Flying the BAC 167 Strikemaster Mk88 in RNZAF Service: Part 3 Jul – Dec 1982
My story “Flying the BAC 167 Strikemaster Mk88 in RNZAF Service” began with ‘Part 1 the 1970s’, continued with ‘Part 2 Feb-Jun 1982’, and ‘Part 3 Jul-Dec 1982’, and concludes with ‘Part 4 Jan-Jun 1983’
July 1982 – air-to-air live firing, plus 581 Pilots Course
My first flight for the month was on Friday 2 Jul 82 when I flew in SMR NZ6370 for 1.1 hours with Flt Lt Paul Martin – we did a General Handling refresher flight for Paul to hone his IP skills before he undertook a B1 to A2 IP upgrade. With my previous experience as OC CFS wherein I had been the examiner doing such upgrades, I hoped Paul would gain some benefit from my independent advice before his own upgrade that was scheduled within the next few days.
On Saturday 3 Jul 82 I flew NZ6369 from Ohakea to land at Tauranga airport – the .8 hour flight, with Sgt Boucher as pax, was together with Flt Lt Garry Rasmussen in another SMR in support of the 50th Anniversary airshow for the Tauranga Aero Club. Raz was to do a solo low level aeros display at the airshow in his SMR, while Sgt Boucher looked after the servicing of our two aircraft, and I was the RNZAF Display Controller for the display by Raz. While at Tauranga I needed to reposition a SMR which, unwisely, I did without wearing my flying helmet, and I can still recall just how noisy the SMR was from inside the cockpit with the Rolls Royce Viper jet engine running and me without suitable ear protection. I also remember NZ Warbirds President Trevor (TT) Bland offering me a flight in his Harvard ZK-WAR (formerly NZ1092) – I accepted but only on the condition that he firstly gave me a dual-check in ZK-WAR as it was some 5 years since I had last flown a Harvard. We did just that and I subsequently enjoyed doing some low level aeros over the sea to the north of Tauranga airport. On Sunday 4 Jul 82, I flew back to Ohakea in 0.9 hours with Cpl King in SMR NZ6369.
Monday 5 Jul 82 brought a flight in NZ6369 to Wigram with Flt Lt Paul Martin as pax on the 1.4 hour flight – this was to position Paul at CFS Wigram for his A2 upgrade. My logbook records my 0.8 hour return flight to Ohakea in NZ6369 was comprised of 0.3 hours day and 0.5 hours night, so I assume the flight was done after Paul had used the aircraft to do his A2 upgrade flight before he remained at Wigram for a couple of days of academic and instructional technique tests with his CFS examiner.
Then followed a few days of air-to-air live firing of 100 x 7.62 mm bullets per sortie on the towed target/banner in what some termed as “The Sport of Kings”: – Tuesday 5 Jul 82 saw me in NZ6374 for a 0.5 hour flight recording just 2 hits on the banner, followed that same day by a further flight, this time in NZ6362 for 0.5 hour with 9 hits; on Wednesday 7 Jul 82 in NZ 6367 for a 0.5 hour for 14 hits, and Thursday 15 Jul 82 in NZ6361 for 0.6 hour for 7 hits.
On Wednesday 21 Jul 82 I flew as IP in NZ6368 for 1.5 hours with Off Cdt Craig Symmans of 581 Pilots Course for a cross country Navex and a planned rendezvous (R/V) with another SMR, followed by some close formation practice and a landing at Wigram where we remained overnight. On Thursday 22 Jul 82, we returned to Ohakea in NZ6368 on a Hi-Lo-hi navex, taking 1.7 hours. Friday 23 Jul 82 saw me as IP again, as 1 of 3, in NZ6365 for 1.0 hour doing 1 v 2, then 2 v 1 ACM; and three days later on Monday 26 Jul 82 I flew in NZ6366 for 1.7 hours as IP with Off Cdt Dave Barham of 581 Course where I did Dave’s Final Nav Test. In July I flew 14 sorties for a total of 13.6 hours by day and 0.5 by night – and now had a total of 126.8 hours in the SMR, of which 41.3 was as IP; I now had 3720 hours grand total in all aircraft types.
