back to article French general accused of nicking fast jet for weekend trips to the Sun

A French general stands accused of using military fast jets for weekend commutes to his country pile in Provence on the country’s sunny south coast. French Army minister Florence Parly has ordered an investigation, following the allegations about General Richard Reboul’s travel arrangements by investigative and satirical ( …

  1. Holtsmark
    Black Helicopters

    Before everybody goes all judgemental, it COULD be that he flew the jets on his free time in order to keep current on fast jets while spending all his professional time flying a desk at headquarters.

    Compared to frontline jets, a jet trainer has relatively low flight costs. Arranging the refueling stops on a training mission to coincide with something pleasurable is an old international airforce tradition. It is all a matter of avoiding excesses.

    The helicopter? Well.. it is on a training mission to Isle of Wight

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Exactly, when I was going through training one of the instructors had permission to take a helicopter to another base for the weekend, that base being near where he lived. The hours flown came out of his staff continuation training, basically flying hours to keep the instructors current at actually flying the aircraft rather than telling the student what to do. The hours had to be flown anyway so why not do something useful with them rather than just flying circles in the sky.

      The base commanders main bone of contention was that said instructor kept managing to arrange it so his trips coincided with a weather front passing through making it impossible to fly back until the Tuesday rather than the Monday morning.

    2. 2460 Something

      Can't we have perks with jobs any more :(

      I'd much prefer they went after the fraudsters in the banking sector than some army folk keeping his flying hours up.

      1. Dan 10

        Perks indeed. When I was in the RAF (based at Honington in Suffolk), we had a week's firing practice arranged in Altcar barracks in Liverpool. I was seeing a girl in Liverpool at the time, and my parents home was in Manchester, a short trip away. At the end of the week, I planned to depart the barracks to do my own thing locally for the weekend before travelling back to Honington on Sunday night. This was refused on the basis that the unit should always travel as one, to preserve the integrity and morale of the squadron, and to not be seen as affording any perks. Thus I had to travel the 235 miles back on the coach, only to have another 235 miles to travel back again, then a third time before Monday morning (I simply postponed that visit).

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      He went for a jolly in an Alpha Jet?

      Good ol' boy!

      Exactly what I would do if I could.

    4. mwnci

      Surely a French Senior Officer using a jet to visit his mistress would be grounds for promotion in the French Military? Pretty sure you get issued a Mistress if you don't have one?

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    There is a venerable tradition here

    A friend of mine went to ask for the hand of his future bride in his army "vehicle".

    As you might expect when the question is asked with a T72 parked on the street in front of your house with the gun pointed at it, the answer was a resounding "Yes of course".

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: There is a venerable tradition here

      Ooh la-la! Is that a 105mm gun in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?

      Your proposal was wonderful. Tanks for the memories.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: There is a venerable tradition here

        "Panzer? I 'ardly knew 'er..."

      2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: There is a venerable tradition here

        I thought Smirnoff was a Russian tank commander untill I saw the stag party....

      3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: There is a venerable tradition here

        Presumably, on receiving a positive answer, he raised the barrel to maximum elevation?

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: There is a venerable tradition here

      We are quite sure nobody in the Soviet/Russian press would complain about someone with enough authority to use a tank for his personal use...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There is a venerable tradition here

      "A friend of mine went to ask for the hand of his future bride in his army "vehicle"."

      I was told of a lad who was so proud of passing his test to drive Scorpions that he took one out of the base and drove it home to show Mum.

      He was duly court-martialled, and sentenced to 28 days in Army nick, which the CO then commuted to a week on fatigues because he had "shown the right spirit".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There is a venerable tradition here

        Used to test drive these (Scorpions) and once overtook a porsche on a dual carriageway. To say the driver looked shocked is an understatement :-)

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: There is a venerable tradition here

          "Used to test drive these (Scorpions) and once overtook a porsche on a dual carriageway."

          You disabled the governor, didn't you?

          When the carrier of one of them broke down on the way to an exhibition in Belgium, the crew just dismounted it, took off the governor and proceeded to the exhibition. They were stopped by the police, of course, showed the insurance and licence for road use, and merrily continued on their way at 74mph.

