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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 20th Dec 2015, 08:55
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Man is not lost.

Danny - Reference your 7914.

With the greatest respect to your experience I feel that you do a serious injustice to the splendid Air Traffickers at Syerston (no, not Leeming) in the 60s.

No compass, no gyro procedure was always available and regularly practiced but, as I stated, I had a perfectly good gyro which was unaffected and could be selected to DG mode. It was only the flux detector unit which was rendered unreliable by the lightning strike. A subsequent ACR7 recovery with a fairly reliable heading reference was a more practical option.
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Old 20th Dec 2015, 11:35
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A warm Squadron welcome for the new boy
Post no. 13 from the memoirs of Tempest pilot Flt Lt Jack Stafford, DFC, RNZAF

ALL FLYING had been cancelled because of the weather, which had clagged right down. We entered the dispersal to find it packed tight with pilots, for another Typhoon squadron was paying us a visit. All heads turned towards us as we entered, for all knew it was my first “op”. Frank Murphy was standing at the door to greet us and he shook my hand enthusiastically. “How did it go?” “Good”, said Woe. “Piece of cake”. The intelligence officer stepped up and the noise in the room died down. “What did you see, Woe?” “Several ships in the port at Le Treport, one leaving the roadstead. Bit of movement around Boulogne, but most of the shipping was at Dieppe”. “Did you get much flak?” “Yes, quite a bit”, said Woe. “Dieppe was the heaviest, but they hosed us down quite a bit from all the other ports. Even got a bit on the coast”.

I stood there locked in amazement, my mouth open. Flak? What bloody flak? The CO of the visiting squadron must have noticed my obvious confusion and asked:”Did you see the flak, Staff?” My mouth had gone dry and almost inaudibly I answered no. He was smiling at me and at my answer he began to laugh, gales of good-humoured laughter rocked the room.

The goodwill towards me and my ready acceptance by all was infectious. Murph was killing himself laughing, he put a hand on my shoulder and said “Staff, you're a bloody beaut!” Without knowing what they were laughing about I joined in. Woe laughed, the intelligence officer laughed, everybody was in fits. Woe said: “He was watching my arse and he was doing it very well”. This produced more screams of laughter. It was just hilarious.
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Old 20th Dec 2015, 14:49
  #7923 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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Man is not lost...

Fixed Cross,

Your loyalty to your former ATC comrades at Syerston does you nothing but credit, but I really can't let them get away with it as easily as that. You said (Blocking mine):
...Continued up above cloud and called for advice. Nothing practical as all suggestions required sight of known landmarks. Then realised that the stars might provide an answer...
So the Approach Controller knew of your predicament. He had the Duty Instructor by his side (or upstairs in Local, when a call from him (APP) that one of his (the DIs) chicks was in trouble would bring him (the DI) headlong down the stairs. Their contribution: "Nothing practical as all suggestions required sight of known landmarks" ....AT NIGHT ?

It was simply not good enough. Did your training Squadron CO (who would have been the OC Night) hear about this ? I can't imagine that he did, or all Hell would have let loose. I have vivid memories of a (seemingly) similar incident, when the chap's Squadron CO was after me with murder in mind !

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 20th Dec 2015 at 22:57. Reason: TYPO
 
Old 20th Dec 2015, 15:33
  #7924 (permalink)  
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Geriaviator (your #7916) and Walter,
...Interesting to hear you had ground simulators for radar training, I had not heard of these...
In 1951 we had ground radar simulators for training our auxiliary Radar Ops. It was a mock-up of the equipment they had "down the hole" at Seaton Snook, where every Sunday they interpreted the radar returns from the CH towers at Danby Beacon and other sites.

At Thornaby, we had the old Coastal Command Operations block, which converted easily into a mock-up Sector Operations Room. In the centre large room was the plotting table, our Fighter Plotters with their croupier's rakes, each girl with a headset linking her to her "Op", the mock radars in a separate room behind and the trainee Fighter Controllers in the gallery above. It was quite convincing in full cry on an exercise.

