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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 7th Aug 2013, 21:29
  #4141 (permalink)  
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Smudge and clicker,

After those two harrowing tales, I take back all my unthinking words about hammocks - they were wholly out of order ! (my words that is, not the hammocks).

Smudge, a similar thing happened to me in India. We were bouncing along in the back of a truck. Of course the back was wide open, and I was wearing shorts. Some sort of superwasp, double normal size - probably a giant hornet of some sort - was sucked in by the backdraught, landed just above my left knee, and (quite unprovoked) gave me both barrels.

Like you (but not as badly) I was laid low for a day or two, and for at least twenty years afterwards a small red mark (like a small birthmark) stayed on the spot. But as our shorts were loosely cut, and nobody wore underwear, it might have been far worse !


Last edited by Danny42C; 7th Aug 2013 at 21:31. Reason: Delete duplicate word.
Old 7th Aug 2013, 21:46
  #4142 (permalink)  
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I doubt I suffered more than you did. I've just checked and the red spot of its sting is still on my forearm now. I remember swiping the thing off and seeing a white "pumping" lump still there pushing the venom in. The USAF doc told me it was some form of Hornet. This gives you an idea of the size:

I do know if I hadn't had the hammock rest I'm sure I would have been in worse shape. Sorry to go "off thread". More radar and approaches please sir.

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Old 7th Aug 2013, 23:51
  #4143 (permalink)  
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Things that go "Buzz" by day.


Now I'm going to have a nightmare ! No more horrors, please ! Bring out the "Raid" !

Old 8th Aug 2013, 13:08
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First Class on all the B747's I have been on are on the lower level. Going up the stairs is for the plebs in Business Class. Noisier up there as well IMHO
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Old 8th Aug 2013, 14:00
  #4145 (permalink)  
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Upstairs, Downstairs.


Touché ! You're quite right, of course ! (Danny has never been able to afford anything other than Steerage - and not likely to now, either)

Old 8th Aug 2013, 15:06
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plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

By the way, did you have these net curtains/hammocks (?) in your Hastings and C-130s ? Are there no lengths to which the RAF will not go to pamper the pax ? In my day you had your shallow metal bowl to sit in in the Daks, and that's your lot. Kip ? - what's the matter with the floor ? (if you were lucky, you could grab a mailbag or two).
Net curtains? Net curtains? We were rufty tufty tactical Medium Range Transporters (MRT) I'll have you know. I should make your enquiries of the "Strategic" transporters. No doubt one of their many role changes included the items in question.

On the Hastings we could role from trooping (50 rearward facing seats) to casevac (32 stretchers, 28 sitting, 3 nurses, 1 doctor. [sounds like a song we know, doesn't it boys and girls?]) to Para (30 troops, 2 despatchers on folding "bench" seats along the cabin sides with staggered exit doors on either side) to freight/supply dropping from the stripped cabin (usually dropped from "H" boards manually lifted at the port para door). In the latter case after all supplies (including 40 gallon fuel drums) had been dropped the bare floor afforded a functional rest area for the strapping Air Despatch Regiment guys exhausted from continually working the loads down to the door against the tight turns required in narrow jungle valleys. All in all a similar setup to your Daks, Danny. Indeed when the cousins enquired "What the hell sort of airplane is that?" it was usually explained as a "4 engined Gooney Bird".
As to the Herc, it was/is even more rufty tufty. The red canvas para seating (down the sides and if required back to back down the centre) is for all pax whether they be landing with us or not. With the thunderous racket from 4 Allisons right outside the cabin, 12-14 hour trooping flights were no picnic for the pax. Happily we were able to let them come up front in small groups for some blessed relief.

You'll have to ask a Bev man re your hammock/nets. My guess would be that they afforded some fore/aft restraint of para equipment that were to be carried/dropped by those jumping.

I could of course offer an alternative theory, that given the little or non-existent ground speed, when heading into the Mistral up the Rhone Valley, they afforded the opportunity for a spot of fishing. It is only a theory though.....

Last edited by Chugalug2; 8th Aug 2013 at 15:08.
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Old 8th Aug 2013, 20:39
  #4147 (permalink)  
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Jamais n'avez vous l'eu si bon !


As you see, I've eaten the hasty words I spoke (after hearing Smudge and clicker's tales of hardships nobly borne). It seems the things in question were hammocks, as I surmised. As you say, it was different in our day !

