Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby The Dudster on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 1:54 pm

Blimmy whilst looking up history for some freinds kids on Tower Bridge found this in Wikipedia

(The Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident occurred on 5 April 1968 when a Royal Air Force Hawker Hunter FGA.9 jet fighter from No. 1 Squadron, flown by Flt Lt Alan Pollock, flew through Tower Bridge. Unimpressed that senior staff were not going to celebrate the RAF's 50th birthday with a fly-past, Pollock decided to do something himself. Without authorisation, Pollock flew the Hunter at low altitude down the Thames, past the Houses of Parliament, and continued on toward Tower Bridge. He flew the Hunter beneath the bridge's walkway, remarking afterwards that it was an afterthought when he saw the bridge looming ahead of him. Pollock was placed under arrest upon landing, and discharged from the RAF on medical grounds without the chance to defend himself at a court martial)

is it true ?? must have been some site to see :whistle:
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The Dudster

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby aviodromefriend on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 2:32 pm

There was an article about this in Classic Aircraft a few months ago, including an interview with the pilot.
A weather forecast is a forecast and just that

Mike Moses, Launch Integration Manager Space Shuttle Program
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aviodromefriend

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby Russ on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 2:37 pm

This incident is also mentioned in James Hamilton-Paterson's excellent "Empire of the Clouds" book. No reason to assume it was anything other than true.
"You're god damn right!"
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Russ

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby Abingdonman on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 3:19 pm

We werent health'n'safety freaks back then :grin:
Abingdonman

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby Craig on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 3:41 pm

Yep absolutely true. Pity no-one knew about it it'd have made for quite a photo! :cool:
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Craig
UKAR Staff

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby Martin the Martian on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 4:01 pm

I remember watching an interview with Al Pollock. As well as a double decker bus crossing the bridge at the same moment he blew somebody off a bike and as the upper walkways whizzed over his canopy the thought as to whether the tailfin would get through the opening flashed through his mind.

By all accounts Pollock was a superb pilot, with combat experience in Aden, and had all the makings of a future squadron commander or even higher. As has been said the indifference of the MoD and government towards the RAF's 50th anniversary incensed him greatly. He and three other Hunter pilots from No.1 Sqdn had spent the night at Tangmere after an evening to commemorate the station's closure. Their four Hunters were apparently the last movements out of Tangmere. He left the formation, headed straight for London and, after dipping a wing in salute to the RAF memorial, well and truly beat up the Palace of Westminster, interrupting a debate in the Commons as he circled it twice. Tower Bridge was an afterthought. He was following the path of the Thames, saw it in front of him and thought, why not?

Illegal, dangerous, or whatever you want to call it, it was still a superb piece of flying. The span between the towers is 200ft; the wingspan of a Hunter is 33ft. Now that may sound like a handsome margin of error, but as an unplanned exercise without any prior reconnaissance I would say Pollock pulled it off magnificently. He was indeed medically discharged, a clear case of the RAF sweeping the matter under the carpet and the government of the day, as has been said, denying him his day in court.
50 Shades of Grey: sounds like a paint chart for modern jets
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Martin the Martian

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby The Dudster on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 4:31 pm

Thanks chaps all i can say is Photoshop for their school project !!!!! (ile post it if they do it) :shock: :clap: :biggrin: :grin: and confirmation that it is true. Must have put a smile on many vets/serving pilots faces IM certainly smiling rrr health & safety ?
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The Dudster

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby aviodromefriend on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 4:34 pm

aviodromefriend wrote:There was an article about this in Classic Aircraft a few months ago, including an interview with the pilot.
September issue page 54-55.
The Dudster wrote:Must have put a smile on many vets/serving pilots faces
We might never know, as they are not allowed to give their opinion.
A weather forecast is a forecast and just that

Mike Moses, Launch Integration Manager Space Shuttle Program
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aviodromefriend

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby thefixer on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 5:56 pm

Yes, my dad was working in Scotland Yard on that fateful day, heard the jet noise and saw the Hunter flash past, between two buildings on it's way up the Thames! Those were the days for sure!
Thanks for reading!

Mike
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thefixer

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby Mike on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 6:28 pm

Martin the Martian wrote:He was indeed medically discharged, a clear case of the RAF sweeping the matter under the carpet and the government of the day, as has been said, denying him his day in court.

I'd say he got of off lightly. Had he had 'his day in court' he would most likely have been jailed, as he could offer no possible defence for such a reckless act. All very well saying that it was a superb piece of flying, but it could easily have ended with multiple innocent civilian deaths.
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Mike

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby Warton GR4 on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 6:46 pm

Hi,
You can see (and buy) aviation artist Michael Rondot's impression of the incident here:
http://www.collectair.co.uk/buy-online/ ... unter.html
I must admit if I've always been very tempted to get a print of it.
Enjoy,
Mark
Formerly Mk1 Maniac!

