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Handley Page Hastings

Old 23rd Dec 2015, 11:08
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By the way, has anybody ever seen an autopilot officially referred to as “George”?
My first boss when I started work nick named me 'George'. He was a former pilot and said that he called me that because I was, on occasion, like an autopilot, useful!

Often wondered when the term was first used and why
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Old 23rd Dec 2015, 12:13
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Originally Posted by goudie View Post
Often wondered when the term was first used and why
During WW2 a common expression on both sides of the Atlantic was "let George do it", meaning that if you couldn't be bothered doing [something], somebody else would have to.



The phrase was also the title of a 1940 film starring George Formby.

Other explanations are available.
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Old 7th Jun 2016, 23:38
  #283 (permalink)  
 
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Hi all.
My uncle used to pilot Hastings in the early-mid 60's in 24 squadron I believe. I think he was based around the middle east but may be wrong about that.
He passed away recently and I wondered if anyone here knew him or had any memories of him.
His name was Roger John Jones.
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Old 13th Nov 2017, 11:26
  #284 (permalink)  
 
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Three Engine Overshoot - Hastings

Found this on the internet.


The 81st Entry
RAF Halton Aircraft Apprentices
Sept 1955 - July 1958
Issue Number 36
Aug 2013
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Home >> Archives >> Journal 36 >> Article No 5

FIVE GET LUCKY.

By Brian Spurway.Airframes.



Up until the 1960s most Royal Air Force air engineers (exactly the same breed as flight engineers in civilian aviation) would spend their working hours sitting in cubby-holes along with their essential switches, knobs, levers and dials in the various locations dictated by the design of their aircraft type. In most cases they had precious little outlook into the environment in which they were flying, One British built RAF type that had its engineer facing rearwards in such a cubby-hole, at the back of the flight-deck with no forward vision, was the Handley Page Hastings. Unusually, compared to other RAF multi crew aircraft, not only did the Hastings air engineer have responsibility for his aircraft's various systems, he also had his own throttle and propeller control levers. (see photo).


The Hastings was a barely post war, tail-wheeled, four-engine military transport aircraft with operating safety levels, particularly after engine failure, well below that later dictated by Performance Group A regulations, During take-off it had no such niceties as V speeds, rather it just had an 'unstick speed' of between 90 and 100 kts, depending on aircraft weight, and then a safety speed, also dictated by weight, which could be as much as 125 kts. At any weight, should an engine fail during take-off, the aircraft could not maintain level flight, let alone climb, unless its safety speed had been achieved and the undercarriage retracted; then (according to Pilot's Notes, that is!) the aircraft would slowly climb away. Personally I never experienced an engine failure on the Hastings but I would hazard a guess that anyone experiencing one during a heavy take-off, and before reaching safety speed, would live a lifetime waiting for that 25 kts increase in speed. We took our fuel-dumping drills seriously during any take-off, however when taking off from our base at RAF Colerne, sitting on top of a 600 feet high hill, we were somewhat comforted to know that a little extra airspace was available should it be needed. In the worst of cases should it be deemed necessary to crash land straight ahead we were well aware that RAF Lyneham was nearby to the east and an old disused airfield, Charmy Down, to the west.

Back then the RAF produced a monthly magazine called Air Clues in which a 'Wing Commander Spry' wrote suitable comments to accompany recently reported Flying Incidents (FIRs). One day in July 1966 I was involved in a flying incident that this gentleman, known for his occasional vitriol, commented on; these words may not be exactly what he wrote but they are close enough, "These five airmen are only alive today because RAF Colerne is located on top of a 600 feet high hill!" I flew as an air engineer/flight engineer for nearly thirty years and never got anywhere near repeating such a flirtation with my mortality; so here is, as far as my memory allows, the reported incident on which the good Wing Commander commented:

It was the 28th day of the month, a glorious mid-summer day and I was a brand new Royal Air Force air engineer having just a month earlier received my aircrew brevet on completion of the Hastings conversion course. Now I was one of a crew of five airborne in a Hasting Mk1A, TG605, at RAF Colerne, carrying out a Monthly Continuation Training (MCT) flight. The captain was an ex Beverley co-pilot who without ever gaining his captaincy on that type had been selected for training as a Hastings captain; the Beverley was a slightly more modern four-engine, nose-wheeled transport aircraft with a much better asymmetric performance than the Hasting. Having been on the same conversion course as me he was also brand new on type. The other three members of the crew, co-pilot, navigator and signaller, were considerably more experienced.

