Vickers Valiant Tribute -1st Of The V-Bombers

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A long-overdue thread (unless I'm wrong) after seeing Scott Bouchard's mail recently on the Cockpit Fest link.....

How many Valiant cockpits are in existence?
Am I right to believe the only whole aircraft is at Cosford now (ex-Hendon)?

Cheers, Scott.

Hi Scott,

VALIANT 60th ANNIVERSARY
As it was the Valiant's 60th on 18th may I thought I'd better do this after posting up the survivor's illustrated list recently. My own one is XD857 and she is a sectioned flight deck as mentioned previously, and as seen on the list. Here is her history that I've compiled but will be good to hear from any others who might be able to add to it.

Vickers Valiant B(K)1 XD857 : Service History
First flight 5/1/57, d/d 1/2/57, Wittering 49 Sqn, Wisley Mods 26/7/57, for survey after Op ‘Grapple’ - restandardisation, 49 Sqn Wittering 29/11/57, ‘Grapple’ 25/4 to 2/5/58+, 49 Sqn, Hurn mods 8/6/59, 49 Sqn Wittering 26/8/59, Filton mods 24/4/61, 49 Sqn 1/6/61, Marham 49 Sqn 14/7/61, Filton Mods 4/5/62, 49 Sqn 18/7/62, Filton respray 6/2/64, 49 Sqn Marham 20/2/64, AOG spares 26/6/64 (2,518 hrs), seen camouflaged 6/64. Disposal account Cat 5(c) 19/2/65, SoC 5/3/65. Nose section to Shoeburyness Essex. Manston History Museum Kent 6/02, N&SAM Flixton 18/10/04.

‘Operation Grapple, 1957’
XD857 was one of eight aircraft specially modified for the 1957 ‘Operation Grapple’ thermonuclear (hydrogen bomb) tests in in the South Pacific. Serving with 49 Sqn all its operational life, ‘857’s early white paintwork has been noted under the grey / green camouflage later applied when the aircraft’s role changed to low-level and it is one of only four nose sections known to exist.

Some Valiant Facts & Feats

Excluding apparatus a Valiant cost around £333,333 to build plus £55,000 to train a pilot up to V-Bomber standard • Valiant WZ366 dropped Britain’s first atomic bomb on 11th October 1956 at Maralinga, Australia during “Operation Buffalo” • Valiant XD818 dropped Britain’s first ‘H’ bomb on 15th May 1957 at Christmas Island during “Operation Grapple” • The Valiant was adaptable, reliable and very easy to service •It was ‘all-electric’ with the engines feeding four 112-volt generators.

PICTURES
1. XD857 in her heyday, with signatures of her crew. The pic comes via John Matthews, the son of former AEO B. Matthews, who flew ‘857 many times while under the captaincy of ‘Tiff’ O’Connor.

2. The complete Cosford Valiant, formerly at RAF Hendon for many years.

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At the moment there's a small album of Valiant photographs at Farnborough in this Gallery on the Newark Air Museum website!

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Too bad they only kept one...it would have been nice to have kept a complete set of V-Bombers at Duxford...

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Plugmeister strikes again ;)

£333,333? So a B2 Vulcan was over three times more expensive to build :O

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So are there no photos of Valiants at Wittering with 40-gall drums on wheels placed under the major 'drip points' to catch the fuel which dripped out and would, otherwise, have eaten the hardstandings away?
And are there no photos of Valiants using RATO? And are there no records of the discarded RATO hot ironmongery falling on to farmer's fields twixt Cuckoo Lodge and Tixover Grange off the end of the westerly runway? The bog-standard Valiant (with max fuel and a bucket of Instant Sunshine on board) couldn't get off from Wittering if the engine icing conditions were about (roughly Oct-Mar - Russians please do not attack us during this period!). Can't remember what the precise conditions were, but I think t/o conditions with ambient temp less than 4C and the RH greater than 95% - occurred fairly often at Wittering.
And I couldn't even tell my parents why I was getting petrol rations for my motorbike at the time!!!
HTH
Resmoroh

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Some great shots of the unique and rarely pictured Vickers 673 Valiant B.2 in T/Os link.
That is the type they really should have tried to put into production with its wing designed to stand up to the stresses of low-level operations, a great bit of forward thinking by Vickers some five years ahead of the RAF/AM adopting the tactic.
WJ954 also looked mean with its longer fuselage, Whitcombe wing fairings which housed the multi wheel bogie undercarriage and contributed to aerodynamic area-ruling properties, and the all over gloss black paint finish.
Shame it went the way of so many other British prototypes.

