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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 24th Nov 2013, 17:22
  #4581 (permalink)  
 
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'Half height plus two' is quite correct!

Here's the CRDF chart for RAF Valley in 1954:


Note the Mag Var - and the weird VHF frequencies of the day!
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Old 24th Nov 2013, 19:30
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All this modern rubbish. A few ears ago Cliffnemo and myself were extolling the virtues of the SBA approach; the audio ILS.
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Old 24th Nov 2013, 21:24
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QDMs etc.

BEagle, Warmtoast and MPN11,

You three, between you, have told us everything anybody would ever reasonably want to know about QDM/QTE/QGHs ! As an old practitioner in the Tower end of the game (must have done several hundreds of them over the years), I can only add a few general remarks culled from experience:

Beagle, Your Airfield Approach Card shows it perfectly. But why was no official notice taken of Amber 3 (was it?), which ran straight across (L'pool - Dublin) a few miles N. of Anglesey ? In my time there ('51) there were only two DC3 transits a day, nobody bothered about them anyway, but by '54 there'd be more traffic. I note "check ht. 2000" - were your chaps just told to keep an eye out for crossing aircraft ? Or were we still treating these newfangled Airways things with the contempt (as we thought) they deserved ?

The old VHF frequencies had one "recognition" feature: if you added the digits together, they always came to 9, or some multiple of 9....D.

Warmtoast, Thank you for the complete description of QGHs in the old "manual" years. Takes me back ! And for the lovely pics of your "yurt" out on the field. Didn't know they had these "expendable" things, but I see the point: tents are cheaper than aircraft and there are plenty more D/F Ops where you came from (only joking !) The only ones I knew were brick-built outhouses put further away out on the grass. For the object of the exercise was to bring the pilot into sight of the airfield, after which he could make his own arrangements.

MPN11, The universal R/T call for turning inbound was "Harpic" (obvious); "Half plus two" was the general rule, you might drop it a thousand to space-out No.2 in the queue - or to put him further out for radar pick-up, but had to be careful that Bloggs could still get S&L inbound before check-ht, otherwise you'd have one more statistic....D.

Two minor points: it is not a Good Idea to supply a CFI with QTEs in the mistaken belief that you are giving him QDMs; and there was once a Voice Rotating Beacon that automated the D/F Op. - least said about that, the better.

Regards to all, Danny.
 
Old 25th Nov 2013, 09:12
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and there was once a Voice Rotating Beacon that automated the D/F Op. - least said about that, the better.
Come, come, Danny. This thread didn't get where it is today by saying the least about anything! Despite your obvious aversion to this aid, VRB had pride of place in Sect2 (Pilot Interpreted Radio Aids), of Part3 (Radio Aids), of AP129 Vol1 (Aircraft and Equipment).

A diagram has it enunciating "Zero Nine Able" to an inbound FJ (Hunter?), having just received weakly "Zero Eight Able" and finally "One Zero Able" also weakly. For the rest of its rotation the beacon is received as a "Continuous Monotone" (I'm sure that we've all experienced that often enough!).

So our granite jawed hero now knows that the magnetic track to the beacon "Alpha" is 090 (+/- 5 degrees). All he has to do is determine the reciprocal and apply variation to obtain the true bearing, and repeat as above for beacons "Bravo" and "Charlie" (say), draw in all three bearings and Voila! a cocked hat, of admittedly liberal dimensions, in which he is, or rather some time ago was. All this while flying said Hunter.

What could possibly be found wanting in such a splendid idea? Can't think why the country was not awash with them, though perhaps it was in Apr '57 when AL8 to AP129 Vol1 came out. I had by then only just sat my GCE's. Did I tell you about my GCE's? It must have been in '56, or was it after all in '57? It's all so long ago, but the subjects included....
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Old 25th Nov 2013, 12:40
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but the subjects included....
Judging by your apostrophic abuse, probably not English language?

