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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Old 19th Aug 2008, 14:32
  #201 (permalink)  
 
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I agree with Henry Crun, although my experiences were at Ternhill in 1951, Prentices and Harvards anyone?
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Old 19th Aug 2008, 16:51
  #202 (permalink)  
 
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SBA

Re Chugalug 2’s observations on SBA, during the summer of ’44 I did a week’s course with no. 534 Beam Approach Training Flight at Shawbury. SBA was a highly accurate landing aid, but demanding to use (aural signals only, and those damned dots and dashes were positively hypnotic!), and suffering from the grave disadvantage of giving azimuth guidance only - no glide slope information aside from two marker beacons spaced about five miles apart. Crossing the first (outer) marker at 5-6 miles from touchdown at (say) 1500ft, descent was commenced at a rate that hopefully would bring one over the second (inner, later to be renamed middle marker, situated about a third of a mile from touchdown) at a specified minimum approach height from which a landing could safely be made. If one arrived at this height before reaching the inner marker (can’t recall what, but it was certainly quite low – 200ft or even less), then the minimum was held until reaching it, if too high then one might not see the runway at all. But get it right, and it certainly worked - I recall at least one totally blind landing. Not 100% blind of course, as all flights were with an instructor though I can’t now remember how IF conditions were simulated – probably by the student wearing the dreaded ‘tin hat’, a sort of cowl held to his head by a large spring clip. Aircraft used was the Oxford, a responsive bird and quite docile apart from a fondness for swinging off the runway after landing.

His observations on using American airspace without benefit of VOR/DME also brought back memories. Unbelievably the RAF Britannia was ordered without VOR or (so far as I recall) TACAN either, but when taking one to Hickam in late ’59 I recall no problems using Radio Range or NDB though possibly with a bit of radar assistance along the way; however, by the time of the Hastings incident he mentions, the Americans might reasonably have expected us poor Brits to have moved out of the stone age. As for the RAF Brits, inevitably they had to have VOR fitted a few years later, along with anti-collision lights and a few other things that should have been fitted in the first place - MOD procurement cock-ups are nothing new!
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Old 19th Aug 2008, 18:27
  #203 (permalink)  
 
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Just read an interesting book, "Flights into the Night" by L Anthony Leicester in which he relates his joining the RAF for pilot training in 1942, sent to Canada, first op in a Wellington as captain aged 19, the youngest of the crew. Then ferry another one to Cairo and then on to India. Ops against Japanese in Burma then after completion of that tour posted to Daks supply dropping etc to Chindits. Back to UK for Transport Command into Europe. After the war he joined RCAF and finally left in 1968.

My local library had a large print edition which made life easier.
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Old 19th Aug 2008, 18:43
  #204 (permalink)  
 
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My recollection of Harvards at Ternhill in 1951 was that unrated students could fly solo provided the cloudbase was 800 ft minimum and visibility 500 yds but white rated could fly with 500 ft but needed a greater visibility, possibly 1000 or 1200 yds which even to my inexperienced eyes seemed all wrong. Of course the SBA needed to be serviceable and one would have been trained to use TBA. I can't remember anyone taking off to fly in those conditions though.
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 16:20
  #205 (permalink)  
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Stand By Your Beds F.f.i

Harrym. Just looking at my pic of S.B.A. I can remember Q.F.E , what is barometric reading at airfield level.
Q.D.M what is magnetic bearing to airfield, but what is Q.G.A?
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 16:22
  #206 (permalink)  
 
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Wonderful stuff Cliffnemo, please keep it coming. I hope you're saving this all to disc for your autobiography! I started flying training in the 60s and remember IIRC some Beam Approach fans still shown on our Instrument Flying charts at that time, although we had all gone over to QGH to PAR/SRA by then.

ACR7 and MPN11 - Ah, happy days!
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 18:39
  #207 (permalink)  

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QGA IIRC is a 'controlled descent through cloud', what a quaint title!
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 20:12
  #208 (permalink)  
 
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G3NPF and M1AIM Home Page Code Section

QGA Sie können sofort mit Landefunkfeuer landen

whatever that means !?
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 20:57
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QGA Sie können sofort mit Landefunkfeuer landen
"(You can) Land using runway localizing beacon" would probably be colloquially correct.
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Old 21st Aug 2008, 00:24
  #210 (permalink)  
 
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Sailor V
QGA IIRC is a 'controlled descent through cloud',
Sorry, only 8/26. That's called a QGH.
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Old 21st Aug 2008, 14:10
  #211 (permalink)  
 
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Cliffnemo - not sure what QGA might be, but think it might be some form of controlled descent. As Fareastdriver points out, QGH is a 'controlled descent through cloud' though I think one where the control is effected by a ground station taking bearings on transmissions from an aircraft, and passing those bearings back to the pilot; so maybe QGA is some other primitive form of an instrument let-down? Don't recall knowingly doing one as such, anyway.
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Old 21st Aug 2008, 15:45
  #212 (permalink)  
 
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Q Codes...

This was the best list I could find...

WEMSI - Q Signals
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Old 21st Aug 2008, 18:46
  #213 (permalink)  

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Sorry, only 8/26.
Obviously I didn't recall correctly!

