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Tornado flown by a professional crew - with a loose panel?


Blimpyboy
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Found this nice detail pic of a Tornado being flown by a professional crew.

 

Helmets and oxygen masks notwithstanding, my eye was drawn to the panel below the front cockpit, just in front of the roundel.

Please excuse my ignorance of the Tornado family, is that panel meant to be like that?

 

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Edited by Blimpyboy
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I reckon the pic has been photoshopped. The wearing of Arab headdress in-flight would not be right. And that panel shows that it must on maintenance.

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I doubt that it's photoshopped. It looks like a picture from the ODS-era and back then aircrew had a somewhat more "liberal approach" to certain regulations compared to the pilots of today. I 've seen maybe a handfull of photos of fighter jocks wearing no helmet or mask in-flight - most dating back to the 60s, 70s or 80s.

Not being familiar with the Tornado, I'm guessing that the half-open panel is some sort of inspection hatch not fully secured by the ground crew. The crew may not even be aware that it's not fully closed.

 

Bjarne

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The panel in question is the canopy operating handle, but that's not as bad as it sounds-  that part of the handle forms a paddle that twists so it is horizontal and then should lock under the spring loaded flap that forms the upper third of the aperture. In this case it hasn't been fully locked, or has subsequently rattled loose. 

 

To operate the canopy you need to grab that handle, twist it 45 degrees or so anti-clockwise and pull it out on its rod around 10 inches.  if there is enough pressure in the accumulator the canopy opens. To close it's the reverse.  There is a horn that sounds as the canopy travels as a warning to groundcrew, as in the early days a few MDC charges went off as the lid closed, 

 

Now in the air, with weight off wheels, I would suspect there is an interlock that stops that process occurring, as it would be less than desirable-but I don't know for sure, as it wasn't my part of the ship, so to speak.

My main worry would be the handle being ripped off in the air stream and disappearing down the number one.  

 

The Crew appear to be on a fully live armed CAP (Brown stripes and Yellow stripes on Skyflash)  somewhere over the middle east with time on their hands. 

 

The shot hasn't been Photoshopped.

 

 

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And to illustrate that bits are always rattling about on aircraft, especially Fighter Jets, one of my favourite war photo's of a VF-111 F-4B shows it dropping a load on some jungle clearing in South East Asia, with the crew access steps un-stowed and protruding below the forward fuselage. 🙂 

 

Phantom!

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32 minutes ago, Paul J said:

Some very poor pre flight inspection going on then. 

Or a faulty mechanism?

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1 hour ago, Troffa said:

My main worry would be the handle being ripped off in the air stream and disappearing down the number one.

 

Jeez! FODded engine or an opening canopy - not much of a choice!

 

Still, maybe only slightly better than:

9ooofw7u6f421.jpg

F-8-folded-wings.png?resize=685,511

 

 

 

 

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Nothing like a bit of cultural sensitivity to the local wombats...

 

It amazes me how resilient aircraft are;  The images of the Phantom & Crusader illustrate how much reserve lift there is once the airframe is clean.

I do wonder if the US Navy actually specified that whatever wing fold was designed that the aircraft would still be recoverable if the folding panel failed?  

I know that the F-14 was trailed with asymmetric sweep, and I believe that the Vigilate was still airworthy (if a bit of a handful) with the tail folded.

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12 hours ago, Troffa said:

And to illustrate that bits are always rattling about on aircraft, especially Fighter Jets, one of my favourite war photo's of a VF-111 F-4B shows it dropping a load on some jungle clearing in South East Asia, with the crew access steps un-stowed and protruding below the forward fuselage. 🙂 

 

Phantom!

I have seen that photo a hundred + times and never noticed that. 

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11 hours ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

I have seen that photo a hundred + times and never noticed that. 

 

Same for me! It is on the cover of the WAPJ "Spirit in the Skies" book and and I was inspecting it one day, and I noticed the steps. Great shot though. 

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Also, what's going on with the large panel below the one in question.  It looks like a panel locking/opening handle hasn't been closed properly, you can see it's shadow on the airframe. Or is there some kind of aerial or sensor there?

 

Mark R

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On 2/13/2021 at 8:51 AM, Troffa said:

The shot hasn't been Photoshopped.

 

Agreed - looking at the slightly nose up angle of the aircraft I wonder if it was holding station on a slower aircraft, possibly a tanker, when the photograph was taken ?

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33 minutes ago, Richard E said:

 

Agreed - looking at the slightly nose up angle of the aircraft I wonder if it was holding station on a slower aircraft, possibly a tanker, when the photograph was taken ?

I suspect their wing man/ lead took the shot- the F3 cruises slightly nose up at best fuel/ speed economy/ wing position. 

It's a photo never meant for publication, to be passed around at a beer call or displayed in the unofficial Squadron Diary-  these guys are long retired, the jet out of service- no harm done. It just gets a little embarrassing if something goes wrong. 

 

But at the end of a conflict perhaps? A little de-compression after a few months on high alert and having lost a few friends/ colleagues in other units?

