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Please don't say that.

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His mother is looking rather nice these days, though, IMO best she's ever looked:

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1. Is that just when the refueling probes came into general use, or were they left off on operations? The photo I've seen of XD815 has one on, but it says "October/November 1956", which could well mean it was taken after Suez in late November, as far as I know.

2. Thank you!

3. Is there a good photo of these windows? I'm afraid I can't imagine them in my current condition. I'm not sure yet if I dare attempt to replicate them...

I never knew you'd become a dad Edward, congratulations, glad all is well with the family. A great thread already :)

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Thankee kindly for the ejection seat image, General; they're a little more elaborate and less comfortable-looking than the kit parts.

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I got a slight glue smudge on the very 1950s sci-fi entry hatch, so put some Dr-Ing Surfacer 1000 on it to sand down and smooth it out:

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I also resprayed the interior with USAF Medium Green, which seems a little more on point for the colour.

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As we can see, I filled the divots (speed holes, no doubt) in the intakes, then realized I don't know what colour they should be -- white, as on white-painted machines, or silver, as on the prototype?

I never knew you'd become a dad Edward, congratulations, glad all is well with the family. A great thread already :)

Thanks. Sometimes I worry about Winston (born October 2):

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Here are the missing vg's on top of the tailplanes, (not sure why Mr Airfix didn't look in a book !) also of note are the four square vents above the engines, best reproduced with black/dark grey decal they will be highly visible on the HSS finish...hope this helps.

I think panel lines for those, at least, may actually be present on the kit.
Sorry for the delay in progress; much of yesterday was spent coaxing Madeleine to uncurl so I could trim her little nails, which had grown cruelly long:
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The keen-eyed observer will note that my flush cutters came in handy here.
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Nice interiors there PC, and Mini-you, and cute Madeleine... lots on the go at the moment and hope you're enjoying yourself :)

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Nice progress and what a cute hedgehog. I ever knew you could keep them as pets!

Martin

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Nice progress and what a cute hedgehog. I ever knew you could keep them as pets!

Well, Maddie (named in honour of Noor Inayat Khan) is an African Pygmy, rather than the larger European ones that live in the UK -- I'm not sure what the status is of the latter under US law, which in any case varies by state; the fascists in California and Pennsylvania have made it illegal to have hedgies. Fortunately, although Illinois is generally considered to be one of the worst-run states in the country, hedgehogs remain safe.

I also realized I forgot to include the picture of the intakes:

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Nice interiors there PC, and Mini-you, and cute Madeleine... lots on the go at the moment and hope you're enjoying yourself :)

Thanks, Buffers! I think it's been hard on Mrs. P recently, as Protoprocopius has a powerful appetite and has a well developed Moro Reflex. This wakens him, without fail, whenever we try to put him in his crib, so much of the day is spent with a (hopefully sleeping) baby draped over one of us.

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I'll bet being towed behind a motor boat and then having to get into your SS Dinghy was way more fun than having to right an MS26 Dinghy (26 man) - why do they always inflate upside-down?, clamber aboard with the rest of your crew (all in seas going up and down at least 10 feet), get the doors up, deal with the odour of sweaty Truckie bodies, put up with your Loadmaster boaking over your goon suit (survival suit), then being told (as the smallest and lightest and weakest swimmer) that one crew member is missing and that you would have to go overboard (all in seas now going up and down at least 20 feet!) and swim around looking for the bugger.

I bloody hated Mountbatten!

I bloody hated Seafield Park (the RN equivalent, now also closed - indeed, it is a dinky wee housing estate whose only connection with Naval aviation is a road called Esmonde Road).