          Apparently nobody tried to stop them when they wanted to move out into the overtaking lane.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: There is a venerable tradition here

            I remember seeing a guy on telly who'd bought one in the late 80s. He lived in central London. So a Scorpion (painted bright yellow naturally) was apparently the perfect vehicle. One advantage being, the new clamps didn't fit it.

            Cue inevitable joke: Where did he park it? Anywhere he bloody well wanted...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: There is a venerable tradition here

              A MF Sysop was working over the weekend at a FTSE100 and parked his personal one tonner in the MDs parking spot as it was empty. Monday morning and the MD was not pleased. So the truck was moved, to the front steps of the head office while he got the MF going again. A great piece of kit that could go anywhere.

              The MD did see the funny side and apologised. Good fellas both.

  3. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    I've no problem with this if the general was fulfilling required flight hours...

    to maintain his necessary flight status, and the plane was sufficiently available for military purposes.

    However, I wasn't aware that Bordeaux was some kind of pit, compared to Provence.

    Of course, I can't get onboard if mon general was just abusing his rank and the availability of public assets for his private interests.

    1. thegroucho
      Black Helicopters

      Re: I've no problem with this if the general was fulfilling required flight hours...

      Unless the said general is current in a flying instructor position, I fail to see the need for him to keep himself current.

      He is just a pen-pusher/manager.

      It isn't likely he will be spearheading the next Nato intervention from the cockpit of his Mirage.

      It is not like the Duke of Edinburgh and the First Sea Lord practice A.S.W., the Chief of Air Staff goes on strafing runs with an Apache or the Chief of the General Staff goes for sniper practice.

      I hope he gets Court Martial followed by an excursion to the Brig.

      Chances are he will just retire on fat pension we can only dream of.

      P.S. Helicopter icon ... because there isn't an aircraft one.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: I've no problem with this if the general was fulfilling required flight hours...

        'The Chief of Air Staff goes on strafing runs with an Apache'

        Well no, because they're an Army asset so he'd be more likely to want a go in a Tornado. Or more realistically a Hawk, because they're cheaper.

        There is an argument for keeping desk bound aircrew current in flying, in that as you get older it becomes harder to regain currency after say a two year break if you haven't touched an aircraft. With a fast jet trainer like the Alpha Jet there's a good compromise between the performance levels you'd expect and the cost of operating a military aircraft. Anecdotally age doesn't seem to be an issue for aircrew who stay in regular practice, although their reaction times may become marginally longer their accumulated experience more than makes up for it. So it depends what kind of General* he is and what the French Air Force rules are, it may be that everything he's done is legitimate, if a bit pointless if he's never going back to a flying appointment.

        *If he's a junior Major General he may find himself in charge of an air base as his next job and might be expected to do a certain amount of flying.

        1. thegroucho

          Re: I've no problem with this if the general was fulfilling required flight hours...

          I see your point here - about keeping staff current and flying.

          I don't know the practice in real life.

          I would expect Mid-level officers (the air equivalent ranks of Colonel, Major, etc)(can't be bothered to go to Wikipedia to check the exact ranks in the Airforce) to be still flying.

          General however, doubt it.

          But what do I know.

          The Apache ... was just an example.

      2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        P.S. Helicopter icon ... because there isn't an aircraft one.

        That's plane to see

      3. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: I've no problem with this if the general was fulfilling required flight hours...

        "It is not like the Duke of Edinburgh and the First Sea Lord practice A.S.W., the Chief of Air Staff goes on strafing runs with an Apache or the Chief of the General Staff goes for sniper practice."

        Just wait until after the next British defense review! :)

        (Icon shows future CoGS in his dress uni!)

      4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: I've no problem with this if the general was fulfilling required flight hours...

        Unless the said general is current in a flying instructor position, I fail to see the need for him to keep himself current.

        Want to tell it to this guy?. He happens to be a president of NATO country and is still flying up to the required limit for a fighter pilot.

