Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
Late to the party as ever (asleep in Japan), but did it in my head. I got 15 miles to the inch. As an approximation, the old inch to the mile OS maps became 1:50,000, so my final figure came out at 1:750,000. That's what happens when a boy scout grows up to be a geologist. You did say DR, which I interpret as dead reckoning.
In the dim vistas of my memory I can recall doing DR navigation in the Jet Provost (let's face it we had d@@@ all else). However, Danny, by the late 60s we had modernised with a novel invention called the graduated pencil. this worked in exactly the same way as the thumb except we had pre-marked it to the scale (which scale?) of the map we carried. Its immediate usefulness was then dependent on the remaining length of pencil after it had been re-sharpened a few times.
Even on the Mighty Workules I used a fair amount of DR to keep an eye on what the Directional Consultant was up to. It rarely failed to pay dividends in some way.
Keep up the memories. You claim these are fallible but are nevertheless completely fascinating for us sprogs.
"Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practise to deceive" (or to set mathematical problems !)
8 miles @ 150 mph is 20 miles, or 20 x 5280 x 12 in, or 1,267,200 in. (no argument about that).
Dividing by Danny's 1.25 in horny thumb-end gives 1,013,760 thumb-ends (fair enough ?)
Dividing into a 1:1,000,000. scale, the difference appears (as above) to be 1.35733 %. At 16 miles/in (811,008 t/es) it would be 23.3%. At 15 miles/in (760,320 t/es) - 31.5%. (but that then would be very close to a 1:750,000 scale @ 1.35733 %). Was there such a map scale ? - I ask in all ignorance). If so, the one-in- a million and the 15mi/in maps must be joint "proxime accessits". Fareastdriver, awfully sorry, but have to withdraw my previous award of joint winner to 16miles/in. (I'd inexcusably forgotten to include the thumb factor in that calculation).
Wish I'd never started ! (Einstein, thou should'st be living at this hour !) .............D.
Yamagata Ken. Yes, DR is Dead Reckoning..........D.
Kind words much appreciated. I was in ATC at Leeming '67 - '72 (last posting before retirement). W/Cdr Ramus was the O.C. Flying Wing/CFI, S/Ldr Angela (ex-Red Arrow) one of the Sqdn C.O.s, S/Ldr "Harry" Talton SATCO. You may have heard my dulcet tones on air.
Last edited by Danny42C; 26th Oct 2012 at 01:10.
Reason: Typo and Spelling.
Curiously, this is the first I've heard of your magic pencils (just shows how far ATC was (is) divorced from reality !). However, it shows how Great Minds, as ever, Think Alike.
I take it that these would only be used in the Flight Planning Room. If, however, you took them into the air to use:
How did you tether them to you (on a piece of string ?),
If they weren't secured, what happened when you dropped them down the bottom of the cockpit ? (apart from the whack on your bone dome which bid fair to compression-fracture a cervical verterbra or two).
Did your instructor then invert the thing and pick it off the canopy ? (this actually happened to me once in a Harvard in the States).
All shows the innate superiority of the Thumb Method.
Strange things get into JPs...I was at Linton in 1971/72 and remember a seat being removed for servicing...beneath which was discovered a meat pie with one bite out of it!! One can only conjecture what attempted lunch recovery manoeuvres were attempted...
Thumb joint = (8mins @ 150 mph) 20miles. Your figures. Thumb joint =1.25 inches. Your figures. Therefore 1.25 inches=20miles. Everybody agrees. Five 0,25 inches = 1.25 inches. 0.25 inch = 4 miles Four 0.25 inches = 16 miles. 1 inch = 16 miles. 16 miles/inch
I am assuming that you did not have aviation maps at that time in India as there were no aviation thingies to map. India was British and the first maps in the UK were 6 inches to the mile and at your time 4 inches/mile was de rigeur. India was too big for general large scale mapping so outside the main cities they would have been fairly snall scale showing only the three ‘Rs’, roads, railways and rivers plus cities and notable towns. Mountains would have been shown by hashers, a series of dashes indicating a wall of rock of some indeterminate height. We used this type of map in North Borneo in 1966 nicely decorated with white patches marked ‘relief data incomplete’. The people that knocked up these maps in India would have probably been guided by experience in England and could well have gone for a multiple of the 4 inches/mile format; ie 16 miles/inch.