August 1982 – FHTs 581 Course, weapons Raumai, aircrew pre-selection Hobsonville
I had my 35th birthday on Monday 2 Aug 82, and on Tuesday 3 Aug 82 my first flight for the month – in NZ6365 I flew as IP with Off Cdt Jeff Watson of 581 Course to do his Final Handling Test (FHT), taking 1.5 hours. My first flight on Wednesday 4 Aug 82 was in NZ6375 for 1.5 hours doing a FHT on Off Cdt Ron Thacker of 581 Course, and my second flight that day was in NZ6365 for 1.1 hours with Sub Lieutenant Greg Liddy (RNZN) of 581 Course doing his FHT. Greg went on to fly the Naval Westland Wasp helicopters aboard HMNZS frigates. Friday 6 Aug 82 brought a 0.9 hour flight in NZ6361 with Off Cdt Wade Quickfall as pax – I was 4 of 4 for close formation before detaching to be the ‘bounce’ on the now 3 aircraft formation doing low level tactical flying.
The new week saw me on Tuesday 10 Aug 82 flying NZ6367 with Off Cdt Craig Symmans as pax doing a Sim Strike, as 2 of 2, for 1.3 hours. And on Friday 13 Aug 82, I flew as 1 of 7 in NZ6368 for a 581 Course close formation and flypast sortie of 0.8 hour duration – IPs flew with their respective the student pilots in the big formation, which gave the students quite a buzz!
On Tuesday 17 Aug 82 I flew NZ6365 solo for 1.3 hours on a relatively rare ‘staff monthly continuation’ sortie that included some upper air handling, aeros, a TACAN approach, and probably some circuits including glide and flapless approaches. Wednesday 18 Aug 82 saw me in NZ6372 for 0.9 hours, as 1 of 2, for a Pairs takeoff, close formation and then to Raumai for weapons – 10 deg Mk106 HDB (where I scored 16m CEP) and 45 deg BDU33 SDB (24m CEP), with a pairs SRA approach and a pairs landing back at Ohakea. Thursday 19 Aug 82 saw a similar sortie content, this time in NZ6367 for 0.8 hours and 2 x GCA approaches – weapons results were an excellent 7m CEP from 10 deg MK106 HDB, and an ‘equally excellent’ 8 m CEP for 20 Deg BDU33 SDB. A second flight on 19 Aug 82 saw me in NZ6369 doing an ‘Annual Dual Check’ on Plt Off Trev Marsh of 14 Sqn Op Flight for 1.2 hours of IP time. My flying for the week concluded with a flight on Friday 20 Aug 82 in NZ6367, as 1 of 2, for 1.0 hour doing a pairs takeoff and some upper air work before weapons at Raumai range – 10 deg HDB (7m CEP), 45 deg SDB (32m CEP), 15 deg gunnery (16 %).
Monday 23 Aug 82 saw my final two flights for the month – the first was in NZ6367 for 1.0 hour doing weapons at Raumai, being 5 x 2.75 inch 30 deg R/P (14m CEP), and, 15 Deg 100 x 7.62 mm gunnery (4%); and my second flight that day was in NZ6365 for 1.1 hours, with newly graduated pilot Plt Off Dave Barham as pax, for more weapons at Raumai – 30 Deg R/P (16m CEP), and, 15 Deg gunnery (21%).
I recorded only 13 flights for the month, and a total of 14.4 hours. If I remember correctly, for the remainder of the month I was attached to the Aircrew Selection Centre (Persel) at Hobsonville during the school holidays as a team leader to put aspiring aircrew applicants through the testing process – each group of about 10 applicants spent some 5 days on individual and group activities, the purpose of which was to gauge their suitability to join the RNZAF for aircrew training as pilots or navigators.
In my Annual assessment completed by OC Strike Wing, Wg Cdr Graeme Goldsmith on my birthday, 2 Aug 82, and covering the period I was CO 14 Sqn (7 Feb 82 – 2 Aug 82), he wrote in my Pilots Logbook:- ‘Above Average’ in Pure Flying, ‘Above Average’ in the Training and Strike role, and commented ‘A very confident and capable Squadron Commander”.
