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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 15th Sep 2013, 07:05
  #4321 (permalink)  
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I think those 50 ft Verey bangers were known as 'shellcrackers'?

Crow scarers, those bangers on a slow fuse, infuriated 'cement-head' at RAF Chivenor during one of our early dining-in nights. Someone had acquired them from a local agricultural supply place and placed them around the outside of the wooden hut we called the Mess. At regular intervals a loud bang would interrupt the speeches most effectively.

A Met balloon filled with that French Chalk we used on immersion suit seals was also tethered with a piece of black cotton up in the dining room ceiling - and some of that slow burning fuse had been attached. Thus at the moment critique there was a muffled pop and fine snow descended, covering all those within range.

'Long grass' policy helped many aerodrome bird issues - the length of grass being such that birds could neither hide in it nor walk across the top. It was just long enough to poke the average blackbird-sized bird in the chest, which annoyed them sufficiently to persuade them to go elsewhere.

I was at pre-pongo Wattisham when the SATCO became rather vexed at the length to which the contractor had allowed the grass to grow. Rather than keeping to the 'long grass' policy, the grass was clearly being grown long enought to be used for hay making, a nice little earner for the contractor. Which he emphatically denied - until SATCO and I were chatting and watched a tractor go past the crewroom window towing a 4-wheel rotary hay rake! The very long grass was subsequently mown to the correct length PDQ!
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 07:33
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Crow scarers, those bangers on a slow fuse ...
It's probably a regional thing ... but over here in deep dark East Sussex they are called Rookies. Said explosive equipment is used liberally around these parts during the Bonfire Season (Lewes Guy Fawkes etc.) ... which is just about to kick off.

Known to be used for other purposes

Anyway ... What happened to the Air Traffic Landrover with his box of cassette tapes, PA system, binoculars and a copy of the Observer Book of Birds ?


Last edited by CoffmanStarter; 15th Sep 2013 at 07:34.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 09:42
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2501 todo ? Didn't have any success with it
Sorry to hear that Danny. If you try again, scroll down past the first image (for that is all that it is), ignore the "download now" pdf file (for that requires membership to do so), and below them is a second "document" image that can indeed be scrolled through page by page, or by selecting "pages" can be scrolled through far quicker to the required page that can then be opened up on its own. It was the same with the Vengeance PNs, if you remember.
2501 todo
In commemoration of BoB day, here's the Hurricane PNs, another Hawker classic:-
AP 1564A Hurricane I Aeroplane - Merlin II Engine
AP 1564B&D Pilot's Notes Hurricane IIA, IIB, IIC, IID and IV Aircraft - Merlin XX Engine

Birds have been the Achilles heel of jet aviation from the very beginning, and with modern high bypass ones probably more so now than ever. The daily feeding habits of large waterfowl in particular, together with the juxtaposition of many international airports and waterways, have given rise to some very scary moments to date. Perhaps the most famous instance was that of 15 January 2009, when Flight 1549 ended up in the Hudson River after suffering a total power loss. That all survived is thanks to the airmanship and professionalism of Captain Sullenberger and his crew.
US Airways Flight 1549 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There have been many attempts to deal with this threat but, birds being birds, it will always be with us. No amount of firing chickens into tethered engines, or hawks, or noise, or grass cutting, etc, will remove it, though they all help to alleviate it. Perhaps the greatest contribution to prevention is the siting of airfields and their associated arrival and departure routes.

So where is Boris proposing to site the new London Airport again?

Last edited by Chugalug2; 15th Sep 2013 at 09:53.
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 10:57
  #4324 (permalink)  
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What happened to the Air Traffic Landrover with his box of cassette tapes, PA system....
Especially one on of his colleagues had switched cassettes to one which merely bellowed out "WHY DON'T YOU SODDING BIRDS JUST F*** OFF!!!".

An ancient nav, with whom we were issued whilst ours was away on the honking course, told us of an effective method of bird clearance. On night he'd been radar bombing in a Lincoln over a range somewhere in Germany. Somehow a c.ock-up had been made and the bombs duly descended into a large waterfowl sanctuary, Cat5-ing several million deutsche ducks... Questions Were Asked, but this was the early 1950s, so the usual "Shouldn't have started the war, eh Fritz?" sympathetic answer was given....

Last edited by BEagle; 15th Sep 2013 at 11:02. Reason: Because the idiot PPRuNe nanny-word checker doesn't know the origin of the term 'c.ock-up'!!
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 22:10
  #4325 (permalink)  
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Sic transit Gloria Mundi.


The grass cutting contractor was a sore trial to us in the old 'Bendix', too. They did their cutting of the more aircraft-sensitive parts after hours, next morning we'd run up the radar and begin to set-up. Immediately the cry arose: "Where's the Offset Marker ?".

