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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 15th Aug 2014, 17:23
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1340 Flight Kenya - a sad coincidence

1340 Flight Kenya - a sad coincidence - Jack Sherburn DFC - RIP

From today's Telegraph (15/08/14) obituary for Jack Sherburn DFC

Jack Sherburn - obituary - Telegraph

PZU Out of Africa (Retired)
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Old 15th Aug 2014, 17:41
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It's quite a while ago since Danny made the allusion to the tale from Flight, and somebody might have been there before me, but there must surely be something to the tale of the DC4 with the locked controls:

1947 - Chuck Sisto's airline prank. - on Newspapers.com

Trish Long: Incredible story about the 'Flip-Flop' plane high above El Paso - El Paso Times

David Vs. Goliath: 9/11 and Other Tragedies - Rodney Stich - Google Books

Pan American Flight 6 ditching in the Pacific Ocean, Airline Ditchings, Multiple engine failure
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Old 15th Aug 2014, 18:05
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Please say high to your Dad for me. I knew him somewhere in the Beverley world, and judging by the dates you have already posted, I think he would have been on the staff at Thorney Island when I went through the OCU in 64/65.
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Old 15th Aug 2014, 20:15
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Paging Danny 42C ...

You may have seen this earlier, but FYI ...

Around minute 20:50 there's a bit of GCA, dragging the servo wire across the SLA3-C PAR. Nostalgic moment??? Or didn't an FTS have decent PAR?
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Old 16th Aug 2014, 01:38
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Swan Lake.


Welcome on to this Best of all Threads, particularly as you seem to be one of our noble ATC warriors. The Swan Story was one of the best I've heard for a long time ! Have you any more like it ?

I certainly couldn't have forgotten the "swan song" you've added to our store of Tales from Old Leeming/Dishforth ! I was on ATC there from Sep '67 to end Dec '72. I think this must have happened after I left. What were your dates there ?

Cheers, Danny.
Old 16th Aug 2014, 08:31
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Did you ever come across the 'Ackroyd (sp?) Board'? An electronic indicator between Talkdown and Local to indicate position of PAR traffic and to obtain clearance for same. FY had one but maybe it was only on Bomber Command airfields.
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Old 16th Aug 2014, 08:56
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Did you ever come across the 'Ackroyd (sp?) Board'?
Yes, we had one at Strubby. Collections of different coloured map pins, with the call signs of all the Manby JPs and Strubby Varsities and Canberras [later, Dominies] - and a few blanks for visitors on which one chinagraphed the call sign

What fun you had, poking them into the little holes in the airfield diagram, to make the connection and illuminate the appropriate lamp downstairs. How one yelped when you stabbed yourself with a pin for the umpteenth time! Damn, those pins were sharp!

Our repeater was in Approach downstairs. Nothing in the GCA truck, of course, but Talkdown would be given circuit traffic with the 3-mile clearance, IIRC. It was useful to an extent, as Strubby did a lot of simple QGH approaches. I'm trying to remember whether we also had one at Tengah - I shall search some old photos later.

Invented by W. S. "Stubby" Akeroyd [subsequently gp capt] to enhance Flight Safety and Injure ATCOs

Last edited by MPN11; 16th Aug 2014 at 09:51.
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Old 16th Aug 2014, 09:01
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Thanks for the welcome.

Yes I'll admit to being part of the Flying Prevention Branch. My days at Dishforth were from 1979 to 1987. Parented initially by Leeming, then Linton when Leeming was being refurbed for the F3.

At the time I was a mere Corporal Runway Controller before I became Trusty and Well Beloved. In fact for the last 2 years of my Dishforth days I was the only permanent RAF member of staff. The Mobile Glider Repair Team having been moved to Bicester and the Barrack Warden's Team to Linton. Everyone else was seconded on a monthly basis from the parent units. Alas the powers that be would not allow me to use the title 'Corporal Commanding RAF Dishforth'.

The swan story was before my time but came from the RAF Dishforth Scrap Book that was held in what was the SATCO's office. The Scrap Book contained newspaper cuttings relating to Dishforth doings dating from the '40's to date. I hope it's still there.


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Old 16th Aug 2014, 18:51
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Gaining an RAF pilots brevet in WW2

Dishforth Danny well before your time.
I recall my father coming home just before the war--- in Dishforths Whitley days I believe.He had picked up a hitch hiking airman from there who assured him that they could see submerged submarines from the air---in shallow clear water?
Of course at that time the stories were also abroad about cars on the N Yorkshire moors being disabled by "rays" coming from what we came to know as Fylingdale
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Old 17th Aug 2014, 23:46
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Swan Lake and Ackroyd Board.


It seems that you came to Leeming seven years after I retired - and lots of things can happen in that time ! (including the Swan story). But, strangely enough, I never heard of a Dishforth Scrap Book, although if it dated from the '40s it must have existed then. Perhaps it had become buried under old paperwork in a drawer in SATCO's office (as things tend to do), and was not rediscovered until after '72.

Pity the RAF wouldn't "wear" a "Corporal Commanding RAF Dishforth" (after all, Napoleon did all right as "Le petit Caporal", didn't he ?) Looked up "uckers" - seems far too complicated for me. Something much simpler like chess is more in my line !

