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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 17th Sep 2013, 17:49
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Any good runamok Landrover stories, anyone ?
Got some good civvie ones so not really appropriate although, for one, we were 303 shooting (300 yd) with the ATC at the time and the driver went on to fly Sea Vixens so it might be.
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Old 17th Sep 2013, 19:54
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Danny,

Not a run amuck Landrover, but a story from my dim and distant past does relate. Picture the scene, a small airfield in the East Midlands circa 1980. The unit operates Chipmunks (AES) and the " last lander" is sat outside the hangar awaiting the attention of the Groundcrew before bye byes. Inside the hangar, SAC Erk, who has had a bad day, upset the Flt Sgt and been detailed to empty the waste bins has hatched a plan. The little Massey Fergie, with hand throttle, with its towed rubbish container is aimed down the centre of the hangar, throttle set and Erk lets out the clutch, jumps off, and begins emptying the bins into the trailer as it slowly progresses down the hangar. About half way along the hangar, a fod bin slips from his grasp, and makes contact with the hand throttle. Massey Fergie leaps into life and accelerates away along the hangar. Erk, with the realisation of his plan, and its failure, attempts, in vain, to catch the runaway train.

The 1940s hangar was not one of Britains finest, being of fairly flimsy construction the door that was struck by the Massey Fergie actually managed to stall the tractor, and even wavered for a few seconds. It then succumbed to Newton's third law of motion and fell off its mountings. Falling outwards the door hit our waiting Chipmunk at the hind quarters, flattening the aft third of the fuselage, the fin and tailplane. By this time, our hero Erk, had decided he would rather be charged for being absent, than for a new Chipmunk, so scarpered to avoid blame. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the incident and yes, Erk got clobbered. I can vouch for its happening as a good pal of mine was the "gang boss" on the Cat3 repair team that spent several months rebuilding the Chipmunk. Sadly, in those days, the MU did the full recovery to Flight test, and the team somehow managed to reverse connect the elevators during the repair. Causing a lot of consternation to the pilot selected to test it. It's as though the aircraft had decided its time was up. This time potential disaster was averted because the professionalism of the pilot made him query why pulling the stick back put the elevator down Needless to say, lots of red faces and not a lot of pride in the whole episode. No one injured though, so "alls well that ends well".

Smudge

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Old 17th Sep 2013, 23:35
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The "meatbox" film was interesting and being the lurking layman brings up a question.

The clip suggested it was ATC's task to inform the pilots when time was running low using that clock device shown.

Why ATC and not the crews themselves using that rather handy instrument called a fuel gauge?
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Old 18th Sep 2013, 01:50
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clicker,

That question has been asked many times. Certain old reactionaries like myself have aired a novel suggestion:

Why not attack the problem from the other end ? Why not recruit for pilot training people who can demonstrate the ability to tell the time and read a fuel gauge ?

Sadly, the suggestion was not well received (at senior level).

D.
 
Old 18th Sep 2013, 10:24
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Danny,

We must not raise the matter again otherwise some smart "Elf and Safety" man might bring it back.
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Old 18th Sep 2013, 17:58
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The Old Clockmaker's Shop.

clicker,

Pace H&S, another thought occurs to my fertile mind.

Most cockpits have a clock these days (it was not always so, for in former times they were wind-up jobs which had a tendency to vanish, and were certain to do so after a crash). Now on our bedside locker sits a little quartz clock (Boots - 2.50; (this is infinitely more accurate than the expensive piece of machinery on my wrist). For that price they even provide an alarm function.

Why not mod the cockpit clock (or buy another, probably cheaper, so long as MOD does not handle the contract) to do this ? Bloggs could set the alarm as part of his "Vital Actions". A flashing red light might warn him that his 40 minutes were up and it was time to think about getting down.

I offer this suggestion with hope of reward, but will not order the Bentley just yet. As you say, let this be the last word on the subject (some hope !)

D.
 
Old 18th Sep 2013, 18:35
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To err is human, to forgive is not RAF policy.

Smudge,

A harrowing tale ! As for the slap-dash M.U., I am disturbed to read that, so late in the day, this primeval case of Murphy's Law could still happen. It used, so I'm told, be not uncommon in the days of frequent wing changes after landings ('three-point'- both wingtips and the prop). The solution was connecting turnbuckles of different sizes for the control cables to the ailerons.

But long after my days in the open cockpit, I still waggled the stick and had a look round to see what was actually happening, but often you couldn't see the back well (or at all). Your man had learned well. I hope someone's head at the M.U. rolled for it !

