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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 27th Apr 2014, 00:15
  #5541 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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Danny racks his brains over Shawbury.

As I sense my faithful readership becoming restive and inclined to drift away, we'll return to that Fountain of All Wisdom and ATC Knowledge which is wedged between Grins Hill and the Wrekin in the fair county of Shropshire (and then return to our ongoing enjoyable craic).

We had contact with friends at RAF Shawbury; the Venns (whom we'd known at Strubby and Mablethorpe), booked us into a local pub, but we found a better place, and after about a week moved out to the Tern Hill Hall. Comfortable and good food, (but "Sally" managed to get into mortal combat with the hotel dog).

BTW, what could Frank Venn have possibly been doing at Shawbury ? A S/Ldr when we caught up with them at Wildenrath in '61 (he'd been an A1 QFI on Canberras with the Empire Flying College at Manby/Strubby), he must have been on a Canberra Sqdn in RAF(G). But there were no Canberras at Shawbury, only the CATCS, Marshall's Vampires and Piston Provosts (mechanical mice for the GCA School), and a Javelin MU.

Now I've already said that, as we slowly grow closer to the end of my story, my memory does not get better (as you might expect). For a start, what did I teach at Shawbury ? Much the same as I'd been taught there myself ten years before (IIRC). So what was that ? Can't really remember much any more.

But I know we have at least two colleagues on this Thread who (I hope) may now come forward and help me out, for they must have Sought Enlightenment at our Seat of Learning between late '64 and autumn '67, when I (among others) did our best to provide it. For:

"The toad beneath the Harrow knows/Exactly where each toothpoint goes".

We have two (metaphorical) Toads. So I call on MPN11 (#4088 p.205). And HughGw01, who said (#4101 p.206): "I recall being taken to Teesside for a liaison visit in an elderly Peugeot" [it was mine !!] "with an electric clutch and shown the repaired hole in the OM wall" (this relates to the well known story of the Middleton Ghost, amply covered in previous Posts).

How much of the lecture syllabus, our Mock CR/DFs, the Mock Control Room and the "Mentoring" system do you remember ? In particular:

How long was the ATC Course (excluding the GCA part) ? It had been 13 weeks in my time in '55, but could have been extended by '64. And did two or more Courses run concurrently, or was it just one at a time ? How many on one Course ?

How were your days split up (lectures in the mornings: practical - Mock Control Room and CR/DF simulator in the afternoons - week and week about ?). Did we issue Lecture Notes ? (if so, have you by any remote chance still got yours ?)

That'll do to be going on with. Now, for my part, what do I remember ? There must have been a W/Cdr as O.C. of the whole school, but the ATC school had a Lt/Cmdr RN in Command, known to all and sundry as "The Admiral" (names long forgotten). Thinking hard about the Instructor's Common Room on the first floor of the School building, there might have been fifteen or twenty desks - so I suppose that many Instructors. The majority were old-time aircrew like myself, but we had at least a couple of post-war younger aircrew entrants. I don't think we had any direct-entry ATC people yet - it was too early for them to have gained the experience. All of us were Flt.Lts. - there were no RN instructors in my time.

One ex-aircrew was Bob Warwick (RIP), a pilot who'd flown Hunters on 20 (?) Sqdn in Hong Kong, the other was Harry T., a Nav (not sure what on). They'd come in IIRC, on some sort of sub rosa deal which promised them early promotion in the Branch if they settled in successfully. This did not go down too well among the others, who naturally were not happy with these ready-made "Crown Princes" (and in fact, Harry, whose desk had been back-to-back with mine, would reappear as my SATCO in '68 at Leeming).

But Harry had done some very interesting statistical research. He'd found that the odds on promotion to S/Ldr in the ATC Branch were worse for people who'd done a tour on the School as Instructors than for those who hadn't. This was obviously wrong: I believe Harry put his findings up, and something (I hope) was done about it.

There were, of course "specialist" Instructors: a Nav to teach Navigation, a Met Man for Meteorology, and a Civil ATC Controller to keep us up to date on their procedures. He had his own office, and was always referred to by initials, as his Department was always changing its name. So he became, variously "CATCO" (Civil ATC), "MOALO" (Ministry of Aviation Liaison Officer) and "CLO" (Civil Liaison Officer). The system broke down a little when the Board of Trade took over Civil ATC, and he was dubbed "The Bottle-O !"

Much more to come, Goodnight, all.

Danny 42C.


"What's in a name ? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

Last edited by Danny42C; 27th Apr 2014 at 01:31. Reason: Error.
 
Old 27th Apr 2014, 10:54
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Hello Danny42C … you called? Before I respond to your request, I should note that Toad is also the term used by the denizens of an adjacent Island to describe Jerseymen (we are called "Crapauds", they are "Donkeys")
How much of the lecture syllabus, our Mock CR/DFs, the Mock Control Room and the "Mentoring" system do you remember? In particular:

How long was the ATC Course (excluding the GCA part)? It had been 13 weeks in my time in '55, but could have been extended by '64.
Let’s see. I left OCTU on 1 Apr 65, after which I think I had a week’s leave and then pottered slowly from Surrey up to Shawbury, breaking my journey in Stratford-on-Avon as I wasn’t convinced my old Ford Popular would do the journey in one go! On arrival I was told that the course wouldn’t be starting for another couple of weeks, and that I could head back home on leave. Nice bit of admin: well done Shawbury/Feltwell! The idea of using up 2 weeks leave, and moving back in with my parents, was too much to bear … so i volunteered to stay and help with the ATC Camps which were being held at the time.

That would mean the course started around the end of April. However, we Direct Entry total newbie A/POs started off by doing the initial 2 weeks of the airmen’s Assistant Air Traffic Controller course, in a mixed classroom environment. I guess this was part instruction, part indoctrination, and at least got us all speaking the language of ATC. As an aside … I had previously been a Civil ATC Assistant at London Centre, Heathrow, and for one of the lectures on Civil ATC our Sgt Instructor asked me to conduct it, saying I probably knew more about it than he did!

So, by my reckoning, we started the journey proper in mid-May, and graduated on 27 Aug (thank you, RAF F5994). That seems to be 16 weeks, which appears long - perhaps we also had some leave in the middle?
And did two or more Courses run concurrently, or was it just one at a time? How many on one Course?
I’m almost certain that the Courses overlapped. As one course moved up to the Advanced simulators, Live Tower (Local) and more demanding exercises, the next lot arrived to start the grind of classroom lectures and the Basic sims (the CRDF trainers, and doing “Local” whilst looking at a static model of an airfield!).