They looked just as comfortable as the ones provided to us for life on the ocean wave, and a good deal easier to take down and stow. Bit draughty, though, with all that ventilation. And were blankets, sheets and pillows also issued ? (just joking !)

They never had it so good. Now, in the old days, when we had wooden aeroplanes and iron men.................


Last edited by Danny42C; 8th Aug 2013 at 22:29. Reason: Error (well, it's been a long time)
Old 9th Aug 2013, 17:46
  #4148 (permalink)  
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Danny has a Sad Story to tell.

The trouble was that this snag was so easy to fix. Off with the cursors onto the bench, out with a half-round file. File a "deckel-edge" along both sides of the cursors. Now you can't confuse it with the central line. The "mod" was so quick and easy that no one saw any need to put it up for official adoption.

The word quickly got round all the MPN-1s in the RAF and you just did it. After the Sleap GCA School, which first recognised the fault, the two MPN-1s I later worked (Strubby and Gatow) had this "mod" done before I got to them. But there was an MPN-1 which (AFAIK) hadn't. And I believe it wasn't a "Bendix", but was from another maker, but exactly to the same pattern.

This was the one at Heathrow. They had ILS, of course, and I would think that 99% of their traffic preferred this. Not that their GCA was idle, far from it. It was used (on the "belt and braces" principle) to monitor the ILS approaches. If the approaching aircraft were coming in too far adrift, they'd give Approach a shout. They'd done thousands of such "dry runs" over the years this way, but relatively few "real" ones. And their cursors had not been "modded".

I do not know why this was so. Their GCA was operated by the MCA, or the MoA or the BoT, or whatever. Either the RAF had not told them about this, or they had pigeonholed the advice (as being Not Invented Here ?). Our gremlin waited.....One Day.

The day came on 1st October, 1956. The Vulcan which had been out to NZ and back on a flag-waving mission had behaved perfectly; our friends had been heartened and our foes dismayed. It was returning home now in a blaze of glory. The co-pilot was Air Marshal Sir Harry Broadhurst, newly appointed CinC of Bomber Command.

Mindful of the enormous cost of the new Vulcans to the hard-pressed taxpayer, he had recently issued a fiat: "There are to be no more flying accidents in Bomber Command". A poster was issued round his Stations to that effect (this I would not believe until I saw one).

"Ah, luckless speech and bootless boast
For which he paid full dear". (Cowper: John Gilpin's Ride)

The original plan had been that it should return without fuss to Lyneham. You never know, it might have disgraced itself, and be coming home under a cloud. But now all doubts were stilled, here was a fine photo opportuity for the Government to seize. It would come in to Heathrow and get the full red-carpet treatment, and be welcomed by the Great and the Good. All the freeworld's air attachés, their Press and cameramen were invited; this triumph of British aeronautical engineering would be displayed for all to see.

The Vulcan had ILS, of course, but this had to be re-tuned to each of the airfield's ILS it might need to use en route. This was then not a matter of merely punching a button or twiddling a knob. Separate discrete crystals had to be manually fitted at every stage. Of course, they had set out with a full kit of crystals for all the airfields on their itinerary, plus likely diversions. But it had never planned to use Heathrow: they didn't have the crystals for that, and for some reason (short of time ?) they couldn't get them now.

No problem, we'll use the GCA if the weather's bad. And it was, and they did.

Google will tell you what happened.

("Vulcan Crash Heathrow" will start you: there is interesting meat in all the links in the list, but I found it helpful to start with:

"VULCAN AIRCRAFT CRASH (REPORT) - Hansard 1803-2005").

and read in conjunction with my previous Post #4126 p.207, in particular:

("he will touch down among the approach lights about a half-mile short of the
threshold. And no one can work out why").

