Thanks for the feedback on spin entries. Since my post, I've found a very interesting zip file, containing:
1. DH Canada Chipmunk DHC-1 Operation and Maintenance Manual (probably the first edition - one amendment dated 11/9/50?)
2. A.P. 4308A-P.N. Pilot's Notes for Chipmunk T10 February 1950
3. AP101B-5510-15 (AP.4308A-PN) Pilot's Notes Chipmunk T Mk. 10 Third Edition June 1966
4. EO 05-10B-1 RCAF Aircraft Operating Instructions Chipmunk 15 April 1958
5. EO 05-10B-1 Canadian Forces Aircraft Operating Instructions Chipmunk Revised 7 July 1967
6. DH Canada Chipmunk DHC-1B-2 Flight Manual 1 Aug 1957
7. DH Aircraft Pilots' Manual for the De Havilland Chipmunk Aircraft October 1969
8. Wiltshire School of Flying Pilot's Notes Chipmunk 10 Undated
9. Chipmunk Checklist in "flip card" format. Undated, from a Liverpool-based aircraft. Is this yours SSD?
Just to whet your appetites, here are a couple of plates from item 1:
The file can be downloaded from de Havilland Chipmunk Flight Manual - Documents - Avsim R Us. The download process is a bit obscure. Click "Download" at the bottom right and then on the next, nearly identical page, click on the link in the green box labelled "HTTP (EU)". You might want to check the file for viruses before unzipping. I had no problems, but I'm using a Mac
Last edited by India Four Two; 29th Sep 2010 at 16:28.
Reason: Fixed URL
WK635 is back in the UK and will be back in the air next year. The new owner will keep the RN colour scheme and I would like some photos of the aircraft in RN service to help me get it right. Can anyone help?
“But now, what about them canopies?? Why did the Brits and the Portuguese not use the bubble canopy in their production??”
Twochai, this is a very good question indeed. I’ve checked all my references, as well as asking two “Chipmunk history gurus” and it seems that there’s no documentation to indicate that the MoD or RAF ever asked for blown canopies!
When the DHC-1A was evaluated at Boscombe Down the existing canopy was extensively criticized. While the canopy adopted for the T.10/Mk.20 series looks similar it’s actually quite different. The thicker framing and blown rear side panels are readily apparent, but the canopy is also of a much broader cross-section (it’s wider at the top) in order to improve head room.
The T.10/Mk20 specification seems to have been settled in 1948. The DHC-1B-S3, the first Canadian-built version to sport the blown canopy, didn’t appear until a year later by which time UK production was getting underway. Perhaps they didn’t want to interrupt production to accommodate a new canopy?
Installing a DHC-1B blown canopy on a T.10/Mk.20/21/22 is not as straight-forward as it appears initially, in that both the rails and windscreen cross-section are different. However there have been subsequent blown canopies designed privately (both in the UK and Australia) to “fit” the T.10/Mk.20/21/22 so perhaps the desire to do so wasn’t there at the time anyway.
I can see two possible reasons why the RAF weren’t interested. Firstly, if the Chipmunk has an accident involving coming to rest inverted, it’s not possible to slide the canopy aft. However, egress from the UK-built aircraft is still possible as the LHS canopy panels can be jettisoned. This is obviously not possible with the blown canopy, which is perhaps why my DHC-1B Flight Manual (undated) contains a requirement to take off and land with the hood open – now this must have been fun in a Canadian winter! This issue has been addressed subsequently by the mandatory carriage of a canopy axe. Also the RAF initially used two-colour blind-flying screens on the forward side panels which required a flat surface for mounting, again not possible with the curved blown canopy. This scheme seems to have fallen into dis-use by the 1960’s.
None of the above really explains the apparent disinterest in the blown canopy; can anyone expand further on this subject?
As a devoted T.10 owner, I would be the first to acknowledge that the DHC-1B has a superior cockpit in virtually every aspect. My one reservation would be the lack of a baggage compartment on the Canadian-built version – even a ludicrously small compartment is better than none at all.
