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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 6th Jul 2013, 22:38
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Alex Hindley

Alec Hindley was my father. Could you please fill me in on your knowledge of his RAF career? Thank you Chris Hindley
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Old 6th Jul 2013, 22:42
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Danny42C
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Chugalug,

I never managed to "bring the House down" myself, but once an unfortunate Met man, having ended his spiel, chanced his arm and asked "Any Questions ?"

"Yes", said a Squadron Commander, "what are the conditions likely to be for upper-air work this morning ?" "Fine", said our chap, "no possibility of any vertical developments at all".

A deafening crack of thunder shook the crewroom before the words were out of his mouth. The room roared with laughter (he had the grace to join in !)

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 6th Jul 2013 at 23:38. Reason: Typo.
 
Old 7th Jul 2013, 01:19
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Looks like herding cats to me !
Feels like herding cats to me too sometimes!
Keep it coming Danny, I'm quite looking forward to hearing about earlier days in ATC. There's not much about it around.

Adam
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Old 7th Jul 2013, 07:36
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I never managed to "bring the House down" myself, but once an unfortunate Met man, having ended his spiel, chanced his arm and asked "Any Questions ?"
One cold winter day at RAF Brawdy, with the cloud brushing the chimney on the 'biscuit factory*' or US NAVFAC as it was properly named, we were all assembled in the cinema for the morning met brief...

The Met man's slides were ready on the OHP, when the Stn Cdr, a cheery fighter pilot, entered. "Morning, Met!", he began, "have some actual!". At which a threw a snowball at the Met man, which landed on the slides - which had been drawn with water-based lumocolor pens. The resulting mess did indeed bring the house down!

On another occasion, the Met man was asked if there was any risk of the rain turning to snow. "No chance", he confidently replied. The next question (from someone who, unlike the Met man, could see out of the window) was "What is the correct meteorological term for that fluffy white stuff which is falling out of the clouds?"





* so named because it was commanded by a Captain Jacobs. A sneaky-beaky place, about whose purpose we weren't supposed to know - it was actually a (then) highly secret SOSUS submarine accoustic tracking facility.

Last edited by BEagle; 7th Jul 2013 at 07:37.
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Old 7th Jul 2013, 16:10
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clmh1949

Chris, Welcome aboard PPRuNe!

Alex Hindley (Squadron Leader A.R.Hindley from the signatures in my logbook) was my "Boss" as the O.C. 20 Squadron at Valley from March '50 to September '51. I am fairly sure he had the AFC, but would not swear to it. He was a very good Boss and well liked.

After that I have no direct knowledge, but a friend on 20 Sqdn, Flt.Lt. Niel (sic) Ratan Ker, with whom I kept in loose touch until his death in 2010, informed me that he left the RAF as a Wing Commander. He then (according to Niel, who went back out there several times) "went out to India and did very well". Other PPRuNers may be able to fill spaces in your jigsaw.

There is more, but it does not concern his RAF Career, and it is second-hand from Niel, and is not suitable for open Post in any event. If you send me a Private Message, I can tell you the gist of what Niel told me, but remember it is hearsay , would not stand up in Law and there are no names, so it can only be of interest.

Danny42C
 
Old 7th Jul 2013, 23:27
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re Wing Commander Hindley

Dear Danny, thank you so much for your reply. my personal email is [email protected]. Yes Dad did get AFC and in1959 the OBE. He went out to India with Greaves Cotton and years later started his own Company, India Continental Aviation. Where he was very successful in representing British Aerospace Co's in India. It is my belief that the pioneering work he did, set British Military Aerospace on a very good footing in India. He would have been very disappointed to see Dassault win the Fighter contract recently awarded by India. He was a good man and always a gentleman as you remember him. Please send me you direct email and we can chat. Kind Regards Chris
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Old 9th Jul 2013, 17:57
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I once had the great pleasure of a 12 hour flight in one of Her Majesties Shacklebombers from RAF Lossiemouth. I somehow managed to scrounge the trip whilst up there fixing a bent Hunter, anyway I digress as usual! I met this chap in the mess the night before the flight, who it appeared was to fly on the same patrol. After a few refreshing "half and halves". He explained he was from the Met Office doing a study into Cu. clouds. He hoped to get some good sightings, but, "didn't travel well". We did the full 12 hours, North Sea mostly, a fly past at Church Fenton ISTR. I took loads of photographs of Cu's for the met man, he spent most of his time being friendly with a honk bag !!! What a great aircraft, crew, and poor old Metman. Graham was his first name, if he ever made it to military forecasting, I doubt he scrounged trips !!!

Smudge

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Old 9th Jul 2013, 19:02
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A slight interlude

Just thought that I would record that I spent an excellent day at RAF St Athan today to celebrate its 75th year.