Walter,
...I was very keen on the Link Trainer. I went to it whenever I was allowed and enjoyed "driving" that machine...
Walter, you can't mean that ! The Link was an instrument of Satan, it "flew" like no aircraft that ever was or ever will be and its only value was as a procedures trainer, IMHO.

Cheers, Danny.
 
Old 20th Dec 2015, 16:30
  #7925 (permalink)  
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Geriaviator,

This excerpt from my Post p.134 #2663 is on the same theme:
...Danny starts to earn his keep
Things go dark and I'm crushed down in my seat by "G" for a few moments, then I relax a bit and vision clears. Brakes in, we're in a 40-degree dive from a thousand feet, still with most of the 300 mph we picked up on the way down.

The sky looks like a dalmation dog, for light AA has been pumping away merrily for a minute or two. Surprised, it dawns on me that they're still firing at us. I feel quite indignant. Poor little me, what have I done to deserve being shot at at like this?

This dangerous reverie exasperates the battle-hardened Robbie behind. "Get weaving, Skipper", he roars, sees a gun position on the ground and gives it a long burst to distract the gunners from their aim. That wakens me up.

No time to ruminate - jink and get down on the deck as fast as you can! At this point I should explain that aircraft come out of the dive heading every which way, depending on where they were facing when they pressed the button, and that has been affected by the amount of "weathercocking" which they'd had to do on the way down. It was rather like a Red Arrow "bomb burst", only in sequence...
Danny.
 
Old 20th Dec 2015, 22:43
  #7926 (permalink)  
 
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Danny

Maybe it was kindly Nature which blinded you to the showers of flying metal which whistled around you! All respect to the men like yourselves who flew through it unscathed, and the ones who were not so lucky.

Mind you, I think you're rather unkind to the Link which taught me a great deal. Fifty years ago two enthusiasts called Barney and Bill completely restored a WWII Link for our flying club and I spent many hours therein, the patient sighs of its pneumatic bellows matched by those of my long-suffering instructor as I wandered drunkenly around the "sky". It cost me 12s 6d per hour against the ADF-equipped Cherokee at £6 yes six pounds and after its jerky response the real thing was easy. Well, less difficult.

Walter, we are eagerly waiting for your next instalment, please keep it rolling
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Old 20th Dec 2015, 22:49
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Ha ha haaa .... Danny . Obviously the Reds sequencing leaves something to be desired. Fantastic revisiting the reality of why you earned those wings. I wish you, and yours, the best of Christmas times, and a huge lump sum payback from the taxman in the New Year.


Credit Patricia Forrest.

Have a great holiday.

Smudge
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Old 20th Dec 2015, 23:18
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Originally Posted by Geriaviator

Mind you, I think you're rather unkind to the Link which taught me a great deal. Fifty years ago two enthusiasts called Barney and Bill completely restored a WWII Link for our flying club and I spent many hours therein, the patient sighs of its pneumatic bellows matched by those of my long-suffering instructor as I wandered drunkenly around the "sky". It cost me 12s 6d per hour against the ADF-equipped Cherokee at £6 yes six pounds and after its jerky response the real thing was easy. Well, less difficult.
As an ATC cadet on 27(F) Chingford Squadron I, too, haunted the Link room to hiss and sigh my way around in the hope that my track scratched out on the Crab would match that of the underlying map. 53 years ago and it was all for free and to a 14 year old would-be pilot, priceless
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Old 20th Dec 2015, 23:52
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As an ATC cadet on 27(F) Chingford Squadron I, too, haunted the Link room to hiss and sigh my way around in the hope that my track scratched out on the Crab would match that of the underlying map.

There must be a hereditary "link"....

Jack
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Old 21st Dec 2015, 00:33
  #7930 (permalink)  
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Small World !


