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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 1st Mar 2009, 15:40
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Glashouses

The albatross/eagle on Reg's shirt is of the tropical issue type. , red on a light kahki background. It is worn ,instead of the normal silver albatross which is silver on a dark blue back ground, on tropical shirts

Due to the temperature being over 100 F in Oklahoma we were issued with these trousers and shirts with red albatross on arrival at Ponca. Shirts , trousers , and belt were standard American army air force summer wear. We did however continue to wear the standard issue R.A.F forage cap, gllengarry, or hats field service , airmen for the use of. Take your pick. We changed back to standard R.A.F issue when the weather became colder.

The Glass House Sheffield. .A.K.A Sheffield jail. served No 1 Group bomber command. For insulting an officer an airman could expect 28 days residence, where he would be in sole control of a wheelbarrow for the full 28 days. His first job was to scrub out an area on the far side of the Jail yard and whitewash it, then from the opposite side load the wheelbarrow with coal and wheel it to the newly whitewashed area.He then returned to where the coal was originally, scrub and whitewash it, then bring the coal back to its original position. To and fro for the 28 days.
That's what we were told by airmen returning to base. followed by "I'm never ************** going there again (Hope some politicians are reading this). The food was even worse than ours. (Andy , take some oil with you).

P.S wasn't me in the Glasshouse, I was discharged with character reference V.G , known as X years undiscovered crime.
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Old 1st Mar 2009, 15:52
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Reply To Brakedwell

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I am already in the Tower Cliff!

It must be better than being in the glass house.
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Old 1st Mar 2009, 15:55
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Computer Out Of Control

BRAKEDWELL

Colours ?. Don't ask me, was just experimenting
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Old 1st Mar 2009, 19:03
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Explanation

Would some one please tell me if my posts are appearing normally ? The whole 28 pages on my computer have some of the words highlighted in many colours, and I assumed this would also be the case on your screens. However, it has suddenly occured to me that it may only apply to my computer, and this would make a nonsense of my previous posts. (situation normal. Mrs Nemo)

Apologies to all.
Some one please put me out of my agony
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Old 1st Mar 2009, 19:51
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Thumbs up

All appears normal to me, Cliff.
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Old 1st Mar 2009, 22:44
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Cliff:
Just the usual blue text shows up. If you want to use colours in your posts I think that you need type, or insert, the text into the "reply to thread" box first. You then need to highlight the word/words you want and then change the colour.
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Old 2nd Mar 2009, 10:28
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S.N.A.F.U

Thanks folks ( R.F.C.C & S'LAND)
Have taken a print out of S'LANDs gen and will have a go, only hope my computer doesn't go into a spin again.
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Old 2nd Mar 2009, 21:19
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Cheesecutter ?Brakedwell

I am sorry if I am dim but I don't see the connection, Brakedwell. I know that a "cheesecutter" is, amongst other meanings, a sort of flat cloth cap but I just don't get the connection with the helmet and goggles. Please give me the "gen" on it. All the best, Regle.
 
Old 3rd Mar 2009, 06:43
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I am sorry if I am dim but I don't see the connection, Brakedwell. I know that a "cheesecutter" is, amongst other meanings, a sort of flat cloth cap but I just don't get the connection with the helmet and goggles. Please give me the "gen" on it. All the best, Regle.
Towards the end of the sixties forage caps were re-introduced as as an option to SD Caps for officers. They were nicknamed cheese cutters, which I think dated back to the forties. Our very unpopular ex bomber command navigator boss on 99 (Britannia) Sqn tried to make all his Officers wear forage caps. Those of us who had already bought one of these very practical down route foldable lids, put it in a draw and reinstated our battered SD Caps.
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Old 3rd Mar 2009, 09:27
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Regle

On with a little bit more...


