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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 7th Aug 2015, 15:10
  #7281 (permalink)  
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aa62 (Anyone else have problems with it ?),

I'll say ! - it's just got bigger !

(No Rabelaisian cracks, please)

Old 7th Aug 2015, 21:00
  #7282 (permalink)  
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"The Evil that men do lives after them....." (Shakespeare, Julius Caesar)

Slow Flyer,

Will put this on on both "Will the real EZ999..." and "Gaining a Pilot's Brevet..." Threads, suggest we use the latter (as the former must surely be on the way out).

When we first heard of you, it was of: "LAC Wayne Brown from 77 Squadron Engine Section at RAAF Base Williamstown, who has specialised on the Vengeance". Now you tell us: "I know I'm due for my bi-annual aircrew medical..." Let's have your story ASAP, please !

Now, as regards EZ999,

As it escaped scrapping, it would seem that you Australians took a more cavalier view of your contractual obligations under Lend Lease, for it would have made no sense to pay good money to the US to buy back an ex-Lend Lease VV (one of the 46 EZs which you got), to be used as an instructional airframe - when at the same time you had your pick of the more than twice as many (123) "British Contract" ANs and AFs (already paid for by the British taxpayer) which had been passed on to you to do as you liked with, and most of which would surely have been in the scrapyards at the same time as the EZs.

Did Harold Thomas ever say anything about this ?

Of course, by the time it got to the Technical College, there would be far more of the later Mk.IV bits lying about than of the earlier Mks.I and II, and the studes went to town with them ! (I don't think you got any IIIs, but we did in India), I flew my first (FB956), after they patched me up, on 8 (IAF) in July,'44, just before they closed our business down for good.

Now it is time to say that the Mks.I to III, (and the 'A's) were all the same aeroplane. The dodging about had nothing to do with it, they were merely flags to show who built the thing, and who paid for it. The US had the right idea: they simply called the whole lot A-31s (and all Mk.IVs A-35s), and had done with it.

The A-31s all looked the same, flew the same, dived the same (I never dived a III, but no reason to think it would be any different), had the same tankage, the same bomb load, and the same armament. The only mechanical change was made very early on, when they put in an EDP for the 20-gallon Trap Tank to replace the electric fuel pump originally fitted.

This was met with general rejoicing, especially by the back seat folk (who now had no more wobble-pumping to do).

Come to think of it, they had nothing else at all to do. Any Pilot with any sense did his own navigation; the gunners had no live training at all on this installation, so it was a mercy that we were never (AFAIK) attacked. But it was nice to have somebody to talk (all right. Shout) to on the trips.

Cheers, Danny.

PS: Cooda Shooda is in your part of the world, I am sure that he and his "Warbirdz" would welcome your input, as a bunch of them are on the (hopeless, IMHO) self-imposed task of looking for enough bits to put another A-31 together (to rival yours ?). Don't think they'll get far, as you will have hoovered them all up yourself already. D.

EDIT: Slow Flyer has popped up on the "EZ999" Thread, there are replies there already, I'll stay with it there TFN. D.

Last edited by Danny42C; 7th Aug 2015 at 23:25. Reason: Addn.
Old 7th Aug 2015, 21:08
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Karratha hadn’t prospered because of the oil; it had prospered because Dampier, a town next door had prospered exporting iron ore. That started forty years before and so the oil industry was a relative newcomer. There would be enormously long trains shifting iron ore from the large open cast mines inland; even in Dampier the rocks were red with natural rust. For me there were about a dozen or so installations offshore, nothing serious, ninety miles at the most.

The airport was a typical 2nd level airport. A single runway; a hardstanding fairly well populated with light aircraft, a small terminal building and a fire section and ATC complex; both empty. As in Kannanara one had to broadcast ones intentions before taking off and joining the circuit. Despite the fact it had several 737 sized movements a day the fire cover consisted of the volunteer fire brigade in Karratha fourteen kilometres away equipped with a pickup and water dispense trailer. At least you had some fire support which is more than you had at Kanannara.

I knew a fair number of people there; those that had worked in Aberdeen in the eighties plus British pilots who had been sent over to get the Australian arm going and had made the sensible decision to stay. Everybody, except me, was on two weeks on two off the only exception being the office and operations staff that lived locally. We lived in two bedroom detached houses, obviously designed for the job because each bedroom had its own en-suite facilities. Cooking was normally a joint effort much the same as in China. The company sent pilots to where they were needed so there was no guarantee that you would keep going to the same place. The result would be that various occupants would leave their surplus provisions in the larder until next time, if ever. A look though the larder of the house I was in suggested that the company was almost entirely Italian because in the cupboard was every known form of pasta going.