Danny.
 
Old 18th Sep 2013, 20:42
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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 ?)
Serious answer; Fuel.

When he punches off to Costa del Whatever he is carrying a lot of fuel. Because of the tight schedules probably enough for both ways. As a result he is way above his landing weight. He could land in an emergency but as you know you can go for some time on one engine. He can either burn off the fuel which takes ages and is not popular with worried passengers or he can jettison it. The inhabitants of Manchester are not happy if you dump a load of Jet A over their washing lines so they have to climb above 3,000 ft. to ensure the fuel vapour does not descend to ground level.

It is tactful to wander off to a quiet corner of the country so that the onlookers on the ground do not phone the local rag reporting an airliner enveloped in flames and trailing clouds of smoke. Above cloud is ideal.

It happens quite often. Not the engine failure bit but other reasons.

When I was on the mighty Valiant years ago the SOP was to jettison the dregs left in the underwing tanks just before you started your final descent. Another SOP was that on arrival at the circuit the pilots would use any fuel in excess of 10,000 lbs bashing the circuit, ILS etc. On a Friday afternoon skilful and experienced pilots like myself would hoard enormous amounts of fuel in the underwings which were required to be jettisoned at the top of the descent. Invariably this resulted in the fuel contents being approximately 10,000 lbs on finals.

Never missed the shutters going up at TGIF.

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Old 18th Sep 2013, 21:13
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I don't think it applies to the B757 but I understand some airliners don't have the means to dump fuel so they need to burn it off until down to max landing weight.

Needless to say in a real life and death emergency they would go for an overweight arrival.
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Old 18th Sep 2013, 23:29
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Fareastdriver and clicker,

Thanks, chaps ! Should've thought of that myself. Never a trouble in anything I flew; just shows, you're never too old to learn !

Danny.
 
Old 19th Sep 2013, 18:38
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Danny Tells a Tall Tale.

We are getting near the end of my time at Strubby; here's a short story before I forget it:

I do not know the Canberra at all, I have never flown it, or in it, and have had nothing to do with it in any way. But there was an Apocryphal Story of a happening shortly before my arrival in '55, which I shall now relate without any warranty of its truth, stated or implied.

I'm told that it is possible to mismanage the fuel system in such a way that the aircraft is left teetering with the CoG. almost exactly above the axles. On the day in question, it was flown by two VSO students at the College. These two, who doubtless would have been wiry young men twenty years before, had put on a pound or two in the intervening period. Together in the cockpit they added up to a considerable counterpoise well forward of the mainwheels.

But having landed back from their exercise, they put the Canberra back on the line and, not without difficulty, struggled down out of the hatch. As VSO No.2 abandoned ship........the Canberra settled back comfortably on its haunches, to the consternation of the bystanders.

As it was now see-sawing in the gentle afternoon breeze, and thumping its tail on the tarmac, a posse of AFS studes was hastily assembled, the Canberra nose lassooed and hauled down and held down until they got a refueller up pronto to restore order. Much damage ? - don't think so.

Did it happen ? Was it even possible ? Don't know. (Ask a Canberra man).

Evenin' all,

Danny42C


Heigh, ho, and up she rises !
 
Old 19th Sep 2013, 19:04
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Certainly happened at Bassingbourn in the 60s, ISTR to a PR3
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 17:31
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Obituary: Air Marshal Sir John Curtiss, navigator to REG LEVY

Today we pay tribute to another valiant aviator who has taken his place among the stars: Air Marshal Sir John Curtiss, who died last week at the age of 88. Those who have been enthralled by this thread in recent years, particularly Reg Levy, one of our stars, will find this account of special interest.

John Curtiss was born on December 6, 1924, to an Australian engineer who had come to England in 1914 and joined the Royal Flying Corps. Young John went to Radley and joined the Oxford University Air Squadron in 1943 to train as a pilot but was streamed as a navigator, joining 578 Sqn after D-Day in 1944.

Daylight raids on V1 and V2 sites were interspersed with night raids on Germany, on one of which a 1000lb bomb from an aircraft above went clean through the Halifax fuselage, an event vividly described by Reg. Later, with another crew on a training flight , Curtiss baled out when their Halifax caught fire, he and the W/Op being the only survivors.

After the war he served on the Berlin Airlift of 1948/49, went to staff college and became Sqn Ldr, was promoted to Group Captain and left Wittering as station commander. His subsequent posts included commandant of the RAF Staff College and commander of 19 Group, formerly Coastal Command. After being knighted, in 1982 he joined the five-man command team for the Falklands conflict with its much publicised Vulcan raid on Port Stanley.

