no retardation was felt. Engine power was applied 600 yards from the end of Runway 10 and an overshoot executed, the aircraft was pulled off the ground 50 yards from the end of the runway. During the overshoot the aircraft struck a sodium light bursting four of the eight starboard bogie tyres and struck a commercial garage situated at the end of the runway, blowing all four petrol pumps away, damaging two cars, and hit the street lighting. As the aircraft climbed, the streamed brake parachute fell away. The aircraft then diverted to St.Mawgan and landed safely. The weather at Filton was marginal for the Vulcan especially using the ACR 7, which the captain had never before flown in a Vulcan. This had been compounded by the failure of the brake parachute to fully deploy.

 

Other fires happened, as well, this was at Filton again, I think - it took a fire engine with it...

 

G2338.jpg

 

They did use a Vulcan as a flying test-bed for other engines, including the new Olympus for Concorde.

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In that first fire picture, the plane was running up on the runway*, so they had the benefit of facing into the wind - the second one, though, has the wind coming from the rear quarter, which will have made getting out through the hatch (that you can see hanging down) very exciting, with thousands of gallons of burning paraffin sloshing around on the concrete, whilst the undercarriage is collapsing.

 

Not for the faint-hearted.

 

 

* They had to use a shortened section of the runway for a while, as the concrete was destroyed. It was a couple of years before they had the full length available again.

 

Interestingly (perhaps) the road past Scampton used to be the longest straight in England, 18 miles, I think - until they extended the runway for the V-Bomber and had to put a bend in the road to get round the end of it.

 

scampton.gif

 

Even more interestingly (I think), when they came to move the "Gate Guardians" for the roadworks, a Lancaster and a Grand Slam bomb, the crane failed to lift what was presumed to be just the case of the bomb, but it was then discovered that it was actually a fully filled and live ten ton bomb - it had been there, next to the main gate, alongside the A15 for nearly fifteen years - it was never resolved how that happened.....

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Even more interestingly (I think), when they came to move the "Gate Guardians" for the roadworks, a Lancaster and a Grand Slam bomb, the crane failed to lift what was presumed to be just the case of the bomb, but it was then discovered that it was actually a fully filled and live ten ton bomb - it had been there, next to the main gate, alongside the A15 for nearly fifteen years - it was never resolved how that happened.....

 

Bet someone sh*t themselves over that!:rolleyes:

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Bet someone sh*t themselves over that!:rolleyes:

 

They were actually very lucky that the crane wasn't up to the weight - if they had had a capable crane, then they wouldn't have found out at that point.....

 

Where I worked,for very complicated reasons involving take-overs and bankruptcies, we made transport cases for torpedoes for a while. These had internal suspension and were supposed to protect the torpedo from damage if it was dropped on a concrete dockside when being loaded. We had an "Inert Dummy", a genuine casing, with a filling to simulate the weights of the real innards, so that we could check that it would fit properly, etc.

 

One morning, completely unannounced, two Land Rovers full of Naval MPs turned up, with a low-loader containing another Inert Dummy. "You will swap the one that you have for this one - now!"

 

They refused to discuss the reasons behind this.

 

I like to think that we might have just had a torpedo with a live motor*, but, knowing the Scampton Grand Slam history, I was happier when the swap had happened - if we even had the right one then, of course......

 

*The motor was a gas turbine running on Otto Fuel - that going off would have been exciting enough...

 

..but a 300kg warhead was another matter..

 

..and from outside, it was impossible to tell, except for the markings, if they were right.......

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