Further to your anecdote about the Conversion Unit (1652 Heavy Conversion Unit) at Marston Moor thereís a very good site with photos and personal stories of those who trained there which can be found here:
http://www.wartimememories.co.uk/airfields/marstenmoor.html

Perhaps some of the names mentioned or bods who appear in the photos are familiar to you?
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Old 3rd Mar 2009, 09:38
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I've read several references to 'cheese cutters' during WW2, but these all referred to the 'No 1 SD cap', not the beret or the forage cap.

When the forage cap was reintroduced back in the late '60s, the most polite nickname was 'chip bag'. Otherwise 'tw@t hat' or an even more offensive term involving four letters, followed by 'cap'.
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Old 3rd Mar 2009, 10:53
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And my Halton apprentice oppo, circa 1938 called his hat a Glengarry. My cockney friends called theirs , a TITFER. A steel helmet was a TIN LID.
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Old 4th Mar 2009, 16:55
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Instructing

The system of using screened Operational pilots as Instructors was not entirely successful. A fine operational pilot did not always mean that he was a good Instructor so Bomber Command decided to open an Instructors School where the pilots fresh from ops would undergo an extensive course on how to become a successful Instructor.. I had always taken a keen interest in this application of flying so I was very pleased when my old C.O., Wing Commander Wilkerson, called me and asked me to join him at Finningley, near Doncaster, to help set up the new Bomber Command Instructors School. The aircraft to be used were Lancasters, Mosquito's and Wellingtons. I had, of course, flown the Mosquito but had to learn how to handle the "Lanc". I soon developed an affinity with what was a marvellous aeroplane. "Limit" flying was a wonderful experience in the Lanc. We taught battle hardened ,and somewhat doubting, veterans how to fly the Lancaster to it's absolute limit and all our landings were with two engines actually feathered on the port side which was the worst side to lose an engine on the Lanc due to the direction of gyroscopic, rotational effect of the propellors..
Tragically, before he was able to take command of B.C.I.S. Wing Commander Wilkerson, or Wilkie as everyone called him, was killed whilst flying as a passenger in a Baltimore. He was one of the finest men, in a Service that had many, and a born Leader.
Finningley was a magnificent "peacetime" Station. "Peacetime"
meant that it was purpose built before the war and had solid, permanent buildings. The Officers Mess was magnificent with all "mod cons" but the one exception to the high standard was the Billiards room which was pockmarked with holes all around the walls and even the ceilings. I asked one of the veteran staff of the Mess whether the Station had been bombed and was told that it was'nt the Luftwaffe that had done the damage but there had been a Sqdn. of Poles stationed there and they had hurled the billiard balls at each other when they had had a few drinks too many....quite often by the state of the room.
Dora and Peter had joined me by now. There was a nearby village called Kirk Sandall and,by coincidence, Dora's Uncle Joe and Aunt Polly lived there. They had managed to get us a small house to rent but it did'nt last very long as the owner was a P.O.W. and was repatriated so we started a long and heartaching series of renting furnished rooms . Kirk Sandall was, once again by coincidence, the Yorkshire home of the St.Helens glassworking firm of Pilkingtons where Dora's Father had worked most of his life. They had built a Pub, in Kirk Sandall made completely of glass and I can't even remember the real name because it was immediately named...you've guessed it "The Glasshouse" .
Our first Landlady was a character called Edna. She had a vocabulary that would put any swearing seaman to shame and all that with a very loud , broad Yorkshire accented, voice. One night we were all sitting in the Glasshouse when Edna nodded towards a very quiet innocent looking elderly lady sitting a few tables away. "'Er !" she almost shouted "She's 'ad Yards ". The number of Edna's acquaintances who had "Ad Yards" must have added up to a lot of miles. The next Landlady, this time in Doncaster, was a very well educated woman with three children whose husband (and she hated him !) was serving overseas. We rented her front room and shared kitchen. Grace, for that was her name , confided in Dora almost immediately . It turned out that she was a nymphomaniac and had a boyfriend who insisted on paying for "IT" as she told Dora one day. Another time she told Dora that they had done "IT" in the pictures on the back row for the first time. The best ,though, was when she said that her boy friend had been a bit short of money but had paid her with a pound of streaky bacon ! True, bacon was severely rationed but a pound of streaky bacon became a lifetime joke between Dora and I. Another byword was A Tiger Sandwich. I told Dora, one day when she said that she was starving hungry, that if she put some mustard on a slice of bread and then made a sandwich of it she would think that it was a real ham sandwich. I got it straight between the eyes.
I,of course, was having a good lunch in the Mess and then coming home in the evening and I don't know how Dora managed to feed the three of us on the miserable rations that we were getting
and a two ring stove in a shared kitchen to try and cook on. Dora was pregnant again and expecting the baby in June so life was very hard on her at that time but we had many a laugh together.
The B.S.A. had been replaced with a motor bike and sidecar. The bike was the most magnificent machine; a Henderson, an American make of 1301 c.c. It had four air cooled cylinders in line and the rear one was right underneath the saddle so that it got rather hot. It even had running boards on which to rest your feet . Wherever I stopped a crowd would gather to admire the beast. Once, on The Great North Road, the more mundane A1 now, with one of our Landladies on the pillion,a terrified Dora and Peter in the sidecar we were doing 90mph and the throttle was only about threequarters open. I had paid £35 for it.