For course numbers and composition, I refer to the outstanding (but private) “ATC Old & Bold” photo library, which inter alia contains the Joint ATC Course photos from the 1950s to July 1968! Course sizes seem to be around 18-24, although there are a few exceptions with around a dozen. My course (132) seems fairly typical of the time - looks like 6 wartime aircrew, 6 post-war aircrew, 8 A/POs, 1 Mid RN, 1 Sgt AATC and 2 Sudanese Officer Cadets. And the Course Coordinator you referred to (The Admiral) was Lt Cdr Tim Derrick (see photo below).
Chief Instructor at the time was Wg Cdr G A L Elliot, of whom I have no recollection whatsoever, and the Stn Cdr was Gp Capt A F Wallace CBE DFC who I seem to recall was a bit of a Tartar.
* Source CATCS 25th Anniversary Handbook, 1975.

As it’s my course, and I have the photo, I feel able to post it here


How were your days split up (lectures in the mornings: practical - Mock Control Room and CR/DF simulator in the afternoons - week and week about?).
That sounds familiar, although certainly the pattern rotated. I vividly remember our little band of A/POs being inspected one morning in the DF Sim by Flt Lt Nat Tranter, who wished to ensure we had clean collars and polished buttons. We were told to ensure that our batman had polished them properly!! (We were accommodated 2 to a room in those days)

Did we issue Lecture Notes? (if so, have you by any remote chance still got yours?).

I have a distant memory of a yellowish hardback binder, with those annoying little brass screws, filling up with foolscap sheets of nasty fluffy cheap paper run off a Gestetner machine! But that document is sadly gone, and we of course had to return our copies of AP3024 on departure. I do believe my wife still has her Admin (Sec) course material - how sad is that?

Finally, a note or two on other individuals you mentioned:
Dear Bob Warwick moved on to be DSATCO at Tengah when I got there in Sep 67, and ended up in later years as a disturbingly stout wg cdr. So Shawbury was not a career impediment in his case - indeed, subsequently very few ATCOs reached wg cdr without having been on the staff at CATCS. Indeed, I can only think of one during my time. Perhaps Harry T's research paid off?

The Met Man I remember vividly, as he had a strong accent/impediment. Some giggling ensued when he referred to “low claaaaads all over the graaaaaand”.
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Old 27th Apr 2014, 13:05
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Have just returned from the Bomber Boys, WW11 veterans day at the Wings Museum Balcombe West Sussex. About 10 ranging from Pilots .Navs, F/E and Gunners.

As I write this at 2pm they will returning after lunch to sign various bits and pieces in aid of the Bomber Memorial Maintenance Fund.

An interesting display of WW11 aircraft bits excavated and well worth a visit.
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Old 27th Apr 2014, 18:01
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Gaining an RAF pilots brevet in WW2

Suggest you dont miss the current? issue of "Aeroplane Summer 2014"---the issue for June arrived in Ct.3 weeks ago!
Therein is the first installment of the history of a now 99 year old ex Metropolitan policeman , Leonard Trvevallion,who began his RAF pilot training in Lakeland Fl in Dec 1941.
Another story worthy of this thread.
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Old 28th Apr 2014, 02:00
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MPN11,

Your:

"....and the Stn Cdr was Gp Capt A F Wallace CBE DFC who I seem to recall was a bit of a Tartar...." You can say that again ! (he was a few years older than I, so by definition is almost certainly dead now and nil nisi bonum applies - but no one who did a tour at Shawbury under his command will ever forget him).

I take it that the residents of the "adjacent island" (wouldn't be Guernsey, by any chance ?), choose French epithets, whereas you Jerseymen, more loyal to the Crown, use English ones ?

(I quote from Wiki):

".....Queen Elizabeth II is often referred to by her traditional and conventional title of Duke of Normandy. However, pursuant to the Treaty of Paris (1259), she governs in her right as The Queen (the "Crown in right of Jersey",[18] and the "Crown in right of the république of the Bailiwick of Guernsey"),[19] and not as the Duke....."

So it would seem that Jersey somehow has the edge: Guernsey feels its nose put out of joint, and retaliates by stressing the French connection ? Just a thought ! ['Ware incoming]

Commander Derrick ("The Admiral") and W/Cdr Elliot, of course ! And I'd quite forgotten that we let you lot into the Tower (Local and Approach ?) to hone your skills on (mostly) Marshalls' pilots, who (to be fair) had already developed a strong sense of self-preservation (vitally necessary when placing your life in the hands of u/t "Talkdowns" at Sleap !) Static model of an airfield ? (what was that ?)

Fine body of men ! Some time ago, I was sent my ('55) Course Photo. All the people were ex-war aircrew, and there was a marked contrast between backgrounds (our tumbledown tarred wooden shed "School of Air Traffic Control" and your gracious Georgian facade of the new building).

Sgt Coombe - that's an interesting one. He must have been one of the very first "admin" ATC Assistants to be put up for a Local Controllers' Course (which would involve immediate promotion to F/Sgt). Otherwise, I'd think he was more or less at a dead end.

As for Harry the Statistician, it would seem that he hit the jackpot and no mistake ! Wing Commanders left, right and centre ! I'm pleased to hear that Bob Warwick made it into that noble body, and very sorry to be told some time ago that he'd died quite young (but I have no details).

Looking back, it seems that the three years I spent "labouring in the vineyard" there produced some very fine vintages (and the instructors did quite well, too). We must have been doing something right !....D.

DFCP,

Leonard Trevallion now 99. Hope for us yet ! By my reckoning he would be Class 42D or E. A measure of the RAF's desperate need for aircrew at that time was that exemption was allowed from otherwise strictly "Reserved Occupations" (ie from call-up - a Metropolitan policeman would certainly be one such), but only for aircrew volunteers. By remarkable coincidence, I had another ex-Metropolitan policeman (Alan Morley) as my room-mate on OTU at Hawarden. Nice chap, never knew what happened to him afterwards....D.


Ian BB,

Yes, it's one of the charms of this Thread that "Small World !" so often crops up. Not only did the RN use the Beechcraft "Expeditor" as their Comm. aircraft (a better bet than the Anson, IMHO), but the small internal "Air India" airline used them on their shorter routes, and I had a trip in one Palam-Rawalpindi in '45. I think they only had 7 seats plus a steward and two pilots !

