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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 2nd Apr 2015, 19:50
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Met Lord TG a few times at Reg McKendick's at Friday night suppers. TG hade been a Defence Fellow before Reg. TG a real gent, pity he was never CAS. Rumour has it that he never passed through the gate of Sleaford Tech and refused ever to do so
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Old 3rd Apr 2015, 19:36
  #6882 (permalink)  
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Warmtoast and Union Jack, (#6861 and #6862)

Looked up "Capitán Prat" on an idle whim; surprised to read that Cordite, it seems, has a "shelf life" of some 20 years (YLSNED). This supports my suspicion that the US .300 ammo issued to us in Burma (for our four front guns only, the twin rears were British .303 Brownings), was WWI stuff which had been in store ever since.

This would account for the high proportion of No.1 stoppages we had (you were lucky to get 20 rounds away before a stop - and as there was no way of cocking the gun from the VV cockpit, a dud round meant a dead gun). At least, the AT-6A trainers had a Cocking Handle on the front panel.

However, the VV front guns were so much trouble (the mountings worked loose with the vibration of firing: you could end up with your leading edge looking like the top of a pepperpot) that we all decided to leave them alone. I think I only fired mine once (for a couple of seconds) in a dive on Akyab airfield, to discourage any flak gunners who might be directly below me. (Having, of course, made sure that the chap diving in front of me had cleared away first !)

But this made me very unpopular with the armourers (who had to take off the wing gun panels to clean the four guns - an awkward job - and I never did it again !)

I have a very faint recollection that my 1913 "Commodore, 2nd Class" had a triangular pennant, but with quite a lot (but I can't remember what) on a white background.

Having added to the store of useless and irrelevant (but interesting) information which is the hallmark of this Thread,

Cheers, Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 4th Apr 2015 at 19:30. Reason: Grammar etc.
 
Old 4th Apr 2015, 17:59
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Understandable slip, Danny, I could never understand why the Sea Prince was not a Sea Pembroke, as the Pembroke was the RAF version of the Prince, but the Fleet Air Arm always did things differently and always did them very well. Hopefully it still does.

Back into my 1970 engineer's overalls, I remember many trips in different aircraft to Scottish Aviation at Prestwick. Scottish were agents for all sorts of things including avionics (hence my trips for annual checks), Hartzell and Hamilton propellors, Lycoming and Continental engines, and in particular the Pratt and Whitney Twin Wasp as used in DC-3/Dakotas and DC-4s.

On several occasions I saw rebuilds of these magnificent radials after they had blown a cylinder or head clean through the cowling. Apparently they would continue to run until all the oil was thrown from the hole in the crankcase. Nobody could match your brake drum saga, Danny, but a Hartzell HC-C2YK VP prop is quite a squeeze in the cabin of a Cherokee
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 20:39
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The reason was probably that a Sea Pembroke would have been mistaken for HMS Pembroke and draftees would have been confused.
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 22:18
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Geriaviator,

There was a sort of "super" Twin Wasp in the form of the Double Wasp, a 2800 cu.in., 18-cyl twin row, which went into the P-47 Thunderbolt II. I had only a few hours on them, but remember the beautifully smooth engine, much quieter than the Wright Double Cyclone 2600 which was the power plant in the Vengeance.

I've often wondered if the fact that 18 is a multiple of 6 had anything to do with it. All my other radials: Continental (7), Bristol Mercury, P&W Wasp Junior and Wasp (9), and Wright Double Cyclone (14) were not, and we all know how smooth a six in a car is.

As I know to my cost, engines don't run for long without oil ! Our Pembroke chap didn't try, but shut the Leonides down, feathered the prop and went into Leeming.

Danny.

PS: I'm afraid Khormaksar seems to have changed a bit since your halcyon days
with "Abdul" in '51 !

Last edited by Danny42C; 4th Apr 2015 at 22:27. Reason: Add Text,
 
Old 5th Apr 2015, 02:33
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Danny:
Thank goodness Dad never had the likes of Lootentant Hoskins-it must have been terrifying for the bomb aimer!
While I am sure it must have happened on more occasions, Dad mentioned that once they were ordered to divert upon returning from an Op. He couldn,t remember the name of it, but it was a training airfield, not an operational one, so an Intelligence Officer, to do the debrief, along with an armourer, had to be brought in from a nearby squadron. The station padre was unable to sleep, and heard them arrive. He was the first to greet them, and offered them spiritual comfort if they needed , and physical comfort as well in the form of a large bottle of rum. Not sure if he expected the crew to just take a tot, but instead the crew finished it off promptly. They were, to use Dad,s words, "quite tiddly by the time the IO showed up. The debrief did not go as well as the IO hoped", much to his extreme annoyance. Before he left, the expressed some rather un-Christian like sentiments to the Padre.
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Old 5th Apr 2015, 07:33
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Danny,
your 'useless and irrelevant' information about the Vengeance guns is anything but. It is what makes these a/c come alive as this information is usually missing from the formal histories. On a similar vein on the RAF Hercules tanker a broom, or at least the handle was a no go item. It was used by the loadmaster to dip the fuselage tanks as when the tanks were refurbished the sight glasses seem not to have been similary treated. Not a fact to appear in any formal history. So please keep your 'useless and irrelevant' facts coming please.
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Old 6th Apr 2015, 09:52
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Jenkins, your RAF duties in 'Cessna 206' intrigue me as this is a high-wing single engine six-seater also known as the Skywagon. If your memory is like mine, could it have been the Beagle 206 Basset, the 1960s seven-seat twin designed by the late British manufacturer to replace the Anson and to ferry the V-bomber crews?