I digress from my story for a moment. There had to be a close working relationship between the operating pilot of a Hastings and the air engineer because of the way engine control was managed. The air engineer started the engines and carried out the run-up which entailed exercising the propellers, checking magnetos and the static (zero-boost) rpm. The captain had engine control for all taxiing and for the take-off run until happy that he had full directional control; he then handed over to the air engineer asking for full power, i.e. propeller control and throttle levers set to maximum. Thereafter the air engineer maintained control of the engines until the captain took it back to taxi after landing; an exception to this routine was during training details when the take-off procedure was repeated during roller landings (touch and goes). During flight the operating pilot would ask for a particular power setting to suit the circumstance, the air engineer would acknowledge the request whilst at the same time setting it (all very much like a ship's captain asking his chief engineer, down in the engine room, to set engine/propeller rpm). To the best of my knowledge the only other RAF aircraft type where the engineer had so much engine control was the (just entering service at that time) Vickers VC10; the American Boeing B29 (Washington) had used the same system but by this time it was long out of RAF Service.

The Hastings flight deck was arranged with the two pilots on a raised platform (see photo), the signaller low down facing backwards on a swivelling seat behind the captain, the navigator facing forward on a fixed back-to-back seat behind the co-pilot and the air engineer facing backwards on his half of this comfortable shared seat; both the navigator and the air engineer had previously used swivelling seats similar to the signaller's before a modification introduced this dual seat arrangement. Between the navigator and the air engineer was a transparent escape hatch that allowed a limited side-ways view of the world that included the starboard wing leading edge and its two engines To those who have not operated this way it must seem a very odd arrangement that a pilot facing forward, knowing exactly what was going on, had to judge the power setting he needed and then ask the rearward facing air engineer to set it for him

Back to the incident in question. We were close to finishing the detail; all navigation and instrument work had been completed, also the required number of rollers, we had carried out a practise engine failure (starboard outer in this case) followed by a 3-engine overshoot (missed approach) and we were now downwind for our 3-engine landing, all was well with the world and the old girl was fully serviceable, what could possibly go wrong? Well it certainly did!

As normal I was asked to set the standard landing rpm (that used for climbing power should an overshoot be necessary) and a boost figure that would give us the correct airspeed as the undercarriage went down and landing flap was selected. The landing checklist was completed and we turned base leg onto finals for runway 25. I was then expecting gradual reductions in boost as we descended but instead I was asked for an increase; I set what was requested whilst, at the same time, noting on my indicator (ASI), that the speed was about normal for an approach whilst the boost was now considerably higher than I would have expected. I cannot recall the three-engine decision height but we reached it and the decision was made to land so full flap was selected. Another boost increase was requested and then came an unexpected outburst from the co-pilot, "We're not going to make it Captain!!" This was followed by, "We'll be OK! Eng set Max Throttle", I did as asked which meant climbing power had then been set on the three live engines. It had been drummed into us during training that if, at decision height, the decision was made to land then it was mandatory to do so as overshooting below that height would be extremely hazardous. The only acceptable action with an engine shut down below decision height, should it become apparent the runway would not be reached, was to set symmetrical take-off power on two of the three live engines (i.e. one engine per wing, inboard or outboard depending on the situation) and then crash land straight ahead on the runway heading!!!!! For those who know Lyneham (for instance) imagine that on the approach to runway 07.

