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John B (Sc)

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About John B (Sc)

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    NE Scotland

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  1. Sea Hornet to be returned to flight!

    What superb news . A most beautiful aircraft. Whee !
  2. What an interesting topic, which has wandered intriguingly at times.I still buy some modelling magazines - most;y SAM for old times' sake and because I too like Gary Hatcher's amusing and quaint writing style. Some random comments - Actually Dave, I think there were five nots in the sentence you commented on... ('Pedants are us', alive and well up North!) Terrific to see John Aero back on line. Folk remembering Airfix Series 1 for 2/-. Happy days. I seem to recall they were 1/11 in Woolies, 2/11 for Series 2. That one penny difference in price was worth while then ! I could rarely afford anything from the higher number series except at birthdays & Christmas. Conversions prompted by Alan Hall and (more rarely) by W R Matthews in Flying Review - all done in balsa with much sanding, talc, doping etc. I have a vague memory using banana oil, but maybe that was for flying models? And plunge form moulding, which took lots of practice and some times upset my mother when I made a mess in her kitchen. John B
  3. New Gliding World Altitude Record

    I recall a Canadian friend who told me their drill in the event of engine failure in the CF-104 was to pull up immediately while trying the relight procedure. If you hadn't got a relight by the time the aircraft was dropping back down through 10,000ft, you ejected. That saved a few Canadian crews. Malpaso, I agree it wasn't the ideal machine for low level reconnaissance or attack, though it did surprisingly well at that. For Germany, leaving complex machines with sensitive electronics out in Northern European conditions didn't help their serviceability. Nor did a ten year gap in trained NCOs and maintainers. Some countries had an excellent record with the 104, losing very few. The Lightning had a dreadful accident record overall. Fortunately a rather good ejection seat. It was a complex and awkward design from many aspects - and multiple failures not surprising in such a tight packed airframe. A machine successfully used well outside its original design role, but very limited too. John T - yes, other Cold War machines were notably dangerous to fly. The F-100 and the F-101 come to mind. Brave and determined pilots
  4. XV230 and XV239

    RIP indeed. Two sad events, both so unnecessary. I miss the Nimrods, as do many of us - lovely looking machine, fine sound, very capable platform.
  5. New Gliding World Altitude Record

    Yes. I was most impressed years ago after building their 1/32nd LS-8 to find its wingspan to fuselage length ratio was almost the exact inverse of that of the F-104 - I had a 1/32nd Hasegawa 104G and laid one on top of the other to check !
  6. New Gliding World Altitude Record

    Oh excellent news. Thanks JohnT - I missed that information. This was something that has being worked on by a number of teams, including fairly recently Steve Fosset until his death. I think he was involved in Perlan. Quite a few soaring pilots have flown seasons in Argentina; the wave systems there are extraordinary, though the distances and remoteness makes all these efforts extraordinarily challenging, even before the survival at height issues. A lot of study and thought needed to manage risks reasonably. For along time the height record was limited by the need for a pressure cabin - around 48,000 ft is the unpressurised limit. And as Mike says , the cold as well is a major issue, both for the aircraft structure and the crew. So many problems to solve. At those heights - what is the margin between stall and flutter limits? I see the wing is theoretically good to ~90,000 ft, but how quickly do the theoretical margins reduce? How long would an emergency descent take? What limits on airbrake use and g loading turns? Etc, etc. How high did they need to tow - with those specially designed high altitude optimised wings, lower level soaring may have been hard. What towed them - was it an exciting exercise for the tug pilot? It makes our UK soaring height record of 37,000 ft plus look low - and that was challenging for cold and crew physiological limits. (Set in Scotland some years back, from Aboyne.) I'd really like to know more about what the systems were and what back-ups (if any) they had, so thanks again for the 'nudge'! I bet we don't see a a kit of this for awhile - though maybe Airbus might 'sponsor' it. John B
  7. Float planes and a bear

    Superb. Like Silver Fox, brings back memories of floatplane days. Beavers - superbly versatile and tough ! Thanks
  8. CONTROVERSY AT BIGGIN HILL ON BBC TV

    Most Interesting Rita. Thank you for the detail you have provided. I understand Matthew's concern about instant petitions etc., however I have had some experience of trying to influence 'official bodies'. All too often only a strong indication of public interest has any effect. The folk appointed or who stand for 'public service' rapidly develop very thick skins, even if they didn't have them before hand. That doesn't make listening to other points of view any easier, hence the need for petitions Matthew. Democracy doesn't work well too quietly, and we can't assume those in authority know what they are doing. Examples abound that show they are at least as frequently confused and ill informed as the rest of us. Having read into this one carefully, I will be signing this particular petition. The proposed new works are quite ugly and I haven't seen any worthwhile justification for losing the Vestry or changing the use of the Nave. Fiddling to no real benefit, and arguably to considerable loss. The earlier proposals - which Rita describes as including a 'mini-Duxford' are much more appropriate and sympathetic. Bonnier, too! Regards, John B
  9. I do hope the RAF has properly assessed its refuelling needs for the immediate future. Would be embarrassing to have to hire these back! We have had some rather enthusiastic cutting of capability over recent years- I find it appalling to realise that my Harrier models are of an era now past.
  10. Shuttleworth WW1 evening airshow

