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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 21st Apr 2015, 08:38
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Air Atlantique Dakota-------exit heights above ground level must be fitted with escape slides
All the pictures of pranged DC3s that I have seen have all had their exits at ground level.
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Old 22nd Apr 2015, 09:18
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Danny:

What I'm hearing here beggars belief. In the case of the Duxford York, surely the passage of time would have reduced to insignificance any radiation from the luminous dials and switch tips (same applies to all our bedside clocks, wrist watches etc, as we all well know).
Not yet. Radium has a half-life of 1600 years, so the 70-yo York will still have its Radium at near full strength.
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Old 22nd Apr 2015, 17:02
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Light on luminosity?

Sad to know this idiocy over radioactive instruments is still on-going. Some years ago I described (if not on this thread, then somewhere else in the Prune library) how on a visit to Cosford I was admitted to the York’s interior but not allowed to approach the pilots’ seats ‘on account of ‘’radiation risk from the flight instruments’’. On pointing out I had spent some hundreds of hours scrutinising said instruments at close quarters but was still in good health, I was informed that luminous paint became increasingly radioactive with age. Personally I had always thought that such emissions decayed with time rather than the reverse, so is there any good reason why old aircraft instruments should be subject to a diametrically opposite rule or is it a dodge by curators to keep the public out of their exhibits’ most interesting area?
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Old 22nd Apr 2015, 19:04
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kenparry,

I think the problem here is the difference between phosphorescence and radioluminescence. (Wiki has a good entry on this). Presumably elf'n safety is worried about the latter, but I'd always supposed that most of the wartime instruments (like all our watches etc) would have been of the former kind.

I believe harrym may well have been right about the Museum's curator (in that way he'd keep souvenir hunters out and small (and bigger) boys from tinkering with the controls !)

Cheers, Danny.
 
Old 22nd Apr 2015, 19:41
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Non-Mil, but Harwell trained in the 60's - some residual knowledge.....

In this H&S concious era it might be thought that the rules concerning these restrictions might at least be better explained by facts rather than the boogy-man stories one hears!

The radium in the luminous intrument dials and watches of old is actually quite nasty stuff. The dullness of them now might be taken to be a sign that their potency has diminished with time but this is far from the case as the glow is caused by the emitted radiation interacting with a zinc sulphide compound to produce light. It is this compound that loses its potency with time.

So what are the problems with radium? For a start it produces both alpha and either beta or gamma according to the isotope used. Alpha radiation is stopped by the glass, but the others aren't. In addition a further decay product is radon gas, which in itself is radioactive. So technically there is a direct and an indirect radiation hazard that would have been regarded as an acceptable risk for the benefit gained during the war but which has now changed to unacceptable now that the damaging effects of small doses on cell genetics has been researched in some detail.

For example, as a 40s/50s childen we happy stared at our own foot bones in the shoe shops of the day and were encouraged to do so by the staff.....

Ripline
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Old 22nd Apr 2015, 20:32
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Ripline, interesting stuff there, but, what does your knowledge of the radium in aircraft instruments say about the men who spent 20 plus years sat within a few feet of these same instruments. I'm sure many posters on this thread would be interested in your opinion on their exposure for all of those years. And from the point of view of groundcrew, our association in handling such instruments. Please expand.

Smudge
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Old 22nd Apr 2015, 20:56
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Hi Smudge,

I'm really not qualified to provide an authoratative answer, for that you need a medical radiation specialist. Harwell training was intended to scare the crap out of us if we were intending to handle anything that was likely to register on a particle counter. TBH, I remember more about beta backscatter experiments....but the American radiation accident films shown certainly taught us respect for extreme radiation hazards.

My post was intended to give some reasons why old luminous dials might need to be treated with more caution than one might have experienced in former times. I would guess that the risk is not a large one, but as it is a non-zero risk it needs to be treated as such. We were told, for intance, that tolerance for a given radiation dose could vary significantly across the population and that its effect would also depend on the type of cellular genetic damage done.

To put this all in context, remember when sunbathing was considered a safe and desireable activity?

Ripline
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Old 22nd Apr 2015, 21:11
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Ripline, thanks for that. Hopefully some may take comfort that their exposure to their instruments for all those years may equate to sunbathing through the seventies. Interesting though that as we "expand" our knowledge and expose the dangers of the past, we also limit our ability to take risk and accept the penalties that come with that. Though I suspect that radium doesn't feature in the modern cockpit. I'm sure that many would never trade their flying experiences, whenever it happened, for the worry of radiation from aircraft instruments, and few, would doubt their duty to report when their country needed them. Whatever your experience sir, your input has certainly opened this old ground pounders eyes to things I had never been made aware of during my service. Welcome to PPRUNES finest thread.

Smudge
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Old 23rd Apr 2015, 15:56
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I guess the increased risk today compared with earlier would arise from the breakdown of the cement or other-such gunk used to hold the radium and the luminous compound (Zinc Sulphide, as described above) together.

Thus small bits are more likely to fall off and be ingested than was hitherto the case.