I claim First Prize.
I was in ATC at Leeming '67 - '72 (last posting before retirement).
So YOU belonged to the bunch that brought out those rules about Avgas and Avtur lines at Leeming just because somebody tried to fill up a Basset with jet fuel.
I was leading a pair of Pumas from Odiham to Otterburn to lift some guns around for the Royal Artillery and we went into Leeming to refuel. On board I had an Air Vice Marshall who had just taken over 38 Group and wanted to see how his troops performed. On arrival the Air Trafficess was of the belief that all helicopters were petrol driven so we were guided and then shut down in the Avgas line. It was a chilly day so I had lent the AVM my combat flying jacket whilst we refuelled. They had sent an Avgas bowser so we shooed it away and told them to bring an Avtur example. This was refused because Avtur bowsers were prohibited from crossing the Avgas line. There was a bit of a confrontation about this and eventually a Sqn Ldr groundocrat told us that if we wanted them refuelled we would have to PUSH (5.5 tonnes) our aircraft to the Avtur line.
At this point my Air Vice Marshall took my jacket off.
We didn’t seem to have any trouble after that. What was annoying was that the bowser driver told us he had refuelled a DH125 parked next to us, also in the Avgas line, less than an hour previously.
After that that AIP had a note for Leeming that if an inbound aircraft had a senior officer of Air Rank on board than the tower was to be informed on first contact. This unique instruction was still around at the turn of the century.
Last edited by Fareastdriver; 26th Oct 2012 at 18:08.
Once again I sit on the penitent's bench (my default position!).
You are of course, absolutely right mathematically. But we did not use any Miles/inch map scales for navigation in India (or later in UK, do they use them now ?) I think the only ones in general use were the 1:1,000,000, 1:500.000 and 1:250,000, and IIRC, we got by with just the million map out there. (I think the 1:750.000 was a red herring, was there ever such a thing ?)
So in setting the question, I had only these maps in mind, and so caused the confusion. Mea maxima culpa !
Even in comparison with 15 mi/in, you are the clear winner. Differences from a million:- 16m/in (1013760): +13760, 15mi/in (950400): - 49600.
I am sorry that my old station should have treated you in so boorish a way (I hope it was not in my time ! - But it shows the value of having an Air Marshal around). There was sense in separating the refuelling lines. Valley had a case a long time ago when a Pembroke or a Devon or something of the sort was refuelled from an Avtur bowser (or was it even worse, a water bowser ?). Unluckily, there was enough good stuff in the fuel lines to get it up; it splashed down in Caernarvon Bay and I think there were casualties.
My sincere apology for the misunderstanding.........I have pleasure in awarding you the (Virtual) Prize....Summa cum Laude.....D.
I have found meat pies warming up nicely in the tail-pipe of a recently landed aircraft, but as a Foreign Object in the cockpit, that takes the cake ! (or rather, pie). Wonder how many hours it had put in ? Did JPs have a "G" meter? Any record of excessive negative G after pie-recovery efforts ?...........D.
Welcome aboard ! Why not tell us your story from the sixties ? (pace the Moderators: I hope they would allow). It pleases us old codgers to hear of you youngsters suffering as we did.............D.
Bedtime. Goodnight, all,
Last edited by Danny42C; 28th Oct 2012 at 22:07.
Reason: Complete Bracket.
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
This unique instruction was still around at the turn of the century.
It's still there:
RMKS12. Operating authorities are to notify movements carrying pax of Gp Cpt rank or above.
I recall going there in a JP5 from Cranwell once with my QFI. Leeming ATC asked us the bizarre question "Do you have any Group Capatains on board?". Quick as a flash, my QFI responded "Hang on and we'll have a look!".....
It was some bizarre instruction left over from the days of the infamous 'PCL', dictator of Leeming and loathed by all.