It was here, at 4 School of Technical Training, that 22,599 Flight Engineers, including my partner's grandfather (who was KIA in 1945), received their Ab Initio Training.

Another trainee was, of course, the originator of this great thread and many of Cliff's postings record his time there, enabling the memories of St Athan to live on.

Regards

Pete
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Old 9th Jul 2013, 20:14
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Danny and the Good Old Days.

There's a lot more about the Tower to come!" (I said). But before I start my story about individual incidents in my years as a Controller, and in response to kookabat's suggestion in #3992 p.200, I think it might be helpful to hear my general recollections of the history of aerodrome Air Traffic Control from the "worm's eye" point of view. All this will be entirely from memory, I do not intend to check it against Wiki or anywhere else. If other authorities contradict me, so be it, (but remember the tale of the Bahia Route March).

"The Toad beneath the harrow knows
Exactly where each toothpoint goes".

Once upon a time there were 'Watch Offices' on (almost all grass) 'aerodromes'. In these dwelt a Watchkeeper, commonly the Duty Pilot, furnished with a telephone, a stub of pencil, a school notebook, binoculars and (if he were lucky) a Verey pistol and an Aldis lamp. He would be unlikely to have radio.

He logged down all arrivals and departures, but did very little else. Outside the building there would be a board bearing the name of the place and perhaps the AMSL. Lower down, a sign would read "VISITING CAPTAINS REPORT HERE", which made you feel very important on arrival after climbing out of your puddle-jumper.

If he did have a Crash Vehicle (pensioned off fire engine) and an ambulance on tap (and this was by no means always the case), he would be responsible for unleashing them if required. Aircraft came and went as they pleased without reference to him: he had no control over them.

Time passed, War came and the pace quickened. Now the school notebook was replaced by a blackboard on the wall behind him on which his minions chalked up the T/Os and landings (and they also made the tea, and so a great tradition was born). He kept a log; he would, with luck, have radio contact with aircraft similarly equipped, and he controlled the airfield lighting (usually a row of goosenecks). Aircraft came and went on operations or training flights as they pleased without reference to him; he would "count them out and count them back in": but he had no control over them.

My experience of the subject so far ends with my departure for India in September '42, but I understand that, as war progressed, aids were devised to assist returning aircrews, and he had a more important part to play from then on. Manual D/F operators passed bearings to him by land line, 'ZZ' procedure was an early form of QGH, SBA and TBA came in, and other clever ideas like EUREKA/BABS. He had a finger in all these pies and called himself a Flying Control Officer: but in fact he had little actual control over the aircraft.

Air Traffic Control in India and Burma during the war (from the military aspect) is a simple story: there wasn't any.

On my return to the RAF in July '49, I found that the "Flying Control Officer" was no more. The Twin Winged Lords of the Air had objected to the title on the logical ground that they alone were responsible for the safe operation of their aircraft, and certainly would not cede any authority to some wingless wonder in an overgrown Wendy house on the side of the airfield. He had to be content with the title of "Air Traffic Control Officer", the TWLOTA reluctantly accepted this. The RAF had a new Branch.

(More on this to follow next time).

Cheers,

Danny42C


They also serve who only stand (or sit?) and wait.

Last edited by Danny42C; 10th Jul 2013 at 12:45. Reason: Typo.
 
Old 9th Jul 2013, 23:27
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No more posts please until Danny has the 4,000 posting himself!
For starting this thread, for those that continued to breathe life into it, the honour should be Dannys

To you all, I salute you!

Last edited by Icare9; 9th Jul 2013 at 23:28.
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Old 10th Jul 2013, 12:56
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Icare9,

How can I resist such a generous and graceful offer ? Thank you, Kevin, and all the other supporters and helpers who have made my task so much more enjoyable these last eighteen months.

Roll on 5,000 !

Danny.
 
Old 10th Jul 2013, 13:56
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Well done Danny,

I expect you will be posting 5000 too. I certainly hope to be reading your #5000. Keep going only a thousand to go.

Well 999

Smudge

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Old 10th Jul 2013, 14:45
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Danny:-
Roll on 5,000 !
Indeed Danny and as Smudge says, it has a "Reserved" ticket on it in your name. It is for we all to thank you for your entertaining yet detailed account of all your yesterdays. I couldn't begin to account for last week in the way you do, let alone those of the past "which is a foreign country".
That is why we hang onto your words, Danny, because they explain so much of where we all come from and perhaps where we are going to. It is your story, the Service's story, our Nation's story, and we all take pride in it. We all take pride in you Danny.
Thank you!
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Old 10th Jul 2013, 19:23
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Keep up the Good Work.