        Not on alpha jets either - he uses the board number 29 - the one seen banking out of formation on the photo and can fly it like probably only a handful of people can. Officially Mig-29 cannot do the Pugachev Cobra or a Bell. Unofficially, if you have an outright nutter at the controls - it can. So I suggest you convince him to push a pen as he should as he has been a "pen pusher" according to your definitions since 2000 (last 17 years).

        It is not like the Duke of Edinburgh and the First Sea Lord practice A.S.W., the Chief of Air Staff goes on strafing runs with an Apache or the Chief of the General Staff goes for sniper practice.

        Maybe that is the problem in the first place.

  4. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    On the story of the Spitfire I remember the mighty Eric Brown talking about having fun with an unidentified one of those. He flew it under the Fourth Bridge. As you do. I think it was about 1942.

    Many people complained to the local police (which I find suprising in wartime). And they apparently spent quite a lot of time shouting at the local RAF bases, whose officers I'm sure then spent a lot of time shouting at each other. But the culprit could not be found.

    Nobody asked Brown, as nobody knew the Navy had any Spitfires, so the police didn't bother asking them.

    Although I still have to say my favourite story about him is that he subsidised his motorcycle while still at school by doing the Wall of Death at weekends. And one performed this stunt in a motorcyle and sidecar, with a lion sitting in the sidecar. History does not record just exactly how pissed off the lion was about this...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "History does not record just exactly how pissed off the lion was about this..."

      Maybe someone should have looked in the bottom of the sidecar to find out.

      The better trick would have been to have the lion ride pillion...

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        The better trick would have been to have the lion ride pillion...

        Better for whom?

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        How about having the lion on the handlebars? (Ok, a baby one)

    2. Vinyl-Junkie

      Re - low-flying complaints

      "Many people complained to the local police (which I find surprising in wartime)."

      Read Paul Brickhill's The Dambusters. Gibson (as squadron CO) and Cochrane (as Group Commander) were inundated with complaints from the public regarding the low-flying training for Chastise.

    3. druck Silver badge

      Seafires!

    4. notowenwilson

      " Many people complained to the local police (which I find suprising in wartime). "

      Just because there's a war on doesn't mean that the NIMBY's suddenly shut up.

  5. thegroucho

    not-so-personal use

    A few years ago at the Shoreham Air show (years before the fatal crash) I was watching a Typhoon doing the aerobatics for the crowds.

    When it was finished it headed westwards, presumably towards the airbase.

    Out of the blue the jet did corkscrew turn a few times over the sea.

    The pilot must have been thinking "f**k it, this is boring flying in a straight line, I might as well keep myself entertained".

  6. wolfetone Silver badge

    You can't be doing that!

    That plane is meant for killing people. NOT for use as a taxi!!!

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Well, *training* people to kill people, or provide assistance thereby.

      But to be honest, I'd rather it were used as a taxi than for it's design intention.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Completely agree.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        I'm pretty sure there's a combat version of the Alphajet. Or if not yet, there's one in design. It's supposed to be a cheap close air support plane.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The 301 statute mile flight might take about an hour, including a margin for time spent routing through airways,"

    He's unlikely to have been flying IFR.

    "loitering in holding patterns, and so forth."

    See above (a holding pattern is an IFR procedure), but in any case holding patterns are a thing of the past in Europe (London excepted), as traffic is regulated according to forecast capacity by the CFMU, an operational unit located in Brussels. If it is known or expected (e.g., based on weather forecasts) that your destination (or more rarely, en-route) will be over capacity then you are made to wait on the ground at your departure airport, which saves fuel and costs and is also safer.

    A controller that I knew used to roll off a military cargo plane on his motorcycle every Monday morning. Another one (military controller) co-owned a light aircraft which he would use to commute into his base (allegedly his CO put a stop to that).

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Having crossed France a couple of times with an IFR flight plan, they seemed very keen to let us route direct as soon as we contacted them on entering their airspace rather than bothering with airways. Mind you that was in a Jetstream, I'm not sure if they do the same with proper airliners.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Mind you that was in a Jetstream, I'm not sure if they do the same with proper airliners.