Location: Sneaking up on the Runway and leaping to grab it unawares
Actually, we Brits were operating a Lycoming Chipmunk back in the early 70s as a glider tug at Bicester. Very nice to fly, obviously better ptw ratio and much quieter cockpit. The electric start was handy too - we always hand swung our Gypsy chippies.
I don't think the Lycoming Chippies were as early as that. My late Father was in a syndicate with an ASW 15 (the ex-GSA glider, BGA1597, tail number: 29) and then a Kestrel 19 at Bicester until the beginning of 1975 when we moved to Duxford/Teversham. We were regular visitors to the GSA Centre after that and I think the first time I saw a Lycoming Chippie there was late 1975, maybe early 1976. Albeit it was nearly 40 years ago so my memory could be shot!
While hand swinging went on I also remember the ex-UAS aircraft having cartridge starters.
We also had 2 ex-crop duster Gypsy chippies with fixed leading edge slots, both single seat. One had a squat little box canopy and was a real drag-master but nevertheless had good climb rate and superb slow speed handling. The other had a blown canopy and was a dream to fly. I'm sure the bubble produced extra lift as the climb performance seemed as good as the Lycoming aircraft - handled better too.
The teardrop canopied aircraft was G-ATVF which had been WD327 when in RAF service:
She certainly wasn't a single seater, she had a front seat fitted. Although I grant you I can't remember her being a 2-sticker.
I spent many a time begging 'sandbag' trips in her in the early 1970's. To prove it, here is a shot of a very young (future) ExAscoteer clambering into the front seat. The year would have been 1973!
G-AOTF was one of the ag-chippys. Shown here in about 1985 with a 160 hp Lycoming in a fetching air defence grey colour scheme - which when you think about it has to be the worst colour to paint a tug. IIRC, she was a Mk23 which used a raised rear cockpit as the flying position, had a space for a hopper where the front seat was, and I think she had leading edge slots as well.
She certainly did have the leading edge slots although I can't find a photograph at the moment. When she had the Gypsy I remember her being a much lighter, almost silver, grey.
Henry Crun – yes, but my point was that the RAF apparently never even asked for blown canopies and so were never in a position to be told "it cost too much”.
ExAscoteer – the first “flat engine" conversion in Australia was quite early (in1960); VH-BVP was fiited with a Continental O-470. Our DCA promptly designated it a DHC-1C, but that designation never caught on!
I can see the advantages of this, more power, lower overhaul costs and oil consumption for a start, but as a purist it just looks odd - and it reminds me of people who put Chevrolet engines in Jaguars. The general consensus seems to be that the extra power made for a better rate of climb and thus made aerobatics easier to manage, but did little for the cruise speed.
Thanks too for the photos of the re-converted Mk.23 – the slats really stand out!
In Australia, engineer Mike Sassin in partnership with the Bankstown NSW based Aerostructures produced the SA29 “Spraymaster”. It differed from the UK-built design in many areas, most notably in having a simply gorgeous blown canopy, wing endplates in lieu of slots (initially), a dorsal fin fairing, a Scott spring tailwheel assembly plus the previously discussed tapered strakes.
It’s a long and sad saga, but despite the initial promise only three Spraymasters were ever built. In a situation strongly paralleling that of G-ATVF, the last survivor of this trio (VH-BCA) was recently also converted back to the normal DHC-1 configuration. The only clues now to its ancestry are the tailwheel and the strakes.
Had my first flight ever in a Chippie with 9 AEF at RAF Finningley in 1983, back when I was an Air Cadet. Gutted that I don't have a picture or even a record of the S/N.
Anyhoo, we're flying along and my pilot asks if I'd like a go. I say 'Yes please Sir' so he gets me to follow him lightly on the controls - which I duly do. I'm a bit overawed to be honest (never having been in the sky before remember!) and my thumb & forefinger are only just touching the top of the stick as it moves around. He then utters the immortal words 'You have control' and I do, I actually have control - of an aeroplane!