The Avtur in a Basset accident was at RAF Valley in July 1973. Double engine failure on take-off, XS783 of 26 Sqn didn't ditch in Caernarfon Bay, but crashed near the aerodrome, killing the navigator and badly injuring the pilot.
I do not recollect * the infamous Instruction (or the two refuelling park lines) at Leeming in my time (ended Dec '72). Nor does the cryptic "PCL" ring a bell. It is possible that these events came later.
My O.C. (F). was unfortunately named, incurring the (not unkindly meant) obvious nickname "Igno" from his subordinates (but not in his hearing!).
* There appears to be no limit to what I have forgotten and can forget. Conversely, I remember things which simply are not.
Having said that, if the suggestion which led to the Instruction emanated from Leeming, I have a good idea of the source.
ATC has good reason to enquire who (or what !) visitors might be bringing in. I shall tell a good tale of my later days in ATC, but will not shoot my own fox now, but only say that some pax have more than two legs (and no, you'll never guess it in a hundred years).
BEagle, I admire your QFI's quick wit (he can only have been an Irishman). And thank you for the fill-in on the Valley misfuel incident. This would be some months after I retired, but I still have a trace of a lingering memory of a much earlier similar case at Valley where water was involved; this happened when I was still serving, but I can trace nothing now.
Bit of useless information: in 1946 a 1931 car would run on a mixtue of 50% "Pool" petrol (rotten stuff, severely rationed and 1/8 a gallon) and 50% paraffin (unrationed and 9d a gallon), but not from cold. But there was a way round that (ask Grandad). Strictly illegal, of course; the bobby on point duty would sniff suspiciously, but you were away by then.
When I was a lad I used to sit on the mudguard of a Fordson tractor that used to have two fuel tanks. A small one with petrol to start and warm up and another with paraffin with which it would run all day. Just behind me on a bumpy field would be a towed wheat cutter/binder that was a mass of cutting knifes and guiding spikes. If I had fallen off I would have been a goner.
Last edited by Fareastdriver; 28th Oct 2012 at 15:27.
Bit of useless information: in 1946 a 1931 car would run on a mixtue of 50% "Pool" petrol (rotten stuff, severely rationed and 1/8 a gallon) and 50% paraffin (unrationed and 9d a gallon), but not from cold. But there was a way round that (ask Grandad).
Fit a second tank with a switch-over valve would be one solution, but do tell
Yes, the dual-tank would have been one solution. I remember a yacht, you cranked up on petrol, by the time you cleared the harbour mouth it was warm enough to go over to paraffin until you hoisted sail.
No, it was simpler than that. (Reluctantly shooting another of my foxes) Procedure:- Open (side-opening) "bonnet", very simple carb, fixing bolts (two) off float chamber in a few seconds, remove chamber, chuck out contents, fill with "Ronsonol" lighter fluid (from any tobacconist), replace.
Swing vigorously on bent wire * in front, thing should fire-up from cold. By the time it had worked through the Ronsonol it would (usually) keep running. Of course, you always had to keep a bottle of the stuff in the car.
* Why, oh why, don't we still have 'em ? So useful !
Having confessed to a felony (or at least a misdemeanour !),
Whilst doing my Advanced Flying Training in Vampires in 1964 at Linton an Anson arrived and was duly refuelled. As Ansons were fairly rare beasts by then we all piled out of the crewroom to watch it depart. It got to about 600' whereupon it disappeared in a cloud of white smoke shortly to re-appear coming back. Yes you've guessed it it had been refuelled with Avtur. An airman was court martialled I seem to recall over the incident. The Anson touched down going downwind on the active runway and was towed in.
Well, having eagerly devoured this thread since it's inception, I can now make a very small contribution.
Petrol-paraffin marine-engine...Morris VEDETTE. start and warm on petrol and then switch the fuel over. At Leigh on sea, there used to be an old boy working a large open clinker pleasure-boat. I got to know "Snappy" Noakes quite well , The boat, Silver Spray was Vedette powered and every year, a Board Of Trade inspector would check the internal condition of said engine befoer the local engineers were allowed to reassemble it......the sister boat worked off Chalkwell beach but it retained it's large traditional Gaff rig.