        Yes, it's the same for everyone, that's why the whole airspace above (IIRC) FL90 is RNAV. This is part of the performance-based approach adopted by ICAO this century, and has the three main advantages of 1. saving fuel, 2. increasing capacity, 3. being more environmentally friendly.

  8. macjules Silver badge
    Headmaster

    The Sun?

    When you write, "French general accused of nicking fast jet for weekend trips to the Sun" I am hoping you do not mean 'visits to Mr Murdoch's unlimited supply of loo paper" and perhaps mean 'sunshine'?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a thought....

    ..but I presume he was going from military base to another, so I presume you don't pay landing fees.

    And lets face it, it's cheaper than travelling by train in the UK.

  10. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    52p/litre? Can I put it in my car?

    Also 3 miles to the gallon is pretty impressive (assuming I've worked that out right). Some cars don't do much better than that.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      It's close-ish to diesel but I think it's missing some of the additives needed for a car engine. So it depends how much you value the car.

      1. Vinyl-Junkie

        Re: I think it's missing some of the additives needed for a car engine

        Given some of the low-grade, barely-better-than-fuel-oil stuff which passes for diesel when you are some distance from civilization/the beaten track it would amaze me if you couldn't run a Defender or Land Cruiser on it, as both seem to cope quite adequately with such stuff.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: I think it's missing some of the additives needed for a car engine

          Yes, saying 'some of the additives needed for a car engine' may have been over egging how essential they are! I think it's something to do with lubricants for the injectors which will probably last for ages without it.

          The list of acceptable fuels for the Westland Wasp/Scout was occasionally summarised as anything runny and flammable.

          1. Lord M4x

            Re: I think it's missing some of the additives needed for a car engine

            Jet -A! is mainly kerosene which has additives to lower its freezing point.

            It is generally of a *higher* quality than road diesel fuel.

            You could safely add it to you r diesel mix in winter to achieve a lower waxing (freezing) point in extreme weather.

            That's what I got from 10 years working offshore in petrochemicals, flying to work in all kinds of conditions in helicopters of varying size and power....

            1. SkippyBing Silver badge

              Re: I think it's missing some of the additives needed for a car engine

              Jet B is possibly better for cars as it's a mix of petrol and kerosene, mainly to get the freezing point right down. It's basically intended for use in Arctic and Sub-Arctic regions, I think it might actually be banned in the UK due to the low flash point.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            anything runny and flammable.

            I knew a girl like that once

      2. tedleaf

        Red ex

        Forces personnel that used to use it used to add red ex or similar additives as wel,although one guy insisted that all you realy needed was a few squirts of fairy liquid !!

        I don't remember them having any troubles with short lives on engines,more short lives of vehicles from over-enthusiastic use off road on ranges etc at weekends !!

      3. Mark York 3 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        When I Were A Lad.....

        My first proper job was working at a airport where they serviced DC3's.

        Quite a few of the staff used to suppliment their petrol bill by siphoning off a gallon or three of AVGas (including one foreman known as "Hovis" who was found in the act by a colleague at 3am after returning a late night run of taking urgent parts to Birmingham EM).

        One other young lad decided to run his little moped on it full time draining fuel from a couple of DC'3s parked outside, those of us on 2 wheels used them as covered parking space (Something like a Honda Sky 50), completely knackered his engine.

        I dont think he ran his new machine on it after that

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: When I Were A Lad.....

          I know a now-IT-manager that did things the other way round. He bought a series 2 whilst working as the COs signaller. Said series 2 never paid for tyres, parts, fuel, oil and even had a 24v split charge. The COs land rover was often with the fitters.

  11. John 104

    Silver Spitfire

    Added to Amazon cart. LOL, .98c. It will cost more to deliver it than to buy it! Prime is your friend. :)

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Silver Spitfire

      It's the best for stuff like that, I bought 5 autobiographies of WW2 pilots for a grand total of about £7!

