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CAA Flying Unit Doves

Old 2nd Apr 2015, 12:27
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CAA Flying Unit Doves

In the 1950s and 1960s the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (then Board of Trade, then CAA) operated Doves for pilot licensing testing and airport navigational aid calibration.

Is there anyone lurking on this forum who flew Doves with the CAAFU or who flew a Dove whilst being tested by the CAA? I'd love to learn more about this aspect of civil aviation, ideally from someone first-hand.
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Old 2nd Apr 2015, 12:47
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Spent a few hours in the right hand seat of one, during my approach radar course. During the practical phase we spent some time learning Surveillance Radar Approaches, using the Bournemouth ATC facilities (CAA/Nats were still providing ATC then). We were either practising the art of the SRA, off on a study period, or allocated to the CAAFU. I think there was/is a requirement for a competent observer to be present in the cockpit when practice instrument approaches were made. All this was in 1974, I'm not sure when this element of training ceased. The aircraft I remember was GANOV...in a museum now!
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Old 2nd Apr 2015, 13:08
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Much the same as Loki. Most pilots were Ministry but one I flew with was a retired BOAC Stratocruiser captain and I have never had such a smooth flight before or since.
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Old 2nd Apr 2015, 13:22
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At East Fortune methinks....I'd acknowledge the photographer if I could remember his name!

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Old 2nd Apr 2015, 13:49
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HD,

I think I also flew with this pilot and referred to it in another thread recently. You may remember one exercise which involved continuous tight turns above the radar head asking the student for a radar service. I have never enjoyed being flown so much, even in those turns. He seemed like a really nice man and treated me like an equal, even consulting me when one engine wouldn't start. He hadn't turned the mags on!

I remember that there were something like 22 different exercises and the instructor would call out the number and we would carry it out. Some exercises involved missetting the gyro compass until the student realised we were always flying about 30 degrees off course.

On one flight we descended over the sea and called for radar guidance onto the ILS. Of course, the student couldn't see us but still gave us a heading. Eventually, the pilot requested a climb which was refused until he admitted that, if we didn't climb, we would hit the flats above Bournemouth beach.

Of course, the best flights for me were when a bored pilot let me do all of the flying. Not only did I enjoy it but I learned a lot about flying IFR.
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Old 2nd Apr 2015, 14:52
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I completed the two week IRE/TRE course at Stansted in May 1975. Two students on the course were paired up and we flew the CAA Doves in the mornings and covered the ground syllabus in the afternoons. My first flight was an instrument rating, carried out by our CAA Instructor. From then on the Instructor acted as the candidate while I we we were the examiners. In the beginning he made obvious errors and it was easy to see he was not up to standard, but gradually he improved until the pass/fail decision was on a knife edge. Get it wrong once too often and it was curtains! My instructor, Capt Brian Morgan, was an extremely good pilot who knew all the tricks when it came to fooling his students! The two Doves in use were G-ANUT and G-ANUU.
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Old 2nd Apr 2015, 15:31
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Captains I flew with on the MinAir Doves were Messrs. Burman, Hawkes, Henn, Whittaker and Woodman. The airframes involved were LFU, NAP, NUU and NUW. As radar students we were often allowed to fly the aircraft whilst the captain re-loaded his pipe, knocking the 'dottle' out the DV window. One of them, 'UW I think, didn't have a control column on the right, which made it more difficult. Usually the radar approaches, apart from the last approach of course, were flown at the same level, with all the vertical being simulated. Wouldn't have worked with a 424. My favourite was waiting for the student controller to carry out an ident whilst making very steep turns in the radar and VDF overheads! Yes, we did NCNG, and on a Tx fail the pilot forgot and erroneously replied. The instructor (Norman Kearle) said "you didn't transmit just then did you?" To which the pilot replied "certainly not". Well, it amused me at the time... Interestingly, on one of the them, on the actual descent we were asked to report leaving 80, but we had actually been at 70 for the previous 45 minutes...
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Old 2nd Apr 2015, 15:45
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Here are a couple of museum pieces:

ANOV is at East Fortune



and ALFT used to be at the now defunct Torbay Aircraft Museum, and has been scrapped.