I think that my inexperience, and possibly my conviction that an apparent request from the pilot was really an order, had caused me to make a power selection that could only end in tears. Was the captain attempting to reach the runway or was he attempting the impossible - a 3-engine overshoot the likes of which may have been OK in his Beverley but in our old girl was sure to end in disaster? My own instruments now showed the sort of speed I associated with touch down and a height of next to nothing; a very quick peek outside where I saw a side view of trees whereas normally it would have been their tops. The co-pilot screamed, "We're going to crash!!" The captain shouted, "Eng set Take-off Power!!" and the co-pilot shouted even louder, "Negative Captain, you'll never hold the swing!". Realising the co-pilot's understanding of the situation I ignored the captain's order but a split second later my RPM levers slammed forward as the captain, ignoring the co-pilot and my negative response, took it on himself to push his own rpm levers (linked mechanically to mine) to their limit; we now had take-off power set on the three live engines and were seconds from becoming a burning pyre somewhere off to the right of the runway. We careered across the airfield, barely airborne, in a sort of flat skidding turn, possibly some 30º, or more, off the runway centreline, with undercarriage retracting and flaps coming in to the take-off position (I don't remember hearing a call for either as there were other thoughts on my mind just then!). I saw a line of Hastings parked on the disused runway pass down our starboard side, followed by the welcome sight of the airfield boundary fence passing just beneath us. The ground fell away, thanks to the airfield being atop that aforementioned hill, giving us some welcome airspace to play with; believe me we used up quite a lot of it! The aircraft accelerated a bit and our rear-end orifices began to take up their original profiles. T's & P's (temperatures and pressures) were ignored as we restarted the starboard outer, levelled off, and then climbed away over Bath, any thoughts about noise abatement over the city totally ignored!

Phew!! That was the simple expression that should have emanated from each of us, but what came over the intercom was a series of extreme expletives. Not from the captain though, oh no, he came out with something like, "Well chaps, let's just settle down now and carry on with the detail." This was immediately followed by, "We must get an asymmetric landing done chaps, so Siggie tell Local (ATC) we'd like to join downwind for a roller followed by a 3-engine landing." Stunned silence followed for several seconds before the signaller (he and I were the two SNCOs on the crew) replied with several expletives and a suggestion to the captain that I certainly cannot repeat here. Whereupon the still surprisingly calm captain thumbed his own RT switch and called Local himself; he received the simple but authoritative reply, "Negative, join downwind and make this a full stop landing!" Audible over the intercom we heard the captain mumble… "No b****y sense of humour some people!"

We did as ATC ordered and after a very smooth three-pointer taxied off the far end of the runway and came to a stop. Maintaining his insistence that he finish the detail the captain now came out with, "Siggie, stop mucking about now and request backtrack for further take off to be followed by a 3-engine landing!" Confident that we would now get another refusal the signaller obliged and, as the response of "Negative, stay where you are!" came from the tower I released my hand from the fuel ICOs (Idle Cut-Off levers) that, had that response not come, I would have pulled and to hell with the consequences.

We sat there just off the end of the runway until a couple of cars approached us, one of
which was flying the Station Commander's pennant; out jumped the CO from his car whilst our squadron's training captain and air engineer leader got out of the other. The captain was taken away for a well-deserved 'interview' with the CO as our new captain took his seat.; we then back-tracked the runway and took-off for another one and three quarters of an hour of continuous three-engine approaches and overshoots (with either one or the other of the two outboard engines shut down). My boss assured me later that he and the training captain decided on this action so as to ensure that the aircraft was not to blame for what had happened, but, with hindsight, I think they both applied some sensible psychology - "If you fall off your horse then the best thing you can do is to get back on it."

We obviously knew nothing about it until later but a sharp eyed 'air trafficker', visually monitoring us from up in the ATC tower, had correctly judged that our aircraft's unusual attitude during the approach could only end in disaster and had immediately hit the 'Crash Alarm' and broadcast over the station Tannoy system that an aircraft was about to crash on the airfield; there would have been no shortage of witnesses available for the subsequent enquiry.