      There was also a silver Seafire on-board HMS Hunter at the end of the war, it was stripped down at some point between the end of hostilities and arriving in Singapore to take the surrender.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Silver Spitfire

        On a related note, also worth a read:

        "A Higher Call", by Adam Makos - the true story of how a Luftwaffe pilot escorted a critically-damaged USAF bomber safely out of German airspace.

        https://www.amazon.com/Higher-Call-Incredible-Chivalry-War-Torn/dp/0425255735

        1. Holtsmark

          Re: Silver Spitfire

          Good book,

          I just wish it will be made into a blockbuster one day. Show BOTH sides in a more balanced light. Attacking a bomber group must have taken just as much balls / suffering as attacking with a bomber group.

        2. tedleaf

          Re: Silver Spitfire

          When I was young I used to read every book I could get my hands on,specially anything to do with WW2 flying,somewhere I read a book by a German ace pilot that I would love to read again,but just cannot remember the right name,it used raptor names,something like ."the eagle and the hawk" / the kestrel and the falcon,,/ or the hawk v the osprey,,/ the Merlin v harrier,,

          You get the idea,it was definetly two raptors in the title..

          Have been looking for 30+ years !! and it realy bugs me at times.

          So if anyone can help I'd be grateful..

          Even if it's other forums/sites to ask on,it would help..

          Cheers me dears.

          Ted

          1. lawndart

            Re: Silver Spitfire

            If it's out there then www.bookfinder.com is probably your best bet.

            There is a book called The Eagle and the Hawk by Alec Carstairs, but by the book cover it is probably about a spitfire pilot.

  12. Lord M4x

    Well, Gen. Richard Reboul was flying from one Military Flight Training Academy to another in a pilot training aircraft.

    Salon De Provence is a military pilot training base. So no landing fees and even a possibility of legitimate business.

    It's not strange that he owns a house nearby for obvious reasons, since he was the big boss of that base for years before being posted to Bordeaux.

    He is also the general-in-chief of the airforce.

    And a key participant in the design of the Rafale striker Jet.

    Could well be internal politics, someone trying to damage his reputation (like a supplier that failed to have a bribe accepted/contract awarded). If you think that's too fanciful, one of my former bosses entered the private sector 30 years ago after exactly such an experience.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Actually, I was having the same thoughts - how exactly do you go snoop around on the whereabouts of a jet plane on a military base? Could it be there was a strategical "anonymous" tip-off involved somewhere...?

  13. ratfox Silver badge

    To be honest, I suspect that £500 per flight is relatively small potatoes compared to how much expense budget a general disposes of. Though I don't know how often he's done it.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Plus the fact he will have a driver. Seems a fishy story.

  14. tedleaf

    So

    Well compared to what RAF and army air boys used to get up to in the 1960's with the "private" use of planes and choppers,his possibly legit use is small cry,many memories of Hercules being flown about at weekends doing forces personel house moves etc and flights to exotic places,but pilots have to keep their hours up,and it's hardly a suprise that forces personnel and families have homes near bases and if folk need to be moved from say BOAR to UK,is it cheaper to use several army 3 tonners,pay for a private commercial firm or a Hercules with a crew that need flying hours on their log books ?

    Boscombe down pilots used to get away with murder,but what they did was treated as perks of the job and considering the work they did with the risks involved,they were small.

    At least they didn't use public money to buy and maintain duck houses !!

  15. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Is that all?

    Seriously, this is such bullshit. Or anarcho-tyranny in action.

    Who even cares?

    The whole Lybian war cost "les contribuables" quite a bit more for frank negative results. Nobody of the glitterati even got a one-way ticket to the euthanizing Fletcher Memorial Home (along with Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice - one can dream right?) for that particular clusterfuck.

    MUH COSTLY ALPHA JET! And the EU wants to inject a few billions more and upgrade its military prowess and cover Murricans in western Iraq and look into Ukraine? (While disallowing Wehrmacht memorabilia in barracks of course, can't have that, whoever heard of military being meant to kill anyone?)

    Sod off.