They had just opened a small mall in the centre of town so there was somewhere where you could do some decent shopping and get a coffee. There were a couple of bars and one establishment that good loosely be described as a brothel but Australia is more tolerant in that department. Despite being surrounded by parched bush one could not just charge into it with your pickup just for the hell of it. There was an area set aside for those who wanted to try and wreck their 4X4s. Property prices were eye-watering as is normal in Klondike areas. The town owned the building land and they would auction off parcels after the electricity, water and drainage infrastructure had been completed.

Once airborne you were presented with a kaleidoscope of colours. Another industry in Dampier is salt. This is obtained with very large evaporation pans of seawater of about one kilometre square. As the go through the process they change from deep blue to white and it the distance can be seen mountains of pristine salt. There were several offshore islands, deserted apart from the odd weekend chalet and between them the water was an incredibly deep blue.

I was there in January, the middle of summer, so the temperature was knocking on 40 degrees quite often. To cool down en-route one would climb up to a benign 25 degrees at 5000 ft. This brought into play an instrument that I have only seen in Australia; an Assigned Altitude Indicator. This was basically a manual veeder counter where you dialled in the altitude that you were supposed to be flying at. For example, if you were cleared down to 2,000 ft. you would set this on the instrument before you descended. Good idea? I thought it was a nuisance but when in Oz do as the Ozzies do.

The water was quite shallow around Dampier, when a fully loaded Very Large Ore Carrier was departing its single propeller would stir up the bottom even at high tide. All ships needed piloting and that included the LPG carriers. They are like tankers except that they have three or four huge golf balls on their deck which is used to transport Liquefied Petroleum Gas. They like the others had to come in at high tide and at times the high tide was at 05.00 or 17.00. Guess which one they wanted the pilot landed on.

It was very uncivilised getting up at 03.30 for a 04.45 take off; it was like working for RyanAir. You would look at the weather, pick up the pilot and launch into the gloom. Normally you were lucky and the LPG carrier would light up his tanks with floodlightsbut but sometime not which in case meant that his nav lights looked like every other Tom Dick or Harry’s nav lights. Some years previously a crew doing what I was doing were confidently approaching the helideck when there was a sudden bang and a splash and they were up to their backsides in water. They had flown into the sea without realising it. It is very easy to get disorientated at night so I used to approach crosswind so that I had the whole ship in sight, longways. It also meant that if things went pearshaped at the last moment I could fly through the helideck and out the other side.

I was contracted to be there for six weeks. As I have previously mentioned Australian flight and duty limitations were a complete mystery to me. However I did know enough to point out that as I was on a site for more than twenty eight days I was entitled to a day off, 36 hours, every seven days. We had stacks of cars on site so one day I travelled north and came upon Cossak.

Before somebody thought upon the idea of jamming a speck of sand in an oyster Cossack was an important Pearl fishing area. It was large enough to have a courthouse, school and stone built stores. The original police station is still used as a backpacker’s hotel. The decline of the pearl industry and the unsuitability of its coast line as a port saw it deteriorate until it was abandoned in the 1950s. The courthouse was a time capsule. Absolutely original and one could almost feel the atmosphere of some drunk being hauled up for causing wholesale mayhem the night before.

As my six weeks were coming to an end the word came from China that I was not needed as yet. I got on to the blower to Perth and suggested that I might be available for another six weeks. Within the hour another company roster had been written, printed and emailed to all stations.

I was now doing a twelve week stint at Karratha which in itself was a bit of a record. However with less than a week to go I was told that I was going to Broome for a few days.

I was a bit of a nuisance. I had just bought enough steaks to keep me going until I left so I was going to have to leave them behind. You cannot just travel north from Karratha to Broome; you have to go via Perth. So off I went on a Thursday, night stop in a hotel in Perth and flew up to Broome in the morning but too late to do a flight. Friday night was in the hotel and then on Saturday a flight to a rig 200 miles away to the north. The diversion was Truscott, as I have mentioned before. There was no flying on Sunday and on Monday I flew down to Perth ex contract to fly back to China. I had been halfway around Western Australia just to do a four hour flight.

