What a great writing, really I appreciate such kind of topics. It will be very helpful for us. Waiting for more articles,
This was written for 9/11/2012
As we take a few precious moment of our time to remember the horrors that happened. I would like to reminisce. I apologise to my friends from Bookrix, who have heard part of this before.
As I said in reply to Gwen's post I served in the Royal Air Force ( for 6 years). During which time I served in Scotland, Germany and N.Ireland at the time of the Maze prison hunger strikes. I have the GSM ( General Service Medal), which in my opinion, I am not entitled to as our station was far from the actions.
During my tour of Scotland, RAF Lossiemouth (now closed). There was an incident when SAC Place bollocked an officer. Read the story.
The Martin Baker 0-0 seat is equipped with a horrifying spike designed to smash through plexi-glass, a human body is no contest. It was developed from the 30-30 because it was found that sometimes, you cannot be at an altitude of 300 feet and travelling at 300 mph, when you eject. The 0-0 means 0 mph at 0 feet.
Let me set the scene, a few weeks prior to my incident a techie had got into a cockpit, he was in the seat when he heard a click. He knew he had less than 2 seconds before the seat went off, he dived to the area in front of the joystick, as the seat tore through the hanger roof. This man was not much slimmer than the late John Candy as he appeared in the film "Stripes." The area he got in was no larger than a washing machine tub.
Later that day, after numerous coffees and a good rest to calm down. He was asked to repeat his action, even in calm with all the time he needed, he couldn't get in. Yet, in that two seconds when his life was on the line, he did.
SAC Place (Photo) was called to the line to remove a camera from a Jaguar aircraft, to process the film. The MB 0-0 has six pins to neutralise the ejection system. IF any ONE pin is not in, it is my right to refuse to get in that seat, even with one pin out. The seat will go off. On the inside of the cabin is a small rack for the pins. Without thinking of the previous weeks event, I climbed the ladder to the cockpit. Being safety-conscious I checked the rack first.... HORROR.
Not ONE pin was in, the seat was totally live. I quickly climbed down and went to the line hut, checking the flight roster I called out to the chief, knowing the aircrew would hear "YOU can tell the pilot of aircraft Sierra, that I am NOT getting in the bloody cockpit until he gets out there to disarm that seat."
A few hours later, we got three crates of beer sent to the section. I had saved him his career. What if I hadn't been so careful, it still makes me shake now.
The next incidents happened during my tour of Germany, RAF Laarbruch. (now a German internal airport), the camp was used as a marker for the Dam buster raid.
Since my childhood, I have had a fear of heights. Imagine going up a mountain on a ski-lift, then finding as you tried to get off that you are jammed half on and half off as it goes back and you can see the ground dropping away quickly. It did nothing to help my fear.
Coming back on leave one day with my mate Chris Perrott, we were going down the motorway,in the dark and pouring when I spotted a car stopped in the middle lane. Chris had no option but to swerve to avoid hitting it. We got to my parent's house, we were having a meal when I went for some air. I looked at the car as it had just come from the Rover garage after a total re-spray, to my horror I saw something that NO motorist wishes to see.
I called out "Chris, come and see this!" They all came to see what was going on... ALL the wheel nuts on ALL four tyres were on the last five or six threads. If I hadn't taken that walk out, I don't care to think what would have happened, Chris still had a three hour trip to his parent's house in Monmouthshire.
I was lucky enough to get a ticket to 1978 European cup final, held in Munich between Notts. Forest and Malmo of Sweden. To this day, I don't know how my friend got the tickets.
I was standing in the stands waiting for the match to start when the man next to me spat in the trench in front of us, the guard looked at me and went for his gun.
To give you an idea of the situation, to get to the pitch I would have to climb over a four foot wall, drop down ten feet into the trench. Cross a twenty foot trench, then climb up again just to get to the grassy area, then I would have to run about another twenty metres to the touchline. Who did he think I was? Clint Eastwood LOL
I think in some way I must have an angel on my shoulder, these are only a few scrapes I've had.
All the RAF stories will be included in my book about my 6 years in the service.