During my RAF apprenticeship at Halton I had learnt about Profile Drag, Induced Drag and Total Drag, and had even heard the phrase 'Flying on the wrong side of the Drag Curve'; according to the experts, who later analysed our incident, that was exactly what had occurred. But how had we got into that situation?

Undoubtedly we should have 'crashed and burnt' but, had we, who would the subsequent enquiry have blamed? A more experienced air engineer than me would have picked up on the problem earlier and said something. With his experience on type the co pilot should have recognised the situation, queried the captain's decision to land and at least suggested we overshot from decision height, if not take more drastic action. All three of us would have been considered culpable I'm sure. But in my opinion the blame laid with those who made the peculiar decision to take three Beverley co pilots and send them, as captains, to a much more difficult aircraft to handle - all three were on the same course as me, one being my student captain, and believe me he had his difficulties too! The usual system was then, and still is to the best of my knowledge, that experienced co pilots on type eventually become captains on the same type; then once experienced in command may be selected for captaincy on other types - entirely logical!

Why did Air Clues, which normally dealt with such incidents in depth, comment with just the single sentence I mentioned earlier? Could it be that this bad decision had become an embarrassment to those who had made it and they wanted it swept under the carpet? Even at squadron level it was all kept very quiet; other than a chat with my boss I was never officially asked to explain what had happened.

A few years earlier, also at Colerne, another Hastings, differing only in that the port outer was shut down, had attempted the same thing; the pilot lost control and the aircraft crashed off to the left of the airfield with the loss of all on board.

We were very lucky that day but all in all I'm still here because that man, admittedly having got us into the 'ess aitch one tee', showed some amazing flying skills getting us out of it. I owe him one! His time on the Squadron soon came to an end, possibly because of this incident, and he was posted away, allegedly on to an easier aircraft; I never met him again but I did meet up with the navigator and the signaller years later when the three of us were all stationed at RAF Leeming - the nav being my boss, and he and I flew together on Dominies and Jetstreams for another two and a half years.

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DeanoP is offline  
Old 14th Nov 2017, 13:12
  #285 (permalink)  
 
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An oil painting of a Hastings at RAF Nicosia in the early sixties:



Preserving Aviation Heritage through Art.
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Old 15th Nov 2017, 18:23
  #286 (permalink)  
 
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Tiger Mate,
Is that your work.
Mighty impressive if so !
Any plans for prints ?
Be lucky
David
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Old 16th Nov 2017, 21:33
  #287 (permalink)  
 
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AvgasDinosaur

Yes
Thankyou, I appreciate the comment.
Yes
AeroArtist
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Old 17th Nov 2017, 11:55
  #288 (permalink)  
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The only ex Hastings pilot I ever came across was Ralph Moring who signed me off on the PA23 Aztec around 1970.
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Old 18th May 2020, 08:33
  #289 (permalink)  
 
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MODS my first attempt at a picci. Please feel free to alter if i got it wrong.
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Old 18th May 2020, 10:30
  #290 (permalink)  
 
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Beautiful ! More please.........
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Old 18th May 2020, 11:49
  #291 (permalink)  
 
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alas, this is the only other one I have.
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Old 18th May 2020, 13:01
  #292 (permalink)  
 
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Mrs Staircase reminded me that I also had this one. Daft she should have to, since it has been on the wall of my den for 30 years!
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Old 18th May 2020, 20:04
  #293 (permalink)  
 
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That is a super picture.
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Old 18th May 2020, 21:10
  #294 (permalink)  
 
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The original of TG 568 has both wing tips, but it is larger than the screen on my scanner, as a result it does not do the photographer justice.

TG 568 taken at Lindholme in 1971.

TG 536 was taken in 1972 half way between Honnington and Scampton.

