Friday, June 21, 2024 Military Aviation » Accidents - Military » 1970 - 1979  
11.01.70 S. SH-3D Sea King HS-11 156500/AA-000 Based on the USS Forestall. Damaged after making a heavy landing from hovering at 30 feet at Park 2.
__.03.70 A. Shackleton 203   Fire in No. 1 engine forced the crew to divert to Rome.
08.04.70 EE Canberra PR.7 58 WH794 Dispatched to Luqa to allow continuation training to continue as 13 & 39 squadron’s PR.9s were grounded. Returned to the UK on 15.04.70.
23.04.70 AW Argosy   XP447 Hit by fork lift truck driven by a US serviceman.
23.05.70 Av. Shackleton Mk.III 203 XF700 Unknown ground accident.
10.06.70 EE Canberra PR.9   XH167 Unknown ground accident.
16.06.70 EE Canberra PR.9   XH176 Unknown ground accident.
02.07.70 EE Canberra PR.9   XH170 Emergency landing on runway 24, after canopy blew off during take-off, damaging fin.
08.11.70 B. Buccaneer 12 XV157 Aircraft was participating in exercise “Lime Jug”. Engine problems led to the sortie being aborted.
08.11.70 B. Buccaneer 12 XV155 Suffered engine problems after completing the sortie and was returning to Luqa.
19.11.70 McD F-4 FG.1 43 XV581/E Diverted to Malta on Cyprus – UK flight. Made an arrested landing.
31.12.70 A. Shackleton 203 XF708 Aircraft suffered a pressure instrument failure in flight. A 13 squadron Canberra escorted aircraft back to Luqa. XF708 is now on display at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.
26.03.71 HP Victor K1A 55 XH588 Mk 20b refuelling pods became u/s. Crew used Mk. 17 Hose Drum Unit. Hydraulic pump became u/s during the aircraft’s descend into Luqa. Departed on the 29th.
14.04.71 McD F-4J VF-41 157283/AE-107 USS F.D.R. Developed undercarriage problems and returned to Luqa. Departed later in the afternoon.
14.04.71 McD F-4J VF-41 157295/AE-110 USS F.D.R. Lost brake chute on take-off (????) and returned to Luqa. Departed later in the afternoon.
07.06.71 EE Canberra T.17 360   One of three T.17s that were on a UK-Akrotiri flight. This aircraft was delayed at Luqa until the 11th.
18.06.71 Fiat G91T.1 Italian AF MM6354/SA-54 Aborted take-off from runway 24 and crashed through perimeter fence at RAF Luqa. No fatalities. One of four aircraft that were departing, the other three being MM6344/SA-44, MM6348/SM-48 and MM6371/SA-71.
06.08.71 HP Victor K1A 57 XH651 One of a number of Victors used in Exercise Panther Trail N45, the refueling of 56 squadron Lightnings from Malta to Cyprus. The aircraft was meant to land at Luqa after refueling the Lightnings, take on fuel itself, and depart for RAF Marham. On the ground, the aircraft rolled over its chocks, sustaining damage after hitting a fuel bowser. Departure was delayed until the 8th, getting airborne at 08:05Z.
01.09.71 A. Shackleton MR.3/3 203 WR986/G Written off Cat.5 (Scrap) 1.9.71 following the discovery of severe damage due to rat infestation. The aircraft was broken up at Safi, Malta.
31.10.71 W. Wessex 845/Royal Navy XS481 Sustained damaged by a tornado that hit Malta when parked at RAF Luqa. Normally based on HMS Bulwark. Also damaged were the following helicopters, all Wessex types. XS483, XS514, XT451, XT454, XT456, XT465, XT763/T and XT765. One Wessex moved by road under police escort to the docks, put on board a lighter and taken to Bulwark in the early hours of 15th November.
31.10.71 Shackleton 203 XF700 Aircraft suffered Cat. 2 damage by typhoon.
15.12.71 EE Lightning F.6 56 XR759/P Part of a four aircraft detachment from RAF Akrotiri, between 11-20.12.71. Aircraft suffered engine problems after take-off, eventually departing on 04.01.72.
03.12.71 McD F-4 2 XV467/R Returned 20 minutes after take-off with unknown problem. Departed on the 8th.
06.01.72 W. Wessex HAS.3 Royal Navy XP104 From HMS Blake. Fire alarm went off, and crew could smell smoke. Pilot chose to land in the sea rather than on land, due to possibility of fire. Flotation bags were inflated allowing crew to escape. Wessex remained afloat for 3 hours, but sank after one bag collapsed. The helicopter was later raised from the sea. The whole incident was photographed by a film unit nearby. This is probably the same unit which was filming an episode of “The Protectors”, and had made use of DC-3 N484F the previous December. (See Planes on Film page.)
13.02.72 W. Wessex     2x from Bulwark engage in the rescue of 14 crew from the MV Ermioni, which sent an SOS when 24 miles north of Malta at 08:13Z, losing contact with Cable and Wireless at 09:05Z. The 14-man crew were located on board two dinghies at 11:55Z, and winched on board the helicopters at 13:18Z, and taken back to the Bulwark.
03.03.72 W. Wessex HU.5 845 XS490/G/B Undercarriage problems. See report below taken from the Jan/Feb 1974 issue of TAKE-OFF newsletter.