Of course, the cutter, the evening before, had simply pulled it up out of its socket and flung it down on the mown grass to the side, then mowed over the socket. (This was just a piece of pipe let into the ground).....Put it back afterward ?...Don't be silly !

Runway Control Corporal was turned out to replace it. The Marker was big enough to see, but the hole, probably covered with mowings, not so easy to discover. Even with a position line through the two Touchdown Markers, and an estimated one through the Truck (1500 yds away) and parallel to the runway, it could take some time to find. If it were pelting with rain, this task was not appreciated. But then, he shouldn't have joined if he couldn't take a joke, should he ?...D.

Coffman Starter (and BEagle),

The very ones ! Bangers about the size of the 'Big Demon' of my schooldays, which cost twice as much as a 'Little Demon' (6d against 3d ?), but you got twice the bang. Indeed, an enamel mug placed over one would reach the satisfactory height of the (three storied) School Chapel.

The Landrover with the PA and loudhailer might have done just as well to roar at them SWO fashion, for all the good the cassettes did.

The townfolk should have been grateful that the birds got the bombs - it might have been worse ! ...D.


Many thanks for the feast of links, which will keep me happy for quite some time ! Have had another go at 2501 todo. Worked fine as instructed, gave me Pages 1-3, then - no more ! (tried several times, same result). What have I done wrong now ? If you don't mind, will stick with the 'Jever Steam Laundry', although I don't suppose they have as wide a range of types...D.

So ends the 73rd Anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Media interest of the day ? - 'The Great North Run' ! Ah, well.

Goodnight, all,

Old 15th Sep 2013, 22:27
  #4326 (permalink)  
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How right you are good sir, and how quickly such momentous happenings slip from the public memory. I, like many of my age have a lot to thank "you guys" for. Despite the fact that we are "temporarily" blighted with the curse of the EU, I'm still a free Englishman, proud and loud on this historical anniversary of a brilliant victory. Sleep well Danny, and thank you.

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Old 16th Sep 2013, 00:03
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Thank you sir. I well remember 15th September, 1940. It was at the end of a hot summer's day; the reported list of 'kills' (165, although that figure was revised downward later) was the highest yet; the date has come to be regarded as the turning point of the battle.

The British public, hardly daring to believe, began to realise that we had won the battle (although it went on for about another month before Goering, realising he could not afford the rate of attrition, called a halt).

A little 18-year old clerk resolved to volunteer for the RAF in the hope of becoming a fighter pilot (and there were many more like him).

Cheers, Danny.
Old 16th Sep 2013, 10:23
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My parents lived less than a mile from an airfield in Kent. Before the war they (and most of their neighbours) moaned about the training 'planes flying low over their houses on Sundays. No one complained when those aircraft changed to Spitfires and Hurricanes just in time. They always told that story to show you should always be prepared.
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Old 16th Sep 2013, 10:52
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They always told that story to show you should always be prepared.
...and they spoke on behalf of a whole generation. Later generations take their place, luxuriating in the freedoms won, in the economic wealth made possible, believing in "me" rather than "we", and that fundamental truth is forgotten and discarded, until it has to be learnt at great cost all over again...

It was always thus and always will be, for the young know best.

Danny, sorry to hear that your computer is playing you up with the PN links. Perhaps it needs a jolly good talking to!

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Old 16th Sep 2013, 11:26
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Danny 42

Danny pits his wits against the Crow (Corvus corvidae).
Here's a video of what happens as a crow is ingested into the engine of a B.757 at Manchester.

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Old 16th Sep 2013, 11:27
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A little 18-year old clerk resolved to volunteer for the RAF in the hope of becoming a fighter pilot .....

..... which he certainly succeeded in doing - with a "Vengeance"!

(and there were many more like him).

Bless them all ....


Last edited by Union Jack; 16th Sep 2013 at 11:31.
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Old 16th Sep 2013, 19:22
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Here is the photo of the Meteor at Montrose Air Station museum as promised -

Looks a bit sad with the covers on, but I suppose it's near the end of the tourist season.

Also saw this, so thought of Danny and his ATC truck. Don't know if any of you guys recognise it -

I've got some other photos, but I think I should put them in a historical area, and not clutter up this wonderful thread any more.

Last edited by OffshoreSLF; 16th Sep 2013 at 19:23.
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Old 16th Sep 2013, 19:33
  #4333 (permalink)  
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Paint is a bit shiny and yellow. "Does not compute, does not compute … 404 … Blue Screen".

Danny42C might relate more to this … JET MEN GO TO WORLD'S FASTEST SCHOOL - British Pathé
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Old 17th Sep 2013, 00:49
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Tutti Frutti.


I've tried talking to it like a Dutch Uncle, but it just sulks (or goes even more bolshie than before). Had a new one a day or so ago. Drafted on 'Notepad', got it onto 'PPRuNepad', something funny happened, lost it off N/Pad, but kept it on P/Pad. What next ?....D.