After retirement Sir John became chief executive of the SBAC and led planning for the Farnborough air show. He maintained his links with the RAF and at 83, with two artificial hips, he made his second parachute jump in aid of charity. He wanted to do another one but said later he had been grounded by his family.

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Old 20th Sep 2013, 20:02
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The Fates smile on Danny again.

The cat Peter stayed with us until summer '57, then one morning we were discussing getting him the 'snip'. He carried on licking his fur on the hearth rug with feigned indifference. But he was reviewing his options..... Next morning he had gone and didn't come back.

We asked around the neighbourhood; no one had 'won' a tabby. Nor had any been handed into the constabulary. The local children (always the most reliable source in these matters) reported no squashed cats. He had simply vanished; he had always been a semi-feral animal, he would undoubtedly survive on his wits.

In the end it was just as well. Mrs D.'s mother's dog had pups in the autumn. We chose one. "Sally" was just a mongrel, basically a small Manchester terrier (Black-and-Tan). She was to be our faithful companion for 18 years; when she died we were heartbroken. We never had another dog.

The months raced by into summer of '58: we'd been in post for three years, the end must surely be in sight. The news came in August - Thorney Island ! "Jammy", they said. "Lucky devil", they said. They were not wrong.

Someone (don't remember who) would be in line for the best hiring of his life. We started the rigmarole with which all service families grow familiar. We got the Three Estimates from the mover (by the tried and trusted method of picking the one we wanted: he would get two higher ones from his pals in the trade). We started packing our stuff: it is amazing how much you can accumulate on even one tour.

The date for the dreaded Marching Out Inspection was fixed. Actually, we had little to fear. The house had been in beautiful condition to start with and we'd kept it that way. Peter, ever the perfect gentleman, had concentrated his destructive efforts on the hessian-padded kitchen table leg I'd provided for him. Sally we'd house-trained from the start. We were complimented by the Housing Officer on the excellent condition of the place. Final gas and electricity meter readings were taken.

The TV set (hired - 10/- a week, a bad bargain if ever there was one, as over the three years we'd paid 75 - and you could buy a good set for that) had to go back. Against that, the cyclometer on the front fork of the 'Winged Wheel' read 3,000+ miles, all home/duty @ 1d/mile (motorbike rate) = 12/10+ (gross). As it seemed to run for ever on a gallon of petrol (ca 3/- a gallon), it had pretty well paid for itself already and I was in profit.

Someone else would have to stoke the church boiler that winter, and do most of the cleaning and the flowers. Then followed the sad part: leaving our first married home and saying "goodbye" to all the friends and neighbours we'd gathered in the last three years.

Then we pumped up the tyres on old "Micky", loaded kit and small dog on board, handed in the keys, put 180 on the compass and we were on our way. I do not remember how long it took us to get down there, but we finished up in a little hotel in Horndean. We didn't have to stay there for long, for we fell on our feet (housing-wise) almost at once; for a hiring came up in Hayling Island.

A Lt/Cdr had bought a new-built pair of two-bedroom flats for his future retirement. They were in Bembridge Drive, right down at the SE tip of the island; in fact the Drive ran parallel to, and was the last road before, the shingle beach. The top flat was let as an RAF hiring, below us a nice old lady, "Nance" Tibbott, lived with her even older brother. Our flat had a balcony facing across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. The Drive was a dead-end to the east, there was no through traffic. Our landlord had chosen well.

Distances were the only problem. As the crow flies, the ATC Tower at Thorney was only about two miles across the mud flats. But I had to drive some six miles up the Island to Havant, then three along the coast road to Emsworth, then another five down through the 'Deeps' to Thorney. There was no way round this short of a hovercraft (or swim).

However, Thorney was a Master Airfield, open 24/7, so we were on a four-watch system. You would start (say) on Monday afternoon, then do Tuesday morning and (all) Tuesday night to 0800 Wednesday. The rest of Wednesday and Thursday completely off, then in again Friday afternoon and so on. The cherry on the cake was that, although Local and Approach spent the nights at their desks, Talkdown, when there was no demand for his services (which was generally the case), had a room in the bottom of the Tower and got his beauty sleep (or most of it) in there.

More next time. Goodnight, chaps,

Danny42C.


Some people have all the luck.
 