Accident Report - “Operation Exit” Incident

by David Spiteri Staines

On 3rd March 1972, at about 11.45, a Wessex helicopter of 845 Squadron, developed a fault in its undercarriage and could not land without risking further damage. The pilot was instructed to remain hovering about two or three feet above the deck of HMS Bulwark, anchored in Grand Harbour, which the pilot very skillfully did for a grueling twenty minutes whilst the ground crew desperately attempted to repair the fault. This could not be done, so it was decided that the whole port side undercarriage be dismantled.

This was feverishly done by six members of the ground crew, whilst the pilot strove to keep the helicopter a few inches above the deck.

Having removed this undercarriage gear, the HU.5 flew off and circled around the harbour with only one side of the landing gear in place. Meanwhile the ground crew had tackled urgently the repair job and the chopper was radioed to return.

The Wessex took up its former position whilst the fitters endeavoured to fix the undercarriage in its place. This rather dangerous job was completed in about ten minutes, after which the helicopter sank slowly onto the deck. The job was carried out perfectly for the gear held firmly and an exhausted but thankful pilot quickly clambered out. The Royal Navy had done another splendid job, and avoided serious damage being incurred to one of its helicopters!

07.05.72 B. Buccaneer S.2A 12 XV349 12 Squadron had relocated to Italian AF base Gioia del Colle for exercise “Dawn Patrol”. Diverted due to a port engine fire indication. (Previously listed as cause/s unknown.) ”Escorted” by XV333, also of 12 squadron, which continued on its way.
21.08.72 EE Canberra     Aircraft flew on Wayfarer exercise to Cyprus via Malta on 18.08.72. At Cyprus, Canberra suffered TACAN, Radio Compass, IFF and GIV B Compass problems. Flew to Malta where faults were repaired, departing Luqa on the 22nd.
__.10.72 Britannia   XM639 Unknown damage to outer flap.
07.12.72 HP Victor K1A 55 XH589 This tanker was engaged in tanker to tanker re-fuelling, so that the lead Victor would return to the UK, the second one would continue to rendezvous with Phantoms returning from RAF Tengah and re-fuel them back to the UK. (Phantoms did not land in Malta.)

Re-fuelling was supposed to have been completed before reaching Nice, France, but a combination of turbulence, the track being directly into the sun and adverse winds meant that insufficient fuel was transferred by Nice. By the time re-fuelling had been completed, the crew of XH589 didn’t have enough fuel to return to the UK, and were forced to divert into Luqa.
02.01.73 L. C-130 Libyan Arab Republic Air Force 112 A number of crates were off loaded from the aircraft. A journalist photographing the proceedings, on identifying himself as a Times of Malta employee, was detained for 40 minutes, but his film was not confiscated. Aircraft serial from photographs.
Feb/Mar 73 McD F-4 43 XT875 Wind gusts of 58 knots damaged the right hand wing folding mechanism on this aircraft.
26.02.73       c/s Navjet 001. Aircraft type possibly an F-4, from the Ark Royal burst a tyre on landing at 17:46Z, blocking the runway for 90 minutes.
27.02.73       Navjet 692 burst a tyre on landing at 10:15Z, blocking the runway for 30 minutes. Aircraft type unknown.
27.02.73 McD F-4     Navjet 03 inadvertently engaged the HARG, damaging the VASI on the approach to r/w 24, blocking the runway for 40 minutes.
09.03.73 McD F-4 43 XV572 Aircraft lost door 156R from the underside of the fuselage, remaining u/s for the rest of detachment.