September 1982 – DACT, weapons Raumai
I note there was a gap between the end of my secondment to Persel and my first flight for September which, if my memory is correct, may have been due to very high winds at Ohakea that made flying the SMR nigh-on impossible. We had been tracking well with the Training Flight sortie count and were ahead of plan before our Aussie exchange officer, Flt Lt Dennis Green, commented to the effect that he thought Ohakea was a windy place; we wished he had not goaded the weather gods with this statement because the wind started to blow and it soon blew, and blew, and blew, such that it seemed we went from a week or more ahead to a week behind the sortie goal. In the end, we were getting airborne at about 6.00am in order to fly at least some Blunty sorties before the wind got too strong for safe operations.
My first flight for the month was on Thursday 9 Sep 82 where I flew NZ6371 for 1.1 hours, as 1 of 4, doing 2 v 2 ACM – and we recovered to Base via minimum separation individual Precision Radar Approaches. On Friday 10 Sep 82 I flew NZ6371 for 1.1 hours again, as 1 of 4, doing 4 v 2 DACT with 75 Sqn A4 Skyhawks. In general, these DACT sorties saw the four Bluntys in Tactical formation being ‘bounced’ by the Skyhawks, thus testing good lookout by the SMR pilots to visually detect the aggressors and call a counter turn before a simulated Sidewinder missile, or the 20mm guns, could be ‘fired’ by the Skyhawks.
The new week saw five days of weapons at Raumai; on Monday 13 Sep 82 I flew NZ6367 for 1.0 hour dropping 8 x BDU33 SDB in 45 deg dive bomb passes – the first 4 bombs saw a 28m CEP, and the second four a 25.5m CEP. Tuesday 14 Sep 82 saw me back at Raumai in NZ6367 for 0.9 hour for 4 x MK106 HDB from a 10 deg dive (and an outstanding score of 0m CEP!!!) then 4 x BDU33 SDB from a 20 deg dive (17m CEP). Wednesday 15 Sep 82 saw another weapons sortie at Raumai – this time in NZ6367 for 0.5 hour doing 2 x MK106 HDB in a 10 deg dive (scores were 7m at 8 o’clock to the target, and a ‘barrel’ = direct hit!), 2 x Mk106 HDB in level passes (scores 71m at 1 o’clock = too low, and, 15m at 2 o’clock), and 2 x BDU33 from a 20 deg dive (for a very ordinary 34m CEP). Thursday 16 Sep 82 saw another weapons sortie, again in NZ6367 but this time for 0.7 hour doing 10 deg HDB for another outstanding 0m CEP , and 15 Deg gunnery (for an equally outstanding 57%!!). Friday 17 Sep 82 saw me in NZ6374, as 1 of 2, for 0.8 hour doing a pairs Navex to a First Run Attack (FRA) at Raumai, followed by 10 deg HDB – scores were 50 seconds early on my FRA with a bomb plot 12m at 7 o’clock, and 16.5m CEP for the 10 deg HDB.
After a week of weapons, the following week involved some much more sedate flying – on Monday 20 Sep 82 I was in NZ6364 as the IP with Off Cdt Mark Woodhouse of 881 Course doing sortie #6 of his instrument flying training – and here we flew for 1.3 hours, including 0.7 in ‘actual’ instrument conditions (i.e. in clouds), and he flew two TACAN letdowns and approaches. That night, I flew NZ6371 solo for 1.1 hours doing ‘night continuation’ including one TACAN letdown and approach, one NDB and one GCA. Tuesday 21 Sep 82 saw me in NZ6363 for 1.1 hours, with Sgt Callaghan as pax, doing a Test flight following servicing. On Thursday 23 Sep 82 I flew as IP in NZ6367 for 1.5 hours with Off Cdt Nick Osborne of 881 Course doing his Provisional Instrument Rating Test (Prov IRT). And on Friday 24 Sep 82 I flew as IP again, this time in NZ6366 for 1.4 hours, doing a Prov IRT on Off Cdt Dave Houghton of 881 Course.
