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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 1st Aug 2011, 20:59
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A life well lived and a family to be proud of, and a family proud of you.
You enriched the lives of many.
A pebble in a pool, to remember you by...
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Old 1st Aug 2011, 21:14
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A year already.

RIP Reg.

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Old 16th Aug 2011, 01:04
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An unashamed bump

Any more memories out there to keep this wonderful thread going?

A small, tenuous story, in the mean time. My father was in the army as a sergeant in WW2, and saw active service in France and Germany. Our family learned very little of his wartime experiences, though my elder brother and I developed a (seemingly unrelated) keen interest in flying and aircraft models - he, with balsa and tissue, me, being a decade later, with Airfix and Revell.

25 or-so years ago I became a 'C' Cat instructor with the ATC (photos documented in another, very long-running thread ) at Manston, and as the parents were visiting the south to see me and my new, young family, I took Dad down to Manston and wangled him a flip with me in a Mk3. In the pub later on, he told me more about his WW2 service. He'd been a glider pilot. He told me about reading the advert in a Toc H club, going for interview, the selection, and his pride in being picked for training.

I couldn't believe it. I remember the moment, in 1986, like it was yesterday. He told me he'd been sent in on D-Day+1, with a Stirling as tug, and had crashed on landing, injuring his ribs and jaw.

As a family, we were in some kind of shock. He'd kept schtum all those years and the coincidence of me taking him aloft in a glider with RAF roundels was too much for him to keep to himself, I suppose. He died 12 years ago, and I still couldn't get too much out of him. But it seemed like my brother and I acquired a genetic love of flight!

Let's get out there & cajole some more of these heroes to get their memories down here!!
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Old 16th Aug 2011, 09:26
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Lovely story. At risk of slight thread creep, you might enjoy a book I am just finishing: Joe's War by Anna Kubacka - all about her attempt to get her pa to unwind and reveal his upbringing and war experiences.
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Old 16th Aug 2011, 12:13
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Kev, what a really nice story. Agreed that we need to get these stories written down while we still can.

Where are you Cliff?

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Old 16th Aug 2011, 14:38
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An unashamed bump ...

.... or, in my case, an unashamed lump in the throat in the spirit of Kev's moving story.

Quite coincidentally, I paid my third visit to Pegasus bridge only yesterday afternoon, driving back via the Normandy Beaches after a few days in Provence.

As I stood there recounting to my wife, who had never been there before, what had happened in the early hours of 6 June 1944, and looked once again at the incredibly small area in which the Horsas had to land, and did, so close to the original bridge, I felt just as I did on the previous occasions, and couldn't speak for a while, enormously moved by the incredible courage and dedication of men such as Kev's Father and the brave men they flew.

Thank you so much Kev for sharing such a personal memory.

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Old 21st Aug 2011, 11:09
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Kev, what a really nice story. Agreed that we need to get these stories written down while we still can.

Where are you Cliff?


Hi Kev. Still 'pottering' . Things like flying to R.A.F Wickenby , courtesy Project Propeleller. Piloted by a director of Air-Ads ,Blackpool. in a Cessna 182.After take off on the return journey , at 300' he told me to take over and if I wanted to then climb to 2000' and fly to Hemswell. Smashing day . perfect 'vis' Our other passenger was ex W/OP \Lancaster. On landing at Blackpool he said he would like sometime to fly us to another airfield for lunch, which he did. He flew us to Elvington, bought lunch , wouldn't accept a penny.Another lovely day. Also had a few days camping and dinghy sailing on Coniston lake. ( Will post pic to thread, pictures of every one), Followed by Youth Hosteling at Welsh Bickton Ross-on-Wye. Just returned from Youth Hosteling, with my grandson, at the Friary Beverley. Had a smashing steak pie lunch at a pub near you ( Millington, The Gait Inn ) . Took grandson to R.A.F Woodvale show in the beach buggy, where the Battle of Britain flight made four passes.
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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 06:59
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Well then, you have indeed been busy Cliff... I was going to send you an email but bugger it, I'll post the question on here.

A Lancaster pilot's logbook that I have a copy of has an interesting comment and I was wondering if your Lanc systems knowledge might be able to supply an answer. He was on the infamous Nuremburg raid of March 1944, and his logbook entry for that flight reads as follows:

Operations - NURNBERG. Moon very bright and defences very active. Losses high. Bombed Wanganuis because of cloud. No troubles from defences. Had to use "M" blower. Petrol 1900.
The question: What's an 'M' blower? I spoke to a 115 Sqn pilot yesterday and he had no idea so I thought a flight engineer might be able to figure it out!