The VRB sounds to have been a less-than-useful system for fast jet pilots! Whereas a couple of QTEs (easy to remember - "Have you seen the new WRAF in ATC - a real cutie!") from the plethora of stations we had in those days at least enabled a reasonably quick fix.

In the JP we used to leave 243.0 on the 'manual' setting of the ARC 52 and normally flew on a pre-set stud from Cranwell. So if you were above 8/8 anywhere north east-ish from Cranwell and couldn't see any landmarks, a quick True Bearing from Cranwell, then setting one click higher on each of the manual selectors to 354.0 to get a cross-bearing from Finningley was a quick way to get a reasonably othogonal fix, if the Rebecca wasn't picking up Cranwell's C4 Eur7 signal.

VOR/DME from Ottringham in the 'A' model JP made things a lot easier! But it was back to UDF and Rebecca in the Hunter at Brawdy...
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Old 25th Nov 2013, 14:01
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In the mid eighties when flogging northwards in the North Sea I would do groundspeed checks with Stavanger Consol. I used to think that I was listening to the last active memorial of the Battle of the Atlantic.
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Old 25th Nov 2013, 16:15
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Those 1950's pre UHF VHF frequencies brought back memories as to others implanted in my memory cells so long ago
e.g.

R.A.F. Common: 117.9 MHz
Fighter Command Common: 107.28 MHz
Transport Command Common: 135.9 MHz
Fighter Command Metropolitan Sector: 112.86 MHz, 135.18 and 153.9 MHz

...and ISTR that Bomber Command Common was around 101.xx MHz now the haunt of Classic FM.
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Old 25th Nov 2013, 16:17
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Beagle,

Now, now ! Play nicely, boys, or you'll all go to bed without any supper ! ('57 is a lifetime ago, we all grow old - and even Homer nods. But then it was tongue-in-cheek, after all, wasn't it ?).....D.

More when I've recovered from my amazement at the feats of pilot navigation just modestly related. Who needs Navs ? (don't answer that !)

'Ware incoming.

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 25th Nov 2013 at 17:00. Reason: Bright Idea
 
Old 25th Nov 2013, 16:26
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Danny ...

On the topic of frequency recognition ... 121.5 Mhz x 2 = 243.0 Mhz V\UHF Distress

PS. I was born in '57

Last edited by CoffmanStarter; 25th Nov 2013 at 16:42.
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Old 25th Nov 2013, 17:35
  #4590 (permalink)  

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Did a "for real in actual" QGH in the early 70s. Bringing a Wessex changeover back from Norn Iron to a Secret Hampshire Helicopter Base. Sh!tty weather and the only (alleged) NavAids (Decca and coffee-grinder ADF) were u/s.

Weather not too bad as far as Lyneham (stopped for a refuel just in case). Telephoned base, as weather ahead looked sh!ttier - and getting dark. Hoped they'd say "Stay at Lyneham", but they needed the cab. Actual and forecast wx OK, nothing below 2000' and anyway radar was serviceable.....

..... well, it was until just after I'd got airborne and pulled up into t'clag. No matter thinks I - it's not very far and there's a 2000' base at least. If I don't see the ground before I get there - I'll do a QGH. Which I did.

Halfway outbound, call from ATC:

"From OC Night, did you notice the actual cloudbase as you came through it?"

"I'm still in it!!"

"B%gger! Best we cancel Night Flying!"

Popped out below 1000' but with a welcoming well-lit airfield in front of me!

Edited to add: Just checked the logbook. Total of 6.40 that day (there and back), finishing with .25 mins Night Actual ..... and 1 x QGH!
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Old 25th Nov 2013, 18:43
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Seeing BEagles comments about the Ottringham VOR/DME reminds me of a little Air Cadets course I did at Finningley back in the 70's as an adult instructor.

As you can imagine in a week you only get the basics and at the end of the week there was a spell in the Dominie simulator.

Quite simple really, basic nav plotting exercise departing Finningley and so we head off to the position given by the instructor. Each of us are in our own little cubby hole so we can't see what the others are doing, or not in a couple of cases.

