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.
More pictures from my father's Brownie, but one photo is annotated that his camera cost 25s, double the 12s 6d quoted by Danny! Either Danny had good contacts or (more likely) the Andover chemist who doubled as photographic dealer in those days saw Dad coming.
My father was also angered by the treatment of the erks, or LAC gunners. He recalled that they were expected to attend morning parade after (or if) they returned from night ops. On one occasion a particularly thick F/Sgt of prewar days wanted to charge a gunner who was late on parade after an op, though this was too much even for the boneheads in SHQ who told him to forget it.
Shortly after changing their Hawker Hinds for Battles the squadron was posted to Montrose on the east coast of Scotland. The aircraft were fitted with mysterious underwing drums from which a yellow substance could be sprayed during flight. Ground crews were told not to worry about German gas attack as Britain had ample means of retaliation.
Spraying exercises along the shoreline culminated with an attack on an Army base which may have been Fort George at Inverness. It was timed to coincide with a big parade, and the unfortunate and heavily bulled Pongos were sprayed with yellow gunge from low-flying Battles.
My father took this pic of Plt Off Roth’s aircraft near Andover 1938. It shows Battle crew positions pilot, navigator, and w/op air gunner. Roth was shot down in 1940 while attacking German columns and taken POW.
My father, Sgt Pritchard, and A. H. Tomes after the sortie. He thought Sgt Pritchard was shot down in France. Funnel object above their heads is the venturi which produced vacuum for air-driven instruments.
Arrival at Berry-au-Bac, November 1939. Heighton, Jones, my father, and Theobold, having camouflaged the Battle with branches taken from the roadside hedges.
More pix to come shortly. Meantime, Merry Christmas, everyone, especially Santa's senior captain, now in the jet age!
Thank you so much for my "Pilot's Notes". After a cursory look-through, note that (as amended to 1970), much has changed since my time 20 years before (in particular, Intentional Spins are now prohibited - and a good thing, too !)
How did we learn all this stuff in a few days ? I have signed a certificate (as we all had to do, and a copy sits accusingly in my log), to the effect that: "I fully understand:- (1) Fuel and oil, (2) Hydraulic, and (3) Pneumatic Systems, (4) Emergency Operation of Flaps and Undercarriage, (5) Action in the event of Fire, and (6) Method of abandonin (sic) aircraft, in respect of Meteor 7 and Vampire aircraft".
They'd covered themselves pretty comprehensively, wouldn't you say ? (what had the poor Electrical System done to be missed out ? - but to compensate, they'd thrown in the Vampire, which I'd never even touched !)
Now anything which happened to the aeroplane must be my fault..........D,
Too true they do !........(Absent Friends)......D.
What a feast is laid before me !......Where to start ?..... In order, therefore:
Dad will be right (but 25 bob was a lot of money - say £60 today)....... The whole thing has a strange feel of being just an extension of peacetime (the "Phoney War"?). The F/Sgt hadn't taken it in that they were in a life-or-death struggle - he was in peacetime mode still...... Now I sit up with a jerk (almost spill my cocoa): if it looks like mustard, sprays like mustard etc, it certainly was mustard. Pongos were sprayed ! (No, surely not - this cannot have happened ?) And how come I'm doing exactly the same thing six years later in Cannanore ? Do we ever learn ?.........D.
now the lovely photos:
Was there ever a longer canopy - you could put two more chaps in there. Gunner has got his Vickers G.O. in with him ? Looks like a loaded 11 lb practice bomb rack under the wing, yet something odd about it. What put the neat hole in the fin - mice ?............. Again the quiet, relaxed, "summer afternoon" feel about this. Your dad is still in his old "button-up", the Sgt-Pilot has swung rank on the store-basher. Belts are worn tight this year. Cary Grant (aka Tomes) looks v. debonair. Anyone for tennis ?.............. Am I alone in seeing disembodied head over Gunner's canopy ? Your dad - Officer Material if ever I saw it ! Heighton, where did you get the swagger stick ? Theobald, wouldn't stand around like that for long, if I were you !........D.
