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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 22nd Jul 2013, 08:09
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Bumble bees get lift from each forward and aft stroke.
Which is fine while flying slowly! Too fast and they'd suffer retreating wing stall - but I guess they know that....
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Old 22nd Jul 2013, 09:00
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Danny, it seems as though your old SATCO certainly had we pilots banged to rights, and his thoughtful advice was obviously passed on in turn to those that you advised. In retrospect I consider myself to have been blessed by good fortune to have served when I did (1959-73). Not only were my seniors in the main ex WWII but so were so many in the support branches, including of course ATC.
The mixture of knowledge, competence, and lateral thinking that had been absorbed by them in that spot of nastiness coloured their attitude to modern situations. So not very much grand standing or agenda lists but instead a practical outlook and in the main friendly determination to help rather than to hinder.
We owe your generation so much, Danny, not the least of course being our freedom. As one who served while yours still did, I owe it a personal thank you for making my time both enjoyable and rewarding. What a pity we couldn't clone your all to make later generations blessed as well. Now that would have been a truly Permanent Commission!
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Old 22nd Jul 2013, 19:19
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Smudge,

"All who took part were true examplars to our nation" True, I suppose, but actually we were just the ones who happened to be on deck when the trumpet sounded !.....D

Yamagata Ken and Beagle,

I'm no scientist, but doesn't that just shift the problem one stage back ? How does the creature develop the power, given its musculature and the calories used just toting the heavy animal from one source of nectar to another ? (said he with tongue in cheek)....D

Chugalug,

I hadn't realised (your being 20 years my junior), that we'd served together for almost the whole of your time (except that I retired a year before you left). It's true, the ethos of the war years continued into peace, and the RAF was the better for it, until the old guard died out in the late '60s. (sadly, you couldn't clone us, for that would mean you'd have to clone the times in which we lived, and which had moulded us, and no one would want to do that).

Later things were different (but not necessarily worse on that account), as people had careers to build, and ambitions beyond simply staying alive......D.

Regards to you all, Danny.

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Old 23rd Jul 2013, 22:35
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Memory Lane.

exMudmover,

Do you remember, were we still playing these silly "No Compass, No Gyro" games with the JPs at Leeming in the late '60s ? Strangely enough, I can remember far more about my Strubby times, even though they were ten years earlier.

Danny.
 
Old 24th Jul 2013, 12:33
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Sorry for the delay in replying Danny but I've been fairly busy in the last couple of weeks.

Afraid to say there's no real story behind the "didn't go as briefed" post.

I can't recall the exact details but it was something along the lines of the controllers being asked by the crews to act as full controllers in guiding them fully for an intercept and then when the "games" started doing all themselves and only requiring an advisory service from unknown traffic and range and bearing info when they lost contact which each other.
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Old 24th Jul 2013, 15:33
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clicker,

Not to worry. What you recall reminds me of a Naval exercise I read about many years since.

In Edwardian days, Red Fleet put out from somewhere up north to do battle in the North Sea with Blue Fleet from somewhere down south. Signor Marconi had only just invented W/T, and it hadn't caught on yet. They'd decided not to arrange a rendezvous, but just see what would happen.

What happened was that the two Fleets wandered forlornly round the North Sea for a week, producing prodigious quantities of smoke, but never met.

Then they said "S*d it", and went home.

Danny.
 
Old 24th Jul 2013, 19:02
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Danny has a little Drama.

It was not all that busy that morning. We had some Middle Eastern students on the AFS Course at the time. Ahmed (solo) in his Meteor piped up for a QGH (he didn't need it, it was gin-clear, but he had been so briefed); we were on 27. I homed him at 16,000 ft. He was the only one on the CRT, so I could give him my full attention.

Things progressed perfectly normally, I sent him out on 105°, commence descent, call turning left at 10,000. He took his time about getting there, but no matter - he was in no one's way. "Kilo 29 (or whatever) - Harpic",* called Ahmed. So far, so good.

* Unofficial (but universally used) call for the descending turn inbound on a High-Level QGH (for "Harpic" reaches Round the Bend).

This one was straight out of the book: "Kilo 29, continue turn left onto 270 and advise". This turn should take only little more than a minute, but again he seemed very slow. However, this was by no means unusual. Many Bloggs (solo), had worked out that 20 degrees of bank were much safer than 30 when in a steep, high-speed descent in cloud - or not - (and who's to say they were wrong ?).

He called in 270° inbound. The QDM had hardly moved since "Harpic".... Funny, that. And now of course he was south of where I wanted him: "Kilo 29, steer 280°, call check height 2,500". "Level at 2,500" - "Check QFE set". He read it back OK. "Descend to visual, call field in sight". This should only be a matter of a few moments till that call, then I'd put him over to Local. My "elevenses" had just appeared beside me. He must be crossing the coast now, surely ?