Post mortem and wrap-up and my comments (for what they're worth) next time,

Cheerio to all,


...........the horse was lost

Last edited by Danny42C; 9th Aug 2013 at 19:06. Reason: Spacing.
Old 9th Aug 2013, 18:12
  #4149 (permalink)  
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Interesting, and indeed profoundly interesting

I have much re-reading to do (wading through wheat and chaff). Dons tin-foil hat for safety in these days of H&SW and all that. Damn, I was planning a quiet weekend!
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Old 10th Aug 2013, 11:50
  #4150 (permalink)  
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Thank you W8, for post #4107.
What's the chance of another Ukranian survivor being able to pass that eye-witness account to an English-speaker? 100%of buggerall, i'd suggest!
You all have so much fascinating detail that makes the past come alive..keep it up!
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Old 10th Aug 2013, 12:56
  #4151 (permalink)  
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I'm about a hundred pages back in the reads but somewhere there there was a question about which checklists were used back then.
I may not have got to the answers that were given yet but I can give an answer from my flight training days (all ex WW2 RAAF flight instructors)

They didnt use checklists in WW2.

What they used were the pilot handling notes for each aircraft. These are the sorts of things you can buy as reprints in the shops tacked on to all the british aviation museums. a guy would study the guide for all the needed info. stall speeds, rpm settings and anything peculiar to the aircraft.
The guy would then sit in an aircraft for a while and work out where all the doodads were and where all the switches and taps were.

when you were seated in readiness to go flying the guy would start from one side of the cockpit and just methodically work across the cockpit turning everything off. when he got to the other side of the cockpit he would then methodically work back to the start setting everything in readiness for flight.
after the startup he would do a "ROGER" check
Revs to a thousand
Oil pressure showing signs of life
Gyro suction showing some activity
Electrics turned on
Radios on and set to frequency.
he would then taxy out to the warmup point.

this simple approach was used in the flying of all allied WW2 aircraft.

since the mid 70's in australia we have had to use checklists, endless checklists. It may be chastening to people to realise that BUTMPFISCHH is actually the left to right scan of a Tiger Moth.

When I finally got clear of all my instructors I reverted to the old wartime method of handling my aircraft because it is just so much simpler.
anyway answer number two. resume own navigation.
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Old 10th Aug 2013, 14:18
  #4152 (permalink)  
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In my early days as an RAF ATCO, Local was always provided with Pilots Notes for all the aircraft types on the station ... For the benefit if the Duty Pilot or any exec who might need to refer to them.

They made valuable reading, during quiet times, for ATCOs. It gave us a good idea of what was going on up there, particularly in the context of emergencies and what they might imply. Anyone recall "turret drive failure" on a Hunter? It didn't make us pilots, but it sure helped some of us Direct Entrants provide a better service.
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Old 10th Aug 2013, 17:41
  #4153 (permalink)  
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Mnemonics for the Multitude.

dubbleyew eight,

Seventy years ago, once you had wings, they gave you the Pilots' Notes and a strange aeroplane and said "Here y'are lad, get on with it !" (Except Vultee Vengeance, when you just got the aeroplane).

We had a fit-all mnemomic for landing: BUMPFFG (of which yours is a natural extension):

Brakes (Wheels - the only kind in our day)
Undercarriage (down)
Mixture (full rich - in case you wanted full power for overshoot)
Prop (full fine - max revs - same reason)
Flaps (as desired)
Fuel (enough to cope with all the missed approaches you might need, and then get to diversion)
Gills (open - to soothe heated brow of engine as little airflow on ground).

(There may be visitor from another planet who doesn't know that Official Paperwork = Toilet Paper = Bum-Fodder = Bumpff)

"Resume own navigation" - jogs the memory - thanks, W8 ! - will use that....D.


I quote: "It didn't make us pilots, but it sure helped some of us Direct Entrants provide a better service". You take the words right out of my mouth, Sir ! At that time we had plenty of Chipmunks, Tiger Moths and Harvards lying about, and dozens of poor old has-beens (like me), with thousands of hours' instructing under their belts (not me), still fit, mouldering away in Stores or SHQs throughout the land, who would have jumped at the chance of feeling the wind in their grey hairs just once more (and the Flying Pay wouldn't have hurt, either).

They could have stuck a month or two onto your time at Henlow (or whatever) and given you (say) 40 hours apiece, perhaps a PPL (as the MCA did with their lads & lassies at Bournemouth). Per head, it wouldn't have been more than than the annual maintenance of an Airship, and (dare I say) better value.

Know your Foe ! There is no better way of getting into Blogg's tortured mind than actually being Bloggs. Anyone who says that learning to fly is easy is a liar. It isn't.

You probably know that if you Google "Pilots' Notes" for many of the common old types, you may strike oil (if "Jever Steam Laundry" is on the menu, go for that).....D.

