Wednesday, 21 March 2012

HDU Black Buck veteran

HDU Obtained from Flight Refueling Ltd

In Early 2008 the team successfully installed a Mk17B flight refuelling Hose Drum Unit in the bomb bay of XL231, this item was generously donated by Cobham Aviation (Flight Refuelling Ltd) and once installed completed the refit of XL231 into a complete Victor K2 Tanker. This unit was in deep store for several years after being inhibited by Cobham Aviation and was last installed in a VC-10 Tanker.

Upon checking the records it was found by coincidence that this HDU is THE very unit which enabled Vulcan XM607 Captained by Sqn Ldr Martin Withers DFC to safely recover to Ascension Island during the 1st bombing raid on Port Stanley Airfield during the Falklands War (Black Buck 1)
Painting by Keith Woodcock
This unit at the time was fitted in Victor X2 XH672 Captained by (then) Sqn Ldr Barry Neal who successfully met and recovered the Vulcan off of the Brazilian coast. The Aviation Artist Keith Woodcock painted a famous painting of the occasion which hangs in the RAF Club, Piccadilly, London (Available in print). 

Naturally with Barry Neal being 'our' regular Captain for taxy demonstration we found this to be a bit of a strange coincidence and particularly as Martin Withers has been a friend for many years.
Fitting the HDU took a number of man hours but I think you will agree the hard work paid off.
Scoop lowered
Scoop removed and HDU Ready for fitting
HDU fitted
The record cards for this unit indicates it was fited in the following aircraft types and serial numbers;
Victor K2; XL511, XH672, Xl512, XL162. 1975-1988
Hercules Tanker; XV192,XV213. 1989-1995
VC-10 Tanker; ZA141. 1997-1999.
 Removed for storage and inhibiting in 1999.
HDU record card
HDU record card
HDU in action for the first time!

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