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F540 Operations Record Book May 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 1.5.56        Today was the occasion of an informal visit to R.A.F. Jever by the C-in-C. Air
Marshal The Earl of Bandon.   As the Air Marshal was taxying in , in his aircraft, 28 of
the wing pilots were strapping into their cockpits in preparation for a condensed air
     The show took the form of a fly past of 24 aircraft, a demonstration of solo
aerobatics by Flt.Lt. Goodwin of No 118 Squadron, and a show by No 93 Squadron formation
aerobatics team, which broke away from the main wing formation on the first fly over,
Six of our pilots took part in the formation, and one was obliged to abort his take off
due to fuel regulator trouble.   The C-in-C was favourably impressed with the
demonstration, and this afternoon he took the opportunity to tour the Station and speak
to numbers of personnel.
     After the fly past there was very little flying from the Squadron as we a\re
engaged with our pre - Sylt preparation, but pilots are being given familiarisation
trips in our two new aircraft which have fully powered elevators, to acquaint them-
selves to the different "feel" in quarter attacks.
                                         Hunter Flights   7     Hunter Hours   1.40
  2.5.56        Our spell of good weather continues, but the only flying done today was on our two
new aircraft.   These aircraft handle very much better at speeds of .9 M+ but it is,
of course, very much simpler to exceed accidentally, the loading limitations of the
aircraft.   These "familiarisation" trips, take the form of climbs to height, practice
cine quarters and dog fights, and then the two pilots concerned, split up for
individual returns to base.

                        Hunter Flights   3                            Hunter Hours     2.05
  3.5.56        Our aircraft with fully powered elevators are still being flown and in addition to
this our pilots have been making full use of their chances to fly the Vampire T.11 and
the Prentice.   The Squadron Commander checked out one of our pilots on the prentice
this morning, and an enjoyable time was had trying to "three point" it.
     For the first week of our attachment to Sylt, our hangar will be used by a
detachment of American pilots from ETAIN near Metz in France, and a surprise parcel
containing two bottles of whisky is being prepared for them, with suitable "Anti -
American" type slogans displayed.
                                         Hunter Flights   8     Hunter Hours   6.00
  4.5.56        There was no Hunter flying from the Squadron all today.   Pilots continue to fly
the T 11 and Prentice as often as possible, but our main task is completing the
arrangements for our detachment to A.P.S. and leaving things orderly for our guests
from the U.S.A.      This morning our advanced party set off for Sylt by road.   Due to convoy
regulations the journey will necessitate an overnight stay at Luneburg.   Our disciplinary
N.C.O. has gone to Sylt with one of our officers by private car, to take over our
technical and domestic accommodation, and they will arrive there this evening.
                                         Hunter Flights   Nil     Hunter Hours   Nil
  5.5.56        Today the entire effort of the Squadron was devoted to loading up out train for
Sylt.   With so much heavy equipment to load, all personnel were hard at work all
morning and into the early afternoon.
     Late this evening, four of our officers were passengers in a Volkswagon
Cabrrialet, which burst a tyre and ran into a ditch.   All four officers were
injured slightly and they will be unfit to come to Sylt with the remainder of the
Squadron on Monday.
                                         Hunter Flights   Nil     Hunter Hours   Nil
RAF Jever
RAF Sylt
7.5.56        Today the Squadron Air Party flew to Sylt.   Eleven of our aircraft were flown up
four of them by pilots of other squadrons, replacing our injured personnel.   The flight
up was made without incident and by 10.00 hours we had begun to settle in to our
temporary quarters.
     This afternoon, we had a welcoming address from the Station
Commander, Group Captain Bradshaw, followed by briefings from the Wing Commander
Flying, Wing Commander Gericke the senior P.A.I. Sqn.Ldr. Dunn and the S.A.T.C.O.   We
were given the impression that the flying programme has been considerably intensified
but we have yet to see how we shall be directly affected.
                                         Hunter Flights   11     Hunter Hours   6.10
  8.5.56        Today started bright and early with a detailed briefing on Air to Air Flag
firing at 10,000 ft, by Flt.Lt Mills, and Fg.Off. Mulligan.   These two officers, are
staff P.A.I.s who have been assigned o us during our stay here.   For the first 10 days
or so, of our attachment, we shall be firing at 10,000 ft, but after that we shall go up
to 20,000 ft.
    Our flying today was devoted to cine practices only, but unfortunately
the programme was severely hampered by weather.   It is hoped that the present poor
weather will leave very soon, as we must take every opportunity to fire because of
our short stay there.
                                         Hunter Flights   13     Hunter Hours   7.40
  9.5.56        A poor start was made to our air firing programme today.   The majority of flights
were again on cine practices, but of the aircraft which fired, four sorties were
aborted for various reasons and the remaining five, only gave us an average of 4.1%.
