Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Misc. Forums > Aviation History and Nostalgia
Reload this Page >

Shorts Stirling, Wingspan, Hangar Doors?

Aviation History and Nostalgia Whether working in aviation, retired, wannabee or just plain fascinated this forum welcomes all with a love of flight.

Shorts Stirling, Wingspan, Hangar Doors?

Old 1st Jan 2019, 16:01
  #21 (permalink)  
I don't own this space under my name. I should have leased it while I still could
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Lincolnshire
Age: 76
Posts: 16,648
​​​​​Valiant 114
Vulcan 2 111
Vulcan 1 99
Victor 2 120
Victor 1 114
Pontius Navigator is offline  
Old 1st Jan 2019, 16:27
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: North by Northwest
Posts: 426
Originally Posted by Load Toad View Post
It is often recounted that the Stirling had to have <100 Ft wingspan due to the RAF insisting it fitted through existing hangar doors.

I've found nothing with internet searches to prove this.
This was the reason cited by Murray Peden from 214 Sqdn who at least believed that to be true in his book "A Thousand Shall Fall" so at least that story was circulating during the war amongst crew - probably as they flew misions 8,000 feet below the Lancs. However, there are some interesting write-ups from PFF crew citations of the maneuverability of the Stirling in fending off German night-fighters.
b1lanc is online now  
Old 1st Jan 2019, 19:50
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: North by Northwest
Posts: 426
Originally Posted by pax britanica View Post
Looking t that diagram it certainly illustrates how much extra weight the Sterling had to carry a round to deliver fewer bombs -a large part of it in the wheels alone which look enormous and of course it does look extremely ungainly on the ground and must have been a nightmare to land with that extreme deck angle. The Lanc and Halifax look almost exactly the same so where does the Lancs advantage come in there-I think there we some Merlin Halifaxes so perhaps it was structural weight for same bomb load ?
Max weights have been cited as Stirling 71,000 lbs - Lancaster 63,000 - Halifax 65,000 (with Hercs). Stirling had rigid partitions lengthwise in the bomb bay (couldn't carry a cookie), not sure what the Mk 1 Halifax could carry. As I recall, the early Halifax's had some loss of control issues until redesign of the vertical fins. Interesting that it too ws originally designed as a twin with RR Vulture engines, but Handley Page converted earlier then Avro to 4 Merlins. According to Harris, the max altitude in 1942 for the Halifax was 18,000 feet, or lower than the Lanc albeit higher than the Stirling.

But I think Harris' preference for the Lancaster was what ultimately swayed the dynamic. Quoting from his book Bomber Offensive on page 103:
"The Lancaster far surpassed all the other types of heavy bomber. Not only could it take heavier bomb loads, not only was it easier to handle, and not only were there fewer accidents with this than with other types; throughout the war the casualty rates of Lancasters was also consistently below that of other types." Interesting follow-up to explain the last statement:"It is true that in 1944 the wastage of Lancasters from casualties became equal to, and at times even greater than, the wastage of Halifaxes, but this was the exception that proved the rule; at that time I invariably used Lancasters alone for those attacks which involved the deepest penetration into Germany and were consequently the most dangerous."

I'd suggest that to Harris, a casualty was an aircraft not necessarily crew (and I don't mean that in a derogatory sense). By most accounts I've read, the Halifax was not as difficult to abandon in distress as the Lancaster and Stirling, the Lancaster being particularly cramped and hard to bail out from. He goes on to say he was willing to lose a years production of the Halifax to convert the factories into Lancaster production (he did not win that battle).