Another busy week followed for me with Training Flight, including two flights on Tuesday 28 Sep 82: the first was as an IP in NZ6368 for 1.4 hours doing a Prov IRT on Off Cdt Andy McGuire of 881 Course including a NDB letdown, a TACAN approach and a GCA. Off Cdt Rod Fortune of 881 Course was next to do his Prov IRT with me, in NZ6368 and this time for 1.3 hours. Wednesday 29 Sep 82 brought a mid-phase check on Off Cdt Nick Osborne in NZ6369 for 1.5 hours. Off Cdt Hamish Kim was next to do a Prov IRT with me, this time on Thursday 30 Sep 82 for 1.3 hours; and a second flight on 30 Sep 82 saw Off Cdt Dave Post doing a mid-phase check with me in NZ6375 for 1.5 hours. My total for the month was 17 sorties for 19.3 hours, giving me 160.5 hours in the SMR, of which 57.9 were IP hours – only a very small part of the 1265.6 IP hours I had accumulated to date.
October 1982 – mid-phase checks 881 Course, sim strikes, night flying, Prov IRTs,
Friday 1 Oct 82 brought two sorties for me with the Training Flight – the first was in NZ6366 for 1.5 hours doing a mid-phase check on Off Cdt Andy McGuire of 881 Course; and the second was in NZ6371 for 1.3 hours doing a mid-phase check on Off Cdt Dave Saggs.
The new week brought two flights for me on Monday 4 Oct 82, the first with Op Flight, as 3 of 4, in NZ6374 for 1.6 hours doing a Sim Strike on the Turangi power station; and the second was with Training Flight in NZ6372 for 1.3 hours doing a mid-phase check on Off Cdt Tim Lang of 881 Course. Tuesday 5 Oct 82 brought two more flights – the first was in NZ6361 with Op Flight for 1.3 hours where I was 3 of 4 on a Hi-Lo-Hi Sim Strike; and the second was as an IP with Training Flight with Off Cdt Nick Osborne doing his second dual night flight sortie for 1.4 hours including a TACAN into at PRA. On Thursday 7 Oct 82 I had a 1.1 hour flight with Flt Lt Garry Rasmussen in NZ6376 where we evaluated the layout of a revised instrument panel – I don’t remember what had been changed, but it could well have been to adopt the ’Standard T’ layout of the flight instruments. On Friday 8 Oct 82, I flew NZ6374, as 4 of 4, doing a Sim Strike for 1.7 hours with the Op Flight.
Monday 11 Oct 82 saw me as an IP in NZ6372 for 1.2 hours doing Instrument approaches with Off Cdt Rod Fortune of 881 Course – he did two NDB let downs, and two NDB into PRAs. On Tuesday 12 Oct 82 I had four flights, the first of which was as IP with Off Cdt Rod Fortune of 881 Course in NZ6363 for 1.3 hours doing his fourth Close Formation sortie. My second flight that day was as 1 of 2 where I was solo as IP in NZ6364 for 0.8 hours as Lead Support for Off Cdt Rod Fortune’s close formation solo sortie – that is, he formated on my aircraft for the duration of the sortie. The next two sorties on 12 Oct 82 were as IP on night flights – the first was in NZ6369 for 1.3 hours with Off Cdt Dave Saggs of 881 Course wherein he flew to Napier to do a NDB letdown before flying back to Ohakea for a TACAN/PRA; and the second was in NZ6364 for 1.4 hours with Off Cdt Rod Fortune where he flew us to New Plymouth to do a NDB letdown to the airfield, before climbing back to altitude for the return flight to Ohakea for a TACAN/PRA.
On Friday 15 Oct 82, I flew as an IP in NZ6374 for 1.0 hour, as 1 of 2, with Flt Lt (Dr.) Sandy Dawson doing FAC controlled practice weapons at the Waiouru Danger Area. Doctor Sandy was an Aviation Medicine specialist at the Defence Environmental Medical Unit (DEMU) at Hobsonville and I encouraged him to come to Ohakea from time to time in order to expand his skills beyond what he had learned on his Wings Course, including how to employ weapons and use the SMR operationally. No weapons scores were available for the 8 x BDU33 practice bombs he dropped, or the 100 x 7.62 guns he fired.
On one of his weapons flights at Raumai, Sandy selected the wrong weapons station in the cockpit of the SMR and instead of dropping a bomb, he fired a rocket – well, the rocket motor was still burning as the rocket ricocheted off the ground and headed off into the special grasses grown to help prevent wind-blown erosion of the surrounding sandhills; the grass caught fire which quickly got out of control so the weapons range was closed and Sandy returned to Base. It seemed most of Ohakea, including Sandy, were sent out to Raumai to help out beat out the fire, which they did. A remorseful and tired smoke blackened Sandy shouted quite a few beers at the end of his eventful day.
