A Most Familiar RAF Jet Aircraft.
SUBJECT : DH VENOM
In September 1956, I arrived at RAF Celle BAOR 23 as a Junior Technician. I
was housed in "Patton Block". Glory?
For the purposes of work, I was placed in the "Modification and Repair Bay".
After some weeks grappling with that which passed for "work", I became involved in changing Canopy Rails. This became a "speciality". At the rear of each rail, there were two 4BA countersunk bolts. Because of where the latter had been placed, then to remove the rails, it was necessary to remove the gun-pack, main fuel tank, and jet-engine. This gave good opportunity for the control cables to be cleaned and inspected for damage. For a job that took only a few minutes to complete, a morning's work was required.
After the new rails had been fitted, it was necessary to refit the engine, fuel-tank, and gun-pack. Then the engine had to be run so as to check for any leaks in the fuel system. This necessitated my being required to lie under the fuselage and check each coupling and having a good look up into the space between the fuel tank and fuselage. When the engine was running at high speed, the fuselage moved towards the ground. This took some getting used to.
Another "speciality" of mine was to change the Air-Conditioning Unit. Fortunately, my small hands came in useful as access to the ACU was not all that straightforward, it being skewed at some odd angles. Not only that, but the access aperture, on the upper surface of the port wing, was effectively smaller than the ACU. Patience proved to be a virtue.
From these two jobs, I learnt that accessibility was a key to decreasing any
turn-around time. In hindsight, this is obvious, but then not.
Then came another regular job, and that was to change the Windscreen. Rubber strips, Bostik, and bolts.
In September 1957, I was transferred to the Command Modification Unit at RAF Buckeburg.
Christopher Miles (588564) 74th Entry
I would be pleased to hear from anyone who has any stories about this aircraft; humorous, technical, or historical. Please use the Feedback Form to contact me briefly, in the first instance.
Joe Bosher (74th).