Sea drills were such fun, weren't they? Mind you, at one stage of my career I served with one of the guys who'd been on Coventry Flight when she was sunk in 1982 - their trusty Lynx HAS2 is clearly visible on deck in the photos as the ship turns over. He said at one point during the sinking / rescue (which, let's face it, cannot have been a barrel of laughs) he got the giggles because he was in the water trying to turn over a liferaft that had obeyed Debs' Law and inflated upside down. "I was 8000 miles from home and my ship had just been blown to bits, but I had this ridiculous conviction that the SAR Wessex from Daedalus (Lee-on-Solent) would turn up at any second, because it was exactly like sea drills at Seafield". They ended up singing "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" as they watched her sink, upside down; Life Of Brian was brand new at the time.

I think we had numb-bum hard dinghy packs for the same reason as everyone else; you could fit more survival stuff in them. We did at least have a thin green cushion (also stuffed with survival aids) and the ubiquitous "sheep skin" cover. Still, no dragging for us; there are some perks of arriving in the sea without a parachute!

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Despite being a CSRO, I couldn't for the life of me understand why we Albert crews even did sea survival drills (and don't even get me started on Dominie or Jetstream ditching!).

I mean, in the history of Albert there had been one, one successful ditching. That was an aircraft from the Colombian Air Force. When it ditched it floated with the wing upper surface being just above the sea surface. That being the case, the Flight Deck was fully submerged. The only way you'd get out of that is to sit there on oxygen while the Fight Deck filled with water (think helicopter 'Dunker' here but worse) until fully submerged then swim to the Flight Deck roof escape hatch and open it (if you could), or in my case go out of the DV window (me being small).

Now, that ditching was successful, indeed most of the crew* survived, but the only reason the aircraft floated was because it had run out of fuel so the wing tanks were essentially bloody big floatation aids.

Do it in a loaded Albert? I dont think so!

* The Navigator died as a result of the ditching. Apparently the Captain shot him for getting them lost and running them out of fuel.

Edited by Ascoteer
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* The Navigator died as a result of the ditching. Apparently the Captain shot him for getting them lost and running them out of fuel.

!!! SOP, one assumes, pour encourager les autres.

Interestingly enough, the guy who sits next to me at the office did industrial design work on the Brazilian Air Force's C-130s around the turn of the century. (Yes I know Brazil is a different country, it was a tenuous connection.)

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Great start on the Valiant, PC, and a great start with young Winston as well! Your concern about his appearance (post #62) will be resolved when you realize that you'll have that same expression on your face when you are happily finger-painting with gravy in the old folk's home. :)

I wonder if they allow high speed silver in the old folk's home? Better get that Valiant finished soon!

Cheers,

Bill

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I often think of BM as a sort of virtual old folks' home. High speed silver gravy; I think you're onto something - patent the recipe at once.

Debs, believe me NOTHING is worse than the Dunker in NBC kit. I used to hate that thing with a visceral passion. Completely illogical, because there were divers everywhere, it was safe, and excellent training... but that didn't alter the fact that I felt I was drowning every bloody run in the whistling handbag. About the only positive aspect to being medically grounded at the end of my career was the knowledge that I'd never have to do the dunker again!

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Just caught up with this thread - you have had a very productive year! I think the Valiant will look splendid in silver. And nice to see Young Winston - enjoy your baby, rashes and all, because they grow up so very quickly!

Regards,

Adrian

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I never knew you'd become a dad Edward, congratulations, glad all is well with the family. A great thread already :)

Me neither, very many congratulations to you all PC!! Winston, what a cracking name!

I'm off to catch up with the rest of the thread. Late as usual as I again missed the start!

keith

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although Illinois is generally considered to be one of the worst-run states in the country, hedgehogs remain safe.

Sounds like dear old blighty....not sure about the current staffing level of UK issue hodgehegs though. We have an old resident here at Melchett Towers, Winkle, (nod to B.P. and Eric Brown), who regularly wonders around the estate looking for the odd scrap, and usually finding it with our little Airedale Baldrick, (sometimes have to send the mem in to separate them but she usually ends up just joining in !)...

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sometimes have to send the mem in to separate them but she usually ends up just joining in !

Being the aforesaid mentioned muscular sort of girl who's ready for anything?