When I got back to China I continued back to the UK and a month later I set out for Shekou. Just before I left I got a message to contact the base but it was too late so I did not get it until I arrived.

My company was pulling out of China……………………….
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Old 7th Aug 2015, 21:33
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"My company was pulling out of China..............."

But you'll be back there, I''m sure !

Old 8th Aug 2015, 16:13
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www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk has much to interest old salts. When looking back to the ghastly ex-RN transit camp at Croft near Warrington, our home for six months on return from Aden in 1953, I found the wartime memories of Aircraft Artificer 4th Class (Electrical) Laurence Russell, who was posted from Croft to Australia in December 1944. His job at Bankstown was to unpack aircraft from crates or remove their protective coatings and assemble them.

His first story will interest Danny. “The aircraft were Grumman Hellcats and Avengers, Supermarine Seafires, Fairey Fireflies and Vought Corsairs; also a few Vultee Vengeance which we modified for aerial insecticide spraying. After inspection and fixing faults, they were test flown and any further problems were corrected. They were then delivered to aircraft carriers or transport ships at Garden Island.

“When the announcement of the Japanese surrender was broadcast over the PA there was a Hellcat suspended from the crane. The crane driver said 'They won’t be needing this now' and let it down with a run. There were about 700 American Lend Lease aircraft there at the end of the war. The U.S. provided them without charge, or sometimes in exchange for other goods or services. These aircraft evidently had not been exchanged in this manner so they still belonged to the U.S. To prevent them finding their way onto the second hand arms market the U.S. required them to be dumped at sea. This meant the use of aircraft carriers that could otherwise be sent home and paid off.

“Therefore there was some urgency in all this; working round the clock the aircraft were loaded onto semi trailers, taken to Garden Island Dockyard, transferred to aircraft carriers and taken several kilometres offshore. The fuselage was split open with axes to ensure that they sank rapidly, and then they were pushed off the flight deck. You would think that they would never be seen or heard of again. However, many years later newspapers were reporting bits being caught in trawl nets.”
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Old 8th Aug 2015, 22:57
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Anti-malaria spraying from Vengeances.


Thanks ! - This is very interesting to me on two counts:

First, your:

"......also a few Vultee Vengeance which we modified for aerial insecticide...."

Now I was told somewhere that, right at the end, post-war, 110 (H) Sqdn (my old outfit) got hold of a few M.IVs and flew (?) them across to Takoradi (now Ghana) - (or were they there already when they got there ?) to do anti-malaria spraying trials. It was hinted they had a lot of trouble with these aircraft - I have said (p.134/#2680) that they would have been better off with Mk.IIIs, which worked perfectly for me.

It would have been a Hell of a transit - I don't know how they were supposed to have done it, for you would have to get across the Arabian (or Red Sea) at some point (sooner 'em than me !) and work your way across Africa. Never heard of the result of these Trials.

This came after we had pioneered the idea (using the underwing spray tanks from which we had been spraying mustard gas for the last two years). Our "Trial" was so small-scale as to be statistically insignificant; we just learned the best heights and speeds to spread the DDT.

Now, secondly, as to the waste of ex- Lend-Lease material which was heartbreaking, but it was a commercial necessity for the US (otherwise they'd never need to make a panel instrument or a tyre or an aero engine etc for the next ten years !) I've already told the tale of the Corsairs which went over the side offshore from my patch, and I'd to take my three trusty Mk.IIIs to be scrapped (the Wg Cdr had just written-off his Harvard himself, so that was one less to worry about).

Which makes it all the more surprising that the Aussies had all these aircraft in the scrapyard to be picked over, but that seems to be how it was. But why would they pick an EZ (the only Mk.I or IIs which were Lend-Lease), when they had three times as many AFs, ANs and some APs to go at (all bought and paid for already ?)

A week today (15th) will be the 70th anniversary of the Japanese surrender (the USAAC had shot its bolt, there were no more atomic bombs ready on the shelf - but the Japanese didn't know that). We out there (expecting several more years of war, almost certainly culminating in an amphibious assault on Japan, with a hideous casualty list to face) were greatly relieved ("stunned" would be a better word). But how to describe the incredulous joy of our prisoners in Burma (some of whom had survived 3½ years of barbaric treatment [with no end in sight] in Japanese hands, since being taken in Dec '41 after the loss of Singapore ?)

