Low Flying BUFF

SUU23

LE
Tell that to the crew of Czar 52.
They co pilot attempted to bang out, he didn't make it.


Crash of 'Czar 52'
It's an unfortunate fact that gravity hurts, particularly when you get the height and velocity factors wrong. Mr Martins very best 0/0 (zero height and zero speed) ejection seats have limitations. The B-52 system was designed for a much more sedate attitude and altitude. The last seconds of the cockpit voice recorder must include the words **** and twat.
 
I think the seat worked but the fireball was quicker and engulfed the poor chap. Incidentally, the co-pilot was the person who was attempting to get Holland grounded and had told Holland's crew that they did not have to fly with him on that occasion.

The other 2 crew were even more unfortunate. One was to retire from the air force shortly afterwards and was on his final flight jolly; a traditional final flight irrespective of whether they were air crew or not. IIRC the remaining crew was also about to leave the squadron.

I believe something like 4 senior officers were court-martialled over the crash and their failure to take preventative measures in the face of overwhelming evidence that Holland was a danger to all and sundry. There is another, longer, clip on You Tube showing some of Holland's other flying exploits including an incredible pass at about 30' over the head of a cameraman on a bomb range in Hawaii. The aircraft's bomb doors were open and the aircraft was armed. It was reported that the co-pilot intervened as he thought the aircraft was going to hit the ridge on which the cameraman was standing.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer

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Scorpio46

Old-Salt
If I remember correctly only the top deck crew have bang seats and they would normally be set to fire if the pilot initiates his seat, while the top deck crew would still be able to escape individualy as they would normally be watching their instruments facing aft and probably not know they were in trouble until it's too late to escape particulary at low level. At least Boeing provided the crew with ejector seats which wasn' the case with the Vulcan with only the pilot and co-pilot enjoying that luxury.
 


What that photo doesn't show very well is just how narrow that gap is. My mum was working in a building about another 150m along the Phantom's path. From what I remember, the gap wasn't much more than about 30m wide.

The hangars have been pulled down now in what I can only imagine is part of the MoD's concerted attempt to make St Athan an even more depressing and a bigger shit sandwich of a posting to swallow than it was for techies who resented doing "factory work".
 
Scorpio - the B-52 lower deck crew have bang seats. All you ever wanted to know about the B-52 system, and probably many things that you didn't, can be found here
 
8-O

In the early 80's I had the pleasure of being posted to the Outer Hebrides (A real REMF job), one sunny day (Honest !) I was driving home from Space City on South Uist to Benbecula along the coast road when a Buccaneer flew directly over my car. The first I knew of it was when the draught nearly had me in the ditch - I glanced left to see an F111 coming in from the sea and it had to CLIMB off the beach to get over the road ...

In theory it was necessary as they were doing a Taceval on RAF Benbecula on the other hand the cynic in me says that a bright red Cortina against a dull brown and green landscape was just too good an opportunity to miss !


:biggrin:
 

Scorpio46

Old-Salt
Scorpio - the B-52 lower deck crew have bang seats. All you ever wanted to know about the B-52 system, and probably many things that you didn't, can be found here
Thanks for that I thought the Navs seats had been deactivated when the B52's mission was changed from high to low level as they didn't think the seats would have time to do their work so that the lower deck crew would have to manually bail out to give them a slight chance of survival at low level. Probably have been reading too many Dale Brown novels.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
At least Boeing provided the crew with ejector seats which wasn' the case with the Vulcan with only the pilot and co-pilot enjoying that luxury.
1. This is well worth a read, not just about ejection. I saw the smoke trail, missed the event out of the classroom window by seconds.

2. For a description of a short, low flight of a Buccaneer, read the SABAT trilogy (I think it was vol 1. Edit more likely vol 2.). Cold War at one of the Crab(G) bases, let's have an air show. One pilot offers to do a stunt in a Bucc, but won't give details. Parks at the extreme end of the runway, powers up, looses the brakes, roars off, barrel rolls and lands again before the end of the runway. It was suggested to him not to try that one again.
 
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AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Downward firing bang seats, very reassuring!!!
Common in the early post war jets because didn't think the seats had the grunt to avoid fast jet crews being chewed by the tail fin. F104, for example.
 
I wouldn't say common Alien; I can only think of the B-52, Tu-22 and some early F-104 variants that had downward firing seats. Indeed even the early seats fitted to WWII aircraft such as the Saab J-21, Heinkel He-162 and Dornier Do-335 fired the sensible direction.

Regards,
MM
 

SUU23

LE
Martin Baker using a rocket pack under the seat to maintain ejection velocity removed the potential for hitting the vertical stabiliser, as well as allowing for 0-0 ejection and increasing the survival envelope in a high sink rate ejection. Doesn't help much if the aircraft is low and inverted or low and rolling to the horizontal.

Ultimately Gravity wins.

 
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1. ...............................

2. For a description of a short, low flight of a Buccaneer, read the SABAT trilogy (I think it was vol 1). Cold War at one of the Crab(G) bases, let's have an air show. One pilot offers to do a stunt in a Bucc, but won't give details. Parks at the extreme end of the runway, powers up, looses the brakes, roars off, barrel rolls and lands again before the end of the runway. It was suggested to him not to try that one again.
A Belgian pilot would do that in a F104 - apparently it was his party piece.

 
1. This is well worth a read, not just about ejection. I saw the smoke trail, missed the event out of the classroom window by seconds.

2. For a description of a short, low flight of a Buccaneer, read the SABAT trilogy (I think it was vol 1). Cold War at one of the Crab(G) bases, let's have an air show. One pilot offers to do a stunt in a Bucc, but won't give details. Parks at the extreme end of the runway, powers up, looses the brakes, roars off, barrel rolls and lands again before the end of the runway. It was suggested to him not to try that one again.
There was a Belgian 104 pilot who used to do that routinely.
Damn, Baldbof beat me to it.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Great video, but it isn't clear that the Belgian did it from a standing start to a halt. Not saying he didnt, just wondering whether the F104's shape allowed it to generate enough lift quickly enough. I suppose with an engine like that ...

I might be wrong (I very frequently am) but I thought early Thuds had down-firing seats too. Shrug.
 
Not that I'm aware of Alien. The Thud's nose gear was too close to the underside of the cockpit.

Regards,
MM
 

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