Kind of interesting that the PFF started with 12 H2S Stirlings and 12 H2S Halifaxes.
b1lanc is online now  
Old 1st Jan 2019, 19:56
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: london
Posts: 530
Don't forget the Hallibag and the Manchester were built to P13/36 and were supposed to be twin engine bombers powered by the RR Vulture. The Lanc obviously came about after the failure of the Manchester, the Halibag being changed to 4 engines at the design stage The Stirling was the only bomber built to the original 4 engined spec. A Centaurus powered Super Stirling was planned: Top speed over 300mph, 29,000 ft ceiling and bomb load in excess of 20,000lb. However it was decided to continue with current types and Shorts were told to cease work in mid 42.
rolling20 is offline  
Old 1st Jan 2019, 20:58
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 318
I visited RAF Luqa in Malta as a keen young lad and asked our host why there were narrow railway tracks in and out of the main hangar. The answer related to the need to shuffle aircraft (prob Shackletons at that time, maybe Stirlings, Lincolns or Lancasters earlier ?) at a diagonal angle to fit through the main doors. Is this related to the thread ? Can anyone explain background or show photos of the trolley contraption involved ? pp Happy New Year
peterperfect is offline  
Old 1st Jan 2019, 21:01
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Hertfordshire
Age: 66
Posts: 279
I presume aerodynamics was the reason for having the tail wheel raised in flight but was it worth the extra complication/weight? I can't recall any other tail wheeled aircraft having this facility.

I also note in the Wiki article that the crewing of the Stirling was different from the other four engine bombers. The Stirling had two pilots and a Flight Engineer, as well as a Navigator/Bomb Aimer, compared to the others having one pilot, a Flight Engineer, Navigator and Air Bomber/Gunner. Unless this was later changed, would this have been another reason for preferring Halifaxes and Lancasters?
Hipper is offline  
Old 2nd Jan 2019, 00:30
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: North by Northwest
Posts: 426
Originally Posted by rolling20 View Post
Don't forget the Hallibag and the Manchester were built to P13/36 and were supposed to be twin engine bombers powered by the RR Vulture. The Lanc obviously came about after the failure of the Manchester, the Halibag being changed to 4 engines at the design stage The Stirling was the only bomber built to the original 4 engined spec. A Centaurus powered Super Stirling was planned: Top speed over 300mph, 29,000 ft ceiling and bomb load in excess of 20,000lb. However it was decided to continue with current types and Shorts were told to cease work in mid 42.
Good point - two different specifications. Supermarine and later Short were invited to bid on B.12/36 which was the 4 engine bomber and troop transport.
b1lanc is online now  
Old 2nd Jan 2019, 06:38
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: london
Posts: 530
Originally Posted by Hipper View Post

I also note in the Wiki article that the crewing of the Stirling was different from the other four engine bombers. The Stirling had two pilots and a Flight Engineer, as well as a Navigator/Bomb Aimer, compared to the others having one pilot, a Flight Engineer, Navigator and Air Bomber/Gunner. Unless this was later changed, would this have been another reason for preferring Halifaxes and Lancasters?
Pre war and until early 42, bombers carried 2 pilots. Even Wellingtons and Whitleys had 2 pilots. The 2nd pilot would usually do other duties to assist the crew. The decision was taken ,to allow the force to grow, to do away with 2nd pilots and the specialist trade of Flight Engineer was introduced as the 4 engined bombers came more to the fore. Air Bombers also became a specialist trade, relieving the Observer, who now became a Navigator. A number of Bomb Aimers were failed pilots and they or the Flight Engineer would assist the pilot, especially if he was incapacitated. There were a number of cases of Bomb Aimers flying and landing a bomber home after the pilot was incapacitated.
rolling20 is offline  
Old 2nd Jan 2019, 11:29
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Dreamland
Posts: 545
Originally Posted by Hipper View Post
I presume aerodynamics was the reason for having the tail wheel raised in flight but was it worth the extra complication/weight? I can't recall any other tail wheeled aircraft having this facility.
Off the top of my shiny bald head: B17, Mosquito, P51, Later marks of Spitfire, FW190 (semi retractable), Typhoon all had retractable tailwheels. Drag affects speed and range.

