Fg Off Mal Grosse

Mal Grosse, a pilot on 8 Squadron from July 1964 to May 1966, recalls his relief at walking away unscathed from a serious incident along with his recommendations for recuperating after such episodes.

Who needs wheels!!!!

“On 5 Aug 1965, I was No.2 of a 4-ship simulated strike being led by Iain Porteous in the Wadi Meifa area. In a starboard turn at low level, I had a hydraulic failure warning, quickly followed by the controls going into manual. Accompanied by Iain, I climbed to high level for the return to Khormaksar and during the subsequent recovery to base I started my landing checks, which included blowing down the undercarriage with emergency air. The procedure involved a push ’n pull on the emergency undercarriage selector, which was fastened by a length of cable to a bicycle-type brake connector on top of the air bottle. Sadly, on the previous major servicing the aforesaid connector had been left unconnected, and I found myself grasping the selector which was attached to a dangling piece of unattached cable! Fortunately the emergency flap lever was connected, and the inevitable wheels-up arrival on the 100-gallon drop tanks was relatively uneventful. I seem to recall that XE530 was repaired and back on the line during the following month.

The incident took place around lunchtime, and by mid-afternoon I was in the Tarshyne bar downing a quantity of freely provided Amstel, revelling in the adoration of the lovely BOAC ladies who had arrived from the UK that morning. The rest is for me to remember and others to guess!”


“I recall another incident in which I landed with a 3” RP hang-up from a range sortie. I forgot to get the thing unplugged at the end of the runway, and taxied back to the pan with the firing lead still attached. I shutdown and casually walked back to the line-hut where I heard this tremendous WHOOSH. One of the linies was unaware that the rocket was still electrically armed, and proceeded with his turnround checks. Putting on the cockpit battery master switch, the thing fired – and proceeded across the main runway at a pace, with a long plume of smoke – just in front of a Shackleton which was about to lift-off! The armourer was fined a fortnight’s pay by the Boss (Des Melaniphy I think), and I was interviewed and reprimanded by the current Marshal of the RAF, Sir Michael Beetham – who, with an uncustomary wry smile, added that I would also pay the armourer’s fine! This I did, but I can’t remember his name – can anyone help on this?.”