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That's the one Steve....she richly deserved her nickname of ' MTZ' (Мінскі трактарны завод; Ми́нский тра́кторный заво́д, МТЗ or Minsk Tractor Works for short), whilst training to be an SRN at Netherne hospital for the totally bewildered in Surrey where I happened upon her. The inmates loved/feared but above all found her a challenge in the annual tractor pull competition in which she excelled...

Sorry Edward, I digress, (blame Fritag sir, he always gets me in trouble ! :poke:).....any news about the Valiant ?

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...any news about the Valiant ?

I added the third structural brace part to the fuselage half last night. I just need to detail the seats and paint the gear wells and then I think we can close up the fuselage. I'm thinking the intakes were silver on the early birds?

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Debs, believe me NOTHING is worse than the Dunker in NBC kit. I used to hate that thing with a visceral passion.

Oh Crisp, you just had to mention Aircrew NBC kit and water!

Thread drift alert.

For those not in the know, the aircrew NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) kit was very different from that used by our groundborne colleagues - it was (apparently) designed to give you 100% protection from 'nasties' whereas the ground kit only conferred about 95-98% protection.

Known as AR5 it consisted of an 'Above Kneck Assembly' and a 'Below Kneck Assembly'. The latter consisted of a romper suit lined with activated charcoal and a cute pair of booties of the same material. Under this you wore longjohns, socks and a longsleeved vest. Over the top you wore your flying suit and boots as well as a pair of black rubber 'Marigold' washing up gloves which were then taped around your wrists, over the top of which you wore your cape leather flying gloves. The black rubber gloves were exactly the same as the pink or yellow ones you can buy in the supermarket save for the colour. I'll bet the MOD could have made a fortune selling them to fetishists!

All well and good; the 'Below Kneck Assembly' wasn't too bad to wear, if a tad hot and sweaty. But the 'Above Kneck Assembly'..... Dear gods...

This consisted of a black rubber bag that you wore over your head and which extended into a chestplate and backplate. The bag had a built in faceplate (ie a combined visor/oxygen mask), the whole thing being reminiscent of a deep sea diver's helmet but made of rubber. The faceplate had 2 tubes attached to it for porting air/oxygen; one to the mask and one to blow air over the inside of the faceplate to stop it fogging up from the copious amounts of sweat that immediately exploded from every pore as soon as you put the bloody thing on. In the air these tubes were connected via a manifold worn on the chest into the aircraft's oxygen system. On the ground they were connected into a box known as the 'Whistling Handbag'. The handbag contained 3 standard NBC filters and a battery powered motor that would suck air in, pass it through said filters, and blow it into the rubber bag. It was wonderful (NOT!) and years ahead of its time long before Mister Dyson ever came up with the idea of a portable vacuum cleaner.

Over the top of the rubber bag we would normally wear a cloth flying helmet (for comms purposes) or, for tactical night operations, a conventional 'bone dome' with NVGs (Night Vision Goggles) bolted on.

The problem with the AR5 (aside from being hot, sweaty and horribly, horribly uncomfortable) was that if you ditched or ejected over water you would end up sucking water up into the rubber bag surrounding your head with the obvious and foregone conclusion. There was, therefore, an 'Anti-Drowning Valve' that you had to manipulate in order to survive. (Note, the later variants of AR5 had a tear off faceplate.)

Of course, the RAF in its infinate wisdom, had decided that we would need practice in manipulating said anti-drowning valve.

Rather than train by sitting in a nice warm classroom operating said valve, it had been decided that the training would be made 'realistic'. That is to say we would wear the rubber bag over our heads and be thrown head first into the swimming pool at the Aviation Medicine Training Centre at RAF North Luffenham.

Now there's only a couple of things that scare me, drowning, and confined spaces. Oh and spiders. Ok so theres three, three things that are not good for my composure; spiders, confined spaces and drowning. Any one of the three is liable to give me the screaming hab-dabs. So, start combining them and, well, you get the picture...

