View Full Version : Double Sunrise Club
3rd Jan 2011, 09:23
I've been flicking through a QANTAS 75 yrs in service staff commemorative book, and reading the section on the famous "Order of the Double Sunrise", pages 93 & 94, mention Hudson Fysh departing Koggala Lakes Ceylon at 08:00, Captain Bill Crowther commanding, and go on to say a completion of flight into Swan river......"Officially documented at 32 hours & 9 mins???"
32 hours & 9 mins :uhoh::eek:......???????? Not familiar on type but at the very least permanent hearing damage surely!!!!:ouch:
3rd Jan 2011, 09:49
If you have an interest and care to send me via PM your email address I can send you a PDF document written by the CP about the operation.
3rd Jan 2011, 13:24
I don't think hearing loss was a major consideration in the operation of any WW2 aircraft, operated under wartime conditions.
The average crossing time for the Double Sunrise PBY flights was 27-28 hrs, with the fastest recorded time at 23 hrs 45 mins, and the slowest at 32 hrs 9 mins.
(see post #19) http://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/60421-pbys.html
Yes, some hearing loss would have been a feature of the PBY crews job, but the amount of hearing loss varies between individuals, and varies according to the pitch level of the noise.
I wouldn't imagine that the 900HP R-1830 would be regarded as a highly stressed engine, and that the noise levels from one would have been relatively modest, compared to a lot of fighters of the era, with their forward-mounted powerplants and exhausts barking only a few feet in front of you.
In addition, the PBY crew is reasonably well forward of the engines, the engines are high mounted, and the exhausts are on the top side of the engines.
Incidentally, we've only just lost our last living Double Sunrise pilot, just prior to Christmas 2010. He reached the ripe old age of 92.
His son does mention the noise levels they had to endure. I'd guess that the cold was more of a test of endurance, than the noise.
Heroic squadron loses last pilot - The West Australian (http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/8570352/heroic-squadron-loses-last-pilot/)
The saddest part of the Double Sunrise story is the compulsory destruction by ditching of the 5, good working condition PBY's, under the Lend-Lease rules, off the West Australian coast in 1945.
What is more galling is that the Lend-Lease rules on destruction of equipment were not carried out on an even-handed basis - and large numbers of items of L-L equipment were not destroyed at all, or merely lightly damaged - resulting in recovery by those fortunate enough to be on hand, to recover the equipment.
3rd Jan 2011, 21:17
Doug Muir was a flight engineer on them and passed away in August. he was the last FE I believe.
Hearing loss wasn't the biggest problem for the crews but Deep Vein Thrombosis probably struck many.
Doug said there were a number of crew members who died early, way before DVT was recognised and he felt THAT was what had wacked them.
He was a keen surfer and body surfed at Columbo on the overnights and at home in Perth while many of the others sat drinking.
The engines don't deafen you as much as the prop tips.
Try sitting in the jumpseat of a DC-3 and on takeoff you'll find the inside of your ears don't just ring, they itch.
The FEs sat in the pylon close to the engines.
Ofm all the aeroplanes that have flown, I'd have liked to have a bash at the Cat and the DC-4.
4th Jan 2011, 05:34
I knew a few ex Cat FEs, they all had hearing problems.
60s, maybe you should join HARS, they have a Cat and a DC4 although the DC4 is still out of action.
I read a book some years ago by an Army General (name long forgotten) who quite obviously really was a very important person, because he got to fly as a pax on the Colombo-Perth Catalina service. (I think it could carry eight pax, but SLF were relatively rare, as other more important cargo, usually 'safe hand' high security mail and crypto gear, took preference.)
The General said it was without doubt the most uncomfortable experience he had ever endured in his life.
The crews who did the trip two or three times a month had balls of stainless steel (and eardrums made of the same stuff after a few trips). The same trip takes a little over six hours in a modern airliner - and doesn't have Zeke floatplanes patrolling the air route hoping to shoot you down. When I operated that sector, I sometimes used to include the double sunrise story and how long the original service took in a Catalina in my PA. I suspect it would have meant absolutely nothing to 99% of the pax.
4th Jan 2011, 21:09
Doug Muir ( father of Craig ? ), if so, sad to hear of his passing, was a great guy, much like his son.
The East Rhodesian
13th Sep 2011, 12:46
I just flew Rex Senior from Adelaide to Brisbane on his way to Longreach for some sort of commemoration of the double sunrise service. He was Senior First Officer/Navigator on the first service and will be somewhat saddened to hear that he is dead!:D
13th Sep 2011, 17:54
My Grandfather was on those flights. Makes my 747 seem like a short haul. I take my hat off to my grandfather and crew
14th Sep 2011, 03:01
I recently managed to acquire a copy of the excellent booklet, "Qantas Empire Airways - Indian Ocean Service - 1943-1946", by Barry Pattison and Geoff Goodall, and published in 1979 by the Aviation Historical Society of Australia.
