roundel jsl spacer hunter1
F540 Operations Record Book June 1956 .
RAF Museum Hendon. Holds 2nd copy of F540 1945 to 1970.
PLACE DATE TIME SUMMARY OF EVENTS                     COMPILING OFFICER   __Fg. Off. C. Boyack.___ Refs
      chasboyack.jpg, 1427 bytes  
R.A.F. JEVER 1.6.56   Today saw the return of our air party from Sylt.   Eight aircraft flew back in
pairs (due to bad weather) leaving two aircraft still at Sylt.   These two aircraft
are awaiting engine changes, but it is hoped that replacement engines will soon be
available.   There was no other Hunter flying today and the spare time of the pilots
was spent in settling back into our old home and catching up on our secondary duties.
                                         Hunter Flights   8     Hunter Hours   4
  4.6.56   There was no Hunter flying today.   All our groundcrew have been very busy servicing
the aircraft after A.P.S. and no worthwhile training could be permitted.   Our road
and rail parties have both arrived from Sylt quite safely without mishap.   Today
a lecture was given by the S.A.T.C.O., Sqn. Ldr. Dower, on the new flame-out
controlled descent procedure and we intend to start practicing this pattern as soon
as possible.
                                         Hunter Flights   Nil     Hunter Hours   Nil
  5.6.56   A good day's training was carried out today, and the majority of pilots seemed
very pleased at flying high level battle formation practices once more.   Whenever
possible we flew in sorties of four, and the majority of exercises were rounded off
by tailchases and tactical descents or controlled descents.   In addition to the
formation practices, five pilots practiced flame-out controlled descents , and in
every case would have succeeded in landing.   The new spiral descent method is
very much simpler, both for the pilot and air traffic controller, than the old system
and already the pilots have every confidence in it.   This morning, after Meteorological
Briefing, all pilots were given a brief chat by Major L.B.O. Tugwell who commands
a Battery of No 72 L.A.A. Regt. R.A.   This Battery is spending the next two days
on the airfield, and the idea is that the gunner's and we pilots should come to
understand a little more of each others problems.   At the conclusion of the short
talk, Major Tugwell, invited all pilots along, at any time during the day, to see
his 40 m.m. Bofors.   The majority of our pilots did visit the Battery's site, and
this afternoon reciprocal visits were paid by many of the R.A. personnel to our
hangar, where they were shown over the Hunters.
                                            Hunter Flights   48     Hunter Hours   33.40

