Post by Dave Homewood on Oct 22, 2021 11:21:28 GMT 12
WONZ 246 is now online: This episode is the first in a series called “Great Escapes”, which will delve into some intense stories of pilots, aircrew or passengers finding themselves in grave danger in the air, and have managed to have their lives saved by means of an ejection seat, or other means. This episode features Air Commodore Geoff Hubbard, who served with the RNZAF from 1953 till 1990.
On the 3rd of July 1957 Geoff found himself in an inverted spin over the Malayan jungle in de Havilland DH.112 Venom FB.1, serial WE409, and was forced to “bang out” using the ejector seat. He tells the second by second story of that incredible few minutes in his life. He also details what it was like to fly the Venom as a young fighter pilot, and he talks about the reason why he and No. 14 Squadron RNZAF were there, the Malayan Emergency. He also tells what happened in the very first RNZAF ejection, also a Venom flown by Mike Palmer, who was on the same squadron.
Wow, what a great interview! The thing that struck me the most was the amazing recall of the events that Geoff has - especially considering that it is over 64 years ago that he ejected.
It is pretty amazing that he got out okay from an inverted ejection on that early generation Martin Baker seat, with minimal injuries. However, I cannot begin to imagine how it felt pulling the handle, and having nothing happen...
Dave, well done on a great episode! Geoff's memory of the ejection was amazing, I suppose an event like that would be hard to forget.
It was good to hear the operational side of operating Venoms too. I was surprised to hear it performed better in rate of climb than the Skyhawk, especially given the hot humid conditions in Singapore. I think it was Stuart McIntyre or Fred Tucker that hoped the Venoms would return to New Zealand as he was curious to see how their performance improved in the cooler dense air.
Did you ask him whether he got a Martin Baker tie after his ejection? I think that was the given practice.
I'm looking forward to the rest of the upcoming episodes in this Great Escape series.
Last Edit: Oct 24, 2021 6:39:03 GMT 12 by Venomnut
A- It's twice the distance from one end to the centre.
Post by Dave Homewood on Oct 28, 2021 17:15:59 GMT 12
Here is an article about Geoff's ejection, from the PRESS, dated 5 July 1957.
ESCAPE FOR N.Z. AIRMAN
Bailed Out Over Malaya
(N.Z. Press Association—Copyright) SINGAPORE, July 3.
A New Zealand pilot used an ejector seat and parachuted to safety today a few seconds before his Venom jet fighter crashed in flames in south-east Malaya. He is Flying Officer Geoffrey Hubbard, of Blenheim. He escaped unhurt. Flying Officer Hubbard was on a routine training flight, when the aircraft developed engine trouble.
He bailed out from 5000 ft and landed in a pineapple plantation, where he was found by a police party.
His jet was completely wrecked.
Flying Officer Hubbard is with the R.N.Z.A.F. No. 14 (Fighter) Squadron based at the Royal Air Force Tengah Station in Singapore Island.
A three-man police party found him and took him to a village where a doctor from the 1st Battalion, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers was waiting to give him a medical check. Officers of the Borderers gave him lunch and toasted his lucky escape.
The pilot of another Venom of No. 14 Squadron escaped in a similar fashion or April 29 when the engine failed 1000 ft over the Straits of Johore.
He was Flight Lieutenant Michael Palmer, of Christchurch. Royal Air Force authorities said at the time that Flight Lieutenant Palmer was the first airman in Malaya to save his life by using the ejector seat.
Post by Dave Homewood on Oct 31, 2021 12:48:26 GMT 12
I just found this article about Mike Palmer's ejection too, which Geoff talked about in the episode. It is from the PRESS, 30 April 1957
City Pilot Bails Out
SINGAPORE, April 29.
A 28-year-old New Zealand Air Force pilot today parachuted to safety minutes before his Venom jet fighter plunged into the Straits of Johore, separating Singapore from the Malayan Peninsula, a Royal Air Force spokesman said. The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Michael Palmer, of Christchurch, used his ejector seat 1000 feet over the Johore Straits when the engine of his Venom failed during a routine training flight. He was picked up unhurt shortly after by a police launch. Flight Lieutenant Palmer was attached to Number 14 Squadron, Royal New Zealand Air Force, based in Singapore. His wife and two children are in Singapore.