Rooting through my late partner's hoards, i have discovered a tiny diary written , I think, by one of her uncles who was in RAF motor transport during the war. the diary only starts Dec 1 1944.
Of interest to the thread:-
Feb. 1st.(1945) based in DURBUY, Ardenne.
"billet now in castle here in forest and mountains. Gun fire going on all day. Germans not long gone.
Feb.2. Site full of mines and dead gerries and yanks,nobody seems to care about them. Bodies perfect in snow.
Feb.3 Have to wear khaky. Yanks shooting at us at night thinking we are jerrys, Feb.4. getting khaky greatcoats as well as blue. Still at Durbuy.
Feb 14. had a nice walk thro woods-plenty of mines Hundreds of planes going over tonight...................................
Feb, 22 Went to Verviers near aachen via Bayeux Bomal Liege Vielsalm Saw good show Had on our blue and civvies and yanks could not make us out...........
March7 Halifax crashed in mine field at site. 1 killed outright. 2 died on way to hospital. Went to verviers.................
March 22 Mosquito and Halifax collided in air 8 dead. Only rear gunner escaped. all buried here............
Sorry, that's all the Aviation content there is.
I think he was a Mr. Greenwood who would have been her (my partner's) mother's brother, as her father(and her) were Thomas.
Of course it's of some interest, Steve ! I must say the tale of our airmen having to disguise themselves as pongos to avert incoming friendly fire is a new one on me. But it makes perfect sense in the circumstances. With the Battle of the Bulge just over, dark winter days in a snowy landscape, and everybody jumpy, it would be easy for anyone (never mind a Yank) to mistake an erk in RAF blue for the field grey of the Wehrmacht.
I was a bit puzzled at the trip from Durbuy (Ardenne) to Verviers via Bayeux (???) (Bayeux is in Normandy at the base of the Cotentin peninsula, miles to the West - home of the famous Tapestry, well worth a visit). Your chap seems a bit off the beam there.
Did he get as far as Aachen ? Went through it many a time from Cologne (Volkspark) to go on watch at Geilenkirchen. Charlemagne's cathedral is the place to see.
Marine engines, not a Vedette in the boat I was in (half-crown trip round the bay, catch a mackerel or two for tea if lucky), probably a Petter or Lister.......D.
With the poor old engines popping and banging in disgust at their fodder, I'd put it down in a hurry downwind (or any other way) - wouldn't you ?
Scandalous story told to me (for which I cannot possibly vouch), by a fellow ATC (ex-wartime pilot) in early '50s. Kicked out (like all of us) in '46, he had got a job on the sales side of Avro's, proved pretty good at it, and was promoted to the point where he negotiated directly with the contracts people in the Air House.
Choosing his man carefully, he fed and watered this chap royally on expenses. They went back to the chap's office: he came out with a contract for Anson spares which would keep the things flying till the end of the century.
Couldn't happen, of course. (But they did last an awfully long time).........D.
In recent Posts (#3101, p. 155, & #3107, p. 156), I've told of the establishment of the RAF Ski School in Kashmir at the war's end. Group had passed on my application, and now my number came up for the (second, I think) Course in mid December.
Authority for this detachment came with a very valuable "perk": first-class priority for air movement. With all the travelling going on, I would normally have had very little chance of getting on Transport Command's regular internal flights, and the trip up India from south to north might take me a week or more on rail. Now I would be at the front of every queue for the next plane. The RAF's generosity had limits. The priority was good only for the journey to Kashmir. You're on your own on the way back , chum !
I flew a VV up to Santa Cruz (Bombay) with a pilot to take it back. Air Movements honoured my priority, and I was on the next Dakota to Delhi. I spent the night there, and next morning (as they had nothing going where I wanted ), they put me on Indian National Airways (civil) up to the Frontier. This sounds very grand, but it was only a little Beechcraft "Expeditor", a small light twin with about seven seats (the Navy used them at Sulur). Never mind, it got up there all right and I landed in Rawalpindi, the very town where my father had been born, seventy years before, to an Army familily in the great days of Empire.