This 68 page, A4-sized booklet has quite a substantial number of photos of the Double Sunrise operations... which is surprising, given the total secrecy of the operation.
The details in this book are comprehensive, and the book contains a terrific, previously unpublished colour photo, of RAAF Catalina A24-7 shortly after arrival at Rose Bay (Sydney), after its ferry flight by RAAF crew from the U.S., in July 1941.
The book also includes substantial information on the later additions to the service on the route (from late 1944) by Liberators and Lancastrians, which certainly would have made the journey faster, less dangerous, and more pleasant.
With the improving security situation in late 1944 and early 1945, the Liberators and Lancastrians were routed through Learmonth, thus taking 10 hrs and nearly 500 miles off the trip, and allowing a break in the journey.
The details in this booklet are nothing short of amazing, with charts, logs, pictures of modifications, copies of passenger tickets, crew photos, and a complete reproduction of the story of the Double Sunrise service, as written up by Catalina FO, E.H Neal... which article was first published in the Qantas magazine, "Wings" and the "Shell Aviation News" magazine (no date given on when this article by FO Neal was written, but I'm presuming late 1950's/early 1960's?).
I think the most telling paragraph is as follows, and merely represents a common position for those who risked their lives in WW2, in positions that were regarded as civilian... but which in reality, placed people in the same position as front line military aircraft operators... but without the awards, recognition, or other honours to which they should have been duly entitled.
"A seemingly inexplicable anomaly, in relation to Qantas' Western Operations Division, is that nobody involved in this unique operation, has received official Govt recognition for their extraordinary services. No Knighthoods, or memberships in the various orders of chivalry to the senior staff; no medals for bravery - nothing - for aircrews who regularly faced 36 hr duty stretches and who flew through enemy-controlled airspace; no awards to ground crew who worked tirelessly on vital maintenance and overhaul. Surely the aircraft Captains, particularly those who started the Catalina service, should have been accorded recognition? They worked as hard as RAAF crews in patrolling Catalinas, and were subject to similar dangers."
One long track, that one.
Amazing feats and top pics too. thanx
It certainly says something about the reliability of those engines...and crew endurance.
HARS is completing a Catalina delivery from Europe to the Longreach Founders Museum this afternoon.
Catalina updates (http://www.qfm.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=5&Itemid=7)
14th Sep 2011, 10:18
I reckon it'd be an awesme experience to fly a Cat on one of those legs, in peacetime ofcourse. Not keen on this being shot at caper. I would one day love to own a Catalina, probably a pipe dream I know but if I won lotto it'd be the first thing I'd buy. IMHO history like this needs someone like HARS to keep these stories alive and kicking, not to mention the aircraft anyone know how the DC4 is getting on?
15th Sep 2011, 00:39
noip, I must correct the illusion that HARS is operating -EAX on this ferry.
It is entirely under the auspices of QFM; their ownership and operation.
However, the pilots and engineers work/worked for Qantas and in some cases, also for HARS. HARS has also cooperated with some spares provision.
The DC-4 is progressing steadily with the outer l/h wing to be fitted shortly and the interior refurbishment under way.
17th Sep 2011, 23:39
The Catalina certainly did have amazing capabilities, but what of modern aircraft and pilots? Has anyone else ever made double sunrise flights? I recall that Qantas flew a 747 non stop London Sydney in 1989 again a little over 20 hours and I see that the Millions Against Malaria guys flew a 20 plus hour leg across Africa in the Airvan last year. What of the many transpacific ferries flights? Any nominations?
18th Sep 2011, 04:48
My memory tells me that the Commander of the last Catalina double sunrise service was Captain J.P.R Shields.
He kept the rather oil stained and worse for wear "double sunrise hat" from that trip ( and many previous) and always wore it when, in later years as a QF management pilot, he flew an inaugural or other special service ---- like a Royal Flight.
Those of us who flew with him always thought it was a rather nice touch.
when that is airworthy again.... will HARS be taking passengers..???
First flight was in a an ANA DC 4 from all over grass Parafield in 1951
I would love to re-live that experience of the big rumbling 4 of.
Flying bug bit my ar$e badly that day..for which I am ever thankful to the DC 4.
Which led me to "things you never dreamed of" as JG Magee said.... but most people here have had bigger and more of those, but I did pretty well all the same.
For the guy that wants a Cat.. there's a good deal on Barnstormers, an awful lot of aeroplane for the $$s... but you will need an awful lot more to keep it going.! :eek:
How about a syndicate... I'd be in that! :ok:
The East Rhodesian
19th Sep 2011, 01:11