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Old 3rd Apr 2015, 04:59
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Thanks for the fascinating replies which are much appreciated. Incidentally, does anyone have any photos of any of these Doves whilst in service? I've tried looking online but couldn't find anything other than in museums. It would be great to see some of the in service (and perhaps even in flight), ideally in colour if any such images exist.
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Old 3rd Apr 2015, 07:08
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Not in same place as my log books at the moment, but it was a big treat to do my night test in a CAA Dove at Stansted. Sad to have missed the Dove for the instrument rating though. I heard a rumour that the ministry was concerned over the cost of subsidising the use of Doves testing candidates who were insufficiently trained. At that point, candidates had to supply their own approved twin. I seem to recall that a cap was put on the re-takes permitted as well. I worked up for mine on LSF's Elstree based Anson/Avro 19/Aztec.....( or maybe the latter was an Apache. ) Later, now slightly impoverished, and clutching my new instrument-endorsed licence, I attended an interview to fly as co-pilot on Lord Robens' National Coal Board Dove. I failed to be selected despite thoughtful acquaintances at Elstree supplying me with several coupons from bags of 'Nutty Slack'.
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Old 3rd Apr 2015, 07:09
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Incidentally, does anyone have any photos of any of these Doves whilst in service?


De Havilland DH.104 Dove 6, G-ANUU, CAA - Civil Aviation Flying Unit (CAFU)
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Old 3rd Apr 2015, 07:46
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BOAC ran a fleet of Doves for Navigator training and Instrument practice for the likes of me and my colleagues, Navigators in the back, 4 ( I think? ) and yours truly sometimes practising for the Instrument Rating in the left hand seat, often on trips to Shannon v.v.

On May 10th 1958 I flew my Instrument Rating on G-AOVI and at the end of the flight the Check Captain, Mike Moss, signed off my I/R then announced that the Dove Fleet was to be abandoned as of end of flying that day, viz. I was the last I/R candidate - and he couldn't fail the last one, could he !! I'll never know if he was joking.

Another BOAC Dove was used one night to film the then new Calvert Approach Lighting on Rwy. 10L that had been installed at Heathrow . ( the present upside down Christmas tree lighting system ) The film shows the aircraft approaching over the lights, then there is an obvious yaw, and the lights rise up above the aircraft. The Dove had suffered an engine failure, and the pilot feathered the wrong engine. Ooops ! I believe the controls to feather was between the pilot seats and slightly rearwards, and in the dark the wrong knob was selected. Stand to be corrected, was nearly 60 years ago.
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Old 3rd Apr 2015, 08:34
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Originally Posted by ExSp33db1rd
Another BOAC Dove was used one night to film the then new Calvert Approach Lighting on Rwy. 10L that had been installed at Heathrow . ( the present upside down Christmas tree lighting system ) The film shows the aircraft approaching over the lights, then there is an obvious yaw, and the lights rise up above the aircraft. The Dove had suffered an engine failure, and the pilot feathered the wrong engine. Ooops ! I believe the controls to feather was between the pilot seats and slightly rearwards, and in the dark the wrong knob was selected. Stand to be corrected, was nearly 60 years ago.
Report here: starboard engine | london airport | american airlines | 1956 | 0059 | Flight Archive
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Old 3rd Apr 2015, 21:45
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Thanks, and particularly to DaveReid for the photo link. Just out of interest, has anyone ever come across any photos of CAAFU Doves in flight, ideally in colour?
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 14:55
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"I believe the controls to feather was between the pilot seats and slightly rearwards, and in the dark the wrong knob was selected."

I think you are referring to the idle cut-out knobs which were behind the left-hand pilot's seat. They were impossible to see without a large amount of contortion and were normally selected and pulled by feel.

The feathering/unfeathering buttons were centrally mounted on the glare-shield, in front of both pilots. The button was pushed in to feather and pulled out to unfeather. (I think that the engine fire warning lights and extiguisher buttons were also close by.)

The report provided by the link doesn't mention either of these controls but instead refers to the fact that the pilot was flying from the LHS when he was more used to the RHS. Also, the engine instruments were on the RH instrument panel and might have been misinterpreted. Although he told ATC about the correct engine that was showing problems, he ended up shutting down the other one. Eventually the failing engine gave up as well.
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 17:13
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pulse1.. Probably the same chap. I'd flown with the Minair pilot a couple of times and the out of sync engines nearly drove me crazy. The ex-BOAC Captain took extreme care synchronising them and that accounted for the quality of the flight.

Before my radar course at Hurn I had worked at Kidlington where Minair blokes were treated as Gods and one in particular (Bernie something) was the scourge of the IR students. He was a totally different man flying the Doves at Hurn!
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 18:42
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Were they in a yellow and black livery when BoT?
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 18:44
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the scourge of the IR students
Let's be honest here - CAFU examiners were 99% cnuts.
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 19:34
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Seem to recall that the Dove suspended in the superhangar at Duxford wear the same scheme?
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 20:26
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the scourge of the IR students.
Not only of the IR students, when I did my training in '73 with AST in Perth, the instructors used to get their knickers in a twist when the CAFU examiner turned up to do the IR tests.
BTW my IR examiner was Dai Rees, a lovely man who past me first go!

Last edited by Offchocks; 5th Apr 2015 at 23:13. Reason: Can't spell!
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