Campbeltown Machrihanish

#1
Remember as a kid playing hide n'seek? Or show me yours and I'll show you mine :)

Anyhow I wondered why the MoD kindly sold off this property to become Campbeltown Airport because of its location, length of runway its perfect testing grounds for anything bold and new. Boscombe Down is surrounded by a village plus the local pit stop inc.Holiday Inn, KFC, Pizza Hut etc off the A303 is just a stones throw ;) so too crowded there. Ok since the SEALS Team Det Deux left there 2 decades back, being the local residents looking after the residents at Holy Loch before they moved out and probably under cost cuts the MoD figured they'd make more money then caretaking for something that never be used again and flogging it off.

Forget the UFO, Aurora folklore and consipracy theorists (have enough of those type parked outside St Pauls :) ) has anyone ever landed at Machrihanish in the good old days for fuel and food and been refused to walk anywhere near the Gaydon hangar there (according to on F-117 Secrecy thread on PPRUNE,

'Machrihanish's secret hanger played host to quite a few things in it's time. Once inside, the crew didnt need to re-appear as it was linked underground to the US facility.
The first deployments were as far back as 83. What was unusual was having to work nights when we didnt have enough staff to man ATC and the support facilities, but no concept of why we were havng to do it.

Even more amazing were the steps taken to stop the resident VAS in the hanger from seeing the new arrivals. At night, the duty team were forbidden to look outside of the crew room, whilst the ground handlers wore slip on blindfolds while they marshalled the A/C in. The day staff too wore blindfolds when outside of the offices, which also had the interior windows blacked out. The only person who didnt, was a civilian girl K--- S------- who worked there. Looking back I'm almost certain she was a CIA operative.

In hindsight, I'm suprised non of the 140 misfits who had the joy to be posted there didnt just lift the blindfolds up for a quick peek and blow the whole thing - But thats us guys - professional to the end. We made it look just like another posting in the middle of nowhere with no aircraft and nothing going on. '


Apart from the blindingly obvious F-117 that may have taken a visit there in the 80s, its interesting to see the lengths that went to protecting probably other aircraft as blindfolding the marshallers and probably using some form audio marshalling. Though you can't exactly blindfold the ATC guys and girls for safety reasons unless the aircrew of various airframes felt comfortable with the fact they could land in the dark and as soon as the wheels hit the tarmac then the tower lot would be asked to turn their heads as aircraft quickly taxi into hangar and doors closed then back to business.

Be interesting someday (if ever) revealed what other interesting things were in and out of Machrihanish in the 80s, Boeing's Bird of Prey, The 'Whale' now in Wright Patterson museum etc etc.
 
#3
The United States Navy handed the airfield back to the MoD on June 30, 1995, marking the end of its service as a NATO facility since 1960. While the airfield remains the property and responsibility of the MOD, and is now maintained by Defence Estates, a section of the airbase is reserved for Campbeltown airport.
HIAL took over the license of the air field on the 1st of April 1996 and now use the airfield's runway for its commercial operations which include 2 scheduled flights a day from Glasgow.

About Campbeltown Airport
I thought the USN maintained a "Storage" facility for their SEALs there?
 
#4
............whilst the ground handlers wore slip on blindfolds while they marshalled the A/C in. The day staff too wore blindfolds when outside of the offices............... But thats us guys - professional to the end.
Seriously? So you have aircraft being marshalled by guys wearing blindfolds?

Did the staff park their cars outside the camp then get shuffled in once blindfolded?

Professional isn't the first word that springs to my mind.
 
#5
Remember doing an overhead assault on Macrihanish sometime in the nineties. Loads of blokes piled in on the tarmac, and I have an enduring image of someone landing on a perimeter fence and doing the 'NI wobble' as his canopy collapsed,followed by the inevitable crash to the deck
 
#6
Having been one of those posted there (for 2 years in the late 80s), I can reassure you that nothing of any interest flew in over the entire period, and the Gaydon Hangar was a........hangar. Yes, the SEALs were there, and there were some very entertaining exercises, but don't believe everything you read on conspiracy sites.

Why did it have a 10000ft runway (10003ft, 55 degrees 26 minutes North, 5 degrees 41 minutes West from my recollections of local knowledge as one of the Air Traffic Controllers)? Because it was used as a dispersal airfield for the mighty V Bomber Force if the balloon had ever gone up with the Russkies!
 
C

cloudbuster

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#7
Took a look at Machrihanish in the early 1990s, on a long navex. Miles and miles of bugger-all. V-bomber bolthole.
 
#8
We took a UOTC there in the early 00's. The thing that impressed me most was the complete absence of any secret underground tunnels...

Being a sad git, I found the SEAL building interesting for two things - the welded and angled stop butt in their indoor range, and the rather cheesy-looking jacuzzi just off their kit cages. Nice to know that they could have a bath together after exercise...
 
#10
We took a UOTC there in the early 00's. The thing that impressed me most was the complete absence of any secret underground tunnels...

Being a sad git, I found the SEAL building interesting for two things - the welded and angled stop butt in their indoor range, and the rather cheesy-looking jacuzzi just off their kit cages. Nice to know that they could have a bath together after exercise...
Almost as interesting as the USMC barracks in North West London.
 
#12
Seriously? So you have aircraft being marshalled by guys wearing blindfolds?

Did the staff park their cars outside the camp then get shuffled in once blindfolded?

Professional isn't the first word that springs to my mind.
the 'LONGARMS' project in 1982 fitted RF detection and audio alert syestems at the back of each parking bay - It was the first commercial use of parking sensors. The audio was interpreted by the Handler who moved his lightsticks accordingly.
AR1 is offline Reply

Think it was so that the handlers didnt see the exotic airframes arriving
 
#15
Keep up JP47:

It was the first 'commercial' use of parking sensors
 
#17
We took a UOTC there in the early 00's. The thing that impressed me most was the complete absence of any secret underground tunnels...

Being a sad git, I found the SEAL building interesting for two things - the welded and angled stop butt in their indoor range, and the rather cheesy-looking jacuzzi just off their kit cages. Nice to know that they could have a bath together after exercise...
September 2001 by any chance

Couple of harriers for the RE to build landing points for, apart from that Feck all to see.
 
#19
Mac is/was also an alternate for the shuttle, depending on it's orbital attitude.
 
#20
I thought the long runway was originally built as a staging point for the B-36 - as was Greenham Common ?

...and Mac was seriously touted by a senior grown-up as a possible training area for Scottish units short of space after Cultybraggan was shut.....that it would actually be quicker to drive to the English Midlands appeared to have escaped his notice.
 

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