Accident Report – Royal Navy sees off Libyans

In February 1973 I went to Valetta Grand Harbour to watch HMS Ark Royal steaming into harbour, what a magnificent sight.

Consequence of the aircraft carrier being in harbour is that the Phantoms cannot take off from the deck so they were deployed to RAF Luqa on detachment from 23 Feb to 06 March.

While working on the Flight Watch I had a MAYDAY call from a C-130 (Hercules) aircraft saying he was being escorted by two Libyan fighters. They were trying to make him turn around to fly to Libya and land there as they were accusing the C-130 of acting in a photo reconnaissance role. The C-130 steadfastly plodded on its course away from Libya.

Operations were right next door and they were patched through to speak directly to the C-130. Two of the Ark Royal Phantoms were scrambled to go to the C-130's assistance and that was quite a site to see the Phantoms taking off in anger and rapidly becoming tiny specks in the sky until they disappeared completely.

Unbeknown to the Libyans these Phantoms were unarmed, not a single cannon shell, air-air rocket, nothing. Nevertheless, when the Libyan pilots had the Phantoms on visual they immediately turned and headed back to Libya.

The above first appeared in David Rose’s RAF Luqa remembered web site.
07.05.73 HP Victor K.1   XA927 One of at least two tankers tasked with recovering four Phantoms from Akrotiri to Coningsby. One Victor had an engine fire, and was force to return to Cyprus. This Victor consequently was forced to transfer more fuel to the Phantoms, and diverted to Luqa, departing for Marham the same day.
30.07.73 Gr. US-2B Tracker US Navy 136658 Landed following a declaration of an emergency.
06.08.73 McD Phantom x2 41   Diverted to Luqa en route to Dubai and RAF Tengah. Cause of diversion unknown. One of Phantoms departed later in the evening.
14.08.73 EE Lightning. F.6 11 XR724/K Pilot shut down engines after landing, the aircraft being towed back to its parking bay. (Information courtesy John Visanich.)
29.08.73 N. Noratlas French AF F-RAXA Aircraft arrived on a monthly diplomatic flight. Note in File IA-39: “Aircraft left without clearing outwards vide JE No. 183.”
27.02.74 EE Lightning F.6 23 XR760/H Undershot and hit approach lights during landing. Remained in Malta for repairs returning to the UK on 18.07.74.
__.01.74 Cessna 206     Aircraft with 4 persons sent May Day message, 60 miles from Dhekelia, Cyprus. Malta-based 203 squadron Nimrod was diverted from patrol to assist and co-ordinate the rescue. Cessna passengers were picked up by an 84 squadron Whirlwind, whilst a private helicopter from Beirut was directed to the scene by the Nimrod crew. Passengers suffered slight bruising.
15.01.74 HP Victor K1A 57 XA926 One of tankers tasked with refueling 111 squadron Lightnings from Wattisham to Akrotiri, the aircraft’s captain diverted to Luqa short of fuel due to a technical malfunction. Departed on the 16th.
27.02.74 EE Canberra 100 WH739 On lowering the undercarriage, the nose-wheel indicator light didn’t turn green, but hydraulic system normal. The emergency undercarriage lowering handle was pulled.
28.02.74 EE Canberra 100 WH739 Aircraft arrived on 13.02.74 to perform banner-towing and other duties for 23 (Lightning) squadron. Commitment/s to No. 23 ended on the above date, but because of bad weather over the UK, aircraft remained a Luqa until 4th March.
28.02.74 EE Canberra 100 WK116 As WH739 above.
01.03.74 EE Lightning F.6 23 XR770/L Possibly engine-related emergency, the pilot switched off the engines shortly after landing on r/w 24, close to the 06 threshold. Aircraft later towed away. With thanks to Godfrey Mangion for the information.
11.03.74 HP Victor 55   Crew was on a Lone Ranger navigational exercise, having departed from Marham to Akrotiri on the 8th. Arrived at Luqa from Akrotiri on the above date, and departed later for the UK. Bad weather over the UK forced the Victor captain to return to Luqa, leaving for Marham on the 12th.
19.03.74 Phantom x2 41   Part of a 6 aircraft detachment to Akrotiri, these particular two F-4s were air-refueled to Akoriti by two different tankers. After the second top-up, the tankers returned to base, leaving the F-4s to continue to Akrotiri on their own. Crews decided they had insufficient fuel to reach Cyprus safely, and diverted to Luqa. Departure date unknown. Victor squadrons’ ORB doesn’t state were the re-fuelling took place.
29.04.74 B. Buccaneer 12 XV168 Squadron was deploying to Malta for Exercise Dawn Patrol. Aircraft diverted to Istres, France, with oxygen trouble, but landed at Luqa that evening.
02.05.74 B. Buccaneer 12 XT281 Undercarriage didn’t retract after take-off.
30.04.74       Military fuel bowser collided with a tractor, spilling gallons of jet fuel. See report below originally written by the late Joe M. Galea, in the September 1974 issue of TAKE-OFF.
30.04.74 DH Comet 2R   XK655 Technical problems prior to departure, aircraft towed back to park 4. See report below originally written by the late Joe M. Galea, in the September 1974 issue of TAKE-OFF.

