Author Topic: Missing the leaping heap  (Read 7581 times)

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Offline Sad Sam

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Missing the leaping heap
« on: March 25, 2014, 08:43:20 PM »
I am looking back through Google to try and identify "My" harrier GR7.

I am back to December 2010 and I found a link to this amusing tail from one of the "Tin Kickers"

http://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/the-harriers-have-gone-end-of-an-era-for-re-harrier-support.154466/

The Royal Engineers were "well-ard" as the guy says they got to the site about a week before we did and worked flat out (usually fully tactical)

I often wondered what they made of us when we rolled up - not too much judging by this!  I reckon every fourth lorry must have been full of Herforder beer.

A friend of mine in Southampton is an ex 2 para RE - his description of the "tin kickers" is nearly as disdainful as their description of the RAF regiment.  But after he spent a week trying to lay some tin in the Falklands he was very glad to see them. turn up like something from a WW2 comic.

The whole thing with the tin in a field was never going to happen.  You can just imagine the conversation in some Russian reconnaissance center "Ivan, why is there lots of tin in that field?"  "Don't know comrade, bomb the hell out of it anyway"

The RE had a much better plan that involved hiding the jets in supermarkets!

Happy days.

As I continue my search for "Juliet" I'll stick some more stuff on here.



Found this on the web.

Trouble is the early batch of GR 5's & 7's the serial was painted on the rear fuselage behind the hot nozzles.  You couldn't read the number when you were stood next to it let alone from a grainy shot on the internet 30 years later.  We only knew the jets by their letters.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 11:28:48 PM by Sad Sam »
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Offline deeleyt

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Re: Missing the leaping heap
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2014, 11:49:14 PM »
Yep, I remember it well. There must have been a load of tin planks about at the time, I was wearing a green suit at the time, having jacked my blue one in 2 years earlier. And on Crusader 80 jetted of to BOAR via Manchester airport and BA flight full of squaddies. The BA pilot decided that anything the RAF could do they could do better, tried for a 90 degree up angle at the end of the runway. Well we spent all of the 2 weeks laying and ripping up and laying and ripping up tin plank as a leadin and lead out to a bridge call "Eskimo Nell", and that is what we did during the day. At night we rolled that bridge back, stripped it, then rebuilt it in time for 06:00 in the morning. You could just imagine how we felt when a tankie hit the bridge off centre and shifted it off centre. And so what did you join up for..........

Offline Sad Sam

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Re: Missing the leaping heap
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2014, 01:26:43 PM »
Sounds like "Crusader 80" was a very big war!

If you used all the forces available today you could probably still not match the effort made on those 1980's war games.

When you look back at the records which are now finding their way into the public domain it really was very hairy and we probably got as close to Armageddon then courtesy of Mr. Reagan and Mr. Gorbachov as we did during the 60's with Khrushchev and Kennedy.

Happy days but I don't think I miss spending 18 hours "NBC Black"
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Offline Flipflopman

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Re: Missing the leaping heap
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2014, 12:03:36 AM »
Sam,

Your Harrier is ZG856 and I claim my five pounds!!

I'd attach a photo, but the only option I have is Photobucket, so I reckon you can probably google the serial number yourself!!   ;D

Unfortunately it didn't make it to the disbandment party as it crashed in the 90's, but I've found the report online.

http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=55510

Hope that's put a few ghosts to bed buddy!

Cheers  ;)

Offline Sad Sam

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Re: Missing the leaping heap
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2014, 09:58:15 PM »
Hi Ron,

I think ZG 856 was the second "CJ".

I was posted onto Four right at the end of the GR3/T4 era.  Then we got our first batch of GR7's which the 65 percent LERX (Leading Edge Root extension) Shortly after that we got a second batch of GR7's with the 100 percent LERX.  So in two years on the squadron we had about 45 jets pass through our hands!

ZG474 was CA which we let to Three squadron and they crashed about three miles from the airfield two days later.  The letters were allocated as the jets were delivered so I think CJ was about ZG500. 

I am a bit confused by ZG 477 @ Cosford which was delivered as a 65 percent LERX GR7 but I see she now has 100 percent LERX and is a GR9  guess the upgrade was mechanical rather than just avionics.

