View Full Version : Transport Command Air signallers

Capt Squat-thrust
4th May 2002, 17:30
I was reading about the Bristol Brittania in RAF service recently, and saw that they carried as part of their operating crew an air signaller. The 'Brit' came out of RAF service in the 1970's and was wondering why they were used whilst civvy Brits did not carry one.
The use of an air signaller seems to have been the norm for a lot of Transport Command aircraft e.g. the Hastings which was withdrawn from use during the late 1960's - Why could not another member of the crew operate the radio kit as in the civvy world?

Flatus Veteranus
5th May 2002, 06:11
I don't know about the Brit, but I flew out to the Middle East as passener in a Transport Command Hastings in 1954. There was a WOP crew station and a guy sat there hammering away at a morse key. I think Transport Command aircraft had to submit regular position reports back to HQ on HF. Part of the Imperial legacy!

Pom Pax
5th May 2002, 12:39
Yes position reports but also w/t fixes weather reports and talk to base.
Military aircraft were expected to fly anywhere whilst civil aircraft flew established routes with nav aids.Also whilst civil trafic might be allowed to go one way military might not be so welcome and be forced to go on long diversions we fell out with most middle eastern countries at one time or another in fifties, Franco wasn't too friendly and the greeks were a bit of a problem. Although by this time the use of w/t was declining, r/t was nothing like the equipement used nowdays. You only had 20 preset vhf channels in two boxes. 121.5 in each box, 2 fir channels, home approach and local, R.A.F. & R.N. common, command common, now you have got 11 left to talk to everyone else. Now Hastings did not operate very high so the vhf range was limited and were slow so you need w/t to stay in touch with civilisation.

Capt Squat-thrust
7th May 2002, 19:15
Thanks for the replys, I have more of an idea of what the Role of the Signaller was all about.:)

D Beaver
8th May 2002, 03:11
I had a flight deck ride in a Britannia from Lyneham to Akrotiri and back in 1968 (or 1969?) and I know there was no Air Signaller by then - I sat in his seat! Still had a crew of four though - two pilots, engineer and navigator. I seem to remember that the nav handled the HF but I'm not sure.

8th May 2002, 06:54
"had a flight deck ride in a Brit....<snip>

Still had a crew of four though - two pilots, engineer and navigator. I seem to remember that the nav handled the HF but I'm not sure."

The Brit would also have had either an Air Quartermaster or Air Loadmaster (depending on the era) on board as a member of the crew.

The last Air Sig in RAF service that I know of was a grumpy old bu66er instructing Helicopter rear crew at the SAR training unit @ Valley.

Still, being based at Valley would make anyone grumpy.