Last edited by Harley Quinn; 2nd Jan 2019 at 14:01.
Harley Quinn is offline  
Old 2nd Jan 2019, 14:23
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: uk
Posts: 629
I can't recall any other tail wheeled aircraft having this facility.
When I scratch built a flying model Wellington, I was surprised to find that it too had a retracting tailwheel.

Last edited by oxenos; 2nd Jan 2019 at 16:21. Reason: sp
oxenos is offline  
Old 2nd Jan 2019, 15:50
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: northofwhereiusedtobe
Posts: 1,224
Originally Posted by rolling20 View Post
Pre war and until early 42, bombers carried 2 pilots. Even Wellingtons and Whitleys had 2 pilots. The 2nd pilot would usually do other duties to assist the crew. The decision was taken ,to allow the force to grow, to do away with 2nd pilots and the specialist trade of Flight Engineer was introduced as the 4 engined bombers came more to the fore. Air Bombers also became a specialist trade, relieving the Observer, who now became a Navigator. A number of Bomb Aimers were failed pilots and they or the Flight Engineer would assist the pilot, especially if he was incapacitated. There were a number of cases of Bomb Aimers flying and landing a bomber home after the pilot was incapacitated.
On many Aircraft - the 2nd Pilot was the Navigator,the RAF did not have many Observers/Navigators between the Wars.

A number of Bomb Aimers were failed pilots and they or the Flight Engineer would assist the pilot, especially if he was incapacitated. There were a number of cases of Bomb Aimers flying and landing a bomber home after the pilot was incapacitated.
Sqn Ldr Ian Blair DFM
John Ian Blair was a prewar Boy Entrant Armourer/Air Gunner - in 1940 as a Corporal (Acting Sergeant) Air Gunner and volunteer Observer on a 113 sqn Blenheim - he was flying as the Observer during an operational sortie,his pilot was killed in action and Blair managed to get the A/C under control and landed safely back at base - he had always closely watched the Pilots actions and had a good idea of what to do.He was awarded the DFM and also given a Pilots course.

From 113 sqn website - http://113squadron.com/id191.htm


From my observations of my skipper's flying , we had done many hours together,. I knew that I had to, change pitch of the propeller, engage rich mixture control, and when the wheels went down there would be a lot of vibration, and loss of speed which I would have to compensate for with increased revs, all of these actions were carried out on the down wind leg , and on the final approach I kept at about 85 mph, knowing that there would be a marked change of aircraft attitude when the flaps were lowered, I trimmed the aircraft tail heavy, (too much,) as it happened, because I had to exert forward stick pressure on the control column in order to maintain my approach path and speed, being aware of the telephone poles and lines at the touch down end of the strip. As soon as I passed over the telephone lines, I throttled back and because the tail trim was tail heavy, the aircraft flared out nicely and sat on the ground. I kept the stick hard backwards with all my strength and eventually the aircraft came to a halt in a cloud of dust.
longer ron is online now  
Old 2nd Jan 2019, 17:26
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: london
Posts: 530
Originally Posted by longer ron View Post
On many Aircraft - the 2nd Pilot was the Navigator,the RAF did not have many Observers/Navigators between the Wars.
IIRC Air Observer was introduced in 1934, but it wasn't until 37/8 that they were primarily concerned with navigation.
rolling20 is offline  
Old 2nd Jan 2019, 19:26
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 4,692
It's possible that had the RAF gone for two pilots from the beginning with four engine heavies the carnage that killed an enormous number of crews during their training might have been tempered. The initial crewing with one pilot because for no other reason they felt they would get on together OK meant that there was no experience to draw on during their training. Should there have been two pilots then the junior one would have advanced to getting his own crew and having a good idea of what it was all about.

