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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 23rd Oct 2013, 17:33
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I had the pleasure of having HQ staff oversight of BASC from my lofty perch at CAA House. Only managed to justify one Staff Visit, sadly, but what a fascinating (and fully functional) relic of WW2.

High on my list of dream postings, never to be realised!!
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Old 23rd Oct 2013, 20:56
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And another thing, the Berlin corridors were ten statute miles wide because they had originally been designed by the army. There were really four corridors, one of which went to Warsaw. As a result of this LOT operated a service to the west which flew from Berlin Schoenefeld then along the centre corridor, whereas Interflug left DDR airspace to the north over the Baltic before making their way across the North Sea and over Scotland.
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Old 23rd Oct 2013, 21:49
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Danny gets back on the Road.

Outside, the car stood in all its pristine glory. The temporary registration,(on the back only) in silver stencilling on a sprayed rose-pink background which perfectly set off the car's dove-grey, was a jumble of letters and figures ending in the suffix "-75", which I'm told signifies "Paris".

It was a handsome vehicle. Although not as avante-garde as Citroën's glorious DS19, which had come out at the same time, it was a three-box design with proportions almost the same as the slightly later Rolls "Silver Shadow" (was that the one which was originally going to be called the "Silver Mist" - until someone pointed out that this might inhibit sales in Germany ?) - although the 403 was on a much smaller scale.

I was very impressed. I couldn't say the same of my driver. A small elderly, taciturn Parisian (never could grasp his name), with eyes permanently screwed-up against the fumes of the Gaulois stuck to his lower lip, he did not inspire confidence. But beggars can't be choosers.

The next few minutes are among the most frightening of my life. He launched out into the midday rush hour with total disregard of all other traffic; tyres screamed as he bulldozed through it into the maelstrom of the Rond-point (my eyes were tight shut by now) and flung off somewhere in a north-easterly direction. The noise of battle faded, I opened my eyes, we were bowling along the boulevardes. Traffic grew lighter and less threatening. After another twenty minutes or so, he pulled in at the end of the ligne (Le Bourget), I thanked him, he got out, muttered something which I suppose would translate as "she's all yours now, mate. - it's thataways - Bonne Chance !", and vanished.

I climbed in behind the wheel, set the mirrors (which he'd scorned to do, as I suppose he'd no use for them), got out my maps, set deuxième (on the column) and gingerly moved off. Now I had to feel my way into the "Coupleur Jaeger". And so I feel the time is right for a full description of this remarkable mechanism.

At the beginning of the '50s, the British car industry was getting back on its feet, but nearly all the production had to go for export to get the much needed dollars for the country. There it would be in competition with American models which were, in general, larger, more powerful, softer sprung, and which were coming in increasingly with hydraulic automatic transmissions.

Our view of automatic transmissions was that they were only successful with cars so powerful that they didn't need gearboxes in the first place, and we couldn't compete on that basis. But we could at least get rid of the clutch pedal, the operation of which was (and is) the bugbear of all learner drivers. And that should be much cheaper than a full autobox.

I think Ford were first in the field with the "Ford-o-Matic", and no doubt it was followed with "Austin-o-Matic" and "Morris-o-Matic", and every other-o-Matic. The idea was the same in all cases: Keep the box of cogs which had held sway since the beginning of time, and the friction clutch, but actuate the latter with manifold depression, controlled by solenoid switches.

(Pre-war there had been ingenious efforts made to get round the problem. Daimler had their "Pre-Selector" box with an epicylic system (I think Armstrong-Siddley and Lanchester bought into it, too). And Rover had the attractive idea of a "freewheel", which dispensed altogether with clutch operation once the car was moving, but required good brakes as now there was no engine braking. And there was, I seem to recall, a "Hobbs" transmission).

All the "O-Matics" failed for the same reason. Friction clutches wear slowly, the human ankle unconsciously compensates for the increasing pedal travel. But the mechanism couldn't do that, so the things were always having to be re-adjusted; the whole idea got a bad name and everybody gave up on it.

Except Jaeger in France (I don't know at what stage Smiths Instruments got in on the act, but they did, and it became the "Smiths-Jaeger" transmission over here). They went straight to the root of the trouble - the two leather (or later composition) lined plates rubbing together.

Bin those, for there was a much better idea waiting in the wings: the Magnetic Particle Clutch. Two concentric rotors, fitted, one inside a "hollow" larger other so that only a very small gap was left between the "mating" surfaces. Permanently magnetise the driven surface so that an ounce of iron filings can be evenly spread round it.