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The first V-bomber I had close contact with on a CCF camp at Wittering in 1956/7?, I think it was. And my first Chippie AEF was there as well!

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The only photos I have of the remains at Flixton ..... is that (half of) a pressure bulkhead ??

Keith. :)

http://i261.photobucket.com/albums/ii58/keithnewsome/flixton/DSC_0167.jpg

http://i261.photobucket.com/albums/ii58/keithnewsome/flixton/DSC_0163.jpg

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VALIANT PRESSURE BULKHEAD/'857 & VICTOR MEMORIES

[QUOTE=keithnewsome;1764836]The only photos I have of the remains at Flixton ..... is that (half of) a pressure bulkhead ??

Keith. :)

'857 DISPLAY STAND
That is indeed what remains of her bulkhead Keith, but the pics are a bit out of date now as '857 was raised onto her new stand last may, though her bulkhead was also rubbed down and painted around two years ago in silver, as per the attached pic.

The display stand has allowed some evening up of her sides with some judicious use of the angle grinder, though she still has to have a cover over her prior to major repairs to the various holes, rents and missing/ broken windows she suffered over so many years. Her original white scheme is visible below her later grey/green camo finish.

A SMALL WORLD - 27th April: George Grimshaw
I met another V person at Flixton on the Tuesday after the V Reunion last year – so I asked him to sign my Victor XL190 nose door too!

Amazingly his wife also remembered Valiant ‘857 being built at Brooklands as a little girl, as her uncle was a foreman there. She recalled the many complex pristine wiring looms that were being fitted on the day of her visit over half a century ago - a small world indeed!

Her husband is George Grimshaw and he later mailed me: “Thank you Garry for your e-mail and the Victor Association newsletter. It looks most interesting. I haven't had time to read all of it yet but looking at the photographs brought back many memories. I only flew in the Victor with 232 OCU at Gaydon from 1958 to 1961 and with 10 squadron from 1961 until the squadron was disbanded in 1964.

The Victor was a great aircraft to fly in. Thanks for the photo of No. 2 victor course taken at RAF Gaydon. I was stationed at the OCU there at that time and do recognise some of the people on the photo. After completing No.31 Valiant Course in June 1958 I remained at the OCU until completing No. 35 Victor Course in July 1961 and was posted to 10 Squadron at Cottesmore.

The first victor that I flew in was XA933 in June 1958’. Best wishes George”.

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VALIANT PHOTOS/XD857 THE 1st CAMO V DISPLAY

At the moment there's a small album of Valiant photographs at Farnborough in this Gallery on the Newark Air Museum website!

Thanks for the pics update Howard, I also had a great response from Anthony Wright Sqn Ldr RAF Ret'd, after the V Reunion last year. Some of his recollections are as below, with a surprise discovery following his reading of our "V-Bomber Snippets" on the V.A. website, as originally published in the newsletter in March 2011.

“Gary, Just looking at your excellent website again I noticed the entry of yours below;"

VALIANT THE FIRST ’V’ TO PUBLICLY DISPLAY IN CAMOUFLAGE
AIR DISPLAYS ARE HERE AGAIN 1964

Making the first appearance of a camouflaged V-bomber at a public display, a green and grey Valiant B(K)1 of 148 Sqn, RAF Marham, showed itself in the low level capacity at the annual RAFA Whit Monday air display at North Weald. Coming in very low and fast from the north, the Valiant proved how successful the new paint scheme is, for many eyes tried in vain to follow the commentators injunction to spot “the Valiant approaching from your right” –
Flight International, 28th May 1964

WHIT MONDAY 1964
"This rang a bell and prompted me to get out one of my log books and lo and behold the following entry :

18th May 1964 T/O 1425 A/C Valiant XD857 Pilot Flt Lt Phillips Navigator Fg Off A J Wright Flight Details - Flying Display, Church Fenton, Hucknall, North Weald Day 2hrs 30 mins.

