Thursday, 23 March 2017

Final farewell (almost)

So today was the last flight of an operational Lynx in RN service and 815 Squadron did us proud.  A simple hangar ceremony, followed by a flying display then lots of booze and food.  Seemples, but spot on.  The only reason for the post title is that there will be a final evening hangar party next Thursday where 1300 people are due to attend.

Some photos:

Donating a copy of my book to Commander Phil Richardson the CO of 815

HMS Goucester's Lynx, probably the most successfull Lynx ever after her performance in Gulf War One

We decided that this mark of Lynx was a Mark 3 (B) the B standing for Beer and yes it was a fully functioning bar with two working taps. Now why didn't we think of that before?

A moment before landing on - the last ever flight of an RN Lynx

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


Just a quick note to everyone who has read this blog - I've just exceeded 30,000 hits so I must be doing something right!!!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Time to say goodbye.

In 1981, we re-commissioned 815 Naval Air Squadron at Yeovilton to operate the then, new Lynx helicopter.  Thursday, I'm attending the de-commissioning ceremony for the aircraft.  I can't say that it will be a sad affair because it is being replaced by a much superior modern machine, one arguably really a Mark 10 Lynx (blasphemy to say that I'm told).  More to the point there will lots of us from the early days attending and there is no chance at all that we won't end up in the wardroom bar afterwards.  It is also the official launch of my book on the Lynx, so hopefully we'll sell loads.  I'll be taking my camera and any interesting photos will appear here and/or on my FB page.
Its another anniversay soon, as 35 years ago some South American idiots thought they could take on the might of the Royal Navy - hah!  Five years ago I used this blog to post day by day, my experiences at the time using my flying log book as the reference.  As it's some time ago, I am going to resurrect those posts and repost them in the same time frame. (This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my books are advertised next to my posts).


815  Squadron recommissioning  at RNAS Yeovilton. HMS Andromeda ship's flight with 'ARFA' our Mark 2 Lynx in the backgound and me wearing a pair of clown's trousers.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Fact and Fiction

After 41 years operational service, the last swansong for the Lynx Helicopter will be upon us soon.   Thats like a Sopwith Camel still being used succesfully into the 1950s!!! There will be several parties/ceremonies/flypasts and flying displays to say goodbye to the old girl.  My book about it's history is now available, especially through 'Navy Wings' their Store is here.  It will soon also be available on Amazon but less money will go to the charity if you buy it there.
In addition to the factual book - I of course, have my novel about the Falklands War 'Sea Skimmer' which stars a Lynx and is partly based on my own experiences flying one during that little fracas.  A Lynx also has a starring role in a couple of my other books - 'Cocaine' and 'Formidable'  these books are only available from Amazon but as Kindles, Paperbacks and Audio (the narration is particularly good) and can be found on the link at one side of this blog.

 The star of the show - the Royal Navy's most successful weapon system since 1945

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Wasp season

Had a great afternoon today interviewing David Gibbings for the forthcoming book about the Wasp helicopter. David was a Flight Test Engineer with Westland helicopters and flew in the first Wasp flight and then the first Lynx so he knows a thing or two about the aircraft. He also has a fantastic library of photographs. Will post some here when I've scanned them in. Meanwhile here is a Wasp from the front cover of my last but one novel 'Retribution' where the aircraft, known as 'Wanda the Wasp' stars as the 'instrument of righteous vengeance' at the end of the book!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Going back in time

I've started research into my book about the Wasp helicopter.  I've been going through old copies of 'Cockpit' and 'Flight Deck' magazine which the RN produced over the time of the aircraft.  'Cockpit' is the RN Flight Safety magazine and still in production ot this day.  I've got some great articles for the book and next week I will be seeing Mr David Gibbings who helped me out with the Lynx book.  As a Westland Flight engineer, he was in the first Lynx to fly and I've now just discovered that he was in the second ever Wasp flight some years previously.  He is an archivist for Westland now and should be a fount of all knowledge.
The early days of rotary wing flight in the RN are fascinating and there were many experiments tried out before a final design was settled on.  I intend to cover quite a deal of this in the book as it explains how the Wasp ended up as it did.  Some interesting photos:

 Not quite a Wasp yet but the first aircraft to conduct sea trials.  Note the undercarriage which has flat plates attached to the skids - using air bled from the engine these could act like little hovercraft or actually suck the aircraft down onto the deack.

Not a Wasp at all but another early prototype that was actually quite successful but too small for the RN in the end (the Fairey Ultralight).  It used little jets at the tip of each rotor blade to power the rotors rather than a gearbox.  It didn't succeed but one wonders why no one has resurrected the idea.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

And now for something completely different

Books are on the back burner for the next few weeks as Fi and I get things together for the new boat.  That said, I am doing some research with the Fleet Air Arm museum and Westland (Or Lenny's Choppers as they are now known) and that will give me plenty to do when not opening locks, emptying porta pottis, walking the dog, painting the bilges etc etc.  Anyone who has owned a boat will know of the dreaded 'list'.  This is the thing you write out with all the little things you need to get, for when you next get on board.  We started ours on the way back from the boat a couple of weeks ago and as expected it has continued to grow.  Our assumption that we had already got just about everything we needed seems to have been a tad premature - what a surprise.  Roll on early April when he head off into Narnia for real.  Oh and quick thank you to everyone who has bought 'Formidable',  it's currently in the top 1000 best sellers on Amazon (out of over two million) and 23rd in 'thrillers/military'.  Must be doing something right then.

A small manifestation of 'the list'.  There's also a disassembled desk and 1500w petrol generator around somewhere, as well as large number of  stuffed sharks.