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RidgeRunner

An interesting turnaround - Larissa, July 1982 ... And Turkey, Spain and Israel

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Posted (edited)

Hi all!

 

The numerous posts by Nikos and then a further one on Friday by Roger Newsome has spurred me to thinking about a picture post on the subject of Greek airfields and aircraft. I’ll say up front that this is not a small selection of single machine, framed images. They are not even great shots. It is a set of scans taken from one of my turn-around visits to Larissa in the Summer of 1982 taken with a 50mm lens, hence the distances. What they do show is the lay out of the base as well as the machines seen at that time in varying states of disrepair.

 

The background to my visits was that I was working for a well known UK independent airline (now sadly gone) and I was able to hitch jump seat rides regularly to get around Europe for brief glimpses of the aviation scene. I was selective and focussed my attention on those airfields with a military bias, such as Verona Villafranca, Izmir-Cigli, Pisa St. Guisto and Las Palmas Gando. At that time I was as much a plane spotter as a photographer and so I was eager to see as much as photograph. During 1977-1992 there was a lot of machinery to see. The air forces around Europe were still operating characteristic aircraft. For example, I once took a 3-leg trip on a Comet 4 Gatwick-Rome Ciampino-Catania Fontanarossa-Gatwick. Rome produced the entire CV440 fleet, a handful of DC-6s, SA-16, PD808, etc, while Catania had a large number of Trackers plus some Army O-1s. An added bonus was a Trapani-based F-104S performing overshoots. Two exciting trips I took were to Pisa where the C-119 fleet had recently been retired. Upon landing on the first trip it was clear that space was short as they had these old charmers parked up all around the airport, with a long line beside the runway (including ex-USA 0-18046) and a few on the grass beside the airport passenger gates. Heaven! Another great thing to do was to use the W-pattern flights, meaning LGW-destination-UK airfield-same destination-LGW. This meant I could hop off after the first leg and then re-join later in the day. A couple of long days at Rimini-Miramare were had by this method, watching the F-104s and other visiting types. 

 

Back to Greece. We had a short series of flights – four I think – which were routed via Larissa until the new airport at Skiathos was opened. It was a 3-leg flight that routed via Thessaloniki. Landing on both occasions from the East, we trundled along in our 737-200s, turned off left at the end and parked beside the C-47 operational pan. As I recall there were five different machines present across the two visits. You can see some below. The turnaround gave me an opportunity to stretch my legs ;) and see the locals a slightly closer quarters. Clearly no cameras were permitted and I had hidden my OM1 carefully while we were still taxying to the stand. While I could not walk up close to the Daks I did get to poke around the local SAR Agusta 205 :).  

 

At that time the stalwart of the strike fleet for many years, the F-84F, had been retired and around many, if not all, bases there were a number languishing as “decoys”. Larissa was no exception as you can see. However, at that time the RF-84F was still very much alive and in one of the images you can see that there was around a dozen still operational. Other machines used as decoys or simply dumped, as you can see, were T-33s and F-86Ds. Later in 1982 a trip around Greece with a few mates took in Tanagra, Megara, Elefsis, Athens, Marathon, Andravida and Araxos. Daring but exciting!

 

On with the piccies:

 

LAR1

On finals

 

LAR2

Roll out, approaching the decoy/dump area

 

LAR4

The same with a little more detail.

 

LAR6

Taxiing to the parking spot in amongst the Daks. We came to a stop adjacent to the white machine (KN575). 

 

LAR7

As we taxied I snapped this final shot of the flight line. Numerous T-33s sit ahead of the RF-84F area behind. There were more RF-84Fs to the right of this image also.

 

I hope you find them interesting.

 

Martin

Edited by RidgeRunner
changed titling to reflect new content

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Thanks for posting those Martin. I've found them interesting and I have no doubt my friend who works at Larissa now will.

Roger.

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Hi Roger,

 

I went past Larissa on the train recently. I was going Athens-Thessaloniki, and return. It looks a sleepy place! The rail track goes right past the perimeter, although you cant see anything of the ramps.

 

Martin 

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Posted (edited)

Ah ha! I wonder if Nikos will be there!

 

@nikos

Edited by RidgeRunner

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1 minute ago, RidgeRunner said:

Ah ha! I wonder if Nikos will be there!

 

@nikos

I asked one of my Greek friends if he was going and his very words were, 

No it's a long trip and it is like hell outside this weekend almost 40😥😥😥😥😡😡😡

I wish it was here!

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Well I guess it is where he is. I took the train from Athens and I reckon I got to Larissa after 5 hours! There is a motorway but ....... Of course, e may not be in ATH.

