By Tom Eeles

Workforce Captain Tom Eeles served within the RAF for forty four years and totaled over 8000 hours of flying in twenty-eight various plane forms. Tom entered RAF collage Cranwell in 1961 and won his RAF wings in 1963. His first posting used to be to No sixteen squadron flying the Canberra. Its function as a gentle bomber squadron used to be basically nuclear strike, with a secondary function of traditional flooring assault by means of day and evening. sixteen Squadron used to be deployed to Kuantan, Malaya. In July 1966 and on mortgage to the Senior provider, Tom stated to RNAS Lossiemouth for a swept wing conversion direction at the Hunter earlier than beginning the Buccaneer Operational Flying direction. After sixty five hours within the Buccaneer he was once published to 801 NAS, HMS effective.

In 1969 he joined 736 Naval Air Squadron which used to be liable for education classes for RAF aircrew changing to the Buccaneer. He moved to twelve Squadron established at RAF Honington. Their activity was once to supply a maritime strike/attack potential and a nuclear strike strength in help of the united kingdom nationwide Plan. 1975 observed a stream to seventy nine Squadron flying the Hunter. After a spell on the RAF employees collage, Tom grew to become employees officer accountable for all features of quickly jet complicated flying education at the Hawk at Valley and multi engine complex flying education at Finningley. In 1983, chosen to command 237 OCU, back flying the Buccaneer at Lossiemouth.

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By way of December 1970 the final RAF path had arrived so the top of my organization with the Fleet Air Arm was once in sight. the most RAF base for the Buccaneer strength was once at Honington in Suffolk, with additional squadrons deliberate to shape at Laarbruch, so the entire RAF employees anticipated to maneuver directly to one or different of those bases. On 1 December i used to be scheduled to fly with Flying Officer Ivor Evans on his Fam 1. via this time the S1s have been getting decidedly drained. Their Gyron Junior engines, by no means recognized for his or her uncomplicated dealing with features, have been super tough to speed up in a crosswind at the runway. you regularly needed to aspect without delay into wind, brakes on, to cajole the engines to speed up as much as complete strength, then flip to line up with the runway as you begun the take-off roll. The aircraft’s acceleration was once so gradual that this evolution by no means offered any trouble. Ominously, in this Fam 1 we had nice trouble getting the port engine to speed up during the inlet advisor vane diversity sooner than take-off yet, with patience, it ultimately wound up and stale we went. All went good until eventually we again to the circuit. We ended up too excessive and shut at the first circuit so, at 2 hundred ft, I advised Ivor to overshoot and move around back. whilst he driven the throttles ahead for complete strength all we obtained from the port engine was once loads of loud bangs and choking noises and no thrust. With commendable alacrity for a pilot on his first flight on style, Ivor lifted the wheels and obtained the airbrake in, yet with the touchdown flap down and the blown ailerons and tailplane bleeding quite a lot of air from the only sturdy engine, Isaac Newton’s First legislations quickly kicked in. It very speedily grew to become glaring that this sortie used to be unlikely to finish satisfactorily with no the aid of Martin-Baker’s rocket-assisted deck chair. I had loosened my shoulder harness to determine forward, around the best of Ivor’s ejection seat and this used to be no time to begin tightening straps. Shouting EJECT, EJECT, I pulled the firing deal with among my legs, and after an immense bang i used to be having a look down via my toes on the airfield grass bobbing up quickly. I arrived on terra firma like a sack of spuds thrown from a moment flooring window. After constructing that i used to be alive and that my again harm, my subsequent precedence was once to get my SARBE (Search and Rescue Beacon gear) going to qualify for the silver tankard that Burndept Electronics (the brands) gave to all aircrew who used their very good product in a rescue. while an asbestos-suited fireman seemed in my visual view I instructed him rudely to leave as I nonetheless hadn’t obtained the beacon operating but. on condition that i used to be sprawled in the midst of Lossiemouth airfield he sincerely idea i used to be delirious, took it lightly from me and made soothing noises until eventually the ambulance arrived. Ivor additionally jumped out effectively. The hapless Buccaneer flopped at the airfield, narrowly lacking a few humans mending a radar aerial, and slithered to a halt on its stomach; the cockpit part broke off and a hearth all started. the massive hearth delicate, while it eventually arrived once you have slowed down within the grass, squirted foam far and wide it attempting to extinguish the fireplace and close down the starboard engine, which perversely persevered operating at complete strength for your time.

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