On Saturday 16 Oct 82 in NZ6376 for 1 hour I was 3 of 4, flying with Op Flight on an Exercise Tasmanex mission doing anti-shipping strikes on the naval fleet located off the Marlborough Sounds. I had three flights on Monday 18 Oct 22 – the first was as IP with Off Cdt Hamish Kim of 881 Course for 1.7 hours doing his first Hi/Lo Navex; the second was as IP again, this time in NZ6364 for 1.8 hours, with Off Cdt Rod Fortune of 881 Course doing his first Hi/Lo Navex. That night I did a short IP flight in NZ6365 for 0.4 hours doing a night ‘safe for solo’ check on Off Cdt Hamish Kim; it seems this solo check practice followed the same procedure used when I was an IP at Wigram wherein a student pilot had to be cleared for solo on the same night he actually went solo. Some students may have been cleared solo at night but did not actually fly solo on that night for various reasons including lack of aircraft, or deteriorating weather.
Tuesday 19 Oct 82 brought another night solo check, this time in NZ6362 for 0.3 hour with Off Cdt Rod Fortune – I expect he did a few night ‘touch and go’ circuits at Ohakea to demonstrate to me his proficiency before we landed and taxied back to dispersal to shut the engine down; and after we vacated the aircraft, and my now empty ejection seat had been made ‘safe’, the aircraft was refuelled, and he completed his 1 hour solo night flight.
Wednesday 20 Oct 82 saw me as IP in NZ6366 for 1.3 hour doing Close Formation sortie #4 with Off Cdt Hamish Kim of 881 Course; and the next day, Thursday 21 Oct 82, the sortie was repeated in NZ6375 for 0.8 hours with Off Cdt Kim – I can only conclude he may have failed his previous sortie #4 so it needed to be re-flown. A second sortie on Thursday saw me as IP solo in NZ6364 for 0.8 hour as ‘lead support’ for Off Cdt Kim’s solo formation flight.
Tuesday 26 Oct 82 saw another Training Flight IP sortie, this time with Off Cdt Hamish Kim in NZ6375 for 1.5 hours doing Instrument flying sortie #15 that included two TACAN letdowns, one NDB letdown and two GCAs. A second flight that day allowed me to ‘escape’ to the Op Flight to do some weapons at Raumai – flying NZ6376 for 0.7 hours I dropped 4 x Mk106 HDB in a 10 deg pattern (11m CEP), and 4 x BDU33 SDB from a 20 deg profile (14m CEP) – good, steady, results.
Wednesday 27 Oct 82 saw me back with Training Flight, this time in NZ6371 with Off Cdt Hamish Kim for 1.3 hours doing an Instrument flying sortie #16 that included two NDBs and one GCA. Thursday 28 Oct 82 saw me as IP for Instrument sortie #17 with Off Cdt Kim in NZ6366 for 1.3 hours including one NDB and one GCA. A second sortie on Thursday saw me as IP in NZ6374 with Flt Lt John Mathewson of 782 Flying Instructors Course (FIC) doing a Lo-Nav to FRA at Raumai to fire 2.75 inch R/P (7m CEP) and 100 x 7.62mm gunnery. The FIC were doing a ‘famil’ at 14 Sqn in order to experience some typical Wings Course flying carried out in the SMR – plus some Op flight flying for some like John who had flown the SMR beforehand. A third flight on Thursday saw me back with Off Cdt Hamish Kim, this time on NZ6372 for 1.6 hours flying Instrument sortie #18 – two NDBs one NDB/PRA and one TACAN approaches were made: with the number of recent flights I had with Off Cdt Kim, I assume I was standing in for his regular IP as I was not normally assigned ‘my own’ student pilot.
