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Thread: Fact, Fable or Fiction?

  1. #1
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    Fact, Fable or Fiction?

    We have all heard apocryphal stories but you must have wondered how much truth, if any, lay behind them. How about airing some and seeing if other forum members can help with their authenticity? Here is my starter for 10:

    Can anyone substantiate the story of the 4? Lightnings staging through Diyarbakir in the late 60's who had to resort to some very lateral thinking. As I recall they were on their way to Singapore and the stop at Diyarbakir was without groundcrew or any spare Avpin. When they came to start the next morning all the aircraft suffered wee-phutts which caused considerable misgivings. For non-Lightning members a wee-phutt was a very common occurrence and was when the Avpin failed to light after the purging sequence; the 'wee' referring to the sound of the purging pump and the 'phutt' the sound of the Avpin failing to ignite. The Lightning Avpin tank held enough for 6 starts and now they had used 3, 2 at base and the one that they had just used, and they needed 2 more to get started. Rather than all try again and risk wasting more Avpin they tried another start with 2 of the aircraft but they failed again. Although these start failures were not unusual, 6 on the trot on 4 different aircraft was unprecedented so they decided to phone home to try and establish the common factor. The engineers at Leuchars couldn't help but suggested that they should contact BAE at Warton. The expert at Warton quickly established that their problem was their location - Diyarbakir is 2200' AMSL - and that the problem was therefore that the reduced head of atmospheric pressure prevented the Avpin plenum chamber from charging properly and that, somehow, they would have to overcome this problem. It was at this stage that the lateral thinking came in. One of the pilots came up with the suggestion of using a balloon to provide the required pressure but, unsurprisingly, none of them had any balloons. What they did have was the ubiquitous packet of three. So, the condoms were franged and put over the necks of the Avpin header tanks, the blue touchpaper was duly metaphorically lit and spectacular success. The unexpected bonus of this episode was that WIWOLs, thereafter, had the perfect excuse for their partners/wives as to why they were taking condoms on detachment!
    It's a lovely story and I have heard it a few times with 23 Sqn being mentioned but is it true or even nearly so? I would love to think so. I also cherish the image of a row of Lightnings with erect condoms attached to their header tanks in the spine behind the cockpit. The Turkish groundcrew must have watched with incredulity.

  2. #2
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    The story about the DH Beaver recovered from the jungle in Burma/Malaya as an underslung load on a Whirlwind and the chopper pilot getting a shock when they reached 55knots and found the Beaver flying alongside him-apparently they removed the wings prior to subsequent recoveries, I wonder why?
    The mind once expanded by a new idea never returns to its original size.

  3. #3
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    How about the story of the Mirage F.1s being delivered to Jordan (?), Iraq (?)

    They made a stopover in Cyprus and during the night a bored Cypriot guard decided to relieve the boredom by doing some chin ups - using the nose pitot as a bar.

    Of course he bent the pitot, but being an enterprising lad, he decided to hide the obvious bent pitot by going down the flightline and bending ALL the pitots by the same amount..... :diablo:

    I may have got some details wrong - but the gist of it is how I remember reading about it.

    Can anyone confirm it?? I would love it to be true........

    Ken
    Flanker Freak & Russian Aviation Enthusiast.
    Flankers (& others) website at :-
    http://flankers.co.uk/

  4. #4
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    Yes, I have heard this one a few times but always involving an Italian guard at Decimomannu. It is unlikely to have been Cyprus as the only military base was/is Akrotiri and French Mirages would not have been allowed to stage through Larnaca. Paphos had not opened at the time and Nicosia was immobilised in 1974.

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    Yes i heard it was involving an Italian guard, funny makes me think of the italian on allo allo.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flanker_man View Post
    How about the story of the Mirage F.1s being delivered to Jordan (?), Iraq (?)

    They made a stopover in Cyprus and during the night a bored Cypriot guard decided to relieve the boredom by doing some chin ups - using the nose pitot as a bar.

    Of course he bent the pitot, but being an enterprising lad, he decided to hide the obvious bent pitot by going down the flightline and bending ALL the pitots by the same amount..... :diablo:

    I may have got some details wrong - but the gist of it is how I remember reading about it.

    Can anyone confirm it?? I would love it to be true........

    Ken
    I remember it on John Cravens Newsround as a kid. I believe the story reported it as having taken place in Greece. I've no idea how true it was? It makes a good story though!

    TJ

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    Readers Digest for me...

    Mirage seems to be the only constant on all versions though !

    Certainly heard it on TV somewhere and later in the good old Digest
    You can teach monkies to fly better than that....

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BSG-75 View Post
    Mirage seems to be the only constant on all versions though !

    Certainly heard it on TV somewhere and later in the good old Digest

    Just to contradict you, in the late 80's it was an Italian guard bending Tornado pitot probes as the then current version of the story going round....