Ever do a 'Violet Picture Homing'?
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Old 22nd Aug 2008, 16:13
  #214 (permalink)  
 
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Q codes

I found my list in:
Ralf D. Kloth DL4TA - List of Q-codes - QGH - May I land using....(procedure or facility) but no QGA on the list.
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Old 23rd Aug 2008, 01:32
  #215 (permalink)  
 
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Ever do a 'Violet Picture Homing'?
Still being used as late as 1975 in Oz.
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Old 23rd Aug 2008, 06:31
  #216 (permalink)  

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Think the last one I did was for my IRT in '77, (Royal Navy, Wezzie 5).
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Old 23rd Aug 2008, 09:20
  #217 (permalink)  
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Violet Picture Homing ?

Good morning Brian , or afternoon is it in Australia ?
How about explaining " violet picture homing" to some of us impecunious oldies

I am beginning to think that A in my Q.G.A should have been an H. But I have definitely written A. in my exercise book.
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Old 23rd Aug 2008, 09:57
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cliffnemo your story is fantastic, even for the younger ones of us here. Please continue
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Old 23rd Aug 2008, 10:24
  #219 (permalink)  
 
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Cliffnemo

QGHs

Here is what I wrote earlier about this approach procedure:

QGH

As a RAF VHF/DF Operator for over eight years in the 1950’s I provided the bearings for many “QGH’s”. In the 1950’s in the RAF a ‘QGH’ was a request made by a pilot for a ‘Controlled Descent Through Cloud’ and the procedure was to home the aircraft to overhead the airfield with ‘Magnetic Bearings to Steer’ (QDMs).

QGHs would be controlled by the air traffic controller, but on a couple of occasions I did it myself, which was probably against all the rules and regulations, but they worked.

Procedure: The pilot would give a ten-second transmission on the RT which would allow the DF operator to swing the DF aerial to find the ‘null’ on the transmission and by depressing the ‘sense’ plate (which put the aerials out of phase) determine that what was being shown on the DF wheel against the cursor was the correct bearing to the aircraft and it was not a reciprocal. When the sense plate was depressed the signal either when up or down, if it went up the bearing was wrong and the reciprocal was indicated, it was then a matter of swinging the aerial 180-degrees to find the ‘null’ again, go ten degrees either side of the ‘null’ point and depress the sense plate again, this time the signal should go down and if it did one had the correct bearing.

The circumference of the DF wheel was marked with two scales. Top scale showed true bearings from the VHF/DF (QTE’s) whilst the lower scale was marked in red and showed the magnetic course to steer to the airfield (QDMs). To home the aircraft to the airfield overhead for a QGH one read off the bearing shown on the bottom scale, passed it to the controller who in turn passed the magnetic course to steer to the airfield to the aircraft. Aircraft RT transmissions were given every minute or so (or less) with the DF operator taking the bearings. When the aircraft reached the overhead the aircraft’s transmissions sounded all mushy; confirmation that the aircraft was overhead was established by depressing the sense plate and if there was no increase or decrease in signal the aircraft was in fact overhead.

Having informed the controller that the aircraft had reached the overhead, the controller told the aircraft to steer an outbound course about fifteen or twenty degrees to the right of the reciprocal of the inbound runway heading and to descend to an agreed height, possibly 1000ft. The outbound track was flown I seem to recall for about two (or perhaps three minutes). At the end of the two minutes the aircraft was asked to do a rate one turn onto the inbound runway heading, which if all had gone well placed him very near the extended runway centre line at 1000ft. On the inbound leg DF bearings were taken which allowed the controller to check that the aircraft was steering the right course inbound. The controller also gave heights to descend to, so perhaps with one minute to fly to the airfield the aircraft would be at about 500ft and descending to the minimal obstacle height. Unless flying in exceptionally poor visibility the aircraft would see the approach lights and land.

This is all culled from methods last practiced by me over fifty years ago, so if there are any inaccuracies, blame it on age, but the principles are as I remember them.

Photos below show a VHF/DF Station, the radio layout and taking a bearing.






To minimize bearing errors VHF/DF Homers were placed as near as possible to the runway, which on most occasions worked well, until some clot doesn't correct for drift on take-off and manages to ruin the VHF/DF as seen below.

The pupil pilot was in a Harvard and with a severe dent in his wing following the collision managed to do a circuit and land safely. Thankfully the duty VHF/DF operator was shocked but unhurt - if the aircraft had been a couple of feet lower when it hit, a major tragedy would have been the outcome.

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Old 23rd Aug 2008, 11:01
  #220 (permalink)  
 
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Good morning Cliff I'm afraid I'll have to pass on the Violet Picture approach procedure - was 38 years ago for me and my memory is no patch on yours. No notes to refer to either, about all I can recall is also using it to home on SARBE emergency beacons as well.
This site Q - Code Information Page lists QGA as Unassigned. Perhaps too good a weekend in Ponca City prior to that class Cliff.
Love reading your experiences.

Edited to add perhaps the use of QGA was for local training purposes/reasons.

Last edited by Brian Abraham; 23rd Aug 2008 at 11:15.
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