  6.6.56   Our flying [programme this morning was rather restricted by aircraft unserviceabilities
but a total of fifteen sorties was flown.   The main training carried out was high
level battle formation practice, with dogfights.   Two pilots also carried out
aerobatics and practice flame out landing exercises.   Today Flt. Lt. Evans
returned to the Squadron from Fighter Weapons School, to carry out his fortnight's
"First Line Re-enforcement Training".   After having been given a quiz on the Hunter, he
did a refamiliarisation trip this morning and it is hoped that he will be able to
do a considerable amount of flying during his short stay.   The airfield closed
at 12:30 hours for Sports afternoon.
                                           Hunter Flights 5 Hunter Hours 9.55
  7.6.56   Serviceability again restricted our training today but full use was made of the
aircraft available and 24 sorties were completed.   High level battle formation
in fours and in simulated sixes was practiced but some close formation and practice
forced landings were also done.   Flt. Lt. Evans is flying regularly and
is very happy at flying Hunters once more.   One new pilot arrived for the Squadron
today ( Lieutenant R.W. Parkinson of the Royal Navy, who has been flying Sea Hawks
before converting to Hunters).   The Squadron is now only three pilots under
                                       Hunter Flights  24     Hunter Hours 14:50
  8.6.56        Marginal weather conditions and unserviceability to a lesser extent caused several
sorties to be cancelled.   Slightly improved weather did allow high level battle
to be practiced later, and these exercises concluded with tail - chases or
dog fights.   Some close formation flying was also practiced and several pilots also did
aerobatics and practice flame out landings.   Lt. Parkinson R.N. arrived on the Squadron
today and had a local familiarisation trip with the Squadron Commander in a Vampire T 11.
This evening the Flying Wing Sports were held and the Squadron put up an excellent show
winning all but two of the track events.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS   15     HUNTER HOURS   1300
  9.6.56        After Meteorological briefing this morning all pilots received instruction on
Aircraft recognition for 1½ hours from Flt.Lt. Fairfax Station Intelligence Officer.
The accent was on Russian Aircraft, and all the best known and modern types were covered.
          After this instruction, two sections of four aircraft carried out
high level battle formation, incorporating snake - climbs, dog fights and pairs
landings, before the airfield closed at 1200 hours for the weekend.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS   8     HUNTER HOURS   5.00.
  11.6.56        Today 8 of our pilots went to Hohne to see a full scale rehearsal of a fire
power demonstration which will be given to students of the Imperial Defence College
tomorrow.   The demonstration was quite interesting, but much of the enjoyment was taken
from it by rain which came down steadily all the time.   This demonstration naturally
decreased our flying strength, but in any case flying was restricted.   Some high level
battle formation flying was practiced, but the accent of training was on solo exercises.
After a flight in a T 11 with the Squadron Commander, Flying Officer Jeffreys had his
first trip in a Squadron Hunter and so did Lt. Parkinson, and both these pilots flew
again this afternoon.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS   To be added     HUNTER HOURS   To be added
  12.6.56        The cloud base here was very low this morning, and because of this the first pair of
aircraft could not take off until 1140 hours.   From then on conditions slowly improved
but flying continued to be restricted by unserviceability.   The main training carried
out was high level battle formation and cine at 20,000 ft.   Some aerobatics were carried
out also.   A night flying programme was drawn up but the weather again deteriorated,
and it was cancelled at 20.00 hours.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS   14     HUNTER HOURS   10.00
  13.6.56        As the Station Sports Day is on Friday of this week, today was a full working day.
Unfortunately our serviceability state reduced the amount of training possible, but 21
sorties were carried out.   The main training done was close and battle formation
with tail chases but our new pilots are still being given solo exercises to acquaint
themselves with both the aircraft and the local area.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS   15     HUNTER HOURS   10.50
  14.6.56        Only four aircraft were serviceable on the Squadron today, but these four were
utilised fairly fully.   The main training carried out was high level battle formation
flying, both in sectors of four and simulated sixes.   On the majority of these flights
tailchases and tactical descents were done, and two pilots carried out practice inter-
ceptions.   'A' Flight which have been fortunate in having all pilots here this month so
far, today reached the progressive target of hours for the first time this month.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS   196     HUNTER HOURS   136:00
  15.6.56        Flying only took place this morning, due to the fact that the Station Sports were
held this afternoon and again we were restricted in our training by serviceability.
Only eleven flights could be carried out and these were divided as evenly as possible
between cine flights and aerobatic exercises, the airfield closed at 1230 hours for the
Station Sports in which flying wing were unfortunately but handsomely beaten by
Technical Wing.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS   203     HUNTER HOURS   142.40
