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Ex-FAAWAFU

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Ex-FAAWAFU last won the day on April 18 2021

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About Ex-FAAWAFU

  • Birthday 12/09/1959

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    Male
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    Salisbury
  • Interests
    Fleet Air Arm & RN, especially WW2 & Cold War.

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  1. Wait… is this Winston & Grant we’re talking about here, or the D-9s?
  2. "Maverick, marking dip..." [I said Naval pilots, not Naval ASW helicopter pilots; elite, but not the creme de la creme]
  3. I'm confused. Top Gun was about Naval pilots... [I too had a 205GTi at around the same time. Motorised roller skate, and ridiculously good fun. We did a series of acceleration tests on the main runway at CU during Summer leave when I was down there on detachment with a Lynx; car on right of runway (so the Lynx pilot could see it) standing start; Lynx in hover to the left of it; countdown over radio. The Lynx thrashed all cars after about 50 yards (there's always a bit of inertia however hard you stand the cab on its nose and pull the lever up around your ears), but the 205 fared best of all the cars up to that point - small and light, I guess. Important performance trials to optimise use of tax-payers' money, obviously, and in no way a bunch of big kids messing about with powerful machines provided by Her Britannic Majesty.] 6 bikes for 2 people is taking the proverbial. Still, it must help during the stash arguments with Mrs F. Besides, life is a game where the one with the most toys at the end wins. Not going to comment further on the Hawks; all been said, and they're stunning. Another holiday...? Crisp
  4. Could it be the fact that (like almost all helicopter models) there are only 4 straps when there should be 5; there should be a stray that comes up the front of the seat through the pilot's legs, and the other 4 click into it. I was a 22-year-old S/Lt working on the flight deck of HMS Fearless about 40 miles away in San Carlos water that day; a lot of the casualties were taken to Ajax Bay field hospital, and the aircraft took fuel from us before heading back. The smell in the back of those cabs will never completely leave me. Bluff Cove was a series of errors (some of them pretty stupid - the senior Marine officer present was practically begging the Welsh Guards to get their men ashore) for which the RFA & Welsh Guards paid a heavy price.
  5. Continuing your usual standard, David - love those walkways. I concur with your view about sharpening the stem; it’s subtle but would improve it yet further. The bow us a very hard area to get right, with all those compound curves; Merit’s Ark bow is not great, but I decided long not not to try to fix it.
  6. Mk.44. I was Flight Commander of Broadsword 7 years later. The repairs were almost - but not quite - invisible; you could still see a discernible dent in the flight deck in certain conditions, and when it was really cold the bombed section melted first (presumably the insulation beneath wasn’t rebuilt to the same standards). Good luck with finding references for the MAD fit; I’ve been looking for years, with a view to doing a 1/48 attempt at this - there isn’t much out there. As I think I have said before, I flew this very airframe in my penultimate sortie as a Naval pilot. [By the way, your “pre May 1982” photo is a different airframe, though obviously very useful as a reference; the patches over the holes in the flight deck mean it must have been taken later than 25 May.] Definitely got my attention!
  7. Re: scuttles (portholes). I have never built a 1/200 ship, but even at 1/350 I’d say that adding the brass scuttles definitely sharpens things up. Be warned, though, that it can turn into a significant rabbit hole if you start comparing the kit with photos of the real ship (as you’re finding with the GRFLM!); once I started down that road with the Merit Ark Royal, I realised that they’d missed a lot out entirely and had many in the wrong place, so I ended up doing a lot of filling and/or drilling. Here starboard hull half mostly done, port about to be started. Your model, your choice. But you are spending so much time (& money) on it - and doing a great job, I’d say - that if you’re like me and you decide not to bother with the brass scuttles, you’d probably regret it later. You can get away without glass at 1/350 for all except big things like Admiral’s Bridge windows. Can’t advise you in 1/200
  8. Yes; the index finger button on the lever (collective) closes the “grab”, and there’s another button under your middle finger that opens it. If you forget, and try to take off without disengaging the harpoon, there’s a waisted bolt that holds it in place, so eventually it would fail… leaving the grab bit attached to the deck and the pilot owing the maintainers a LOT of beer…