Looking up past calendar dates 18th May was a Whit Monday. It was a single navigator sortie (hence my not putting in Navigator Radar) as my normal crew Captain Flt Lt Norman Bevis (now deceased) and Nav Plotter and Flt Cdr - Sqn Ldr Ken Lewis (now deceased) didn't want to do a weekend trip and so I, as a Nav Radar, flew the sortie with another Captain and a Nav Plotter missing. I've attached my log book pages for proof!

CAMO INVENTOR ‘SWIRLS’
Another snippet on the subject of camouflage - I recall all of us squadron aircrew standing outside our 148 Sqn hangar, RAF Marham, on the day of the landing of the first Valiant to return to us from being repainted in the new camouflage livery. We had been pre-warned by ATC of its approach and so aircrew from the other Marham sqns 49, 207 and 214 (tankers) were also, I assume, out to see it arrive.

We were all obviously conned by some wag who said that he'd heard that the inventor/painter of the camouflage had ensured that his initials were in the 'swirls' of the camouflage. Despite straining our eyes , moving our heads and trying, with great imagination, to decipher these so called initials it was to no avail. It took some time for it to sink in that we'd been had!

Lastly, once the a/c had arrived, one camouflaged Valiant among the rest of the white Valiants , everyone wanted to fly it! So for the next few weeks everyone wanted to fly in a camouflaged Valiant. Although a bit of a disappointment really because although the outside was nice and shiny the inside was just the same. It hadn't been touched. Of course as time went on gradually they all became repainted. You can imagine the next outcome - when we got down to only one white Valiant on the Squadron everyone clamoured to fly that one! So typical aircrew - always boys at heart!

I didn't know 47 years ago, and also when I submitted my information to you, that I was flying the first V to publicly display in camouflage. Your website, when I read the input from 'V Snippets' from Flight International, only brought it home to me the other day. It may be that the others in that a/c are still unaware of the fact. Thanks again for all your sterling work. Anthony Wright

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WB215: VALIANT B.MK.1 2ND PROTOTYPE

[B]Design Certificate and Relevant Documents
Some interesting facts & figures on this important 1st V-Bomber 2nd Prototype

Taken from the Victor Association Newsletter June 2004

A copy of the above document gives some excellent reference for dates and figures on this milestone RAF aircraft (the first RAF 4-jet bomber) which set many trail-blazing firsts both in technical terms as well as its actual achievements. The first amendment is listed as 16th October 1954 and the overall document is broken down into 3 sections:

1- Design Clearance M.O.S. Form R.D.A. 13-
2- Limitations & Special Notes-
3- Weights & C.G. Data-

SECTION 1 [COLOR="DarkRed"] DESIGN CLEARANCE M.O.S. FORM R.D.A. 13[/COLOR]
The design certificate from the M.O.S. (Ministry of Supply) gives the following:
‘VICKERS-ARMSTRONGS ‘VALIANT’ TYPE 709. 2ND PROTOTYPE’. Spec No: B9/48 Appendix “A” No. 1815
Contract: 6/Aircraft/10113/CB6(c).

OBJECT OF CONTRACT:
‘Development Work Engine Type: R.R. Avon R.A.14.’ The aircraft is then certified for carrying out flight tests in allotment to A.A.E.- ‘Authority is hereby given for these flight tests to proceed with Messrs. (Jock) Bryce and (Brian) Trubshaw as pilot from Wisley to Boscombe Down airfield’.

The Type Record No. VTR.660 is followed by Loading & Flight Restrictions re maximum & all up weights for :
(a) Normal Take-Off 120,000lbs (all forms of flying)
(b) Overload Take-Off 122,500lbs (gentle manoeuvres)
(c) Normal landing 95,000lbs
(d) Overload landing 120,000lbs

Datum information, landing gear pressures, flight envelope info, pressurisation and fuel specifications follow on the interior of the design certificate, including a maximum altitude attained of 47,000 ft, dated 1st June 1954. Design Clearance documents in Oct/Sept of that year give ’clearance for low speed power off stalls to be carried out on the above aircraft at altitudes not exceeding 15,000ft, the latter clearance increasing the altitude limitations to 40,000ft, while applying the following restrictions:’

BUFFET & STALL TESTS
‘Whilst high mach numbers and stalls are being investigated on production aircraft, clearance is given for the above aircraft to fly with the following speed limitations up to an acceleration of one excess ‘g’. Flights should not be allowed to continue under conditions which give rise to buffet, and no stalls are to be undertaken.’

