Low Lightning

Thanks to the many nephews and nieces who have emailed, written, called and sent heavily loaded pigeons with details of the "WIHIH" Lightning picture used in the 10 August Straight & Level. Nephew Steve Gyles wins the best explanation contest, having been the pilot member of the inquiry board! The unfortunate Lightning XN730/J, an F2A owned by 92 Sqn, was involved in a prang at RAF Gutersloh in 1971. The hinge pin in the port undercarriage suspension broke on take-off, allowing the main wheel to spin in ways not intended by the designers. The stress fractured the leg attachment bracket, giving the pilot - Flt Lt Norman Barker - a red light when he tried to retract the gear. Rather than eject as recommended, Norman struggled to lower the gear for an almost an hour before attempting a landing with the port wheel angled at about 45°. The result was the image of the violent landing, captured in what turned out to be a clandestinely taken photograph from outside the base fence by the "duty spy".

Honourable mentions to Harry Worth, who tells me Norman later became "Minister without Port Oleo", and Nephew Denis Calvert, who recalls an accompanying note that came with a copy of the photographs, saying "it was taken by my friend with a 400mm telephoto lens".

Thanks also to messrs Lawrence, Paxton and Sergeant for helping clear up the mystery and also to Niece Sue Isherwood who recalls a tale of her father, the late Keith Isherwood, having to land a Canberra at Warton under similar circumstances. Although not able to recall the actual event, Sue says her mother apparently watched the circling aircraft for some time and was mystified because: "Dad had said nothing about a display that day so wondered why he was spending a lot of time in the air!"

Let it rain...

Monty Orangeball: "It says here that a US agency is thinking of using unmanned air vehicles to monitor climate change." Stewart Sidewinder: "Which agency?" Orangeball: "NOAA...the oceanic and atmospheric administration." Rex Stocks: "Are you sure it's not NOAH? With all this bleedin' rain, a UAV could stand for 'uge ark-like vessel."

...and on the subject of oddly named UAVs. (Overheard in the Budgie News office) Rex Stocks: "What's with all these dragon names for UAVs? Dragonfly, Dragon Eye, Dragon Wing - and what's this toilet-shaped micro-UAV called?" Bruce Strewth: "Dragon Dunny." ...and from our unmanned watcher Ah-Hawker comes a suggestion for a new, more upmarket name for the worthy band of UAVers. How about the society of unmanned air vehicle engineers - or SUAVE?


Russians say it how it is. Baltia Airlines, the new start-up carrier planning New York-Russia services, has come up with a stunningly catchy name for its frequent flyer programme - Freeloaders.

Source: Flight International