Accident Report

The weather was fine until about 15.30 local time. Civil park* northern entrance was closed for repairs. Exercise ‘Dawn Patrol’** in full swing – Park 3*** was being used by Buccaneers of 12 Squadron, ‘Old Sunspot’ housed Vulcans of 617 and 27 Squadrons, 203 Squadron Nimrods occupied Park 2, Canberras of 13 Squadron in their usual dispersals at Park 7. Yard 1 temporarily, and unusually, housed a chartered Condor B727, D-ABPI. The Buccaneers were due to return at any minute.

An Air Malta B720B (AP-AMJ) was pilot-training on runway 24. RAF Hercules C.1 XVI77 and Comet 2R XK655 had arrived, and were in the ‘Transit Yard’ (Park 4). BEA Trident 2E G-AVFJ and Alitalia DC-9 I-DIZO were inbound to Luqa. The B720B landed and stopped for crew changing at the 'holding point' of runway 24. Then it all happened!

The B720B took off again and continued its training sortie. The first interruption came from the landing of Buccaneer XT286 which, itself had to orbit. The sky in the meantime darkened. The Trident came in, droplets began to fall and the sky darkened still. The Comet finished its ground checks and taxied out to the threshold of runway 24 but stopped – engine trouble. It taxied into Park 1, then out again, but returned to Park 1 where it shut down its engines. The DC-9 was on its way in, and must have advised to orbit. The Hercules in Park 4 was nearing its ‘turn round’ time.

A military fuel bowser with two cisterns in tandem came from the direction of Yard 2 and a tractor approached from the opposite direction. Right under the (old) Control Tower, between Parks 1 and 2, the impossible occurred – they collided. A wide gaping hole in the rear cistern threw gallons and gallons of fuel onto the tarmac. The fire service was called in, and within seconds most of its vehicles were on the spot. As gallons of fuel poured from the bowser, gallons of water poured from the sky. Maybe a blessing to the fire service. The Air Malta B.720B still orbited. The Trident must have required ground vehicles, which could not be made available. Fuel spread quickly, foam splashed all around, water ran everywhere. The Condor B727 floated in a layer of foam, the Trident still awaited, the DC-9 was still in orbit, the Comet needed towing to Yard 4 where the Hercules, with engines running awaited taxi clearance. The Hercules switched off, the DC-9 came in to land, followed by Air Malta B720B. At Park 1, the B727 and the fire tenders around it looked like an Arctic mission, or a scene from the film ‘Airport’.

In the hour or so that followed, the Comet was towed to the Transit Yard, the Hercules, the DC-9 and the Trident departed, the weather improved, the sky cleared, the sun was shining again, everything was blue and bright and a strange quietness reigned all around. Tired but relieved faces could be seen. Was it a dream? If you do not believe this story no one will blame you, but a few can vouch for its authenticity. Sincere appreciation to all concerned for a job well done!