Clearance for modifications to the nose wheel anti-shimmy friction damper were approved on 22 Sept 1954, while buffet considerations were still being investigated. An amendment dated 19 Aug 1954 stated that ‘Flights should not be allowed to continue under conditions which give rise to buffet except that associated with stalls under 1g conditions. If due to unforseen circumstances buffet is experienced, the speed should be reduced immediately by closing the throttles in preference to pulling the nose up, as this would increase the acceleration and the buffet may become prohibitive.’

AVON CALLING
An appendix to the design certificate dated 1 Jun 1954 gave guidance for engine re-lighting under flight test purposes only. This specified that
‘re-lighting should only be attempted on these engines at altitudes up to 35,000ft. and at speeds not in excess of 200 knots A.S.I. No second attempt to re-light any engine shall be made except in an emergency. When a second attempt is made a 15-minute drainage period with the flaps lowered to 25° must be observed to ensure that any excess fuel resulting from an abortive attempt is drained away’.

MAIN CHASSIS ACTUATORS
Other tests saw the nose chassis actuators cleared for 150 cycles on 1 June 1954, along with Flap Gearbox (450 ‘down’ selections) and chassis door actuators (150 cycles). Generator brush wear indicators also had to be checked by the flight crew at least every 20 minutes.

JET PIPES
Convergent/divergent jet pipe nozzles were fitted to jet pipes on the inboard engines with inspection of pipes and nozzles specified after every 5 hours running. Jet pipe shrouds on the outboard engines were extended by 2 ins to improve engine bay cooling.

PROTOTYPE FLAP RESTRICTIONS
WB215 had a specific procedure for flap retraction that was confined to prototype aircraft.; when the flaps were selected “Up” on the main system the flaps trailed approx. 2” and in order to get the flaps fully “Up” it was necessary to engage the emergency “Up” system for the final flap retraction.

FLAP REVERSAL
in order to avoid damage to the flap operating system, ie: motor and gear-box, it was essential that the following cockpit drill be carried out when operating the flaps:

‘When selecting flaps “UP” or “DOWN” the flap operating lever is held in either the “UP” or “DOWN” position and the flap movement is observed on the flap guage. If during the course of either raising or lowering the flaps the pilot requires to reverse the direction of the flap movement, the flap lever must be returned to the centre position until the flaps come to rest - approx. 2 seconds. After this period the required flap setting can be selected.’
It was stated that this restriction would be removed on production aircraft by the introduction of approved modifications.

PROTOTYPE POWER CONTROL UNITS
A good example of the minutia of instructions that the crew had to absorb and remember can be found in this instruction alone re the prototype power control units (PFCU’s): ‘1. Starting not to be attempted at ambient temperatures below 0°c. 2. The unit is cleared for operation in ambient temperatures between + 70°C and -40°C. Note: These ambient temperatures apply to temperatures inside the fuselage adjacent to the unit.’

SECTION 2 LIMITATIONS & SPECIAL NOTES
V.A. Ltd Weybridge, Surrey - 1st June 1954
VALIANT B.MK.1. PROTOTYPE WB.215

‘The above aircraft, which is the second prototype Valiant, contains a number of features which it is considered require
special attention during the course of ground handling and flying. It is also considered necessary that the A.A.E.E. assessment
should be made with the full knowledge of our Test Pilots’ experience and in the light of the differences which occur between the prototype and production aircraf
t’.

Initial Flight Reports 196-226 allowed V.A. to supply the following statement on items considered to warrant special attention.

1. Engine Starting: is normally carried out using a 45 k.w.generator ground truck. All aircraft are protected from short circuit current failures by a 300 amp. fuse which is fitted in the
starter circuit and is situated in the electrical servicing bay above
the nosewheel. No internal starting is catered for on this aircraft.

2. Aileron hand Loads: A trial installation using spring feel and adjustable stops is under investigation and may be introduced on production aircraft when proven. This modification will be offered to A.A.E.E. for assessment prior to the fitment in the production line.’