The Barracuda was not the FAA pilots' dream machine, and they composed a rather ribald song about it, as a parody and to the tune of "As time goes by" (from "Casablanca", a very popular wartime film). Union Jack will almost certainly remember this from riotous nights in the Wardroom, but I trust it didn't come to the ears of your mother !

Nevertheless, the Barra did some good work, notably by dive-bombing (and severely damaging) "Tirpitz" before the Lancasters finished it off.....D.

This has stretched out a bit, but never mind. Goodnight all, Danny.
 
Old 28th Apr 2014, 10:03
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"The past is another country"

Danny

The Barracuda was not the FAA pilots' dream machine, and they composed a rather ribald song about it, as a parody and to the tune of "As time goes by" (from "Casablanca", a very popular wartime film). Union Jack will almost certainly remember this from riotous nights in the Wardroom, but I trust it didn't come to the ears of your mother !

Mother told me that the CPOs were very protective of her ears, (once they got over the initial shock of being sent "A GIRL" to maintain their Merlins). Perhaps because they had daughters themselves serving elsewhere, they devised a simple, but effective 'early warning system'. Which was, that the first person to see my mother approaching the hangar or flight line was to whistle "The Vicar of Bray" as the signal for all the "Effing & Blinding" to cease forthwith. She had wondered why this tune was so popular until "the penny dropped"!
Some years ago I was watching one of those 'Fly on the Wall' TV documentaries with my mother, about life aboard a modern warship, and she was quite shocked at the language used in front of the girls (now allowed to serve at sea, unlike in WW2). "That would never have been condoned in my day".

O Tempora ! O Mores !

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Old 28th Apr 2014, 10:23
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Danny42C


I believe Harry T was my course commander at Shawbury, he rather confused this v. green A/PO by telling all and sundry that he shouldn't be wearing his Nav Brevet and that "it wasn't right"!


'My' Harry T retired from the RAF as CATCO at Brampton IIRC.


Posted with due deference to such an august thread
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Old 28th Apr 2014, 10:53
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Originally Posted by Danny42C
Static model of an airfield? (what was that?)
We sat at a local control desk, with the usual pin-board and comms, and for 'realism' looked out through sheets of perspex at a scale model of an airfield with 1" high hangars. You had to imagine where the aircraft were with reference to the airfield diagram on your pin-board, and correlate that with the R/T messages being transmitted through your headset by the Instructors.

During the Advanced Phase of the course, as you noted earlier, students did live training in Shawbury Tower. The problem with that training in Local was that it was totally traffic-dependent for training value. Cr@p weather = minimal/nil traffic, Valley diversions = too busy for student ATCOs

In my later career I was able to procure a proper dynamic visual simulator which allowed structured, progressive training. It went live in 1992/3, IIRC. Still in service ... It will be a relic one day!!
RAF Shawbury | Christie - Visual Display Solutions

Originally Posted by FantomZorbin
'My' Harry T retired from the RAF as CATCO at Brampton IIRC.
Yes, we are all taking about the same guy. He was my GCA Course Commander in 66.

And I think we older ATCOs are allowed to tiptoe in and out, so long as we wipe our feet and don't slam the door. After all, how could those Magnificent Men have got up and down without us?

Originally Posted by Danny42C
All the people were ex-war aircrew, and there was a marked contrast between backgrounds (our tumbledown tarred wooden shed "School of Air Traffic Control" and your gracious Georgian facade of the new building).
It appears from the course photos that the black wooden huts passed into history in 1962 ... subsequent photos do indeed show the elegant "Expansion Scheme" buildings. Where were those black huts?

Oh, and Dick Coombe I'm almost sure went on to be a sqn ldr on the ADP side of the house.

Last edited by MPN11; 28th Apr 2014 at 12:32.
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Old 28th Apr 2014, 15:01
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Terrell

HF

My Uncle was at Terrell in 1941 course 3

If you are interested your Fathers first flight instructor is shown in G flight, there are also some other pictures that will give an idea to how well the cadets were looked after. https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resi...9680E62%213768 (this was a class magazine made by the cadets in the course)

One other thing, if you go to Terrell again there are some documents in the Terrell library that are worth looking at.

I have been trying to find out if the records for the cadets still exist in either the USA or the UK but so far have failed!
Happy reading...............

Last edited by andyl999; 28th Apr 2014 at 15:03. Reason: added info
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Old 28th Apr 2014, 17:39
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Westward ho!

To Union Jack (5536) and all other true believers - all aboard!


Although looking forward to the next stage of our saga, I left the QM with some regret; it had conveyed us across the most dangerous ocean in the world without incident in four days flat, outpacing its protective (?) screen in the process. But soon there was something else to think about as we boarded a train unlike any I had seen before, a train composed of vastly long coaches (or cars, in the local terminology) that by our lilliputan British standards were huge; inside, the open plan allied to a high ceiling and clerestory gave an almost chapel-like atmosphere which the rows of swing-back seats did little to dispel. These were covered in green plush and not over-comfortable, and I hoped the ride would not be a long one; the general consensus was that we were bound for a sort of transatlantic Heaton Park at a place called Moncton, several hours distant.

A strange, deep-toned whistle chimed melodiously from up ahead as the train lurched into motion, creeping round the side of the hill behind the harbour until the Queen's three tall funnels disappeared from view. Trundling through a long freight yard to an unfamiliar clickety-clackety from six- wheeled bogies running over staggered rail joints, we passed endless ranks of boxcars bearing romantic, evocative titles such as Rio Grande, Santa Fe, Southern Pacific, that spoke of the great lands lying ahead; even Wabash or New York Central had a certain magic about them, but the catwalks and roof-mounted handbrake wheels on some of the older vehicles hinted at a school of railroading tougher than any in the old world. Before long this urban scene was displaced by a pleasant countryside, one nevertheless giving more than a hint that the wild side of nature was not so very far away. Quite heavily wooded, with rocky outcrops here and there, agriculture existed only in patches and pockets and the relative sparsity of settlement was obvious.

I passed much of the time looking ahead through the open window, engrossed by the novelty and beauty of it all. Winding our way up innumerable grades and racing down again the other side, we crossed occasional roads protected only by a swinging red light and warning bell. Sometimes a car waited, when waved greetings would be exchanged with the occupants; but more often the road would be empty, a striking difference to home. But empty or not, at every one the whistle would sound the standard warning, its powerful, spine-tingling sound a remarkable and pleasing contrast to the accustomed squeakers of home railways.

