Birma wrote:That's a great picture of the early Harrier on a carrier deck. There can't be many pictures of this around.
Thanks Birma. See that deck extension right background, known as Fly 4 to us, that is one position where we could tie down a Phantom for full power and afterburner test runs. There was a fitting in the deck into which could be placed a tie down fixing to which was attached a chain with a special fitting at the end. That fitting was designed to fit into the throat of the arrester hook (or deck hook in our idiom) which would have been extended for the purpose, released from its up-lock. The Phantom would then be drawn forward by a flight deck tractor to tension the chain. Chocks and lashings would then be added as per normal.
I once, in the early hours whilst testing the afterburner rapid light up of a newly fitted engine of a Phantom in that spot blew some bits of the steel deck surround into the Atlantic. There was a unit in the engine afterburner fuel control system which sensed the air pressure bled of from the engine compressor (which switched between 7th and 12th stage according to flap and power settings) for leading and trailing edge flap blow (the BLC sensing unit for boundary layer control). Sometimes this unit would stick and not reduce the fuel to the burner as it should with some flap settings and an over-fuel would occur with the kerosene vapour not lighting up correctly.
Thus a vapour cloud of unburned AVCAT would build up before ignition finally occurred with a Whoomapata! The occupant of the cockpit, muggins doing the test runs, would be jerked violently forward as the aircraft lurched under the sudden impetus. The force was to much for some deck fittings.
Here is one catching a wire, note the puff of smoke from the port wheel (the far one) as it makes deck contact SRT 101 and Tamron 135mm:
Sometimes things could get a bit rough and on two such occasions I was able to get out on the top of the Flyco (Flying Control) bridge wing, with a lifeline attached, which extended out over the flight deck from the island. This first one is whilst off Cape Hatteras in the tail of a hurricane as we diverted south to head for the Florida Keyes to get in range of Honduras for a Buccaneer strike pair to be launched to deter Gautamalan aggression.
Both SRT101 28mm Rokkor f3.5.
This next one was as Ark raced back to UK from the Caribbean in early 1972 to get into dock at Devonport (nr Plymouth) before the navigation pilots went on strike. Ark took a hammering steaming into a huge swell taking it on her port forward quarter with the seas getting in under overhangs and trying to turn the ship over. We had a number of splits opening up in the hull, 20, 30 and 40 feet long with the seas getting in under a boat deck and pushing it upwards crushing the pinnace that was cradled there. Note some of the Bucc's have collapsed undercarriage struts due to the pounding.
Even scanned transparencies can be improved using Lightroom, I don't have full Photoshop.
I was considering these for 'Blast from the Past' but the coin flipped this way.
'Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.' - Benjamin Franklin