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u boat copter

Old 15th Apr 2022, 17:28
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Red face u boat copter

Hi
Years ago when I worked at Liverpool Speke Airport I saw in the rooms used by FOLA an unpowered Copter that came from a WW2 German U Boat and I wondered whatever happened to this???
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Old 15th Apr 2022, 17:45
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You are referring to a Focke Achgelis Fa330 Bachsteltze (Water Wagtail). Designed to be towed by a surfaced U Boat to give an extended range of view.

There are a few of these to be found in UK air museums. I would have to look through some books to come up with a list. If you are up for a bit of research, l would recommend that you start with a recent copy of Wrecks and Relics by Ken Ellis
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Old 15th Apr 2022, 17:55
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There were 8 Fa330s shipped to the UK in 1945. Identified by 'Werk Nummer' or Construction Number, here is a list:
100032, 100143,100406, 100502,100509, 100545 and 100549. All were manufactured by Weser Flugzeugbau at Hoyencamp near Bremen.
They were tested at the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment RAF Beaulieu by towing them behind trucks.

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Old 15th Apr 2022, 18:05
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There was one in Keith Fordyce's Torbay Aircraft Museum until it closed in the mid-eighties. An interesting concept.
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Old 15th Apr 2022, 18:35
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There has been one at Cosford, but it is scheduled for removal as part of a revamp of the exhibitions. I'm not sure where it is going, or when.

An interesting discussion has been going on between a few of us, as to what happens when the sub has to crash-dive, and cuts the autogyro loose. There are three theories. Firstly, that the pilot separates the rotor (there is a big red handle for this) and parachutes to safety. Unlikely, since even a static line, from less than 400' probably wouldn't deploy in time. Secondly, that the pilot lands it. Again unlikely, since it's sitting right in the middle of the "Dead Man's Curve", and has neither sufficient forward speed nor variable pitch on the blades. The third, and most popular is that the pilot releases the rotor, and there is a parachute on a mounting behind him, which brings the whole arrangement (sans blades) down. Wiki has a US Navy identification diagram which shows the parachute.

Assuming he survives, the poor chap is floating about in a big ocean. If the sub survives, it only has a very vague idea where it jettisoned the machine, and anyone with SAR experience will know that the chances of seeing someone in the water, from a conning tower a few feet above sea-level, are effectively nil.
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Old 15th Apr 2022, 18:57
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As well as the Cosford example, others are able to be seen on display at IWM Duxford, FAAM Yeovilton and the Air Warfare Museum Lashenden. There is a further example in the Science Museum Collection at Wroughton, not that they are interested in actually letting people view that collection......

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Old 15th Apr 2022, 19:03
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Meant to say, the Liverpool example you mentioned is the one now at Lashenden.
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Old 15th Apr 2022, 19:16
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Just did a bit of reading and l agree with CAEBr that the Fa330 you saw at Speke is the one now at Lashenden W/Nr 100549.
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Old 15th Apr 2022, 20:23
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"chances of seeing someone in the water, from a conning tower"

I've always wondered what "Conning" in this context means?
Wikipedia not very conclusive...

Any ideas?

Thanx.
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Old 16th Apr 2022, 01:36
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It’s where you con/steer the vessel.

“Number One, you have the con.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conn_(nautical)
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Old 16th Apr 2022, 03:27
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Originally Posted by goldox View Post
"chances of seeing someone in the water, from a conning tower"

I've always wondered what "Conning" in this context means?
Wikipedia not very conclusive...

Any ideas?

Thanx.
To go a little further back, from The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology by T.F. Hoad 1986.

"Latin conducere, to conduct
(Old) French conduire
Survives mainly in conning tower, pilot house of a warship or submarine"
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Old 16th Apr 2022, 05:07
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There used to be one at the Science Museum in S Ken. Presumably the one now at Wroughton?
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Old 16th Apr 2022, 05:18
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There is one in the Deutsche Museum in Munich with a description of the crash dive ditching procedure which included words to the effect that ‚the pilot would then drown in the usual fashion‘.

Regarding conning towers I found the one on HMS Warrior in the Portsmouth Royal Navy museum very interesting. Earlier ships had exposed quarter decks with senior officers being picked off by enemy snipers. The Navy introduced a steel tower to shelter in and this tradition continued and can be seen even in some american battleships. Google USS New Jersey for a you tube film on the subject.

Last edited by lederhosen; 16th Apr 2022 at 05:33.
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Old 16th Apr 2022, 06:39
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Downwest

Yes, the Fa330 at Wroughton is the former South Kensington one. W/Nr 100509.
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Old 16th Apr 2022, 11:15
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Picking up on Herod’s dismissal of the option of being able to land in case of separation from the sub, it should be noted that these were of course early gyrocopters and not helicopters. I am pretty sure you could still put the stick forward to maintain airspeed and thus rotor speed while descending as in a modern gyro with engine failure and a bit like a glider with a cable break. You would though have to react pretty quickly to maintain blade energy. I don’t think it would have made much difference to the end outcome however, just delayed the inevitable.

Last edited by lederhosen; 16th Apr 2022 at 11:40.
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Old 16th Apr 2022, 12:31
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This is the one at Cosford



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Old 16th Apr 2022, 13:41
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The Admiralty assessment of the gyrocopter discussed what would happen in the event of the submarine having to dive while operating the gyrocopter. IIRC it said the pilot would make a controlled descent to the ocean where he would drown in the normal fashion.
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Old 16th Apr 2022, 15:43
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Thanks for your confirmation of my thesis Ninthace. Autogyros enjoyed a brief period of popularity in the thirties followed by over 50 years of oblivion punctuated by a few die hard enthusiasts. I flew one of the more capable models for a few years and remain not terribly convinced by the whole concept. They look great but compared to a 600kg ultralight I don’t believe they are competitive, cost and performance wise and the safety record is nothing to write home about either.
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Old 16th Apr 2022, 17:32
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lederhosen; I take your point, but don't forget these were probably travelling at the speed of the sub. 15 kts maybe, and possibly not into wind. As you are no doubt aware, the "dead man's curve" is both speed and height definable. 15 kts/400'. Dunno; maybe if reaction is fast enough. Either way, you are gonna die. Break your neck, drown, freeze. Plenty of options, the one about being rescued not really figuring.
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Old 16th Apr 2022, 20:23
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Herod we can agree on the probably inevitable outcome. But I disagree with a couple of your assumptions. Just like glider winching (or kites) the operation would only make sense launching into wind. Wind at sea is not disrupted by ground obstacles and the combination of boat speed and wind over the deck would be necessary to spin up the rotor. My gyro had a motor connection to prerotate to about 260 rpm if I remember correctly. Early gyros lacked such a mechanism and needed forward speed to spin up the blades. However once airborne the wind speed would be expected to increase with height and self evidently these gyros could achieve decent altitudes, enough in principal to significantly increase the chance of spotting enemy shipping, which was the whole point. However it may well be that the whole concept predated convoys and their accompanying destroyers or acoustic detection systems. Either way I doubt the airspeed under tow would be less than 30 knots. The engine failure procedure on my gyro by the way was to descend more or less vertically over the chosen landing field and then increase airspeed to gain enough energy to flare. The gyro’s permanent state of autorotation kept the blades spinning even with little forward motion, and a high rate of descent. Relatively low you could then push the nose down and gain enough energy to round out.
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