View Full Version : If you were born again, what would you want to fly?

17th Nov 2005, 14:04
Over on another thread, BEagle said:

>If reincarnation was possible, I'd like to fly night fighters from West Malling, please! Or back to Vulcans at Sunny Scampton.<

Which got me wondering what folks might fancy if the time machine ever became a practical proposition. Hawker Furies from grass airfields in the summer of 1937? Spitfires from Tangmere? DC-6s and Constellations across the Atlantic?

I'd go for an 85 Squadron Mosquito, with John Cunningham as CO . . .

Roland Pulfrew
17th Nov 2005, 14:12
Beaufighter - ship busting from Malta, Mosquito fighter bomber version with the 4 20mm cannons and 4 .303 MGs from anywhere or Typhoon (the first one not the current one) in the train busting role in the later part of WWII for me. Sad I know but what great aircraft!:O

17th Nov 2005, 14:49
Vampire F3s from Odiham, please. Or 19 Squadron Gauntlets from Duxford, and I'll stay long enough to convert to the Spitfire I. Or Whirlibombers. Or Hunter Nines from West Raynham.

17th Nov 2005, 15:12
Having just won the "big one" with Camelot a 747, first class, to somewhere hot and expensive:ok:

all spelling mistakes are "df" alcohol induced

17th Nov 2005, 15:23
Sea Fury, and failing that the mighty Toom, but also in Dark Blue.

Carrier aviation - the ultimate in projection of force:ok:

17th Nov 2005, 15:29
I'd quite liked to have flown one of those "Gemini" or "Apollo" things...

17th Nov 2005, 15:29
>Vampire F3s from Odiham, please. Or 19 Squadron Gauntlets from Duxford, and I'll stay long enough to convert to the Spitfire I. Or Whirlibombers.<

A man after my own heart (sigh). One would, of course, have a Bentley to accompany the flying machines, in which one would motor to and from the RAF Club.

17th Nov 2005, 15:44
Typhoon - because it's the first fighter the RAF has had on inventory since I joined in 1959 that I am not likely to get my hands on and it's probably the last one they will get whilst I am alive and kicking.

17th Nov 2005, 16:05
Beaufighter nightfighters with 417th NFS, USAAF, North Africa, Corsica, Southern France, then Germany and transition to P-61s.

Close second is Republic P-47s doing ground attack.

17th Nov 2005, 16:38
Ooooh - what choices. WWII: I'd go for Tempest over Typhoon although the later Mustang was always impressive. Sea Fury from sea for the later 40/50s.

Big Unit Specialist
17th Nov 2005, 17:36
Messerschmitt 163 against B17 formations........for a very short period of time:E

17th Nov 2005, 17:39
>I'd go for Tempest over Typhoon although the later Mustang was always impressive. Sea Fury from sea for the later 40/50s.<

Am I the only person on the planet who thinks the Martin-Baker MB series were lovely-looking aircraft? I'd sell my soul to the devil for an hour in an MB-5.

17th Nov 2005, 17:42

Absolutely! Have to be a 4.5 litre with a Villiers blower or a Speed Six.

To whisk me orf to fly the Spit Mk9 or the Sea Hawk or the Fairy Gannet [off the old Ark Royal, of course]!

Or to sunny Scampton on 617 Sqn on the mighty Vulcan, to beat the pants off 35 Sqn in bombing competitions...

[Ducks, incoming!!!]

On the other hand, the Avro 707, HP125, TSR2, Saunders-Roe 53, the Fairy Delta II....

Roland Pulfrew
17th Nov 2005, 17:52

MB5? I'd forgotten about the MB5. You are not alone, a gorgeous looking machine..can I add that to my list? :ok:

And the TSR2 and a Whirlwind (not the helo but the twin engined WWII fighter).

17th Nov 2005, 18:04
Or maybe the ahhh! de Havilland Hornet.

On second thoughts, that would have meant being based at Linton or Church Fenton......

Would have been nice to have been aroud at the time to convert from Vulcan to TSR2 though.

The Dead Dog Mob beating 35 in a bombing comp? Nah, never! Couldn't find their own ar$eholes without a mirror, let alone a target smaller than a dam.