Embody coils of wire in the engine-driven rotor so that when a current is passed through them the filings will "scrum down" in the middle, bridge the gap - and "Bob's your uncle". And you can find a diagram and much more about it on Google/Wiki under "Coupleur Jaeger". (Tip: if you come across the Google translation of "balais" as "broom", what they mean is (carbon) "brush.")

And this is far too long already, so that's all till next time. May return to the subject later.

Goodnight, chaps,

Danny42C


Oh, for the Open Road !

Last edited by Danny42C; 23rd Oct 2013 at 21:52. Reason: Typo.
 
Old 23rd Oct 2013, 23:37
  #4464 (permalink)  
 
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Danny:-
...which perfectly set off the car's dove-grey
May one complement Sir on Sir's excellent choice of colour? It complements the White Wall Tyres so well, which I'm sure that Sir now sees were well worth the modest surcharge!
Seriously, Danny, a classic car in every sense of the word.
I once nearly bought a car in Paris, the Renault 9, which could be obtained in RHD (ie UK spec) at a considerable reduction on the export list price, as they wanted to move the metal. In the event I bought a UK spec VW Polo in Berlin and imported it. Longest drive I've ever done! It came off the Wolfsburg line on Friday, arrived in Berlin by train on Saturday, nothing happened Sunday, and I drove it away from the showroom Monday lunchtime, having flown in by Dan-Air to do so.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 24th Oct 2013 at 00:24.
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Old 24th Oct 2013, 12:23
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And eventually, a brilliant engineer somewhere discovered a way of getting windscreen wipers to park neatly, instead of being left sticking up into the driver's eye-line when not in use!
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Old 24th Oct 2013, 15:44
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And eventually, a brilliant engineer somewhere discovered a way of getting windscreen wipers to park neatly...
Or, in the case of the wretched 100E Anglia with its vacuum powered wipers, to stop the things thrashing themselves to death and vanishing over the hedge if you lifted off quickly..... Although driving with anything less than full throttle was a pretty rare event in the infernal vehicle. 0-60 in 29.4 sec - you have to wonder why they bothered to include the .4!!
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Old 24th Oct 2013, 16:21
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Not sure my 100E Prefect ever reached 60!
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Old 24th Oct 2013, 16:47
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Loved the Silver Shadow analogy, Danny, and trust you had no trouble finding the filler cap when you first had to fill up your Grey Lady (with apologies to Alvis)!

My Father stayed loyal to big Peugeots for a straight run of 25 years.

Jack
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Old 24th Oct 2013, 18:03
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My Ford Popular (owned 1963-1965) was Black, not like this gopping colour. But it did have screen-wash. Well, a washing-up liquid bottle, from which I used to squirt liquid at the windscreen through the open driver's side window.

I eventually discovered that the floor-pan was plywood, screwed/bolted onto stubs on the chassis. But the attachments had long gone, so on sharp cornering the entire floor on one side would tilt, bringing the relevant seat (and occupant) with it. Quite handy for chucking a young lady in your direction!! Oh, and the back seat was remarkably spacious, and had these little trap-doors for the jack … (I'll forgo any further detail). Skinny tyres, though: it bogged down in a field whilst at OCTU, which required a young lady Off Cdt to assist me in getting it out again so that she would be back in time for curfew.

Cost me £40, eventually sold for £5 to an elderly MoD policeman as his first car. During its time at Shawbury, it was "borrowed" at 10/0 a night (make your own arrangements for petrol and any encounters with the Constabulary). That did not inhibit me, as during that period I had invested my Uniform Allowance in a Hillman Minx with a bench front seat, and was thus (for a brief period) a two-car A/Plt Off.

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Old 24th Oct 2013, 20:41
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Aahhh, Grey Lady indeed ... truly a 'proper' car!

Now, those mirrors which the chauffeur so disdained - it seems that Peugeot was putting the side mirrors in that more logical place long before perfidious Albion saw sense and stopped mounting them above the wheels (the nearer to the eye, the better the field of view).

That leads me to wonder..... Danny, if you can cast your mind back to earlier days, how good was the field of view in that life-preserving mirror on the Spitfire?
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Old 24th Oct 2013, 22:03
  #4471 (permalink)  
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Peugeots and Other Animals.

