Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneers

Twin Pioneer CC.1,

209 Sqn., Seletar, November 1959 to December 1968

By Ian Old

scottish_twinpioneer

The Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer (sometimes known as the Twin Pin or written in shorthand as TEP) was a development of the Pioneer, a single–engine light transport machine and was therefore a Short-Take Off & Landing (STOL) transport aircraft, being able to operate from a nine hundred foot runway. Both aircraft were high-winged, fitted with leading-edge slats, Fowler flaps and had fixed undercarriage legs. The Pioneer had proved a success and the initial design of the Twin Pioneer featured a single tail fin but the prototypes flew with the now familiar triple fins.

The first prototype made its first flight on 25 June 1955, from Prestwick, Scottish Aviation’s factory and flight test centre. After trials a total of 39 aircraft were ordered for the Royal Air Force, with the first production example being delivered to the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Boscombe Down on 6 February 1958. It was tested as a weapons platform, dropping bombs, firing machine guns and launching SS.11 anti-tank missiles. At least one machine fired missiles in anger during the Aden campaign but such use was rare. The normal roles carried out were light transport and casualty evacuation, replacing the

Squadrons which operated Twin Pioneers (in order of receipt)

Unit

First Received

Bases

Notes

78 Sqn.

17/09/58

Khormaksar (Aden).

Re-equipped with Wessex helicopters, June 1965.

152 Sqn.

20/12/58

Bahrain, later Sharjah

Disbanded 9 December 1967

209 Sqn.

01/03/59

Kuala Lumpur, then Seletar from 1 October 1959.

Disbanded 31 December 1968

21 Sqn.

01/05/59

Benson, Eastleigh (Kenya) from September 1960,
Khormaksar (Aden) from June 1965.

Disbanded 15 September 1967

230 Sqn.

29/01/60

Upavon and later Odiham.

Re-equipped with Whirlwind helicopters, January 1963.

On 1 November 1958 267 Sqn., based at Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, was re-designated 209 Sqn. In March 1959 it received its first Twin Pioneer, which was to replace its Pembrokes, which were not best-suited to operating out of rough/unprepared airstrips. The Squadron moved to Seletar on 1 October 1959.

209 Sqn. provided support to the British Army throughout Malaya/Malaysia, supplying supplies and moving personnel in and out of small bases with unprepared landing strips. There was a lull in the intensity of flying with the end of Operation Firedog, the UK military operations to thwart Communist agitation in Malaya, 1948-60. However the Borneo Confrontation (1962-66) meant more operational flying for the Twin Pioneers across Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei.

The disbandment of the training unit for the type, the Short Range Conversion Unit, based at Odiham, in July 1967 meant that the end of the Twin Pioneer in RAF service was both planned and would be approximately eighteen months away. At the start of 1968, 209 Sqn. had nine Twin Pins on strength, although the imminent disbandment meant a steady reduction with five airframes withdrawn from use by the middle of October, due to either damage being sustained by individual airframes or there being routine maintenance required which could not be justified with the withdrawal from service being close at hand. The disbandment took place at Seletar on 31 December 1968, and marked the last flight of the type in RAF service, the last four machines being struck off charge on 20 December. 209 Squadron’s numberplate has remained dormant since.

Most aircraft were camouflaged in grey and green camouflage, although some did fly in white/natural metal finish with Dayglo orange patches. The unit marking, of a winged bomb, was applied to camouflaged aircraft.

209 Sqn. aircraft details:

XL967

Ex trials. Joined 209 Sqn. on 10 June 1959.

Destroyed in a flying accident when it crashed near Kota Tingi, Malaya, 19 April 1960. Both engines failed shortly after take off, due to alleged fuel mismanagement. All occupants survived.

XL969

Issued to 209 Sqn. on 29 April 1959.

Scrapped at Seletar in 1967, being sold for scrap, 12 October 1967.

XL970

Taken on strength by 209 Sqn. on 26 February 1959, becoming the first example to join. Coded ‘C’ at some point.

Scrapped at Seletar after 209’s disbandment on 31 December 1968.

XL991

After a brief period in store in the UK, it was issued to 209 Sqn. on 28 July 1967, becoming the the last Twin Pioneer to join the unit.

Written off on 29 September 1967, after ditching into the South China Sea, three miles east of Tioman airstrip, Malaysia after both engines cut.

XL995

After being put into store, it was issued to 209 Sqn. on 17 November 1960.

Sold for scrap on 20 December 1968, at Seletar.

XL997

It was stored before being issued to 209 Sqn. on 16 December 1960. Coded ‘H’ at some point.

Sold for scrap on 1 October 1968, at Seletar.

XM939

After service in Aden and overhaul in the UK, it joined 209 Sqn. on 21 September 1966.

