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Tramatoa

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About Tramatoa

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  • Location
    North West England
  • Interests
    Yellow Wessex

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  1. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    Apparently things have been moving near Mount Maunganui. Five ancient ladies dragged out of storage in September and I missed it completely. Lots of pics at sunlive.co.nz ‘Classic Flyers makes room for exciting fleet’. Apologies if the whole world has seen this already
  2. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    10/10 for the intake and exhaust blanks though, absolutely spot on.
  3. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    Well I’ll go to the foot of our stairs it seems I was mistaken in my belief that XT604 was the only yellow Wessex in the North. I didn’t see this last time I was at Cosford. Having said that something seems a little fishy about this cab........ who am I trying to kid, it’s a bit like them fitting Schräge Musik to their Dornier. Poor old thing, it looked well in its 72 Sqn colours in 2006.
  4. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    XR498 looks as if it’s been on Ops over the Eisteddfod!
  5. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    Co-pilot’s Cyclic From the Walkround section. Right side has a blank where the winch cable cutter would be, left side has a guarded cargo release switch for the SACRU. The ‘Chinaman’s Hat’ is for the searchlight on the underside of the nose door. Rocking switch at the front would be Radio transmit switch and I assume the thumb switch on the left hand side is autopilot disconnect? I didn’t ever get to see anyone cut a cable so can’t comment on the resultant bang but the Flotation Gear made a very impressive bang when our Leckie set it off!!
  6. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    There we go, courtesy of Bobsyouruncle in post 216. The hook had a helical spring with a stainless end cap and rubber grommet where the cable went through it, presumably to stop it making hard contact with the bell mouth on the winch when it reached full up. I’m pretty sure the pip pin was secured with red para chord.
  7. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    I agree it seems that there is lots of evidence that these were used, but definitely not on yellow cabs between 1986 -91. I’ll see if I can find an example of what I mean and get back to you. It’s funny how we all have our own memories of what is correct, I guess with such a long service life it’s inevitable.
  8. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    Apologies for my disappearance. I thought today I would ease myself back in and look at the 300’ winch and frame as fitted to the SAR aircraft, so back to XT604 at EMA courtesy of NABE3. There are several things here which need highlighting. Firstly, the hook is not as I remember it, ours didn’t have the grab ring which I would think of as a Navy thing. The hook I remember had a buffer spring which sat at the upper end. This is also missing it’s pip pin and lanyard. After the tragic loss of Dave Bullock on C Flt 202 Squadron due to the cable snapping an emergency hook was introduced into the role kit. This consisted of a hook body attached to a rectangular piece of steel plate which was slotted in a specific way and stamped with a sequence for splicing it on and lived in a pouch on the LHS rail. The cable could be cut by the pilot by pressing a button on the Cyclic, guarded by a yellow and black striped cover. This could be confused with the SACRU release button and I recall an experienced NCO doing the routine function check in the hangar getting a bang and a clunk instead of the usual chattering. He quipped he couldn’t understand the fuss because he’d only cut six inches off the end of the cable. The winch itself is missing it’s hydraulic pipes which should plumb into the three connectors on the side of the fuselage. The pump on the forward face of the casing has two rigid hydraulic pipes which always struck me as a bit fragile but I don’t recall them ever being damaged either in service or during installation. Replacements used to be delivered in a wooden crate from the Winch Bay at Finningley, which was a remote building in the middle of nowhere which meant a trip out from the hangar in the black Escort estate for an hour or so. They were a pretty reliable bit of kit, the commonest reason for replacing one was birdcaging of the cable which wasn’t tolerated. In use the cable was always kept under tension and a couple of winch weights (of the inert variety) were also carried in the role kit, these consisted of a canvas pouch with a D ring containing a lump of lead. Very occasionally you would get a birdsnest when the cable hadn’t wound onto the drum correctly and you would be faced with yards of cable in the cabin and an apologetic Winchman. The moveable lamp is interesting in that it was modded up on the flights, possibly as part of the wash up after XT674 crashed in Scotland after the Main Rotor clipped a rock. We were presented with a box of bits and had to ad-lib a bit. The shroud was bent to suit and attached by small L brackets riveted on and the handle was aluminium with a grey anodised finish and knurled grip. The friction device was quite poor and they used to be quite floppy. The black sleeve on the frame was hard rubber and was presumably to stop the cable chafing against it. The frames had an issue with the fitting on the edge of the Transmission Platform where the small bracing struts attached. The bearing in here could wear over time allowing the frame to move, again not tolerated for long by the Growbags. You can make this out below the recessed area at the lower edge of the Servicing Platform door. that got the old grey matter going, hope it is of interest to you. Tramatoa