Geriaviator
and Walter,
...Maybe it was kindly Nature which blinded you to the showers of flying metal...
Or maybe simple stupidity:
"If you can keep your head, when all about you,
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you....."
....then you don't appreciate the gravity of the situation...

Regarding the Link, I suppose there's no accounting for taste ! But seriously, what do you two experts on it know about the Edmunds Trainer, which caused a few puzzled frowns on this Thread long ago ? (It was a bolt-on gubbins on the Link, apparently - Google leads to:
...Edmunds Trainers - RAF Commands RAF Commands | The meeting place for RAF Researchers › Forum › General Category
22 Mar 2012 - 2 posts - ‎1 author Is anyone able to shed any light on "Edmunds Trainers"? RAF Long Newnton (Wiltshire) had a "Link Trainer and Edmunds Trainer" Building...
This elicited a response from our good comrade Petet, who is a researcher sans pareil (and has been particularly helpful to me [Pete, the RAFBF is £20 to the good, hope that's about right] and states inter alia: ... it was invented by F/O Morgan Rice Edmondes)...
By one of those amazing coincidences which you would not dare to invent, Wing Commander M.R. Edmondes was in 1945 the senior RAF Liaison Officer to Colonel Phillips, the Commandant of the Chemical Defence Research Establishment at Cannanore (on the Malabar coast, 150 mi N of Cochin). As I had a small Flight there to provide the air component, Wg Cdr Edmondes and I worked closely together, although he was not my CO as he was "outside the loop" (I was responsible direct to the SASO of 225 Group in Bangalore). I remember him as a charming and helpful friend, who was a pleasure to work with.

I'm sorry to say that my log tells me that I did three 30 min sessions on an Edmunds Trainer at OTU in August,'42, but I've absolutely no recollection of what it was or what I did, and later in 1945, of course, would have had no idea that the Wg Cdr was the inventor.

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 21st Dec 2015 at 00:47. Reason: Typo,
 
Old 21st Dec 2015, 01:06
  #7931 (permalink)  
 
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Back to the previous discussion about compasses, I have an almost pristine copy of AP 1234 Volume 1, 1941 last amendment was number 5 dated Sept 1943. Dad's mate Len Coulstock owned it.

Anyway, in Chapter VIII it details 'Swinging Aircraft in the Air' which covers two pages. Not something to be done when in dire straits over enemy territory!

The details in the volume are fascinating, and it seems to have exercises similar to the exams posted by pulse1 complete with observations and charts. Charts of magnetic variation for 1937, magnetic dip for 1922 and horizontal magnetic force for the same year; who would be taught such stuff these days?

And as for the three pages on the Pioneer Magnesyn Compass; stuff of science fiction!
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Old 21st Dec 2015, 02:05
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Reader123

Hans Hasenfus is the correct name that I well remember. See Union Jack's comments #7898, especially Percival Proctor where Hasenfus was reported comng to Australia in June/July 1947.
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Old 21st Dec 2015, 04:52
  #7933 (permalink)  
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pulse1 (your #7919),

The key words here are:
...AIR OBSERVERS' NAVIGATION SCHOOLS' EXAMINATIONS...
Which lets us Twin-Winged Lords of the Air - or Drivers (Airframe), according to taste, - off the hook, I'm very glad to say. Had a quick run-through the question paper, felt faint and had to have a lie-down. Greatly increased respect for all "Flying A###'oles" from now on.

(Sign of the times: absolutely correct use of apostrophes. Sadly, today these still give a lot of trouble: the distinction between 'its' and 'it's' in particular is too much even for some PPRuNers, I'm sorry to say).

Danny.
 
Old 21st Dec 2015, 06:09
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Apostrophe's

Danny, I've worked it out.
It seems to me that, at birth, some people were issued with a big, heavy bag - full of apostrophes.
The instruction given to them was that they had to use them all up before they would be considered for entry to paradise.
So, any word ending with an 's' is a good place to lighten their load.