To conclude flying for the month I flew two FIC famil sorties on Friday 29 Oct 82 – the first was with Flt Lt Duncan Middlemass (a Bristol Freighter and C130 Hercules pilot) of 782 FIC in NZ6376 for 1.3 hours; Duncan flew an Instrument flying sortie #5 including a TACAN/PRA and a GCA. A second FIC famil sortie that day saw me in NZ6364 with Flt Lt John McWilliam (an Iroquois pilot) of 782 FIC for 1.2 hours flying Instrument sortie #6 including NDB, NDB/PRA and a TACAN. In total for October I flew 30 sorties for 36 hours taking me up to 196.5 hours on the SMR, of which 86.5 were as IP.
November 1982 – 782 FIC famil, 881 Course final Nav and FHTs
Flying in November began for me on Monday 1 Nov 82 with two sorties; the first was in NZ6366 for 1.4 hours with Flt Lt John (J.C.) Mathewson of 782 FIC doing Close Formation sortie #7; and the second flight that day was in NZ6375 with Flt Lt Duncan Middlemass of 782 FIC doing General Handling sortie #2 for 1.2 hours. These flights were to give the FIC members a first-hand understanding of what and how an IP was required to teach a Wings course student pilot.
I had three flights on Wednesday 3 Nov 82 – the first was a Test Flight after an engine change in NZ6367 with Flt Lt J.C. Mathewson as pax, and as part of the test we needed to climb to 35,000 feet to check engine performance – no doubt JC and I tried a few aeros at some stage of the 1.0 hour flight. My second flight was in NZ6376 with Lt Dusty Millar RNZN of 782 FIC doing a Lo- Navex for 1.5 hours. And my third flight was in NZ6372 for 0.8 hours, as 1 of 2, for a Close Formation sortie with a 782 FIC member as my Number two.
Three more flights followed on Thursday 4 Nov 82 – the first was in NZ6375 for 1.5 hours with Flt Lt John McWilliam of 782 FIC doing a Hi-Lo Navex; the second was in NZ6376 for 1.6 hours with Flt Lt Duncan Middlemass of 782 FIC also doing a Hi-Lo Navex. And the final two flights for the day were in NZ6376 with Sqn Ldr Scott Glendinning as pax – we flew to Rotorua Airport in 0.5 hour for a series of meetings in preparation for the Ex Falcons Roost 16 camp, to be held in December 1982, and after the meetings we flew back that night to Ohakea, taking 0.5 hours.
Five days later, on Tuesday 9 Nov 82, I had my next flight, this time as IP in NZ6361 for 1.5 hours with Off Cdt Dave Post of 881 Course – he flew a Hi-Lo Navex to rendezvous with another SMR enroute Ohakea to Wigram, where we remained overnight. With Off Cdt Post, I returned from Wigram to Ohakea in NZ6361 on Wednesday 10 Nov 82, taking 1.2 hours for the Navex trip. Thursday 11 Nov 82 brought another IP sortie, this time with Off Cdt Dave Saggs of 881 Course in NZ6370 for 1.2 hours doing a low level Navex.
The new week saw me as IP again, this time on Monday 15 Nov 82 with Off Cdt Andy McGuire of 881 Course in NZ6363 for 1.6 hours doing his Final Nav Test – a Hi-Lo Navex to make a TOT. A second flight on Monday saw me in NZ6372 flying with Flt Lt Gavin Howse for 0.6 hours doing a Squadron Commander’s check on Gavin in order to authorise his low level aerobatic display routine down to 1000 feet AGL – I recall Gavin had ‘great hands’ in his flying so it was a pleasure to fly with him and see his aeros routine from inside the cockpit.
Thursday 16 Nov 82 brought a welcomed weapons sortie at Raumai – in NZ6365 for 1.0 hour I flew a Lo Navex to FRA at Raumai firing from a 20 deg R/P profile (8m CEP), and 15 deg gunnery (21%): good results. Next day, Wednesday 17 Nov 82 flying NZ6376 for 1.0 hour, I flew in a four aircraft navex to Raumai before doing pairs popup attacks with 20 deg R/P (12m CEP), and then some 15 deg gunnery (19%). On Thursday 18 Nov 82, I flew NZ6365 for 0.3 hours in the annual Joe Beattie Weapons Trophy – I don’t have any results for this event but from memory it was a one-day ‘shootout – winner takes all’ from dropping/firing weapons at Raumai.
