Meteorological Research Flight (MRF)

Snoopy - Farnborough late 70s

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 XV208 was a C130K C1 operated by No 48 Sqn RAF at Changi, Singapore. The aircraft returned to the UK in 1973 with a damaged main spar. It was repaired and modified by Marshalls of Cambridge into the C130 W2 better know as SNOOPY. It was based at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough from 1974 where it joined the existing Canberra PR3 WE173. The Canberra ceased experimental work in 1980 and was ferried to RAF Coltishall for its last flight on 14 Jan 1983. On leaving the aircraft we removed the striped nose cone and returned to Farnborough with it. Despite sitting on the Coltishall dump, the cockpit of WE173 has survived and is now in the Robertsbridge Aviation Museum. Snoopy remained at Farnborough until experimental flying ceased; it then moved to Boscombe Down where it was operated by DERA until the aircraft was taken out of service in April 2001. A new aircraft G-LUXE, the original BAe146, entered service with FAAM in 2003 and is operated by a civilian crew. As one of 7 RAF aircrew on the MRF I was the navigation systems specialist for the C130 from 1981- 83



Snoopy - Boscombe Down after last flight 2001


Snoopy - XV208  

Ramp open showing removeable Equipment Bay 


Navigator Station 

Scientist Station 1


 Scientist Station 2

 The Sharp End

In formation with Cranfield Research Aircraft 1983


 MRF - NASA Exercise Came-Grantley Adams Airport Barbados 1983

 MRF C130 and NASA Convair 990 crews and scientists on steps of N712NA 'Galileo II' NASA Research Aircraft. The Came trials included radiometer calibration for future use on weather satellites. 'Galileo II' was destroyed in a fire on take-off at March AFB California on 17 July 1985.


CAMBELTOWN - appr RAF Machrihanish 83


Landing Machrihanish 1983 




Meteorological Research Flight

Aircrew Badge


At work in the Bermuda Triangle 83 



Communication with the aircraft from MRF base initially used an aircraft radio, Collins 418T with a random wire antenna, operating from a 28V supply. Contrary to the advise of certain professional experts, the two radio amateurs on the staff, G4HGJ and G3TSO suggested and setup a Drake TR7 with a nest of parallel dipoles; this proved very successful and facilitated reliable communication from as far away as Barbados at minimal cost.

Aircraft ICAO callsign MPRWA

UK flights: Metman 60, 61, 62 etc


Former MRF Staff

Peter Cockroft   

Francis Wilson


The Future....

The Replacement Aircraft G-LUXE (Photo BAE Systems)

Snoopy new role as A400M Testbed