17th Nov 2005, 18:50
Roland. If my uncle was correct, you really don't want that Whirlwind as you'd be queuing to find one servicable; the engines and hydraulics were reputed to be a nightmare and the cannons were too close together to prevent sympathetic jamming.

17th Nov 2005, 19:01
>MB5? I'd forgotten about the MB5. You are not alone, a gorgeous looking machine..can I add that to my list? <

With pleasure, but only after I've landed :-)

>And the TSR2 and a Whirlwind (not the helo but the twin engined WWII fighter).<

TSR2, oh yes. The time machine will have some additional firmware which would allow the user to be the aviator of his/her choice for the day. I'll click on "Roland Beamont".

17th Nov 2005, 19:37
A Gazelle................ I ll get my coat....................

17th Nov 2005, 19:53
Can't really fault any of the above, special thoughts to the MB5, night-fighters and bases, TSR-2, and the 50's fighters, but especially the mighty F-4.

However, one dream has lived with me since that classic 50's American TV series, "Victory at Sea", with a little help from my own library. Thus the ultimate must be to fly the other F-4, the classic from Vought, the nastiest plane the Japanese ever flew against. Naturally it would be in a dark blue squadron, from one of the Illustrious-class Fleet carriers, circa 1945 in the SW Pacific.

Failing that, I would love to have been born in 1898, and joined the RFC with James McCudden, then been posted to 56 Sqn with Albert Ball and ended up on 74 Sqn with Ira Taffy Jones and Mick Mannock, maybe finishing on 85 with Mick as boss. Sad to have been there when he went in, but a great place to have been, if my nerves could have handled it.

Great idea for a thread!!!


Art Field
17th Nov 2005, 20:35
Somehow the Sea Hawk has always been a favourite but only on land, it was the last of the classic straight winged fighters. At the other end of the scale comes the Storch, but I tried that, you don't fly it, more take it for a walk.

Darth Nigel
17th Nov 2005, 20:52
SR-71 Blackbird.

SR-142 Aurora :E

Or at the other extreme, the DH-2 (http://www.theaerodrome.com/aircraft/gbritain/airco_dh2.html)

PPRuNe Pop
17th Nov 2005, 20:55
Can I join in?

A Lancaster with Leonard Cheshire as CO.

A Harrier with John Farley

Nice to dream now and then!

17th Nov 2005, 21:05
Minor thread creep, but how about one day that you could take part in?

I was talking to the dad of a friend, a WWII pilot, about D Day, and asked him where he was that day "In a Spitfire over the British beaches" - aged 20, I think. What a view of the greatest invasion, ever.

17th Nov 2005, 21:29
>Minor thread creep, but how about one day that you could take part in?<

Nice one. Bagsie a day with a UK F-4 squadron on QRA in, oh, about 1975.

>A Lancaster with Leonard Cheshire as CO. A Harrier with John Farley<

Yes to both. And an F-4 with Bob Prest, if his book is anything to go by. And any airframe with Jeffrey Quill.

Captain Kirk
17th Nov 2005, 22:18
It has to be Spitfires, Sep 1940 (Hornchuch/Manston), on 54 Sqn, alongside Prof Leathart and Al Deere. Read 'Nine Lives' by Alan Deere.

17th Nov 2005, 22:36
Has to be lightnings. Preferably from Akrotiri. Tearing around the med in a silver machine.

18th Nov 2005, 09:05
Having been born somewhere in the region of 50 years too late (never did manage to turn up on time for anything :\ ) this is a fascinating thread. However, what has suprised me so far about this thread - the relatively few numbers of votes for the Spitfire.

Have to say I would love to have flown Lancs over Berlin, or on the single seat front Typhoons / Tempests on tank-busting sorties. Moving on a bit, I grew up during the mid-late Vulcan era and was absolutely fascinated by it as a sprog - still think it was, sorry is a beautiful platform, so would have to be that.

On the theoretical front, the TSR-2; if nothing else to see exactly what spooked the Spams so much!

18th Nov 2005, 09:16
The Wright Flyer.

The rest are just stealing their ideas.

18th Nov 2005, 09:36
Data Lynx,

I knew a former Whirlwind pilot who would confirm everything you say about engine unreliability, and would add more about landing characteristics, but with the rider that single engined performance was so good that you'd still reliably get home.

