I remember Leuchars' very first Tornado F3s arriving during the Finale of the annual airshow in 1989. ZE961/GA and ZE962/GB arrived fully painted up in 43(F) Squadron's markings and taxied in to position in front of the old control tower where they were met by the Station Commander. At the following year's airshow, 111(F) Squadron's first two Tornado F3s arrived in similar fashion, except they were accompanied by Phantom FG1 XV582 "Black Mike". Scarey to think things have gone full circle, and I am about to witness the arrival of their replacement!
Some of my fondest F.3 memories are from the South Atlantic and not all of them directly involve the aircraft! I can't say too much due to a vow taken in a dingy room full of like minded servicemen and women but the memories will live with me forever. Back to the aircraft and many an hour was spent photographing a pairs launch and subsequent 'Fiery Cross' or having the privelige of photographing a jet from the ramp of a Hercules. Great days, great memories, great people.
I have vary many happy memories associated with this jet and Tornado F3 people - all are very very special!Will be sorry to see the jet go but very proud to have been associated with it and some very fine squadrons!!!
I guess I will have to write a book about flying the F3 one day but as a starter:I remember one of the first F3 sorties I flew against the Bucs out of Lossie. They had been used to running at 100 ft and close to 600 kts losing the F4s in their wakes. I could almost see the amazed faces in the cockpit as we cruised past them at 700 kts (in cold power as well). That was before the engines were de-tuned though!
wow thats an amazing story! surprised you could put out 700kts in dry power too. quick question if you dont mind asking did you ever fly against f-14s or do any sort of training? cheers mike
For many years, I have admired all of the RAF's flying crews. As was standing behind Stirling Castle when Flt Lt Roy Macintyre took his last flight. As the four planes past overhead, I took great pleasure in shouting " that's my big brother up there" Shona McIntyre, a very proud wee sister.
I recall the first time an RAF operated F3 put in an appearance at RIAT, it must have been around 1989 or so and I was tasked to handle the beast. The jet arrives and is parked into its allocated spot, the young pilot duely jumps out and is surrounded as ever with the meeters and greeters, after about half an hour he requests that the aircraft is guarded overnight, why is that we ask....secret radar needs guarding was his response, now in those early days many an F3 flew around without its Radar fitted instead having a ballast load installed instead (a piece of concrete was the rumour) hence it was common knowledge that they were called Blue Circle Airlines. Back to the pilot, I bet its not even got a Radar fitted we ventured, "Blue Circle Airways" etc etc, sheepishly the young pilot said, this one has, to which our very prompt response was, you want it guarded, well we,ll find you a tent and you can gaurd it yourself....end of conversation, pilot walks away.
My fondest memory of the F3 was at Annual Camp at RAF Leuchars in 2006. We were being shown around a Tremblers F3, HA, and were allowed to get into the cockpit. As I sat down in the front seat 3 111 Squadron jets flew over... It was a sureal moment and one of my happiest memories... Long live the F3!
Great to see this site up and running. My best memory should have been my first sortie but I was so far behind the drag curve I still can't remember. That was 1992 and it is now 2010!See you all in MarchGazzer
With Billy Cooper, the last jet in the trail on the 5 Sqn UK farewell tour. Flying through the Machrihanish overhead, the tower thanked us on the RT, for all to hear (including the Sqn boss in the lead jet) with the words "Thanks 5 Sqn, that was great - especially the last guy, he was REALLY low." Doh!
I have one word to end ALL F3 story discussion."Mossy".I thank you. I win!!
ChadsHe could appear on the "Legends" tab under 4,000pints+:-)Gazzer
That snooker table was a bit slower after Mossie's party.
Ok, here's a few (non-Mossy) stories ..
23 Sqn trail to the Far East, circa 1992 ... one of the pilots (I'm thinking it was Bletch, but I may be wrong) was caught short and had to take a No.2 in the cardboard sandwich box .... as he unstrapped and manoeuvred into position the other aircraft were queuing up to take photos ...
I recall (and I know Gazzer will attest to this one, cos he was one of the taceval assessors with Sumnutz) flying a whole sortie from St Mawgan as the lead of a pair ... (Wierdname & I) we scrambled with Pooky & Dunny on our wing ... we flew the whole sortie, moving to about 3/4 CAP positions (passed to us in Vector Logic ?!!! - remember that?!!!), our No.2 was firmly welded to our wing ... we get down, and Dunny says ..."What was all that about - no CAPs, nothing. What were you doing ...?" ... and therein ensued an explanation of VL ...
I recall being pissed in Vegas (ok, hold on ..) and turning to Billy Gilpin and saying, "why don't you ring your girlfriend up, get her out here & get married in the Chapel-o-love" ... he did. Sometimes people shouldn't listen to me.
How about Fatbat falling over outside the kebab shop in St A's on 56's first Leuchars "High St Run" ... he landed on his face (which was a mess the day after - ok, more of a mess) but saved every last piece of kebab meat.