We had an orderly-room clerk who was a terrible offender in that regard.
We sneakily got to his typewriter and filed the apostrophe off it.
There was nearly a royal commission over that.
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Old 21st Dec 2015, 09:51
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These little things are sent to try us.

Stanwell,

I like your theory about apostrophes and the ingenious way you cut off the supply at source on the Orderly Room typewriter. A file can prove useful in all sorts of ways:

The designers of the control runs for our Wright Double Cyclones were unduly anxious about the possibility of a pilot closing the throttle completely while the mixture control (next door in the quadrant) was left leaned-out half-way forward. Accordingly they fitted a little spring loaded one-way catch on the throttle which allowed you to advance it past the mixture control, but if you then tried to retard it, the catch would engage the mixture lever amd draw it back with the throttle. It was a nice idea.

Only snag was that the optimum fuel-saving mixture position was about half-way along the quadrant, which by ill chance was exactly the same spot that you had your throttle when climbing in formation with a full load. As you were constantly jiggling the throttle to keep station, it would keep pulling the mixture back, and you had an extra, unwanted task in having to re-set the mixture every minute or two.

Clearly the catch was more trouble than it was worth; five minutes with a sharp file and it was in the bin. One little nuisance had been abated. A small victory !

Danny.
 
Old 21st Dec 2015, 12:49
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A grim souvenir for the new fighter pilot
Post no. 14 from the memoirs of Tempest pilot Flt Lt Jack Stafford, DFC, RNZAF

AT THAT moment a ground crew member approached the dispersal. Murph went to meet him and returned with a jagged piece of steel in his hand, three or four inches long, all edges and points. It was grey-black in colour and it looked sinister, murderous and pitiless. “This was just removed from your aircraft's spinner, Staff”, he said. I took it silently and studied it, a chunk of German flak.

“Wouldn't look too good in your eye for a wart, Staff”, said one of the pilots. This initiated a dozen more smart remarks, most offering suggestions as to where else it might have been stuck. The laughter was away again. My jaw ached, my sides ached, for everything seemed so funny.

With all the squadrons stood down, everyone slowly drifted away to the mess. I was swollen with pride, for I felt that I was now a fighter pilot. Not much of a fighter pilot, but a fighter pilot just the same. Sure, it was only the smallest of small shows, but we had intruded into enemy occupied territory and returned.

It was the first step in my operational career. I was a fighter pilot in 486 Fighter Squadron, 11 Group, Fighter Command, RAF Tangmere. Sure I was proud! We went into the mess and I shouted everyone to a drink, and everyone shouted me. We ate. I was becoming drunk as we left the station in a couple of cars for The Ship, a favourite watering hole just outside Chichester. It was a lost night, but even now I remember how it started.

I treasured that piece of flak for many months. The war dragged on and the combat became grimmer and grimmer as the months passed. Such souvenirs lost their importance as life became less secure and more precarious. I soon lost that piece of flak.
From this point Jack Stafford's memoirs take on a darker note as he sees his friends falling around him. As D-Day loomed the Typhoons of 486 Sqn increased their ground attack operations, specialising in train-busting with their four 20mm cannon. The Germans responded by mounting quadruple cannon on flat trucks, several in a train, so each aircraft attacked into four times its own firepower. The pilots then launched attacks from different directions, so splitting the defences. By D-Day the railways which should have carried reinforcements to Normandy were paralysed, but at terrible cost to the RAF.