There the magic carpet signed off. Rawalpindi (then a RAF parachute school) flew into Srinagar weekly during the summer. But the snows had closed Srinagar until Spring. No helicopters in those days. The only way into Kashmir was by road. And the only vehicle for the trip was the local country bus. With considerable misgiving, a group of us squeezed ourselves and our kit into this ramshackle and malodorous contraption, and headed north into the mountains.
The road grew terrifying. Cut into the hillside, it was barely wide enough for one vehicle, with unguarded drops of hundreds of feet at the edge. Like many of the hill roads, it was "gated". This works like a single-track railway, except that it was a timed system. Northbound traffic is allowed through for two hours, say, then the last vehicle through carries a token and the Northbound gate is closed. When the token gets through to the other end, the Southbound gate is opened for two hours, and so on.
That journey (and the return) lived long in my nightmares. Every mile or so the gruesome remains of a truck or bus which had gone "over the khud" could be seen far down on the riverbed boulders below. The driver chose the most dangerous bends to let go the wheel to relight his "bidi". We died a hundred deaths. The hillmen on the bus were not in the least perturbed. We envied them their Asiatic fatalism.
It was not our destiny to perish that day. At last we reached Srinagar. A night in an Army Mess there, and we were ready for the final leg. Another retrograde step, now we were on ponies. No feat of horsemanship is implied. The ponies were led, it was about as exciting as a donkey ride on the sands. It can't have been far up to Gulmarg, * for I can only recall being in the saddle for two or three hours.
* Wiki tells me that it is 35 km. We must have been trucked for most of the distance, but I can't remember now.
It was December and very cold. We were two or three to a room, the only occupants of the wooden hotel buildings. During the day we were either on skis or in the Mess, keeping fairly warm. In the evenings each room got an allowance of a maund of firewood (82 pounds, the standard load for a porter). Our bearer would light the fire after tea, we'd huddle round the glow, swapping ski stories until the wood ran out. Then we had to bury ourselves under all the blankets and coats we could find, and shiver.
(It ain't half cold, Mum!).
Last edited by Danny42C; 29th Oct 2012 at 00:58.
Reason: Amplify Title.
It would have been army boots (ammo), cable bindings and wooden skis. Add in open piste (chop and slop), telemark turns (free the heel) and battledress. My guess is there would have been a lot of walking uphill and falling down. How was it for you?
me culpa. It was me who came up with the 1:750,000 map scale, not an opinion, simply the number I calculated in my head. (My lower thumb knuckle is 1 5/8").
Danny, I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief to learn that you survived the penultimate leg of your multi-modal journey to Gulmarg. To have come to grief during a civilian bus ride up an Alpine-like gorge having emerged (almost) unscathed from the war in the Far East would have taken some explaining, I would suggest. As it is I struggle to see the appeal of this ordeal, particularly as your warmth stemmed from an all too limited bundle of sticks per day. But we have learned enough of your willingness to embrace any new experience to know that once the establishment of the RAF Ski School in Kashmir was announced, Danny's presence there was a forgone conclusion. However, the casualty rate on the Alpine slopes every season is well known. How much more hazardous were the underdeveloped runs in Kashmir? I have a dreadful premonition that we are about to find out. Is it too late to beg you to take care, Danny? Probably!
I have returned from my trip 'down under' and have access to the copy of the log book I mentioned in a previous post . But first I must make it clear that although I have permission to quote from it I cannot divulge the name. Should anyone be astute enough to work it out then I would ask that they respect the anonymity as requested. The person who is the subject of the log book died many years ago. If you will bear with me I will post the information in stages. He qualified in 1941 as an Air Observer Armament after finishing his course at No 5 Bombing and Gunnery School at Jurby. His entire flying training , including Navigator training having taken 5 months. His training was undertaken in Ansons and Blenheims. From there it was to No 10 OTU at Abingdon for more training on the Anson and Whitley before his first operational posting to 78 Sqn at Middleton St George on the Whitley. I served at Middleton in 1961 on 33 Sqn (Javelins). More next time.