Best wishes,
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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 07:51
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Cliff; Youth Hostelling.
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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 08:43
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Originally Posted by kookabat
The question: What's an 'M' blower?

Presumably that is referring to the 2 stage supercharger, and for what ever reason, he couldn't use the S or fully supercharged ratio. The two ratios are M and S.

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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 09:20
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blacksheep -
Cliff; Youth Hostelling.
My thoughts entirely!

Cliff - blimey mate, you're looking well chipper! What's the secret?

UnionJack - no doubt you'll recognise this then.

And remember that British glider pilots, once they're done their incredibly tricky and dangerous job, had to pick up a weapon and join in the fighting wheareas the American pilots were able to scarper back to the beaches and get a boat home! Lucky them!
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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 11:35
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The question: What's an 'M' blower?
Adam I never heard the expression 'm blower' However the Merlins were supercharged,and not normally aspirated. The super chargers did have an 'M' gear and an 'S' gear, which in ' S' gear ran faster to compensate for the drop in air density with altitude. So at low altitudes 'M' gear was selected. Should electrics, hydraulics, pneumatics fail then most items returned to a fail safe position, ready for landing. To clarify 'M' gear was always selected for landing. (I think, but memory ?)

Think 1900 would refer to amount of fuel loaded as 2154 gals = all tanks full.Or time >

With regard to photos of everyone, think it has been removed, and replaced with Sticky Photos of everyone sequel. It is difficult to access, does any one know an easy way.
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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 11:41
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liff - blimey mate, you're looking well chipper! What's the secret?

QOUTE < cliff - blimey mate, you're looking well chipper! What's the secret? >QOUTE.

Simple. Just choose the right parents.

Last edited by cliffnemo; 22nd Aug 2011 at 11:52.
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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 11:51
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The only way I can load photos of everyone is to cut and paste ''http://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/448735-photos-everyone-sequel-3.html

in the address bar. Any better way ?
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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 18:00
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Aircrew Retreads

I'm still trying to figuer out how my old man managed after 60 odd bomber ops and already a Flt Lt Squadron Signals Leader with the DFC managed the short hop into the skippers seat. He always said that Don Bennett shuffled him into pilot training as a way to 'Stop me flying any more ops. The idea being the war would be over before I got back from Canada'. He was 156 Squadron's signals leader at the time

However, he would keep bumping into old mates now in training slots who kept him moving along nicely. He was at Hemswell's Lancaster finishing school in less time than it took to blink. How many other retreads went through the system? Was he one of many?

He managed 8 more ops before unbelievably he was invalided out when after all the flak and fighters he's dodged he was operated on at King Edward the 7th Hospital for Officers when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. I remember that his old irvine jacket had flak holes in it

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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 07:27
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The super chargers did have an 'M' gear and an 'S' gear, which in ' S' gear ran faster to compensate for the drop in air density with altitude. So at low altitudes 'M' gear was selected. Should electrics, hydraulics, pneumatics fail then most items returned to a fail safe position, ready for landing. To clarify 'M' gear was always selected for landing.
Bingo, I reckon that answers the question. Many thanks Cliff, you're a font of knowledge as usual.

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Old 20th Nov 2011, 14:06
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Final part of Hawker Typhoon pilot Peter Brett's memoirs

It's been almost a year since I posted the penultimate instalment of Peter's memoirs, and the reason for the delay is that the last instalment had not actually been written down by Peter.

Instead Mrs TOW sat down with him while he talked through it, and she took handwritten notes, and later typed them up. I have made a few attempts at corrections where the original did not quite make sense. In fact I am still not sure what is meant by "...a forced powered approach and landing", so perhaps someone will be kind enough to explain.

Peter is still well and living in France with his wife Ann. He will be 89 years old next June. His town's Mayor visited him recently to tell him that he was now his commune's oldest resident! I think Peter saw that as a rather dubious honour - as if he was being lined up to be the next one to go!

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed reading these memoirs over the last two or three years, and I hope that now this thread is back at the top again, others will be encouraged to continue in a similar vein.