Chugalug,

The Kammergericht does look a magnificent building, but I only had a fortnight's detachment to Gatow in '61, when it looked as if a second Airlift was on the cards: we were rather busy and I never got time to see it. And the organisational tree of the place does sound a bit "bushy-topped".

Thank you for support in the matter of my impeccable taste, for I fear there are contrary opinions about it. And what a lovely picture ! This one's obviously a Concourse d'Élégance model, bulled-up with every add-on in the catalogue. Mine was a LHD model (so that is a generational thing - see my reply to Fareastdriver #4421 p.222).

Accordingly I had no sunshine roof (what would les Rosbifs want with one, tout le monde et son chien knows that the sun never shines over there ?). I did not have any whitewalls ! But I did have the trims (au cabriolet - 20NF). Now listen to this:

These were stainless steel (on a mass-market car !). They were held in place by the centre dish (standard all models), sensibly secured by an honest 14mm bolt (both stainless). So were the bumpers. So was the side trim, though they did spoil the effect by attaching them with mild iron clips which rusted and started rust in the holes in the bodywork.

This at a time when we were turning things out looking as if there'd been an explosion in a chromium-plate factory (you got it home from the showroom; it rained during the night; you had rust on the bumpers in the morning)....D.

MPN11 and BEagle,

I'm afraid wipers were left sticking out on all cars for many a long year, before they worked out how to make them lie down. And didn't the VW wipers work off the air in the spare (under the bonnet) ?

MPN11, it was probably a similar specimen to yours which was so violently assaulted by our budding Barry Sheene that night in Thorney. And now I remember, there was a story (likely to be true) that old Henry Ford ordered some components from the suppliers to his Model T line, but specified the exact size and shape of the sides of the crates in which they should be delivered.... (yes, you've guessed it)......D.

Union Jack,

Yes, you did have to look in the book first time to find it, didn't you ? (for the uninitiated, lift the lower end of the offside rear lamp cluster).

Your Father was a gentleman of rare discernment (there are not many of us left, I fear).....D.

Now this is real crewroom natter !

Cheers, everybody, Danny
 
Old 24th Oct 2013, 22:22
  #4472 (permalink)  
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Spitfire Rear Mirror.

dogle,

Re car mirrors, how right you are ! Bought a Renault 16 in '73 with no external mirrors that I can remember. But on the accessory market there was an adjustable external mirror that clipped onto the top of the window (but with fittings so slim that you could still close the window); this was the best idea of all.

As regards the rear-view Spitfire mirror, it was very useful in the carcase "simulator" at Hawarden, with the painted-on-the-wall-behind Me109 (covered with picture of "sky" which the instructor could twitch aside by means of string), and both were "fixed", as it were. But in the air you did better to keep weaving and looking back, for the field of vision in the mirror was very small).

Danny.
 
Old 25th Oct 2013, 18:48
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Danny, your mention of mirrors reminds me of when I was collecting the Polo that I mentioned above. All the paperwork done at the garage, I was waiting in my new car to be joined by the rep who was to go with me to collect the Export Plates and paperwork for my drive home. My revelry in testing all the knobs and switches and breathing in that new car smell was interrupted by a lot of obviously urgent discussion in German outside the car betwixt salesman, manager and fitter. I wound the window down and asked what was wrong, dreading that having got to sitting in the car I was now not going to be able to drive it home. I was not reassured by the manager's opening remarks, "I'm so sorry, I don't know how this could have happened". "What? What has happened?". "The driver's door mirror is on the wrong side, despite the order clearly calling for it to be fixed to the RH door". "Is that a problem?". "No problem, we are going to move it now", and so they did, but were mortified that such a thing could have happened. As for me I was in blissful ignorance as I had not noticed and would happily have driven as was. Vorsprung durch Technik!
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Old 25th Oct 2013, 20:55
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Danny,

" But in the air you did better to keep weaving and looking back, for the field of vision in the mirror was very small). "

Are you sure that you hadn't been fobbed off with a mirror left in the Spit by the ATS delivery pilot ? Just a thought I'll be off about my business then

Smudge
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Old 25th Oct 2013, 22:29
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Danny on the last lap - Paris to GK

I had my route well planned: it was straightforward and I expected no difficulty with it. One thing was certain: I aimed to bypass Brussels well to the south, for I'd heard alarming tales of that city traffic as being like one big Rond Pointe throughout, exacerbated by the fact that there was no driving test in Belgium in those days - you just paid the money and got the driving licence with no questions asked (as indeed was the case in UK till 1935).