The USAAC seem to cope with two pilots as would have the RAF because their training system was churning out more pilots than they could use.
Fareastdriver is online now  
Old 2nd Jan 2019, 19:32
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: northofwhereiusedtobe
Posts: 1,224
Originally Posted by rolling20 View Post
IIRC Air Observer was introduced in 1934, but it wasn't until 37/8 that they were primarily concerned with navigation.
Yes but at the outbreak of WW2 - the RAF did not have many observers and therefore we were short of navigators for multi crew aircraft,also partly why I posted the link about Ian Blair - his sqn were so short of Observer/Navs that an Air Gunner was acting as a volunteer Nav/Bomb Aimer,the pre war Air Gunners did sometimes act as Observer on the Biplanes etc but they were not given much (if any) formal training in that role.
longer ron is online now  
Old 2nd Jan 2019, 20:44
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: london
Posts: 530
Originally Posted by longer ron View Post
Yes but at the outbreak of WW2 - the RAF did not have many observers and therefore we were short of navigators for multi crew aircraft,also partly why I posted the link about Ian Blair - his sqn were so short of Observer/Navs that an Air Gunner was acting as a volunteer Nav/Bomb Aimer,the pre war Air Gunners did sometimes act as Observer on the Biplanes etc but they were not given much (if any) formal training in that role.
I think you'll find most pre war and early war air gunners were ground crew who could volunteer for aircrew duties for extra pay. They had little if any formal training. Most were ordinary aircraftsmen.
rolling20 is offline  
Old 2nd Jan 2019, 20:55
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: northofwhereiusedtobe
Posts: 1,224
Yes R20 - I know
I was merely explaining why the prewar/early wartime 2nd Pilot was often the Navigator on multi crew aircraft - because the RAF was extremely short of qualified Observers/Navigators.
Ian Blair was included for interest and to reinforce the idea of the shortage of trained/qualified Observers/Navigators.
After 1941/42 large numbers of Observers/Navs became available as the training schools got into gear.
longer ron is online now  
Old 2nd Jan 2019, 21:25
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: london
Posts: 530
Originally Posted by Fareastdriver View Post
It's possible that had the RAF gone for two pilots from the beginning with four engine heavies the carnage that killed an enormous number of crews during their training might have been tempered. The initial crewing with one pilot because for no other reason they felt they would get on together OK meant that there was no experience to draw on during their training. Should there have been two pilots then the junior one would have advanced to getting his own crew and having a good idea of what it was all about.

The USAAC seem to cope with two pilots as would have the RAF because their training system was churning out more pilots than they could use.
​​​​​​It wasn't until early 42 that 2 pilots were no longer the norm. The heavies were just starting to come in greater numbers and did use 2 pilots. Most training losses occurred at OTUs, some 1600 aircraft, the majority Wellingtons. 8000 aircrew being killed. 4 engined flying didn't take place until they reached conversion flights or Heavy Conversion Units later in the war. The RAF didn't have the USAAC manpower.
rolling20 is offline  
Old 3rd Jan 2019, 02:30
  #38 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Hong Kong
Age: 52
Posts: 1,363
Thank you, everyone, for their input - it's been very informative and interesting (as usual) - Cheers.
Load Toad is offline  
Old 3rd Jan 2019, 16:34
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Hertfordshire
Age: 66
Posts: 279
Also thanks to all.

However, I'm still not clear if Stirling's retained the two pilot set up or also later changed to one pilot and flight engineer, seeing as they had a different crewing arrangement then the other two heavy bombers. Then later of course it was used for towing gliders, perhaps leading to another arrangement. The only pictures I've seen on the internet show two sets of control gear in the cockpit.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...es-manual.html
Hipper is offline  
Old 3rd Jan 2019, 19:50
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: northofwhereiusedtobe
Posts: 1,224
Yes I doubt there is an easy answer to your question Hipper,I have seen crew photos with either 1 or 2 Pilots included.
I was under the impression that some crews used the Bomb Aimer in the cockpit for T/O and Landing and also when not req'd to assist with Navigation.
The Flight Eng would perhaps be busy down in the bilges with his man sized controls.
Of course most Bomber Pilots did 1 or 2 'Stooge' trips with an experienced skipper before being declared operational.
longer ron is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.