All near enough 50 years ago.
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Old 20th May 2020, 22:25
  #295 (permalink)  
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The Lindholm Hastings were an essential part of the Bomber Command dispersal plans,as such they would do practice at each airfield.

On one such the stn cdr was one of the pilots. After an approach at Lyneham the sqn pilot told the stn cdr, 'if that was at Lindholm you would have taken out the boundary fence.'. "Nonsense".

Back at Lindholm he took out the boundary fence.
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Old 21st May 2020, 05:15
  #296 (permalink)  
 
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One of three surviving Hastings airframes in the UK; TG517, at Newark Air Museum. Photos taken on my last visit to the museum on 30 April 2013.















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Old 21st May 2020, 07:40
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Ah... TG 517 I remember her. I was sent 'solo' in her. Obviously with a crew, but the big man in charge actually got off and launched me with a Co pilot!

When I left 1066 I 'stole' my pilots notes. Many years latter I visited Newark and they told me the pilots notes for the aeroplane had been stolen. I therefore donated mine to this museum.

Thankyou for the pictures of the flight deck.

I remember the comments of the fence going at Lindholme. It was said that it bounced on the road before the fence, took out two wheel sized holes in the fence, bounced on the piano keys, and went round.

ATC was said to have radioed 'two points and a refusal'.
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Old 21st May 2020, 08:44
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I presume that they had a more sophisticated system for relieving the pilots than two buckets in the footwells.
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Old 21st May 2020, 09:39
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Once again ah....you may well laugh. A new co pilot on the way to Cyprus and I need a pee. Well the toilets were still in the rear. The toilet consisted of an elsan and a pee tube that drained out to the air. However I noticed that the pee tube was still in situ in the old crew rest area on the flight deck, now the inverter room on the T5. Biggles here unzips and lets go to find himself with a wet foot, the bottom of the 'tube' seemingly cut off.

On arrival in Cyprus the 'pee tube' I had used was taken out by the engineer and used to fill the domestic water tank. I never did tell anyone obviously, but drank orange juice for the next leg.

I had another experience with the pee tube.We were doing a flypast in line astern for a graduation parade at Swinderby. I was playing co pilot for the Group Captain, who was flying number 2. Running in for the 'show', someone on the lead aeroplane went for a good long squirt, the resulting fluid arriving all over our windscreen, and those ex Hastings people will remember it leaked like the proverbial sieve. Interesting conversations afterwards!
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Old 22nd May 2020, 18:11
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Hastings memories


After years on Prune how could I have missed this thread on one of my favourite aircraft? Our affair began when a very much younger Geriaviator was pictured checking out his Hastings at the end of my father's two-yr posting to RAF Khormaksar, Aden. The Hastings would return us to Lyneham the following day for six months at the ghastly Croft transit camp near Warrington before another year or so at Leuchars.

The day before we left Aden in Feb 1953, the 30 passengers on the homeward flight had to report for weighing so weight and balance calculations could be carried out. Piston aircraft are much less tolerant of weight variations than today’s huge jets, even though people were lighter. There were only a couple of steps to the door of the tailwheel Hastings, but inside there was a steep slope due to the tail-down attitude. The seats were rear facing, a safety feature adopted by Transport Command after the war and continued to this day with results well proven in the Command'’s relatively few accidents.

As we boarded we were given a cardboard box containing sandwiches and a bar of chocolate, this being our inflight meal for the eight-hour flight. Tea was served from a couple of big urns kept in the tail beside the Elsan. My parents were placed amidships, but being only six stone I was delighted to be seated in the tail beside the loadmaster. The downside of this came later, when like thousands of rear gunners I discovered that the tail constantly wags from side to side; this, combined with the ups and downs of turbulence and scoffing my entire packet of Smarties, produced the inevitable result. Fortunately Their Airships had thoughtfully included a waxed paper bag in the lunch pack.