* Up to the end of British military presence in Malta on March 1979, only Park 8 was reserved for civilian traffic. Parks, or Yards, 1-7 were for RAF use. Enthusiasts in those days referred to Park 8 as the civil park or terminal. See LUQA AIRPORT page for a better description of the Parks mentioned.

** Dawn Patrol was an annual exercise, held for the last time in 1975.

*** Park 3 was usually reserved for Phantoms and Lightnings on their month long Armament Practice Camps, or APCs as they were commonly known. This involved the firing of colour-coded shells at a banner towed by a Canberra B.2 of 100 Squadron.
24.05.74 HP Victor 55 XH667 Crew were on Lone Ranger navigational exercise. At 41,000 feet, a large piece of perplex from the co-pilot's escape hatch detached itself. Captain made a PAN call, rapidly descended to 24,000 ft., and diverted to Luqa. A replacement was flown in over the weekend. XH667 was flown back to Marham on the 28th.
29.05.74 HP Victor 214   This was one of a number of tankers escorting 29 squadron Lightings from Wattisham to Akrotiri. Captain was tasked with refueling a 57 squadron tanker, but because of an HDU fault could do so slowly. Captain diverted to Luqa, departing for Marham shortly afterwards.
30.05.74 HP Victor 55   Captain had similar problem as 214 squadron tanker above, and also diverted to Luqa, again departing for Marham later in the evening.
05.07.74 Avro Shackleton AEW.2 8 WR965 Aircraft landed with the No.4 engined feathered (shut-down). (Information courtesy of John Visanich, from his Malta Airport Movements Facebook page.)
10.09.74 Beech 80 Queen Air Israeli AF N7326R Arrived at 16:30 on delivery. Departure meant for the 11th at 10:00 was put back to the 14th at 07:00.
10.09.74 Beech 80 Queen Air Israeli AF N7327R Arrived at 16:35 on delivery. Departure meant for the 11th at 10:00 was put back to the 14th at 07:00.
25.11.74 HP Victor K2P 214 XH667 Crew had arrived on the 22nd on flight LR5289. Their departure on this day was delayed by an ignitor malfunction on no. 4 engine, the crew leaving the following day, the 26th.
30.12.74 L. C-130 Libyan Arab Republic AF   Aircraft developed an in flight engine problem and landed at Luqa Airport. Departed on the 31st.
30.01.75 HS Nimrod 203   Aircraft had been cleared for a landing, when two Libyan Arab Air Force Super Frelons flew across the Nimrod’s flight plan. Captain took evasive action, no injuries. I recall a similar incident involving an 11 squadron Lightning on the approach to runway 24, when an AFM Bell-47 (with floats) serenely crossed it path. This would be either October 76, or July 78, possibly the latter date.
19.03.75 AW Argosy 115   Aircraft had departed from Cottesmore on the 11th. Took-off from Luqa but had to return after the tail de-icing was discovered to be unserviceable. Crew left for the UK on the 20th.
04.06.75 W. Wasp HAS.1 820 XT424 c/n F9594. Suffered an uncontrolled yaw to port and ditched next to HMS Juno, which was sailing to Malta from Gibraltar. The three-man crew were rescued safely, the helicopter being recovered and sent to the AIU at Lee-on-Solent. Declared a write off 08.12.75 and dumped at Fleetlands.

Aviation Safety Network describes the location as “off Malta”.
28.07.75 L. F-104G MFG-2 21+19, 21+25 Two-ship formation departed at 11.00 downwind on runway 24. Aircraft still at a very low height over 06 threshold, with the undercarriage leg of one of them hitting the crash barrier. No injuries, with the aircraft continuing on their journey.
14.10.75 Avro Vulcan 9 XM645 Aircraft touched down on the soil, short of the runway proper, shearing off the starboard wheel bogey. Took off again for another approach. Exploded in mid-air, and crashed onto Zabbar village. Five crew and one civilian died. Sea King XV711/74, from HMS Hermes, was also present close to the crash site. ‘Lip’ of runway still chipped to this day. See "Eyewitness Report" below, which first appeared in David Rose's RAF Luqa Remembered website.

Eyewitness Report - Vulcan crash

Having just parked the ‘crew issue for taceval’ 3-tonner prior to briefing for a sortie, I was stood on the pan to the left of the (then) 203 Sqn building, less than 100 yards from the end of the runway, square on to it. Closing my eyes even now, I can still see the oleo punch through the top of the wing before the aircraft seemed to bounce.

