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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 12th Jan 2013, 18:40
  #3401 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 67
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Flying the Vamp

Hi Danny,

Forgive my impudence but I've been following this thread for around 2 years now, by far the most interesting on PPRuNe!! I once worked ( as ground crew) on the RAF Vintage pair, and never once heard a pilot say that the Meteor was superior in performance over the Vampire. I detect your preference, with respect to performance, would be toward the Meteor. Am I correct in my thinking ? I must admit I preferred the Meteor to the Vamp from a servicing point of view. I also have to say thanks for your picking this thread up, and, keeping it going. It really is very special.

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Old 12th Jan 2013, 20:11
  #3402 (permalink)  
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National Service Pilots.


IIRC, Compulsory National Service was re-introduced on 1st Jan 1949 (but am open to correction). That being so, and assuming that it would take 12 months at least to reach squadron level, the first NS pilots could not appear until early 1950.

The first one I recall coming across joined 608 (Auxiliary) Sqn in 1953. There may have been a compulsory requirement for them to undertake Auxiliary service as a condition of acceptance for pilot training.

We really need an ex-NS pilot to give us the 'gen'

Cheers, Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 12th Jan 2013 at 20:17. Reason: Additional Material.
Old 13th Jan 2013, 07:44
  #3403 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 846
I have a feeling Lord Tebitt was a NS Pilot and I see he was born 29th March 1931 so he would have been 18 in March 1949.

Perhaps we could get him to contribute?
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Old 13th Jan 2013, 11:37
  #3404 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Such memories! We look forward to Danny's foray in the Tiger Moth.
Meantime, Danny, you have a PM.
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Old 13th Jan 2013, 12:35
  #3405 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2006
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and as the T11 had not come along yet, it was a case of read the Pilot's Notes, climb in and off you go.
With the mixture of T11s an FB5s in later years one would do their dual and initial solo on the T11. When the time came for the first solo on the single seat the pilot would sit in the cockpit and a half dozen airmen would slump over the booms and drop the tail until the bumpers were just clear of the ground. The pilot then would have an idea of what the landing attitude was.
The same technique was used after wet start. The aircraft was tipped up so the fuel would drain out of the jet pipe. Then, not always, the aircraft would be pushed clear of the pool of fuel and another start attempt would be made, normally with a fresh trollyacc and an asbestos blanket draped over the horizontal tailplane. This would be done with one eye on the JPT guage and the other on the rear view mirror to see how hot and more importantly, how big the flame.

Because the Meteor's hood flipped over to starboard we always started No2 engine first. This was in case you had a dud trolleyacc and the engine caught fire. The hood then shielded you from the conflagration as you vaulted out of the cockpit. We started No3 first on the Valiant for the same reason.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 14th Jan 2013 at 08:49.
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Old 13th Jan 2013, 13:23
  #3406 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2009
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DFCP and Danny,

May I refer you to post 2926 on page 147 for a bit of info about National Service pilots.

My arthritic right wrist reminds me of the time at High Ercal which was being used as a temporary flying field whilst the TernHill runway was being resurfaced. We had returned from Christmas leave to begin the Harvard phase of the course and whilst pushing the hangar doors closed my wrist broke (don't ask!) and my first flight was as a passenger to Cosford Hospital. My arm was in plaster from hand to elbow. I was concerned about being recoursed so when the w/cdr surgeon said "use your hand as much as possible" I asked if that meant I could continue flying training he said "I see no reason why not" and wrote a letter to the SMO to that effect. So my first solo in the Harvard was done wth my arm in plaster On the final medical in the RAFVR(T) aged 65 the disbelieving MO found the letter in my docs. It wouldn't happen now.
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Old 13th Jan 2013, 14:50
  #3407 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: N Yorkshire, UK
Age: 72
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Some Video Interviews with SAAF WWII pilots

Danny et al

Have quoted Tinus le Roux's video interviews before, his latest is with Denis Taylor a Spitfire pilot (and also POW) of 4 Sqd SAAF


Also his library is

Tinus le Roux - YouTube

Trust these may be of interest (I have Tinus's permission to post links)

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)

Last edited by pzu; 13th Jan 2013 at 14:50.
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Old 13th Jan 2013, 19:09
  #3408 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Income Tax and Sealing Wax / And Cabbages and Kings

Union Jack,

Sounds like the old "left-handed screwdriver" and "striped paint !".......D.


Vamps had less than half the thrust of the Meteor (IIRC, 3200lb against 7000lb) but didn't weigh all that much less. And many thanks for your complimentary remarks......D.


