A Fai…Plumber’s Story…
An Aesop’s Fable…well Airman’s Fable…for bedtime.
Once upon a time, there was an Armourer. Now as you may know, Armourers have a reputation for not being the sharpest pencil in the box, simply because their job involves putting bombs on aircraft. Now this, dear children is very unfair as they also deal with ejector seats and aircraft defence aids like chaff and flare pods, but sometimes you get one or two that live up to that reputation.
There was one that we’ll call, Carl (for that was his name) and he certainly wasn’t the most switched on cookie. He was well intentioned, but, well, he wasn’t blessed with a great deal of common sense. And he was tasked with a job one sunny summer afternoon by his Chief.
This job was to paint a locker that contained the explosive cartridges to be fitted to the aircraft. These lockers – as they contain explosives – need to be painted bright red and have the correct warning signs stuck to it to warn people of the dangers contained inside.
So, young Carl went about the squadron site on a search for some paint and HEY! He found some in the deployment store. It had a funny name on the tin “Paint, Tipping, Red” but the word that was important to Carl was the “Red” so Carl smiled and said to himself “What luck. I can get this job done double quick and get off for an extended tea-break!”
So he quickly trotted off to stores to get a brush and lickety-split he slapped a coat of shiny red paint over the locker and went off for a long break sitting outside in the sun.
After his cuppa, he reported to his Chief that he had finished – and with a quick look out of the window the Chief saw a nicely painted red locker – so seeing what looked like a good job done the the Chief decided that young Carl could be stood down for the rest of the afternoon and could go back to the block early.
Carl skipped away happily, thinking he had done a very good job and that his Chief was very happy with him.
But all was not well and the problem became apparent the next morning. And that problem was the type of paint Carl had used itself.
You see, dear reader, it was a special paint. It was called “Tipping Paint” and was special for the reason that it didn’t dry. Like anti-vandal paint it stayed wet, for it was used by the armourers to paint the tips of the rounds loaded into the gun fitted to the aircraft.
Why painted? Well, the rounds are painted so that when the pilots go practise gun firing their particular shots at the target could be identified easily and a score of hits could be worked out from the number fired to against the number of red marks on the banner after the still wet painted round has been shot through it. The target was a very large banner towed some 500m behind an aircraft and used as a target. Often this was done over the sea – for obvious reasons – but due to the weather conditions in the UK it was very often done over the sea around Cyprus.
So the paint would never dry. Never. And the Chief noticed this as he arrived for work the very next morning. As did everyone else. For the paint that Carl had applied to the locker had done as a liquid does when it is applied to a vertical surface. It has flowed down. And it had almost completely drained off the locker itself – and was now sitting in a rather large – and very red and sticky puddle around the locker.
The Chief was not very happy – firstly because the job had been done badly using the wrong paint and secondly because Tipping Paint was expensive and very difficult to get hold of. And he showed his unhappiness to Carl about 5 minutes later when Carl himself arrived. Carl was later seen in a very sticky red mess after spending an hour with a mop and a bucket trying to clean up the paint puddle – and then off he went to stores to get some proper red paint and a brush to do the job properly…
Goodnight kiddies, and don’t forget, if something sometimes seems to easy and too good to be true…it very often is…