Running forward I saw the aircraft touch down again and as power was applied, the flash of fire through the hole where the oleo had been. As the aircraft started climbing, the whole starboard undercarriage fell clear and bounced off down the runway.

I recall running to the rear of the Squadron building and bashing unsuccessfully on the locked (for taceval) doors. After a short while and getting no response, I retraced my steps around to the front of the building, saw the Vulcan on the downwind leg, flames clearly visible over the top of the wing and fuselage. I eventually managed to get to a phone, dial 5222 but all lines were tied up. I then went on to ops, found the all of the ops staff on phones and squawk boxes but my crew uninformed as to what was happening. I wasn’t aware at that time that the aircraft had crashed.


16.12.75 HP Victor K.1 214 XA938 Aircraft were to re-fuel 43 Squadron Phantoms at the end of their APC in Malta. The air temperature on the day was unusually high for the season, and it was deemed necessary for the Victor to have an amount of fuel removed from their tanks. This was achieved by the use of defueling bowsers, and starting up the engines to burn off fuel to an acceptable level, delaying the departure of the squadron.
16.12.75 HP Victor K.1 214 XA938 Having taken off an hour later because of the de-fuelling operation mentioned above, the first Victor returned with a fire warning, which fortunately tuned out to be a false one.
08.02.76 HS Nimrod 203 XV232 See accident report below, taken from Colin Pomeroy’s, No. 203 Squadron – The Malta Years.
__.__.76 EE Lightning T.5 L.F.T. XS452 Developed a fault on its No.2 engine starter motor, departing Malta on 17th May.
05.05.76 EE Lightning F.6 5 XR723 Aircraft was departing from Malta at the end of month-long ACP. Forced to return to Luqa as it was unable to take on fuel in the air. Departed Malta on 17th May.
04.06.76 B. Buccaneer 208 XT273 Aircraft suffered hydraulic failure after landing. Pilot steered aircraft off the runway onto the adjacent grass area, and tried to raise the undercarriage. One of six Buccaneers coming for the weekend. Remaining 5 aircraft returned to Sicily. After repairs, aircraft was test flown sometime in mid-August, finally departing on 18.08.77.

Accident Report – Nimrod XV232

On 8th of February, a Sunday, the Flt Lt Dicks and Crew 3 had another interesting sortie - but of a completely different nature! They were scrambled on SAR in Nimrod XV232 to search for a missing yacht north of Sardinia. The weather was poor with a cloud base of 1,000 ft and tops at 10,000 ft.

Shortly after take-off severe vibration occurred in No 1 engine, accompanied by other fluctuations in the engine instruments. The engine was shut down and at 1,000 ft, shortly after entering cloud, No 2 engine started to vibrate and with similar indications. As these symptoms subsided when the throttle was closed this second engine was not shut down, but left idling, and the aircraft was leveled above cloud at 10,000 ft with the intention of jettisoning fuel prior to conducting a two engine landing back at Luqa. However before Master Engineer 'Chuck' Knight could initiate fuel jettison No 3 engine started to vibrate, giving the same indications as No 2. Once more the symptoms subsided when the throttle was closed, so No 3 engine was also left idling. Because the engines had developed similar symptoms in rapid succession, the crew diagnosed that the fuel system either contained air or was contaminated. Flt Lt Dicks realised that, in either case, they could possibly lose all four engines and told the crew to prepare for ditching.

The proposed fuel jettison was cancelled and an emergency call made to ATC. The captain executed a rapid descent and positioned the aircraft at 10 miles on final approach for a radar glide approach in cloud with the co-pilot, Flt Lt Paul Fisher, advising ATC of their progress. However, when ATC advised that the aircraft was well above the glide slope (as Flt Lt Dicks intended it to be), his reply was to the effect "Well draw a line on your scope from our current position and we will come down it". The steep approach path was maintained with the use of single engine power and air brakes, the aircraft broke cloud at 1,000 ft, undercarriage and flap were selected and, at just below the emergency landing weight for the aircraft and only 20 minutes after takeoff, Flt Lt Dicks eased XV232 back onto Luqa's runway.