Dead right ! If only we could get him. Appeared a few nights ago on the box, did his NS and then went into BOAC. Showed him in a Britannia (?), was a F/O, I believe, became a union rep (GAPAN ?) and from there to politics..........D.


Thanks for the PM tip (have replied - am not an early riser !). Tiger story in next.........D.


Ah, the dreaded "Wet Start" ! (one of my foxes shot, never mind). No asbestos sheets for us, tailplane had to take its chance. Flame often reached 50 ft behind the tailpipe, so ground crew had to clear all combustibles well away.

I like the idea of getting it to "sit up and beg" to mimic landing attitude, and can see the sense in it although it was never taught to us. Forward visibility from the cockpit to ground was even better than in a T7 - in fact, better than in a car (except in an "Isetta"!)

Now they tell us ! This is the first I've heard of this hazard. Dumb question: why would a flat trolley-acc cause an engine fire ? (I ask in all innocence). Apart from that, it was clearly a good idea, as any engine can blow up on starting and you kept all escape routes open until all were running smoothly.........D.

26er and DFCP,

Looked your Post up, and of course it's all there ! (pleads Short Term Memory Loss and advanced age). Your experience would fit well with a restart date of 1/1/49 for National Service.

We had one of the MQs at High Ercall from '64 to '67 when I was at Shawbury. As to right arms in plaster casts (any "G" effects?), "Gus" Walker flew everything at Strubby up to a Hunter with a fake right hand......D.


Saving 'em up for a treat. Thanks !.......D.

My sincere regards to you all. Mind how you go ! Danny,

Last edited by Danny42C; 14th Jan 2013 at 00:31.
Old 13th Jan 2013, 19:54
  #3409 (permalink)  
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Danny. Sorry about you're fox. I shall keep out of it.
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Old 13th Jan 2013, 20:39
  #3410 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a


We were all in same RAF. Foxes free for all. Keep in it !,


Last edited by Danny42C; 13th Jan 2013 at 20:41. Reason: Spacing.
Old 13th Jan 2013, 21:52
  #3411 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Banished (twice) to the pointless forest
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A female Spitfire pilot

BBC News - Today - Female WWII Spitfire Joy Lofthouse: Nothing was scary

This is a nice wee clip from the BBC, Joy Lofthouse talking about delivering aircraft.
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Old 13th Jan 2013, 22:02
  #3412 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Posts: 159
Hi Danny,
Your memory is still excellent. According to the Vamp T11 Pilot's Notes the Goblin produced 3200 lb static thrust, the clean aircraft auw was 10900 lb and a clean aircraft took 12 mins from sl to 30,000ft. The Meteor T7 PNs state that the Derwent Mk 8 or 9 produced 3500 lb static thrust. I'm not sure what a clean T7 auw was but the maximum auw was 18800lb. I expect this was full ventral and drops (ventral 175 imp gals and drops 2 * 100, - about 2900 lb at .79 sg). A clean T7 would get to 30 in 5.5 mins, and with a ventral it took 6.5 mins. Hope this is of interest.
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Old 14th Jan 2013, 01:02
  #3413 (permalink)  
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Meteor v Vampire.


Thanks for the information. As far as as I was concerned, the Vampire's plus point was its endurance (almost the double that of the Meteor). IIRC, all the Auxiliary squadrons were equipped with the Vampire, as being easier to fly and only half the number of engines for the part-timers to maintain.

Each (Aux) squadron would have one T7 for I.R. practice and rating checks.

I am sure you are right about the very heavy T7 (18,800 lb). Must be the one with tips and ventral full (total 505 gallons). I only flew one once in that condition, and frankly didn't notice much difference.

Cheers, Danny.
Old 15th Jan 2013, 01:49
  #3414 (permalink)  
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Danny is Back in the Air again.

The Tiger Moth had largely been replaced by the Chipmunk as the RAF's primary trainer. The surplus Tigers were distributed round the Stations, where they were kept more or less as pets. The didn't take up much hangar space, need much maintenance or use much petrol. They came in handy on fine days for pilots on ground duties to keep their hands in. They started me off on the one that Valley had got.

I am amused to read (in my log), that I got five minutes dual. Then I was sent off on a sector recce. I wandered right round the island: it struck me that this would be a very difficult place to get lost in. I had a look at Snowdon and the North Wales coast as far as Penmaenmawr, (the mountain behind half eaten away by slate mining). It had been nine years since I'd had goggles on and had the wind whistling round my ears in a chilly open cockpit.