I am trying to recall a tale of a schoolboy recently who had purchased a stack of old watches in order to remove and use the radium for scientific experiments. Radiation burns spring to mind. Google has come up with this one, which wasn't the one I had in mind.

Uh-oh! 'Radioactive Boy Scout' who built a nuclear reactor in his Detroit shed sparking evacuation of 40,000 now wants to invent a lightbulb that lasts 100 years | Daily Mail Online
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Old 23rd Apr 2015, 16:17
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There I was enjoying our best day of the year so far when I heard a once-familiar rumble. Right over the house came a beautiful Dakota, the Twin Wasps sounding as only 28 well-harmonised cylinders can sound.

The 1944 Dak's original careful owner was the USAAF, who used it over Arnhem. It now belongs to KLM, who flew it into Belfast to launch its new Amsterdam route ... and took a select few passengers for flights. Geriaviator is green with envy.
TRAVEL FEATURE: THE GOLDEN AGE OF FLYING WITH KLM AIRLINES AS IT RELAUNCHES BELFAST TO AMSTERDAM SERVICE | Belfast Daily

The visit may not have been the first for the venerable Dak. Looking for somewhere to pack thousands of parachutes, the Operation Market Garden planners noticed extensive suitable buildings at Mullaghmore, a training and transit base in Co. Londonderry. The chutes were flown in and out by Daks and Skymasters. Not everyone knows that ...
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Old 23rd Apr 2015, 18:53
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Although the dangers of radium luminous paint had been identified by the 1950s and alternative luminous compounds were being used or developed, the use of radium based luminous paint didn't stop overnight, nor were all the items with paint taken out of service at that time. Interestingly, the following warning appeared in AP 112G-0815 1July 1966:

“Luminous compound at present used, constitutes
a possible danger to health. It is therefore essential
that luminous watches, Ref. No. 6B/346, 6B/551,
and 6B/910100 that have either defective glasses
or loose luminous compound, are individually
sealed in polythene bags at the earliest opportunity.
Polythene bags for this purpose can be made from
2 in lay-flat polythene tubing (ref. No. 32B/943)
and 1 in cellulose tape.”

Bob C
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Old 24th Apr 2015, 01:51
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KLM DC-3

Check out this site

Flying the vintage DC3 with #retroKLM

Also BBC Look North (Leeds) have a good piece on this a/c, unfortunately I can only find it on FaceBook and when I try to post a link it ties in to my FB page

PZU Out of Africa (Retired)
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Old 25th Apr 2015, 00:37
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pzu,

Only the most senior among us will recall the MacRobertson UK-Australia international Air Race (1934). The winner was a DH "Comet" special racer, flown by Scott and Campbell-Black.

But in many peoples' eyes, the real winner (on Handicap) was a perfectly ordinary KLM DC-2 (forerunner of the very similar, but fatter DC-3). Flown by Captains Parmentier and Moll, it came in second.

D.
 
Old 25th Apr 2015, 01:16
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Danny

Admittedly I am only a 'Baby Boomer', but yes I am aware of the role that KLM played in that Historic Event back in 1934

And whilst I can't swear to it, I am fairly certain that i observed at least one DC-2 in operation during my childhood in E Africa, I think it was operated by one of the Portuguese lines operating out of Mozambique

Trust you are keeping well

PZ - Out of Africa (Retired)
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Old 25th Apr 2015, 08:54
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Somewhere, sometime, there is a picture of a DC2½. Apparently a DC2 was fitted with one DC3 wing so as to make it fly. The Far East somewhere rings a bell.
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Old 25th Apr 2015, 09:29
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Danny, forgive the thread drift but the race winning D.H. Comet is flying again with the Shuttleworth Collection.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/64209520@N05/17177936652/
mmitch.
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Old 25th Apr 2015, 09:49
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Yes, the DC-2 12 was in China ... a CNAC aircraft out of HK that got shot up in a strafing attack. I read the story somewhere on-line.

EDIT = Found it! http://www.douglasdc3.com/dc2half/dc2half.htm
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Old 26th Apr 2015, 21:20
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MPN11,

Thanks for the link ! Marvellous what you can do when you have to, isn't it ? Once in the Calcutta "Grand", about '43, I got chatting to a young American CNAC co-pilot. Told me he'd been an Aviation Cadet, got washed out of Primary Flight School with 20 hours on a Stearman. With this, and about 30-odd on a Piper "Cub", and no licences of any kind, they'd taken him on as a co-pilot on their DC-3 Calcutta run "over the Hump" to Kunming (? think Chunking a bit too far for a loaded Dak)

AND he was being paid Rs700 per month - about three times as much as I (as a Sgt-Pilot) was getting, who'd passed the Course he'd failed. Didn't seem right, somehow.

Danny.
 
Old 26th Apr 2015, 21:30
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As I found out whilst flying for a very good, even exceptional stipend, in the Far East, it's not what you know, it's who you know.
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Old 26th Apr 2015, 21:53
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KLM DC2

I was in Darwin in 1984 and a (the?) KLM DC2 passed through on I guess the 50th anniversary of the race. I have some photographs somewhere.....
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