This kind of thing does occur from time to time- I've seen photo's of an essentially naked bloke flying a Lynx (?)or Gazelle in AAC service, a life sized cardboard Norman Schwarzkopf in the back seat of a Tornado, and  I'm fairly certain I've seen a similar Keffiyeh festooned crew from another Squadron.

 

Per Ardua and all that! 🙂 

 

 

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1 hour ago, rtfxwp said:

Also, what's going on with the large panel below the one in question.  It looks like a panel locking/opening handle hasn't been closed properly, you can see it's shadow on the airframe. Or is there some kind of aerial or sensor there?

 

Mark R

It's a shadow, of the Pitot Probe on that side, P2 or something? The F3 needed loads of pitot static systems for all of it's automated systems and to try and poke your eye out if you were unwary.  I'll try and get a better shot of it. Ah, Here you go:

 

Pitot Probe, Port Side Tornado F3 at 15:10 in Video

 

And can I just state, for the record, that we RAF Pan Trash / Line Swine did remember to correctly secure almost all of the the panels and doors almost all of the time ! 🙂  

Edited by Troffa
Added link to video
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/14/2021 at 10:56 AM, rtfxwp said:

Also, what's going on with the large panel below the one in question.  It looks like a panel locking/opening handle hasn't been closed properly, you can see it's shadow on the airframe. Or is there some kind of aerial or sensor there?

 

Mark R

Its part of the Pitot probe system.

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No mention of any photographs having been taken but in the book 'Tornado F3-  25 Years Of Air Defence' published by Squadron Prints a former 23 Squadron member relates a transit from the UK to Malaysia for an exercise in 1992 when one of the pilots ate something dodgy during a stopover in Muscat and then suffered a very personal 'explosive decompression' over the Indian Ocean and at one point was stripped off as far as possible , kneeling on his ejection seat facing backwards towards his Navigator hoping that the box his packed lunch had came in was up to the task he was putting it to.

 

Regarding loose panels I was hanging over the fence listening to the radio at RAF Leuchars back when the Tornado GR.4 was coming into service and an RAFG aircraft taxied out onto the ORP to return home after lunch stopping when the Runway Caravan Controller asked if there should be a small panel hanging open below the lower side of the nose as it was one of the first GR.4 that he had seen , crew replied that they were not aware of anything like that.     After much to'ing and fro'ing and groundcrew coming out in a LandRover to take a look eventually the Controller reported that a call was made to Bruggen where it was learned that this was an auxiliary intake for the air conditioning system which closed automatically as the aircraft took-off.      Aircraft then departed with the crew no doubt looking forward to a 'hats on , don't sit' chat on their return.

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On 13/02/2021 at 07:10, At Sea said:

I know that the F-14 was trailed with asymmetric sweep

 

I read this was inadvertent. So they actually did it on purpose? Pilot has a big set, but I guess they all do!     :)

 

F-14-asymmetric

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Aircrew may be omnipotent supermen (and women these days) and humble with it but they do not always notice everything.

 

A Royal Navy flight safety film made in the 1980s (which I am sure some others on here have seen) highlights a number of actual incidents, including one in which the crew of a Junglie Sea King did all the usual pre-flight inspections, got in and started up. As they got airborne there was a terrific vibration from the tail rotor so they put it back down again, shut down and went to have a look. One of the tail rotor blades had been replaced after the preceding flight, and the blade had been fitted back to front so that the trailing edge had become the leading edge. It had been inspected, signed off, inspected by the pilot and yet nobody had noticed it.

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On 2/27/2021 at 11:55 PM, Navy Bird said:

 

I read this was inadvertent. So they actually did it on purpose? 

Cheers,

Bill

I doubt that the Tomcat could sweep one side inadvertently.  Certainly the Tornado was interlinked to make this impossible.  I suspect that this was set up on the ground and fixed for the whole of the flight.  It would be interesting to know more about this trial.

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55 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

I doubt that the Tomcat could sweep one side inadvertently.  Certainly the Tornado was interlinked to make this impossible.  I suspect that this was set up on the ground and fixed for the whole of the flight.  It would be interesting to know more about this trial.

 

A bit of both it would seem.

 

Grumman F-14 Tomcat Shipborne Superfighter published as a Warplane Classic by Aerospace in 1998 shows the image on page 22 with the caption in part stating  " . . . . . This was a deliberate test , undertaken as part of a series of six asymmetric wing sweep trials conducted between 19 December 1985 and 28 February 1986.     Landings were made with the aft-swept wing at up to 60 degrees but not at 68 degrees.     The trial was made after four fleet aircraft found themselves in this predicament."

 

The caption also mentions that the presence of Stars and Bars on both upper wings has wrongly led some to claim that the photo was faked.

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I think its in the book Phantom Boys where a take off was attempted in a reserve FG1 with an intake FOD cover still in place after jumping from the initial aircraft that wasnt playing ball and assuming the No2 was ready to go.

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