God rest ye , merry Gentlemen all, now - and (especially) then,
Danny Finds his Way Home (with help from his friends).
Last time, I threatened to bore you. I am a man of my word.
From the very earliest days of radio, the possibilities of Direction Finding by this means had been exploited. But the old manual D/F rigs needed forever and a day to give you a bearing, and even then you were never quite sure that you hadn't got a reciprocal.
Enter the Cathode Ray Direction Finder. Fanfare of trumpets for the finest piece of navigational (ground) equipment that the RAF has had in half a century ? Not a bit of it ! I cannot find (Google/Wiki) a definitive date for its introduction in service, but in early '50s some places had got it, and some not, and Driffield was one of the lucky ones. And they were still going strong (as Commutated Antenna Direction Finders - UHF had come in) when I retired in '72. They may be going yet, for all I know....... Anybody ?
Some seven years after Driffield, a USAF Colonel came round Strubby to have a look at our gear. Uninterested in the old MPN1 Bendix radar truck (outdated US stock anyway), his gaze lit on the CR/DF tube. With growing fascination, he watched a highly skilled operator (modesty forbids) safely gather in a mixed bag of Hunters, Canberras and Meteors out of the winter murk (and feeding them into GCA if required) with practised ease. "That", said he finally, with obvious sincerity, "is the best Goddam aid I ever saw !" Hard to believe, but the USAF had (then) nothing to match it.
One of his compatriots had even more reason to admire the system at that time. The obvious extension of the service from simple airfield recovery was to be the bedrock of the VHF Emergency system (on 121.5). Three or more CR/DFs, widely dispersed, transmitted their bearings by landline to a Rescue Co-ordination Centre, There they flashed up onto a screen, intersected, and showed an instant "fix".
Our chap was very high in the Blue Yonder over the North Sea. The thing he was in spontaneously combusted and he had to get out very fast. He put out a Mayday, but got no further than "May" when the flames licked his bottom and he had to break off the conversation. But it was enough.
And it so happened (it really was his lucky day) that a S&R Helicopter was going out on an exercise, and was pretty well on the spot. It hung around until they saw him floating down and positioned themselves. They fished him out of the North Sea before he finished spouting out his first mouthful. (Pity they didn't have a sort of big butterfly net available, he wouldn't even have had to get wet). He sang the praises of the Limeys to his dying day (or so the story went).
As I have said, you called for steers repeatedly and, as everybody else in the upper airspace was doing the same, the poor Approach Controller was working like a one-armed paper-hanger. A way to automate the job was urgently needed; the boffins turned up trumps. They devised the Voice Rotating Beacon (VRB).
A ground transmitter near the airfield put out a rotating narrow beam signal. This was synchronised with a closed loop which carried a R/T recorded message in such a way that a listening pilot would hear only a short message, telling him his "Steer" (to the nearest ten degrees). With your fuel contents needles almost visibly moving down as you watched, this was a great comfort. It worked like this:
On its own frequency, (of course) you would hear faintly, (say) "Zero Three, Alpha", then much louder: "Zero Four, Alpha", then faintly again: "Zero Five, Alpha", then silence for half a minute while the radio "lighthouse" was going round, and then a repeat. "Alpha" was the ident, (there were several VRBs in the UK and it was advisable to be on the right one).
In the case given, you'd turn onto 040°. As you approached your field, the accuracy would increase and when you passed o/head, the QDMs would suddenly reverse and you knew where you were. Below cloud, you would have seen your field and joined visually.
The beauty of the idea was that it could serve an infinite number of customers at once (like a GPI). But this was to prove the Achilles' heel. A number of aircraft might be at the same height in poor visibility, pilots head down in the cockpit, fixed on their D.I.s, all homing onto the same point.