Yes, swans taking flight are a wonder to behold. In '56, on my way from Shrewsbury to Shawbury in the spring mornings around 0700, I had to cross the Severn on a footbridge over a straight stretch which was their main runway. The tricky part seemed to be first getting up onto a "step", where they hoisted themselves up on the "undercarriage", stretched out their necks and managed a paddle-assisted slow acceleration until they reached "rotate" and "feet-up". Then followed a few moments in "ground effect" until they'd reached enough airspeed to allow climb away. It was fascinating to watch.

It brought to mind a summer, thirteen years before, when I was at Spitfire OTU at Hawarden; we used to fly low-ish over the Ellesmere lakes, and they'd take off, leaving a long trail of perfectly regular "footfall" splashes on the calm lake water behind them.

Cheers, Danny.


FantomZorbin and MPN11,

The "Ackroyd Board" was after my time, but we had a sort of Multiple Alarm Clock for our Bloggs in Leeming Local (and I think they took it over to Dishforth with the AFS "detachment"). But no "slave" to it in Approach, I'm afraid.

May put in a Post about that if I can recall how it worked. (HughGw01, if you can hear me, please come in on this to help - your memory is 30 years younger than mine). 

Regards to you both, Danny.



There was a strange story which contains two elements vaguely associated with your father's. Driving at night over the lonely moors road to Whitby, just past Fylingdales, several people at different times stopped to pick-up a airman, trudging along in the headlights, hitching a lift in that direction.

When they stopped and reached over to open the passenger door, he simply disappeared !

Did you ever hear that one ?


Last edited by Danny42C; 18th Aug 2014 at 00:17. Reason: Add Text.
Old 18th Aug 2014, 00:14
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Re the Ackroyd Board


Was it related to this monstrosity in ATC at RAF Thornhill (5 FTS) in 1952?

It supposedly showed the controller where aircraft were on the ground and in the circuit by plugging in pins which illuminated sections of the board accordingly - in dispersal, taxiing, awaiting take-off, airborne, downwind etc. etc.

It hardly ever worked and was more confusing than helpful; I learnt more swear words from the duty controller operating it than I ever did from the fruitiest drill sergeant on the parade ground.

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Old 18th Aug 2014, 14:34
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A suggestion: as the text of your PMs is not sensitive or personal in any way, why not put your further questions directly to me on open Post (on the "Gaining an RAF Pilots' Wings"...Thread, of course) ? It really is a much simpler and easier way.

An advantage of doing it on Open Post is that it may elicit still more information from a third interested party.

Regards, Danny42C.

Last edited by Danny42C; 18th Aug 2014 at 14:50. Reason: Error. Add Text
Old 19th Aug 2014, 14:01
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I like the swan story but they can take-off from either land or water - they only land on water,- normally !
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Old 19th Aug 2014, 15:17
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Ah. So firemen don't know everything!
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Old 19th Aug 2014, 16:22
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Amazing what you can learn on here - never knew that about swans being able to take off from land or water but land only on water - fascinating. Thank you
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Old 19th Aug 2014, 16:46
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Having seen a swan abandon T/O to paddle back and restart nearer the downwind shore, has anyone any figures for Swan performance such as still-air TODs for land and water, and unstick speed?
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Old 19th Aug 2014, 17:20
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Balanced Field? (or pond)
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Old 19th Aug 2014, 17:28
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There was always reckoned to be the ghost of a WWII airman in flying kit who hitch-hiked on the hill near Binbrook, maybe towards Ludford where I believe there was another abandoned WWII airfield
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Old 19th Aug 2014, 18:12
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W 00

I think the story relates to the other place nearby, Kelstern. Seemingly a chap has also been seen quite often at the 625 Sqn memorial near the road.
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Old 21st Aug 2014, 12:22
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Hello my Pprune friends:
Geriaviator has been grounded for the past couple of months in a hangarful of ancient specimens awaiting major overhaul. Thereís a big maintenance backlog and Chiefy says that four hydraulic hoses require replacement.

As spares for us vintage models are no longer available he intends to remove lengths of suitable piping from Geriaviatorís landing gear and assures him that he can be signed off for normal service after 6-8 weeks.

In these circumstances, this superb thread is even more entertaining than usual. Wander00, as a youngster at Binbrook 1949-1951 I did hear the story of the ghostly airman, but it related to one of the satellite fields at Ludford Magna or Kelstern, canít remember which. I wonder if younger people sense a melancholy atmosphere around so many derelict airfields, or is it just we oldies?

binbrook, I think swan TOD would depend on fuel load, ie the amount of grass, weed and frogs scoffed in the previous hour or two, of course excluding the use of DATO (dog assisted takeoff). We watched in horror as a snappy little terrier chased the swans in our local park, fortunately catching only a few elevator feathers as Mrs Swan demonstrated near-VTOL performance.

Unfortunately for Fido he failed to watch his own tail so did not see Mr Swan diving into a perfectly judged beam attack. We couldnít see whether beak, wings or feet were used to tumble the terrier at least 10ft over the bank into the pond and a group of paddling cygnets. Big mistake. We last saw the dog running for his life surrounded by a furious formation of angry mother swans.
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