  9. Not quite, Maarten. Bear Trap was (is?) a Canadian system, officially called “HHRSD” (helicopter hauldown & rapid securing device), which as far as I know kind of does what it says - the aircraft hovers over the deck in rough weather and lowers a wire with a hook in the end, which is attached to the Bear Trap cable. The pilot then pulls power against the cable to tauten it, and then gradually reduces power while the system hauls the aircraft towards and eventually onto the deck. At least, I think that’s how it works: personally, the thought of attaching my airborne self to a ship via a damn great piece of string gives me the absolute heebie-jeebies… but the RCN has used it for 50-odd years, so it must be safer than it sounds. The Lynx has a slightly different system, which is (as you say) rather confusingly called Harpoon (the RN bought the American Harpoon missile system some years after the Lynx entered service). It is specific to the Lynx (& I assume the Wildcat) because to work it depends on the semi-rigid rotor head. The Lynx main rotor head is machined out of a single lump of titanium; where most helicopters have 3 hinges per rotor blade (flapping [up & down], drag [back & forward] and feathering [twisty-turny]), the Lynx only has a feathering hinge - the flapping and lead/drag forces are taken up by the titanium head. This makes it remarkably agile, and is why Lynx blades don’t discernibly droop when stationary on the ground - it’s also what allows the Lynx to fly inverted (though only under VERY strictly controlled 1G conditions, since the gearbox oil is fed by gravity…). You can clearly see how simple the rotor head is here: For these purposes, however, the agility makes it a stunningly good deck landing aircraft on a small ship, which is exactly what it was designed for; the undercarriage is stressed to high G - provided you have no drift, it is almost impossible to land a Lynx too hard - AND once you are on deck you can put the aircraft into so-called “negative pitch”; the rotors actually push the aircraft downwards and compress the oleos. You push down hard on the collective; the first time you do it, it’s the weirdest feeling! Unlike Bear Trap, the pilot controls the whole thing in the Lynx. You land in the normal manner, which in rough weather means picking your moment and then landing “positively; like you really mean it” (as Nick Clarke, who taught me on my Lynx conversion, would put it). The grey area picked out by Terry is (as Maarten says) actually a bare metal grid; lots of holes about 6-8cm across, counter-sunk so there is very little flat area between the holes. Underneath the belly of the aircraft is a bloomin’ great hydraulic arm with a hook on the end of it, controlled using a switch that sits under your index finger on the collective (not automatic). You can clearly see the grid in this phot of my Flight doing a MRGB change alongside in Gibraltar in 1990. So you land, push through into negative pitch to hold the aircraft down, and engage the deck harpoon. You can stay there quite happily even in very rough weather, until the ship turns and/or there’s a quieter period and it’s safe for the deck crew to get out there and lash you down. In this shot (of Gib Flight Lynx, which was seconded to Broadsword Flight for a couple of months in 1990, making us a two-aircraft flight) you can see the harpoon “ram” under 321’s belly, holding them onto the grid: For take-off (which is what’s happening here) the lashings can be removed while the ship is on a relatively benign course, and the aircraft held on deck with the harpoon and negative pitch. 321 is not in negative pitch here (the oleos are not fully compressed) because it’s not very rough - but all that’s holding her on deck is the harpoon. The final part of optimising the Lynx for deck operations is the wheels. The main wheels have no brakes; just wheel locks, that are either on or off, and cannot be controlled from inside the cockpit. As you can see above, for embarked ops they are always “toed-out”, at roughly 45 degrees. The nosewheel (fore & aft in this photo) can be castered through 90 degrees by the pilot; this allows the aircraft to be turned on deck using the tail rotor, while still held down by the harpoon (& if necessary negative pitch). It’s all about flexibility and safety; the aircraft can safely operate in conditions that would be out of limits for most small ship helicopters and the ship doesn’t necessarily have to turn to launch (because the aircraft can turn itself into the relative wind), which is a big deal if, for instance, there are submarines about.
  10. That film is fascinating, especially for anyone who knows VL. It was the only Naval Air Station of my era at which I was never based - full of Stovies & Junglies in my day - but I still flew that circuit often enough. It looks to me as though the extension of the main runway is still pretty recent, and there are no hangars at all on the South Site (where Navy Wings now live). Also slightly scary to think that the Swordfish was only 25 years old when that film was shot… but the film is almost 50 years ago. The design of the single-man liferaft hadn’t changed significantly between 1964 and the 80s/90s! I think - think - that one of the aircrew at the briefing is Sandy Munro, my neighbour (for whom I built my 1/48 FAW1). Right squadron, roughly right time. Sadly, Sandy’s memory is deteriorating rapidly, but if I get the chance I will see if he remembers who the others are. The airframes certainly look as though they were worked hard!