Cheers to you both, Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 14th Aug 2013 at 22:33.
Old 10th Aug 2013, 19:28
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Dear danny42c ... Some of us kids were lucky to get glider tickets and a PPL through the Air Training Corps. Shame I couldn't afford to keep them current!

But even those trivial experiences gave us Child ATCOs a vague feel for what happens 'up there' .. and perhaps made us better ATCOs? I wholly subscribe to the idea of flying experience ... But those Defence Budgets are a bugger, these days.
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Old 11th Aug 2013, 01:29
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A PPL is not an insignificant experience, my good Sir. You are every bit as much of a pilot as any hoary old Captain with 25,000 hrs (before he stopped counting) in his pile of logbooks.

The great divide is between those who have been lucky enough to have the chance to fly solo and those who have not had that opportunity. You will always be a pilot - in contrast to our new trade of drone drivers (whom I in no way belittle - I admire them for their sterling work - and maybe it is the way we are all going).

But they are not pilots (in the generally understood sense of the word) and it is idle to pretend that they are, or to badge them as such).

There is a Thread devoted to this topic, and I know I am out of order in Posting here, but I hope the Moderators will let it stay as I promise to be of Good Behaviour in future.

Old 11th Aug 2013, 05:18
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there is a story that may have been an urban legend. it is of a spitfire that gets bounced by an ME109 that had a go but missed. story goes that this spitfire took him on and in some absolutely impressive flying downed him.
when the spitfire landed at the airfield it is discovered that the pilot is a lovely blond woman who was delivering the aircraft to the airfield.

you read them occasionally but is there any truth in stories like that??
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Old 11th Aug 2013, 06:34
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Anyone recall "turret drive failure" on a Hunter?
Yes - it meant that the main accessory drive had sheared and you would lose hydraulics and electrics....

No power controls - and no gennies. A scenario which was often practised in our simulator sessions. After sorting yourself out in Manual, you turned off as many electrical services as possible, then landed hoping that the brake accumulators had sufficient stopping power before a barrier engagement became inevitable - although the F6A, T7, FGA9 and FR10 did at least have brake chutes to assist!
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Old 11th Aug 2013, 09:18
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"A PPL is not an insignificant experience"

Bless you Danny for making that point - of course, it takes a real pilot to know it!

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Old 11th Aug 2013, 15:33
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there is a story that may have been an urban legend. it is of a spitfire that gets bounced by an ME109 that had a go but missed. story goes that this spitfire took him on and in some absolutely impressive flying downed him.
when the spitfire landed at the airfield it is discovered that the pilot is a lovely blond woman who was delivering the aircraft to the airfield.

you read them occasionally but is there any truth in stories like that??
Highly unlikely. Aircraft on delivery flights carried no ammunition.
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Old 11th Aug 2013, 18:09
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A huntin' we shall go.

So many hares running here that it is a job to corral them.

dubbleyew eight,

Difficult to get the head round this one. If the Me. bounced him with malice aforethought and displayed, he was absolutely right to down it.

But the blonde was delivering it to (presumably his) airfield ? In which case it would have been a captured one, and would certainly have had a RAF escort to stop anyone "having a go" at it. And she had a go at him Weren't we all on the same side ? Seems funny to me.

Was a tale, again about a 109 on a lone sweep over our green and pleasant land, comes across Tiger Moth proceeding on its lawful occasions.

109 leaps on prey, Tiger hits the deck in a field with single oak tree, then does tight turns round tree at 0 ft; 109 can't get a shot in for fear of flying into tree or deck, gives up in disgust, leaves Tiger alone, goes off somewhere else. Tiger resumes normal navigation (There, knew it wouldn't be long before I managed to get that in !)........D.


Sounds a truly sad predicament ! Only thing I can remember was the "one in one" ATC recovery procedure for a flamed-out Hunter. Assuming wheels and flaps down, we reckoned one mile per 1,000 ft. So you tried to manoeuvre him into that position relative to the runway. Never tried it myself (ATC-wise, that is).......D.

Ian Burgess - Barber,

Bless you, my son ! (I can take any amount of this).....D.


I think someone has got hold of the wrong end of the stick (and it ain't thee or me)......D.

Cheers, all, Danny.

PS: Next tranche of Dannysaga on hold for a day or two, as first draft, on second glance, proves load of rubbish (don't dare say it !)....D.

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