In early 1944 Jack Stafford was posted to Hatfield as test pilot for de Havilland airscrew development. He remained there for several months before rejoining 486 (NZ) Sqn, by this time re-equipped with the Hawker Tempest to combat the V1 flying bombs. Our next post joins him on the south coast of England, where he would destroy eight V-1s between June 19 and August 29.
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Old 21st Dec 2015, 13:06
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Jack Stafford (courtesy geriaviator):-
“This was just removed from your aircraft's spinner, Staff”
If you tried to fire a chunk of red hot jagged metal at high velocity into the spinner of a fast rotating propeller driven by a Napier Sabre, without disturbing the performance of either, I strongly suggest that it would not be possible. The CSU must have missed total destruction by a hair's breadth and therein the continued flight of his steed. No wonder he hung onto it for so long! It is a measure of the constant danger he and his comrades faced thereafter that it then lost all significance. It is only by such vignettes that we can hope to grasp the reality of that desperate period in our history.
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Old 21st Dec 2015, 14:19
  #7938 (permalink)  
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F.O.D.

Chugalug,
...If you tried to fire a chunk of red hot jagged metal at high velocity into the spinner of a fast rotating propeller driven by a Napier Sabre, without disturbing the performance of either, I strongly suggest that it would not be possible...
Very true, but if the shell casing fragment had travelled some distance it could have slowed to the point where it had just sufficient energy to penetrate the sheet metal of the spinner and then be stopped by the hydraulic "dome" of the CSU but be unable to damage it (I'm assuming a hydraulic prop), and remained trapped between.

When the "butterfly" tail fuse safety caps came off our wing bombs, they were quite often found jammed into the lower wing or flap, but, being so light, just stuck there and did no further damage.

(Just a guess). Cheers, Danny.
 
Old 21st Dec 2015, 15:02
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Danny:-
it could have slowed to the point where it had just sufficient energy to penetrate the sheet metal of the spinner and then be stopped by the hydraulic "dome" of the CSU
Very true of course, but to me that still seems incredible. The spinner has a momentum of its own, propelled as it is by the aircraft. The shrapnel may have lost much of its initial velocity when the shell of which it was part had exploded, but would still have been subject to the laws of physics and retain some percentage of its original "oomph".

Stafford's spinner must have collided with this jagged hot mass of metal in that brief window of opportunity before the mass started accelerating again under the effect of gravity. I seem to recall that the danger in the London Blitz from being struck by falling debris from our own Anti Aircraft barrage was no inconsiderable part of the total hazard, as a life underwriter might have calculated. Hence the dubious value of our Prime Minister viewing proceedings from the Air Ministry roof...
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Old 21st Dec 2015, 15:21
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A search using Google produced this Edmonds Trainer:
"The name of this device is usually mispelled as Edmunds or Edmonds; it was invented by F/O Morgan Rice Edmondes. There were a large number of gunnery training simulators in use throughout WWII This particular device was one of a number of 'dual purpose' synthetic trainers for gunnery and recognition.
It instructed fighter pilots in deflection shooting combined with aircraft recognition and range judging, using a standard Link trainer. This was fitted with a reflector sight (modified for the purpose) and a spotlight triggered by a firing a button on the control column. At the required distance from the Link, a 1:48 scale model aircraft was positioned 6.5 ft from the ground and mounted on a castored trolley. A 'deflection' graph was also positioned 3 ft from the floor.
On the floor in front of the 'aircraft' were painted a number of arcs of circles worked out from the pivot point from the Link. These were at intervals of 37.5 in (representing ranges from 150 yds to 600 yds at 50 yds increments).
The trainee flew the Link to ‘attack’ the model which then moved to simulate an aircraft under attack. When the pilot considered he was in range, he pressed his trigger in short bursts and the beam of light from the spotlight registered on the graph, the instructor immediately read off the range from the arcs on the floor and the errors shown on the graph. The instructor was in communication with the pilot, giving advice and corrrecting his aim throughout the simulation.
I think the prototype went to Grangemouth, and was intended for all Fighter Command OTUs, and Group I SFTS, (plus a few Gp.II).
A report described it as very effective and extremely simple to construct, though it required a fair amount of floor space"
Source: AIR20 /6058 Synthetic Training Devices, AIR2 /8785 Synthetic Training Committee (STC) reports.
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