  11. With a request for a bit of aiming off - this feels a very unforgiving macro photo (e.g. 2 bubble holes in the resin front starboard side of flight deck, entirely missed to this point… so now you can guess where the FDO will be standing…), here’s the state of play with BvT’s blunt end after a weekend of desultory decal work: The random white marks are fluff / dust. Note also the white trench for’d on the 01 life raft deck; that’s deffo not fluff - filler after repairing when I dropped. Once cured, ready for paint again. One thing that definitely pleases me (especially bearing in mind that this is roughly 2 x life size even on an iPad screen) is the join of the rear edge of the flight deck with the transom. This is a tricky area of the kit, with several parts involved, and I suspect I over-sanded slightly when detaching from pouring stubs. Either way, I ended up with a quite chunky trench to fill on a tricky angle. So multiple salaams to @The Baron, whose resin and UV light filler / glue idea I shamelessly nicked, and which worked like a charm.
  12. I I agree; we shouldn’t ever lose sight of the focus of the model, which is the ship. Having said that, to those of us who have seen a lot of the real thing in all moods, a poorly-executed sea scape (& there are a lot) can really detract from the whole thing, however good the ship bit is. I have linked to this build more than once before, because in my eyes @andrewa gets the balance spot on. In real life (as he himself acknowledges) the three ships wouldn’t be that close - Hermes & Broadsword are doing a RAS, but Yarmouth wouldn’t be that close in - but the base must be pretty chunky even as it is, so artistic license is fine. For this discussion, though, Andrew has utterly nailed it; the sea is realistic, the right colour, with confused interaction of wakes / pressure waves just as there would be in real life… so you stop looking at it. The sea isn’t a distraction, but it’s convincing. If I can get an end result anywhere near this, I’ll be well happy!
  13. Crisp late to the party yet again, but it has done my heart much good to see the return of PC. I too dislike my middle name - Paul - for no good reason; indeed I was given it in honour of my Mum’s cousin, who had been a POW on the Burma Railway, survived and was an exceedingly good man… but I still hate it. “Go figure”, as I believe you American types have it. Anyone named after Noor Inayat Khan, however, must be righteous; she was a truly extraordinary woman in all the best senses of that word. [If you have not yet read Sarah Helm’s “A Life in Secrets”, I commend it to the House]. And speaking of extraordinary people, I had read of Major Howard before, but not known that he was an ex-Naval aviator. [Minus marks for leaving, but I guess he made up for it]. Characteristically Procopian back story, and what looks a superb kit (as a 1/48 man, thus far I have managed to resist Arma, but I gather that’s going to get harder soon…). I am only lurking among you aviator types at present; you will find me playing with Dutch resin frigate things in the sailing area. Welcome back, my friend; we have missed you. If you can just locate Ced’s mojo somewhere, we’ll really have the full band back together…
  14. I have been experimenting with seascapes for Bloys v. Treslong, and am reasonably happy with initial results, but thus far I haven’t gone anywhere beyond a very gentle swell, where you can do the wake patterns with paint and acrylic gel. However, in the future I have a sea scape for Ark to do, and it is well documented that on the day of the Bismarck strike the weather was pretty bad - reports of the round down rising & falling by 50’ when the abortive Sheffield attack recovered to re-arm, for instance, and a couple of Swordfish with bent undercarriages as a result. At the start of the Ark build I quoted Gerry Woods’ account of the FDO timing the take-off roll so they got airborne as the bow swung upwards… We’re not talking this kind of weather (unknown US carrier a good deal larger than Ark 4 - and photographer un-credited) in weather when you definitely wouldn’t be flying Swordfish even to attack a Bismarck): … but we could be talking this kind of thing (Hermes in her LPH, pre-ski jump days): The second photo of the Big H is instructive, because it doesn’t look as though she’s steaming very fast (which Ark wouldn’t have been). There is a definite wake pattern, but a lot of it results from the reaction of the swell hitting the hull, rather than just the hull cutting through the waves. You can also see clearly that the sea doesn’t look that rough as you look away to the horizon.. but there’s a pretty large swell in the foreground (visible at the boundary of the white wake vs the normal sea). The WW2 Ark was a pretty similar size to Hermes; slightly (<1,000 tons) larger displacement, 800’ overall vs Hermes’ c.740’, 94’ beam vs Hermes’ 90’. It’s going to be a challenge, but that’s half the fun (and why I am experimenting now!).
  15. Or even with the gyros running at maximum…? Wings level? In a Hawk? At Valley the pilots are all students so wings level is merely a transitory state, and by the time they get to Chivenor they’re all steely-eyed, lantern-jawed low level mud moving monsters, so wings level is something you only do on short finals, if you must.
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