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Douglas Bader in the modern era?

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Douglas Bader in the modern era?

Old 18th Feb 2022, 13:05
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Douglas Bader in the modern era?

Hello all.
I remember asking this question in a Usenet group decades ago, and I thought I would repeat it here.
And that is... is it feasible that an already active and experienced air force pilot, who had an accident and lost a limb or two -- and which were replaced with adequate prosthetics -- would be allowed to fly in this day and age? And particularly, fly in combat, when presumably pilots might be a limited and diminishing resource?
What level of disability or deficit (eg. sight, hearing), if any, do air forces around the world accept in this day and age? And might there be differences in attitude to pilots and other types of aircrew, eg. WSOs, combat system officers?
This is just some idle musing. Thank you in advance for your thoughts.
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Old 20th Feb 2022, 04:15
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Actually, if you think about it, not having legs might actually be an advantage if you were pulling a high G maneuver

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Old 20th Feb 2022, 06:44
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He could control drones from the ground or be a simulator dogfight adversary, teach tactics and such.
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Old 20th Feb 2022, 08:37
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Given Bader's propensity to say exactly what he thought he'd be drummed out of the Brownies in 10 seconds flat these days
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Old 20th Feb 2022, 09:24
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He would probably be scuppered by something as banal as brakes. In his time, brakes were a hand control, differential was by rudder input, which he could make. Depressing a toe brake requires an ankle movement.
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Old 20th Feb 2022, 09:57
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Back in the days when Bader was a board member of the CAA, he committed a very serious airspace infringement.
We and a neighbouring ATC unit duly filled in all the paperwork and submitted it and were told 'forget it; it never happened'.
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Old 20th Feb 2022, 10:37
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There was certainly a Chinook pilot who lost a lower leg in FI, who returned to flying - and instructing.
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Old 20th Feb 2022, 17:29
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Originally Posted by oxenos View Post
He would probably be scuppered by something as banal as brakes. In his time, brakes were a hand control, differential was by rudder input, which he could make. Depressing a toe brake requires an ankle movement.
His biographer (Brickhill) explains that Bader could not operate the foot brakes in a Harvard - his instructor did that job. Unless one was adapted Bader never soloed on the type.

The Spit and Hurri had hand operated brakes on the stick.
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Old 22nd Feb 2022, 08:23
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In 1975 after spending six hours on a train to the Sydney RAAF recruitment centre attempting to gain employment as an aircraft engine mechanic apprentice - I was asked my the Medical Officer...

"What are you wearing son!?"
I beg your pardon sir?
"Are they spectacles on your head?!"
Yes sir.
"Son, we don't take people with spectacles"
"Sign this and be on ya way!"

Six hours later on the train - I was home again.
Imagine if I had an artificial leg.
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Old 22nd Feb 2022, 12:53
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There was a thread about Bader a ways back IIRC - mixed views to put it mildly
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Old 22nd Feb 2022, 17:01
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When my father got back from France in the early days, he was posted to Bader's outfit, 242? which he was working up to readiness. Father really didn't like him.
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Old 23rd Feb 2022, 01:14
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Originally Posted by DownWest View Post
When my father got back from France in the early days, he was posted to Bader's outfit, 242? which he was working up to readiness. Father really didn't like him.
Likewise my father encountered him at Shell in the 1960s and suggested he was a very difficult man.
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Old 23rd Feb 2022, 03:27
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suggested he was a very difficult man
I know nothing of him, other than by folklore (and have no intention of impugning anyone who crossed his path in life). But... I imagine that for Mr. Bader, the only possible way to succeed would be to be "difficult" to adversity.


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Old 23rd Feb 2022, 04:14
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Bader was transferred out of Stalag Luft III in 1942. All raised a cheer as he left through the camp gates. Bader thought he was getting a rousing send off for being such a fine fellow. Thatís not why the crowd was cheering.
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Old 23rd Feb 2022, 08:44
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Originally Posted by Pilot DAR View Post
I know nothing of him, other than by folklore (and have no intention of impugning anyone who crossed his path in life). But... I imagine that for Mr. Bader, the only possible way to succeed would be to be "difficult" to adversity.
I am afraid you have it wrong P DAR - he was a grade 1 A hole,many people say he was just a man of his time but that is not true either,I met quite a few ex WW2 pilots (some still serving at the time) and the ones who had been nice guys during the war were still lovely Gents - the ones who had been complete A holes during the war were still A holes.I have to say that the great majority were really lovely gents and a pleasure to chat to/with.
Having said that DB did have one redeeming feature in that he worked hard for people he liked and also for the disabled (it seems).
I inadvertantly pi55ed DB off one day - I was asked by Air Traffic to see in a civvy aircraft (no name mentioned) and to park it on a bay on the other side of the taxyway (far away from the Hangars) - out steps DB looking a bit 'miffed' - ''why have you parked me over here Cpl ?'' - ''orders from Air Traffic'' says I.My oily/grubby overalls c/w bright yellow and black striped woolly hat probably didn't help much (Chipmunk/Bulldog Rigger at the time).
I have always assumed that somebody in Air Traffic disliked him and it was a deliberate 'slight' as we had a large 'Avgas' Ramp right outside our Hangar.
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Old 23rd Feb 2022, 09:04
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PILOT-DAR

its one thing to be brusque but to be down right rude is another.
Robrough airport late 50's air show, as local ATC we were tasked
with managing The crowd line, Bader flys in in his BP Plane and
taxis to a stop.
mechanic climbs up onto the wing to assist (as he had done with others)
and gets a blast of vitriol from Bader about not needing any help, damaging
my plane, make sure I speak to your manager about your etc etc!
his fan club lost many members at that point and for years after by word of mouth.
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Old 23rd Feb 2022, 09:27
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Most of these posts above support what I had long suspected.

Glad now that I did not have the wrong end of the stick after all. Thank you.
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Old 23rd Feb 2022, 10:22
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I experienced his company at RAF Linton on Ouse in 1977 when he presented “wings” badges to the last course to receive them after BFTS (only presented after AFTS beyond that occasion). Experienced rather than enjoyed.

I preferred the far more likeable character portrayal by Kenneth Moore in the film version……
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Old 23rd Feb 2022, 10:25
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Met him a couple of times - very tough indeed - but then he went through a lot - he was EXTREMELY upset if someone tried to "help" him for sure - even normal courtesy was asking for it. He was far happier if people let the door just bang in his face TBH
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Old 23rd Feb 2022, 10:35
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He went through a lot but the root cause was his own arrogance.
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