The seconds ticked by. Half a minute now ! No call ! "Kilo 29, check heading 280"- "280, sir" - "Check compass" - "Compass OK, sir" - "Are you sure ?" - "Yes, sir". But the QDM hadn't responded to the correction..... Alarm bells rang.

What's he doing ? Where is he ? I hit the GCA "squawk" box switch. Chiefy (the "Director") had a monitor on Approach Channel of course, and kept an ear on it, to hear if any business was coming his way. But all had seemed so normal up to the last few seconds (and I suppose he heard the change in my tone), that it was only now he took a look at his tube. "Can't see him, sir".

Now we're in trouble! The Assistant put the tea-tray down. "Get the Duty Instructor down here", I snapped. "Tell SATCO" (the D.I. normally stayed in the top tower with Local Control). A couple of radio mechs working at the other end of the desk looked up with interest, scenting blood.

Duty Instructor came down at full gallop (he's able to give Ahmed orders what to do, I can only advise on Air Traffic matters - (SATCO is no use, he can do no more than I can, and I am the Watchkeeper). In any case he was out of his office somewhere.

"Nothing", said Chiefy in the Truck. I tried Kilo 29 again "Check heading ! - check compass !" "Heading and compass OK, sir !" And now a dreadful sign - the trace was slowly starting to shrink back away from the bezel.

He was going away from me ! But at last he seemed, for the first time, to sense that all was not well. Nothing in front of him but sea to the horizon ? He gave tongue, and said the fateful words: "I am flyeeing into zee Sun !" At ten in the morning - and he's supposed to be on 280 ? I said the first thing which came into my head (and must qualify as one of the strangest instructions ever issued by ATC):

"Turn round until you have the Sun on the Back of Your Neck !" He obeyed, and the scales fell from his eyes: "Compass all right now, sir". But he wasn't all right. What did "now" mean ? He could be half way to Copenhagen !

"Shall I put him over to 121.5 for a "Pan"?" "God, no!" said Duty Instructor - "anything could happen! - we might never get him back again - how much fuel has he got ?" We flashed Local: "How long's he been airborne ?" Good news at last: "22 minutes". It seemed that Ahmed liked his trips short and sweet.

So he has 18 minutes, give or take. Might last 35 miles. "Any use telling him to flame number one out and open the cross-feed ?" "Are you mad ?", said the Duty Instructor (who knew Ahmed: apparently he was not the brightest star in the firmament). We all hung on Chiefy's words. The minutes passed agonisingly slowly. The stop-watch clicked loudly. Fingernails were being chewed to the bone.

At last Chiefy spoke: "Something 19 miles, on bearing, coming our way. Very faint. Think he's pretty low." Enormous exhalations all round. He's 12 minutes left. Should make it onto the airfield. Five minutes left and he was over Mablethorpe - at about 100 feet ! (Seems he had an idea that he was safer low down. Not so far to fall?) Duty Instructor shot back upstairs.

Of course we'd cleared everything for a straight-in on 27. He managed it all right, although the brakes were pretty hot when he stopped. He nearly got back to the line when it flamed-out.

This is long enough. The Post Mortem will have to wait till next Post.

Sorry, chaps.

Danny42C


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Old 24th Jul 2013, 19:20
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What happened was that the two Fleets wandered forlornly round the North Sea for a week, producing prodigious quantities of smoke, but never met.

Then they said "S*d it", and went home
A tradition which has been proudly maintained by the RN in numerous boring JMCs ever since - aided and abetted by that useless wireless operator Roger Waitout....
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Old 24th Jul 2013, 20:24
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No Compass, No Gyro practise in the late 60s

“No Compass, No Gyro” in the late 60s

Danny,

You bet we were doing them! And speechless at the same time.

And – get this – we were still practising No Compass, No Gyro recoveries in the Harrier GR9 Simulator when I finished work there in 2012! The good old GR9s, which we sold for a song to the US, were some of the most capable and sophisticated Ground Attack aircraft the RAF ever had – when fully serviceable.

Unfortunately, after Generator failure (a not-uncommon event), all of that 21st century sophistication disappeared and you were left with a 1940s-type airframe, engine, artificial horizon and basic pressure instruments - plus of course the useless E2B standby compass.

Hence the No Compass No Gyro practise.
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Old 24th Jul 2013, 22:33
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No Compass, No Gyro

exMudmover,

You amaze me ! Just shows you can't keep a good procedure down !

D.
 