Few hints to work out wind drift etc and a few more legs and then we are told to head for a location out in the north sea. Not bad so we are told to RTB.

Back in the classroom later and we get a few printouts and and in a couple of cases, myself included a puzzled question. Our course instructor, a very funny Irish Flt Lt, who name I've forgotten, was a little puzzled how some of us got a "little adrift" but managed to correct our errors for the RTB. In my case I got my times slightly screwed up and overshoot a waypoint by 4 mins. That meant I was off each of the other turn points accordingly and should have been in a field a little shy of Doncaster's finest runway.

The RTB leg was not part of the planned exercise but given to most of us while some of the other studes sorted themselves out of their deep holes (one was over the Irish Sea, whoops).

We then admitted to using a tacan to assist with our navigation and in reply to the "You should not have used that" we replied "You didn't tell us not too."

One of the best courses I did with the cadets, wish I had kept the print outs to plot onto my modern day computer to see how I really did.
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Old 25th Nov 2013, 18:48
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Voice Rotating Beacon

Read that and first silly though was of Danny being a replacement for the rotating aerial on the DF wigwam shouting at the top of his voice. "Left a bit, stop. Right a bit, stop" while his assistant turned the contraption round and round.
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Old 25th Nov 2013, 21:00
  #4593 (permalink)  
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Voice Rotating Beacon.

clicker,

You're not far off ! Subsitute an endless loop tape for Danny as the cherry on the cake, and you've just about got it. (Chugalug gives some official detail of the patter the machine put out [where did "Able" come from - that's really going back a bit, isn't it ?], and a long time back, when I was at Driffield, I described it as fully as I could remember in a Post on this Thread).

The Achilles heel of the VRB was the built-in collision risk; but if you made each user "book in" on Approach and be allocated an altitude before going over to the VRB frequency, there's no reason why it could not have been developed into a DIY QGH (there's a thing !) - or merely to take over the initial homing bit, which often takes up most of the time.

All water under the bridge, it fell by the wayside, as did so many good (and bad) ideas over the years.

Danny.
 
Old 26th Nov 2013, 00:57
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Danny takes some Time Out.

I think my wife and baby were back in England for only about two months, for we were certainly all together again in GK at Christmas. In the middle of this period, I took a fortnight's leave and went over to see them. It was essential to do this in the most economical way. Of course, I couldn't take the car back across the Channel, for it had only done 6 months of the two years required to bring it in tax-free. And the air fares Düsseldorf-Newcastle were not cheap (no Ryanair or Easyjet at that time).-

But there was a neat and much cheaper way. I took the car to Ostend (Coxyde), somehow braving the manic Brussels traffic unscathed en route. From that airfield in those days Silver City Airways and Sabena ran a car ferry to Southend, with a pair of Bristol Freighters. From memory, I think they could take two large or three small cars up a ramp in through a clam-shell front. And behind was a small passenger compartment for 10-12 plus a steward. And, when they had empty seats (which in off-season, was most of the time), these were sold off very cheaply to any "foot-passengers" who turned up on the off-chance.

I reckoned GK - Ostend at 150 miles, so 300 miles round trip. Brimmed to the top (11 galls ?) the car should just about manage it on cheap coupon German fuel. (Can anyone remind me what the coupons cost per litre / gallon ?). In fact, I had to top up with a couple of gallons in Heerlen on the way back, but even so the fuel cost was negligible. And I'd get leave mileage (I think you got it from GK to anywhere in mainland Europe and back), which would more than cover it.

I'd about 30 minutes to wait for my plane (it was a scheduled service). There were no carpark charges (no carpark !). You simply dumped your car anywhere you liked (within reason), locked it and strolled off. My flight was called. I climbed aboard and strapped-in.