  18.6.56        Weather was poor to begin with today and we were limited to one pair per Squadron.
An expected improvement failed to take place however and this restriction lasted all day.
To aggravate the situation, serviceability troubles caused only two aircraft to be flyable
and consequently very little training was done.   Advantage was taken of Ahlhorn's
G.C.A. system today though, and a total of 15 practice G.C.A.'s were carried out.   As it
is some time since we practiced G.C.A.'s these exercises were particularly useful.   In
addition to this training, some close and high level battle formation with controlled
descents were also done.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS   217     HUNTER HOURS   152:50
  19.6.56        Serviceability again reduced the amount of training possible today.   Weather also
influenced us, since the airfield colour state became Amber at mid - day, and the final
take - off permitted was 15.55 hours.   Once more the main training carried out was
G.C.A. practice, some cine at 30,000 ft, and high level battle and close formation
exercises were completed.   On the majority of exercises about 10 minutes of instrument
flying was done.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS        HUNTER HOURS   .
  20.6.56        Good weather and improved serviceability should have enabled the Squadron to make up
some lee-way on our task but unfortunately we were obliged to lose some time because of
a practice flypast.   However in addition to the flypast, close and high level battle
flying was practiced, and four aerobatic sorties with either Practice
Flame - Out Landings or controlled descents were also done.   The flypast was done
as a rehearsal for tomorrow, when we are to have a brief visit from the Commander
in Chief of the Italian Air Force.   We were also pleased at rehearsing today however
as we had as guests, officers and men of the 105th Minesweeper Squadron, Royal Navy, who
are on a visit to Wilhelmshaven.   They were very pleased by the fly past, and also by the
display by the aerobatic team of No 93 Squadron and we only hope that the opinion of the
C - in - C will be equally complimentary.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS        HUNTER HOURS   
  21.6.56        Our serviceability state continues to be fair, and with slightly improved
weather a good days training was completed.   The accent today was on high level battle
practice with tailchases, involving also snake climbs and tactical descents.
As we usually had a spare aircraft available with a sector of four 'bouncing' practice
was also obtained ensuring that all pilots were kept fully alert.   The fly past today
for Air Marshal the Earl of Bandon, and General Raffaelli, went off quite well, in spite
of severe turbulence, and both Air Officers were favourably impressed.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS        HUNTER HOURS   
  22.6.56        After Meteorological briefing this morning, the wing was given a brief talk by Wg.
Cdr Jewel (retd) of Martin - Baker Ltd, on the improvements which we expect to see
embodied in our ejection seats.   He spoke of experiments which have been and are being
made, and kept us very interested in addition to pointing out what excellent pieces
of equipment Martin - Baker Ltd furnish us with.   Flying today went quite well, the
main training done being High Level battle formation, both as sectors of four and
simulated six.   On these practices, snake climbs and tactical descents were done, with
either dog fights or tailchases.   Some cine and solo exercises were also completed.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS        HUNTER HOURS   
  23.6.56        This morning there was a Station Commander's Parade, on which there were two
complete practices of the ceremonial for the review of a wing.   Mercifully
however there was no inspection, and Met briefing took place at 09.30 hours.   At Met
briefing, a point on booster pump failures in Hunters was brought up, following a flame
out which occurred yesterday as a pilot turned off the end of the runway.   It was re-
emphasised that the Avon engine needs at least gravity feed from two tanks to continue
to run.   After Met briefing five pilots from this Squadron and four from No   Sqn
went to the O.R.P. with their aircraft to await the scramble signal to take off to
intercept a D.H. Comet II which was conveying the C.A.S. and several other V.I.P's from
London to Moscow.   Unfortunately, the scramble was given too soon for both sections, and
after patrolling East and West at 44,000 ft 80 miles South of Base for approximately
20 minutes, both sections, operating independently, were obliged to return to base with -
out having come anywhere near our target.   There was no other flying, and the airfield
closed at 1230 hours for the weekend.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS        HUNTER HOURS   
  25.6.56        Good weather and fair serviceability enabled a good days flying to be done, and gave
us hope that we might, after all, reach our target of hours.   In addition to a large
number of high level battle exercises in sections of four, with tail chases or dog
fights, several pilots carried out aerobatic sorties and also practiced controlled
descents.   For the last few days, we have been experimenting with a descent speed of
300 knots for our controlled descents, but so far we have not been too happy with it.
The main reasons for this, are that attitude of descent gives a peculiar feeling of the
"leans" to numbers 2 in the formation and that the aircraft are not steady inbound at 2000 ft.
It is hoped to remedy this latter factor by giving the turn to inbound - heading at a
greater altitude.

