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 sticky  Author  Topic: My History  (Read 8936 times)
FieldLeader
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xx Re: My History
« Reply #30 on: Mar 25th, 2009, 4:17pm »

Greetings BuccFans, - my Buccaneer Story.

Joined RAF May 1960, Air Radar Mech.

Posted Coningsby Feb 1961 to 12 Squadron. Then Canberra B6's. We were designated a shipping strike squadron (along with 9 Sqn). The plan was to have a go at Eastern Block ports and shipping in the Baltic. We were to deliver an American made nuke by a toss-bombing system known as LABS. Officially this meant Low Altitude Bombing System, but everyone always knew it really meant Lob A Bomb – Somewhere! Of course the old Canberra didn't have any forward looking radar (or doppler) and the weapon release computation was very much springs, strings and clockwork. (It DID have a very good radio altimeter so at least they could get the height right on the run in.) Amazingly enough the crews got pretty good at it and as long as the pilot got at least a glimpse of the target accuracy was fine. The record was held by one of our Flight Sergeant pilots (yes, it was that long ago – we were still called Bomber Command) who lobbed a 28lb Smoke & Flash at an old tug moored as a target on the Wainfleet range and got it right down the funnel!

Then, in 1962 we modernised and the Canberras were replaced with the mighty Vulcan B2. I stayed on 12 for a couple of years and eventually found myself at Scampton on 83 then 617 messing about with the Vulcan/Blue Steel combo. During this period I became familiar with and enamoured by Lossiemouth. Although then still HMS FULMAR, it was our designated dispersal base with the V's and 3 times a year we'd go up there with a couple of tin triangles for exercise.

I spent the rest of the decade on the V force and then in '69 went on a year long manufacturer's course for the Buccaneer Simulator. The manufacture hadn't finished making the RAF ones yet and the Navy didn't maintain theirs (the only one in existence) but subcontracted that to the makers – Redifon. As these were the people we were under training with, we were shipped up to Lossie and got some hands-on with the civvy contract maintainers.

Then when the course was over it was back into uniform and Warning In at the Sgts Mess at Honington. However, although the Sim buildings were up but the machines were still being built at Aylebury, so what to do with a dozen and a half shiny new simulator technicians without a simulator? Of course we were hived off all over the base. Some went into the Electronice Block to work on Blue Parrot (or “The Budgie” as it was known) one bloke was permanent Sgts Mess barman (took him months to sober up when returned to Sim duties), and me, I was loaned out to 12 Squadron! So I'd gone full circle in a decade – started on 12 when a maritime strike unit, gone through the cold war on the V Force and now back intending horrible things towards the Red Navy with Shiny 12.
After about 4 months on the line with 12 our first Simulator was finally delivered and we got down to serious training with the beast. The Navy one at Lossie was handed over to the RAF, was stripped down and brought down to Honington, so we were soon running a pair. Training was normally about 12 hours a day 08:00 – 20:00 and then we had to fix whatever they'd managed to break and do the scheduled servicing (they were treated exactly like a real aircraft – 700s, P stars, Minors & Majors etc.) But, of course, the real fun started when everything was done and we could get to play with the things. Pretty soon we were all hotshot pilots and could be found late at night beating up Weymouth Harbour or dive-bombing RNAS Yeovilton (which were features on the HUGE closed circuit TV visual system).
As it happened, Coningsby had 2 Phantom simulators – also Redifon built and for some reason nobody up there had a clue how to maintain and set up the Radar simulation kit (an American thing called Landmass). So once every 6 weeks I'd go to MT, get issued with a Mini and drive up to Coningsby for a 3 day maintenance program. The work took about 3 hours flat and the rest of the time was spent renewing my old acquaintances around the many pubs in Lincolnshire.
Meanwhile the Laarbruch Sim was nearing completion at the factory and bodies were needed to look after it. We had all been trained by Redifon, but the RAF wasn't going to repeat that expensive exercise, so I was taken off sim maintenance and given 4 months to prepare an in-house training program - which I did. I then taught the first 2 RAF Sim Technician courses.

I then moved on to other things (still in Simulators) but that isn't relevant to my Bucc story.

So although (officially) my last real aircraft unit was 237 OCU (they owned the Simulators) I still reckon to have started and ended my real aircraft career on 12 Squadron, and my time with the Buccs - real and simulated - was unmissable. I loved those aeroplanes. The RAF were mad not to have grabbed them earlier. OC Sim Flight (S/Ldr Tug Wilson) reckoned the finest 2 aircraft he had ever flown were the Hurricane (he was a Battle of Britain survivor) and the Buccaneer.

So, if you win the lottery, find out what happened to the Buccaneer flight simulators and buy yourself one – you'll never have so much fun with your trousers still on.

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xx Re: My History
« Reply #31 on: Mar 25th, 2009, 6:39pm »

Great story..Welcome aboard Field Leader ,I'm sure your experience will prove invaluable. Dont suppose you have any patches you would like to share/sell grin grin

XV867
« Last Edit: Mar 25th, 2009, 6:39pm by XV867 » User IP Logged

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