After about two hours we stopped at Truro for water, where friendly local ladies bearing baskets of fruit climbed aboard distributing long-forgotten delights such as bananas, oranges and grapes. Getting down to stretch my legs and to inspect the huge, unfamiliar engine I engaged its crew in conversation but, despite amity on both sides, they were strangely reluctant to divulge our destination - no doubt they had been "got at" by some security nut.

Jerking into motion again in what I later learned was the customary North American manner, our train undulated along through scenery similar to that before, stopping briefly again at Amherst and then up into a range of low hills. The cinders fell thick and fast, then following a downhill burst of speed the brakes came on hard and it was evident that civilisation was close at hand. Coasting past some pleasant-looking wooden houses, we slowed further and crept through a station plainly labelled "Moncton", then turned off on to a branch and stopped. To the right was a large complex of military-looking buildings, and sure enough our train backed slowly into an adjacent siding and halted at what was to be our home for the next three weeks or so.

Here we awaited onwards transit to the next stage of training, almost certain to be an elementary flying training school somewhere about two thousand miles to the West. I have no recollection at all of how the days were passed; doubtless the military mind dreamt up some useless activities to occupy us, so useless that my brain has registered zero, but of our spare time I remember quite a lot. However the delay gave us a chance to familiarise ourselves with a new environment, even to pick up a little of the local idiom; my first lesson in 'la difference' occurred at breakfast, when on reaching the head of the chow queue I was asked if I wanted my egg 'over 'n easy or sunny side up' - to which I could only reply with a blank, baffled stare, earning not for the first time a comment along the lines of 'another dumb limey' or similar. But Moncton itself was a pleasant little town; the locals were mostly indifferent, having seen too many of our kind over the years, but the ladies who ran various canteens and similar facilities were always agreeable. The weather remained balmy, and I absorbed the ambience of our new environment with an easy contentment.

A short stroll of about a mile took one from camp to town, where it was good to see well-stocked shops again even if our miserable pay did not go very far; one good bookstore provided some diversion, but browsing without buying has its limits and not all the magazines appealed, so for those with wider interests it paid to look elsewhere. Fortunately for me Moncton was an important railway centre, being a virtual bastion of the Canadian National. During late afternoon the daily Montreal-Halifax express made a routine service stop, always worth watching. While the engine took water, a two-man team appeared armed with lube trolley and Alamite gun which they connected to the locomotive's air supply; one then pumped lube to sundry oiling points, the other feeding grease candles into his gun whilst simultaneously applying it to various nipples on the side rod bearings - I can still hear that gun's characteristic sound today. Others rocked the grate and attended to the ashpan, so it was quite a show; but, like all good shows, the best part came at the end for the drama of getting under way was indeed a spectacle worth watching.

It involved the negotiation of some switches on track that curved uphill onto a pronounced grade, and with at least fourteen heavy, all-steel cars strung out on the curve behind, the huge eight-coupled U2g class loco found it a tough task. First attempts invariably resulted in furious wheelspin accompanied by volcanic eruptions of smoke and decibels, the net effect being nil progress at all. A pause followed while the sanders were brought into action but, being gravity operated, little if any of the sand reached the right places but instead forming small mounds on the rails just ahead of the drivers. A repeat performance then ensued, however the resultant commotion did contrive to vibrate a little sand in the right direction, so finally permitting reluctant progress as the wheels began to bite. Agonisingly slowly, the train would start to creep forward, but there were several further explosive slips until at last the whole equipage was properly in motion and the racket finally died away. Quite an entertainment, and free into the bargain!

There was much else to occupy the attention. From time to time shunting of a particularly vigorous nature took place in the adjoining yard, the air resounding to blasts of exhaust followed by the reverberating boom of boxcars coming into violent contact. A total lack of signals looked very odd to an eye accustomed to the forests of semaphores at busy British junctions, and the setting of main line points by hand almost hazardous even if the switch stands were secured by padlock. Very occasionally there was the spectacle of a venerable, tall-stacked antique leaving town with the Shediac branch's weekly two-car passenger schedule, its energetic departure causing a rain of cinders.

Walking back to base during a late summer evening was always pleasant, the soft warm air positively caressing. Crickets chirped in the undergrowth, to the accompaniment of mysterious far-off train whistles echoing in the surrounding woods, while a maple ice cream cone added to the enjoyment of a new land and its ways. By dint of a slight deviation, one could walk back along some storage tracks adjacent to the big locomotive works. Here were line upon line of engines of all sizes, ancient and modern, awaiting their turn for scrapping or overhaul and freely available for inspection. Nobody chased me off, and I doubt that anyone was bothered anyway; most railway property was unfenced, and I had already noticed that inhabitants of this continent regarded it almost as their natural right to use the tracks as a footpath. I would climb into the cab of my choice, sit in the engineer's seat, and imagine myself as a latter-day Casey Jones racing west with some fabled flyer; but there was much worthy of serious interest too, and besides it was a happy way of passing time. It remains a matter of lifelong regret that I had no camera to record these scenes, now beyond recall.

About the turn of the month (August '43) came warning of movement, and another long train duly appeared in the camp siding. Marching down to board in the early evening, we found it markedly superior to the one that had brought us from Halifax; just as well, considering that it was to be our home for the next three nights. Fully air-conditioned, with double-glazed windows firmly closed, the spacious Pullman cars provided a comfortable double seat for each man. Soon the train pulled out onto the main line into the woods, and we received a summons to the evening meal. Walking through several other cars we entered the diner, to be confronted with an unexpected bonus: leather-covered chairs set at tables laid with spotless napery and silver, and white-clad waiters standing by. The good food and unexpected luxury induced a euphoric mood, and as the forests of New Brunswick slid by outside I decided this was an OK way to travel - would that Service life were always thus!

On returning to our car, we found the Pullman porter making berths ready for the night. The lower seats pulled together making one bed, while the upper berth hinged down from its stowage above the windows. Losing the toss to my companion I climbed into the upper section, finding it remarkably comfortable even if undressing in the confined space was an exercise in contortionism. Curtained off from the centre corridor one could read or sleep at leisure, but the soporific rhythm of the wheels soon sent me off into a dreamless slumber. Breakfast the next morning discovered us running through open farmland, in the distance a great river that had to be the St. Lawrence. Soon there was a far glimpse of Quebec standing on its eminence, then later we moved slowly over a long bridge into Montreal; but as I recall, we saw little of the city, probably because we went under rather than through it. The western edge of the conurbation was a strange area, flat and featureless with distant groups of buildings (industrial areas, towns?) connected by myriad railway tracks (or so it seemed), all of which we crossed noisily on the level apparently unprotected by signals; one or two had trolley poles and wires, indicating that they were interurban lines i.e. long-distance tramlines, something unknown in the UK and now only a memory in their homeland.