After a few hours there was great excitement when a pencil-filled form was passed row by row from the front. The Flight Report informed us that we were cruising at 180 mph and 8000 feet. Below the Ethiopian scenery was unchanged from two hours ago, a featureless brown plain devoid of vegetation or habitation. I wondered even then how anyone could live in such arid surroundings.

Khartoum offered a hearty breakfast at 6am, being porridge, greasy bacon and eggs ladled from two-foot square metal dishes familiar to Service diners. Boys wore shorts in those days and as we headed north I began to feel an icy blast across my legs. The double doors alongside were battered and I could see through the one-inch gap along the bottom. Dad said the Hastings had been used on the Berlin airlift and like the Dakotas and Yorks had taken a battering.

After a refuelling stop at (I think) Castel Benito we landed at Lyneham that evening, totally exhausted by the thunderous noise of the four Hercules. To communicate one had to shout into the recipient’'s ear and to this day I wonder how the Halifax crews withstood it night after night -- and the Merlins were even worse. For all that I wouldn'’t have missed it for the world, and 60 years later I can remember that flight as if it was yesterday.

Posted to 202 Sqn Aldergrove in 1954, my father and his colleagues were responsible for launching the Met Flight Hastings at 0800 every morning. These ‘Bismuth’ flights of up to eight hours would collect data for weather forecasting, and continued until 1964. The ground crews never failed to get their aircraft away on time, although a standby was always ready as the Bismuth was so important.

Aldergrove's 202 Sqn Met Flight crews aboard the Hastings for 8-10 hour flights out into the Atlantic dined on Banjo Rolls. The name came from the banjo union, a circular fitting used for components such as petrol feed to carburettors or oil drains from motorcycle valve gear. The crew took it in turns to fry bacon and eggs for insertion into a round bread loaf, known in Northern Ireland as a bap. Two captains used their rank to demand the fat from the pan poured over the delicacy, thereby boosting their cholesterol levels to undreamed-of heights, had they only known about such things. My father complained that the cockpit often became a greasy mess and had to be wiped down with petrol.

By 1956 we had acquired a 1936 Hillman Minx car, purchased for £30, rewired with cable from the B-29 Washingtons on Aldergrove'’s salvage dump, and with a section of B-29 bomb door just the right curvature for riveting over the boot, which had corroded clean through. The Hillman engine drank oil, but we had ample supplies of OMD-270 as used on the Bristol Hercules; if it was good enough for the Hastings, it was good enough for our Minx, which would rattle along with a trail of blue smoke just like the mighty sleeve-valve Hercs. I thought one of the Wright Cyclones from the scrap Washingtons would make it go even better but Dad drew the line at that.

When 202 Sqn was disbanded in 1964 I was overjoyed to be given a place on the final flypast. After takeoff Master Pilot Radina, who had escaped from Czechoslovakia in 1940 to become an instructor on Liberators, invited me up front where I was startled to see the lead Hastings tailplane gently rising and falling a few feet to the left of our nose. Radina was gently tweaking the throttles with right hand while holding the ponderous Hastings on station with his left, while a third Hastings formed the left side of the vic and a fourth brought up the tail.

We broke away at the Co. Down coast, leaving the leader to take the squadron standard to England, where 202 converted to helicopters and became an SAR squadron. This aircraft was flown by Flt Lt Kajestan (Iggy) Ignatowski, DFM, AFC, VM, who had escaped the advancing Germans in 1940 using a light aircraft which he somehow acquired to cross part of his way across Europe. Eventually he and hundreds of other Poles found their way to Britain, where he joined the newly formed 301 (Polish) Sqn to fly Wellington bombers against the Reich.

A few decades later I was touched to hear that Master Pilot Radina's ashes had been scattered over the North Sea from a 202 Sqn helicopter flown by Tony Harrison, who recalled that Mrs. Radina had been brought out to the aircraft, rotors turning, to hand over the urn for her husband's final flight..

Last edited by Geriaviator; 23rd May 2020 at 12:01. Reason: Flt Lt Ignatowski
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