And when everything was working (as it was when the aircraft was being properly supported - eg not at the start of its career and not at the end) he said that there was no other aircraft available before 1945 that he'd have rather flown over enemy territory. He said that you could out-run a BF 109E, out-turn it if you picked your operating height and speed, while the four 20-mm installation gave a punch that was 'ahead of its time' and that wasn't quite so fussy about harmonisation.

And with two Merlins it would have been an absolute war winner, he said. Even with Peregrines, he reckoned that had Whirlwinds been procured instead of Blenheims, more bombs would have fallen on more and tougher targets, losses of aircraft and aircrew would have been tiny (by comparison) and they would have taken a heavy toll of enemy aircraft 'as a bonus'.

He flew a 'rest tour' target towing on Lysanders, and post war flew the Canberra and instructed on the Gnat. He always complained that he never flew a Lightning - the only major Petter designed type that he 'missed'.

18th Nov 2005, 10:26
Spitfire - Just because.......

18th Nov 2005, 13:03
The thought of stooging round in a Sea Vixen holds a certain appeal. So does the Lockheed Lightening....

18th Nov 2005, 13:26
Its gotta be a Space Shuttle. Commencing the decent from FL 4,000 and conducting the approach with no engines has to be one of the most awesome feats of aviation.

18th Nov 2005, 15:57
No question for me...it's got to be starting with a Sopwith Pup, graduating to a Camel, then a Snipe.

For a cracking (and highly emotional) read, try "Winged Victory"--the best book about WW1 aviation, and just about the only "war book" recommended by WW11 flyers.

18th Nov 2005, 16:50
LFittNI you're spot on with Winged Victory, read it about 35 years ago when it came out in paperback and that lead me to Henry Williamson, who wrote a whole saga entitled "A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight" about the transition from peaceful Victorian/Edwardian England to WWI and through to the Thirties.

The hero of WV is Tom Cundall, who appears in a couple of the books of Williamson, as an RFC pilot, andof course the other hero in WV is also called Williamson....

18th Nov 2005, 18:39
I know it's not particularly sexy, but does anyone else fancy a trip across the pond (LaGuardia-Prestwick, say) with Ernest Gann in a DC-4? Or maybe doing a night trip with him on an American Airlines DC-2 somewhere in the Mid-west?

And since no-one else has mentioned it so far, please can I do a day as a Concorde captain in that awesome machine's heyday?

WE Branch Fanatic
18th Nov 2005, 18:41
Anything with "ROYAL NAVY" painted on the side.

18th Nov 2005, 19:02
Such as a, now what was it called....errmm, Sea something....

Sea Slug?

Sea Dart?

Sea Skua

Sea King?

Ah yes, Sea Harrier. That was it.

18th Nov 2005, 19:06
>Ah yes, Sea Harrier. That was it.<

Sea Hornet or Seafire for me . . . the latter preferably not on or off the carrier though!

18th Nov 2005, 21:03
This could take some time......

....not being a winged wonder, but having served with some of the best and admired many more from afar [though please don't tell them that!] and having bludged rides in just about anything that flew, there would only be one for me, and that is the only Hurricane in the Southern Hemisphere, and what a history it has.

Originally with 23Sqn in France, then repatriated back to England after France fell; flew in the Battle of Britain until damaged; repaired and given to Russia, where it eventually became a casualty and lay in a bog for some 60-odd-years until recovered by Sir Tim Wallis in New Zealand and totally rebuilt to as new. When it displayed at Wanaka they even found a New Zealand pilot who had it in his log book from 1940! One can only imagine what he was thinking when he climbed aboard.

Then Again... it could be the DC6, or that wonderful Qantas Constellation that flies so sedately in Australia, or aeros in the back seat of a Harvard in 1976 just before the RNZAF sold them all into private hands. It could be the low-level thrill of a Skyhawk, followed by some aeros enough to set the 'g-suit' working. Very sexy that!

It could have been the front seat loops and rolls in that Stearman, a ride I had to pay for unfortunately, but what a magnificent aircraft, and first on my list when I win Lotto tonight. [Just imagine that, winning Lotto, the All Blacks thrashing England at Twickers, and getting the 2011 RWC all in the same couple of days!]