There were a number of spectacular near misses (as the system was not controlled in any way), but I don't think there was ever a collision. The risk was reduced by making people fly quadrantals, but could not be eliminated. Eventually the JP came into the schools, they got their own CR/DF and took over from Driffield and its VRB.
The VRBs were phased out, but not forgotten. The quicker thinking of our readership will have realised that the basic principle was ripe for development into the VOR, with only the voice element being replaced by a transmission which actuated the aircraft panel instrument.
The last VRB was in operation in the mid-'60s. I hunted it down on a quiet weekend ATC watch in Shawbury and found it (in RAFAC) somewhere in W. Africa (Ghana, I think). Long gone now, of course, but it was a Good Idea at the Time.
Now you have all been such good boys, and not fidgeted too much, so we shall go back to our Meteor next time.
... just the shape of the leaves, not a disembodied head, Danny, 'tho that Ruby Port may have had an influence! ... and if that's NOT the rest of him perched on the wing between those still on terra firma! May I add not only belated Christmas greetings but also a Happy and Healthy New Year to you and that gallant (dwindling) band that form the kernel of this thread.
Taphappy here, still vertical and above ground, may I wish a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Crew room members. Danny, I have been followiing your post war exploits with great interest and it is great to see such places as Driffield and Strubby mentioned which bring back memories. Your last post has blinded me with science so perhaps I made the right decision by not staying in the RAF. Chugalug, A few posts ago you made reference to the Polish aircrew who stayed in the RAF after the war and I can only second your comments as quite a number of the staff pilots at 5ANS in 1946 were Poles who because of the political situation could not return to their homeland. They were great guys and gave great service to the RAF
There is still an aerodrome north of Berry au Bac, next to the road as described by Geraviator. Googlemap will find it, but I can't seem to post a link! I have been to Berry au Bac, but only on my boat.....
What Goeth Up, must yet Descend, all good things come to an end and soon it was time to go home. The endurance of the T7 was 45 mins and you could count out 10 mins for start-up, taxy out and taxy in. This left you 35 mins, and now you had used (say) 5 mins to get to the upper air (where you did all your exercises). Now you're down to 30 mins. You could not afford a wasted minute in getting down, for this would eat still further into the little time left for instruction or practice up on top. (And there was another good reason, see my reply to Geriaviator - #3315).
The RAF devised the high-level Controlled Descent procedure (QGH): this was standard for all my years in the RAF. All depended on the CR/DF. Assuming you had religiously kept calling for Steers (or kept an ear on the VRB), you should not be far away. The ATC would set you a height to fly (16,000 ft was the usual starter - Flight Levels were far in the future). Two or three more Steers should see you o/h Driffield (ATC can see this on the CR tube).
Then he would turn you onto your Outbound leg in the "Safety Lane" (this was a misnomer if ever there was, the only thing he knew was that there was no high ground in it). Immediately you confirmed on the outbound heading, he would check QFE set and you were told "Commence Descent, call turning left at Ten" (say).
Then the fun started. You reduced to Flight Idle (8,000 rpm), put the airbrakes out and maintained 250 kts. To do this required about a 50° dive and the rate-of-climb hit the stops the other way. About 8,000 ft/min we reckoned, which meant that your turn should come up in about 45 seconds, give or take. You called "Harpic" (unofficial, but used everywhere in the RAF, for Harpic reaches.......!) ATC would come back with your inbound heading, and "Check height, 2,500 ft" (say). If ATC was on the ball, he would have started with your "Harpic" bearing, allowed for your turn (Rate 1) and any correction needed to close you on the Inbound Safety Lane heading.
As you approached 2,500, you would pull out of your dive to get level at that height, brakes in and let speed bleed off to circuit speed (180 Kts ?). If you were visual, ATC would give you a steer or two until "Field in Sight".... ...."Over to local". Otherwise, it would be "Descend to visual", etc. Now if all was quiet, and there was no other traffic, and the pilot and ATC were reasonably competent, this worked like a charm. From "Commence Descent" to "Field in Sight" should last no more than 2-3 minutes. But......... There was generally more than one customer at a time. No.2 was homed at 17,000 until No.1 had started down, and was not cleared to descend until No.1 had turned inbound. Again ATC was busy - four at a time was reckoned the practical limit if everybody was playing the game.