That casual British habit of leaning out the better to enjoy the passing scene was thwarted by the locked windows, however a superb vantage point was to hand by dint of opening the top halves of the end vestibules' Dutch doors. This practice was strongly discouraged by the train crew, who would close them up again and chase us off with curses; no doubt we had infringed some safety regulations, but after a while it was usually possible to creep back and resume the vigil. Thus placed, it was possible to savour such delights as the drama of a heavy express speeding by, our own train halted in a passing loop; for even in this relatively populous area most main line trackage was single. Scenic pleasures, of which many were to follow the next day, were also seen to great advantage from the vestibule doors.

Towards dusk we crept slowly through Ottawa, the main memory being the Parliament buildings' green copper roof (about the only thing recognisable to me on my next visit over fifty years later). As night drew on empty country once again surrounded us, the following day revealing a strange land of endless forests interspersed with areas of bog and numberless rocky outcrops. Some of the latter rose to form minor bluffs and crags down which poured foaming rapids, and occasionally the train brushed by lakes of indeterminate size. Already we had understood something of the Dominion's epic scale, but as the second day drew on it really began to sink in; for when light faded once more, the scenery was exactly the same as it had been at breakfast. Include also the terrain covered during the previous night, plus what we were to travel through on this third night to come, and one began to grasp that Canada was indeed a place of huge distances and few people; for outside the few stops there had been no sign of habitation, nothing whatever all day long - the whole vast domain was empty.

I found this experience enthralling beyond belief, but was surprised by the attitude of some of my companions who passed the entire time in card play, only looking outside to complain loudly at the allegedly boring and uninteresting scene passing before them. I found such philistinism shocking but enlightening, for I was to discover that there are people of limited outlook and closed mind who dislike things alien and unfamiliar; sad, for truly they were the losers.

Periodic service stops occurred about every two hours, when the engine was watered and the cars' supplies of ice replenished. Trolleys carrying large blocks of this commodity were already positioned along the low platforms as the train halted; said blocks then being manhandled into containers beneath the floor, their purpose to provide the cooling element for air conditioning. At the same time some of the crew might detrain and be replaced by others, catering supplies taken on board, dirty linen exchanged for new and so on, such tasks being the sole raison d'être of these small settlements. None of them had road access; indeed there was no sight of any roads at all throughout the day, the entire territory being at that time 100% dependent on the railway (plus some bush pilots) for links with the outside world.

In late afternoon we passed close by a lake that stretched to the horizon, a body of water with the appropriate name of Longlac but none the less a comparative midget by Canadian standards at a mere fifty-odd miles in length. Despite the bright sun it had a vaguely sinister appearance, and I found myself imagining Indian war canoes sliding round the nearest headland; perhaps it was just coincidence that during the coming night we were to halt at a remote station with the evocative title of Sioux Lookout.

Towards dusk the train stopped at Nakina, a junction with the Ontario Northland line that straggled in from the east to join us after its hundreds of lonely miles through the Canadian Shield's endless forests. With a change of engine the stop was longer than usual, and some took the opportunity to visit the solitary general store just across the tracks; but it had little to offer, and a long whistle call from our fresh locomotive soon brought them back. Tomorrow we were due to change trains at Winnipeg, so after the evening meal we turned in wondering what the next day would hold for us.

The morning found us moving slowly through a very different landscape, flat and unforested though dotted here and there with spindly trees; soon groups of buildings, roads even, indicated that Winnipeg was close at hand. Crawling ever more slowly through the inevitable yards and sidings we came to a stand in the station itself, an impressively large structure with many platforms; detraining, instructions were given to present ourselves several hours hence for the onward journey. Although the largest town for hundreds of miles around, Winnipeg could not be said to have offered very much; so after visiting a cafe and a bookshop it was back to the station to inspect the "Countess of Dufferin", an elderly wild west type locomotive on a plinth outside. The obvious solution of finding a good bar was out of the question, for at this period the Canadian liquor laws were extremely harsh; very limited quantities of the hard stuff were available to over-21's only, and beer sold in a limited number of sleazy "beer parlours" at very restricted hours. So perforce we remained dry, which was probably just as well.

I would happily have chosen to pass time on the station itself, but passengers were allowed onto platforms solely for the purpose of joining or leaving trains; the notion of a platform ticket per se was unheard of, and the concourse allowed no sight of the action----a strange and unfamiliar situation that held some logic in view of the savage Canadian winters, but was an irritation in the warmth of early September. Gathering at the platform gate at the appointed hour, our party passed through the subway and emerged to board a train very different from the one we had recently quit, one bearing the dull maroon livery of the mighty Canadian Pacific; unfortunately the change was more than cosmetic, and so our new magic carpet was viewed with a considerable degree of displeasure.

The entire consist might have come from some repository of Canadian legend, being made up of a collection of antiques grandly termed "colonist cars". In other words, these creaking contraptions were the traditional conveyance provided for immigrants, it being apparently considered that only the most basic facilities were needed for East European slobs, Irish peasants, air cadets, et al; no doubt they formed part of the CPR's history, and one half expected to find arrow holes in the exterior (wooden) panels. The seats were trimmed with a thin layer of unyielding black leather, the uncomfortably upright backrests similarly equipped, the floor covered with lino rather than carpet and air conditioning was by means of opening the windows. So we were not very impressed with the CPR, and the subsequent discovery that the cars' springs were as geriatric as the rest of the outfit promised a pleasant trip.

However, at least our motive power was fairly modern. One of the CPR's regal Royal Hudsons, once clear of city limits it whirled us across the endless prairie at a cracking pace, making brief water stops every two hours or so at small towns that all looked exactly alike. After about ten minutes' near-silence broken only by the sigh of the wind blowing from nowhere to nowhere to a distant accompaniment from the locomotive's bell, a warning whistle told us to brace as the engineer took up slack in the inevitable style. Accustomed by now to getting under way with a series of jolts, we took comfort in knowing that us poor backward Brits managed at least one thing better at home.

I would not pretend that this was the most interesting part of our journey, but it did show me that the prairie was not universally flat and featureless. Ignoring the fact that it rises very gradually as one goes west, there was a surprising amount of gentle undulation, with low bluffs appearing later on; further north and west, as I discovered later from the air, there were surprisingly deep valleys and large rivers. Apart from occasional clumps of low trees, mostly serving as windbreaks for adjacent farmsteads, the prairie was one vast wheatfield; I do not recall seeing any animals at all, although there must have been a few somewhere.