There were also two stoppages.   Five pilots were given demonstration flights by our
Staff P.A.I.s, and it is hoped that these demo's will iron out any remaining difficulties
which individual pilots may have.
                                         Hunter Flights   37     Hunter Hours   22.55
  10.5.56        Once more, today was a disappointing as regards our air firing programme, and
our sorties were greatly reduced by poor weather initially and by shipping and stoppages
later in the day.   Only 19 effective firing flights were completed today, although four
cine flights and two demonstration trips were also done.   Our highest score of the day
was 14% by Fg.Off Daniels and Fg.Off Cross.
     There were 11 stoppages today, mainly due to electrical faults
but our stoppage rate is very low now, being only 240.   Steps are being taken to ensure
that these faults are ironed out in the very near future.
                                         Hunter Flights   35     Hunter Hours   21.30
  11.5.56        Good weather, and our practices over the last two days, began to show results
today and our shoots began to approach the required standard.   The Squadron average was
13.2%.   Only four sorties were aborted, the reason in each case being unserviceable
                                         Hunter Flights   39     Hunter Hours   24.00
  12.5.56        With excellent weather, the standard of shooting continued to improve today, and
the only factor worrying our firing programme was aircraft unserviceability.
     Because of various snags, and servicing problems, we were reduced to five, and
sometimes four aircraft during the day, and for this reason alone we lost four flights.
    The best score of the day was 36% by Fg.Off Blake, and the progressive average
is now 11.1%.
                                         Hunter Flights   31     Hunter Hours   11.50
  14.5.56        The new week started badly with very poor weather, incorporating drizzle, low
cloud and poor visibility.   Two aircraft did get off at 07.15 hours but the range was
unusable, and the programme proper did not get under way until 14.10 hours.   Later in
the day four sorties were lost because of flags being unserviceable due to bullets
striking the spreader bar.
     The best score of the day was 38% by Fg.Off Smith, and the
Squadron stoppage rate has improved to 466.
                                         Hunter Flights   16     Hunter Hours   9.15
  15.5.56        A fair amount of flying was done today but unfortunately a large number of our
pilots appear to be slightly over deflecting and no fewer than 13 sorties were abortive
because the flags were shot away or the spreader bars were broken.   Within two days
we shall be firing on flags fitted with two spreader bars to attempt to reduce this
abortive rate.
     Two flags were towed at 25,000 ft today as an experiment and our
Squadron P.A.I.s fired on them obtaining a score of 10%   The Squadron average
continues to improve and the best score of the day was 36% by Flt. Lt Iles.
                                         Hunter Flights   46     Hunter Hours   27.10
  16.5.56        Typical Sylt weather caused the cancellation of 10 flights this morning, but
after 10.30 hours the programme proceeded as normal.   Four more sorties were aborted
because of flag unserviceability, but a fair days shooting was nevertheless carried out.
     Two more flags were towed at 25,000 ft today.   The object of these flags
was to obtain information on the feasibility of getting average squadron pilots to fire
at 25,000 ft.   Whilst a reasonable pattern of attack was agreed upon at the end of the
experiments, it was felt that firing at 25,000 ft is rather critical for average pilots
on their first attachment to A.P.S.   Sqn Ldr Dunn, the Senior P.A.I. has given to
understand that Squadrons on their second attachment will commence firing a 15,000 ft
and afterwards at 25,000 ft for the second fortnight of the attachment.
                                         Hunter Flights   30     Hunter Hours   19.00
  17.5.56        The current spell of good weather continued today and 23 effective shoots were
carried out by Squadron pilots   The Squadron is still dogged by spreader bar trouble
and several sorties were aborted because of this.   One flag was towed today, which had
a second spreader in the shroud lines, but unfortunately this forward one was completely
smashed, and the flag then flew on its side, making further shooting impossible.
    Blown fuzes and electrical troubles caused five stoppages today, and
our progressive stoppage rate is only 502.   The best score today was 43% by Flt.Lt
and this is the best score of our attachment so far
     The station closed down at 17.00 hours for Whitsun Grant.
                                         Hunter Flights   41     Hunter Hours   23.30
  22.5.56        After our Whitsun break, all pilots were very keen to get firing again even
though we began firing at 20,000 ft today.   Unfortunately the G.C.I. unit was
inoperative initially today because of delays in finding the target it was
devoted to carry out cine practice only   While this was rather annoying, there can
be little doubt that this practice should do us all a considerable amount of good.
All in all, today was very disappointing as we also had troubles from flag, aircraft
and range unserviceabilities.