It was a big "if" ! A high speed turn in (possibly turbulent) cloud on instruments, standing almost upright on his rudder pedals in a 50° dive, is no fun for anybody. For poor Bloggs (solo), who had been bumbling about gently in his Oxford only a few short weeks ago, it was all too often the end. Even if he kept a semblance of control, he could be trapped by the smallest ASI needle and believe himself to be at 14,000 when it was really 4,000 ft (sounds unbelievable, but we know - from the lucky ones who survived - that it did happen). I would think that many of the cases when he came out of clouds like a thunderbolt and went in like a tentpeg stemmed from this source. (See aw ditor's comment #3317 p. 166 26 Dec).
With my time as a dive-bomber as useful experience, the descent attitude was no problem, and I was well trained in watching my altimeter like a hawk, but even so, sometimes doing it in cloud (and a turn into the bargain) kept me on my toes (in every sense !) However, I'm still here, aren't I ?, so we must have got back in the circuit all right.
Plain sailing now. I'm a bit hazy about speeds (and have no Pilot's Notes for the T7 of '50) , but remember that we kept 1/3 flap on (for better control). U/C limitation was about 160 kts, and you musn't forget to put your airbrakes in (you may have used them to slow down to circuit speed). No "Spitfire Approaches" now. A nice, sweeping turn at around 150 kts. Full flap. Engines kept at 8,000 - (you might yet need full power in a hurry), and now the biggest change in my flying experience in nearly ten years. Throttles closed in good time (engines take much longer to wind down). You didn't land aeroplanes any more, it seemed. You just flew them onto the runway. An orang-utan could do it. I could do it.
Of course this was my first nosewheel landing. "Just do a wheeler", said Willis, and demonstrated. Now he had to put the nosewheel down. I watched in horror as the nose went down.....down.... down. The wheel's still up ! The nose's going in ! - (and me with it !) Then the comforting thump as rubber met tarmac.
Now I'm in a dream aeroplane. It couldn't ground-loop - it would run true. It wouldn't float off, even if you'd come in too fast. It wouldn't bounce - it would break first (so I was told - never tried it). You could clap the brakes on as hard as you liked - you couldn't put the nose in. What more could a man want ? To stop the damn' thing before it went haring off the far end, of course! Thank God for Mr. Dunlop ! I'm afraid he was cruelly misused in our early days.
That'll do to be going on with. With all Good Wishes for Good Fortune in 2013 to all my readers (and the rest of you !)
Say not the struggle naught availeth.
Last edited by Danny42C; 29th Dec 2012 at 15:43.
Personnel of 142 and (I think) 12 Sqns cut off branches to camouflage their Fairey Battles on their makeshift airfield at Berry-au-Bac. Note Battle nose visible at top right. Right picture: In -20C temperatures and thick snow, they lived in tents pitched around the woodland. One of the tents can be seen on the left.
For light relief, one could always dress up: my father in German helmet found in the WWI fortifications. The helmet was holed front and back. Such antics ceased when someone dressed in similar fashion and carrying an old weapon was shot by a nervous sentry. My father noted that the bunkers contained many helmets, gas masks, footwear and piles of shells of all sizes, left after the first war. Right picture: Four-page editions of the Daily Mail were regularly delivered to the personnel at Berry-au-Bac.
To my fellow ancient aviator: A sad story why I never made it to Berry-au-Bac. When my father left the Service in 1962 he swore he would never fly again. I gained my licence shortly afterwards and for the next 24 years my many offers of a flight were politely declined in Service fashion, ie Notbloodylikely or Nobloodyfear.