Mark Wright
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Warton GR4

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby TIGER TIM on Fri 26 Oct 2012, 7:18 pm

It's also in the book "No.1 Squadron at War & Peace" and the Hunter's markings are also on a decal sheet covering the first 100 years of No.1 (F) Squadron. :yahoo:
TIGER TIM

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby neilesmith on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 10:43 am

I was in London that day and saw a jet fighter circle the Millbank Tower apparently below it's top.My first thought in those cold war days was that the Russians had arrived! Later saw the news.....
Are you coming quietly or will I need the earplugs?
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neilesmith

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby Buzz on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:16 pm

What a sight that would have made looking down on a hunter screaming past . :rock: And yes, it could have resulted in an accident blah blah, but it didn't. Every silver lining....... :question:
Buzz

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby pbeardmore on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 12:39 pm

If you judge acceptable risk by the actual outcome, he has a great pilot. I you judge acceptable risk by the likelyhood of a dreadful accident with multiple fatalities, he was an idiot.
IMHO he was an idiot. He gambled not only his own life but the lives on innocent members of the public based on his own gripes concerning an issue that most people did not care or know about. Just imagine what kind of an RAF we would have if all pilots based their decision making process around the same framework of rationality.
“The best computer is a man, and it’s the only one that can be mass-produced by unskilled labour.”
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pbeardmore

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby The Dudster on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 1:06 pm

pbeardmore wrote:If you judge acceptable risk by the actual outcome, he has a great pilot. I you judge acceptable risk by the likelyhood of a dreadful accident with multiple fatalities, he was an idiot.
IMHO he was an idiot. He gambled not only his own life but the lives on innocent members of the public based on his own gripes concerning an issue that most people did not care or know about. Just imagine what kind of an RAF we would have if all pilots based their decision making process around the same framework of rationality.



mmmmmm Let me think ! Ghost Rider request permission for a flyby, Negative ghost rider the pattern is full "F%&$k it ile do it anyway lets go ballistic with Penny Benjamin !!! :wink:
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The Dudster

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby effects on Sun 28 Oct 2012, 12:39 pm

Similar story but some of the bridges the 'mad major' flew under were a lot lower, picked up his book recently promises to be a good read.
see here,
http://www.pprune.org/aviation-history- ... idges.html
Sony DSC-HX300 (Sony DSC-H2 retired)
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effects

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby MikeG2012 on Wed 31 Oct 2012, 2:17 pm

There have, I am sure, been many ill advised examples of inappropriate exhibitionism many of which were flown as a result of the pilot's frustration with bureaucracy. Another example is described in Alex Henshaw's excellent book, Sigh for a Merlin, where he graphically describes the occasion in 1940 when his boss told him that the company were trying to support the Lord Mayor of Birmingham's Spitfire fund and would Alex put on a show. The show was not however to be at at the nearby Castle Bromwich factory but over Birmingham city centre. In spite of Alex Henshaw's protestations that such a display over a densely built up area was 'taking a bit of a chance' the flight went ahead. To quote from the book:

''At first I was just angry with what I thought was a stupid, unsafe arrangement then, as I pointed my nose vertically to plunge in a dive over the city, the Civic Centre, being new and white, stood out clearly in the smoke begrimed background. I thought, I'll teach Dunbar and the Lord Mayor something they'll not forget in a hurry. Having used up all my surplus height in a series of vertical upward rolls, I shot down the main street of Birmingham, rolling as I did so and finished in the inverted position below the top of the Civic Centre''

The police were unable to control the chaos which ensued and when he arrived back at Castle Bromwich he had just climbed down from the cockpit when, unsurprisingly, he was met by the Chief Constable.

Apparently a photograph appeared in the local newspaper the next day. Does anyone have a copy of this image they could post on this forum?

Mike
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MikeG2012

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby King Cobra on Wed 31 Oct 2012, 2:24 pm

Warton GR4 wrote:Hi,
You can see (and buy) aviation artist Michael Rondot's impression of the incident here:
http://www.collectair.co.uk/buy-online/ ... unter.html
I must admit if I've always been very tempted to get a print of it.
Enjoy,
Mark


Visited 1 Sqd at Wittering back in Harrier GR3 days. Saw the painting - the original I think - on the crew room wall. They were rather proud of it. Quality flying and a splendid "two fingers" to the government of the day.
King Cobra

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby CH2 on Wed 31 Oct 2012, 6:35 pm

Yep it was still there in 2010, only at Cotts.
Cheers,

Chris
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CH2

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby richyrara on Wed 31 Oct 2012, 9:27 pm

Reminds me of an incident in the 50s (I think) when a Vampire was flown under the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol.

There was a rather different outcome unfortunately.
richyrara

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby CH2 on Wed 31 Oct 2012, 9:54 pm

Yes, as a kid my Dad used tell me that the ghost of the pilot could be seen floating around Clifton!
Cheers,

Chris
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CH2

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby Spiny Norman on Sat 08 Dec 2012, 10:04 am

Anyone interested should tune in to Radio 4 right now as the pilot involved is to be on Saturday Live programme.
I did not know that. Cheers!
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Spiny Norman

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby motormouser on Sat 08 Dec 2012, 11:22 am

Whilst having a look on-line for a little more info ref. the Clifton incident i came across this pic!

Image
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motormouser

Re: Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident

Postby dale b on Sat 08 Dec 2012, 7:36 pm

WOW! I think those people standing on trocadero are about to lose their hats! Is it a mossie?
dale b


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