Friday 19 Nov 82 brought the first of 881 Course Final Handling Tests (FHT) with me as IP – Off Cdt Dave Houghton was first up in NZ6361, but unfortunately for him, the sortie was aborted after only 0.3 hours due to bad weather. Poor ‘Hoots’ Houghton then had the weekend to worry about his FHT before the next opportunity to fly came on Monday 22 Nov 82, this time in NZ6361 for 1.3 hours. Next up on Monday for a FHT was Off Cdt Mark Woodhouse, and in NZ6361 as he showed me his pilot skills; and a third FHT flight on Monday saw me with Off Cdt Andy McGuire in NZ6374 for 1.3 hours. Off Cdt Paul Muysert in NZ6369 was next to fly his FHT with me, this time for 1.2 hours on Tuesday 23 Nov 82; and Off Cdt Hamish Kim followed on Wednesday 24 Nov 82 in NZ6369 for 1.3 hours. Also on Tuesday I hosted a visit to 14 Sqn by the Commander Integrated Air Defence system, from Butterworth, Malaysia, Air Vice Marshal Symmonds RAAF and seven of his staff officers.
Ohakea 24 Nov 82 – Visit to 14 Sqn by AVM Symmonds RAAF, Commander IADS, and IADS staff officers. Left to R – Maj Chew RSAF, Mej Sofian Malaysian Army, Maj Mike Chuan RSAF Staff Officer (SO) Sams, Maj Bashir RMAF SO Fighters, Wg Cdr Dave Light RAF Snr Off Air Defence, AVM Symmonds RAAF, Sqn Ldr Derick Dunton RAF SO Control & Reporting, Col Tim Desouza RSAF SASO IADS, Sqn Ldr Jim Barclay CO 14 Sqn – photo RNZAF Ohakea G3308/82. In front of the visiting party is a Practice Multiple Bomb Release (PMBR) carrier that is fitted underwing to a SMR to enable the carriage of MK106 HDB and BDU33 SDB practice bombs – the two practice bombs are seen affixed to the PMBR, with the MK 106 on the rear station, and BDU33 on the front.
My final flight for the month was in NZ6369 for 1.0 hour on Tuesday 30 Nov 82 doing air-to-air live gunnery on a towed target in Danger Area 53 (D53), off the west coast from Ohakea – I scored 6% from the 100 x 7.62 mm guns. I flew 23 sorties in November for 26.1 hours, giving me a total on SMR of 222.6 hours, of which 107.7 were as a SMR IP; and of the 23 sorties, only 4 were flown solo, 7 were in support of 782 FIC, and 8 were for 881 Pilots Course. My Grand Total all flying was now 3815.8 hours, of which 1315.4 were as IP.
December 1982 – air-to-air, 881 grad, Ex Falcons Roost 16 Rotorua, 1982 14 Sqn Wpns Comp
My flying for the month began on Wednesday 1 Dec 82 with two sorties firing air-to- air live gunnery on the towed banner in D53 – my first flight was in NZ6369 for 0.7 hours wherein I scored 3%, and my second was in NZ6376 for 0.8 hours scoring a measly 1%. On Wednesday 3 Dec 82, I flew NZ6369 towards Wigram but returned to Ohakea with a fuel-feed problem giving a sortie duration of 0.8 hours; a second flight on Friday saw me in NZ6364 for 0.9 hours flying to Wigram. And a third flight that day saw me as 2 of 4 formating on the wing of a RNZAF F27 Fokker Friendship for a flypast over the 881 Course Graduation parade at Wigram. On Saturday 4 Dec 82, I flew as 1 of 4 in NZ6364 for 1.2 hours doing a flypast over the ‘Wings and Wheels’ event at Wigram before returning at low level to Ohakea. And on Sunday 5 Dec 82, I flew to Rotorua, with Fg Off Dave Brown as pax, in NZ6376 for 0.8 hours to review the Number 75 (Air Training Corps) Squadron parade; after the parade, we returned to Ohakea on the same day in NZ6376 taking 0.6 hours.
Exercise Falcons Roost 16 – Rotorua – On Tuesday 7 Dec 82, 14 Sqn deployed to Rotorua for Ex Falcons Roost 16 and operated out of Rotorua airfield for the next 8 days. As 1 of 10 in NZ6376 for 1.3 hours, with Plt Off Paul Muysert (who had just recently graduated from 881 Course) as pax, a 10-aircaft flypast was undertaken at Rotorua before we landed and helped to erect the tented camp.