Came the day when he discovered a wartime friend paying a short visit from the USA to Weston-super-Mare. I explained he could get there quite easily in about 20 hours ... or I could collect him next morning and have him there for his morning cuppa. He was very nervous at first but we had an excellent trip in brilliant sunshine, and he couldn't get over the comfort and performance of my Piper Arrow, 160mph at FL100 over Snowdonia.
When I asked him in early 1986 if he would like a trip to Berry-au-Bac, to my great surprise he said he would love to go. I still regret that he died a few months later before I could take him.
Last but not least to Danny: the "gas" attack indeed happened, my father said the Pongos were very annoyed and complained bitterly, to which the RAF replied that the Germans too would not give much warning of an attack. However, my father was in no doubt that poison gas would be available if the Germans used it first.
Re earlier pic of the Battle cockpit: the gun was stored inside the cockpit. When necessary the canopy was hinged from its forward end into the vertical position, providing some protection from the slipstream. The hapless gunner stood facing the rear, monkey-chain around his waist to keep him in, Vickers on a ball mounting to combat the fast-approaching cannon. The hole in the fin is a defect in the original photo. I don't know about the bomb racks, though apparently they were ideal for carrying a bicycle in the days when people walked or cycled rather than drove.
Danny, your memories and your style are spellbinding. Thank you again, and please keep them coming!
Last edited by Geriaviator; 30th Dec 2012 at 14:12.
thank you for your explanation. Berry au Bac is very close to a place we visit when in France. It is The Dragons Cave on the Chemin des Dames. I will make a point of going there when I next visit the area. Your stories and the incredible pics I find riveting as I do Danny's tales. I too have a regret that I never managed to get a neighbour to the RAF Museum before he died. He had flown on the Berlin Airlift as a Flight Engineer on Avro Yorks. His pics , log book etc were all lost in a burglary !
Sounds ominous. But the auctioneer's catalogue would name the (presumably deceased) recipent, surely ? There must be a lot of Lancaster and Halifax ex-aircrew going to their rewards now; a lot of medals going for sale.....D.
Copies of this wonderful cache of photographs must go to the RAF and Imperial War Museums, for I'm sure that documentation of that period of the War must (in view of the circumstances at the time) be scarce.
They were certainly living in miserable conditions, under canvas in that weather. You would think that a local village would be a better bet - in the straw in a barn could be quite warm.
Yes, your chap with the stahlhelm was asking for trouble. There was an apocryphal story (how I love that word !) that, near the war's end, when the uniforms of all Free Europe were fielding salutes around the West End, two RAF Intelligence types dressed up as Luftwaffe officers and joined the parade for a couple of hours before someone said "Half a mo' !
I'm not convinced by the RAF excuse for spraying the squaddies with mustard. On the same logic, a Hurricane could have cut a swathe through them with all guns firing. I would not have liked to have been the pilot when he got down !
And now I come to think of it the Battle photo was pre-war; the gunner could keep snug and warm with his gun, safe from surprise attack. And I've just noticed how sleek a Battle really looked. A bit of dihedral would have improved it IMHO, but it was really quite a handsome aircraft.
A practice bomb rack used as a bike-carrier ? Perfectly true - I have seen it done (you had to loosen the handlebars and turn them. of course)......D.
To you all, thanks for your encouragement and a Happy New Year.
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
The endurance of the T7 was 45 mins and you could count out 10 mins for start-up, taxy out and taxy in. This left you 35 mins, and now you had used (say) 5 mins to get to the upper air (where you did all your exercises).
I recall reading a comment from some ex-bomber baron posted to CFS to fly the Meatbox:
"When I'm down to 30 min endurance, one radio and no navigation aids, I normally declare an emergency - rather than ask for take-off clearance!"
I don't know about the bomb racks, though apparently they were ideal for carrying a bicycle in the days when people walked or cycled rather than drove.
The spares pannier carried in a V Bomber bomb bay when one went on detachment generally contained the Crew Chief's bicycle. The ossifers would be whisked away in a crew bus while poor old chiefy was left behind to tidy up the aeroplane and make his own way to the Sergeants' Mess.