Old 25th Jul 2013, 09:17
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Danny:
Chugalug,
I hadn't realised (your being 20 years my junior), that we'd served together for almost the whole of your time (except that I retired a year before you left).
I suspect that the key to my leaving is in your parenthesis, Danny. Ostensibly I PVR'd because I was told that I'd done all the flying tours that I could expect and was destined to stay on terra firma from thereon in. In reality I could see that the times they were a changing, and in ways that were not to my liking. I would humbly suggest that your departure, and those of your ilk, had much to do with that.
Looking back, all these years later, I have no regrets and would happily serve my time again. Equally certainly I would also leave again as I did. Like most of us who served in that period, I feel privileged to have done so when we had so many aircraft, so many stations both at home and abroad and, most importantly of all, a leadership that had truly earned their positions, and were an inspiration and an example to all that was sadly lost when they were gone.

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Old 26th Jul 2013, 16:14
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Danny and the Aftermath (Sequel to #4055 p.203).

So there was a dead Meteor on the taxiway just short of the flight line turn-in. In the time it took to get a tractor and towing dolly out to haul him in, he'd collected quite a tail. His Squadron Commander turned out, heard Ahmed's account, and fastened onto what he saw as the salient facts. Ahmed had been under ATC control, had started a QGH with plenty of fuel, and had come within a whisker of ditching in the North Sea. They had very nearly lost a Meteor and a customer, and a paying customer at that. Someone's head was going to roll for this - mine !

He charged up to the Tower in high dudgeon, bypassed SATCO's office (SATCO was over in SHQ, as it happened) and stormed into Approach breathing fire. What the devil was wrong with our homing equipment ? What was wrong with me ? and much more along the same lines. What the Hell did we think we'd been playing at ?

I waited till he stopped for breath before smiling sweetly: "Nothing wrong at this end, Sir - your man just had Red on Black !" This quite took the wind out of his sails - it simply hadn't occurred to him - with D.G.s it had become so rare an occurrence in these later days. He took a moment to take it in, then I got a handsome apology. We set about working out how it might have happened.

When I did my Meteor refresher in '50 at Driffield, I'm pretty sure the panels still had the old Directional Gyros. But at Weston Zoyland at the end of '54, one or two Meteors had the new "Gyro Fluxgate" (G4F) compasses fitted instead, and I'd put money on it that some of the Strubby ones had too, and that Ahmed's was one (we checked: it was).

At this point, and to save no end of explanation, and if you're still interested, I have to advise you to Google: "List of RAF Compasses". Pick the "Glossary of Terms, Jever Steam Laundry". Scroll down to "G4F"; they give you a very nice picture and a full description of that compass.

Hard to believe, but this is what he must have done:

He'd put my inbound steer of 270° on the "lubber line" all right. Now he has to turn the aircraft to bring the compass needle between the "tramlines". He only needs to turn 195° left to do this, but from some reason (unfamiliarity ?) he misses it first time, doesn't realise what he's done, carries on turning till he gets all lined up a second time.

Now he's turned through 375° and is merrily back on heading 090°, thinks he's on 270°, and the rest you know. As he's more or less back on the same spot where he called "Harpic", of course his QDM has hardly moved. Why couldn't he see he was going round in a circle ? I can only guess that he was turning over a featureless sea (much like the featureless desert at home ?) - and he was busy, head in cockpit, keeping the steep descending turn from getting out of hand. Really, I don't know.

Anyway, all's well that ends well, and Ahmed lived to fly another day - (me, too !)

Goodnight, all,

Danny42C.


Never mind.
 
Old 26th Jul 2013, 17:45
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Ahh, Danny,

You have I believe absolutely described what I would know as a switchpigs. As an example I will call one in on myself. When I was gliding, many moons ago, we had a pre landing check of WULF;

W -Water ballast dumped
U - Undercarriage down
L - Loose articles stowed (maps, drinks etc)
F - Flaps set

This was usually done around 600 feet and parallel to the touchdown point, heading downwind. Being recently fledged on a glider with a retractable undercarriage I was very anxious to ensure I got it right, so, around 800 feet I do WULF, as I look left passing the touchdown point I then repeat my actions, this time reversing my selections on Undercarriage and Flaps. Needless to say I did the best landing I ever managed. Wheels up, flaps up, smooth as a baby's bottom. No damage to the Astir, no damage to me apart from the bar bill, the rules are just like getting a hole in one at golf. I would suspect though that your previous experience of flying the Meteor gave you the satisfaction of seeing what had occurred. I never realised Air Traffic Controllers lived such an exciting existence. Keep it up Danny, you've got us hanging again.