The tedium increased as the day drew on; the first few miles of open country had come as a welcome change from endless forest, but several hundred miles more of the same was more than sufficient. The heat made open windows essential, but the draught brought dust and cinders with it while the discomfort afforded by our miserable seating became intolerable. At Brandon there was a brief taste of our future as we ran past a large airfield where many Harvards were going about their business, but it was soon gone, to be replaced by more of the same as before.

In the early evening the train rolled into Regina, capital city of Saskatchewan and the only substantial town since leaving Winnipeg more than three hundred miles behind us. There was enough light to see the Provincial Parliament Building, like so many others both north and south of the 49th parallel modelled on the Washington Capitol; but darkness fell as we moved on to Moose Jaw, fifty miles further west and junction for the branch line to our final destination at Assiniboia.

Postscript: More than fifty years later, while en route Halifax-Montreal, I again passed through Moncton by train, the dome car enabling a good view on both sides. The main street looked much the same but the station, although still functioning, had lost both its main building and the adjacent hotel while the site of our transit camp appeared to have morphed into an industrial estate. The biggest change, of course was up at the front of our train - no more steam of fond memory pulling us along, just a pair of poison gas pumps.
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Old 28th Apr 2014, 20:21
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harrym, a thousand thank-you's for describing the journeys from Halifax (Did I say NY? Sorry, must take more notice!) to Moncton, and Moncton to Assiniboia. I must now admit to my guilty secret. Like you I am a steam enthusiast, and am allowed by SWMBO to attend the Bluebell Railway twice weekly as a volunteer in the Carriage and Wagon Works at Horsted Keynes. So your obvious love of the genre comes across loud and clear as you describe the fluctuating levels of comfort afforded you and your companions in your great trek west.

The vital importance of the railways in opening up Canada and the USA in the 19th Century can be easily understood from your description of endless wilderness with only the railway and its attendant settlements to witness the presence of modern man. What a contrast to the technology that you represented, abeit as an apprentice, yet what an appropriate setting to learn that trade, for aviation was to become the modern railroad in those lands, 'from California to the New York Island' as Mr Guthrie would have it.

Once again I must congratulate you on your literary style. You may not have possessed a camera but you possessed something far more valuable, an enquiring and observant mind together with a photographic memory, and all topped off with the seemingly effortless ability to recount it so vividly that we share the journey with you. Thank you Harry, and thank you Grandma!

Danny, thank you for so willingly slipping into harness yet again, all the more so as it was purely voluntary and in no way under any duress ;-) Now at last your peregrinations have found territory shared with your readership. This is perhaps the very point of your long and varied journey, for it connects the past with the present and tells us how we got here. The greatest change has to be in shear numbers, an RAF over 1 million strong in WW2 to well under 40,000 today. Units in every continent of the world in 1000's of Stations, now shrunk to a handful overseas and not many more at home:-

List of former Royal Air Force stations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

List of Royal Air Force stations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Perhaps we should give thanks that the million secured our future and enabled us to shrink to so few. Or perhaps we should reflect on the dire necessity that the BCATP for instance responded to, and vow that we should not be so desperately short of trained aircrew again.

British Commonwealth Air Training Plan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

...or is it already too late?
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Old 28th Apr 2014, 21:48
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Andyl999

Thank you for the link and will send it to Dad once I get home on Thursday. With reference to student records my Dad tried to get his RAF records a few years ago only to be told they had been destroyed

Harrym

I am also a steam buff I was fortunate to serve in Germany when all officers travelled 1st class and made a duty overnight sleeper journey from Gutersloh to San Moritz (don't ask). I felt like James Bond as my sleeper was changed to a saloon with views of the Alps as I breakfasted! My Dad had a camera at Terrell and once he has had help to transfer them to disc I will post a suitable selection.

HF
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Old 28th Apr 2014, 22:27
  #5553 (permalink)  
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Arnold Schools comparison with BFTS.

harrym,

Thanks for your prompt and very useful replies. The total Course hours (140-150) agree well with other sources for RAF training of the period; and as it was delivered by RAF instructors, we can confidently assume that what you got would be the standard UK syllabus, and it would be the same as that taught in the BFTS (indeed one of their civilian US instuctors is quoted as saying as much on a recent Post), and in other Empire Training Schools.

Now, taking into account the fact that there was no evidence then (at the OTU stage) or later of any perceived superiority of Arnold trained pilots, the Arnold scheme appears (to our eyes) grossly inefficient in comparison with our own system. Even if the "chop rates" had been broadly similar, (which they were not), then we were turning out a product in 150 hours equal (as far as anyone could see) to that taking 200 hours by the Arnold route. That was bad enough, but when you couple it with the enormous Arnold failure rate (perfectly explainable as it was in circumstances which I have already suggested, and quite acceptable to the US Air Corps), then it would appear that the RAF lost several thousand pilots which it desperately needed.

And apart from all the hardships and mortal dangers of a Bomber Command raid over Germany, just think of a lone pilot having to hand-fly his Lanc (no auto pilot - if he used one he'd be a dead man in minutes) every minute of seven hours or more at night (although I suppose his F/E could give him a break). Makes you think, doesn't it ? Conversely, the Air Corps was able to provide (AFAIK) two pilots for every operational aircraft with dual controls.

Nothing in what I have just said implies base ingratitude to Gen Arnold or his Government for their generous Scheme, which alone furnished Harris (primarily, but also others) with the vital component for 2,000+ extra Lancaster/Halifax sized crews, and for which we should be eternally grateful. It is just a tragedy that there might have been so many more. All water under the bridge, now, of course.

Cheers, Danny.

EDIT: harrym, congratulations on a wonderful piece of descriptive writing ! Chugalug has already said it all: I can only add "Hear Hear".

Upholstery on the "colonial cars" ? You were spoilt, mate (we had bare wood bunks, although there might have been something on the seats).

The evocative, throaty "Whoo, whoo" (which you could hear for miles) is with me yet...D.

Last edited by Danny42C; 28th Apr 2014 at 23:03. Reason: Add Text.
 
Old 30th Apr 2014, 15:37
  #5554 (permalink)  
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MPN11,

Your:

"....and the Stn Cdr was Gp Capt A F Wallace CBE DFC who I seem to recall was a bit of a Tartar...."

You can say that again ! (he was a few years older than I, so by definition is almost certainly dead now and nil nisi bonum applies - but no one who did a tour at Shawbury under his command will ever forget him)".

