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Old 18th Jan 2007, 12:37   #1 (permalink)
 
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Turbinlight airborne searchlight

During WW11 I lived near to an airfield which operated Douglas Boston/Havocs fitted with searchlights in the nose, I saw one 'light up' & what an impressive sight it made. has anyone any pics of these A/C please?

Any help gratefully received

Dusty
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Old 18th Jan 2007, 20:39   #2 (permalink)
 
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Boston/Havoc

A bit off thread but the sort of thing that turns up on H & N to make it interesting...........While researching Greenviewpark's query, I came across this :

In "An illustrated History of the RAF" on the subject of the Boston 3.........

"It was the only machine in the RAF in which the pilot was not expected to be the last to bale out; a detachable control column was available in the upper gunner's compartment, in the hope that he could fly straight and level so that the pilot could avoid hitting the very high tailplane, (Does he mean fin ? virgo) after clambering out of his top hatch and diving off the trailing edge of the wing"

Can anyone confirm this, or is it a bit of lineshoot that over the years has become rooted as fact ? (It actually sounds a bit Monty Python !)
Anyone out there actually done it ?????????
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Old 19th Jan 2007, 19:54   #3 (permalink)
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Sorry, no photos of my own of the Turbinlite, however, a really excellent read "Pursuit Through Darkened Skies," by Michael(?) Allen has such a picture as well as a very good description of trying to use the concept on operations.
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Old 19th Jan 2007, 20:43   #4 (permalink)
 
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Douglas Havoc MkII Turbinlite, not a very clear photograph I am afraid.
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Old 19th Jan 2007, 21:23   #5 (permalink)
 
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getting close

A subsequent development I think.................A Leigh light, not used for night-fighters, a la Boston, but with some success by Coastal Command in illuminating U-Boats for an attack. I remember reading the memoirs of a U-Boat crew commander describing his surfaced night-time transit/battery charge being suddenly interrupted by the dazzling beam of the Leigh-light followed by a stick of depth charges, (which sunk him)
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Old 20th Jan 2007, 08:50   #6 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by virgo View Post
A bit off thread but the sort of thing that turns up on H & N to make it interesting...........While researching Greenviewpark's query, I came across this :

In "An illustrated History of the RAF" on the subject of the Boston 3.........

"It was the only machine in the RAF in which the pilot was not expected to be the last to bale out; a detachable control column was available in the upper gunner's compartment, in the hope that he could fly straight and level so that the pilot could avoid hitting the very high tailplane, (Does he mean fin ? virgo) after clambering out of his top hatch and diving off the trailing edge of the wing"

Can anyone confirm this, or is it a bit of lineshoot that over the years has become rooted as fact ? (It actually sounds a bit Monty Python !)
Anyone out there actually done it ?????????
There were a couple of other machines during the WWII period whose narrow fuselages made such rudimentary controls an attractive option, the Handley Page Hampden in the UK and the Heinkel He115 both featured basic flight controls for the dorsal gunner, but not to enable the pilot to escape, rather to assist in bringing the aircraft back should the pilot be incapacitated. FWIW I would imagine the dorsal gunners view would be so restricted as to make it impractical.
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Old 20th Jan 2007, 10:22   #7 (permalink)
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Here's another, and it appears to be spelt Turbinlite (didn't know they had text messaging in those days ).

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Old 20th Jan 2007, 21:34   #8 (permalink)
 
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Some photos and line drawings, etc can be found here
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Old 22nd Jan 2007, 17:53   #9 (permalink)
 
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Turbinlight

Thanks Guys
For the pics. & info.
The idea of the light came from Wg/Cdr. W Helmore, but proved to be very costly for us. 10 Sqds were formed , which only managed to destroy 1 Heinkel 111, -- 1 proable - & 2 damaged, our losses 31 A/c. during period 2/9/1941 to Jan 1943 = 31 A/C. some crews, also 1 of our own Stirlings shot down by them.

1451 Flight was formed also at Hunsdon, 22/5/1941 - operational 21/7/1941 soon became 530 Sqd. together with Hurricanes of 3 Sqdn.

538 Flight formed 29/9/1941 to become 538 Sqdn. under command of Sqdn/Ldr J B Nicholson ( the only Battle of Britain VC) ----killed in an accident 2/5/1945 while flying as passenger in a 355 Sqdn Liberator after a raid on Rangoon.

