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Electrical Section personnel claimed that they had seen a flash come from one of the radiators in their workshop. As someone said afterwards, "The 'Sparks' would say something like that, wouldn't they?"
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesMy fifth firing sortie, the second of the day on Wednesday the 29th, was also aborted owing to the flag proving unserviceable in flight. It lasted just 30 minutes, long enough to burn off sufficient fuel to allow an early landing which didn't turn out to be what I expected. Coming in to land, though heavy rain, I touched down spot on the threshold at the correct speed and throttled back as usual, preparatory to using aerodynamic braking in the normal way. Several hundred yards down the runway I realised that I still had power on and wasn't slowing down even though my throttle was hard back. The briefest of glances showed 60% power on the dial. With insufficient power for flight and a u/s throttle control, I had no alternative but to commit to the landing, so cut the fuel cocks to the engine. Still at some ridiculous speed I called the Tower, briefly saying that my throttle was stuck and I would be going into the overshoot. By this time I had only half a runway left, so gave up any attempt at aerodynamic braking, dropped the nosewheel, and commenced heavy use of the wheel brakes which were less than effective on the wet surface. If it hadn't been for the nosewheel steering I don't know where I would have gone as each main wheel randomly gripped or slid in the wet. Now out of runway, I only began seriously to slow down in the deep mud of the overshoot area and stopped dead just short of the first tall row of landing lights. Not liking my predicament, somewhat hastily, and without fitting the safety pins in my ejector seat, I opened the canopy and leapt to the ground, sinking up to my calves in thick glutinous mud. I was stuck where I had landed. Fortunately, though, the rain had stopped. Looking back towards the runway a stream of vehicles was heading towards me. The Fire Crew Landrover was first and on leaving the runway, continued a few yards and then bogged down, stuck in the mud. A Fire Engine did exactly the same. I saw the funny side of this and started laughing, especially when the crews got out of their vehicles and were stuck like me. The Sylt Wing Commander Flying came steaming up in his Volkswagen and also stuck. An ambulance followed, but wisely the driver parked on the hard surface. There was much shouting, and my laughing at this entirely bizarre episode did nothing to please anyone, especially the WingCo, who thought it was all my fault. He did not have the same humorous point of view as did I, cursing me whilst he too was stuck in the mud, and at the same time yelling at the others to help get him out.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesOrder eventually prevailed. Ladders from the fire trucks were unshipped and laid on the mud. The WingCo was rescued, although his car wasn't. He disappeared in one of several other vehicles which by now had turned up. One by one the rest of us were released. I was the last. Realising that the safety pins were not in the seat, I had to climb up and replace them. Then I sodged my way back to drier land, briefing the Crash Crew SNCO not to approach without crawling boards. I was taken back to the hangar and cleaned myself up as best I could. My Sabre boots had saved me from wet feet and had just been tall enough to stop the mud from getting into them. The aircraft was rescued, I was told, by laying boards on the mud and, using pressganged Erks from anywhere, was lifted bodily by them and slowly dragged back on to the firm runway from where it was towed back to the hard-standing. It was filthy, as can be imagined. At this point I was considered to blame for going into the overshoot. It was, in everyone's view except mine, a classic case of pilot error. The first personal order I was given by my new Boss was "Pod, you did it, you dirtied it. Go and get a bucket and go and bloody clean it up - yourself!" "Sir", I said, as one does in these circumstances. "Thank you, Mr bloody Browne" (or words to that effect), I muttered under my breath, and then went and busied myself with the
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