FEBRUARY 2010- In a annual visit to catch up and talk with me, a former Royal Australian Air Force / RAAF aircrew member – who flew in aircraft such as the Canberra, F-4 Phantom and F-111 as a bombardier/navigator – has had a chance to be rekindled with the Martin Baker H7 ejection seat. This type of seat was common to F-4 Phantoms.
John Bushell served in the RAAF from 1963 to 1991 and flew on many different aircraft and managed many different projects. He ended up commanding a RAAF unit at a base in Victoria.
John has an amazing RAAF service history in my opinion , as he is one of the few people i know and further more have met, to have flown in RAAF service in 1960-70s timeframe on the Canberra bomber – including a tour with 2 Sqn where he served in Vietnam war, the F-4E Phantom on lease from USAF between 1970-73 and then the high tech F-111C.
He experienced 3 different aircraft types/platforms and 3 different types of technological leaps covering 20years nearly.
In today’s visit, he was able to recall various aspects to me about his flying in the RAAF.
Part of this was his first up close look of my F4 Phantom seat. John was trained on how to use this type of seat when flying in the RAAF F-4 Phantoms back in 1970-73 period.
He was able to recall many of the seat functions – amazing i found after nearly 40years!
He is able to recall many things in clear detail, i have found in my communications with him.
He looked and felt at home in this seat just by the way he talked.
Special thanks to John for finding the time to catch up and share the information.
Look forward to the next meeting.
John supplied and graciously allowed me to publish these exclusive photos of his time in the RAAF –
The first one is after Johns first F-4E Phantom flight at Amberley air base. John is on left and right is Maj Hal Hume, the USAF instructor pilot. Mal was part of the initial delivery crew of the 24 x F-4E Phantoms to Amberley, from the USA in September 1970.
John was luckly chosen to be selected as one of the crews in the first F-111 delivery flight across the Pacific from USA to Amberley in 1973, flying in F-111C A8-127.
In the photo below which is after 1973, John is on left and is with Air Cdre Dave Evans who just did his first “solo” flight in the F-111 hence the “bubbly”. John by this time was an F-111C instructor navigator. Dave Evans was CO of 2 Sqn for part of the time John was in the Vietnam, so he had flown with him on Canberras and knew him well. Dave later became the RAAF Chief of Air Staff.
Below are photos from today showing the seat, John and myself and finally John in the seat.
The seat is undergoing a fast tracked restoration to acquire a few parts. These parts are mainly to deal with the parachute pack on top of the headrest and a shoulder harness/riser. A cleanup and mounting on a movable stand if possible is hopefully to be done by late February 2010, if not later on in the year.