Withdrawn from use on 31 July 1968 and later moved to the Asahan weapons range, Malaysia, 70 miles north of Tengah, to be used as a target itself. Later destroyed.

XM941

Issued to 224 Group Support Flight on 22 October 1959.

Due to a double engine failure, it force-landed near Labis, Malaya, 9 March 1960 and tipped over.

XM942

Joined 209 Sqn. on 17 March 1959.

Written off on 29 May 1964 when it crashed at Long Akah, Borneo. Hit a soft patch on landing and lost its undercarriage. All survived.

XM957

After service in Aden and an overhaul in the UK, it was issued to 209 Sqn. on 8 August 1966.

Sold for scrap on 20 July 1967, at Seletar.

XM962

Joined 209 Sqn. on 7 May 1963 after being in store in the UK.

Sold for scrap on 9 October 1968, at Seletar.

XM963

It was in Aden before returning to the UK for overhaul. Issued to 209 Sqn. on 11 March 1966.

Sold for scrap on 23 August 1968, at Seletar.

XN318 (CC.2)

In store. On 209’s strength from 29 October 1960.

On 14 February 1963 it departed Labuan to look for missing Sarawak Rangers personnel. The aircraft was later found to have crashed into the jungle, five miles north of Long Semado, North Sarawak. It is believed to have struck trees, hit a cliff and then crashed into a river. A British Army patrol located the crash site the following day only to find that there were no survivors. Due to the terrain and the potential for enemy activity, this being during the Borneo Confrontation, there was no attempt to recover the bodies. The five occupants were Fg. Officer James Edward Pearce, pilot, Flt. Lt. Donald Berry, navigator, Flt. Lt. Michael Morling, supernumerary navigator (Seletar Wing), Junior Technician David Cranes, wireless operator and Lance Corporal Dennis Hargreaves, air despatcher.

XN319 (CC.2)

Was in store before it joined 209 Sqn. on 29 October 1960.

Struck off charge (SOC) on 9 October 1968.

XN320 (CC.2)

Placed in store before it was issued to 209 Sqn. on 18 September 1961.

Struck off charge (SOC) on 20 December 1968, at Seletar.

XN321 (CC.2)

In store prior to being issued to 209 Sqn. on 18 September 1961.

Crashed at Butterworth, Malaysia, on 26 April 1967. One engine cut on take-off and the undercarriage collapsed in the forced landing. All survived.

XP293 (CC.2)

Issued to 209 Sqn. during August 1962 after being used for trials.

Used as a VIP transport during the Borneo Confrontation, the Duke of Edinburgh and Duke of Gloucester being passengers on separate occasions.

Struck off charge (SOC) on 20 December 1968 and moved to Changi for use by the Air Scouts. Later scrapped.

XP294 (CC.2)

It was used for trials worked, joining 209 Sqn. by 28 March 1963.

Crashed, Bario, Malaysia, on 11 September 1964. The aircraft skidded on landing on a wet runway, hit a ditch and the undercarriage was ripped off. There were no fatalities.

Seventeen Twin Pioneers served with 209 and five were lost in flying accidents. One airframe served with the 224 Group Support Flight and was lost in service. None of the airframes that served with 209 Sqn. Survive.

Aircraft on strength on 1st January of each year:

Serial

1960

1961

1962

1963

1964

1965

1966

1967

1968

XL967

Yes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

XL969

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

XL970

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

XL991

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

XL995

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

XL997

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

XM939

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

XM942

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

 

 

XM957

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

XM962

 

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

XM963

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

XN318

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

 

 

 

XN319

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

XN320

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

XN321

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

XP293

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

XP294

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

 

 

Total

6

7

9

10

11

9

9

12

9

Of the thirty nine RAF Twin Pioneers, thirteen were written off as a result of flying accidents. This high loss rate must be in part due to the demanding terrain and weather the machines had to operate in.

Specifications:

Length: 45 feet, 3 inches, wingspan 76 feet, 6 inches and height 12 feet and 3 inches.

Empty weight: 10,062 pounds (4.49 tons) and fully loaded, 14,600 pounds (6.50 tons).

Engines:

(Series 1) Two Alvis Leonides 514/8 radials, 550 horsepower; (CC.1 in RAF service);

(Series 2) two 600 horsepower Pratt and Whitney R-1340 radials;

(Series 3) two 640 horsepower Leonides 531/8 radials (CC.2 in RAF service).

Maximum speed: 165 mph/ 143 nautical miles per hour.

Range: 695 miles. Service ceiling: 20,000 feet. Rate of climb: 1,250 feet per minute.

Load: up to thirteen passengers or up to 2,000 pounds of cargo.

References:

Wolverhampton Aviation Group. Aviation News. Air Historic