Wednesday 8 Dec 82 brought three flights for me – the first was as 1 of 2 in NZ6374 for 1.2 hours doing close formation practice, formation aeros, and local area ‘famil’ flying. My second flight that day was in NZ6373 for 1.6 hours, as 1 of 4, with Plt Off Nick Osborne (also ex 881 Course) as pax – we flew from Rotorua to overhead Whenuapai bound for Kaipara weapons range, but as the weather was bad at Kaipara I led the flight to Volkner Rock weapons range, near White Island in the Bay of Plenty, for 10 Deg HDB, and 20 Deg SDB before returning to Rotorua. A third flight on Wednesday saw me, as 1 of 2, in NZ6376 giving dual instruction on 1 v 1 ACM to Training Flight IP, Flt Lt Dennis Green (RAAF exchange officer) – a new challenge beyond his Training Flight duties for Dennis.
On Thursday 9 Dec 82, I flew as IP solo in NZ6367 for 1 .1 hours as ‘lead support’ 1 of 2 for the 183 Operational Conversion course (Opcon) – the flight included a Close Formation refresher, an introduction to Tactical Formation, and some aeros before a Tail chase. On Friday 10 Dec 82, I was IP for Plt Off Dave Barham in NZ6368 for 1.3 hours teaching him the principles of Dive Bombing over the featureless sea surrounding D34 Volkner Rock.
Somewhere around Thursday or Friday evenings we held our 14 Sqn Cocktail Party where we had the opportunity to host and thank local dignitaries, such as the Mayor of Rotorua, and many others who supported our tented camp at Rotorua airfield. One guest I remember was Geoff Fisken (Geoffrey Bryson Fisken, DFC. 17 Feb 1916 – 12 Jun 2011). Geoff was a former WW2 fighter pilot, including his service with 14 Sqn, and he was the British Commonwealth’s leading air ace in the Pacific theatre of World War II. He was credited with shooting down 11 Japanese aircraft.
Saturday 11 Dec 82 brought two sorties – the first as 1 of 2 with me the IP teaching Plt Off Paul Muysert of 183 Opcon weapons at Volkner Rock – Level HDB, 45 and 20 deg SDB. My second flight on Saturday was in NZ6369 for 1.4 hours, as 1 of 4, doing a flypast and close formation display for the Open Day held at RNZAF Base Te Rapa, Hamilton, before dropping 4 x Mk106 HDB and 4 x BDU33 SDB at Volkner Rock danger area.
On Sunday 12 Dec 82 I flew NZ6376 with Plt Off Nick Osborne as pax for 1 hour, as 1 of 4, doing low level Tactical formations, a Sim Strike followed by FAC controlled strikes on Rotorua airfield in support of our 14 Sqn public Open Day. Monday 13 Dec 82 saw me as 1 of 4 on a 1.5 hour flight in NZ6373 with Plt Off Trev Marsh as pax, doing a Sim Strike at Ohakea before returning to land at Rotorua. And my final Falcon’s Roost 16 flight, and final my flight for 1982, was on Tuesday 14 Dec 82 – I was 1 of 8, with Plt Off Paul Muysert as pax, and we did 10 Deg HDB and 20 Deg SDB at Volkner Rock before joining up for flypasts over Rotorua, Taupo, Turangi, and Ohakea where we did our final landing. I recorded 19 flights for the month totalling 22.4 hours, of which 3.4 hours were as IP, and I had by now amassed a total of 246 hours on the Blunty.
1982 14 Sqn Weapons Competition – In the 14 Sqn Weapons competition that ran from April until December 1982, I was very pleased to record consistent scores across the five weapons profiles such that I was the overall winner of the competition; and while I did not win every profile, my steady placings in each profile meant my overall combined total of points was a good way ahead of those in second place and beyond. I won HDB with a CEP of 8 metres, was second in SDB bombing with 15m CEP, second in R/P with 13m CEP, third in air-to-ground gunnery with 17.4 %, and third in air-to-air gunnery with 5.5 %.
See Part 4 Jan-Jun 1983 to conclude the story!