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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 6th Feb 2014, 08:18
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On one finger she had a loose ring, the hand brushed the spike on the railings, it caught the ring, the top two joints were torn off her finger....
.... and one Neil Armstrong, having safely walked on the Moon, "de-gloved" a be-ringed finger ..... falling off the wing of a Cessna.............
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 10:44
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HTB ... A coupe of quid? Mine are something like this >>>
HQ 9 LED Ultra Bright Aluminium Torch, Black: Amazon.co.uk: Lighting HQ 9 LED Ultra Bright Aluminium Torch, Black: Amazon.co.uk: Lighting

(Bought ours in T K Maxx in the USA, IIRC. Kept in bedside drawers and places like that, and at least one always taken on holiday.)

Have we deviated from the Thread Title and the old days of the RAF enough now?
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 11:57
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chide not ! If the letter of the law were to be applied to the title of this great thread then we would all have been deprived of your most interesting input as well as many others. I am sure Danny will give a steer to get us all back on track when he judges the time is right.
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 12:43
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When I had the privilege of rewiring PA474 the Plessey Plugs on the original perished wiring were all solder connections. I asked my "Chiefy", Ralph how they did soldering out on a far dispersal. He said they used an ordinary old fashioned soldering iron and a blowlamp. Heat the iron red hot, then climb aboard and solder away. Anyone familiar with clambering into a Lancaster and up to the main electrical panel in the Flight Deck, can imagine the hazards of doing this while bearing a red hot soldering iron in one hand.

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Old 6th Feb 2014, 13:43
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Oops. Irony filter and subtlety fuse seem to have blown - I only asked because you mentioned, wait for it, pound shop, where (so I'm led to believe) evey article costs...well, a pound

Mister B

Feeling mischievous again, the chemo must be wearing off.
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 16:09
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Sorry for being in "Victor Meldrew" mode.

Now, where's Danny's next exploit? He must have written it by now, industrious person that he is!!
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Old 6th Feb 2014, 22:22
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Danny feels the pull of the Eternal Snows again (Part III).

MPN11 ,

Your wish is my command, Sir !....D.

Monday at 1000, Ski School started. We kitted-up and assembled on the nursery slopes right outside the hotel. Under the scrutiny of the eagle-eyed Chief Instructor and his giant Alsatian, the beginners were hived-off in a bunch and led away; the rest of us were put on a slope and invited to show what we could do. This quick and efficient form of self-selection soon divided people into the appropriate classes. I suppose this method is used everywhere.

Mrs D, Mary and toboggan found a nice little spot close to the lower slope. There, they could play with the toboggan in the snow, and watch Daddy doing his stuff. Near by, there was a ski lodge where we had hot chocolate to keep us warm. In the first few days there would be the amusing spectacle of the beginners' class learning the kick-turn, and coming to grips with the "T"- bar for the first time. And there was a small hump of a hill fairly close to the nursery slopes, and on it they'd set up a slalom course for the intermediates (at the end of their second week). We weren't very good at it - the slalom poles were flying about like matchsticks.

Ski instruction must be much the same the world over; my previous times on the snow were helpful - but it had been eight years before. As I said, the "Kandahar" cable binding was still in use; the only difference was that the ski now had metal edges. And they were still the long, narrow planks which had been in use since time began. The accepted way then of measuring you for your ski was for you to reach as high as you could with shoulders level - then the ski should just touch your palm with level hand. Trying it now, I reach the height of an internal house door (say 78in, or 2m).

The longer your ski, the harder it is to learn how to control it. Generations of beginners have suffered needlessly, until around '65 the French came up with the idea of the ski evolutiv. Here you start with two broad ski about a metre long, so in no time at all you're parallel-skiing with the best of them. Then they swap them for 1.5 m, you get confident with that, and then up to whatever you feel comfortable with. And then the snowboard came in, effectively this is a double width 1m ski evolutiv: it was not greeted with open arms (at least by skiers) at first, but they seem to have got used to it.

Why were our ski so long before? I can only hazard a completely uninformed guess: in glacier skiing, you may run over a 50ft deep crevasse invisible under its snow "bridge". * The longer your ski, the safer ! It had become a traditional thing. And when would a Ski School have you on snow that might have "no visible means of support" ?

