Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Nimrod knowledge transfer

Nimrod XV231 at Manchester yesterday, my car next to it

It was April 2010 when RAF Nimrod submarine hunter XV231 touched down at Manchester after its last flight. Shortly afterwards it was decommissioned and moved to the Runway Visitor Park, and we commenced giving tours on it to the public. All the Nimrod MR2s were withdrawn from service that month, though the Nimrod R1s (electronic intelligence gatherers) lasted a short while longer but soon they too were grounded.

We gleaned quite a lot of information about Nimrod operations from the RAF at the aeroplane's erstwhile base, Kinloss in Scotland, and read everything published about it (books by Bill Gunson and Tony Blackman - a Nimrod test pilot - and some magazine articles). The tours last 45 minutes and are very well received.

We recruited some additional Concorde guides last summer, and one of them knows an ex-Nimrod captain (Bill) who was willing to come to the Viewing Park and give us the benefit of his years of experience on the aeroplane.

Obviously we already had considerable Nimrod knowledge; the history, the operations it was used for and how it carried those out. Bill was able to add a great deal of information about how the crew worked as a team, sonar buoy specifics, types characteristics and tactics of Russian submarines, air-to-air refueling details, air / sea rescue methods, Nimrod as a fighter in the Falklands War (fitted with Sidewinder air-to-air missiles), various 'war stories' and anecdotes, and much more.

It was a fascinating morning (actually, so fascinating it went on into the afternoon!) and very informative. We won't have time on our 45 minute tour to cram any more information in than we already do, but perhaps it's time to consider a longer, more detailed, Nimrod tour at Manchester. Watch this space!


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