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SimonRafe
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xx Question concerning XK527
« Thread started on: Sep 8th, 2010, 4:52pm »

My name is Simon Rafe. I am the grandson of the late Cyril Rafe, who was (I believe) head of aerodynamics at BAe Brough and a designer on the Buccaneer project. I heard the stories of him working on the project when I was very young, and so I may have inflated his role to "head of the team" or something similar. I never got around to asking anything which would clarify the issue!

My grandfather recently passed away. I have inherited a small diecast model of a Buccaneer bomber (given to him when he retired in December 1984). This model clearly shows the tail numbers XK527. The wing-mounted armaments are yellow-and-black torpedo-like bombs. The model comes with three of these - the one on the starboard wing is normal and fixed in the regular place. There is another normal one, loose, which could be fixed into place on the port wing. However, the one which is fixed on the port wing shows a missile launching in error - the weapon is firing at an angle. My grandfather told me this was given to him as a joke by his friends because there was a weapon misfire with a particular aircraft during testing (I seem to remember he blamed it on the Americans changing their engineering specifications) and they wanted to remember that.

For many years, I thought nothing more of this - but he recently died and I have been doing some research on this. I thought a quick Google search for XK527 Buccaneer would clarify matters, and it led me here and elsewhere.

Can anyone offer any insight on the incident my grandfather's model references, or any more information about his involvement with the company? He worked at Brough, and was (as far as I remember - but it is a VERY long time since I asked him or was told) head of aerodynamics when he retired in December 1984.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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buccbuilder
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xx Re: Question concerning XK527
« Reply #1 on: Sep 9th, 2010, 7:24pm »

Hello Simon, welcome to the site first of all, I don't have any info myself even though I'me an ex Broughie, but may I suggest you contact the Heritage Centre at Brough as they may have information in the archives, some of the retired members run the centre, and I believe one of them was Buccaneer aircrew on flight testing, so if you tell them who you are and why you are contacting them they may be able to help.
I think they are only there on Friday mornings (or used to be ) the tel no is 01482 667121, that will get you to the switchboard, then ask for the heritage centre, thats the easiest way as they keep moving around the site and the internal tel no keeps changing. Regards Paul.
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sailor
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xx Re: Question concerning XK527
« Reply #2 on: Sep 11th, 2010, 08:18am »

Looks like she spent most of her life with C Squadron Boscombe Down A and AEE, maybe a call to Boscombe, might help ? Wonder if the missiles are Bullpups??
« Last Edit: Sep 11th, 2010, 10:10am by sailor » User IP Logged

GarethJones
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xx Re: Question concerning XK527
« Reply #3 on: Sep 23rd, 2010, 7:41pm »

Hello Simon, my name is Gareth Jones and I worked at Brough from 1970 until the end of 2009. I knew your grandfather very well, mainly as a member of the Photographic Section of the Blackburn Welfare Society as we did not have much direct contact at work. I cant remember Cyril's job title but it was either Chief Aerodynamicist or Head of Aerodynamics. He was a lovely chap, a true gentleman and a very good photographer as well as aerodynamicist.
I spent all my time working in what was variously known as Mechanical Systems or Flight Systems, starting on Buccaneers and Phantoms and finishing on the Hawk. I do know what happened to XK 527 as I was responsible for it being cut up. It was a development aircraft all its working life and in the mid 1980s it was retired from flying and used to create part of the Utility Systems Demonstrator Rig at Brough. Basically we chopped off the nose and tail, removed the outer wings and just used the centre fuselage as a test rig to investigate computer control of fuel systems. The fuselage was fixed in a large steel frame and could be pitched and rolled. I was the Engineering Manager of the project and I have some photos of the aircraft being dismantled if anyone is interested.
With regard to the weapon release incident I am afraid I cant remember anything particular but as someone else has said the Heritage Centre at Brough can probably help. John Cowper there, who was one of your grandfather's colleagues in Aerodynamics has a very good memory and can perhaps help.

Regards and best wishes to all associated with the Buccaneer, this is the first time I have seen the web site which I just stumbled across by accident.
« Last Edit: Sep 23rd, 2010, 8:05pm by GarethJones » User IP Logged

SimonRafe
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xx Re: Question concerning XK527
« Reply #4 on: Sep 24th, 2010, 01:30am »

Thank you so much for that, Gareth - that helps a great deal. I shall definitely be getting in touch with the heritage center (I'll have to write rather than ring, as I am currently living in the USA and time difference is annoying).