 

Martin

 

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Posted (edited)

Back to the post, long gone are the days of under-utilised airfields being used for charter flights like this. Around that time the Greek islands were opening up and eventually flights were direct to the many sterile airports (from an interest perspective). At that time you could go to most charter destinations and the airport facilities were in their infancy but around them were still the remnants of another world, full of great aircraft. Of course you can still get to some and see stuff but often now there are sun shades, HAS, etc. Additionally the aircraft are just not so interesting! My view... of course! ;)

 

Martin 

Edited by RidgeRunner

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Always interesting, Martin. Greek aviation always reminds me of those lads that were arrested for plane spotting in about 1976/7. I met one of them spotting at Northolt, we were saddened to hear that they had confiscated his log book. He did manage to see some F-102 Delta Daggers, possibly their undoing?!  

 

Glad you got home safely :)

 

Cheers.

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1 minute ago, Smudge said:

Always interesting, Martin. Greek aviation always reminds me of those lads that were arrested for plane spotting in about 1976/7. I met one of them spotting at Northolt, we were saddened to hear that they had confiscated his log book. He did manage to see some F-102 Delta Daggers, possibly their undoing?!  

 

Glad you got home safely :)

 

Cheers.

True, mate, it was always a bit dicey, especially around fighter bases. My mates and I got stopped once but luckily we had just left the HAI plant at Tanagra and said we were resting for a little lunch before moving on. The thing was we were under the approach while the F.1s were flying ;)

 

Martin 

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Spoiler

 

What a brilliant story and well done for posting the pictures

 

Andy

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Andy. I have a number of other stories but not always accompanied by photos, sadly. A couple of images I do have are from a turnaround at Izmir-Cigli, a one-off charter in 1987. :)

 

Martin

Edited by RidgeRunner

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, RidgeRunner said:

Thanks Andy. I have a number of other stories but not always accompanied by photos, sadly. A couple of images I do have are from a turnaround at Izmir-Cigli, a one-off charter in 1987. :)

 

Martin

 

Hi again Andy et al, 

 

I thought I'd tell the tale of my Comet 4 trip to Las Palmas. It was September 1978 and in the middle of French ATC strikes. I had decided to try a flight deck  trip to Las Palmas. I arrived early but nothing was moving. Eventually the crew went out of hours and a new crew were called off of standby. This was Captain Len Schwaiger (an ex-216 Sqn), First officer Brian Wilson and Flight Engineer Harry Prickett. I got through security etc and arrived at the cockpit door. "I hope you've got a night stop kit", said Len. I didn't and only had an old 5p in my pocket. We eventually got underway but old flying kit being the way it was things soon started to fail. Because of the ATC issues we were flying an oceanic route to the Canaries. Over the Bay of Biscay, or a tally to the West of it, we lost a generator. Eventually we lost a second, plus the Captain's screen heating. It all got a bit dramatic and at one point Harry was fiddling around in the instrument bay under the galley, Len was in the back chatting with the girls while I was reading off miles on a clock-like instrument behind to Brian. Then, after four hours or so, we arrived in Las Palmas and were greeted (only I was interested, of course) by an array of types on the military ramps, including a P-3A, a SA-16, a Caribou, a Herc and a number of NMF F-5s. On the civil side there was a couple of old Trans Europa DC-7s, which were nice too. 

 

That at night we were out on the town, returning to our hotel in the early hours. Yes, we did night stop but the crew subsidised me throughout :). We had fished Len out of the sea at around three in the morning while Brian and the No.1 - Carrie - arrived back just before brekkie. Then after a short sleep and breakfast a morning by the pool was the order of the day and then off to the airport to tend to our ailing aeroplane. All I remember was being asked to stand on the ramp and ensure we remained clear while they ran up the engines, presumably to test the work that had been done on the generators over night. While doing his I kept an eye out for military movements, with F-5s coming and going :).

 

Soon the passengers arrived and boarded. It was then an uneventful four hour trip back home..... Fun had by all ;)

 

Martin

Edited by RidgeRunner

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Posted (edited)

This time with pictures! Well, a couple. ;) It is a little story of my trip to Izmir. The date was October 1987 and with advanced sight of the coming schedule, as I had to plan the crew rosters, I spied a one-off charter flight to Izmir-Cigli. As many of you will now, Cigli was/is the main training base for the Turkish Air Force. If I recall the reason for the flight was that the regular Izmir airport was closed for repairs. The flight was to be operated by a 737-200. So, bingo!! I just needed the ticket, which I applied for immediately. J.  Then, with my hand firmly on the pencil – yes we planned on paper in those days – I selected a crew. It was Captain Brian Williams and First Officer Keith Evans.  

 

It was the 23rd October, a week after the infamous storm in the south of the UK.  I loaded the OM1n with some Kodachrome 64, or possibly 100, and on the day I headed in to Gatwick to check in and get out to the aircraft. It was another jump seat ride. In the 737 this was a pull-out seat that straddled the access to the main cabin. Brian and Kevin got me set up with headphones etc and , with checks done, pax loaded, engines started, we set off for Turkey.