Seems crows ain't what they used to be. A 757's big enough to see, and noisy enough for a crow to hear coming, you might suppose. Perhaps he'd gone deaf from all these loud bangs on the airfield.

Serious (genuine question): why didn't the captain stay in Manchester circuit and get it down there again as soon as he could ? (they've got twin runways, after all, surely a 'Mayday' has priority). Why go wandering off ? (Obviously there's a good technical answer, but what is it ?)

Did I hear the Controller say "Surface wind calm" ? Not from the windsock I saw !...D.

Union Jack


The war changed many lives out of all recognition (I sometimes look on it as the University to which I could never in normal times aspire). Bless 'em all, as you say...D


Yes,the T7 does look miserable, lonely and neglected doesn't it ? Maybe it is dreaming of happier years gone by, when it was the King of the Skies. (checked WF825 in my log, never flew it - but see below) As for the radar, I've passed the problem on to MPN11 below, who is far more knowledgable about it than I....D.



This is wonderful ! It must be 203 AFS Driffield just about my time (Feb/Mar'50). Oddly enough, I logged the Sqdn letters instead of airframe numbers, so I can confirm I flew 'K' (twice), 'N' (5 times) and 'P' (eight times). All these appear on the film. I also flew 'S' (seven times), but can't see this aircraft anywhere on it (perhaps they'd ploughed it in before I got there).

The commentator says it was an eight-week Course: naturally this would apply to the "new boys". Some of the poor devils had come straight off Oxfords, for pity's sake ! No wonder the casualty rate was what it was at that time.

I flew 15 hours on the T7 in 22 trips between Feb 6th to 28th, and they turned me loose (after a session in SSQ with some mysterious fever) with a F414 certifying that I was "Average" as a "u/t Jet Pilot". Obviously this was a short "conversion course" for re-entrants with previous experience. In the early classroom footage, there seem to be some old-timers in the back row, but not me.

I was interested to see the quite sophisticated multiple "alarm clock" in use so early. The one we had at Linton in '62-'64 was a much simpler thing, IIRC, and you'll remember the one at Leeming (a magnificent piece of furniture !).

As for the radar head, a wild guess: the PPI aerial for an ACR7D (with the display in the Tower) ??? Looks as if it would be for a shallow lobe, and could the thing be moved up and down, do you think ? No idea, really.....D

Thank you all. Goodnight,



Found it ! (Good old Google - some pictures, too)

The Decca Legacy - Chapter 6 - Wootton Bridge Historical

"The 424 Airfield Control Radar was designed in 1952 to meet an RAF requirement for an 'Approach Radar'. It was designated by the RAF as the ACR7D (note ..."
Old 17th Sep 2013, 11:02
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A bird in the wing ...

Fifty years ago a highly experienced ex-WW2 pilot was killed when his Turbulent (VW engine, home build) crashed on the muddy shores of Strangford Lough in Co. Down, a major bird sanctuary. It was concluded that he had collided head-on with a herring gull.

A similar bird was hit by an Aztec shortly after takeoff and drove the leading edge almost to the spar. We washed it out but I still remember the fearful smell when stripping it out three warm July days later. Dangerous creatures, birds.
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Old 17th Sep 2013, 11:26
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CoffmanStarter - How apt that you should post on bangers.....

I thought the EU had banned these types of firework. Are they sold in the country as bird scarers then? I'd love to get my mitts on some to wake up some of the neighbours.

Quite prepared to drive to east Sussex, I know the area well!

BEagle - Fantatastic tale of the errant bombs on the German bird reserve. Ever thought of popping your memoirs on this incredible thread??.....

Last edited by angels; 17th Sep 2013 at 11:27.
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Old 17th Sep 2013, 11:57
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Ahhh.... laying out the Glims and then collecting them in the early morning after night flying.

Pull up to the first one, put the Lightweight Landy in gear and crack the hand throttle open a little, step out the landrover and walk along side it, putting the Glims in the back or putting them out as the landrover drives itself at walking pace down the airfield

Paaah, Google selfdrive vehicles, we were doing it in the seventies


Last edited by NutLoose; 17th Sep 2013 at 11:59.
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Old 17th Sep 2013, 12:38
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Angels ... Or is that Mr Spot or Mr Forward

Sold in the UK as Bird Scarers ... Google ... But should only be sold to the Agricultural sector. The Sussex Police turn a blind eye to their use during legitimate Bonfire Processions/Parades (e.g. Lewes)... but quite rightly will arrest people using them otherwise ... including spectator usage at such events.
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Old 17th Sep 2013, 12:42
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Ahh ... Nutty another reason to weave the nose of the Chipmunk just in case some bu99er has left one in the grass !
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Old 17th Sep 2013, 16:36
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Achtung, ATC Landrover !

Nutloose, and Coffman Starter,

And long before ! Same thing with gooseneck lighter/snuffer.

Any good runamok Landrover stories, anyone ?


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