I shall raise a flagon of Guinness on that day. Please join me !


Last edited by Danny42C; 8th Aug 2015 at 23:04. Reason: Spacing
Old 9th Aug 2015, 12:25
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Vengeance EZ999

Hi Danny

Let's have your story ASAP, please
I have been involved in military aviation maintenance & management for 36 years. Mainly Caribou and assorted Fast-Jets. My experience on big radials led to the request from Harold Thomas to see if I get the VV up and running again. I also co-own and fly a 75yr old former RAAF DH82A for stress relief.

As it escaped scrapping, it would seem that you Australians took a more cavalier view of your contractual obligations under Lend Lease
I believe that the attitude in Australia was much the same as the UK and the goverment was quite fastidious when it came to meeting their Lend-lease obligations. Remember that the actual nominated fate of EZ999 was as a fire fighting training aid for the RAN FAA at Nowra. All the VV that went to Nowra were destroyed on-site reletively quickly (all gone by 1951). I'm unsure what led to the decision of it being gifted to the Tech College, but I'm glad it was and that Harold had the vision to rescue it when the college had finished with it.

There is an interesting old thread over at adf.serials regarding RAAF Lend-Lease aircraft which is worth a read: ADF Serials Message Board -> Lend Lease aircraft

And yes Danny, those electric fuel pumps were hopeless. It was the only item which wouldnt work correctly during the ground runs we performed in the mid-80's on the aircraft.

Cheers SF
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Old 9th Aug 2015, 17:10
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This extract covering the Vultee Vengeance was found in a book I received as a 78th birthday present this week. It is about the hazards and trials of test flying aircraft, from the early days through to long after WWII.

I thought it would be of interest here.

mike hallam.

'Tests of Character' by Donald Middleton. Pub.1995 Airlife
(from pages 58 & 59)

"The outbreak of war saw the RAF without a dive-bomber. The remarkable success of the Junkers 87 Stuka in the Spanish Civil War and the assault on France and the Low Countires persuaded the British Government that this was an error of omission which should be rapidly rectified. The British aircraft industry was too heavily involved with priority work building fighters and bombers to bother with what appeared to be a fringe design with limited applications at that time. So the British Purchasing Commission in the United States investigated the purchase of an American aircraft. Earlier requirements formulated by the French Government had led to fairly small Vultee Company to design a suitable dive-bomber, the V-72, for which orders were to be placed by the French. Their defeat in 1940 left these orders in limbo so the British Purchasing Commission showed interest. The V-72 was designed with twin rudders and was fully stressed for dive-bombing with slotted surface wing flaps and dive brakes. The Vengeance, as the British version was called, a name also used by the USAAF, reverted to a single fin and rudder and had a 1,700 h.p. Wright Cyclone 18 cylinder twin row radial engine. It became a tough, strong weapon, built like a tank as one pilot described it.
Unusually, the contract specified the test flying procedure by both the contractor's pilots and the RAF Resident Technical Officers. Two prototypes were available at Vultee Field, Downey, and the first one was evaluated by Gp Capt. 'George' Bulman, who was Head of the Test Branch of the Purchasing Commission. W/Cdr Mike Crossley RAF was also involved in the flight test programme. To increase the production facility for the Vengeance the Northropp Corporation was contracted to build the machine in addition to Vultee.
American responsibility for test flying rested with the famous Vance Breese who was responsible for the change from twin rudders to a single one after taxying trials had proved his earlier contention that two rudders would give inadequate control on the ground. In July 1941 Vance Breese made the first flight. He was not satisfied with the dive brakes and recommended that holes should be punched over the surfaces as was done with the Douglas Dauntless. This was rejected by the engineers, but the orientation of the slots was changed. An interesting aspect of the Vengeance programme was that it was almost certainly the first time that telemetry was used to record by instruments on the ground data obtained from the aircraft in the air. During the stalling check it was found that, although the stall was fairly innoccuous and aileron control held it laterally stable throughout, there was a degree of buffeting at high accelerations which caused concern for the integrity of the tail structure. Strain gauges were fitted and the information being transmitted to the ground receiver could be heard in the form of tones in the pilot's headphones. Frank Davis, on the departure of Breese, took over the responsibility for the tests and made one stall for each reading of the strain gauge; he would then manually switch to the next gauge ready for another stall. It required several hundred stalls from 1 G to 6 G to cover all the permutations. The tests proved the integrity of the structure without modification. A problem arose with the rudder control which was considered too heavy for a dive-bomber in which quick and easy directional changes must be made to achieve accurate aim. This was overcome by installing a spring tab at the trailing edge of the rudder. Recovery from a high speed dive was another contentious area. As speed built up the aircraft tended to tuck under and required excessive stick forces for recovery. On one occasion Frank Davis was diving to test an oil system valve for negative G when rudder flutter occurred and the surface tore away behind the hinge line. The balance area forward of the hinge line was still under pedal control but tended to be fully over to one side or the other including yaw. Davis was able to hold it on the stick and the fin gave sufficient directional stability to land safely.
This was another example ot the hazard of fabric-covered surfaces in high speed flight. The rudder was altered to have an all-metal skin. This also solved the problem of heavy pull-out forces from the dive as it was decided to modify the elevators similarly. By the end of 1941 most of the bugs had been eliminated from the new dive-bomber which the RAF was looking forward to operating. Unfortunately for their desires the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941 completely altered the situation. The Americans realised that they would need many more aircraft so delivery schedules were completely altered, but that is another story. The 1,200 which were delivered to the RAF gave extremely good service. mainly in Burma, with Hurricanes giving top cover to their attacks."
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Old 9th Aug 2015, 20:15
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It was a shock but not entirely unexpected. The last G reg helicopter had departed some months before and was now wearing an Australian registration. On the pilots side there were the chief and deputy chief pilots, a couple of training captains and three or four line trainers like myself. The chief engineer and a couple of others were in an advisory capacity but only to assist in training new arrivals. There was a big plot between the British and Chinese to set up an international servicing and repair centre catering for the whole of the Far East so our continuing partnership did seem set fair to continue. However, the present operation was set up in 1984 when business practices were different so when our American masters came to have a look they may well have found that the arrangements were not as squeaky clean as Capitol Hill would have liked so they may have thought it was better to drop it.