Last edited by regle; 5th Mar 2009 at 13:41.
 
Old 9th Mar 2009, 11:47
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Limit flying

Is there anyone there ? I have had one or two questions regarding "Limit Flying", These questions were from someone who had read my last thread re the teaching of flying an aeroplane to it's limit. He telephoned me to ask if I could define the way it was shown and I wondered whether it might interest.
We had to be very tactful with our pupils at Bomber Command Instructors School as most of them came to us having considerable experience on the aircraft we were supposedly now about to teach them how to fly properly...or that was what seemed to be in the minds of most of them and there was a decided "anti" feeling amongst the majority of the very experienced officers that were our pupils. That was the first thing that was decided upon... No way were these people "pupils" in the accepted use of the term. The majority had recently completed tours of Operations with Bomber Command, some of them of quite high rank and a lot of them decorated. We decided that ,at the opening address to a class we would stress that in no way were we trying to teach them to fly the machines . The main object of the five week course was to show them how to put the complete performance of the chosen aircraft over to them by demonstrating what could be done and , more importantly, the results of what could or should not be done with it. This had to be done without offending the individual by any suggestion that they had not been doing this before and stressing,without them being aware that we were doing it, how to get this over to their future pupils.
We were divided into three flights, two heavy for Lancs. and one for the Mossie and the few "Wimpy" pilots that were a rapidly decreasing number as the fine but redundant Wellington was being withdrawn from the main Operations.
We were treated to a large number of very interesting lectures by various Specialists in various fields before we started operating as a School. Psychologists, Top Class Instructors from the Empire and Test Pilots Schools were amongst the people who spoke to us . One of the chaps who came was an expert in R/T speech comprehension and his way of demonstrating the value of sticking to known phrases was to play us a recording of a conversation between a Polish pilot and a Scottish Air Traffic Controller. It lasted about three minutes and was ,supposedly, all in English. We were unable to tell our Lecturer ( B.B.C, News Reader called Alvar Liddel . I think, but am not certain) anything of what the conversation was about. He then read out to us in "BBC English " the complete version of the next bit that we were going to hear from the same two people. He then played it and , Lo and Behold, it was reasonably clear to us and we could understand the gist of the conversation. This, he told us, was because we had heard all the words and phrases beforehand and very clearly proved the value of sticking to known phrases when using R/T
After about a month of flying with our various Chief Flying Instructor, our C.O. and each other we were deemed ready to take on our first course. We had two people each and always flew with both of them in the aircraft at the same time, one flying from the left hand seat and the other observing from behind. We would take the aircraft up to five or six thousand feet and then demonstrate what it could do in the way of stalls in various configurations of flight. For an example I would put the Lanc into a really tight turn with sixty degrees of bank and the requisite power to keep altitude . I would then pull back progressively on the stick to tighten the turn and continue until it stalled. With the Lanc you could continue to hold the stick back ,right in to your stomach, and the nose would come up, drop , the aircraft still turning, would begin to descend and regain its speed and then do the same thing again. There was no tendency to spin. We would then do the same thing again with the Lanc straight and level and clean, then with various degrees of flap and , finally with full landing configuration. All of these demonstrations were done without attempting recovery until you had thoroughly demonstrated the full behaviour of the aircraft . The Lanc never dropped a wing and, I am convinced , would hit the ground in a straight and level attitude eventually ,if allowed to do so. The Mossie was very different !