But, I guess the best of all would be the 208 Squadron Hunter 9, which hit a landing light at Embakasi Airport in 1959, [and as Juliet XF376 is still flying in the UK I believe], and which my son, having seen a picture of me with the very same aircraft with its damaged right leg, produced an absolute masterpiece of a model which now sits in a glass case not too far from this keyboard.

19th Nov 2005, 01:42
A-10 'cuz of the gun!

Tim Mills
19th Nov 2005, 06:04
Mustang, to compare with its contemporaries; Fairey Fox, because my Dad did; Falcon 50, because we were always promised we would get one and never did while I was around!

And Beags, you needn't have gone to Yorkshire to fly the Hornet, what about Butterworth? A couple of my mates did, and I rather wish I had, but Meteors at Horsham St Faith had its moments!

19th Nov 2005, 06:24
X-15, first of the real spaceships before Von Braun and his monkeys stole it away.......


19th Nov 2005, 08:02
I have a soft spot for the Lightning, classic Air Defence Fighter (Certainly didnt have the legs for anything else!).

On the other hand, if I could warp time anyway I wanted; it would have to be every Wokka and crew I could get my hands on.
The Date would be June 1st 1940 and the place would be Dunkirk.

19th Nov 2005, 08:32
If I could warp time it'd be a F-117 with a couple of PGMs and a trip to Nuremberg to take out that little $hit with the silly moustache....

19th Nov 2005, 10:31
>If I could warp time it'd be a F-117 with a couple of PGMs and a trip to Nuremberg to take out that little $hit with the silly moustache....<

If you need a wingman . . .

19th Nov 2005, 11:16
But if you did that BEags, then we wouldn't have this thread.......

19th Nov 2005, 12:38
Aaargghh - chronoclasm!

Others who might have met with an unfortunate accident in my time travelling:

Duncan Sandys
Dr Beeching

Plus of course, that piece of $hit skulking around in some cave in the North West Frontier or thereabouts.

19th Nov 2005, 12:38
Mosquitos with the PFF

TSR2, of course (I still weep)

And, I have to agree, a day on F4s in the early 70s, when the Cold War meant something, intercepting Bears.

BTW, wouldn't it be great if someone released all of those old 60s & 70s CoI recruiting films of the RAF?

19th Nov 2005, 16:29
Cherokee 140 - if there is an afterlife and I am able to fly surely there will be something more exciting to fly - if there isn't an afterlife I havn't built my hopes up too much!

19th Nov 2005, 17:19
I'd like to be the second pilot to fly the Spruce Goose, and the first to get it above 10ft.

19th Nov 2005, 17:39
In no particular order of merit.......Spitfire, Hunter and Buccaneer.
The Hunter has to be one of the sexiest, sleek aircraft of all time!

19th Nov 2005, 19:15
In a AN224 or 124, dropping supplies to people in the mountains of Pakistan.

19th Nov 2005, 23:06
seeing one around lunchtime over Braddan, probably recceing the hospital pad reminded me how much I wished I had tried harder at OASC in 87

A big, yellow Sea king in crap wx, hauling someone off the back of a sinking boat.

- probably the one occupation where everyone is always pleased to see you.

Maple 01
19th Nov 2005, 23:34
If you're looking for a door gunner wannabe for your 1940 French excursion......mind-you, would be a bit odd bumping into 'me father' on the beach!

Other than that anything on the Berlin Airlift - York/Halton/Dakota/Tudor

20th Nov 2005, 00:00
Having only ever flown one type operationally (Mud moving F4) I have a world of choice, but I am amazed at those among us who seem to want to do daft things like fly in combat and whose ambition is to fly in a Lancaster during a raid over Berlin!

Thousands of poor unfortunates would willingly have swapped with you if given the choice................................

HAS to be the X-15.

Certainly nothing where I am likely to get shot at!

20th Nov 2005, 09:59
Hmm, being dropped by the B-52, then waiting and hoping that the X-15's rocket would start must have been thought provoking...

How about the NF-104A space pilot trainer used to prepare for the X-20 DynaSoar?


That must have been fun - accelerate to M2.2 at 70000ft, then a 3.5 g pull to a 70 deg climb angle as the rocket was lit. Hold it until 16 deg AoA was reached, then maintain that until the aircraft came back down from space. All the time monitoring the various temp limits and controlling the jet engine and afterburner...

