Monday, 30 July 2012

Crew Chief Chris 'Sandy' Sands

Chief Technician Chris Sands was an Aircraft Servicing Chief or for short 'Crew Chief' and his allocated aircraft was XL231. Prior to the Falklands War he and his crew, of 232 OCU, RAF Marham, made a memorable trip to Houston in Texas in XL231.

XL231 at Ellington Air Force Base, carrying a few 'momentos' of her trip!

The crew:
Flight Lieutenant Paul Gausden
Flight Lieutenant Ron Hendrick
Squadron Leader Ray Senior
Flight Lieutenant Rod Smith
Chief Technician Sandy Sands
Flight Lieutenant Dave Cherry

XL231 and the crew played a significant part in the Armed Forces Open House and Air Show at Ellington Air Forces Base on April 17th 1981.

"The members of the Victor crew were truly Good Will Ambassadors and should be commended for their exemplary representation of the Royal Air Force" Maurice H. Udell, Director General, Houston Chamber of Commerce
The crew received a number of thank you letters from spectators of the show, who numbered more than 150,000.

"It was indeed a real treat to see that beautiful aircraft grace the runway alongside our aircraft and we wish to show our appreciation that you should send someone here to represent your country and show our alliance with one another. And the crew did a beautiful job of it, they were very polite, easygoing, very friendly and eager to show us their plane and how it works and to answer questions" David L Pena, Houston, Texas, 18th April 1981
Flt. Lt. Gausden said "There was a tremendous interest shown by the Americans in the Victor tanker. It was a very good public relations exercise from our point of view and we talked ourselves to death!"

A tour of the Lyndon B, NASA facility at The Johnson Space Centre was also included in the trip, after the crew had completed an air-to-air re-fuelling exercise to Goose Bay in Canada.

 Chris graciously donated his 'memorabilia' for inclusion in the Victor XL231 archives.

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