Below: Phantom XT871 (007) having launched from the waist (angle deck) catapult.|
Viewed from 3 (cable) deck.
This aircraft had an interesting history. On one occasion whilst Ark Royal was operating off the Moray Firth 007 could not shrink its nose gear and thus could not retract it. I recall being on watch at the time (as one of the 892 Phantom maintainers) and taking part in the discussions on how to overcome the problem whilst the aircraft circled the ship. There was no solution so it was 'piped' over the ship that the aircraft would fly alongside whilst the crew ejected. As it happened the ship's company missed a show as the pilot decided to divert ashore and land it. With a rigid extended strut at the nose, leaving inches of space between stabilator (tailplane) tips and the runway! The pilot earned a well deserved 'gong' for this, as I recall.
Gave myself, and others, a very unpleasant few minutes when it suffered re-heat 'buzz' during a waist cat' launch. A most disturbing combination of noise and vibration requiring extensive NDT airframe checks afterwards and engine repair or replacement. Changing engines on these aircraft was a job of a different magnitude whilst at sea.
Later (July 1973) suffered engine failure whilst being launched off the bow cat and ditched. Crew picked up by SAR Wessex.