We would usually finish with two engined landings with both engines feathered on the same wing. As we got experience of the reactions of numerous trainees, it was interesting to find that the vast majority had never taken their aircraft to the extremes that we were showing them. During the demonstration we would give a sort of running commentary on what the plane was ,or was not, doing and we were told by many of our trainees that they had thoroughly enjoyed the experience and then we would let them loose to try themselves and it was gratifying to see how well the majority of them flew admirably and had obviously learned a lot from watching .
. Whilst this was going on , my wife had given birth to a little girl, Linda. Dora had to have the baby in Lindrick Park Golf Club which had been turned into a wartime maternity home as the beds in Doncaster's Hospital were all taken. Linda was born in the clubhouse on the first anniversary of D.Day, June 6th. 1945. I used to come over the course in a Lanc and fire off Very cartridges to let her know that I was there. I did'nt go too low as I|didn't want to be responsible for any premature births.
One of the most vivid memories of "Donnie" is the veritable "peasoup" fog that used to roll in regularly. Despite being riddled with coal mines all around there was very little coal to be had but what there was was certainly not the smokeless variety. There were times when you, literally, could not see your hand in front of your face. This did not stop one of the most popular Saturday night Officer's Mess event called "Hare and Hounds". I think that Doncaster would be high on the list of towns with the most pubs per square mile in England. To take advantage of this an area of the town was chosen to be the Hunting Ground. Two selected "Hares" would set off from a chosen starting point. Given half an hours start they would be followed by the rest of the Mess.... "The Hounds.!"
The rules were simple. You had to have a pint in each Pub that you visited. If you spotted the Hares you had to buy them a drink and have one with them, then give them ten minutes start after they had left. The winner was the one, or group, with the most Hares' signatures and the prize was the traditional chamber pot of beer which had to be consumed back at the Mess. There was no breathalyser in those days ! Come to think there were very few cars. We would all pile in the Station bus which usually left town about ten. As the Pubs closed at ten thirty you were faced with a walk of several miles when, as often as not, you missed the bus.

Last edited by regle; 10th Mar 2009 at 00:37.
 
Old 9th Mar 2009, 19:54
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Great stuff.

>>He then read out to us in "BBC English " the complete version of the next bit that we were going to hear from the same two people. He then played it and , Lo and Behold, it was reasonably clear to us and we could understand the gist of the conversation<<

The advice I had on an airline psychology course circa 1997 was:

"English loudly spoken built an Empire!"

Keep posting please Cleff and Regle. I log in each evening for the latest instalments.
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Old 9th Mar 2009, 20:38
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Is there anyone there ?
Oh we're here all right, regle, and hanging onto every word from you and cliffnemo! The post re the Bomber Command Instructor School is surely something at last that we can all relate to from personal experience. The techniques and demonstrations that were such eye openers to your pupils (sorry scratch that! ) are what all sim checks and refreshers should be about, a learning experience! Such knowledge as is passed on can just as easily disappear later. I remember an interview with the BBMF boss who recounted the challenge they found it to be 3 pointing the Lanc in a strong X-wind, and mentioning this to someone of your background. "But you don't even try to put it down on all three in those conditions, wheel her on and only let the tail go down later, before you've lost effective rudder control", was the experienced reply! Much the same as I was taught on the Hastings. Please keep it coming, gentlemen. You are filling in a lot of blanks in our knowledge of "how it was done" then. Thank you both.
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Old 10th Mar 2009, 11:07
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Burnaston