Pic 1: WB215 in flight

Pic 2: A shot from the rear of the certificate - the pilots’ main panels and controls
on the Valiant flight deck, taken inside the Vickers works at Weybridge

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There's a Valiant cockpit at the Inverness museum. I tried to sit in the pilot's seat, but alas it hadn't been designed for persons of my (ahem) size, so I had to be content to look in from the ladder...
For cockpit lovers, there are lots to climb into at Inverness. Strangely I fitted nicely into a Lightning.

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VALIANT COCKPIT XD875, INVERNESS

There's a Valiant cockpit at the Inverness museum. I tried to sit in the pilot's seat, but alas it hadn't been designed for persons of my (ahem) size, so I had to be content to look in from the ladder...
For cockpit lovers, there are lots to climb into at Inverness. Strangely I fitted nicely into a Lightning.

Yes, the Inverness one is the cockpit of XD875 as previously at Newark Air Museum, I've attached a design listing of the Valiant cockpit survivors which also includes the only complete airframe, XD818 which is now on display at RAF Cosford in the Cold War Museum.

XD875 has the distinction of being the last Valiant ever built with a first flight of 27.8.57. She was truck off charge on 9.11.62 after an accident, with her nose being fortunately saved after the aircraft was scrapped at RAF Wittering.

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If I may ask the question once again, does anyone have a picture of XD864, this aircraft took off from Wittering at 10:35, August 12, 1960 and crashed at Spanhoe at 10:38.

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I've arranged for 3 photos of the cockpit of Valiant XD875 to be added to this gallery - photographs taken by NAM's original Archivist the late Dave Collins during the cockpit's brief stay at Newark!!

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XD875 COCKPIT PICTURES

I've arranged for 3 photos of the cockpit of Valiant XD875 to be added to this gallery - photographs taken by NAM's original Archivist the late Dave Collins during the cockpit's brief stay at Newark!!

Thanks for that link, I've also added some here from a detailed cockpit session on '857 that I needed to shoot for future reference on my own flight deck. These were taken sometime before she departed and may have been at the Fest, I can't remember the year now.

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I believe that might have been during Cockpit-Fest III - 15th & 16th June 2002; XD875's stay was brief!! :(

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VALIANT COMMENTS BY PETER SHARP

Valiant Aficionado Peter Sharp has kindly sent me some comments on the aircraft which I am glad to reproduce here.

My doesn't time fly........is it really 60 years, seems like no time at all! I can recall the Movietone and Gaumont newsreels in the cinemas featuring the Valiant. Hadn't realised until you said that it was so long ago.

Question...........Why did the Valiant have such large wheels and tyre sections?

When Vickers planned and commenced building the Valiant Mk1's and sole Mk2 they only had a grass strip! Hence the Valiant was the only V bomber capable of operating from unpaved airfields! Another valuable gem for your useless gen info! Also the Mk2 used Canberra tyres and wheel sections, with a pavement loading low enough to operated from grass strips.

The Canberra was the only other Jet bomber capable of operating from unprepared strips. Note: In Service the Valiants always operated from metalled runways!

I have an image somewhere of Vickers hangar apron showing the concreted apron and the chewed up grass around its edge. Will see if I can find it! DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH!

I recall a shot of a Valiant together with a 10,000lbs BD weapon, and several of the spill bins as we called them. The aircraft did leak, but to keep the records straight, the bins were to collect the expanding fuel that was allowed to "Vent" out of the wing tip fuel vent pipes. I have one of a very cross 207 Sqn Crew Chief, impatiently waiting for a tradesman to wheel up one of the said bins.

It was taken at Marham during the autumn and you can see the plume of steam rising from the Kings Lynn sugar beet factory on the horizon. It only operated during the Autumn months! It was taken on a beautiful Autumn Day. RATOG trials at Wittering commenced on Jan 13th 1958 with XD872 being the first Service Valiant to trial the system.

By Oct WZ402, XD866, XD868 and XD871 had all taken part in the same trial. Apparently there were mainly failures of the recovery system for various reasons. Altogether there were 26 RATOG take offs made by 138 Sqn, together with a 90 Sqn aircraft which was on loan from Honington.

Pete

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Were the Valients and the Victors for that matter, as quick off the mark as the Vulcans whilst on QRA ?

Also perhaps not of interest to all of you but my Corgi die-cast Valient arrived today, which completes the V force on my sideboard, much to the wifes annoyance ;)

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The very nice Airfix kit of the type is out now aswel:)