I mentioned earlier on that I'm in no way shape or form the equal to Rebeccca Adlington. In fact being a bit of a bean pole my natural buoyancy point lies about 18 inches beneath the surface of the water. Therefore I have to keep moving in order to keep my head above the water - if I stop moving I sink.

I'm also somewhat claustrophobic.

So, sticking my head in a rubber bag and throwing me into a swimming pool is not a good thing for me.

Apparently I hit the water screaming and flailed my arms and legs around so fast that, apart from resembling a human version of the Great Panjandrum, I rocketed across the width of the pool virtually on the surface of the water and jumped out at the other side.

Having removed the bag from my head I was told that I hadn't done the drill correctly and that I would have to try again. I informed the instructor that if he came a single step closer I would do unspeakable things to his man parts.

Needless to say, I didn't go in the pool again.

Edited by Ascoteer
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All well and good; the 'Below Kneck Assembly' wasn't too bad to wear, if a tad hot and sweaty. But the 'Above Kneck Assembly'..... Dear gods...

It was considered too hazardous to fly a single seat fast jet in peace time wearing an AR5.

So on TACEVAL exercises one or two poor s*ds would be nominated to be the sacrificial lambs and have to fly the two-seater with a safety pilot in the back - to ensure that when the poor lamb in the front couldn't see what was just about to hit him (there was a real problem with restricted peripheral vision - which was a bit of an issue) - or just generally couldn't function efficiently enough anymore - the aeroplane didn't crash.

Seeing as no-one penetrating eastern european late cold war defences low level in any sort of fast jet was likely to survive long enough for tea and medals it probably didn't add too much to the overall level of hazard for real..........

It's fair to say that night low-level with NVG's in a Jag was considered sufficiently amusing all by itself in the mid to late 80's - that no-one had yet thought about adding to the fun by chucking in the AR5 as well. Surely you didn't both wear the darned things did you Debs?

I'd more or less forgotten about the AR5. Funny what you can expunge from your memory aint it.

I also don't remember ever having been chucked in a swimming pool wearing one either - either I really have permanently expunged the trauma of it - or it was a trick played only on the Albert brethren. I quite like the idea of that actually. I do believe I like the idea of life being made that bit harder for the Albert crews. Makes up a bit for all the misery i was subjected to as a passenger down the back of said Albert.

Edited by Fritag
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close?

surpasses all I reckon

I wonder if any of us walking along on the ground types ever believed we'd even get up to 90% out of 'em

I was never convinced :)

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This thread is absolute gold! Thank you all for sharing your stories, and not to mention what's shaping up to be a great build.

You guys just really make me want to compile an oral history of the RAF in the Cold War -- which is sadly needed, I think. I can dream...

If you're looking for a co-author then I'd be (seriously) interested!

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It was considered too hazardous to fly a single seat fast jet in peace time wearing an AR5.

It was considered too bloody dangerous to fly Albert at low level in peacetime wearing AR5 (at least by us). That didn't stop them making us do it though!

It's fair to say that night low-level with NVG's in a Jag was considered sufficiently amusing all by itself in the mid to late 80's - that no-one had yet thought about adding to the fun by chucking in the AR5 as well. Surely you didn't both wear the darned things did you Debs?

Night low level no, you'd have a safety pilot in the other seat.

For 'normal' ops we could have the entire crew in AR5, including the Loady(ies), with a safety pilot (and Nav) standing on the Flight Deck (or, more likely, sitting on the bunk).

I forget the Training Requirement 'stats' but ISTR having to do a minimum of 2 live AR5 sorties per year with checkers from the OCU. We also had to do an AR5 sim ride once every 3 months with full 'donning' and 'doffing' drills. The sim rides were a right pain in the proverbial because they were 3 hours long. The building used for the donning/doffing drills was the other side of a large car park from the simulator building so, by the time you got to the sim you were a sweating wreck. Did I mention the air blown over the faceplate to stop it fogging? Yeah that worked well NOT! At least they saw some pity on us and allowed us to pre-position our nav bags etc in the sim before doing the drills.