Then back to land. A bunch of onlookers, knowing I was straight off Meteors (think of a Tornado today), and on my first trip in a Tiger, gathered to see the fun. I didn't disappoint them. I brought it in Meteor style, low and fast. Of course the thing wouldn't stay down, but bounded along like a kangaroo, until I had to swallow my pride before I ran out of greensward and went around. After that inept exhibition, my next attempt was much slower and I held it off till it decided, of its own volition, to stop floatimg and flop down. It was not an impressive début. Two days later I had my first trip in the Vampire (solo, no T11s yet). The rest of April was Vampires and Spitfires.

Again, our Army tasks were logged simply as code numbers and letters, but the only one I now recall was "Y 6" (the Barmouth-Aberdovey "mirror" beat for the Terriers) of which we did a lot. Curiously, in my early months Spitfire IXs appear in my log (in April, TD254, TB379) as well as a XVI (RW351), but a TE345 is logged as a XVI, too. I would certainly have known the difference (and had it sharply pointed out to me if I didn't), and the logs are fully countersigned, but in later months only XVIs and Vampire IIIs appear.

So many "funny things happened on the way to the Theatre" during my time (a mere 18 months) there, that I've had to set out a "time line" to keep them in correct order. Yet some incidents bridge months: the following three Posts make up two short stories which may amuse (pace the Moderators).

Imagine an early spring night in '50, with a gale roaring round our old Nissen Mess and threatening to rip off the rattling loose corrugated iron sheets. In the bar and anteroom we have the luxury of fireplaces, the sole source of warmth and we cluster around these and retell tales old and not-so-old. One had taken place shortly after the Squadron came in, nine months before my time. I listened, spellbound. And I accept absolutely no responsibility for the truth of any part of it !

----------------------------The Beauty Competition (Part1)----------------------

The Squadron arrived in Valley in midsummer of '49. At that time the Welsh Tourist Board were attempting to popularise Anglesey as a holiday resort.. Morecambe, Blackpool and Southport were doing all right; their weather was no better than ours and our sands were just as good. What we didn't have was much in the way of Attractions. Down the coast, Butlin's were raking it in at Pwillhelli, and the highspot of a week there was the Beauty Competition. Anglesey should have one, too.

Here they had to box carefully. Wales generally, North Wales in particular and Anglesey above all were hotbeds of Wesleyan Methodism. Chapel was a power in the land, comparable to that wielded in the '50s by the Catholic Church in rural Ireland. I'm not familiar with the command structure of the Wesleyan Church, but gather that they have "Leaders", who are broadly similar to the better known "Elders of the Kirk". They would have to be squared first.

The starting position was that this was a sinful idea, designed to encourage the worst instincts of men, and therefore not to be contemplated under any circumstances. But when it was explained to them that this would attract more visitors, these would bring more employment and (crucially) more money into the island, and that some of it would certainly end up in the Chapel, they relented, reluctantly and with reservations. Terms and Conditions would apply.

Do not miss the next Gripping Instalment.

Goodnight again, friends,


You never know.

Last edited by Danny42C; 15th Jan 2013 at 01:54. Reason: Spacing.
Old 15th Jan 2013, 10:41
  #3415 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Japan
Age: 68
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Thanks Danny. A question. I've read that the late Merlin engined Spitfires were the "nicest" to fly, and the Griffon Spitfires were a bit "over engined". Could you give us your impressions? As an overgrown schoolboy, the Spitfire is the aircraft I've always wanted to fly (insert green with envy Smiley). Well, that and the Mosquito and the Sea Fury and the..............
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Old 15th Jan 2013, 12:36
  #3416 (permalink)  
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Smiley, Ken, Use of, For!

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Old 15th Jan 2013, 16:18
  #3417 (permalink)  
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Spitfires Ancient and Modern.

Yamagata ken,

I have only 8 hours in the XIV and 4 in the XXII, so have only my first impressions of the Griffons. My opinion was:

Too much power for the airframe, too heavy, the old lightness of touch had gone. (Having said that, the people who got used to them swore by them).

The nicest ones ? Mks I & II. The best all-rounder ? Mks IX & XVI, (same thing with Packard Merlin).

The weirdest one ? The two-seater Mk. IX(T). Why on earth ?

The RAF's most beautiful aircraft ? Mosquito and Hunter.

De gustibus non est disputandum.

Cheers, Danny

PS. As a geologist, what do you reckon to the latest twist in the buried- Spitfires saga. To a simple soul like me, it sounds as if they are below the water table. In which case, they'll have to pump all Burma dry first. Am I missing something ? Pontius Navigator (and others) made the same point recently (and had to chuckle over Smiley !).........D.