    Thank you. John B
  11. Shuttleworth WW1 evening airshow

    That's what I'd call a minimalist glider in the first shot. What is it? - a Dagling or an SG38? Maybe a Grasshopper? (I realise as I ask that I am not at all sure what the relationship, if any, between those machines was!)
  12. Jets are getting even more grey

    The fairly high hour usage due to current operations will also have an effect, since aircraft have to be rotated for minor and major servicings to appropriate UK bases. It seems probable that individual airframes may not necessarily be returned to the same units. Also the markings would only be applied in the base paint shop, not somewhere the jets will often be available for. Makes sense not to hold individual squadron markings therefore - and those markings do (slightly) compromise the grey low visibility paint schemes. Important for active service. Shame , but unsurprising. Excellent post, XV107.
  13. New model 737 The 230 seat Max 10

    I think that must be part of it, Trevor, though as BZN says the later major evolutions may have 'updated' the type certificate. In appearance it is indeed all but a twin engined 707 now!
  14. Civil Hunters Allowed To Fly Again

    I like your Bill Bedford comment, T7. A very fine pilot and raconteur by all accounts. On wheels up landings, it is commonly said " There are those who have and those who will". Few pilots are particularly noisy about criticising a wheels up landing too strongly because most of us know how close we've come ! Now, someone who does it twice - ah, that's different. Time for a new pursuit; I'd recommend tiddlywinks. Back to the original topic - I doubt we will see many, or possibly any, civil Hunter displaying in the UK again. The combination of maintenance challenges - the grounding delay has put more or less all the aircraft into an expensive cycle of checks - insurance for pilot and plane and CAA restrictions will make it an expensive, tortuous and risky(in terms of success probability) process to get back to display qualification. Pity.
  15. Civil Hunters Allowed To Fly Again

    Hairystick, Interesting. In a similar way to you I am disappointed at the loss of life and of aircraft in display flying over the years. Some have been related to engineering and serviceability issues, always a challenge with older aircraft. In that, a reasonable acceptance of the risk/reward balance requires to be made. That seems to be becoming harder for folk to understand in the 'modern' risk averse UK. I take the examples of the FAA, the BBMF and the Shuttleworh Collection. Their historical aircraft have suffered some losses and damage over the years due to engineering related issues like engine and undercarriage failures. Overall their view appears to have been that the risk to the aircraft - and the volunteer crews - has been outweighed by the benefit to the public of seeing these historic aircraft displayed actively in their element rather than statically and 'dead' in a museum. That may of course change and is always subject to review. While the CAA could take a view on the risk/reward ratio it does not, as far as I know do so in any definitive sense. That evaluation is largely left to the operators. I think that is correct though I'd like to see more direction. Outside those accidents and incidents, most of the losses and fatalities have related to what I will broadly (and simplistically) term 'pilot error' accidents. These can be reduced, if not eliminated, by careful training, supervision, oversight and feedback to the pilots and operators. The CAA has, at least in r cent times, not been doing this, in my view. Possibly due to staffing cuts, amongst other things. They have tended to take a hands off approach, so that the required pilot training before a DA was issued was loosely defined at best and the required standards for a DA approval were to a large extent defined by the training/conversion instructors (themselves senior display pilots generally) and the DA approvers - also display pilots. In such a small group this process could become somewhat incestuous; an input from a neutral interested 'authority' could possibly have helped tighten certain clear gaps left in some training and oversight areas. The pilots involved are & were all committed professionals, however we all suffer tunnel vision at times ! Nobody wants to kill themselves. In addition the display organising authorities were left substantially on their own to define the requirements and limits of authority and responsibility for the safe running of airshows. The guidance given appears to have been somewhat distant in style at times. I consider that these areas of dubious performance (at best) were well within the scope and authority of the CAA, unless their remit and authorisation has been greatly changed with time. I suspect what has happened is a version of ''scope creep' over a number of years, undoubtedly exacerbated by reducing staff numbers. Scope creep - insidious and imperceptible. That is why my comment mentioned the CAA somewhat critically. Of course hindsight is always 20:20. However, other countries have - and had - taken a more definitive and prescriptive approach. We didn't. There is discussion now as to whether full blown aerobatics in high speed ex-military aircraft are worth the risk at flying displays. Possibly not. High speed flypasts and some gentle maneouvring to show off the aircraft's shape and colour scheme may be safer,as well as easier for pilots. Your anguish and concern is shared by others. OK, arguably a brief halt to jet display aerobatics while the issues were thought through post-Shoreham was justified. Otherwise, all a ban does is ensure everyone runs out of currency, which is costly to regain. A disclaimer (sorry, this post has got rather long!) - I am not a display pilot, don't hold a DA, though I have displayed aircraft - old, light and slow ones, some time ago when the rules were more 'relaxed'. I am well aware of the 'pressure to perform' - that is one we all have to work at to control. It has led me into a few incidents I shiver at now. I do still fly old aircraft, and aerobat some of them happily,though not at shows. I have a great admiration for display pilots, some of whom are valued friends. Regards, John B
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