The Mosquito lights were built in Sept. 1942, but stopped on reports from Wg/Cmdr John 'Catseyes' Cunningham.

Let us hope that more pics will come to light, --- sorry, no pun intended!!

Dusty
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Old 23rd Jan 2007, 13:26   #10 (permalink)
 
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I suppose sticking a radar which at the time was heavy and delicate into a large aircraft and using it to illuminate a target for a 'homing' fighter made a lot of sense. I guess.
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Old 22nd Dec 2009, 02:30   #11 (permalink)
 
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Turbinlight Havoc

I was searching for Havoc entries and came across your forum entry. As it happens, my father worked in the aircraft industry during the war.

I have a photo and a writeup on the Turbinlite. I would be happy to post but do not see the site upload mechanism.

Paul B

I read further and am trying this from PBucket


Photobucket updated and link revised July 26, 2010

Douglas A-20 Havoc pictures by brookcreek - Photobucket

Last edited by brook creek; 26th Jul 2010 at 18:44. Reason: reposted corrected link to updated information
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Old 22nd Dec 2009, 14:34   #12 (permalink)
 
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Atcham Tower

It was indeed spelled Turbinlite. That's a great photo but begs the question where was it taken? The aircraft behind appears to be a Hornet Moth and the gasometer looks like the one near Heathrow. Heston perhaps or Fairey's Hayes aerodrome?
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Old 22nd Dec 2009, 15:58   #13 (permalink)
 
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Just checked some books and discovered that the Fairey Hayes site was a factory only, test flying being done from the company's Great West Aerodrome, later to become the basis for Heathrow. So could the Havoc be there?
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Old 22nd Dec 2009, 17:30   #14 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
I suppose sticking a radar which at the time was heavy and delicate into a large aircraft and using it to illuminate a target for a 'homing' fighter made a lot of sense. I guess.
But Turbinlite wasn't a radar - it was a big searchlight.

Airborne Radar in Blenheims & Beaufighters was already being used with some success before Turbinlite.

The obvious question is 'Why not dispense with the Hurricane & fit a cannon pack to the Boston?' Illuminate target & press gun button.
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Old 22nd Dec 2009, 17:56   #15 (permalink)
 
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Turbinlite

Their was an oil painting hanging in the Officers Mess at R A F Sealand showing the Douglas Havoc being modified to Turbinlite standard ,It quite intriqued me as this Station was usually associated with Tiger Moths at that time.

The Artist , Jim Chaplin , informed me that the the installation of the Turbinlite kit was in fact carried out there.A little known facet of R A F Sealands wartime history.

Somewhere I have a photo of the painting .

Hopefully another piece of the jigsaw .

Last edited by midnight retired; 23rd Dec 2009 at 07:01.
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Old 22nd Dec 2009, 18:13   #16 (permalink)
 
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Ah yes, Jim Chaplin, my old art master and former Corsair pilot, not to mention Sealand gliding instructor! I have a blurry photo somewhere of a Turbinlite Havoc at Sealand.
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Old 23rd Dec 2009, 08:51   #17 (permalink)
 
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My comment (made in 2007) was that at the time radar was heavy and most available fighters would have been unable to carry it. So stick a radar and a light into a bigger plane and use it to find the bomber and illuminate it might have made sense. Must have been bloody difficult for the fighter to keep station near the illuminating aircraft though prior to the big search light being switched on.
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Old 25th Dec 2009, 10:32   #18 (permalink)
 
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Turbinlite

Just been reading Lettice Curtis's book where she describes ferrying a Turbinlite Havoc to Heston
Happy Christmas
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Old 26th Dec 2009, 11:50   #19 (permalink)
 
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Looking at brook creek's photo, I was tempted to say it looked like an academic test of flat-plate drag, with four boffins in the foreground.

However, after looking at it again, is that John Cunningham, second from the right?

I wonder what the performance penalty of the Turbinlight installation was. I notice there are some slots in the cowling around the edge, presumably an attempt to reduce the turbulence.
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Old 27th Dec 2009, 22:58   #20 (permalink)
 
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Turbinlite and Gasholder

The Photobucket photo is 1000% Heston What a cracking photo!
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