  9. #9
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    I've heard the bent Mirage probes in the Med area story as far as out here in Aus.

    Early RAAF Mirages were fitted with a giant sacrificial 'bag' over the engine exhaust to allow starting when there was a breeze coming from the rear. That got nicknamed a condom in short time, but I've not heard the Lightning story before.
    James K

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    RAF airmen's uniform beret's were used for Hunter starting with AVPIN and you could tell by all these blackened berets ! Could anyone elaborate on this one as I do not know how the starter system worked ?
    Fly with the eagles,or scratch with the chickens.

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    I only ever worked Hunters for a few days on a promotion course at Scampton.

    It was a little disconcerting to be handed an asbestos mitten and told "when the aircraft starts it will catch fire"

    So, beating the fire out with anything to hand ( beret ) could be plausible when it was in regular service.

  12. #12
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    Re the bent pitot probes, I always thought they were F104s (chinese whispers)

    John

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    I heard it was Lightnings in Cyprus when I first heard it back in 82, when on a space cadet Camp at Binbrook. First heard about the EngO solo flight at Lyneham the same day (with all the embellishments, i.e. Siting on a box with no canopy fitted, Etc). However the identity of the individual concerned was also stated (a RAF FLM), and from what I saw of him, I wouldn’t have been surprised if what was said was true, the guy was a bit of a nutter.
    Last edited by BIGVERN1966; 13th August 2008 at 11:21.
    TWIN RAMJET POWERED MONOPLANE FIXER 1985 - 1989

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    What about Douglas Bader staying at The Stork Hotel in Liverpool? :diablo:
    Weather - Fair with cloudy patches, clear by early evening.

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    off thread ?

    The Sunderland flying boat crash when a member of the Royal family was killed in WW2 - title escapes me now, something about all the crew being accounted for and then the tail gunner came strolling down the hills which gave foundation to some of the Hess theories? Actually, add the Hess arrival as well?
    You can teach monkies to fly better than that....

  16. #16
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    I saw the Sunderland one "somewhere on the net" recently - think it was on some kind of Conspiracy Theorist site.

    Don't have the link, logged off ASAP - didn't want to be kidnapped by aliens and "probed"... ('Turrrrrn yourrrrrrrr head and cough, earrrrrrrrrrthlinggggggg.')

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BSG-75 View Post
    The Sunderland flying boat crash when a member of the Royal family was killed in WW2 - title escapes me now, something about all the crew being accounted for and then the tail gunner came strolling down the hills which gave foundation to some of the Hess theories? Actually, add the Hess arrival as well?
    Duke of Kent. Usual Wikipedia caveats apply - if half of it is true, he was quite a chap!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_...,_Duke_of_Kent

    Adrian
    "Snow clearing equipment has been found under snowdrift" - message sent from RNAS Hatston, Orkney, 1944.

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    The Duke of Kent's death in the Sunderland certainly raises some questions, not all are easy to answer.

    I'll state clearly here that I am not a conspiracy theorist but I've spoken to well regarded historians who are also certain that not all the answers have been given about this crash.

    The things that give the conspiracy ground are the silence of the surviving tail gunner who never spoke about the incident and allegations that the initial investigation results were very different from the final report. Fertile ground for conspiracy but evidence is needed for the new theories.

    The truth is out there - as somebody said once.
    "Writing is easy - all you have to do is stare at a blank piece of paper until your forehead bleeds." - Douglas Adams

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pondskater View Post
    I'll state clearly here that I am not a conspiracy theorist but I've spoken to well regarded historians who are also certain that not all the answers have been given about this crash.

    The things that give the conspiracy ground are the silence of the surviving tail gunner who never spoke about the incident *snip*
    One wonders at what must have happened in France & Flanders in 1914-1918 which so many people who were there never talked about. :diablo:

    Trouble is, of course, if it's not in the report we don't know it - hence a fertile breeding ground for theory...

    Adrian
    "Snow clearing equipment has been found under snowdrift" - message sent from RNAS Hatston, Orkney, 1944.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrian_gray View Post
    One wonders at what must have happened in France & Flanders in 1914-1918 which so many people who were there never talked about.
    Indeed. I wonder if that is the more likely - if dull - reason for silence.

  21. #21
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    Plus, of course, he was at the other end of the plane, facing backwards, when suddenly everything went pear-shaped around him. It doesn't necessarily take a lot to create a blank in the memory where a traumatic memory would be.

    Adrian
    "Snow clearing equipment has been found under snowdrift" - message sent from RNAS Hatston, Orkney, 1944.

  22. #22
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    There was a C4 programme a while back about the duke of kent, it mentioned the alleged affairs etc and the crash, I'm open to conspiracy theories (but with the WWW there are far too many) and from what I know (which is not a lot admit) I think there is something amiss - maybe something as simple as a paperwork error at take off !
    You can teach monkies to fly better than that....

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