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Guest HotCharlie

RAF just when needed!

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At my local airport ..Thursday...A FIGHTER jet guided a civilian aircraft to safety when the plane got into difficulty over Glasgow, the RAF said yesterday. The aircraft, a Beechcraft Super King carrying a pilot and two passengers, lost all its electronic instrument systems apart from the altimeter as it approached Glasgow Airport on Tuesday morning. The Tornado F3 crew were on a routine training mission in the Lake District when they were called to help. The jet guided the troubled craft first to Prestwick then Edinburgh airports, but thick cloud caused two aborted attempts at landing. The plane landed safely more than an hour later at RAF Leuchars in Fife. Flight Lieutenant Ted Threapleton, 54, the Tornado pilot, said: "We knew we could help because we had more fuel than usual on board. It wasn't long before we picked him up on our radar." The Tornado crew drew alongside and slightly ahead of the plane and gave the recognised greeting of rocking their wings. At first, they thought the pilot had only lost his communications systems, but he had actually lost most of his management systems and had no way of knowing his speed or position. This made descending very dangerous, as flying through clouds without electronic help can cause pilots to become disorientated and inadvertently enter a spin. Flt Lt Threapleton said: "We knew that he would have problems descending because he had no way of knowing where he was, so we wanted to keep in contact with him." The RAF crew used hand signals as they guided the plane to safety, but the Beechlight flies at a much slower speed than the Tornado, making the operation more difficult. Flt Lt Threapleton said: "There was probably nobody else who could have helped because civilian aircraft don't have all the radars, radios and tracking equipment we do. We are also trained to fly in formation and do this type of shepherding. "We both knew that if we didn't get the plane below cloud, he would eventually have run out of fuel and crashed. There was no other option." Meanwhile, a Ryanair passenger jet landed at the wrong airport in Northern Ireland yesterday after the pilot mistook Ballykelly military airfield near Londonderry for the City of Derry airport. The pilot was cleared by air traffic control at City of Derry for a visual approach but then chose the wrong airport at which to land. It is understood that 39 passengers from Liverpool disembarked normally and were taken by coach to the right airport. A airline spokesman said: "Ryanair has notified both the IAA and CAA of this error. We have also asked Eirjet, the operator of the aircraft, to carry out a full investigation, as in over seven years of Ryanair flights into City of Derry airport, and over 20 years of Ryanair operated flights, such a mistake has never occurred before."Yep, glad to have the odd Tornado hanging around!RonMacGlasgowScotland

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Ever read the Frederick Forsythe story "The Shepherd"? It's about a lost pilot in a DeHavilland Vampire who's guided home safely by another pilot. Can't say anymore. It would spoil the suprise.

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>>Flight Lieutenant Ted Threapleton, 54, the Tornado pilot,>said: "We knew we could help because we had more fuel than>usual on board. It wasn't long before we picked him up on our>radar." >Question please?Do the R.A.F. stil use 54 year old pilots for Tornado's? All the Tornado pilots I have seen are all young guys.Dave T. .........On the Devon Riviera and active 'FlightSim User's Group' member at http://www.flightsimgrpuk.free-online.co.uk/http://www.captainsim.com/user/dl/c130/c130_captain.gif

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I've read that story, fantastic short story and one of the best I've read.

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54 does seem old, especially for a Flight Lieutenant ! Probably a typo.Mind you, Sqn Ldr Cairns was/is the oldest operational pilot in the RAF - perhaps in the world. Last year he flew the last Canberra T4 sortie at the age of 60 !!!Think my gen is accurate on that, but I stand to be corrected.Ian

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Thats wicked! So the F3 crew would have had to drop all flaps & perhaps have lowered their gear to keep station with the slower jetprop?

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>Thats wicked! So the F3 crew would have had to drop all flaps>& perhaps have lowered their gear to keep station with the>slower jetprop?Hi Nevin,At airshow's I have observed Tornado able to hold quite steep 'AOA' (Angle of Attack) slow flight, while observing the ground.I believe that this attribute is included, within the training.Dave T. .........On the Devon Riviera and active 'FlightSim User's Group' member at http://www.flightsimgrpuk.free-online.co.uk/http://www.captainsim.com/user/dl/c130/c130_captain.gif

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Thanks for the info G7USL :) It would be cool to see a Tornado do that. The only time I saw something similar was with the F-16 & MiG29 @ Farnborough in the early 90s. That F16 just keeps going & going....it will be there 200 years from now as the F-16 Block 9000000 :(

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>54 does seem old, especially for a Flight Lieutenant !>Probably a typo.>>Mind you, Sqn Ldr Cairns was/is the oldest operational pilot>in the RAF - perhaps in the world. Last year he flew the last>Canberra T4 sortie at the age of 60 !!!>>Think my gen is accurate on that, but I stand to be>corrected.>>Ian> You'll probably find he is what is now called a professional aviator. Basically when a member of aircrew comes to his initial retirement point after 16 years or so in the service, they can leave, continue (hoping for promotion etc) or, become a "professional aviator" - basically meaning they'll fly until they retire and are unlikely to be given ground tours, promotions etc. Its a healthy way to make a living. With the amount of cash it takes to train a pilot you want the most return you can get out of them anyway!Most leave the forces at 55, although you can continue to 60 as a reservist I believe, which is also the oldest you can use an ejection seat IIRC.Hope that clarifies things...

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Funny how threads come alive after months!I started this thread and have enjoyed all posts.On the subject of Pilot, stuff on him can be found at Red Arrows page http://www.raf.mod.uk/reds/archive98aug.htmlThis is 1998 I believe, but kind of shows the level of skill Pilot has. So, AOA stuff easy peasy stuff I am sure!

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Aha...As he was once a Grp Capt then I imagine he is now what one would call an FTRS pilot (Full Time Reserve - ie, a nice salary with a G/C pension to boot! Nice!)Charlie

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