Insofar as a passenger can judge, the Freighter flew much the same as it looked. Mine was empty, but I suppose they wanted it at Southend for booked return cars and pax. So the steward and I chatted. Seeing me puffing my pipe (for of course you could smoke on board in those benighted days), * he made a half-hearted attempt to sell me some duty-free tobacco. I gently pointed out to him that I could buy the same stuff in the NAAFI in GK at half his price, which cut short that line of conversation.

* (I've read somewhere that the engineers were sorry when smoking in the cabins was banned, as when the aircraft were pressurised, minute amounts of cigarette smoke were forced out through any microscopic fatigue crack in the cabin wall, resulting in a nicotine stain on the outside surface, and so warning of an incipient failure - don't know if it's true).

"We're being flown by the youngest Captain on the Line, y'know", said my informant, "he's done very well for himself". I feigned interest: "How long's he been with the Company ?" "Eleven years", came the reply. "Poor devil", I thought: "Ostend-Southend (40 mins), O-S-O-S-... ad infinitum , all the livelong day". And in summer they flew dawn/dusk !" For eleven years he'd sat in the RH seat of this treadmill before moving across to the pinnacle of his career, with the prospect of another twenty years of the same. I wished him luck. Sooner him than me.

Forty minutes isn't long. They flew quite low (not more than 3-4,000 ft), but then I suppose there was no sense in going any higher. There wasn't much sea traffic over the North Sea. The Freighter was rather noisy, but comfortable enough. He rustled up a carton of coffee, we covered all the news of the day, then it was time to put my pipe out and belt-up before the Youngest Captain plonked it down on Southend.

It was perfectly straightforward from then on. Very keen Customs and Immigration, then train to Liverpool Street (?), across to King's Cross, and up North to God's own County of Yorkshire, to see my Darling Family . The only cost had been the airfare, I don't know how much, but it must have been quite small. For when the doors are ready to close, almost anything is better than nothing. (The Three Most Useless Things in Aviation are supposed to be: "Runway behind You, Fuel in the Bowser - and an Empty Seat in a Passenger Aircraft !"

The two weeks passed in a flash. I was able to describe our new home in minute detail - and certainly felt the difference that German central heating had made over there in the past few months ! Iris's mother was making a slow recovery, and we hoped that we might be able to be all together again in GK for Christmas (and so it was to prove).

Then it was time to go back. The Air Bridge must have been on a restricted winter schedule, for I took the "business" train down in the morning and still was in time to grab a seat on the first service out of Southend (Sabena this time, as they shared the route). It had got very cold now, there was frost on the spinners and engine cowlings.

The cabin was half full this time; they'd loaded a couple of cars. The Sabena crew fired-up, and I expected a lengthy wait on the line while they let the engines warm up. Not a bit of it ! They waved the chocks away and pulled out onto the taxiway without batting an eye (to my considerable disquiet !)

"Never mind", I consoled myself, "the oil'll warm up a bit by the time he gets round to marshalling point, he'll stop and do his run-up and mag checks there". Marshalling point was coming up: to my horror I realised that he wasn't going to stop at all, but swung nonchalently onto the runway and opened up full boost !

How the engines tolerated this brutal treatment (which presumably they got all the time) I'll never know. (Chugalug, is there something about sleeve valves that lets them put up with this sort of thing ? - Lord knows, my Wright Cyclone would have something to say about it). But with a hundred miles of very cold North Sea ahead, it was not an auspicious start.

This time, the Purser was busy (with some success) selling his grossly overpriced "Duty-Frees" to one or two poor innocents;

I got chatting with my opposite number. He was a law student at Louvain university, but was now returning to his home in Brussels from a visit to the UK. I expressed my opinion of Brussels city-centre traffic at some length. He sympathised. Then we "arrived". Our Belgian pilot dumped it on the runway like a sack of coal. The 403 was waiting patiently where I'd left it.

Back to the grind at GK, but looking forward to Christmas when we would be together again.

Goodnight, all.

Danny42C.


The more we are together, the happier we shall be.
 