Mason Fenlon - if you're reading this ... Friday morning sortie with Flounder, Aalborg '97. 3 hrs later, too ill to fly the pm sortie.
Barnsley ... one word - "Wattisham" !!
Kev Wooff ... never have I laughed so much as when, under extreme pressure on ur ACL check ride in the hot summer sun on det with the Swiss AF at Waddington, did a drop of sweat run down your nose and impact on the OHP slide and was viewed by the whole room gloriously about 2 feet wide on the OHP screen!!
Rob Winchester ... I stalked him by text for two weeks pretending to be one of his wedding conquests ... well, it made me laugh
I recall Cuban handing his washing to TT John Middleton one Sunday afternoon in a drunken stupor outside Animal House.
Parky, sat in an F3 on the 25 Sqn HAS site at Leeming, to Mick Martin in the back seat:
"Hey boss, who's that bit of snatch with your wife?"
"My daughter, Parky".
I must apologise for mentioning TC's name on this site.
Once landed at Coningsby 'after hours' on a Taceval diversion with Mr Grubs ... neither of us could be arsed to check our pistols into the (closed) armoury so we borrowed some civvies and got a lift down to the Bluebell, Walthers tucked into our jeans ...
Mossy, "I have to say, Swanny gives the best bollockings I've ever had".
Archie Neil, F3 display pilot goes on det to Canada, jumps over a fence leaving his wedding ring, and finger attached to a nail on said fence. Doc gives Archie the option of sewing it back on, no use, and off flying for months, or just patch the wound up, no finger and get back as soon as you're ready. He chose the latter.
TC Middleton (soz, said it again!) offends a WHOLE nation at a Dining-in Night on the patio at Raffles in Singapore to the point where Charles Charlie Chan walks out ... I was there!
Most amusing saying every lunchtime in the XI Sqn feeder ... "Is that Chicken F Heaters?"
I recall Mick the Fish arriving on XI Sqn and being aghast at the nicknames that the aircrew had ... Steffi, Vidal, Wendy ... although I think that Psycho's renaming Of Greg 'Wendy' House to "Sh*te House", and subsequent incessant giggling was pretty funny.
25 Sqn, Cyprus 1991: who remembers Mike Shulver (engineer) falling out of a tree at the Nav Union dinner onto the marble patio, fracturing wrist, skull and pelvis? He lay there with blood pouring out of his ear for ages before anyone even checked up on him!! The next day, Mick Martin got us all together to discuss, "what happened last night" ... Phil Beach turns to me & whispers ... "what happened last night?" - "nothing mate ... have another jug of Brandy Sour"
... I swear I could write a book !!
Just giggled to myself thinking back ...
Speak up if you recall Steve Savage rotating the fire bell on the wall of animal house 'to prevent further wear & tear' resulting from opening Carlsbergs? We had him doing it every day for 3 weeks ...
Who ever thought that Mark Fessey once had footy trials for Leicester City?!!
Anyone remember Al Thoroughgood being sent away from an XI fancy dress party for blacking up and coming as Mandela?
Funniest thing I saw was at a 56 Sqn party at Akrotiri. When preparing for the red and white party, a met balloon exploded as it was being inflated. As we arrived to prepare in the evening, in walks Wibble in a nice red and white outfit with white face and inflation part of the ballon stuck firmly on his head with a flower sticking out of the top! I think he started the Telly Tubbies!
I wonder if Roy Mac remembers the weather recall at Mount Pleasant - oh how close was that!
Keep the stories coming folks - we have much to remember of a jet and the people who flew and supported her; an aircraft that has exceeded all expectations despite all the banter.
Sadly Caroline and I are unable to attend the final bash - but we offer more than a moments thought to those, and perhaps more important, the families of those, who are no longer with us.
I offer one memory. As the Auth on the ops desk of the OCU at Coningsby, I am outbriefing a QWI 4-ship that included Jesse Owens. We had a film crew doing something on the OCU and they were waiting patiently outside. Once I had finished the outbrief, Jesse says to me - "watch this". He dons a pair of milk bottom lens glasses and opens the door to go collect his flying kit. He feels his way out, collects his kit, and his helped out the door with his pilot. The cameraman's face - shock, awe, the lot!
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Clare and I went to the tower at Deci, The two Italian blokes, took Clare's hat off, let her hair down, brought her a cappuccino, and left me to run the pattern. Scary and funny.
Another funny memory is when Nikki told me (and quite a few other bystanders) that she was dying to get prego so she could increase a certain perspective of her womanhood...go Nikki!! So many things right about her attitude!
Also during a crowded night drinking on E-9 at Conningsby that someone bumped my into my very full pint and 99% of it went into the shoe of the fine lady standing to my right. Forgot what happened but i hope someone drank it.