I think these had Continental engines which I remember for blowing exhaust gaskets if not complete pots. I preferred the Lycoming myself whether working on it or being pulled along by it, continuous traction being much desired in such circumstances, even more so when there's only one of 'em.

Last Basset I saw was at an airfield in the Midlands in 1978. The Bassets had been sold off by the RAF and this one, still in RAF colours less roundels, had been bought by a private owner. He celebrated by taking the family to Madeira, but on their homecoming the brakes failed and Damage was Done. Beagle spares being no longer available, the Basset was put to sleep.

Danny: I had forgotten that lucky you flew the monster Thunderbolt! What an experience. I read that the Pratt and Whitney engines were generally smoother than the Wrights. It occurs to me that the multi-row radials, called the Corncobs by the Americans, would require two cranks and two master conrods; if these were spaced at 180 deg as would seem logical, the engines might be smoother. But I never saw one in bits so I don't know.

Last edited by Geriaviator; 6th Apr 2015 at 12:00. Reason: Add comment on Double Wasp
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Old 6th Apr 2015, 21:24
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Geriaviator,

The T'bolt was slightly smaller and lighter than the VV, but light-years ahead in performance !

My brief experience on them is described on Page 157, #3124 to #3131 on this Thread. They had the two-row Wasp Double: I never had anything to do with the "corncobs", I suppose four rows was as far as they could go before the air-cooling problem defeated them.

Danny.
 
Old 9th Apr 2015, 20:50
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Amazing story of an American WW2 Spitfire Recon pilot reunited with memories of his crash-landing.




https://dub115.mail.live.com/?tid=cmGd8H5Mfe5BGdvAAjfeM2GA2&fid=flinbox

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Old 10th Apr 2015, 20:27
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Danny,

Just a quick question on the VV and the bombing profile you flew back then. As a Dive bomber, what sort of angle of dive was used, was there a standard ? I ask as my nearest experience of such would be the "Khe San approaches" employed by our Hercules when doing the Sarajevo airlift, which struck me as almost vertical. I assume the VV was equipped with dive brakes to maintain the speed within Vne, or did they not have that capability. I know that most of the gliders I flew had speed limiting air brakes that ensured that once deployed, the aircraft could not exceed Vne regardless of attitude. Hope you are well and can spare a few minutes to deal with my query.

Smudge
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Old 11th Apr 2015, 00:36
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ValMORNA,

My Google won't bring your reference up (probably just me !), but looked at the You Tube on offer, confirmed what I thought: this has been on Thread but long, long ago. I had always thought that it was a Lt.Col. Baines, but as soon as I saw the man I recognised him as Col. Blyth. He was very complimentary about the Spitfire, and I can endorse his remark to the effect that "everybody should have the chance to fly a Spitfire"

He got his USAAC wings about the same time as I did (I went to an "Arnold" School), and his tale of spending a half-hour over Berlin in '44, making sure he got all his pictures, is worth a look. He got a well deserved US DFC for it.

Now will some kind soul please look at the early Spitfire (5.30 on film) and tell me what is the ringlike thing on the vertical fin ?

D.
 
Old 11th Apr 2015, 15:53
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Smudge,

The ideal VV dive was vertical from 12,000ft AGL (the steeper the dive, the more accurate the result). It was designed for this purpose: the wings fitted with a 0º angle of incidence so as to reduce the amount of nose-up trim as the aircraft accelerated in the dive. Big and powerful hydraulic air brakes, extending about 9in clear above upper and lower wing surfaces, allowed a smooth airflow over them, so there was little or no buffetting from that source. These brakes restricted Terminal Velocity to around 300mph (knots were not yet in use); we came down with 1/3 throttle open and 2100rpm, partly to ensure that the engine would instantly respond at pull-out and, I suppose, to avoid thermal shock to it.

Our only "bombsight" was a 1in yellow line painted along the mid-point on the top of the nose from engine cowling back to the base of my front panel (this was perfectly adequate). Pull-out was when the altimeter needle passed 3,500ft AGL, we reckoned that would be around 3,000ft true, allowing for lag in the altimeter.