Last edited by Danny42C; 15th Jan 2013 at 16:33. Reason: Attribution Error.
Old 15th Jan 2013, 17:40
  #3418 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Co. Down
Age: 79
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Training the Tiger

Air display at Weston-super-Mare, 1972. In the front cockpit is Barry Tempest, display pilot extraordinary who is still flying displays at the age of 74. On the right, Royal Naval Air Yard Sydenham, 1971.

As so many of Danny's generation knew it, and some even loved it, I pray your tolerance while I ramble on about the Tiger Moth.

This venerable biplane dates from 1932 and I was lucky to have owned one of the 10,000 produced. It was a superb trainer because it was (and is) very difficult to fly really well, but forgave the pilot who made a mess of things. It was said that if you could three-point a Tiger in a strong breeze you could land anything, and I would agree with that.

At war's end a Tiger could be bought for £50. There were so many in storage that they were tipped on their noses and stacked like toast-racks, which is why many show repairs on their cowling 'chin'. And because they were thumped in so many ways, there are repair schemes for almost every component.

I learned all this, and much more, from Air Registration Board surveyor C. H. Taylor, who during the war had responsibility for 70 Tiger Moths at a training airfield in England. In the 1960s the would-be aircraft engineer had to spend at least three years on aircraft maintenance, with a further 18 months on type. All work had to be logged, the log book forming the question paper for the oral exam which was taken after one had passed the written exams.

My Tiger Moth oral took an exhausting two hours, and was not so much an exam as a lesson from a master engineer. We crawled over the three Tigers in our hangar and he pointed out repairs which dated from the war years -- in one case the original camouflage paint was still there beneath a coat of silver. Working night and day in all weathers, Charlie Taylor was one of thousands of engineers without whom the great battle could not have been won.

Danny, all the jet jockeys had trouble with the Tiger. My friend Tom came from another de Havilland product, the Sea Vixen, staggered off the runway and held the nose to the stars so the Tiger mushed across the airfield rather than climbing until he realised there was only 120hp up front rather than 8000hp down the back. On our return he, too, floated along the runway for almost half a mile. (Fortunately for the local populace, I was not allowed to exercise my limited skills in Tom's Sea Vixen.)

Because RNAY Sydenham's Captain Monk had been a Fleet Air Arm wartime instructor, the Tiger Moth was allowed to live with the Sea Vixens, provided that a very large drip tray was positioned to catch the oil which the Gipsy Major engine exuded from every joint. The slipstream then spread the oil along the belly so most parts could drip onto the Royal Navy's spotless painted floor, a keel-hauling offence. But all was forgiven for a Tiger Moth. Especially when she was available to the Skipper ...

The Tiger had no brakes, its tailskid working very well on the grass airfields of the day. On tarmac it's a nightmare, for it weathercocks into wind and downwind picks up speed like a galleon in full sail. After the fourth occasion of shutting down, baling out and grabbing the tail to stop it from attacking a harmless Trident, I welded a rock drill bit to a worn-out skid and achieved reasonable steering. However, the appearance of deep scores across airport aprons did not encourage return visits and regular destinations allowed me to use their grass areas, controlling my non-radio movements by Aldis light just like the old days.

Today, most airfields are tarmac so a few Tigers have been fitted with brakes and tailwheels from their cousin the Stampe. If you wondered, the Stampe is much lighter and more responsive on the controls than the Tiger, but it's much more fragile in inexperienced hands. The sturdy, reliable, pupil-proven Tiger Moth played a vital role, and well deserves the affection bestowed upon it.
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Old 15th Jan 2013, 21:06
  #3419 (permalink)  
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Wearing my geologist's hat, there won't be a problem. The key word is "permeability". Myanmar=tropical=clay=low permeability (I can do geology from 35,000 feet). All you need is a reasonable pump and you will end up with a dryish hole. What's at the bottom of the hole, Lord knows. I'm hoping and wishing for a batch of pristine Spitfires. What I expect is a heap of Fe stained Al oxide.
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Old 15th Jan 2013, 22:23
  #3420 (permalink)  
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Tiger, tiger, burning bright.....


Lovely picture of a lovely little aeroplane ! It's hard to think it's an eighty years old design now.

I flew it occasionally over the years, but always in warm sunny weather. I would think you'd need to wrap up well in winter. I think the RCAF had a canopied one for their frozen wastes.

I suppose that the great majority of the pilots who won their Brevets in WW2 started on the Tiger; I was always surprised how an apparently flimsy thing like that stood up to EFTS service, but it did. They put me in the Stearman for my first sixty hours in the US, it was heavier, more powerful and tougher than a Tiger and IMHO, more suitable for the job - but every man to his taste !

You have all the tolerance you want ! Ramble on ! (the pics are wonderful, too).

Cheers, Danny.

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