Smudge
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Old 26th Jul 2013, 20:05
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Smudge,

You awaken memories of my own gliding days (very few in number) in RAF(G), in the weeks before Mrs D. and baby daughter were able to join me out there. The C.G.I. was W/Cdr Crowshaw ("Joe the Crow"), C.O. of 11 Sqdn (Javelins) at Geilenkirchen. He instructed me on the "K-2" (I think), and turned me loose on a Grunau "Baby".

First solo, turned downwind all right, turned in as briefed (400 ft). But the ground looked awfully close for that height ! Brakes in (did the "Baby" have brakes ?) and just managed to scrape in, coming to rest abeam the Master of Ceremonies' trestle table.

"What did you do that for ?", they said. "Why didn't you turn in at 400 ft, as you were told?" "I did turn at 400", I retorted indignantly. "Were you tapping the altimeter ?" they said. "No, should I have been ?"

Now they tell me !

Danny.
 
Old 26th Jul 2013, 20:26
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Danny

In both instances no one died, no aircraft damage. Weren't we lucky boys. I was contemplating a few things the other day and it occurred to me that my car, with 6 gears, a built in satnav etc etc is more, technologically difficult to understand than most gliders, of whatever era. And yet Mrs Smudge has no problems operating it. Perhaps we blokes are not designed for such high level decision making ?

It's nice to know that real pilots could have similar problems to mine. Maybe gliders were a thing apart. Keep up the good work Danny.

All the best

Smudge
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Old 27th Jul 2013, 09:02
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Judging by the standard of Meteors we had at Oakington the instrument fit, when they came out of major servicing, depended on what was handy at the time.
Their final years at Changi necessitated a mod program. This involved drilling the aileron hinges, threading them and inserting grease nipples. This was because at manufacture they had been 'greased for life', at that time about 4years/1000hrs.
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Old 27th Jul 2013, 17:56
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, and a paying customer at that
Were Ahmed & his mates actually paying customers or sponsored by one of our own overseas aid programs?
Secondly it seems very ironic that we trained people who later would be the enemy Indonesians & Iraqis. Who else did we train?
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Old 27th Jul 2013, 20:12
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All's grist that come to the mill.

Fareastdriver,

"at that time about 4years/1000 hours". And here's the Tornado soldiering on still; they were coming into service before I left, and that's 41 years ago ! (I was told that the Spitfire was designed for a service life of 6 months - don't know if it's true.)....D.


Pom Pax,

AFAIK, this was a Government to Government thing. Both we and the Americans were, no doubt, making a good thing out of this trade, as being the only people who could provide the advanced flying training that these nations needed to provide the pilots for the new FJs we hoped to sell them.

The Russians were doing the same for their protégés.

"Who else did we train ?" You may well ask. Basically anyone who was "on our side" in the Cold War, or whom we hoped to bring onside. Irony ? it was worse than you think. Sometimes we had contingents from two countries at the same time; Air Ministry had to be dissuaded on one occasion from taking on an Israeli batch and one from an Arab state together. (I particularly remember the Israelis; when they went home they sent Flying Wing a huge crate of oranges - I don't recall any of the others sending us anything).....D.

Cheers to you both, Danny.
 
Old 28th Jul 2013, 09:48
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On my course at Tern Hill Royal Air Force trainees were in the minority. We had:
7 RAF. (3 direct entries, 1 each remustered from signaller, engineer and admin plus one ex national service retread).
2 Lebanese Air Force.
2 Jordanian Air Force.
2 Iraqi Air Force.
4 Royal Malaysian Air Force.
8 Ghanaian Air Force.

Our Middle Eastern colleagues apparently had a bad time with the Israelis who also had a hand with the Ghanaians. They were initially trained by the Israelis using Hindustan basic trainers, known as the cast iron Chipmunk. Subsequently when Nkrumah fell from grace I believe that they were lined up a beach and shot.

Happily I met the Malaysians again later on in Borneo.
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Old 28th Jul 2013, 10:17
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In, I believe 1956, Chivenor had an Ahmed from Iraq who left his Hunter on the flight line with the engine running and when found hiding in the mess anteroom swore blind that it wasn't his signature in the F700.

And a year or so later one of the Indian Air Force course departed the runway and just missed the GCA before coming to a shuddering halt. That would have given the GCA crew something to write about Danny. And the Indians were the good guys.

In about 1968 when the PAI course was run there a Jordanian student told how he had shot down an Israeli Mystere which through no skill on his part suddenly appeared a short distance in front and he was so surprised he almost forgot to pull the trigger.

And the fun we had with Kuwaitis who had been pressganged into the airforce from civilian life and the flying club, sent to Canada to learn how to fly Beavers and Otters but having reached London were redirected to Chivenor for a long course on Hunters. At the time the runway in Kuwait was not finished for the Hunters to use so they quite rightly felt a bit puzzled.

And then there were the Saudis. Nuff said.
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