For the Chinese company it was a nightmare. They had had the rug pulled from underneath them completely. The contracts they had negotiated with the oil companies were won on the basis that the operation was run and supervised to western standards with western personnel and these were all going to be taken away. The company needed some of us and the UK company then agreed to release those who wanted to stay. Some felt that there careers would be best left alone so they were going to depart. The chief and deputy and a training captain who were of an advanced age, who been in China for decades, plus me, elected to stay:

The Gang of Four.

Then came the negotiations regarding the salary. We had been told early on that we were being considered as working in China, not rotating from the UK, so there was no 4X2. How much? They all turned to me because I was on a contract. At the end of the day we negotiated it so that everybody got more than I was getting previously because of responsibility allowances etc. I got much the same with the bonus of continuous employment.

Then we had to tell the staff that they were no longer needed. The UK company had calculated how much redundancy money they were entitled to and so that was put to them. The next day they were all in the chief pilot’s office with a Chinese lawyer who explained that in China you cannot kick long term employees out of the door with a pittance; in fact, quite a lot of money was involved. In the end it cost them several times what they had bargained for. Then came another panic. The girl who ran the spares store was the only person on the planet that understood the company spares computer and they were going to fire her. They had to make her an offer she could not refuse, fix up her visa and give her a job in the company headquarters in the UK.

The changeover came and we carried on as normal except that the rosters were now done by the Chinese admin staff. One week later, when the duty and flying hour records were a complete shambles they had to bring back our previous secretary and roster clerk who insisted on, and got, the same salary as she was getting with us before.

I now had to get an apartment by myself. The one I had been living was a bit tatty, however, I had the option of continuing in it paying the same rent as the company; about HK$ 7,000/month but I decided to look around. There was an apartment that we had given up some six months previously of the same size and in the same building that had been totally redecorated and with a new kitchen. I took it on with a rent of HK$ 4,500 equivalent. An apartment that the company had previously rented for 6,000 was going for 3,500 and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

The Chinese engineers were now totally responsible for our aircraft and how well they came up to the task. The aircraft were immaculate and smooth. Out went the old company tolerances for vibration levels, in came the new; as little as possible. Any snag, however insignificant, was attended to before the next flight. On offshore flying you pick up the passengers rotors running outside the terminal and drop them off there on return before taxiing to a parking spot for shutdown. You then proceed to the line office to attend to the tech log. Now the aircraft’s engineer would climb into the jump seat as the passengers departed and you could discuss any problems taxing back with the option, if practical, of demonstrating the fault. For me it was a new level of co-operation between the two professions.