I take it that the residents of the "adjacent island" (wouldn't be Guernsey, by any chance ?), choose French epithets, whereas you Jerseymen, more loyal to the Crown, use English ones ?

Commander Derrick ("The Admiral") and W/Cdr Elliot, of course ! And I'd quite forgotten that we let you lot into the Tower (Local and Approach ?) to hone your skills on (mostly) Marshalls' pilots, who (to be fair) had already developed a strong sense of self-preservation (vitally necessary when placing your life in the hands of u/t "Talkdowns" at Sleap !) Static model of an airfield ? (what was that ?)

Fine body of men ! Some time ago, I was sent my ('55) Course Photo. All the people were ex-war aircrew, and there was a marked contrast between backgrounds (our tumbledown tarred wooden shed "School of Air Traffic Control" and your gracious Georgian facade of the new building).

Sgt Coombe - that's an interesting one. He must have been one of the very first "admin" ATC Assistants to be put up for a Local Controllers' Course (which would involve immediate promotion to F/Sgt). Otherwise, I'd think he was more or less at a dead end.

As for Harry the Statistician, it would seem that he hit the jackpot and no mistake ! Wing Commanders left, right and centre ! I'm pleased to hear that Bob Warwick made it into that noble body, and very sorry to be told some time ago that he'd died quite young (but I have no details).

Looking back, it seems that the three years I spent "labouring in the vineyard" there produced some very fine vintages (and the instructors did quite well, too). We must have been doing something right !....D.

DFCP,

Leonard Trevallion now 99. Hope for us yet ! By my reckoning he would be Class 42D or E. A measure of the RAF's desperate need for aircrew at that time was that exemption was allowed from otherwise strictly "Reserved Occupations" (ie from call-up - a Metropolitan policeman would certainly be one such), but only for aircrew volunteers. By remarkable coincidence, I had another ex-Metropolitan policeman (Alan Morley) as my room-mate on OTU at Hawarden. Nice chap, never knew what happened to him afterwards....D.

IanBB,

It is nice to hear of the chivalry and courtesy displayed by the "Jolly Jack Tars" of that era towards a Wren (your mother), and of the ingenious way in which the "alarm" was sounded.

"Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis" - strictly translated (for the benefit of the non-classicists among us) as: "The times move [on], and we too move [along] in them." - but do we really have to ?..... D.

Fantom Zorbin,

Doesn't sound like the Harry I knew ! Perhaps he wasn't "quite right" that day. Good to hear that 'our' Harry got to the top in the end.

Now no more of this "deference" and "august thread". Come on in, the water's fine !...D.

MPN11,

The "Carlstrom Syndrome" strikes again ! Although I must have used the Static Airfield model a hundred times, I have absolutely no recollection of it now. But I must say that your Mk.2 (and I quote) sounds a much better idea:

"In my later career I was able to procure a proper dynamic visual simulator which allowed structured, progressive training. It went live in 1992/3, IIRC. Still in service ... It will be a relic one day!! (RAF Shawbury | Christie - Visual Display Solutions)".

Oh what it is to be a Wing Commander, and to be able to make things happen ! (did they give you anything for the idea, btw ?)

I quote:

"How could those Magnificent Men (in their Flying Machines) have got up and down without us ?".

Very well, in point of fact. The great untold secret of ATC is that the whole lot could vanish tomorrow; aviation would continue to function regardless. Admittedly the flyboys would have to look out of the window a bit more, and anti-collision radar might prove its worth.

After all, in the war we said: "If you can't see your friends, who mean you no harm, how will you see your enemy who is creeping up behind you with a piece of lead pipe ?" (I went through '41 to'46 (US,UK,India and Burma) with no ATC at all, and felt no pain).

And you can navigate, can't you ? So why would you fly into a mountain which is on your map ? The True Blue doesn't sail onto well-charted rocks, or go aground on marked shoals any more, does it ?
(but now I come to think of it..........pace Union Jack).

(All the above with tongue-in-cheek !)

Fine body of men ! No idea where our black huts were, somewhere in walking distance of the Messes, I suppose. And good for Sgt Dick Coombe (you can't keep a good man down !)....D.

andyl999,

The Terrell Year Book was well worth reading, and so well illustrated. HF Senior seems to have had a far more comfortable existence than we in the Arnold Schools (although I can only speak of Carlstrom).

I am still confused by the way that the BFTS, even before Pearl Harbor, were able to wear RAF forage caps with the white flash, and have RAF officers in uniform ordering them about, while we were skulking about in civvies and flying overalls, pretending to be civilians. Perhaps it was because we were at an Army school, and Terrell was civilian ?.

The records for the cadets will certainly exist - deep in the vaults of the Pentagon. Also there is the answer to the really big question: "What did the Army Air Corps learn from their cadets, (which they required to compose 20% of the BFTS intake) When they got them back; how did they compare with the home grown product ?...D.

Last edited by Danny42C; 30th Apr 2014 at 15:41. Reason: Spacing.
 
Old 1st May 2014, 16:25
  #5555 (permalink)  
 
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"When they got them back;"

Danny, you posed the question:

When they got them back; how did they compare with the home grown product ?...

I can't answer that question, but I can confirm where the vast majority of them served. Not in Pursuit (Fighter) Squadrons nor Bomber Squadrons but in the ATC (Air Transport Command).
Now I don't buy into the 'Gung Ho' Fighter jocks taunt that ATC stood for "Allergic to Combat," as anyone who flies a defenceless C-47 (or whatever) into a combat zone would seem to me to be very brave indeed. But I digress.
The Clewiston News of May 28 1943 reports on the graduation of my father's course (12) and concludes with:

"The group (U.S. and RAF) left on Tuesday for unannounced destinations and new assignments by the Royal Air Force and the Air Transport Command."

Now ,as I have stated in a previous post, these U.S. cadets were selected for BFTS by means of College and University credits and most of them had civilian flying experience to PPL level and were "the best of the best" of the USAAC cadets. But their future as ATC pilots seems to be preordained - despite the fervent desire of some of them to be P-51 aces.

In Will Largent's 7 interviews with the U.S. cadets (3 from course 12, 2 from course 18, 1 from course 17 and also a gent from No 3 BFTS (how did he get in here?) everyone of them said that all their graduates went to ATC.

Now here's the nugget: Blaine H. Schultz of my father's course 12 said:

"I was sent to Maxwell Field, Alabama, for preflight training. The word came down that volunteers with previous flying experience were needed to attend the BFTS in Clewiston, Florida. In return for volunteering, we were told that we would be placed in the noncombat Air Transport Command. That seemed to be a good idea at the time."