                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS        HUNTER HOURS   
  26.6.56        Today with fair weather, showed a return to our former concentration of training,
and we managed to achieve a total of 43 sorties.   Several cine sorties were flown, as
well as high level battle formation practices, and the usual aerobatic exercises with
practice flame out descents and landings.   Five of our aircraft were diverted to
Oldenburg this afternoon because of a large thunder storm over Jever, and unfortunately
one of them careered off the runway because of a faulty Maxaret unit.  The aircraft
sustained provisional Cat 3 damage and the pilot (Lt Parkinson, R.N.) was uninjured.

[This incident sparked an interesting series of comments in the RAF Germany Flight Safety
Magazine "Flight Comment" which are reproduced below.]

One of our pilots today attended a lecture on High Speed Flight at München Gladbach
given by the High Speed Research team from Farnborough.   The lecture was very interesting
but too much information on facts and figures was given in the allotted time, and as no
precis of the lecture were available, a great deal of the information was forgotten or
only hazily remembered.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS        HUNTER HOURS

JUNE 56 FLIGHT COMMENT under Hunter accident briefs:
WT777 26 JUNE CAT. 3.   Little information is available as yet on this accident (10 days
later).   Message 'A' states "Landing burst tyre due to faulty Maxaret unit.   Cat.3 prov."
It is not known what was damaged.   COMMENT: Read A.M.O. A.362/55 again.

MAXARET=MINARET : This month has produced a spate of apparent failures of Maxaret units to
prevent skidding, resulting in burst tyres and consequent loss of the power to stop.   We have
been digging into this question at some length (or depth) but have not as yet unearthed a
satisfactory explanation, other than that the present type 4 units will later be replaced by the type
8.   (Any offers?).   However, we hope to have the full story by next month, and will produce a
technical article on how the Maxaret unit functions and why it does not.   Meanwhile, it cannot be too strongly emphasised that Maxaret were designed for emergency, not every-day, use and if
you are going to pull up every time in 800 yds. just to show the boys, then you can expect to have
some tyre trouble.

THE GREAT MAXARET MYSTERY : The failures of Maxaret units to prevent skidding under some
circumstances is becoming increasingly obvious.   We wish we could say the same about the
reasons thereof.   Exhaustive inquiries to Air Ministry, our Tech. Staff., Dunlops etc. have now established conclusively the mode of operation of these units, and we could now produce a
detailed article on how the Maxaret unit prevents skidding.   But still no-one can tell us precisely why it does not.   Thus the promised article on Maxarets has gone the way of the "Canberra
Tale" (scrubbed) and the "Hunter Tale" (mod. 390 abandoned).

THE GREAT MAXARET MYSTERY (REEL 2.) We still don't know why Maxaret units don't always work.   However there does seem to be an answer, and our friends in the publishing trade say that it may appear in Air Clues (the RAF Flight Safety magazine) around December time.   So hold tight chaps, the gen is at hand!

[This was not in the original F540 but has been added by the web master from the bound copies
of Flight Comment kindly on loan from Tim McElhaw.   The web master does not have a copy of
the December issue of Air Clues and no further mention of Maxaret articles can be found in Flight
Comment.   Does anyone have a copy of the Air Clues Maxaret article?   I have a suspicion that
these were the RAF's first experiences of aqua-planing where the water builds up in front of the
tyre and stops it rotating - braking or not.   This behaviour was fully documented for the first time by
the Canadians in about 1964, and was found to be the cause of the Red Pelican's leader going off
the end of the Little Rissington runway when landing in heavy rain.  Any experts throw light on
  27.6.56        Flying today was once more restricted by unserviceability and only 12 sorties could
be flown all morning.   These sorties were devoted initially to high level battle
practices and dog fights, but the last sorties of the morning were given over to
aerobatics and practice flame out descents and landings.   The airfield closed at 1230 hours for
Sports afternoon.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS        HUNTER HOURS   
  28.6.56        Flying today received a severe initial set - back when it was realised that minor
discrepancies had been occurring in servicing schedules, and consequently inspections
and it became necessary to check on this factor.   In addition several of our 'Maxaret'
units were found to be faulty and consequently not very much flying could be carried
out.   In addition to the above factors, flying was stopped between 1200 and 1300 hours.
Much of the training carried out today was cloud flying and close formation, as the
cloud was almost solid from about 1200 feet to about 25000 ft, so such training as was
done was extremely beneficial.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS   15     HUNTER HOURS   11 : 05.
  29.6.56        Improved serviceability allowed a much improved concentration of training today.   All
day high level battle formation was practiced and these exercises normally included
at least one dog fight, immediately prior to a tactical descent.   On most of these
sorties, it was possible to have a fifth aircraft as a spare, or if the spare was not
required the fifth aircraft carried out 'bouncing' practice on the section of four.
This practice really keeps the formation pilot's in complete alertness at all times,
and has been proved to be very good training.   The weather was good all day and the
only regret was that more aircraft were not available to fly.
                                         HUNTER FLIGHTS   26     HUNTER HOURS   21 :20.
      HB Iles                                 
(H.B. ILES).                           
Flight Lieutenant,                 
Officer Commanding,          
Number 4 Squadron