Due to the flying restrictions we were spending a lot of time away from base - either in Kristiansand or in Oslo at the weekends. When we were on base we spent most of our time sitting in German aircraft learning the cockpit layout because we still assumed that at sometime we would be officially required to fly these aircraft to Germany or somewhere else. However up until the time I left Norway nothing had happened, and everybody was getting rather frustrated. I found that what was going on was that the German aircraft were being serviced by the German aircrew and then they were given a short test flight by German pilots. I was able by making arrangements with an English speaking German pilot I knew to swap places with him and make a short flight in the two aircraft [Bf 109 and FW-190] already mentioned.

While still in Norway I had applied to remain in the RAF under a short service commission and I was waiting for results. Because of the “undercarriage incident” I had assumed this has not been granted, but I was suddenly posted onto a Flying Instructor Course. Doubtless they had read my reports and noted that I had been recommended to become an instructor by SFTS in Canada. However, before I went to the FIC I had to go to Yatesbury in Wiltshire which had been the Bristol Flying Club before the war and there I had to convert from high-speed aircraft to fly Tiger Moths!

It may seem strange to have to convert from high-speed fighters to a slow aircraft like the Tiger Moth but it was necessary because the technique of flying the Tiger Moth was so markedly different. Perhaps the best way of illustrating this is to describe two manoeuvres: a normal turn and a slow roll. In a normal turn in a high speed fighter all you did was to put on some aileron, ease back very slightly on the control column to keep the nose up and the aircraft would slide into a perfect turn. If you did the same thing in a Tiger Moth, all that happened was that the aircraft tilted in the direct you had moved the control column and in a few seconds began to slide into a banked attitude.

So in a Tiger Moth you had, at the same time as applying bank, to apply the correct amount of rudder to keep the turn and bank indicator needle on zero. This originally caused me quite a bit of difficulty but as time went on I found that I could do this quite well. The other thing about the roll that was so different was that in a high speed fighter all you did was to increase speed slightly either by a slight dive or opening the throttle and then whacking on full aileron and the aircraft would do a rapid rotation about the longitudinal axis. This rotation was fast enough keep you in the seat.

In the Tiger Moth you had to increase speed by first diving, then bringing up the nose. As you applied full aileron the aircraft would rotate. As the roll got to 90 degrees you had to apply top rudder to keep the nose up. As the roll continued to the inverted attitude, you closed the throttle because the Tiger Moth engine would not run this way up and at the same time you centralised the rudder and eased the stick forward to keep the nose up. Continuing the rotation on the downward side (through 270 degrees) you again applied top rudder to keep the nose up and brought the control column back again to the central position on the right or left-hand side. As you approached normal flying attitude you had to centralise all the controls and open the throttle again. Needless to say this required a great deal of practice and it was some time before I could do a smooth slow roll in a Tiger Moth. Of course in the Tiger Moth, the rotation speed was much slower and consequently on the inverted part of the roll you would be actually hanging on the straps because the rotation speed was insufficient to keep you in your seat

It is perhaps worth noting here that there are two other methods of rolling a Tiger Moth: the barrel roll and the flick roll. In the barrel roll you flew the aircraft in a spiral around an imaginary fore and aft line and there was a sort of a stretched out loop because you had to get up to a really high speed and fly the spiral part, all the time keeping the control column back as one would in a loop but at the same time going round this imaginary horizontal line. The rotation speed here was not very fast but because you were at all times pulling out as in a loop, you remained in the seat. Therefore it was in effect a stretched out loop.
The other method of rolling – the flick roll – was much more violent. You slowed down to about 5 or 10 miles an hour above stalling speed and then whacked on full rudder and stick fully back and the aircraft would flip into a rotation, go into auto-rotation and you then straightened out as soon as you were round the 360 degrees. In effect what you were doing was putting the aircraft into a spin in the horizontal plane and with a Tiger Moth this was quite easy. It was hard to get it into a spin in the first place but if you let go of everything it immediately recovered.

This was one of the troubles of a Tiger Moth. It was so easy to recover from a spin or a stall by letting go of everything that it was considered too safe to be an instructing machine and later on they changed to a Jet Provost as the primary aircraft.