I think we'd all be interested in seeing any photographs; if you don't want to post them here, please feel free to send them to my email address of darknight @ batcave . co . uk
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GarethJones
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xx Re: Question concerning XK527
« Reply #5 on: Sep 24th, 2010, 6:02pm »

I have just spent about an hour trying to work out how to post photographs as part of this reply but without success. If someone could explain in simple terms how to do it I will have another go. Do I put them somewhere on this website first or somewhere else other than where they are now which is on my desktop?

However in response to Simon's question I am almost certain the model relates to an incident during flight testing of JP 233 weapons on XK527 in 1979. The weapon dispenser was being jettisoned but instead of falling away from the aircraft as predicted by Aerodynamics Dept, it flipped up and hit the leading edge of the wing and wiped off the left wing tip pitot probe. Don Headley was the pilot at the time and he was not amused! There is a full description of the incident in the book 'Flying the Buccaneer' by Peter Caygill, which has a short section at the back, written by Don Headley. (see page 146).

I have spoken to the current Head of Aerodynamics at Brough and he is also going to do some research.

There are already some photos of XK527 on this forum in a post entitled HOSM in the General board section.
« Last Edit: Sep 24th, 2010, 6:07pm by GarethJones » User IP Logged

SimonRafe
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xx Re: Question concerning XK527
« Reply #6 on: Sep 24th, 2010, 6:49pm »

Images can be tricky - but as you sent me them already, I'll post them! (Click for a larger version)

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Thanks so much for the information - I will check out that book!
« Last Edit: Sep 24th, 2010, 6:56pm by SimonRafe » User IP Logged

buccbuilder
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xx Re: Question concerning XK527
« Reply #7 on: Sep 24th, 2010, 7:21pm »

Thanks for the pictures Gareth, very interesting to see. Regards Paul.
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GarethJones
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xx Re: Question concerning XK527
« Reply #8 on: Sep 24th, 2010, 8:05pm »

Thanks very much for posting the pictures Simon, sometimes the technology defeats me. The photos of XK527 were taken at Holme on Spalding Moor on a very grey day sometime in the late 70's I would guess. It was a HOSM open day, a pretty rare event, I can only remember one. It looks like there were 4 Martels fitted at the time.

The test rig pictures were taken in 1985 and show the centre fuselage installed in the test frame and the final one shows the whole rig in the lab area in Ops Hangar. It was a pretty tricky job as the weight of the rig was greater than the design lifting weight for the cranes and the rig was taller than the ceiling in the area near the door. However with a bit of ingenuity we got it in.

I think the nose section of XK527 was eventually preserved somewhere, most of the structure we removed went for scrap. The outer wings, tailplane, fin and all the systems components we did not need went back into the Embodiment Loan system.
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SimonRafe
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xx Re: Question concerning XK527
« Reply #9 on: Sep 24th, 2010, 8:15pm »

Technology is what I do for a living; I set up my grandfather's PC for him to do digital editing after he lost camera-club competitions to the new-fangled Photoshop stuff!

Still, he bought me my first computer back when I was 10 or so - so I guess it balances out!

My research showed me that, yes indeed, the nose of XK527 was preserved; click here for link to information
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buccbuilder
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xx Re: Question concerning XK527
« Reply #10 on: Sep 24th, 2010, 8:26pm »

Gareth, did you have the pleasure of going to H.O.S.M in the Boffin's bread double decker bus with all the dents on the front where it used to hit the trees on the way ?.
Regards Paul.
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GarethJones
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xx Re: Question concerning XK527
« Reply #11 on: Sep 25th, 2010, 6:36pm »

I did travel between Brough and HoSM lots of time on the bus and the blue Bedford Tillys. However if I start remiscing here its a bit off the XK 527 thread. I will start a new one in the General Topics section
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philipljackson
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xx Re: Question concerning XK527
« Reply #12 on: Jan 17th, 2011, 8:14pm »

Hi

In addition to Gareth's pictures of XK527 the following were taken at a HOSM open day - I would appreciate if anyone knows the exact date.

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buccbuilder
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xx Re: Question concerning XK527
« Reply #13 on: Jan 17th, 2011, 8:35pm »

Hello Philip, sorry I can't help with a date, but thanks for posting a great set of pics. Regards Paul.
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Goosey
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xx Re: Question concerning XK527
« Reply #14 on: Jan 17th, 2011, 9:41pm »

These must be quite late photo,s of XK527 as i believe these to be sea eagle missile,s with a micro-turbine as it propulsion.I can remember they put the orange dayglo on them as the chase planes were losing sight of them painted just in grey.
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