I have a cunning plan to find out the number which involves a mate of Bill Perrins who was a pilot on four at the time.

ZG500 is one of the jets languishing in the desert.
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Offline Flipflopman

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Re: Missing the leaping heap
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2014, 07:44:26 PM »
Hiya Sam,

You're quite possibly right buddy. Harriers can be a nightmare to identify and pin down at any one particular point, not least because of the ridiculous amount of Mod states flying around within the fleet at any one time. Just when you think you've got it nailed, somebody pops up and tells you that "Oh, that jet didn't have MPCD's at that time, but did have a FLIR pod, so was actually a GR5a.."  ::)

Obviously, I'm not entirely sure when you were on 4 mate (sorry, IVAC)  ;D but having had a bit of a dig, I've found a couple of links which might help work out which one is yours. There are a few mentions of CJ being ZG856 in 1992/1993, but I've also come across ZG504 as CJ, this time with the serial behind the hot nozzle, in 1991  ???

See what you think.

http://sg-etuo.de/Squadrons/No4SquadronGR7?userlang=en

http://www.ukserials.com/image_view.php?a=27344&s=zg856.jpg

https://sites.google.com/site/raflaarbruch/home/laarbruch-squadrons/no-4-ac-squadron

http://www.scramble.nl/?option=com_showreports&view=article&ct=DE&id=1849

Hope that helps work it out. As goes 477 and the LERX mystery... All Harriers with ZD serials initially started life as GR5's, then were modded to GR5a's then GR7's. All of the ZD's had 65% LERX from the factory. The ZG serials were all delivered as new build GR7's but did come with a mix of 65 and 100%'s. As I understand it, some jets were retro fitted with 100% LERX as they became available through knackered airframes and the like, and it was quite a quick fix to swap the LERX, engine doors and the Flap Control Module (FCM) as the 100%ers had different flap scheduling. This wasn't done as a GR9 mod specifically, but was often done on the Minor/Major line in the same hangar.

The GR9 mod did include quite a bit of structural modification, but was mainly in the cockpit and back end areas, to change AC/DC distribution panels and CB panels and the like, along with the fatigue mods being done as part of the mid life upgrade.

Hope you've found your beast mate!   ;D

Offline Sad Sam

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Re: Missing the leaping heap
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2014, 09:17:11 PM »
Thanks Ron,

 504 it was  ;D  Still alive and well (albeit hot and dusty in the desert)

I guess if it had been 500 the number would have stuck in my mind (like 858 which I looked after later and 558 ....)

I was posted onto "happy four" (ironic " " @ the time) in June 1990 and left when the squadron moved down to Laarbruch.

That link is great quite the shots of the jets on Sennelager ranges - never realised there were so many spotters about then.  Given the times I wonder how many of the pictures were taken for our "friends" 80km to the East.

Nice to see some pictures of our "upside down" fin caps in there.  With the badge painted the right way up (Black on top) the top of the fin cap sort of disappears so we thought it would be a good idea to put the badge the other way up.  All was well until the AoC spotted ourjets at had a big wendy about it.  All to do with the Royal College of Heralds and "Blood on Sand"  anyway the poor old painters had to redo the lot of them (working weekend as I recall)

All those GR7's were delivered to us new from the factory.  The first 20 or so with the 65 LERX and then the second lot with 100. 

They were good jets to work on (if you discounted their tendency for the electrics to pack up)

We only did about two wing lifts in the whole time I was on the Squadron.  3 Squadron did loads.  There was a mod which had to be done to a little casting just in front of the engine.  The casting was cracking and BAe decided the was a chance the cracked vane could end up getting sucked down the donk.  So the mod was to remove the vanes and replace them with a fabricated angle (guess the material spec was improved)  3 squadron carried out the mod by lifting the wing and engine which made every thing nice and simple for the guy doing the mod (but a lot more complicated as there was a wing lift/ engine lift/ refit to carry out).  I managed to embody the mod by bagging up the front of the engine and spending a couple of days down the intake (no engines out for us then.....)

Mid life upgrade....... >:(

Thanks for the link  ;D
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