Cliff
I was interested to see that part of your training was at Burnaston. I was there at No. 3 B.F.T.S. from February until May 1952 training on Chipmunks. I recently came across a pic of one that I flew there where a Museum in Essex had just the centre portion of the fuselage and which they hoped to use to restore the whole aircraft.

At that time the hangar contained many interesting aircraft, including an old Walrus. I was later caught in its slipstream while flying a Harvard from Feltwell (Norfolk) on a cross-country exercise. The Officer's Mess was in the old Manor House, now sadly reduced to a pile of numbered stones lying in a field somewhere to make way for the Honda? factory. There were only three RAF staff there to look after us -all the rest were civilian instructors. I must say we ate like fighting-cocks on 6 pence a day and had a fantastic time. Part of the airfield was given over to a Coles Cranes repair depot and any that we found with the keys in were used for jousting tournaments at the weekends. We used the C.O.'s car and the Fire Engine and Ambulance for unauthorised trips into Burton-on-Trent at the weekends until one thoughtless member drove one into a ditch when this activity was severly curtailed.

You may remember the pub at the far side of the airfield - the Spreadeagle I think it was. One member of our course had his 21st Birthday party there late one evening and thoughtlessly tried to return to the Mess straight across airfield and the flare path where the rest of us were practicing night flying (remember the old gooseneck flares for lighting the runway?). Both I and Fred Emery (later of Reuters fame) reported having hit something during take-off and the Tower sent out a jeep which found poor Roy Eason with both feet missing. We were all pretty cut up over this but never did find out what happened exactly - presumably he must have dived to the ground when he heard our aircraft approaching but somehow kicked his feet up into the props. We never heard what happened to him later. Both Fred and I experienced our rudders seizing up while airborne but although each aircraft was stripped down, they never found the cause of this and accused us of a strong & misguided imagination. Many years later someone told me that an explanantion for this had been found but they couldn't remember what it was. Can anyone else help?

All in all, though, it was the best part of our training and we all have fond memories of the Chipmunk which is more than can be said of the Harvard which formed the next part of our training - a real brute which I never really liked. In later years I was to come across the dear old Chipmunk again when we used them at Elstree at the Commercial Pilot Training School I was helping to run there and I was once more able to enjoy flying them again.

Now - a message to any ex-RAF WWII personnel reading this. I am endeavouring to record as many previously unpublished accounts of service in the RAF as possible at this time before their authors progress to the Great Hangar in the sky. Any help in this worthwhile project would be welcome, as would support for the Stirling Aircraft Society who have the very worthwhile aim of trying to reconstruct a complete Stirling Bomber without the use of the original drawings (which were destroyed by Short Bros.) and aided only by the use of photographs and scraps which have survived from crashes and museums - an almost impossible task, you would think. There is not a single surviving example of this, the RAF's first 4-engined bomber, anywhere in the world. Any new members would be heartily welcomed.
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Old 10th Mar 2009, 11:22
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Reg and Cliff,

Still here indeed, and thoroughly enjoying your posts as always.
I've recently started having a close look at my great uncle's wartime logbook (he was a navigator with 467 Sqn, Waddington, KIA 10MAY44 over Lille). Discovered some interesting stuff - seems his first operational posting was to Bardney with IX Sqn but his pilot was lost as a second dickey before they got on ops themselves. So back to the HCU it was, to crew up again. I've also just got a copy of another navigator's logbook from a similar time but with much more detail... the search never ends!