But, so nervous am I (and he hasn't actually told me to do anything with said plane) that I sit there rather like a rabbit in the headlights, not moving the stick at all. The graceful Chippie just flies along perfectly trimmed in level flight and a couple of minutes later my pilot says 'I have control' then compliments me on my smooth flying! Still makes me smile today - must sort another go sometime
The comment about the harness in the rear cockpit rattling reminded meof the fright I got I my first solo when taxing out over bumpy grass. I noise was so loud I was convinced things were dropping off. I stopped, undid my harness and peered into the rear cockpit to make sure
G-AOTF was one of the ag-chippys. Shown here in about 1985 with a 160 hp Lycoming in a fetching air defence grey colour scheme - which when you think about it has to be the worst colour to paint a tug.
Someone in the RAFGSA must have shared your view on the colour scheme. As this is how she appears today, much loved at RAF Odiham, even with 'that' canopy.
What we really need is a Thruxton Jackeroo type four seat conversion for her, as there are always more people wanting to fly G-AOTF than there are gliders to be towed!
G-ATVF comes to see us (from RAF Halton) when we are hosting an instructor's course or to permit dual flying when someone wants to convert onto G-AOTF.
P.S. Anyone know a good source of Chipmunk tailwheel tyres?
Hi Alan, just read your post with interest, my father was an instructor with BRNC based at Plymouth with the Chipmunks from 1964 to 1993 your aircraft was never on the strength of the BRNC flight they usualy operated between 10 to 12 aircraft, I think yours would have always been on one of the station flights and the other one mentioned WP809 (912) was not one of the regulars at Plymouth but was held in reserve at Kemble for use when needed, the colour scheme in the 60's and early 70's was polished metal and orange dayglo and later gray and red nose etc. I do have a couple of period photos I can email if they would help, I do recall one of the chippys getting into trouble during a spin to the point where the crew were about to exit and I believe it was the action of opening the hood that stopped the spin or enabled them to recover I also remember the pilots saying that some were better than others for spinning
Hi Gordon, I remember your father well - a real gentleman. I think that you may be mistaken in stating that WP809 was not one of the regulars at Plymouth. My 3rd Chipmunk flight on 07 Dec 1973 was in WP809. I next flew it on 08 June 1975 and again on 31 July 1975 (twice), all 4 flights being with your father as instructor. I again flew twice it on 22 August 1975, once with Stan Greenhow and once solo. I flew solo in it again on 10 April 1976 and my final Chipmunk flight at Roborough was in it with your father on 06 February 1977. So WP809 was at Roborough (albeit possibly intermittently) during this period of over 3 years. Incidentally, I only remember the grey and red colour scheme but unfortunately I don't have any photos.
I also recall the instructors telling us that the Flight had never had an actual accident and that the nearest they had come to one was a near bale out. However the story I remember was that there was an engine failure. After several unsuccessful attempts to restart, the instructor told the student to bale out. They opened the canopy and the student unstrapped and unplugged and was just starting to climb out when the instructor managed to restart the engine. Cue frantic attempts by the instructor to stop the student by tapping (probably hitting him hard) on the shoulder to tell him to get back in. A shaken student strapped himself back in and they returned to Roborough.
If it is of any interest, between October 1973 and February 1977 I flew: WP795 (901), WK634 (902), WD374 (903), WP856 (904), WK608 (906), WB575 (907), WB657 (908), WP904 (909), WB671 (910), WP801 (911), WP809 (912). It would seem that I missed flying WK511 (905).