Old 20th Sep 2013, 22:56
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Danny, your tale of the Canberra reminds me of the first IL-62 airliner I saw at Heathrow. The IL-62 has a small wheel on a strut at the back.

We young aircraft spotters would sometimes get asked why it had that dinky wheel when the VC-10, a similar design, didn't.

Our reply was that when all the Russian hosties had got rid of the passengers they would go to the back of the aircraft for a cup of tea and that was the only way to stop the aircraft sitting on its tail.
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Old 21st Sep 2013, 11:09
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Danny, you have now received your just reward from a grateful nation, a posting to what was surely the nearest thing to being an RAF holiday camp, notwithstanding the genuine article at your pied-a-terre, Hayling Island. Talking of which, your chosen hiring would seem to be now sited in a private road. Unless it be at this end of the Drive it must remain an unseen part of your peregrinations:-
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?ie=UT...159.68,,0,8.01
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Old 21st Sep 2013, 17:51
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clicker,

I think the explanation you youngsters offered to enquirers might have derived from a rather ungalant reference to the supposed BMI of the Aeroflot hosties !

I've heard of tail-scrapes on landings with the Vampire and Hunter ("Overdone the roundout a bit this time, Hoskins !"), though thankfully it never happened to me (and the Vampire's tail booms do come down rather low).

Purely my own opinion, but I think it is caused by an optical illusion created by the excellent downward field of view over the nose (certainly in the single-seat Vampire, probably with the Hunter). In this, the pilot (who might well have spent most of his earlier time with a huge nose blocking out all his forward vision) instinctively feels he ought to have more nose between him and the concrete, and over-rotates in consequence.

That being the case, an auxiliary wheel well aft should avoid most of the scrapes. (I would be interested in other opinions on this).

I cannot let this go without resurrecting a very old joke. Appointment to a captaincy on the VC-10 carried with it an automatic 'scraper' (or so we heard). Which invited the deflating enquiry: "Are you really a Squadron Leader or just a VC-10 pilot ?"......D.


Chugalug,

Thanks for the link. Have just got a little picture which I can make go round and round, but not much else. Daughter will be back home soon, will ask her to get me a street view. Her cousin was in those parts about 15 years ago, took a photo, the flats were still there then and as attractive as ever. Unfortunately have forgotten street number.

It wasn't a private road in our time (except possibly in being not adopted by the local authority).....D.

Cheers, both,

Danny.
 
Old 21st Sep 2013, 19:05
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Danny, I'm afraid that the link is the closest that Google Street view can get you to Bembridge Drive now, for it cannot send its candid camera bicyclists exploring off public roads. Obviously your hiring was further along and out of sight, though maybe it can be picked out on the satellite view.
Of more interest is perhaps your place of work, Thorney Island. Very familiar to truckers of a certain age such as I, but for those unfamiliar with it Wikki as ever steps in to advise:-
RAF Thorney Island - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
and on Google Maps here:-
https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=50.8...hl=en&t=h&z=14
The satellite view shows how the road to East Thorney crossed the main runway, where Frosty Winterbottom nearly succeeded in running down his wife's mini with a Handley Page Hastings, due to finger trouble by the airman controlling the crossing gates!

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Old 21st Sep 2013, 23:08
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Thorney Island.

Chugalug,

Very helpful indeed ! - although I was amused (on the Google link map) to see East Thorney captioned as West Thorney !

Managed to hunt down what I think was our flat, but it's very confusing. When we were there, the end of Bembridge Drive was the exreme SE point of building on the island - you could look across to Thorney from there - but now there has been extensive building to the east of the Drive.

A lot changes in fifty years !

In your "Frosty" case, the Local Controller should have been switching the lights - Lord knows, he'd precious little else to do !

Danny.
 
Old 22nd Sep 2013, 09:52
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Danny, to be fair Frosty was doing some Co-Pilot Dual training, so he would have kept Local busy with his roller landings. Word has it that espying the car crossing the runway after he had taken over to roll following the co's landing, he pulled back and so staggered over what turned out later to be his own car. Downwind he informed ATC that this would be a full stop and final landing. Thereafter he shut down, signed off the F700 and auth sheet, and made for the OM. There he had a couple of stiff whiskies and made his way home to his OMQ. Apologising to his wife for his now somewhat belated arrival, he explained that he had called in at the bar to steady himself after a rather unnerving experience. "Never mind your unnerving experience, I've had a far worse one, I was nearly run down by an aeroplane earlier!", she complained!
As to Bembridge Drive, is the view any better on Bing?
Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions=

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