Old 26th Nov 2013, 11:15
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They waved the chocks away and pulled out onto the taxiway without batting an eye (to my considerable disquiet !)

Great story as ever - Now, if only you'd known then what you know now, you could have dobbed them in to Regle of blessed memory!

Jack
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Old 26th Nov 2013, 16:40
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Danny

You may remember the Brussels - Ostende Autosnelweg as it was when you travelled, if only for the racket of the tyres as they went over the joins in the concrete -- thump -thump .....thump - thump .....for seventy odd miles between Brussels and the coast.

I took the Dover - Ostend ferry almost yearly from 1964 onwards in my Austin A.35 for family trips to the continent and still remember the thump - thump of the tyres on that stretch of road. The Belgians built this motorway in the late 1950s by laying slabs of concrete and filling the joints with tar hence the almighty racket!

Rather poor photo of the motorway under construction, but the slabs can be seen. Thankfully by the 1970s they'd seen the error of their ways and re-laid the surface to an acceptable modern motorway standard.


1950s - Belgian Autosnelweg under construction.



A modern view
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Old 26th Nov 2013, 18:14
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Just had a butchers at my Halifax notes and they are saying a minimum takeoff oil temperature of 5 degrees C. That's not a lot. It is probably there after all the smoke from starting it has cleared.
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Old 26th Nov 2013, 19:28
  #4598 (permalink)  
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Warmtoast,

Thanks for the pic of the Ostend/Brussels autoroute, which I must have used, but can't remember. What I do recall was that "Atomium" thing on approaching Brussels - and the dreaded pavé in the little towns and villages!

My old friend Niel Ker came out to see us out in GK - and arrived with the middle pipe and back box tied to his roofrack. The Belgian Pavé had struck again (same happened to me on the way to Boulogne on the way home - Agence Peugeot luckily to hand, fixed it, but only just caught our ferry.)

Your little wigwam looked very cosy, but I suppose it must have been very hot in summer and cold in winter.

Danny

PS Hurrah ! (pinched from Wiki) : ATOMIUM (102 m high)....D.



Last edited by Danny42C; 26th Nov 2013 at 19:44. Reason: Enter Pic and correct height.
 
Old 26th Nov 2013, 19:43
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Danny

Your little wigwam looked very cosy, but I suppose it must have been very hot in summer and cold in winter.
Indeed it was, although the summer temperature was tempered somewhat by the airfield height at 4,700ft ASL, which in turn made the Rhodesian winter nights pretty cold, but in retrospect I recall the Rhodesian climate as one of the most satisfying in which to live - neither too hot or too cold.

Remember passing the Atomium in Brussels, but never stopped to visit it. However a similar structure in Holland, the Evoluon in Eindhoven was visited whist based at Rheindahlen. Managed to convince the kids that we were going into a space ship, big let down when they found the inside full of laudatory exhibits from Philips and with no sign of "Little Green Men"; but from an adult's point of view it was a fascinating place.


Last edited by Warmtoast; 26th Nov 2013 at 20:15.
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Old 26th Nov 2013, 20:08
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Danny regarding the limitations on Hercules engines, as fitted to the Bristol Freighter, Vickers Varsity, and Handley Page Hastings, I cannot speak for the former but those fitted to the latter two most definitely had limitations regarding RPM and Oil Temperature after starting. In both, 1200 RPM was set after start up in order to get the generator on line, but a minimum of 15 centigrade oil temp was necessary, and a dead and alive mag check, before increasing it to 1400 RPM. An engine run up then meant going up to static boost in pairs, exercising the RPM levers over the constant speed range to ensure correct operation of the CSUs, and a further mag check to check the ignition system. Then you could taxy out (with the inboards at 800 RPM).

In answer to your question, the Hercules engine was very reliable indeed but not if abused of course. Operating it in the way you describe I would put under that heading and suggest that their youngest Captain was unlikely to grow much older at that rate, together with his pax and crew. I'm sure that Reg would have had something pithy to say, I'll just say, "Tut, tut!".
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