 

After a 4, or so, hour journey we entered the arrival pattern with a degree of Turkish chattering over the radio. My memory has it that we had some twisting and turning before coming finals. I was armed with the Olympus a snapped a couple of shots. Ahead I could see the civilian terminal to the left of the single runway, with a huge military set up to the right and a further pan and hangars at the end. Touchdown came and Brian advised me to get the camera stowed ;). We rolled out and were asked by ATC to continue to the end and turn right (the only way) and back track to the civil apron. This meant a great view of what Cigli had to offer!

 

Once the runway was exited there was a large apron to the left that had at least a dozen T-38s in two lines, sat diagonally in line. Aside them there was a couple of S-2E Trackers visiting from Topel. Another right turn took us on the parallel taxiway and we trundled along towards the other end, passing numerous aprons and hangars. We had to get to the other end and cross over the runway. Half way down there was a larger hangar around which there was a mass of T-33s, some alive and some very dead. Then we passed the transit ramp which had four visiting F-5As, one ex-Jordanian and still in its former camouflage scheme. If the side window had been open I felt like I could have touched them J. I seem to recall a Transall landing.

 

Past the T-33s was a large HAS area. This is where the local T-37s were based. Amongst this was at least one ramp and from both the fleet was extremely active. In fact once we got to the opposite end we were told to hold while other traffic either landed, departed or performed missed approaches. We sat for around 20 minutes – yes, twenty minutes – while the Tweets came and went. It was great. In the same area was the hangar of the based US attaché flight, with a C-12 and two UH-1Hs parked outside.

 

From the couple of images below you can see the geography of the airfield, where the T-37s were operating, the US attache flight and even – if you look hard enough – the Trackers parked at the far end.

 

Eventually we crossed the runway back to the civil ramp, turned the aircraft around, loaded more passengers and headed home. You can image, I think, how excited the young spotter (me) was on the way home! J


Martin

 

CIG1

 

CIG2

 

Martinj

 

Edited by RidgeRunner

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Following you in magic view from  past/ Nice fotos

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Larisa' s excibition 496 foto in Facebook

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Referring back to Izmir, I flew on BA2673 from Larnaca today and with clear skies I flew directly over Izmir-Cigli :). It looks much the same but with a new airfield built parallel to it. It looked like a transport base.

 

Martin 

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Posted (edited)

Another short story ……. 

 

This time it is about a work trip to Tel Aviv. As I had done previously I stayed at the Hilton Hotel on the beach front. This is a great location if you have any interest in aviation as the approach path to Sde Dov airport runs along the coast, meaning that there is a regular flow of traffic. This often means Hercs, CH-53s, H-60s, Do-28Bs and others. A room with a beach view can keep you entertained four hours!

 

On this particular trip I had need, apart from visiting El-Al, to visit the Arkia offices at Sde Dov. I took a taxi to the complex, which is a scattering of temporary buildings around the old low-level terminal building. As you’d expect, the military ramps are well protected and shielded from view but you can hear much activity.

 

Upon finishing my meeting I decided I’d head out for a walk around – to stretch my legs. Nearby there was an area of dunes, which ran alongside the runway and taxiway area. It was perfect for my other interest – bird watching. So, I strode out along the main road and headed in to this area for a little rest time while I observed the local feathered activity. I was – naturally – suited and booted and lugging around my brief case. I must have stood out!

 

This area also presented a great opportunity to observe the comings a goings of the local fleets. These comprised a fleet of Beechcraft 36s and a variety of different C-12/Beech 200s in a number of sensor combinations, and a variety of “civil” colour schemes. The activity levels were high and there were also various civil machines in and out. As you might imagine, I took little notice of any of this as I concentrated on the Masked Shrikes that flitted around. So much so, that when I was eventually approached by the local Rozzers I had sketches of my feathery subjects to hand to explain my unusual behaviour. I showed them my handiwork and at that point it was time to get back to the hotel. I strolled back to the terminal area for a taxi while a stored Dornier 28B caught my eye ;). 

 

Here endeth my briefing ……..

 

Martin

Edited by RidgeRunner

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On 6/9/2018 at 12:45 PM, Smudge said:

Always interesting, Martin. Greek aviation always reminds me of those lads that were arrested for plane spotting in about 1976/7. I met one of them spotting at Northolt, we were saddened to hear that they had confiscated his log book. He did manage to see some F-102 Delta Daggers, possibly their undoing?!  

 

Glad you got home safely :)

 

Cheers.

One of MY colleagues was also in that group who was arrested..and HE WAS A SERVING POLICE OFFICER.... From UK....

 

He was severely reprimanded by the C.C when he got back to duty and was refused any more "spotting  holiday leave "

 

:rofl:

 

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...oh and EXCELLENT  photographs..

 

Thank you muchly... love your tales too. 

 

:clap2::wub:

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Houston. While my old memory can still recall these tales I am very happy to be a storyteller, as long as there is someone out there who is interested. I have many more, of course ......... ;) ........ Like when I was on a turnaround in Bodo, I snapped a photo of a Wideroes Twin Otter and was bounced by the Norwegian constabulary! ;)

 

Martin

Edited by RidgeRunner

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