  16. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    It could have been a lot worse

    The French should be very happy that they have military brass who are content with spending a few £1000 of public money on some minor jaunts. Had he not been so easily diverted, he could instead have been spunking £billions on buying new aircraft that needed to be replaced before they were delivered.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have you seen the price of French road tolls, I'm not surprised he sneaked a jet.

  18. earl grey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    want

    Want that little baby jet in my garage for weekend trips to... erm, it's all for business.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: want

      You'll need one hell of a driveway, though :)

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: want

        I saw a TV program about a village in the USA that was built like that. Each house had a garage/hangar, with a drive that went out of each end. One way led to the road, the other led to a taxiway, that went to a shared runway. So you could literally get up in the morning, hop in the plane without having left your house and fly to wherever.

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: want

          Well, as runways and driveways go, John Travolta clearly has that one sorted :).

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OT

    Supermarine Spitfire.

    The absolute pinnacle of -propeller driven- aeronautical engineering.

    Stunning piece of machinery. Flown here by the late great Ray Hanna;

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ray_Flying_Legends_2005-1.jpg

    1. Kernel

      Re: OT

      "Supermarine Spitfire.

      The absolute pinnacle of -propeller driven- aeronautical engineering."

      Really?

      Also from your beloved Wikipedia.

      "During the Malaya campaign in defense of Singapore, the Spitfire met its match in the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero. "The RAF pilots were trained in methods that were excellent against German and Italian equipment but suicide against the acrobatic Japs." as Lt.Gen. Claire Lee Chennault had to notice.[112] Although not as fast as the Spitfire, the Zero could out-turn the Spitfire with ease, could sustain a climb at a very steep angle, and could stay in the air for three times as long."

      Given that the C-V Corsair was more than a match for the Zero, that would suggest that the Corsair at least was quite a bit closer to the pinnacle.

      The Tu95 'Bear', which is also propeller driven, is capable of a top speed of 516 mph, slightly faster than the Spitfire's 370 mph - but all is not lost, a Spitfire at maximum speed would be able to eventually catch and overtake an ATR-72 at cruise speed (316mph), provided the ATR didn't have too much of a head start (otherwise the Spitfire is likely to run out of fuel in the process).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OT

        It strikes me that not being terribly fuel efficient is a bit of a British tradition (admittedly the US isn't shy in that respect either). You still find that tradition in the Aston Martin - still (IMHO) the most beautiful styling ever and a respectable engine to boot, but it's not exactly setting records in fuel efficiency :).

        Not that you need that from a monetary aspect (if you can afford an Aston Martin you will probably also have an accountant who can manage your fuel costs), but from a sheer operating radius perspective it's annoying.

        Going sideways slightly, that's why going *really* fast isn't actually going to get you anywhere faster if the travel distance exceeds tank capacity. In my own experience, doing a calm 120km/h takes 1/5th of the fuel of doing 250km/h (+50l/100km versus 10l/100 for a v8, and those figures are worse for the aforementioned Aston Martin)) - if you want to do 500km in one go in, say, Germany you're better off with a boring old turbo diesel doing 140 km/h than anything faster as some of those will give you nearly 800km on a single tank (it starts with indicating +1000km, but you'll only ever hit that if you stick to 100-110km/h and accelerate as if you have a Prius with empty batteries and only shoe leather for brakes).

        Anyway, apologies for the segway. Speaking of which, what happened to those? :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: OT

          It's called cruise speed.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Long tradition in the RAF

    I remember reading a World War 2 RAF officers' memoirs that referred to flights during the phony war that preceded the Battle of France. The officer in question would hop into his Hurricane, fly down to a particular French Chateau in the Champagne region, grab a case of Champagne and fly back with it on his lap.

    For anyone who has flown a Hurricane, you will realise that this prevents you getting "full and free" control of the control column - so hopefully you don't have to pull up in a hurry at any point during the flight.

    1. ted frater

      Re: Long tradition in the RAF

      I was blessed with a NS Flight engineers training back in 1952/4 and can offer the following,

      1. On posting from Calshot to Kinloss 3 of us instead of railway warrants we did the math to show it was cheaper to pay our fuel to take my Singer 9 van to Kinloss so got the funding for that!.