I'd more or less forgotten about the AR5. Funny what you can expunge from your memory aint it.

I'm scarred for life!

I also don't remember ever having been chucked in a swimming pool wearing one either - either I really have permanently expunged the trauma of it - or it was a trick played only on the Albert brethren.

A while back I was on a course for the Air Cadets at Henlow. One of the Warrant Officer Instructors had been a Squipper at North Luffenham. Almost the first thing he said to me was: "You're the one that threatened to tear the Dr's gonads off!"

(Apparently infamy precedes me)

I quite like the idea of that actually. I do believe I like the idea of life being made that bit harder for the Albert crews. Makes up a bit for all the misery i was subjected to as a passenger down the back of said Albert.

Now that's just nasty!

Edited by Ascoteer
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The Aircrew NBC experience sounds horrible but quite nice compared to the lads with boots on the ground! The powers that be did train us to parachute from a Herk in full NBC kit including S6 (then later the S10 with posh straw attachment which must have saved loads on the Fuller Earth budget without those drinking drills! By the way G-10 Fullers Earth is brilliant for nappy rash for those who have little kiddies.) and although I managed to swerve that particular ball those who did it for real said that it was really, really horrible and most had their respirator shoved across their heads by the slipstream!

Then there was the NBC CFT (Combat Fitness Test),.......a 10 miler in full kit,.....rifle and wearing full NBC kit including respirator,......it is the nearest I`ve ever got to understanding what a boil in the bag meal must go through as it cooks! The constant sweating causes your eye holes to mist up so you are running without seeing where you are going and then the respirator begins to fill up with your own sweat after a mile so that you are nearly drowning in it before too long. Most of us swore that it if came to becoming a `speed bump' and fighting the Red hordes in Central Europe in full NBC conditions that it was better to get a bullet sooner than later,......horrible stuff NBC! I don`t think that the modern armed forces understand just how much the military of the 70-90`s had to train for these conditions.

Sod that for jumping into a pool head first in that helmet mind you,..... no wonder the instructors manhood was at stake! And as for flying a Jag at high speed and low level wearing a respirator or staring down those luminous green bog tubes,.....that just hurts my head thinking about it! I was much happier hiding in the dirt and painting the target for you using my little (heavy!) laser!

Cheers

Tony

PS- Mind you did you see the rubber `Gimp Mask' respirators that the Ruskis wore,.......so we knew that the `baddies' were even more uncomfortable and expendable than we were!

Edited by tonyot
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Despite being a CSRO, I couldn't for the life of me understand why we Albert crews even did sea survival drills (and don't even get me started on Dominie or Jetstream ditching!).

I mean, in the history of Albert there had been one, one successful ditching. That was an aircraft from the Colombian Air Force. When it ditched it floated with the wing upper surface being just above the sea surface. That being the case, the Flight Deck was fully submerged. The only way you'd get out of that is to sit there on oxygen while the Fight Deck filled with water (think helicopter 'Dunker' here but worse) until fully submerged then swim to the Flight Deck roof escape hatch and open it (if you could), or in my case go out of the DV window (me being small).

Now, that ditching was successful, indeed most of the crew* survived, but the only reason the aircraft floated was because it had run out of fuel so the wing tanks were essentially bloody big floatation aids.

Do it in a loaded Albert? I dont think so!

* The Navigator died as a result of the ditching. Apparently the Captain shot him for getting them lost and running them out of fuel.

I must admit that I used to look up at those tiny round holes in the roof of the Herk while sitting there during a full exercise Sim 45 jump and wondering just how many of us in that packed cargo hold would get out if we did ditch. That is probably why we were never given ditching drills,....no Loadie pointing out the exits here, here and here for us!

I had not heard about the Columbian Herk but I did often think of the RAF one which went into the Med off Sicily while carrying paras,...was it in 1969 or the early 70`s? I don`t think that many, if any survived that one?

Cheers

Tony

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