This was to be the last time I was on snow on skis, although a decade or so later, Mary and I tried a small artificial ** slope that the Army had built at Catterick. Effectively, you were on a sort of giant carpet of nylon bristles, which were very uncomfortable to fall on and nothing at all like snow. And there was no lift, so you had to herring-bone or sidestep up each time, and that was exhausting. It wasn't worth the trouble.

One day we put "skins" on the ski, took the cables out of the side clips, unfastened the heel safety-strap and followed our instructor into the wooded trails for a bit of "lang-lauf" The downhill parts were fine, the skins acting as a partial brake (and in any case the dips were gentle, as most mountain tracks obviouly traverse the slope). But going up was hard work indeed: soon we were puffing and blowing in shirt-sleeve order. No doubt it did us no end of good, but generally I preferred to get to the top of a run by lift - and after that let gravity do the work !

Our instructor had a small white dog of indeterminate parentage, which he carried up the mountain across his shoulders. Hearing his master calling him "Weissman" ("Whitey") - as I thought - I showed off my German with a feeble joke: "Noch nicht Omo-weiss !" ("Not quite Omo-white", as the animal was scruffy - and, shall we say, stood out against the snow). But this didn't go down at all well, for it seemed that the name was actually "Weitman" - ("Ranger"). I resolved to keep my jokes to myself in future.

(I hope this qualifies as Getting Back Somewhere Near the Thread, as I appear to be the last specimen in Prune captivity of a "Gainer").

Enough is as good as a Feast, more next time.

G'night folks, Danny42C.

What goes Up, Must come Down (one way or another !).

EDIT: Note * Ice corpses (sometimes hundred of years old, but perfectly preserved) turn up regularly at glacier "tails", having met their end in this way.

Note ** Curiously, there is artificial ice (for skating), too. I tried it once - about 40 years ago - it was terrible, I never thought to hear of it again - until now. Casually checking with Google, it seems that the stuff (or something like it) is alive and well in the US.

I quote from their "puff": "As EZ Glide 350 becomes scratched from normal skating use, skating speed increases. The surface performs better the more you use it!" (this is not only contra-intuitive - it's an affront to right reason !) And it works out at about $10/sq.ft., so a rink is not cheap, but then neither is an ice one.


Last edited by Danny42C; 7th Feb 2014 at 19:45. Reason: Add Notes.
Old 7th Feb 2014, 08:01
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I have just obtained a copy of 'Aircraft of the Fighting Powers' from a well known internet auction site. The Vultee Vengeance features in it. The spec. quotes a range of 1200 miles. Was this achievable in fact ? Or like modern MPG figures was that manufacturers 'puff' ?
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Old 7th Feb 2014, 18:58
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After some headscratching, and combining reference to my authority - "Vengeance" (Peter C.Smith) - with what I remember, the facts are as follows (Mks. I-III [A31], and I don't think Mk.IV [A35] varied).

Normal tankage 220 US gallons (183 Imp) - PCS says 200 (Imp) - best we ever did was 60 galls/hr (Imp) in cruise at 160 mph ~ 490 miles.

PCS makes oblique reference to "400 galls full tanks". What can he possibly mean ? Never saw or heard of any external tank: why would we want one ? (apart from an old story about a DIY attempt sometime in the past - the things created so much drag that you got no further with them on than you did before). And there was no "spare" internal tankage !

1200 miles ? In your dreams ! Danny.
Old 7th Feb 2014, 19:41
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1200 miles? Sir should consider the A-35B Vengeance; max speed 230mph, normal range 2,300 miles!

I can see that Sir is looking a little askance, but I can assure him that these figures appear in 'Combat Aircraft of World War Two' and can further assure him that these are the figures in the Vultee brochure itself! So perhaps upon reconsideration Sir would like to have a test flight? With that mighty 1700hp Wright R-2600-13 roaring away in front, Sir will realise what a tremendous improvement this model is on previous ones! Did Sir have any particular colour scheme in mind?
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Old 7th Feb 2014, 20:03
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Interesting that your experience confirms the aircraft endurance was less than published. A slight aside if I may. When the RAF equipped some of its C130s with its IRCM (Infra Red Counter Measures) fit AN/ALQ 157 from memory, it was fitted in a modified recess above and behind the main landing gear. Being a "pooled" aircraft, the modified aircraft were often used for standard route flying as well, when the IRCM heads were removed (they were at the time regarded as classified equipment). I remember chatting to a Nav one day, and asking why he was calling for "funny" fuel loads, who explained to me that an IRCM equipped aircraft! with heads removed had a fuel burn of around 2% more than either an unmodified aircraft, or one modified with the heads fitted. It appears no one took account of the drag created by the modified recess in the fuselage with head removed. As you can imagine, on a 12 hour pond crossing, 2% was a decent amount of fuel. Also, unlike any additional profile drag like slipper tanks, this penalty was a result of removing material. Albert, possibly like the Vengeance was never, really an aerodynamic sliver of an aircraft.