Chugalug and all the others, who have said so many nice things about me, and helped me so generously in my I.T. problems,

You do me too much honour ! - for I "stand on the shoulders of Giants", people like Cliff who started the whole thing off, Reg, whose wonderful career kept me enthralled for so long (who can easily forget the story of the 707 highjack in Israel ?), Fred and all the others, many now sadly no longer with us, who have left us with wonderful stories now forever untold.

Please, there must be others still out there, who are standing on the sidelines (as I did myself for six months before starting my Posts). You have unique tales to tell, don't leave it too late.

Danny.
 
Old 10th Jul 2013, 22:57
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Something wacky happened, as when I posted, mine was showing as 3999, now it's dropped to 3998...... honesht ossifer..... I swear it was 3999.... so how did it change?
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Old 10th Jul 2013, 23:05
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Icare9,

Yes, it's slipped a cog somewhere. Not to worry. Press on regardless !

D.
 
Old 11th Jul 2013, 18:48
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Danny tells more about ye olde ATC.

Now about this time the RAF in general, and the new ATC Branch in particular, had two of the the best pieces of luck that it had had for many a long day. No.1 was the invention of the first (mobile) Ground Controlled Approach radar set (AN-MPN1). This may have come into use by the US in the last days of the war: it was certainly working at RAF Gatow during the Berlin Airlift in'48.

It was taken up enthusiastically by the RAF and rapidly introduced in the '50s round the larger home stations, where it was ideally complemented by the No.2 piece of luck, the Cathode Ray Direction Finder. This operated on the Very High Frequency radio band which had recently replaced all the previous short-range types (TR9) of radio/telepone communication (air to air and air to ground).

Now ATC was in business in a big way. For the first (post-war) time it really had something to offer the customers. Aircraft had always been able to get QDMs (homing Course to fly) from the old manual D/F sets, but it was a slow and cumbersome business with a high risk of error. Now this magical thing could give you an instant, accurate QDM, or a True Bearing (QTE) to help you with en-route navigation, the moment you clicked the transmitter button to speak.

The TWLOTAs were onto this like wasps round a jampot, they knew a good thing when they saw it. Why beat your brains out trying to work out the way home when all you needed to do was press a button and ask "Steer ?". And, by a happy coincidence, this came into common use just as the RAF was converting onto the first jets (Meteor and Vampire). Bloggs at his AFS was flying 30-35 minute sorties with 40 minutes in the aeroplane. It was risky. One wrong turning and that was it.

There is a closed thread in Military Aircrew: "Meteor Accident Statistics". It makes your hair stand on end to read it as it is, but without CR/DF the carnage would have been much worse (you can take it from me, as one who was a Bloggs in those days). Oddly enough, the losses didn't bother us at all at the time; flying was dangerous, everybody knew that, and in any case it would always happen to someone else.

As a bonus, it was an ideal means to feed aircraft into your GCA, and this enabled the MPN-1 ("Bendix") to be worked without a "search" director: now all you needed was a "feed" director, one of the two PPI tubes in the truck was unused, and you were one F/Sgt to the good.

For the whole of my 17 years in the Branch (apart from three years on the School), I would say that I did 40% my time as "Talkdown", and 90% of the rest as Approach Controller on the CR/DF, or, in later years, on the Commutated Antenna Direction Finder, which was the same thing on Ultra High Frequency.

One final word on CR/DF (I've mentioned this before, I think). A USAF Colonel had a look round our Tower one day. In Approach, he watched the CR/DF console being worked hard. "That's the best Goddam aid I ever saw", he said with obvious conviction. I would say "Amen" to that.

Next time I'll let you know a bit about the fauna in that habitat.

Cheers,

Danny42C


Old definition of GCA: - "The Blind leading the Blind".
 
Old 12th Jul 2013, 10:17
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CADF (UHF) by my time, Danny, and I remember being as inpressed as your USAF Colonel seeing it briefly in use for the first time. Any transmission from an aircraft resulted in an immediate trace appearing on the screen pointing to a graduated bezel around the screen's circumference and hence showing the bearing.
As a matter of interest, how did that work on a QGH? Did the controller have to do all the mental work of translating a True Bearing into a Magnetic Steer, taking account of Drift, or was some of it done for him by the kit? That a Controlled Descent Through Cloud could be obtained by merely keying one's T/R switch when called for just left me, well...Speechless!
Oh, this might be of interest, very "period" anyway:-
Ronaldsway Air Traffic Control in the 1950s

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Old 12th Jul 2013, 11:06
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Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction writer and inventor of the geostationary communications satellite, worked on GCA in WW2. He wrote a novel based on his experiences, and it's worth a read if you haven't come across it already. It's called "Glide Path" and the Great South American river has copies available.
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Old 12th Jul 2013, 13:12
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Still a great read. Pity about the 4000 mix up, but I don't suppose Danny will be to upset at not having all those Zero's near him.
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