Though the logs are priceless sources of information, your words 'from the horse's mouth' are even better for an understanding of what it was like to be there. Please, please, please keep it up!
Adam
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Old 11th Mar 2009, 11:54
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Oh No, Not Harrogate Again ?

Well Regle what an interesting report on limit flying. I have an interesting question on trim when flying minus an engine , but later. With regard to your four cyiinder ,in line engine, and 100 M.P.H Thatís nowt , my Tiger Moth engine was a four cylinder in line with a top speed of 107 M.P.H. , and the engine was upside down , with the sump on top. Did you have any experience of a Merlin cutting out when subjected to negative G ? Seem to remember a story about a lady correcting the fault with a washer?, which subsequently became known as Aunt Sarahís orifice. I also wonder if this fault appeared in the Packard Merlins, as these were fitted with a Stromberg? carburettor.

In my last post I said that we were at Battlestead Hill at Christmas time , but on checking find that we left about 15th November. 44, but I can definitely remember one of the pilots walking out of the town hall with a Christmas tree under his arm.

After the 15th we left Battlestead Hill, and were sorry to leave, as it was certainly one of the happiest R.A.F stations ever. Particularly as we were returning to the dreaded Harrogate. The only saving grace was the fact that I could travel home each weekend on my Norton. I also owned a genuine T.T Rudge ( nor kick start or lights) and used that for a while as it was a lot faster then the Norton. The family by that time had moved into the country, and I spent some of the weekends shooting , hares , rabbits, pigeons , and partridges . It reminds me I was home one weekend when the family pig (illegal) was killed, the offal being shared amongst neighbours , they returned the compliment when they killed their illegal pigs. Memories of Regleís previous story re killing the pig.

Back to R.A.F Harrogate . The same boring days, so boring I canít remember what we did, most likely , drill. P.T , swimming and link trainer. After a while we were informed we were posted to , could have been Bruntingthorpe, Hornchurch, or Newmarket. (All places where I served) but canít remember which. We spent a month on this course where we were taught how to, make fires, catch, gut and cook rabbits etc. Make soup using nettles, mushrooms. ,dandelion roots, elderberries , and other edible items found in the country. Building shelters using any available materials. After enduring this very useful course , we returned , you have guessed it, Harrogate. So again pack, kit bag, big pack, small pack, water bottle, gas mask, cape and on the train again ( standing room only)

Pressure was again brought to bear on me, commission as a pilot in the fleet air arm. Flight engineer , glider pilot. Later I was offered training as a P.F.E , which was pilot flight engineer on Lancasters. As there now seemed little chance of flying single engined aircraft, I eventually succumbed, and was posted to the R.A.F St Athan school of engineering, so next , the flight engineers course.

Itís fantastic, I can now shoot clay pigeons , march at 140 to the minute, drill for 15 minutes without a word of command, swim and life save, cook a good rabbit stew , strangle with a piece of wire, polish brass, throw a hand grenade, what on earth next ?
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Old 11th Mar 2009, 12:47
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What on earth next ? Cliff.

Telling us the tales that I, personally, look forward to immensely and , I am sure, everyone else does . That's what's next Cliff. I think that I must have encountered negative "G" once or twice but I can't remember whether I had an engine cut as I was so preoccupied at the times. It was probably when I was on my back in a Halifax over Munich in 1943 but no mention of engine cutting in log book but I dimly remember something of the sort happening. I think that I was too frightened to record it in my mind. CHUGALUG2, It was funny but whilst I was reading your last thread these words were running through my mind before I read your summary "You don't even think of a 3 pointer if there is a cross wind".
I think that I said before that wheelers were always the safest but watch for the landing run and that 3 pointers were a matter of personal pride. Strangely enough when landing a 747 you tend to use the 3 point type of initially landing the main wheels with the nose well up and then "land" the nose wheel gently.
SPARTACAN Yes and now an illiterate generation is left with an "Empireless" Nation.

Last edited by regle; 11th Mar 2009 at 17:19.
 

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