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Old 7th Feb 2014, 21:06
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How far is too far in a Vultee Vengeance ?


Dreams ? Now Sir is having nightmares (14 hours in a VV !) Were these for real (any photos of them in the metal ?) Never 'eard of 'em ! And your quote:

"I can see that Sir is looking a little askance, but I can assure him that these figures appear in 'Combat Aircraft of World War Two' and can further assure him that these are the figures in the Vultee brochure itself".

Sir distinctly remembers a Vultee brochure, on the cover of which a VV was illustrated rocketting off from an aircraft carrier. It caused much hilarity at the time (as you'd need at least three carriers coupled nose-to-tail to have any hope of flying !)

At 3 ampg, an extra 1900 miles would need 633 gallons - say 7,000 lbs. Another 100 hp might make it taxi a bit faster, but it'd never fly (they tried it with 4x500 lb bombs, but even that was dangerously marginal). "Combat Aircraft" was having it pulled and no mistake ! ....D.


Yes, there would need to be more fuel still to carry the 7,000 lbs 2300 miles. I believe that if you need 5 tonnes more on arrival at JHK, you have to load 6 at LHR before you start.....D.


Last edited by Danny42C; 9th Feb 2014 at 16:52. Reason: Add Text.
Old 7th Feb 2014, 22:26
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No need for nightmares Danny. These are clearly nonsense numbers, in the case of those quoted in my post I suspect a typo. Having entered 230 once, it was merely entered again with an additional 0. The RAF PNs for the stay at home Mk4 echo your point, albeit with slightly more tankage, 5/600 miles tops. I shall of course write an angry letter to the publishers of CAoWW2!
A-35 Vengeance

aa2, I was once the proud possessor of three volumes of the excellent Aircraft of the Fighting Powers, each type having a foldout (for the larger types) three view scale (1/72?) drawing. It is a wonder that such lavish publishing was allowed in WW2, given the restrictions placed on most book production then. Of course everyone was an expert anyway, and could tell you what was flying past merely by the sound from its engines (and who was to tell them they were wrong?).

Was it not a Charles Gibbs Smith who produced many aircraft recognition manuals, introducing the concept of the silhouette drawing so beloved of the Observers Books? There was obviously a market for honing such skills, but I doubt if they could be much applied in any official manner outside of the Forces and the Observer Corps. Very good though for getting keen youngsters like Danny air minded!
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Old 7th Feb 2014, 23:09
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Many aircraft accdents result from Pilot Error - often the basic error of not leaving the thing in the hangar and going by train !..
Danny, that reminds me of the old one about the Station Flight Safety Officer, SFSO.

CO to AOC 'And this is our SFSO, Flt Lt Bloggs sir.'

AOC 'And how do you contribute to flight safety Flt Lt Bloggs?'

Bloggs 'They don't let me fly sir.'
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Old 8th Feb 2014, 00:11
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Not only CAoWW2 seem to be in a deep fog over the A-35B. To refresh my memory, I Googled it up and found such a mishmash of contradictory information (on specifications and performance figures) that I gave up in despair.

But one small victory: Wiki now accepts that the Camden Museum specimen is a Mk.IV (hope the Museum has painted out the fake Mk.I airframe number), so our efforts have not been in vain !....D.


"If the Good Lord had meant us to fly, He would have given us wings !" (We ignore this at our peril !)....D.

'Night, both. Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 11th Feb 2014 at 22:23. Reason: Found a better word ! ("Mishmash")
Old 8th Feb 2014, 07:15
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"If the Good Lord had meant us to fly, He would have given us wings !"

He didn't....

(We ignore this at our peril !).

Eilmer of Malmesbury

He did.....

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Old 8th Feb 2014, 09:30
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A propos of nothing, this materialised in the newspaper this morning. Before Danny's time, of course (just)

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Old 8th Feb 2014, 19:39
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Union Jack,

What a pearl of a link ! And how many questions begged, and how many trains of thought started !

