Embarrassing Moments

This forum is intended to be a place to leave recollections of something you recall from the past. The topic can be about your time served with the Directorate, a humorous or embarrassing event, or general that will be of interest or bring a smile to others visiting this forum.
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Martin Swift RY67
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Location: Romsley / Birmingham
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Re: Embarrassing Moments

Post by Martin Swift RY67 »

I was happily soldering away in the equipment room area in the basement of Baswich House, Staffordshire Police HQ, once when the Comms Officer came in and told me I needed to go outside as there was a fire alarm going off (it didn’t appear to work in the basement so he kindly came down to tell me…). So I went upstairs and out of the main entrance to find large number of people already outside, gathered in groups, out on the grass. I joined them.

You are probably already ahead of me but there was no actual fire and yes, the source of the alarm was in the basement area. It was the solder fumes which had set it off, causing the whole building to be evacuated. There was no further action taken but I was very careful after that to check more carefully for smoke detectors…!
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Ron Suddes
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Location: Durham City

Re: Embarrassing Moments

Post by Ron Suddes »

Whilst serving in the RAF at Wyton I was tasked with carrying out a Monthly Inspection of CADF (Commutated Aerial Direction Finding) . To simulate an aircraft a test oscillator could be theoretically, moved to any bearing, but was usually used at 90,180,270 and 360 degrees.
I duly took control from Air Traffic and keyed the test oscillator, no display, so flicked the switch a few times. No joy, some Pratt had left the TO on 243Mhz the Distress Frequency. I changed it to the approach frequency and proceeded to carry out the calibration. I assumed the TO may radiate to Wyton, but no further and they would know it was me.
Unbeknown to me half the country was on a distressed aircraft alert as I must have keyed the switch 4 times which was code h for speechless aircraft. They traced the "aircraft" to around Wyton, buy Wyton wasn't flying that day..
I received a call from ATC asking me if I could have keyed the distress frequency 4 times in succession, I though now is time for honesty and admitted I had.
When I finished the Job I was told to immediately report to SATCO (Senior Air Traffic Control Officer). I reported to him, he was the usual retired pilot with a very stressful job, Squadron Leader. I told him the story and he said, but for my honesty a great deal of expense would have been incurred with air searches. He had spoken to Command and they agreed it was a useful training exercise and no further action to be taken.
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Ron Suddes
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Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 12:28 pm
Location: Durham City

Embarrassing Moments

Post by Ron Suddes »

NTL took a major mobilising contract on for a Fire Brigade, the usual story training would be arranged in the future.
We were invited down to see the working system along with Senior Fire Officers who seemed impressed.
There were two engineering terminals and I decided to put my A4 hardback notebook in the gap between them.
Suddenly there was panic as the live system closed down, the emergency control was almost up and activated before the Marconi Engineers noticed someone had pressed the Break key on one of the engineering terminals. The corner of my notebook had caught the break key and the system had closed down. When I suggested the software should have asked "Are you sure?" before taken such a drastic step the weren't impressed, but I understand the software was modified at the next upgrade. I kept well away from the break key in the future.


There was a Marconi Stratex installed in a small windowless room which needed to be air-conditioned because there was no ventilation.
I went in one day and the room was stifling hot so I opened the fire-door to cool the room. The a/c had failed so I saw an unmarked switch next to the a/c so I thought I'll switch it off and on again. The Stratex immediately closed down - The unmarked switch was an earth leakage test of the equipment room.

I'm sure we all have similar stories to tell so get writing.
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