They reached 120000 ft doing that. Until, that is, big head Yeager screwed up and lost the aircraft; thereafter more conservative limits were needlessly applied to NF-104A flights...

Now, the X-20, that would have been fun!

20th Nov 2005, 12:28
Good thread; you could creep it off in all sorts of directions. If it were to follow the "..what would you NEVER want to fly" line of thought, I'd offer the following:

- aforementioned Wright Flyer, Bleriot or indeed any pre-WW1 aircraft

- having just read Mr Lecomber's article about displaying a radial-engined Camel, I'm not sure I'd want to have been on any WW1 aircraft either.

- Fairey Battles anywhere near Maastricht

- Brewster Buffaloes anywhere near the Japanese (although the Finns seemed to do a remarkably good job against the Russians with these).

- He162, Ohka or any of those end-of-WW2 desperate monstrosities put together by the failing Axis powers

But to return to the theme, these are things I wish I'd flown:

- Sunderlands somewhere warm and non-threatening.

- Wapitis over Nepal/Tibet.

- Dakotas with my Dad during the Berlin Airlift.

- K-cars, Lynx and Cheetahs somewhere north of Seth Efrica back in the late 1970s.

But finally, if I'm proved wrong after all these years and it turns out there really is an afterlife, I know what it'll be like for me (assuming I qualify, of course):

Flying SOAF Hueys sometime in the early 80s, with Bob Prest and his Sqn mates coming through every year for the National Day flypoast just to remind us that FJ people sometimes know how to have fun too. Nearly as much as we do in rotary...

20th Nov 2005, 12:57
Not: gotta be the Me 163 with it's nasty habit of disolving pilots in Conc. H2O2 but when it worked... whatta ride!

20th Nov 2005, 13:09

Avro Manchester.

Saro Lerwick. Known as the 'incredible sinking pig'

Blackburn Botha

20th Nov 2005, 14:00
>If it were to follow the "..what would you NEVER want to fly" line of thought, I'd offer the following:<

Me163; Granger Archaeopteryx; almost anything pre-1920!

Art Field
20th Nov 2005, 14:48

A heavily laden Victor 1 out of Masirah on an extra hot day. Again.

21st Nov 2005, 11:42
Mew Gull please!

And I'm not surprised at all by your 'NOT' selection, Arters, the Victor K1s I watched at Marham during my UAS camp in the summer of 1970 struggled to get airborne, so I hate to think what it must have been like at Masirah!

21st Nov 2005, 13:42
I've always fancied a trip in a Victor, an SR2, because the crews I met at ATC annual camp at Wyton in 1972 seemed very proud of theirs.

One trip I'd repeat would be pax in a BOAC VC10 down to Colombo, but 1st Class this time.

21st Nov 2005, 20:53
The Enola Gay, August 6th 1945.

The X-1, X-2 or especially the X-15

21st Nov 2005, 23:22
On a $3 biplane flight with Don Shimoda at the controls.

22nd Nov 2005, 13:49
Wapiti in Iraq for our first "police action" there, probably followed by some time back in the UK on the Gamecock and Bulldog before moving on to the Gladiator and then the Hurricane for the BoB.

I'd probably deserve some time out then so I'd instruct on the Anson before doing ASW on the Sunderland. I'd want to fly the Mosquito and the Tempest before the war was over and then, of course, the Meteor.

For my last tour I'd go back to instructing, this time on the Vampire. Then the Sandringham and DC-3 in civvy street before retiring and flying round the world in a Miles Gemini.

Probably, not that I've thought about it, much.

Art Field
22nd Nov 2005, 16:15
J.A.F.O.. What was it about the Miles Gemini?. I did a flying scholarship at Shoreham on the Magister [another Miles design]and remember the Gemini as being an aircraft that just seemed right, a tourer supreme, a 1930's Bentley of the air.

22nd Nov 2005, 16:51
im only a young feller...well twenty....but iv always been in awe of the Vulcan.....like to me now it looks futuristic (with a bit of a panel beating!!) but i would imagine when it emerged first, it must have dropped a few jaws. Anyone care to comment?...I think its the dogs cahoonas!!:ok: ...