     Two of our pilots who have been unfit to fly are now back
with the Squadron, but as they have only done cine practices at 10,000 ft, and as we
have two more pilots who have been away temporarily on duty, we are having three low
level flags per day for the next few days to enable them to get back in the swing of
                                         Hunter Flights   36     Hunter Hours   28.50
  23.5.56        Slightly improved weather permitted us to fly all day as scheduled by, but
nine sorties were aborted mainly because flags being damaged and aircraft going
unserviceable.   There were 10 stoppages today and again, blown fuzes and broken cradle
contacts figured prominently on the F 2944.   Although the Squadron averages of 13.3%
(Low Level) and 6 % (high Level) and fairly reasonable the stoppage rate leaves much to
be desired.
                                         Hunter Flights   44     Hunter Hours   27.05
  24.5.56        A rather unusual weather situation today caused us to lose a very large number
of sorties.   The G.C.I. unit was partially unserviceable, but this might have
been overcome but for a peculiar high level haze which decreased the visibility
at 20,000 ft, and made it impossible for the towing pilot (Who is range safety officer1px-trans.gif, 43 bytes
to see the ships in the sea underneath.   As there was a considerable number of fishing
boats on the range, it was impossible to fire at 20,000 ft and consequently the
only firing we did was done at 10,000 ft while pilots at 20,000 ft carried out cine
practices.   This afternoon the weather deteriorated considerably and all flying was
cancelled from 16.00 hours.
     This afternoon Sqn.Ldr Heale from F.W.S. Leconfield gave a talk on
Weapons development to all visiting pilots.   The talk was very interesting and some of
the aircraft and missile speeds spoken of were quite staggering.
                                         Hunter Flights   29     Hunter Hours   17.50
  25.5.56        Today was yet another day of frustration for the Squadron.   Only 5 effective
shoots could be carried out before shipping on the ranges enforced cine attacks only.
From then until 11.00 hours cine sorties were flown, but after this time, deteriorating
weather caused all flying to cease, and 23 sorties were cancelled.
Today's flights improved the Squadron high level average by only .1%
                                         Hunter Flights   20     Hunter Hours   12.20
  26.5.56   Weather, and the unserviceability of the G.C.I. Unit caused a large number of
abortive sorties today.   The Squadron still is firing at 20,000 feet, but today we
were out on Western Range.   As this range is approximately 40 nautical miles from
base, some flights were cut short because of insufficient fuel caused by the failure
by the G.C.I. Unit to join up the target and the attackers without delay.
Fortunately only one flight was aborted for this reason.   The flag for the last
effective pair was unserviceable, but again fortunately, sufficient hits had already
been scored for these sorties to be counted as effective shoots.
The Squadron high level average has now improved to 7.2 % and the highest score of
the day was 27% by Fg. Off, Smith.
                                         Hunter Flights   25     Hunter Hours   15.15
  28.5.56   There was no flying today.   Poor weather was the cause initially, but even when the
low cloud lifted at approximately mid-day, there were too many ships on the ranges to
permit firing to take place.
Films, including several episodes of "War in the Air", were shown to the pilots.
                                         Hunter Flights   Nil     Hunter Hours   Nil
  29.5.56   The Squadron today carried out its double re-arming exercise.   It was intended
to have each of the four sections of four aircraft firing at a glider target at
10,000 feet, but unfortunately three of the gliders pranged on take-off and the
appropriate sections had to shoot at flags.   The one section which did shoot at
a glider had two short bursts as there was a considerable amount of shipping
on the range.
As there was low cloud on the airfield initially, the commencement of the double
re-arming exercise was later than planned, and after the exercise, our normal
flying programme did not get under way until 14.10 hours.   From then on however,
only one sortie was aborted and that was because of aircraft unserviceability.
Because of G.C.I. unserviceability all firing today was done at 10,000 feet but,
unfortunately, the scores dropped considerably and the Squadron average has dropped
by .4%.
                                         Hunter Flights   30     Hunter Hours   20.05
  30.5.56   A good day's flying was done today on our last firing day of the attachment.
Unfortunately, the majority of pilots seem to have lost the knack of range
estimation at low level and our scores have been very poor indeed.   The Squadron
today averaged only 10% at 10,000 feet and 5.5% at 20,000 feet; consequently our
progressive averages have been lowered considerably.
                                         Hunter Flights   38     Hunter Hours   22.45
  31.5.56   There was no flying today.   It was Her Majesty the Queen's official birthday, and
a parade in Her honour was held this morning.   The Squadron Standard was
paraded, borne by Flying Officer Boyack and escorted by F.S. Layman, Sgt. Amos
and Sgt. Perkins.
After the parade there was a Station Stand-down and the majority of officers took
the opportunity of relaxing in the sun.
                                         Hunter Flights   Nil     Hunter Hours   Nil
(J. R. CHAPMAN)                 
Squadron Leader,               
Officer Commanding          
Number 4 Squadron