I had now, because of the new working schedule, more time to be able to explore Shenzhen and other parts of China…………………………
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 03:30
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Where to start ? This is wonderful stuff, although I don't know Middleton's "Tests of Character" (and am certainly buying no more books, as they're piled up all over the place as it is !) Peter C. Smith's earlier (1986) "Vengeance!" covers the same ground very well (and has the same publisher) but there's much more here.

My experiences with the Vengeance are in Pages 128/#2552 (when I first set eyes on them) and 129/#2577 (when I first strapped one on) et seq for the next three years. I had 400 hours on Mks. I-III, but never saw a Mk.IV They didn't come out to India while I was there (or at all ?).

A few minor cavils:

"The Vengeance, as the British version was called, a name also used by the USAAF, reverted to a single fin and rudder and had a 1,700 h.p. Wright Cyclone 18 cylinder twin row radial engine"

Vultee called it the V-72; the USAAC # called it the A-31; we called it the "Vengeance"; it had a 14 cylinder Wright Double Cyclone of 1600 hp to start with. (Wright GR 2600 A5-B 1193kW).

Note # : The US Army Air Corps became the US Air Force only in September 1947. They went into blues but kept their Army ranks. We'd done the same in 1918, but invented new ranks for ourselves.

"It required several hundred stalls from 1 G to 6 G to cover all the permutations".

Our experience was that it was very difficult to get a Vengeance to stall at all , for the combination of weight and the enormous drag (even without airbrakes) of its tail-down flight attitude (zero AoI) caused it to "mush" rather than stall cleanly. In fact, there was a sort of seamless progression from flying to non-flying without any point you could call a proper stall. (Might that have tied in with their finding that: "...although the stall was fairly innoccuous and aileron control held it laterally stable throughout...")

??? - I'm no Test Pilot, but the little I can remember is that in a stall you try to keep level with rudder (as aileron may only make it worse).

I note that the Test Pilots say nothing about spins: I couldn't spin a Vengeance (nor could anyone else AFAIK, and I've never heard of an accidental one - the "mush" factor again ?).

This "mush" also made glide landings inadvisable at normal "over the fence" speeds, for although you'd rounded-out correctly, it would just keep going down even though your attitude was correct - and you'd thump down with an almighty bang! The answer was to stick an extra 20-30mph on (and risk going off the other end). Better, drag it in low 'n slow with a fair amount of power, and roll it onto the strip.

With no "G" suits or anything else to help, people pulled as hard as they could on pull-outs from a dive (wouldn't you ?), until "grey-out". I suppose that might have been around 4½ G. How they recorded 6 G, I don't know (they must have been supermen !)

"The Americans realised that they would need many more aircraft so delivery schedules were completely altered, but that is another story".

Not much of a story ! They tried the A-31 and turned it down #. Then they asked for a 4 degree Angle of Incidence, Vultee obliged; they called that the A-35 (our Mk.IV) - turned that down too, and lost interest in it (except for training and odd jobs).

Note #: They decided that all the A-31s (our Mks.1-II-III) should go to Britain, as their pilots couldn't see over the nose and wanted nothing to do with them. Neither could we, but beggars can't be choosers (and we'd already paid in advance for most of the things !)

"The 1,200 which were delivered to the RAF gave extremely good service. mainly in Burma, with Hurricanes giving top cover to their attacks".

Very seldom ! In my 53 sorties, I can only recall three or four occasions when we were escorted in the Arakan. Two Hurricanes gave top cover to our "box", another pair weaved a mile or so behind us to guard our tails. As I have said in some Post or other: "It was a kind thought, but as the Nakajima "Oscar" was so superior to the Hurricane in all respects save firepower and solidity of build, the poor things would have their work cut out to defend themselves - never mind us ! (the bottom pair would often creep up closer to us - to get a little protection from our 12 rear Brownings ?)" As it happened, we were never attacked (which was as well).

But, with these minor quibbles, your quote has been very useful, Mike, and I've learned a lot I didn't know before.

Cheers, Danny.
Old 10th Aug 2015, 07:51
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"Spraying mustard gas" - on whom?
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 08:48
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It's the tenth of the month; Mess Bill!
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 17:55
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Wander00 (#7290),

The story starts on this Thread on my Post P.154/#3071. There's miles of it !