Blaine, and the rest of the course 12 Americans went from Clewiston to Alpina, Michigan for reassignment within Air Transport Command. Blaine was sent first to Texas to Braniff Airlines to learn the DC-3. Then to St Joseph, Missouri for instrument training. He was then assigned to the 3rd Ferry Group and checked out on the P-39, P-40, P-47, and P-51. (The P-39s were mainly ferried up to Alaska where they were handed over to Russian pilots). He was later checked out on the C-46 which he flew on the southern route to Europe (down to Natal, Brazil, then Ascension Island to Dakar and then up to Marrakesh. He spent the the rest of the war based in Tripoli and Casablanca. This career path was typical for the U.S. graduates of BFTS.

So Danny, I don't know what the USAAC thought of them - but that's what they did with 'em.

Do ut des


IanBB
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Old 1st May 2014, 16:38
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the rest of the war based in Tripoli and Casablanca.
If I was around at that time I would dream about that.
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Old 1st May 2014, 17:19
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Sincere thanks harrym for a wonderful piece of descriptive writing, I was enthralled from first sentence to last. Just when we think we are running low on contributors, another veteran takes up his keyboard ... and our indefatigable OC Danny keeps them coming. Our gratitude and best wishes to all of you.
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Old 1st May 2014, 20:48
  #5558 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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Ian BB,

Again, the voices from the past coincide ! You may remember that Cliff (RIP), our revered Founder, had as his oppo at BFTS, Darr Field, Miami, OK. an Air Corps cadet (Harry Olbers). He said Harry spent his war ferrying B-17s round the world.

Your Blaine Schulz said:

"I was sent to Maxwell Field, Alabama, for preflight training. The word came down that volunteers with previous flying experience were needed to attend the BFTS in Clewiston, Florida".

This is funny. Our LACs would all be ab initio at BFTS. Were the US entrants just fed in at the SFTS stage ? If they started at the beginning, with previous flying experience plus our EFTS stage, of course they should be better at the end ! And volunteers (all right for some !) In our Air Force you might volunteer to get in - after that you did as you were told.

I am not too sure about the P-39. The tricycle was a good idea, but the idea of that shaft, (carrying 1,200 hp) between your legs (and what might happen if it broke free or snapped !) would not appeal to me. No wonder they palmed them all off on the Russkies.

In other words: "Quid Pro Quo ?"

("Hard Pounding, Gentlemen", said Wellington at Waterloo, "we shall see who can pound the longest")....D.


Fareastdriver,

I don't think it would be quite like the film !...D.


Geriaviator,

Thanks for your heartening words. Good thing that Horatius has someone else beside him on the bridge now, for he's all too defatigable ! And I'm not, repeat not the O.C. - just one of the lads !...D.

Cheers, everybody, Danny.
 
Old 1st May 2014, 23:53
  #5559 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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The "Vissim".

MPN11,

I refer to an excerpt from your #5549 (my underline and numbering):

1. "We sat at a local control desk, with the usual pin-board and comms, and for 'realism' looked out through sheets of perspex at a scale model of an airfield with 1" high hangars. You had to imagine where the aircraft were with reference to the airfield diagram on your pin-board, and correlate that with the R/T messages being transmitted through your headset by the Instructors".

2. "During the Advanced Phase of the course, as you noted earlier, students did live training in Shawbury Tower. The problem with that training in Local was that it was totally traffic-dependent for training value. Cr@pweather = minimal/nil traffic, Valley diversions = too busy for student ATCOs".

3. "In my later career I was able to procure a proper dynamic visual simulator which allowed structured, progressive training. It went live in 1992/3, IIRC. Still in service ... It will be a relic one day!! RAF Shawbury | Christie - Visual Display Solutions"

To all of the old ATC hands who may be reading this, I say "Click on this link, and see the marvels of science !" I have some pertinent remarks and questions:

1. This was not so far from reality as it may sound. In a very busy circuit, Local has no time to twist around and look for every real aircraft that calls, but must rely on his pin-board to a great extent. All he can do is to flash quick glances at the "Finals, three greens" point, to see if a dangerous situation is developing (and the Runway Controller, itchy finger on the trigger of a red Verey pistol, is his long-stop there).

Take the case of the Local one late, dark, murky afternoon at Thornaby in'54, who (thought) he had one aircraft (me) in circuit, but went through his entire patter with me without seeing me at all because (a) the vis was so bad that he didn't expect to and didn't bother to look, and (b) because I wasn't there, actually - I was six miles away at MSG ! (whole sad story miles back on this thread).

2. Even in fair weather the bulk of the traffic at Shawbury consisted of Marshalls' pilots, only two or three at a time, their Vampires or Piston Provosts up for an hour or two for radar training at Sleap and well spaced out. Then there would be the odd Javelin airtest (always flown by "Fred" - did he have another name ?). And of course whatever Fate chose to throw at you, which could be anything but was mostly nothing.

3. Now the questions start. The VISSIM simulation looks marvellous; the five screens give as much of a panorama as you might see in a real Tower without turning round in your chair. Could you manipulate the "cyber" aircraft to fly to match your patter ? (For example, could you "fly" your aircraft into the ground and synchronise that with the flames and smoke ?) Or taxy them out and "take off" at will ? How many Instructors were needed to "fly" the "aeroplanes" and do
the R/T - one each ? (in which case it would then be very labour-intensive). But then, IIRC, the "Mock" sessions were carried out by only one Instructor, weren't they ?

Or was the whole thing pre-recorded in some way, and you just had to supply the R/T ?

I throw it open for others to join in (this is our Forum at its best). Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 1st May 2014 at 23:55. Reason: Typo.
 
Old 2nd May 2014, 09:48
  #5560 (permalink)  
 
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Danny,
What great reading. I was one of your students at Shawbury in 1965-66, I really don't know how you coped with us upstarts. I believe the Javelin test pilot was Fred Butcher, also, I remember Bob Warwick with considerable admiration. Not only was he a great instructor on the DF but he also was an accomplished dinghy sailor, awarding me my RAFSA "A" Helm award on the lake at Ellesmere.
I and two other APOs on my Joint Course were the first students to be "selected" to go straight on to the Radar Course and then direct to Sopley for the Area Radar course. This was in order to fill the huge new requirement for area controllers with the opening of the Type 82 Units (Watton, North Luffenham and Lindholme). Great days.
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