And it would route me through the Ardennes, which I'd heard were worth seeing. The first thing that struck me was how quiet the roads seemed as I pulled away from Paris. Then it occurred to me: of course, the sacred Hour(s) of the Déjeuner ! - when every true Frenchman attends to the most important business of the day - food !

Unfortunately, I had to tighten my belt and put that out of my mind. The car rolled along smoothly and quietly. At a time when the home-grown variety came on the roads with instruction not to exceed 30 mph for the first 500 miles, the 403 had a running-in speed of 60 mph (no, I don't mean kph) - which was no hardship at all to me. The distance was about 220 miles, I reckoned on five hours on the road, I should get in at dusk, barring accidents. The tank was full, no worries there !

It was a lovely day in early spring, the countryside was looking its best, this was going to be a very pleasant drive. Laon was my first check-point, I passed it just to the south, a sort of inland Mont-St-Michel sticking up from the plain; a magnificent sight indeed. It was just after passing Laon that my first puzzle appeared - a triangular caution: "Attention - Grenailles !".

Grenailles ? Grenailles ? Didn't remember that road sign on my BFG test. Thought back 22 years to my dim French mental vocabulary. Only thing I came up with was "grenouilles" - frogs ! That must be it ! At certain times of the year there must be a kind of mass migration of frogs for some reason, they would be crossing the roads, braking distances would be greatly increased if you were running over a carpet of squashed frog. It made good sense.

Only for a few moments ! Then the first loose granite chip cracked under a wing, then a regular fusillage underneath the car. Same as the UK - dump the top-dressing on the road, and let the traffic roll it in. Broken screen ? Hard luck !

Not for the first time (and certainly not for the last), I blessed the continental system of roadside kilometer stones, showing the road number. This is an enormous help to the stranger navigating cross-country: it confirms that you are on the right road, and any mistake shows itself almost at once. With that, and a good road map, you just can't go wrong.

Recalling the thorough Customs and Immigration checks on the train the night before, I expected the same thing on the roads, but I seemed to wander from France into Belgium, and then into Holland without let or hindrance. I suppose, given the hundreds of minor country roads, it was simply impossible to guard more than a handful of main routes. Still, I had my passport, and the "ship's papers", at the ready and had nothing to fear in any case.

And then I was running through the winding hills and valleys of the Ardennes. All the hawthorn and fruit trees were in blossom in the sleepy little towns and villages as I ran through. In the peaceful afternoon sunshine it was hard to think back sixteen years to some of the most savage fighting of the war here in the bitter winter of '44, with the "Battle of the Bulge" (Hitler's "Last Throw" in the west) at its height.

I navigated to Heerlen, and it was plain sailing after that. Across the border into Germany with no trouble with Customs at the frontier. It seems that after "straining at the gnat" of a washing machine, the "camel" (in the shape of a brand new car) could be "swallowed" as being not worth bothering about.
I got in at last light. Dinner in the Mess had never tasted so good !

Goodnight, everybody,

Danny42C


Hunger is a good sauce.

Last edited by Danny42C; 25th Oct 2013 at 22:33. Reason: Formatting,
 
Old 26th Oct 2013, 19:12
  #4476 (permalink)  
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Smudge (your #4462)

(You mean the one left in the map case with the phone no. on in lipstick ? Dream on!)

If flown operationally, I suppose I would have paid much more attention to it. But as all we had to watch for was the CFI with his white-spinner job, and I found direct eyeball search better.

Danny.
 
Old 26th Oct 2013, 19:22
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Danny,

Respect to your methods, but "mirror with phone number and lipstick", goodness did such things happen ? I spent a few years hanging out of the back of an aircraft, being the pilots mirror. Not sure how useful I was as they never told me, I usually got told not to extend the straps during the after flight servicing. Perhaps you could enlighten us as to your "contact" with the ATS, if there was any, and your impressions, from the timeframe, rather than the perhaps "politically correct" modern take.

Smudge

Last edited by smujsmith; 29th Oct 2013 at 23:38.
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 19:25
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Chugalug (your #4461),

Imagine the scene a few years since in an agency for a British car: "Well, do you want the bloody car or don't you ! If you don't, there's plenty 'as does !"

D.
 
Old 26th Oct 2013, 19:35
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Shock!! Posh RAFG people who buy new cars!! I think my first new one was in 1986.
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 19:42
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Smudge'

No such luck ! Contact ? With ATS - Nil, with ATA , only sight from afar, I'm afraid.

D.
 

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