How high was the tower ? * (he "travelled" 200 m, but I would think mostly VV ops style, ie "as a brick"). Lucky to get away with two broken legs; obviously the proto P/O Prune; should have been canonised as Patron Saint of hang-gliders; abbots are wise men; note alembic (?) at bottom of stained glass panel, obvious fire risk, hence earthernware pot (fire-ext, required by 11th century H&S ?); * I can't find how high the tower was, the spire is 131 m high, but obviously he wouldn't have launched himself from its base tower as he'd bounce off the roof on the way down.

"Elmer's Tune" has always been a favourite of mine....D.


I rather like Mr.Duggan's "find the position within a wide area" (done a lot of that in my time !); No "cocked hat" ? - what a "fix" (in every sense !); what interests me are his cuff rings. Similar to the C&E Preventive Service of those days (could he have doubled as Customs officer there ?)

In my time ('73-'86) the Officers wore RN width Lieutenant's rings - can't remember the Assistants, who may have had one thin ring (picture size). What I am sure about is that then the Chief Preventive Officer (obsolescent rank) wore three narrow ones (all ranks still with curl). Except their later equivalents at overseas bases, who went around masquerading as Lieut-Commanders RN....D.

Cheers, both. Danny
Old 9th Feb 2014, 01:33
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Danny feels the pull of the Eternal Snows again (Part IV).

One day in the first week an accident happened. I didn't see it myself, but Mrs D. did. Or rather she saw the rescue. Two English ladies (forty-ish) were staying in the Madrisa. One fell awkwardly and broke (or seriously damaged) a leg. Now helicopters were in service then in the RAF, but I don't know if they were widely available for ski rescue in Europe. In any case they hadn't one to call on here.

The usual thing was to send up a luge (a sort of big wheelbarrow on skis with long handles fore-and-aft) with a couple of expert skiers (and every man and boy in the village would be that); it was always galling to see the village children come swinging fast to-and-fro across the fall-line past your class with perfect grace and balance). On this occasion the casualty must have been small and light: the instructor skied slowly down with her in his arms.

There was a sequel to this: on the Sunday after lunch we offered her companion a lift (gratefully received, of course) to the hospital to visit her. (I think we were the only British people with their own transport). Now I can't remember where the hospital was, but it would either in Dornbirn or Bregenz. Both would fit with a 1˝ hour run: they were the only places around then big enough to have a hospital, (but I think it was Bregenz). The hospital was run by a nursing Order, Mary confidently recognised the nun (in full white nursing habit) who greeted us. "Our Lady !!!", she cried excitedly - this I passed on: "Die kleine hat gesagt: Die Heilige Maria !" The good nun acknowledged this with a smile (I suppose she'd heard it before).

The second week started, I remember one morning going up in the chairlift. In the bright sunshine, looking down on the woods from fifty feet above, a couple of deer were rooting about in the deep snow among the pines for whatever sustenance they could find. It was a scene which might have come straight out of Disney.

A last memory: one morning at breakfast during the second week, a little (Austrian or German) girl of four or five came over from one of the nearby tables and shyly presented Iris with a little bouquet of wild flowers for Mary. We thanked her, and signalled our thanks to her parents. It was a charming gesture we've always remembered.

All good things come to an end, the hotel had been comfortable, food was plain and good. It was a family run and family oriented place. Every afternoon, there was a an "aprés-ski" tea dance (clumsy in ski boots !) in the hotel to an accordian. And, of course, a "cabaret" of lederhosen - slapping and yodelling by the young ski instructors.

I probably turned in my ski and poles when I came off the snow on the Friday afternoon; we were on the way back home early Saturday. Chains off at the bottom of the valley, straight back to GK, no problems. We're going home !

Goodnight, all.


Back to work !

Last edited by Danny42C; 9th Feb 2014 at 01:50. Reason: Corrections.
Old 9th Feb 2014, 09:40
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Danny, your remark about ice corpses recalls the story of Star Dust, the British South American Airways Lancastrian which disappeared in 1949 while crossing the Andes. Its fate remained a mystery for half a century until the remains of the aircraft and its occupants emerged from the bottom of the glacier.

It is believed that the Lancastrian crew, all ex-WWII airmen, had let down in cloud thinking they had crossed the mountains when in fact they had unknowingly encountered a 100 mph headwind in the jet stream. No GPS for them, of course.
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