For his flying skills and airmanship Flt Lt Dicks was awarded a "Good Show" by the AOC-in-C NEAF.
23.07.76 McD Phantom II 111 XV428 111 squadron had arrived on the 20th for a month-long APC detachment. This aircraft was delayed by technical issues, and finally made to Malta via an aerial refuelling over Dover, and a re-fuelling stop at Decimomannu, Sardinia.
24.07.76 McD F-4 FGR.2 111   During an APC detachment, the squadron was grounded until crack checks were carried out, following the loss of the outer wing section in a 29 squadron F-4. Flying was then limited to 3G, preventing air-to-air sorties. These were resumed on the 29th when a release to 4G was authorised. As a result, the squadron’s detachment was extended.
16.08.76 A. Shackleton AEW.2 8 WL757 Aircraft developed radar problems which required the removal of the radar tray. As this wasn’t possible at Luqa, the aircraft had to be flown to Lossiemouth on the 18th.
17.08.76 A. Shackleton AEW.2 8   12 Airborne Early Warning/Practice Intercepts sorties with 111 squadron lost due to unserviceable Shackletons.
17.08.76 A. Shackleton AEW.2 8 WL741 Aircraft went u/s with no. 2 engine which needed replacement. A spare engine arrived on the 20th, the aircraft leaving Luqa on the 22nd.
25.10.76 A. Shackleton AEW.2 8 WR960 Aircraft arrived for air work with 11 squadron Lightnings, but became unserviceable after landing. Length of unserviceability unknown, Shackleton returning to Lossiemouth on 2nd November.
12.11.76 McD F-4 Phantom II 23 XT908/P Burst tyre during landing, necessitating the towing of the aircraft off the runway to its parking slot.
22.11.76 McD F-4 23 XV497/Q Made an emergency landing using the arrester cable.
19.01.77 HP Victor K.2 55 XL189 Tanker was providing air-to-air refueling to Phantoms from Akrotiri to the UK. Fog at UK bases forced the formation to divert to Luqa. Dep Luqa on 20th.
19.01.77 HP Victor K.2 55 XL511 As XL189 above.
26.01.77 McD F-4 FGR.2 29 XV400/I Landed with arrestor hook lowered.
28.01.77 EE Canberra 100 WK162 Aircraft at Luqa to perform banner-towing duties for 29 (Phantom) squadron. Was replaced by WP515 on above date due to leaking fuel tank.
__.04.77 EE Lightning F.6 5 XR747 Aircraft scrapped the tail on landing, which damaged the frame to the No. 1 jet compartment floor, and was repaired by the Aircraft Servicing Flight at Luqa.
__.04.77 EE Lightning F.6 5 XR755 Aircraft received damage to the ECU, which necessitated an engine change.
17.06.77 Victor K2 55 XL233 Diverted to Luqa because of strong headwinds on an Akrotiri-Marham flight with 2 phantoms. Departed later in the day for Marham.
22.08.77 HS Nimrod   XV246 Aircraft had arrived on the 19th (a Friday) in an overall light brown colour, which would later be referred to as “hemp”. This was the departure date, but after take-off, aircraft returned for a landing due to an unspecified technical problem.
13.10.77 McD F-4 56 XV490 Squadron was coming to Malta for an ACP. This aircraft suffered hydraulics failure, the pilot diverting to Decimomannu. Joined the squadron at RAF Luqa on the 14th.
28.10.77 McD F-4M FGR.2 56 XV482/C Made an emergency landing using the arrestor hook on r/w 06.
Oct/Nov 77 McD F-4 56 XV409 Ingestion of a piece of banner frame in the intake. 56 sqd was on a APC detachment at the time.
Oct/Nov 77 McD F-4 56 XV469 Aircraft suffered a burst nose-wheel, but circumstances unknown, i.e. during take-off, landing, or taxying.
07.11.77 EE Lightning F.6 5 XR723/D Diverted to Luqa with Lightnings XR725/J, XR755/F & XS921/H, together with Victor tankers XH669 (57 squadron) & XL158. These four aircraft were on a UK to the Italian air base of Rimini, but due to bad weather were forced to divert to Luqa. The weather remained below landing limits for the Lightning. Two aircraft eventually manage to depart and land there on the 12th, but the other two became unserviceable. They remained at Luqa until the repairs were effected, eventually departing back to the UK on the 16th.