As always under training, my log just shows a series of exercise numbers, which now mean nothing to me. One solo trip logged 1.05: this would obviously have been a cross-country with ventral and tip tanks. As for the rest (amounting to 20 trips totalling 15 hrs), one was a (dual) spinning exercise, and a number of others would obviously need to be asymmetric. Five were I/F.
One thing I do remember about aerobatics: the engines would flame-out from fuel starvation after 15 seconds of inverted flight. You counted one-two-three-four-fifteen ! P2 Willis was my instructor throughout. Sadly, he wasn't to last long.
Following Chugalug's tip to a link which has given me Pilot's Notes (up to 1970), I find that by then Intentional Spinning had been forbidden, and I'm not surprised, for it was only allowed dual at Driffield in my time, or it would have bumped up the casualty rate quite a bit IMHO. It was quite an interesting experience to try once - (but only once !)
The trouble was that the Meteor would't stall cleanly, but "mushed" (not at all unlike a VV) as the stall came near. The answer was to catch it unawares with a sudden flick-stall about 10 kts above stall speed, and then keep in-stall control applied and hang on for dear life. "A rough ride can be expected", said the P.N.s of my day, and they weren't kidding.
It cut loose like a bucking bronco in a rodeo, and I defy anyone to recall what happened in the next few seconds. The nose went flick-rolling all over land, sea and sky, you hung on grimly, and waited for it to do something - anything - you could get a handle on. After a seeming eternity, the nose awkwardly dropped into a spin of sorts. But it didn't like it one bit, if you didn't hold it in tight it would wriggle out into an untidy spiral dive. After the first lesson, most people were content to leave spins to the birds. Willis (who would get one session per stude per course) told me that no two spins were ever alike - not even from that same T7 he'd spun only an hour before.
I don't remember spins ever doing us actual harm, but asymmetic training for landing was a different matter. The original policy was to flame-out one engine for the exercise, rather than just pull it back to idle. The theory was that Bloggs would be more highly motivated to succeed if his safety net were taken away; he would give of his best; it would be "more realistic". The trouble was that sometimes his best just wasn't good enough, and it got all too "realistic". Accidents increased exponentially.
Mercifully (and before I came on the scene), a statistician in Air Ministry totalled the accident rate (per 10,000 hrs) from this cause alone, and was astounded to find that it exceeded the failure rate of the Derwent engine over a similar period. Therefore, if we cancelled this training, and simply accepted that everyone who had an engine failure would crash, we would still be better off than under the current policy. This was a ridiculous state of affairs, and the common-sense decision was taken at last: asymmetric training would take place with one engine idling at 8,000 rpm. The "safety-net" was restored and the accident rate dropped.
This did not make the T7 any easier a proposition with one "out", when the speed dropped below 170 kt, with wheels and flap down. As the engines were so widely spaced, anything like full power on the live engine produced a savage yaw, far more than could be trimmed out. Sheer leg-power had to fill this gap, and some people are more muscular than others.
A veritable Samson might hold it straight at 125 kt with 14,100 (enough to climb away from the threshold on a missed approach), but for ordinary mortals the rule was: "Never let the speed drop below 150 until the landing is absolutely 'in the bag' ". Slower than that, you were absolutely committed: any attempt to open up and "go around" and the thing would overpower you and yaw/roll into the deck. (Of course, we are talking about "real" cases here: in practices you would smartly open up the "dead" engine as soon as doubt crept in).
I've been re-reading my log carefully of late, for my memory of the end of my Course is rather fuzzy. I flew from 6th to 28th February. Over those 23 days I actually flew on only 11 (weather ?) On one of them I flew 4 times, on three occasions 3 times, and on two twice in a day. It was certainly a "short" and intensive Course !