  9. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    While visiting the museum at Doncaster a couple of months ago with Thing 1 the subject of ground resonance came up. Two specific incidents came to mind. The first related to XR519 at Shawbury on the 7th December, 1990. This aircraft was being started up after maintenance, the rotors were engaged and stabilised normally then a violent oscillation developed which rolled the aircraft onto its left side. My recollection was that this was attributed to a damper of the incorrect stroke number being fitted and I think a Tech Notice (or whatever the military equivalent was) was issued at the time to highlight this. As the old grey matter isn’t quite what it once was I had a look at the accident report before issuing Biggles with her weekly quiz question and shock, horror, I had got it wrong. This incident was put down to a corroded Drag Damper Valve and this was presumed to have occurred in storage prior to installation. Regardless of the cause the aircraft went from stable running to a pile of twisted metal in seven seconds. The second incident took place on the pan at Valley when we were carrying out a winch wash. I was doing the washing, one of the lads was dragging the cable out with the old strop and doubler arrangement we used and someone else was on the edge of the circle with a leather glove to support the cable as it paid out. We were winding back in with me squirting the PX24 into a rag wrapped round the cable when a hot shot did a fancy flare onto the next dispersal. Our aircraft tipped over about thirty degrees at which the loadie disappeared into the cabin at a rate of knots, the pilot hauled up on the collective and the strop guy pulled the release, letting the cable go. I just went down on one knee automatically as the main wheel sailed past my head and fortunately everything missed me completely. As he established a low hover I just calmly walked out on autopilot, it wasn’t until later that you think about it. In our world it was just something you joked about, but the captain put a right rocket up the other pilot and looking back now it still gives me a feeling of satisfaction at how we all just reacted without thinking. A great bunch of blokes you could really trust. Neither incident was down to the accepted norm of tyre pressures or oleo pressures.
  10. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    One of my few remaining ex-RAF mates came round for a brew earlier and the subject of C Flt/SARTU came up. He was posted in much earlier than me, went onto Pumas in RAFG then returned. When I mentioned the winching trainer he told me he clearly remembered it arriving, the framework being installed by a contractor and it being lifted into place. Apparently it was green and white when it arrived and was missing its nose door and tail boom, which ties in with the history we have for it. One story I had forgotten about was from roughly 1990 when the engineers from C Flt and SARTU were pooled, much to the distress of both parties, and there was much talk of an imaginary wall between the two units. In typical fashion my shift copped for the whole Christmas period so to alleviate the boredom we built a cardboard wall exactly half way up the adjoining corridor, complete with painted brickwork, a three dimensional fireplace and all the trimmings. Now if one of you has a photo of that I will be impressed............
  11. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    Last post before Christmas and for those of you who have never seen one before this is the legendary ‘Jesus Nut’ which I came across in the garage earlier. I have actually got two, one is a clock which I was presented with when I left SARTU, and this one which I turned into an ashtray for my long departed mate Geordie who I used to stay with on a Wednesday night to break up my week when I first went contracting. A beautiful looking piece of machining on someone’s part, and only ever used once.
  12. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    This brouht back some memories. I’m pretty sure that when we defuelled we took the fuel off by putting a cut down drum under the jettison hoses, selected the switches then sucked the fuel out with the standard nozzle. We spent a happy weekend in the tanks after one of the cabs ran out of fuel shortly after clearing the airfield boundary and a FOD blockage was the excuse of choice rather than poor fuel management. I don’t ever remember using the defuel coupling but this was most likely down to the bowsers we had. The jettison hoses received a gentle boot during the AF/BF servicing to make sure the hinge still articulated and nothing had fallen off but other than that were totally ignored. I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what the redundant bracket on the left hand side was for, but how typical that it should just be left there rather than removed and the holes plugged. Drag wasn’t a major consideration where Walter was concerned
  13. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    Apologies for my absence, had a very tricky few days but in a better place now. Nice to see the thread still ticking over. While mulling over the reason for the white outlines on the refuelling points I came across this little mod, which I seem to recall was the power plug for the pump used to refuel from drums. I never saw this done but I’m pretty sure there were a couple of fuel dumps in the mountains. Does anyone know if this is correct?
  14. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    I thought I'd also include this as it touches on something we discussed earlier. This is Master Pilot Taffy Walker, the last Master Pilot on helicopters in the RAF, Gutersloh, 6 February 1967. Once again it seems the Wessex proved the last posting for another Master Aircrew branch, that's three so far.
  15. Tramatoa

    Flying a council house from the upstairs loo

    Further information from ‘With Courage and Faith, the story of 18 Squadron, Royal Air Force’. BA XT681, XV725 BB XR518 BC XR501 BD XR502, XR519 BE XR516 BF XR504 BG XT676, XV728 BH XR505, XV722 BJ XR517 BK XR521 BL XR502, XT678 BM XR509, XR519 BN XR508, XR529 BO XS674, XT676 BP XS679, XV722 BQ XT681, XV724 BR XV728 BS XV724 BT XT603, XV720 BZ XV731 This is reproduced as per the information in the book and would indicate that there is no logic behind the codes beyond the initial attempt to issue sequential letters which was messed up when XR500 crashed at Tern Hill. Other than that it would seem that letters were applied as aircraft rotated through the Squadron after Minor/Major services.
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