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About Brick

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    LSP Member
  • Birthday 08/09/1938

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    Canberra Australia
  1. Eric, as always, you are an inspiration to the rest of the modelling community. This is a unique modelling project, and one that I am sure will re-kindle a lot of fond memories from old Mirage hands, pilots and ground crews alike. Alas, in my case, one of those memories is of the author of the missive quoted above. I speak, of course, of that perpetual irritant Sean Trestrail, a.k.a. TTail, a.k.a. The Eternal Bograt. As you know, as Commanding Officer, I had the misfortune of having to tolerate his presence in No 3 Squadron at Butterworth, Malaysia from '79 to '81, during which time I daily appealed to the heavens to inform me of what terrible offence I had committed in order to be punished with such severity. bograt (plural bograts) Noun (Australia, New Zealand, military, humorous, derogatory) A junior fighter pilot. So, Eric, I wonder if you would permit me, just this once, to briefly hi-jack your build log to deal with this tiresome fellow once and for all. If you grant permission, rest assured you will have performed a valued service to a grateful humanity. No, TTail (or whatever other silly sobriquet you operate under these days) there was no one in the back of that IIID "looking after Sir". The person in the back was a Channel 10 cine cameraman, who, as you well know, was there to record the pilot's eye view of that important historic event. And I seriously doubt whether I needed any re-training, given that you never once beat me at any weapons event. Not once. And that's something that should have caused you grave concern, given that you were then in your prime as a fighter pilot, and thus would not get any better, and I was the doddery old Wing Commander still bearing the scars of four years behind a desk in Canberra. Anyway, all that aside, there is one other thing, now that I think of it, and it is the nature of unfinished business. At the closing stages of Eric's build log on the Avon Sabre, you stated that you once got gunsight film of me. Well, mercy me! I'd never in all my days heard such an utterly outrageous claim, a claim that will surely echo in the halls of perfidy for generations to come. I regarded it then, as I do today, as the absolute mother of all line-shoots. shoot a line informal To try to create a false image, as by boasting or exaggerating. At the time, I was about to immediately respond to this most egregious assault on truth and historical accuracy, but decided instead to first consult a psychologist friend of mine. Why, I asked him, would this fellow make such a ridiculous claim knowing that he knows that I know the said claim is a monstrous fiction? Why? What's he smoking? "Well, Brick," the psychologist replied, "You have to remember that your former subordinate flies A380s these days. Those guys spend endless, interminable hours sitting on a lambswool-covered aerial lounge chair, counting their gargantuan pay packets, and watching a bunch of computers fly the aeroplane for them. As a natural consequence of that, their minds eventually start to drift, and they wind up fantasising about things they wished they had been able to achieve during their years on fighter aircraft, while at the same time realising that they were sadly short of the inner resources and skills essential to the realisation of such ambitions. The sad thing is, however, that these fantasies eventually become more real to them that reality itself. And so it is with your former subordinate. He's clearly down at the bottom of the garden by now, gambolling about with all the fairies. "But, look, he's clearly happy, albeit sadly delusional, so best leave him alone. Let it pass is my advice." So, in light of that advice, I did the humanitarian thing and did not respond. I simply let that all-time classic line-shoot just ride. After all, I'm not an animal. Incidentally, before I depart, I must congratulate TTail for his enviable skills with PhotoShop. You may not know this, but that in-cockpit selfie he uses to accompany his identity in the sidebar has, in reality, been PhotoShopped to within an inch of its life. Here is the highly doctored version that you are used to, in which my presence in my customary position in TTails six o'clock, and my usual surgical defenestration of his cockpit, has been digitally removed: Well, I was fairly certain that I had the unmodified original in my collection somewhere, and eventually found it. Here it is, before TTail got to it in Photoshop and created another warped version of the historical record, all for the purpose of a rather pathetic and ineffectual self-aggrandisement: And one more thing. I have not seen TTail since 1986, and had no idea how he was carrying the years. Then someone showed me a recent photograph on him in his silly Walter Mitty flying suit at some Namchang-toting airfield somewhere, and I must confess that I was somewhat shocked. Shocked, I say. Age, it seems, has clearly wearied him, and the years have clearly been somewhat condemnatory. So here's my final word, TTail. The mark of a true fighter pilot is the way he carries his years in later life. You are probably 20 years younger than me, but I look 20 years younger than you. Here is the proof: my good self on the way to a concert at Ch√Ęteau de La Roche-Guyon on the Seine (Field Marshal Rommel's HQ after D-Day) in July. Look at it and weep with envy, TTail. Not a wrinkle in sight. Still taut and fit, whereas the only way you can get your muscles to ripple these days is to stand out in the wind. Game, set, and match, methinks.
  2. Eric, it's coming along well. I can't believe that you are going to do the trailer and tug as well. I suspect that, should you go ahead with a kit, you will have many customers for it once the word gets around. I know I'll be one. Incidentally, you can just see the end of the red carpet in that 5000 hours shot of me, so I just thought I'd add a colour shot of the beginning of that agonising journey to ritual humiliation: One more thing, when I order my copy of the kit, you can leave the model of TTail out. In my version, I'll be replacing that with a model of a REAL fighter pilot.