Hi Mark , thanks for your comments about father, he is still fighting fit but never flew again after the Chipmunks were retired, WK511 (905) he used during 1967, 906 the following year, for a series of air races, including the Kings Cup, as the official Navy entry, he was the flying grading examiner at that time and still serving in the Navy. It was put into storage a few years before they were all retired and sold a long time before others I think, we never saw it again,and it could be that 912 replaced it on strength but 912 and 909 were spares and held at Kemble but they would have been there on a frequent basis either as extras or when one of the others was undergoing major work at Kemble or later St Athan, you were just lucky lol, I seem to remember the incident with spinning, but I could be remembering incorrectly, and later they did have one engine failure that led to a successful forced landing in a field it was later flown out successfully. You might remember me I was the "hanger rat" and used to spend all my time up there when not a school, either hand pumping fuel , doping wings etc, pushing, pulling and generaly getting in the way, all your numbers are correct by the way, the original colour scheme had gone by the time you got there, I do have a few pics if would like them, I can email them to you . Every year they would take several aircraft away to France for a couple of weeks in the sun and the old orange dayglo would fade to almost white, they would go in the company of a Sea Devon it used to look like a mother duck going off with her chicks in tow. As a matter of interest all the Roborough chipmunks are still around, a couple in the USA now with lycoming engines I think, some down under in NZ(905) & Aus, a couple in Europe, Lee on Solent had one for glider towing and RNHF have two of them 906 flying and 908 used for spares
for anyone interested I believe these are current locations of BRNC Chippys
901 WP795 UK (Lee on Solent) ? 902 WK634 USA 903 WD374 AUS 904 WP856 USA 905 WK511 NZ 906 WK608 UK (RNHF) 907 WB575 France 908 WB657 UK (RNHF) non airworthy for spares 909 WP904 USA 910 WB671 Belgium 911 WP801 USA 912 WP809 UK
I also recall the instructors telling us that the Flight had never had an actual accident and that the nearest they had come to one was a near bale out. However the story I remember was that there was an engine failure. After several unsuccessful attempts to restart, the instructor told the student to bale out. They opened the canopy and the student unstrapped and unplugged and was just starting to climb out when the instructor managed to restart the engine. Cue frantic attempts by the instructor to stop the student by tapping (probably hitting him hard) on the shoulder to tell him to get back in. A shaken student strapped himself back in and they returned to Roborough
I think it's more likely the spin story that's correct, since one wouldn't bail out of a Chippy (or any other light aircraft) simply because of engine failure unless perhaps over very inhospitable terrain (or water!). The risks of being injured or even killed in such a bail-out would be far greater than the risks involved in a forced landing in an aeroplane like the Chippy.
I was unfortunately rather closely involved in the loss VH-FTA in 1968.
At the time I was doing my Instructor Rating with Bud "Spike" Jennings an ex WWII fighter pilot. Late the previous day we took FTA out for a session of aerobatics and spinning doing up to eight rotations in both directions recovering with no trouble at all. The next morning Arthur Kell took out a student pilot for a PPL test usually involving one simple two turn spin and recovery, but as is well known, the aircraft did not recover and spun into the ground. Arthur was an ex RAF bomber pilot whose main claim to fame was that he took over Mickey Martin's Lancaster, Guy Gibson's second in command, when he finished his tour in the Dam Buster squadron after the famous raid and he subsequently flew RAF Brittanias.
For a time the three remaining Chipmunks (RSK, RCP & RSQ) were grounded then all fitted with the anti-spin strakes. Spike and I then had the dubious honour of taking RSQ, I think, for a series of spinning tests; this time with parachutes and again trouble free results.
Who knows if the twenty cent coin came from our pockets! The investigation showed that the forward movement of the elevators had been impaired by the coin but every time pressure was released and reapplied it popped out; Arthur would have been trying everything. Quite simply put the Chipmunk does a bad flat spin very occasionally; this is mainly due to D.H. Mosquito design of the tailplane where the forward set rudder is blanketed in spin. This is shown by the fact that nothing happens until the last inch or so of forward movement of the control column when it starts to bite. The strakes definitely helped by giving a more nose down attitude in the spin and if anybody had subsequently removed these on RSK they were crazy! More recent photos of RSK show them in place.