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The FIRST and possibly the last flight of a JEngo in an S MK 2.
Onboard HMS Victorious in the South China Sea.
By Group Captain Tom Eeles

The first Buccaneer squadron I was privileged to serve on was also the first to be equipped with the S Mk 2. As is the custom with new British military aircraft there were many things that didn't work properly on this new wonder jet; the engines in particular were of a constantly changing modification state and so the numbers of engine changes undertaken in the very close confines of the hanger of HMS Victorious must have run into treble figures.
Nevertheless, the engineers performed miracles, driven hard as they were by the fearsome junior AEO (or JEngo in Crab speak). The junior AEO was an impressive individual known as Split Pin. He sported a huge bushy red beard, drank vast quantities of Tiger and San Mig and was all in all the epitome of a Viking looter and rapist. At the end of this mammoth sequence of engine changes the Senior Pilot decided to reward the indefagitable Split Pin for his efforts with a trip in the back seat.

Now Split Pin had never flown before, let alone non diversion in the back seat of a Mk2 Buccaneer with two brand new Speys on either side of him. The sortie was naturally a double engine test flight. In the steamy heat of a South China Sea morning Split Pin was strapped unceremoniously into the back seat by two of his ratings. Not surprisingly he was hot, nervous, very uncomfortable and probably not looking forward to the sortie at all. Shortly aver engine start Split Pin somewhat diffidently enquired of his pilot as to whether the aircraft was serviceable. "Of course not, none of the jets you lot of useless engineers muck about with are ever serviceable" came the reply from the front seat. Much relieved, Split Pin undid his uncomfortable straps, made the bottom handle safe (there was a flap, not a pin, in those days) and sat back in anticipation of a short taxi up into Fly 1.

As expected, the aircraft taxied forward along the flight deck. But what was this? Split Pin suddenly found the aircraft being guided onto the catapult and being tensioned up! "What's going on? I thought said we were u\s!" gulped Split Pin. "Certainly not! I was only pulling your p....r" replied the pilot. "Hold tight!" Down went the green flag and off went our heroes, Split Pin unstrapped and on a safe seat. Split Pin didn't contribute much to the conduct of the engine test flight. He spent most of the sortie attempting to reconnect his straps and by the time the aircraft was back in the landing circuit had at least got his lap straps done up. Sadly, he never did get his shoulder straps secured so smote his forehead a mighty blow as the aircraft caught a wire. His image as a Viking marauder, although dented physically, was safe because no one who knew what had happened ever told the Senior Pilot or the AEO, until today. It only goes to show that you need to be very careful what you say to engineers particularly when they have been reluctantly strapped into your aircraft.

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