  3. Another magnificent build, Eric. A triumph of the modeller's craft.
  4. Yet another absolutely stunning effort, Eric. I'm sure Mac will be absolutely delighted. I thought I'd throw in a pic of Mac in later life, just to show how much he (and I) had deteriorated. That's Mac on the extreme left, me on the extreme right, outside Buckingham Palace during a Battle of Britain 50th Anniversary event. Not the slimline Mac of his Vietnam days
  5. Hi Andrew. No, the IIID in question was ARDU's A3-101 (on 8 February 1989). 101 had normal camo, not the unique ARDU "Fanta can" scheme. It had been used by us as a photographic "chase" vehicle when a high-speed chase was required (e.g., F-111C and F-18 tasks). Sold to Pakistan in 1990.
  6. Great job, Andrew. You really should have received a prize for this one. If it hadn't been for the entries of that tiresome young upstart from Queensland (Eric Galliers) I'm sure you'd have gotten something for the cabinet I don't mind admitting that it was a very emotional moment for me when I walked into the model show and saw the model for the first time. Just the sight of it brought back many happy memories, and seeing it parked together with Eric's model of my No 77 Squadron Sabre was just the icing on the cake. I'm not too sure how an old geezer like me got this much attention from two master modellers in the twilight of my life, but I shamelessly admit to lapping it all up with relish. Small point: I retired in the rank of Group Captain (GPCAPT), the RAAF having made the incredible blunder of promoting me a couple of years after I left No 3 Squadron. I mention this because it explains how I got to be CO of the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) in '88-'89. We were the last RAAF unit to operate the Mirage IIIO and IIID, most of the rest having been placed in storage at Woomera. The very last RAAF Mirage to land at Woomera was our IIID, with ARDU test pilot FLTLT Scott Goodier flying and me in the back seat enjoying one last flirtation with that lovely French Lady. I'm happy to report that A3-10 had a second life with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). She was placed in storage at Woomera in October 1988 and was subsequently sold, along with about 50 other IIIOs and a few IIIDs to the PAF. Most of these aircraft were very heavily modified by the PAF, particularly in terms of the avionics fit. Her tail number in PAF service was 90-510. The photographs below show her awaiting shipment from Whyalla in South Australia in October '90, and in service, as 90-510, with the PAF. I seem to recall reading somewhere that she was still flying as recently as 2010.
  7. Perhaps a bit of video action for your build log, Andrew. A3-10 went unserviceable on the day I did my final flight ever in a Mirage IIIO, dammit. And, unfortunately, the guy who got some 8mm film of it failed to get some of my best stuff. Anyway, for what it's worth, here I am making a fool of myself (but greatly enjoying it anyway):
  8. Coming along nicely, Andrew. You know, I never met a Mirage jockey who didn't have a really soft spot for the French Lady. It was that kind of aircraft - the kind that, through a happy combination of pleasing lines, handling properties, performance and, yes, character makes you want to go out and fly the thing every day of the week. I mean, how could any young pilot worth his salt not have been entranced by an aeroplane that looked like this: Even so, looking back on it after the passage of all these years, I am struck by the realisation that there really were ample reasons to develop a thorough loathing of some aspects of the beast, and it's all related to the delta wing planform that gave it such pleasing lines. Yes, the airframe designers would have loved that particular planform because it enabled them to design a very light and strong structure with ample room for internal storage of fuel, etc. And the aerodynamicists would have been overjoyed by the benefits to be gained in the transonic and supersonic areas of the flight envelope. But the downside was that, at the low speed end of the spectrum, the delta planform made the aircraft an absolute flying speed-brake, thanks to its ability to generate massive amounts of induced drag at higher angles of attack. Nowhere was this "flying speed brake" characteristic more evident that in the engine-out forced landing pattern. Consider this: in the Avon Sabre, if you flamed out at 40,000 feet, you could glide at the minimum drag speed of 185 KIAS for 92 nautical miles in still air, which meant that, if you lost your engine over Sydney, you could make it to a landing at Williamton (near Newcastle) with the greatest of ease. The Mirage, however, lost all faith in itself as a flying machine when the engine failed. It didn't glide in the usual sense. The minimum drag speed was 300 KIAS, and it dropped like a stone. The forced-landing pattern required that you hit a "high-key" position directly over the airfield at 15,000 feet heading 30 degrees off the reciprocal of the landing direction. Your vertical speed, as I recall, was about 8000 feet-per-minute. Your final decision point was at "low key", which was at 5000 feet abeam the runway threshold. If you were not happy at that point, you consulted Mr Martin-Baker. If you were happy, you lowered the gear and began the turn onto finals, the lowered undercarriage causing your vertical speed to increase to about 12,000 feet per minute. Because of that eye-popping rate of descent, you had to commence your flare at about 400 feet in order not to create a rather large smoking dent on the runway. I looked at that procedure just once during my conversion course and decided that Mr Martin-Baker was the best friend I ever had. Why didn't stuff like that turn you off the beast? Well, I guess because she was the French Lady. She'd spend all your money, always keep you waiting while she finished getting ready, flirt with all your mates, and total your Citroen DS, but you'd forgive her for anything ;-)
  9. It's like watching Michelangelo modifying the overall shape of a block of marble. That cockpit should be hung in the National Gallery, Eric.