Last edited by Danny42C; 10th Aug 2015 at 18:22. Reason: Typo
Old 10th Aug 2015, 18:20
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Slow Flyer (your #7286),

Thanks for the link, tried it and got:

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All beyond me - Gremlins again !

Now: ".....I also co-own and fly a 75yr old former RAAF DH82A for stress relief"

Another story lurking there. Out with it !

Yes, I can well see that the US would be quite happy to see one go as a fire hulk !

Cheers, Danny.
Old 11th Aug 2015, 09:12
  #7295 (permalink)  
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When Deng Xiaoping (you all know how to pronounce that) opened up China. Shenzhen, being next door to Hong Kong was a natural choice to be one the first Special Economic Zones and with it came industrial development on a scale only seen before in wartime. With it came millions of migrant workers receiving unheard of wages and with them came the entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry to relieve them of some of it. Immediately by my apartment was a ship, the MingHua, originally MS Ancerville, launched by de Gaulle in 1962. In 1973 it was bought and operated by China where it got its name. In 1983 it was beached at Shekou and was turned into a hotel and entertainments centre. The area is called Sea World and is thick with restaurants of every nationality. There are several couth bars and an expat’s club called the Snake Pit where we reprehensibles would gather to swop stories. Down the road there is what is known as the Dark Side. Small bars where one can be entertained by hostesses for the cost of a few drinks or further entertained at home with money.

Not every project was a success. A few miles east of the heliport was an enormous fairground. It had a largest roller coaster I have ever but it was closed through lack of custom. There were five golf courses within 15 kilometres of Shenzhen; three of them to Championship standard designed by household names. Between Shenzhen and Shekou there were two theme parks. One, called Splendid China, had representations of every part and ethnic race in the country. There was continuous entertainment in one part or the other and the Mongolian horsemen gave a show that would be impossible to see in this country. On of them was a lunatic riding a pair of horses, bareback, standing, with nothing touching them except a rein and two feet going at a gallop all around the football pitch sized arena. In the evening there would be an amazing show of song, dancing and acrobatics to round off the day.

The other was The Window of the World. This was a theme park dominated by a 1/3rd scale Eiffel Tower complete with lifts and viewing balconies. Every continent in the world was portrayed in varying scale. One could travel from Japan, to Australia and walk over a Sydney Harbour Bridge staring at the Opera house and Ayers Rock. Through the pyramids of Egypt and then to Italy with the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Bridge of Sighs. Onwards, to the Arc de Triomphe and across to London; the Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament. North America was represented with the portraits on Mount Rushmore and the passé de resistance, Niagara Falls.

This feature was a semi miniature, about 100 meters across, version of Niagara Falls that used to flow for five minutes every half hour. The amount of water that had to be shifted was amazing; it would be a tourist site by itself if it were natural let alone artificial, As a teaser, this is what it looks like.

Again in the evening there was another show set with a distinctive Greco Roman theme.

The cable TV in the apartment had 100 Channels, satellite TV was yet to come. Apart from the usual overseas one like BBC, CNN and Star Sports there were multitude of Chinese programmes from all over China. Because so many people work far away from their home city they could be virtually be guaranteed to keep up with the home programmes in real time. There were special channels for Chinese opera, sports, historical films and a military channel. This channel had the best looking presenters of the whole lot, all in uniform. Watching this one could trace the whole military history of the PLA from the Chinese side, learn to strip and reassemble an assault rifle, sight and load a105mm howitzer because that was how a lot of the conscripts were taught.

Over the years I was there I was never afraid to go where no gweilo had been before. I had friends that lived in Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan and Luzhao. The first time I went to Chengdu they still had the early morning municipal loudspeakers urging the population to make even greater efforts that day. Hotels had to be licensed for foreigners so one could not pick any one. People would stand around a stall watching you buy something and then fall over laughing when they realised how much you had paid for it. You learned to bargain. Open at 30% of the asking price and walk away if they wont come down to half.

My contract was for one year. As time was progressing more and more of the operation was being run by nationals. I had a Chinese captain do my base check and instruments renewal and I was spending more time at home as a spare crew. They then offered me a six month extension. My contract said that it should have renewed on a year-by-year but they said it was a new contract. On that basis I choked an extra US$1,000/month out of them. They renewed my visa and as it was during the build up to the Olympics the visa regulations were draconian and it expired on the last day of my contract. I was starting to have trouble with my Chinese medical especially with my cataracts so I could see that the writing was on the wall.