22nd Nov 2005, 17:26
37 years ago last Sunday (20th) I solo'd in an RN Chipmunk at Roborough, for 10 mins!

I'd be very happy to re-wind to the morning of the 20th, have the trip before with Flt Lt Maule, do the solo and then the FHT in the afternoon. It was a fantastic day all round - not many days since have been better.

22nd Nov 2005, 18:47
>37 years ago last Sunday (20th) I solo'd in an RN Chipmunk at Roborough, for 10 mins! I'd be very happy to re-wind to the morning of the 20th, have the trip before with Flt Lt Maule, do the solo and then the FHT in the afternoon. It was a fantastic day all round - not many days since have been better.<

I'll drink to that. Chipmunk WZ862, 4 Mar 73, RAF St Athan; sent by the late, great Sqn Ldr S W T (Steve) Holding, may he rest in peace.

Where's that rewind button?

Flatus Veteranus
22nd Nov 2005, 19:01
In WW1 the SE5a - the prince of fighters according to some of the WWI heros I have met (including Chris Draper, the Mad Major). Some would have preferred the Snipe. The one NOT to get stuck in was the RE8 . Authority? My Dad.

Piston fighters: The DH Hornet, preferably in Malaya. Huge performance and range at low level. Plus the Immodium effect of two engines.

One gent opined that the Sea Hawk was the classic straight-wing jet. Trouble was that its seniors (ie the Meteor 8/9) could have it on toast for breakfast. It was just a pretty little toy. And the Venoms gave the Meatboxes an even harder time.

Into the swept-wing era, for me the Hunter FR9, preferably out of Nairobi where, for the bachelors, there were plenty of young ladies available. And feisty too! In my day many of them were staggering along with heavy handbags - not dosh, they were "tooled up". So when they said "stand and deliver", you better oblige!

22nd Nov 2005, 20:28

It just had a certain something; class and style but not showy about it. As you say, an airborne Bentley.


I'd come out of make-believe retirement for the Hunter.

23rd Nov 2005, 03:57
Ahhh, sweet nostalgia from Flatus, who is of course talking about 208's Hunter FGA 9s, actually based at Eastleigh, but operated on a daily basis from Embakasi/Nairobi airport because the latter had a longer and sealed runway!

He's right about the local ladies though; it was quite common to find a .32 Beretta lodged somewhere handy.

henry crun
23rd Nov 2005, 06:52
My first thoughts were one of the big pistons, Hornet, Typhoon, Sea Fury, etc.

However, after due consideration I reckon one of the last biplane fighters would be an even bigger thrill, so it has the be the Hawker Fury.

26th Nov 2005, 22:49
Back to 1964 for me, flying a T21 Sedburgh from RAF Hendon as an 18 year old ATC staff cadet, 20 plus lauches a day. The perfect trip? Thermal to 2000ft (limited by London Zone/Northolt Approach lane) and then see how many loops yu could fit in on the way down!!!

27th Nov 2005, 06:45
DC-9 "The Big Bunny." I'll bet layovers were fun :cool:

Otherwise, a B-29 followed by a P-61 Black Widow...

baffy boy
28th Nov 2005, 03:19
In the Time Machine, Dec 7 1941, Pearl Harbor, 0730 Local. Lead of a flight of F4Ds from the 'Gunfighters', just airborne, all fitted with 3 20mm gunpods, 4 sparrows and 4 sidewinders.

Banzai Tojo

boswell bear
28th Nov 2005, 09:22
Sea Harriers shooting down Sky Hawks and Entendard's in the Falklands

28th Nov 2005, 18:03
Quote MG

“BTW, wouldn't it be great if someone released all of those old 60s & 70s CoI recruiting films of the RAF?”

You will find everything and more from this site. Especially the “Mr Chumley Warner” style of narration which has long since disappeared.


Eg: Enter the title below into the search box to get you started….

“Quick Reaction Alert”

After searching under whatever criteria, you can download the films for free, if you fancy a nostalgic moment.

…Bon Appetite.

Oh, and mine would have to be Mail Running in an HP 42 when we truly ruled in an aire of optimism…


28th Nov 2005, 21:18
wud like to fly the spits

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