  10. Followers of this build may be interested in some interesting reading on the subject of the Mirage in the Royal Australian Air Force. This is a PDF of a book published in about 1989: http://www.radschool.org.au/Books/the_raaf_mirage_story_opt.pdf I particularly recommend the article beginning at page 49 titled The Edge of the Envelope by Air Commodore G. W. Talbot, AFC. Geoff Talbot really was the RAAF's "Mr Mirage", having been the first RAAF pilot to fly the type (in France in 1959) and, later, having flown every IIIO produced at GAF as a production test pilot. Some rather hairy stuff went on in the early days, including "Stu" Fisher (a former No 77 Squadron colleague of mine) suffering a shattered canopy and consequential explosive decompression at Mach 2 in a IIID on its second production test flight. Another very bad incident was a last-second supersonic ejection by test pilot Tony Svennson which resulted in the loss of A3-1 and horrific injuries to Tony, who somehow survived. As you read this article, you could be excused for reaching the conclusion that in 1960 the RAAF had, in effect, procured a half-developed prototype that wasn't yet ready for prime time - at least in our particular operating environment. Consider, for example, Geoff Talbot's description of the problems that had to be solved when operating the beast in a tropical atmosphere: "In-flight cockpit conditioning problems occurred in three areas; the pilot was too hot in high speed, low level operations; because of cold soak at high altitude, the pilot's instruments fogged up (internally) during descents; and, most critically, the windscreens and canopy, for the same reasons, clouded over with condensation during descent to the extent that all external vision could be lost. Thus, in the worst case - and it happened in service - the pilot could be faced with total loss of external visual reference when making an approach to land in bad weather conditions and at the same time be denied the use of essential flight reference instruments in the cockpit. The aircraft was usually short of fuel at the same time.". And as for Geoff's dissertation on the matter of taking off a Mirage with two 374 gallon external tanks and one 286 gallon external tank (page 58), I still question the advisability of attempting such a feat - and feat it was. I mean, you could have held a gun to my head and ordered me to do that on pain of death, and I would still have refused ;-)
  11. Just chiming in to report that I am now out of winter hibernation and finally paying attention. Nice to see the fastidious attention to detail in this build, Andrew. I'm certain that this will be a stunning model, and I'm now following along with keen interest. It was the same with Eric's build log of my Avon Sabre: just following along is triggering off some memories which hadn't re-visited my conscious thought for many years, the chief one being how greatly I enjoyed flying the "French Lady", as we used to call her. French elegance and sophistication personified. What a gal. I must say at this point that I am absolutely chuffed by your decision to choose my No 3 Squadron flagship as your subject. First, Eric's build of my No 77 Squadron Avon Sabre, and now this. My cup seriously runneth over. All this means a heck of a lot to a grizzled old "knuck" in the twilight of his life. I mean it. The cockpit is looking just great. I simply can't fault it, and there's nothing like a highly-detailed "front office" to bring a fighter model to life.
  12. Eric, superb craftsmanship and commendable attention to detail, as always. As an old Mirage jockey, may I offer a couple of suggestions for the sake of authenticity? Since your subject is the Mirage IIIO flown by TTail, you might want to place two or three brown paper barf bags at easily accessible locations in the cockpit. Also, some cobwebs around the gunsight camera would be super-realistic, given that Tail never, ever got to use it. Not ever.
  13. Eric, words fail me. I'm truly out of superlatives. What an honour for an old "knuck" in the twilight of his life. My wife Jan and I are greatly looking forward to meeting you at long last and seeing that magnificent creation in the flesh at the Expo. And for geedubelyer in England, for once I'm a small step ahead of you ;-) : Yes, I make 1/32 aeroplane models too. It's just that, every time I see one of Eric's models, I feel like throwing my airbrush in the trash and sulking for a week ;-)
  14. Eric, I just don't know what to say. I can scarcely tell the difference between the model and the real thing. On the one hand I am in absolute awe of your skills as a modeller. And, on the other, I am deeply honoured that you would choose as your subject an aircraft that I flew over fifty years ago - more honoured than I can possibly say. I mean it. This means a heck of a lot to an ageing "knuck". It really is the icing on the cake, and has caused me to re-visit in my mind some enormously enjoyable days of my earlier life. I was about to respond to TTail's latest outrageous post when I saw your completion post arrive. I was going to do that yesterday, knowing that you had almost completed the build. However, your work had inspired my wife Jan and I to drive over to the Temora Aviation Museum yesterday to have a look at A94-983, given that I had not seen a Sword since 1986. (My log book says that I flew that particular airframe exactly once, on 11 March 1964, so there is a small connection there.) But here's the thing. When I walked into the hangar to see that bird, which is illuminated by special lighting, I became, shall we say, a tad emotional. I'm sure I'll feel the same when I see your model in real life on 13 June. So be prepared for the slight possibility of an ageing "knuck" making an absolute fool of himself
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