A nice letter thanking me for the years I had been with them but that was it. The final trip was on a Sunday; a simple trip to the JHN platform and return. My co-pilot flew it out and I flew it back to land the last time. After the passengers had disembarked and the co-pilot went to do the paperwork I did the engine wash and finally shut it down. On an impulse I took a photo of the aeroplane.

In the planning room there was just the paperwork waiting for me as the co-pilot had gone home. The line office was empty, they knew that there was nothing wrong with the aeroplane and I signed off the tech log. There was nothing to do in the office except fill in my log book. It was 9th November 2008. My first flight in a Provost T1 at Tern Hill was 28th October 1960 so I had cracked forty-eight years and 17,879.45hrs. My headset I had bought in 1981 so that had at least 12,000hrs. I picked them both up, called up the driver and went through the terminal. Everybody had gone except for somebody I did not know that was beavering in the corner. At the front door I looked back and I could see the windsock the other side of the airfield indicating about five knots down the runway.

Then I closed the door.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 11th Aug 2015 at 09:37.
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Old 11th Aug 2015, 10:08
  #7296 (permalink)  
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I was starting to have trouble with my Chinese medical especially with my cataracts so I could see that the writing was on the wall.
If you could see the writing on the wall, they couldn't have been that bad!

That was some flying career ... starting with the JP Mk 1 with the spindly legs!
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Old 11th Aug 2015, 10:30
  #7297 (permalink)  
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a varied career very well told. Mine was totally RAF not as a pliot but flying wise as an ALM and interesting in its own way . My last trip was to Split and back on 24 December 1997 in Hercules XV 196. This 'swansong' was my choice (I was the leader) and gave my troops a headstart for the Christmas break. Back at Lyneham I was met by the boss and a reception committee with champagne. My wife was waiting with the car but the fuel low quantity light was on ! Still we did get home OK.
What memories do others have of their last flight etc. Not too much of a thread drift IMHO for this Emperor of topics.
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Old 11th Aug 2015, 11:39
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starting with the JP Mk 1 with the spindly legs!
I beg you're pardon. I started off with real Provosts; not kiddycars with a vacuum cleaner in the back.

I'm there somewhere.
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Old 11th Aug 2015, 13:04
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For those that are interested I posted some pictures of China and Karrathar on Rotorheads around the World. Judging by the horror which people here view helicopters none of you would have looked at the most viewed thread on PPrune.

Some of China and Karrathar here; you have to wind down the page a bit,


and more of China here near the bottom.


Last edited by Fareastdriver; 11th Aug 2015 at 18:04.
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Old 11th Aug 2015, 23:33
  #7300 (permalink)  
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I've been mulling over your link (in #45 on the "EZ999" Thread), which is hiding its light under a bushel in P.2 (let it "..only fade away...", as Old Soldiers should). Then we can all go back on "Pilot's Brevet", of which it was only an extension, and on which are all the 2012 Posts on the subject.

I'm quite convinced (by Slow Flyer) that EZ999 is pukka (although God knows what the Tech students have done with it).

Now thank you for a wonderful 6-minutes of YouTube: I've watched it several times, and each time the number of points (14 to date!) worthy of comment grows ! It'll be a day or two before I see light at the end of the tunnel, so please bear with me.

Cheers, Danny.

EDIT: This last time I let the video run on after the VV Section. What a feast of IAF and PAF footage ! Fareastdriver will be as fascinated as I was with the ending sequences of the aerobatic helicopter (but perhaps he's seen it before). I was stunned !

And, rooting about, I found this ## again (having previously forgotten all about it !) Supposed to be cockpit of a VV Mk. I - it's nothing like a Mk. I (A-31). This is the Narellan Vengeance - again ! I still accept that the Museum has got a Mk.I, but those "pesky studes" must have transplanted a whole Mk.IV front cockpit into it (or is it even that, or just a "bitsa" they've cobbled together [complete with double ball] - do you remember the "Stearman Panel" ? - it's the 0.50 gun story again) Slow Flyer will be interested, too. D.

## : Look at this ! (on this Thread)

2nd Jul 2012, 21:52 #2715 (permalink) Page 136 from 682al


Last edited by Danny42C; 13th Aug 2015 at 22:05. Reason: Addn & Spelling.

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