Did I finish it before Fate took a hand ? I've always believed so, but now I'm not so sure. On or around 29th I went down with a violent fever. It felt very like malaria to me, but the M.O.s (who had both served in the Tropics in WW2) did not think so, and I must admit that the hallmark of true malaria (the way the "shakes" recur at almost exactly 48-hour intervals) was absent. But they did not know what it was, so they diagnosed "PUO" (Pyrexia of Unknown Origin) - in other words, we haven't a clue. Keep him in SSQ.
While I was in there, I was told that P2 Willis had taken off in a Vampire with full underwing (100-gallon) tanks. These ride very close to the ground: the story I heard was that he had started to turn too low, either a tank dropped off or he wiped it off; the inbalance put the other wingtip in and that was that. Hard luck. He'd been a good chap and an excellent instructor. I couldn't say "goodbye" to him, for before I got out of dock he was dead and buried. The curious thing is: I cannot now trace the casualty in Google, this is eerily reminiscent of the Reg Duncan affair in Burma - the death that never was.
But the medics did know what to do about me. Give him a good dollop of this new wonder stuff, Penicillin, and see what happens. What happened was that the patient made a rapid and complete recovery, but was so groggy that it was the 16th March before I was able to move on out. Missed Examination "B", of course (next chance not till September). Ah, well.
Form 414A was a bit cagey: "As a u/t Jet Pilot - 'Average' ", from which "u/t" I infer that I hadn't completed the Course, but they were happy to send me on my way regardless. Perhaps P2 Willis had put in a good word for me.
Next time my travels come to an end (at least for eighteen months). And now it only remains for me to wish you all a Happy, Fortunate and, if possible, a Prosperous New Year.
I remember one of the last ever Final Handling Tests in a Meteor at Oakington in 1962. The student was doing an approach with the CFI in the back doing the check. For some reason he decided to overshoot at a late stage and gunned both throttles. No 1 was running too slowly to accelerate properly so No 2 did all the work.
The radius of turn around the runway caravan was amazing. It could not have been more than a hundred yards before they were hurtling off cross wind. In the end the CFI did not penalise him because they got away with it.
The one thing the now qualified pilot remembered was the bang as the runway controller closed the caravan door behind him.
One thing I remember about the Meteor was the continuous chuntering in the cruise. More noticeable from the back; the nose seemed to swing left, right, up and down all the time. It may have been because of the T7s long nose without the weight that the NF11 and 14 had.
Danny, your post seems to underline a suspicion that the RAF post war flying training appears to have been based upon the precept that any nod towards common sense safety was somehow going to undermine the aggressive spirit that had been so fundamental to its successful conduct of the war. Why should it take a statistician to work out the blindingly obvious, that deliberately shutting down a perfectly good engine while exploring the limits of maintaining control in the air was bound to lead to disaster for many an inexperienced student jet pilot?
FED, your post also reminds us of the very poor acceleration of those early turbojet engines. The MO at Cranwell always had an open window in his ground floor surgery, even in the depths of a Lincolnshire winter. Outside was his mini, key in the ignition, and engine warmed up from time to time a/r. On the first sounding of a crash alarm he would be out and away leaving his hopeful patient alone in an empty room. As the fleet there consisted of Meteor and Vampire Trainers at the time this was a frequent occurrence. ISTR that the engines had a minimum RPM for the approach to provide for a Go-Around. Unfortunately this was not always maintained by a busy and over-loaded student. I was lucky, for ours was the first course on the far more forgiving JP.
A Happy New Year to everyone who enjoys this thread, whether as author or reader.
The spares pannier carried in a V Bomber bomb bay when one went on detachment generally contained the Crew Chief's bicycle
There wasn't room for the chiefy's bike in our Valiant's pannier when we left Gan for Butterworth so our chief put his in the top fuselage aft of the fuel tanks. We pilots got the inpression that the ailerons were a bit light when we were in the cruise. Not to worry, we used the autopilot which used a rate gyro to control the rate of roll.
On arrival at Butterorth we found that the bicycle had shifted and spreadeagled itself over the aileron Q feel cans therebye leaving us with only spring feel which was why they were so light.
Very apologetic crew chief; didn't bother to follow it up.