RAF Harrier stuck on a caye in Belize

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by speedbird618, Sep 9, 2010.

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  1. Does anyone remember an RAF harrier jump jet that had stopped on a caye, tried to start the engine and got sand and dirt in the engine. I believe that they built a pad on the beach, did an engine change and flew it off the pad? Did this happern? Any photos? It would of been in the late seventies.
  2. Seems to ring a bell somewhere!
  3. My cousin was in the Merchant Navy and was aboard a UK registered vessel in the vicinity when this happened. Because he spoke fluent Spanish he, somehow, ended up as the translator between the RN and the ships Captain until in docked in the Canaries.

    He always said to us that the Captain of the container ship was intent on claiming salvage rights for the plane that dropped onto his ship
  4. speedbird,

    Couls the island have been Caye chapel, about 10 miles ENE of Airport Camp? I know that a Puma got blown on to its side on the same island in the early 80's :cry: I have that photo, but not off the Harrier.
  5. speedbird, I note that you posted this on pprune, and it would appear that you have an answer of sorts.

    I copy below...

    bonajet9th September 2010, 14:57
    I think this was in either 1978 or 79 - I'm away from my logbooks so can't fix it accurately.

    RAFG had sent out a PR team to shoot a film in Belize and the detachment commander KM decided to have a bit of the film shot over Caye Chapel's runway. This was a powdered coral strip with a hardened surface. A Puma was positioned off to one side for the film crew. KM came to a hover over the runway but rather low and the jet efflux ate through the surface and released the powdered coral, which was promptly hoovered up and jammed the reaction controls. A ' forced RVL' took place. Now there was a jet stuck on a coral atoll miles from help. OC ENG from Gutesloh was sent out with a very, very large local purchase order to try and solve the problem. A barge and crane was rented and the engine eventually lifted and changed plus the tubes blown out. Time was of an essence as the salt in the coral powder was not appreciated by the internals of the jet. A couple of weeks later, PH, one of the wing unit test pilots flew the aircraft out.

    The film crew had also filmed some of the spirited flying back at Belize airport, which caused some other problems back in RAFG.

    The detachment commander had a difficult time in Belize, as he's been leading a pair that misidentified a village on the Guatalmalan border and orbited one inside enemy territory by mistake. The section of troops there panicked and deserted leading to an eventual diplomatic complaint.

    An interesting detachment.
  6. RAF Belize, the Cowboy Flying Club at its best. The last OC of the Harrier det retired there to run his hotel on St Georges Caye, having wangled most of his 20+ year career as a Harrier pilot in Belize. Another scam was the SAR Puma that spent every Sunday parked at a five star hotel on San Pedro, supposedly providing SAR cover to the Cayes, but actually providing a free days bingeing for the favoured few (of which I must admit to have partaken on more than one occassion). Oh happy days.
  7. I was there April to Sept 88 with the AAC Flt. I will swear it did not happen at that time, something like that would have been talk of town.
    I will be seeing the guy who took over from me this evening and will ask him if it happened during the six months he was there.
    The event of my time was Hurricane Greta, we escaped to a bomb dump up country, where stripped the Scouts of blades and sat out the Hurricane.
    Quite literally flew the arrse off the cabs on recovery, casevac and reconstruction work.
    All pilots ran out of Flying hrs and we where having replacements flown out most weeks until I left in Sept.

  8. I thought it was Hurricane Gilbert in '88 I could be mistaken as to the scouts, I can only remember Gazelles & Pumas at that time.