Experience showed that if you pulled with all your strength (most people reached "grey-out" [perhaps 4-5 G]), you'd finish up level at about 1,000ft. This was your "margin for error", but as you were coming down at 400ft plus per second when you began, it left you 2.3 secs to play with - you had to be careful ! Of course, there is no future in flying level over a defended target at 1,000ft, so we eased off on the latter part of the pull-out to get and stay down at tree-top height ASAP until out of harm's way. Your gunner went down "lying on the back of his neck", so as to be able to get on his guns straight away on pull-out (at least, he didn't have to watch the ground coming up on the way down !)

The zero angle of incidence (on the A-31 - VV Mks I-III) made it a fine dive bomber but a very poor aircraft. The USAAC wanted nothing to do with it, but had Vultee turn out the A-35 for them (Mk.IV VV to us) with a 4º AoI (they rejected that, too); which, I suppose, made it a worse dive bomber but possibly a slightly better aircraft. I never even saw an A-35/Mk.IV, but they supplied a number to the RAAF (I don't think it ever dropped a bomb or fired a gun in anger), and to the RAF in UK as target tugs.

The A-35 replaced the A-31's four 0.300 wing guns and the twin 0.300s at the back (we substituted twin 0.303) with 4 or 6 0.50s in front and a single 0.50 behind.

A complicated tale, I must admit. But I don't think that your hurried "Khe-San" arrivals could have been worse than 20º (even 10º on a glide approach is horrific enough) But I know it would feel much worse !

Thanks for the kind wishes, Cheers,

Danny.
 
Old 11th Apr 2015, 20:38
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Danny,

Thanks for that, I have to suspect that with a third throttle in a vertical dive, those dive brakes must have been "speed limiting" as I experienced with gliders. I'm not sure what the approach angle into Sarajevo, or doing a "Khe San" was in the Herk, I bet AA62 probably knows, but to me, as a GE down the back, it felt quite a steep descent. Of course, as you state, the whole purpose of the VV was to deliver your cargo with absolute accuracy, and minimum threat to the delivery vehicle, as was ours in to Sarajevo. Stay well.

Smudge

A typical Khe Sanh Demo I reckon at best a 20 degree dive angle;

http://youtu.be/jw2er9gaeMc

Last edited by smujsmith; 12th Apr 2015 at 20:04.
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Old 13th Apr 2015, 19:08
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Not sure if anyone else has seen, or posted this, but it might contain some interesting stuff for fellow posters to this most interesting of all threads;

RAF Archives - WW2 News

Smudge
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Old 13th Apr 2015, 19:15
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Oops ... but the RAF bombing got better!

But a nice link, SmuJ
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Old 13th Apr 2015, 22:13
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Smudge,

Thanks for a very interesting link (Che Sanh Demo). I must say that the C-130 short approach does look a bit "hairy", a real "dirty dive at the runway" in fact, even though you have to take perspective into account, and we don't know how much (if any) headwind was involved.

Having said that, there is no point in making yourself any more of a target for flak than is strictly necessary, and making life harder for the gunners is always a Good Idea. I still think your 20° is a bit OTT, but perhaps 15° is not far off. Poor Hoskins would need to Get the Round Out Just Right, though ! Have we a Hercules driver on frequency ?

The countryside of Viet Nam looks very like N.Burma did in my time.

Danny.
 
Old 14th Apr 2015, 08:02
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Danny'
sometimes 'Hoskins' did not quite get the round out right. Known from the USAF technique as the 'Khe San' and then the 'Sarajevo'. There is a video of an Italian AF G222 not quite getting the round out bit correct at one of the Faiford displays.
I have been in a Herc where the nose gear has kissed the runway before the mains but without damage. One of the problems as I recall was not exceeding the U/C and flap limiting speeds in the 'dive'. I do not remember the approach angle but it did seem very steep from inside. Nothing of course to compare with what you dive bomber chaps did. Huge respect, especially for the Air Gunner !

Last edited by ancientaviator62; 14th Apr 2015 at 08:03. Reason: spelling
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Old 14th Apr 2015, 08:53
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Class 42D Parade through Lakeland, Florida

Danny42C

Danny, came across this link from a post in the Aviation History Forum.
First shows Class 42D parading though Lakeland, Florida in 1941, here:
http://www.3bktj.co.uk/pictures/parade2.jpg

The second a link to the site where there's a description of his training and WW2 activities and later, including a stint in India and Burma etc. here:
http://www.3bktj.co.uk/index.htm

Apologies if its been posted before, but I don't recollect having read it previously, so passed on FWIW.
Is Class 42D the successor to your course?


WT


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Old 14th Apr 2015, 15:10
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SAAF WWII Interviews by Tinus le Roux

As some regulars on this thread know, I am a a fan of Tinus le Roux who has interviewed a number of pilots and aircrew associated with the SAAF in WWII

A couple of his recent ones have involved former Beaufighter pilots with 19 Sqd SAAF

Steve Stevens DFC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL4_z3kWa3s

Paul Kruger
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buUivVLUyQo

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)
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