Victor XH669 departed for Marham on the 10th.
11-12.11.77 Avro Shackleton AEW.2 8 WL747 These two aircraft arrived on 31.10.77 for the usual air work with 56 squadron.

Unfortunately, although they were supposed to stay until the 15th, due to a number of unserviceable aircraft at their home base of Lossiemouth, they had to leave on 11th and 12th November.

Not aware of which aircraft left on which date.
11-12.11.77 Avro Shackleton AEW.2 8 WL754 As above.
__.01.78 Avro Vulcan B.2 35 XJ783 Aircraft had arrived on the 5th, suffered a lightning strike on either the 6th or 7th. Still at RAF Luqa on the 12th.
23.01.78 HP Victor 55 XL160 Tanker was providing air-air refueling to two 111 squadron Phantoms to Akrotiri. Aircraft diverted to Luqa due to “receiver malfunction”, but continued to Akrotiri later the same day.
31.01.78 HP Victor K.2 55 XL191 Tanker was escorting two 111 phantoms, but landed at Luqa as planned. Door seal problem forced aircraft to recover to Luqa, departing for Marham later in the day.
31.01.78 EE Canberra 100 WJ753 Landed safely after engine surge.
07.02.78       A sonic boom is heard over the Maltese Islands, caused by an aircraft flying supersonically at a relatively low altitude.
__.02.78 HP Victor K.2 57 XH669 Aircraft was one of three that had provided re-fueling for 43 sqd Phantoms enroute to Malta on the 16th. Not known when the aircraft became u/s, i.e. during the flight to Malta, or on the 17th in preparation for departure. Aircraft eventually departed on the 23rd.
18.03.78 Avro Shackleton AEW.2 8 WL741 Aircraft originally meant to stay at Luqa between 13-21 March 78 for AEW work with 43 squadron, Madlena Radar and any available RN ships. Recalled on the 18th to prepare for a visit to the US.
21.03.78 Avro Shackleton AEW.2 8 WL790 Reasons for visit as above. Was meant to depart on the 21st, but technical problems delayed departure until the 23rd.
16.05.78 A. Vulcan B.2 50 XM575 Crew were on a Lone Ranger navigational exercise. Aircraft went u/s at Luqa, the crew continuing to Akrotiri in Vulcan XM603 on the 19th, returning to Waddington on the 22nd.
02.06.78 BAC Jaguar GR.1 14 XX826/AD Aircraft shut down the engines on the taxi-way after landing and towed away, due to an unknown technical problem. This would have been a “week-end” visit by such aircraft, arriving on Friday, departing on Monday. Actual departure date for this particular aircraft unknown. (Information courtesy John Visanich)
14.07.78 EE Lightning T.5 11 XV452/T Aircraft lost its braking parachute when landing on runway 24. Pilot abandoned landing, and asked for permission to land on the longer runway 32.
14.09.78 EE Canberra PR.7 13 WT519 Aircraft engine cowling tore off in flight.
18.09.78 Avro Vulcan B.2     Aircraft experienced hydraulic problems and was forced to return to RAF Luqa.
06.12.78 EE Canberra PR.7 13 WT530 Aircraft arrived with undercarriage problems. Destroyed the following day, see below. This aircraft had attended the Canberra’s 25th anniversary held at RAF Cottesmore on 13.05.74.
07.12.78 EE Canberra PR.7 13 WT530 Lost power after take-off from RAF Luqa due to fuel contamination. The pilot and navigator ejected, but a third airman, occupying the jump seat, perished with the aircraft. The aircraft had arrived the previous day from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus.
10.01.79 Avro Vulcan B.2 50 XM608 Aircraft had departed from RAF Akrotiri, when it experienced hydraulic pressure fluctuations, pressure eventually falling down to zero. After burning fuel and lowering the undercarriage, the aircraft diverted to Luqa. Spares were flown in, and repairs completed after seven days. Bad weather at Waddington prevented the aircraft’s departure from Malta until the 22nd.
31.03.79 SIAI SF.260   I-RAIK Diverted to Malta because of weather on a Palermo – Tripoli delivery flight to the Libyan AF. Departure was probably the following morning. Accompanied by SF.260s I-RAIT & I-RAIU.
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