      2. On completion of our OCU at Kinloss on Shackletons MK 2';s we were posted some 3 of us to RAF Balleykelly in NI.

      so it was my suggestion that we had the CO run a Nav ex to take us there!.

      all organised.

      3 .I was running an Austin 7 chummy at that posting and it was my job to drain the fuel tanks of condensate.

      Needless to say it would have been a waste just to pour it away. It ran my car v well to Londonderry vwell to Saturday dances.

      4. In our billett we had the RAF regiment NCO and it was a perk to go to the range on Wednesdays to do small arms practice, needless to say it wasnt part of our duties, .

      5. On escape and evasion exercises, we had been dropped many milesfrom base and it was pouring with rain that night.

      there was an empty house nearby so we forced open a window to get in. needless to say in the morning we checked and found the front door was unlocked!.

      6. On competion of my statutory duty i drove back from Balleykelly via Stranraer back to Poole!.The chummy went v well..

      so it IS standard practice for aircrew to exercise initiative.

      7. Could never afford to fly privately, but when hang gliding came to the UK, well it was for me. Had a great 10 yrs and finished up representing the BHGA at the CAA on air traffic management. Met some great ex RAF types.

      Finally, one of the best reads is Fate is the hunter, by Ernest Gahn. Many of you know it?

      Ted In Dorset still exercising initiative!!.

  21. bep

    Not a plane but..

    Spike Milligan recounts meeting some lads at the pub at Bexhill-On-Sea who were manning a huge naval gun mounted on a railway carriage. It was usually hidden in a tunnel. Spike asked what was happening to the gun, and they pointed to the railway siding next to the pub. Well, you need some means of transport to get home after a skinful.

  22. A_Melbourne

    The silver Spitfire

    My Dad was a main supplier to the British army in Egypt. At the end of the war, he and two other main suppliers were offered lots of "army surplus" gear almost for free. The Army was desperately short of money. One offer was for brand new latest model Spitfires - boxed and minus guns - for £100 each. A motor torpedo boat - minus tubes - was £500. He settled for lots of trucks and a miniature mining train engine with cars and rails.

    1. Holtsmark

      Re: The silver Spitfire

      He should have picked the Spit. Would be worth £ 1-2 million today.

  23. Sirius Lee

    Parly?

    General Parly? Can we have a talk about that?

  24. Potemkine! Silver badge

    This general is not the bureaucratic kind: he's a pilot and pretty good one. He fought in the first Gulf War on Jaguar, became a test pilot, worked on the Rafale..

    Anyway, at a time when military resources are strained and deficits run high, using an Armée de l'Air's plane for a personal usage cannot be tolerated. An hour flying with an Alphajet costs around 10,000 €. In one year this general would have made ten flights between Bordeaux and Salon-de-Provence, for a total cost around 200,000 €.

    However, I hardly believe he is the only one to practice this kind of abuse - I remember during my military period having our commander being sanctioned because he thought he could fill his personal car's reservoir with Army's gasoline - there may be some internal politics or personal revenge behind this story. It is not an excuse, of course, I would hope that all abuses would be disclosed and punished but I know we do not live in the "Care Bears World"

  25. bexley

    what the point of being in charge of an airforce....

    ....if you cant benefit from perks like taking the company car home for the weekend?

    I don´t see anything wrong with this, as long as aircraft availability for maintenance and operations was not affected (it wasn't) then whats the problem?

  26. paulc

    Tornadoes diverting

    almost every Friday one or two Tornado GR1s from Honington would divert for a snag that mysteriously vanished when the groundcrew got to Newcastle airport to rectify it and have the dubious honour of spending the weekend guarding it until the aircrew, who conveniently happened to have friends or cirlfriends living close to Newcastle, returned on Monday morning to fly it back to Honington.

  27. Grunt #1

    Flight training

    I used to play for a local rugby team while posted in the south. One of the team turned up to training in his RN Wessex 5. The pitch was very clean.

    I think it was classed as training, it must have been useful as it was 1982.

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