I stayed in Yatesbury for about three or four weeks and the only thing I remember about it was that next door to the airfield was a major radar school and by Yatesbury railway station was the Harris Sausage Factory. The food was superb - they had a really good chef. The mess was staffed by civilians with a RAF warrant officer as manager and because it was civilian staff it didn’t have a waiter so we had to queue up and get the meal from a buffet. They used to open the doors to the dining room as soon as things were ready, so we queued up in the corridor outside and quite a lot of horseplay went on here. The WO, who obviously couldn’t say ‘come on you lads stop it and be sensible’, had a few words he would say in a loud voice: “Decorum, gentlemen – DECORUM! This usually sorted things out.

On the flying side, they once brought in a Handley-Page Halifax aircraft for use by the radar school in a trial. They stopped all flying while the aircraft approached the short grass airfield. The pilot made three approaches. On the first two he went around, but the third time he came in with quite high throttle settings and almost at a stall. He cut the throttles as he crossed the boundary and thumped onto the ground, rolled rapidly across the airfield and just before he hit the fence the other side, he put it into a controlled ground loop. Luckily the undercarriage withstood the sideways pressures. He managed to stop and taxi over to the parking place.

After Yatesbury I was posted to Booker at Reading which was where the Miles Aircraft Company was situated, and I undertook the Flying Instructors Course. This consisted of all the standard manoeuvres in a Tiger Moth but mainly you had to learn the official patter for each manoeuvre and to be able to coordinate the speech with what the aircraft was doing. This required varying speed at which you said things depending on the manoeuvre. I seemed to do all right on this and I remember on the final test with the Chief Flying Instructor, everything went well and then, on the approach he said I was to do a forced powered approach and landing and I remember that the patter finished up by saying ‘…that now with the aircraft in the landing position, one gently closes the throttle and the aircraft will sink onto the ground’. And as I said “ground” I felt the wheels touch. It was really quite a good feeling! I got my Instructor’s licence and it was marked in the front of my logbook. We had a couple of weeks leave and came back to our first course.

Initially we were given a course of chaps who had already got their wings who were being shunted around until they were being demobbed. We used to take them up as dual and let them fly for their allotted time. The favourite thing of one of my pupils was to fly upside down but I found this remarkably boring to sit there with the engine just rotating and gliding upside down so I used to allow him 10 minutes before telling him that I had control, flick roll it upright and start doing other more interesting things.

Then there was an odd occurrence which I can never explain. I can remember flying a Miles Magister which appears in my logbook but then I have a complete blank until I woke up in the RAFHospital in Swindon feeling absolutely terrible, and with a high temperature. I was told that they thought I had glandular fever plus carbon monoxide poisoning from the ride in the ambulance! In the medical tests that followed, they found that I was actually suffering from tuberculosis. I was immediately invalided out and my RAF career was ended.

The treatment for TB was to collapse the lung partially by air pressure and I couldn’t fly even as a passenger for some time. The next time I flew as a passenger was in 1956 when I went to Jersey with my wife for a holiday. Later, I flew several times as a passenger within Europe when working for Teddington Controls.

I never handled an aircraft controls again until after I retired and moved to France. A French neighbour, Guy, who was flying from the local club took me up several times in a DR400 Robin. On the second trip he indicated that he wanted me to take over. I hadn’t handled aircraft controls for nearly 45 years and yet I did so naturally with no problems. I didn’t do a landing because I found that my eyesight was not good enough to flip between outside and the instruments and I could no longer read the instruments clearly anyway. However, I enjoyed it immensely and it showed that once you have learned to fly, you don’t ever completely forget!
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Old 20th Nov 2011, 20:14
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Do you think he meant 'fixed power approach'? ie none of that throttle pumping stuff!!
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Old 20th Nov 2011, 22:07
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Possibly typos or errors in the transcription but Booker is in High Wycombe and was the home of 21 EFTS during the war (it's now Wycombe Air Park).

The Miles Aircraft Company was at Woodley which, of course, is just outside Reading.
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Old 20th Nov 2011, 22:50
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In the mid 1950s the RAF basic flying syllabus on the Provost contained two sorts of forced landing, FL with or without power IIRC they were listed as ex 17a&b. 17a was also known as the "Precautionary Landing", the procedure was intended to achieve a safe off-airfield landing if one was caught out by bad weather or lack of fuel/daylight or whatever. It included finding a suitable field, flying a low-level circuit and approach to inspect the surface followed by another low level circuit and short-field landing.

In the 1980s at Scone the CAA basic syllabus featured the same exercise, perhaps it still does?
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