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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 Jan 2016, 21:13
  #8021 (permalink)  
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Grandson did his first AEF flight in a Grob Tutor at Benson a couple of weeks ago. I believe the parachutes are more manageable now, but I'm no expert. He still needed the riser cushion to get him up to the right height.
Hope he enjoyed it - looks much more civilised now! Regretfully I have no photos of my AEF flights, nor even of me in my cadet uniform.
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Old 2nd Jan 2016, 23:31
  #8022 (permalink)  
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Dressing by the left, Sir ?

BigDotStu (your #8022),
...Happy days, but very off-topic now for this thread...
Not so, Sir. As you will have noticed as you have ploughed through it, our Moderators allow us enormous latitude, always provided the spirit of the Thread is maintained.
...and the straps pulled so tight that you had to walk to the aircraft, climb up on the wing and finally in to the cockpit whilst seemingly bent almost double...
Uncomfortable, admittedly, but I'm told (never having had occasion to try it) that your chances of having any (or more) progeny would be minimal if you didn't have 'em tight and had to hit the silk. (It is with this in mind, I understand, that the part of Peter Pan is always played by the Principal Boy).

airborne artist (your #2 on BEAGLE HUSKY - XW635 - Ex-5 AEF -Where is she now),

Thanks for the pic; the Beagle Husky was a new one on me, but on checking it, seems to be just a big Piper Cub. Looks nice to fly, should be very stable.

Old 3rd Jan 2016, 00:56
  #8023 (permalink)  
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BigDotStu (your #8023),

Googling "Sir Arthur Marshall 'Creamy' Flying Instructor Scheme", gives us:

(From D.Tel. Obituary)
...At the same time he devised a revolutionary procedure for the rapid training of pilots and their flying instructors; during the Second World War the Marshall Flying Schools trained more than 20,000 pilots and instructors for the RAF, and its methods continue to be used by the RAF to this day...

Speaking to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's Graham Hughes, Terry Holloway, Group Support Executive for Marshall of Cambridge, explains the impact of the flying school on the Second World War.
..."Sir Arthur Marshall actually invoked a scheme to train instructors from scratch. The usual route was for senior pilots in the RAF to progress to become instructors regardless of their enthusiasm or aptitude for that task. Marshall decided to take trainees on from scratch - if they were good pilots and had the aptitude he'd teach them to become instructors.
"In 1941, his 'Ab Initio' Flying Instructor Scheme was adopted universally by the RAF and it still exists to this day, known as the 'Creamy' Flying Instructor Scheme."
Air Marshall [sic] Sir John Day commented in recent years that had the Marshall scheme been introduced at the very beginning of the war, there would have been no shortage of pilots for the Battle of Britain...
The policy of "Creaming Off" Instructors by selection from Wings graduates was in force in the USAAC when I trained there Sep'41 to Feb'42. Seems the RAF started at the same time. It is obvious (now) that the quickest way to mass-produce pilots is to use your top graduates as "seed corn", at the cost of a delay in getting them into operational service. But (then), the idea seemed to have been to have a cadre of specialised Flying Instructors # who were permanently on that job.

Note # EDIT: When writing this, a misty memory of a poem in "Punch" came back to me. Isn't Google wonderful ? - found it, tried to copy it, wouldn't play, so see for yourselves:

The Flying Instructor's Lament - Aircrew Remembered

But of course, what we're talking about here is the actual content of the flying instruction, delivered by whomsoever, so:

Google>Gosport System of Flying Training in RFC First World War flying training - Taking Flight - Royal Air ...www.rafmuseum.org.uk/...flight/.../first-world-war-flying-training.aspx>
...Perhaps the most important development was the adoption of Major Robert Smith-Barry's 'Gosport System' of training, which gave students the confidence to fly their aircraft to the limit. These changes helped the RFC to turn out large numbers of capable combat pilots quickly while reducing the number of accidents.

When the Royal Air Force (RAF) was formed in April 1918, it inherited over 100 training squadrons and 30 specialist schools; units that would later boast more than 7,000 aircraft. By the Armistice in November, pilots were receiving instruction in all aspects of air fighting on an eleven-month course which included an average of 50 hours' solo flying. From a single flying school in 1914, the RAF's training organization had, in four years, grown to become the largest and most effective in the world...
It is interesting that a ballpark time for taking a lad off the street and training him to Wings standard in WWII seems still to have been 12 mos (my impression - I stand to be corrected). The "Gosport System" is with us yet AFAIK.
EDIT:...I'll return to lurking in a corner of the crew room, mug of tea in hand...
Teabar in corner of crewroom, 2d in the jar, please (real currency - post-1972 Toytown money not acceptable)


PS: Warmtoast,

Wonderful pics of the sprog ! Clearly you're bringing him up right - a real chip off the old block (or should I say a crumb off the old slice ?) D.

Last edited by Danny42C; 3rd Jan 2016 at 07:42. Reason: Addn.
Old 3rd Jan 2016, 01:21
  #8024 (permalink)  
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The Fog of War.

Walter (my #8021),

I should have added that, having wasted all the time spent in getting me up to speed on the Spitfire, the RAF then reverted to type, and checked me out on the VV (in which I was going to war) on the basis of 20 mins in the back seat (which had rudimentary controls), and then: "It's all yours now, mate".

But my Boss on 110 could not object, for nobody knew anything about them or what to do with them, so I was able to chalk up 37 hours of trial and error before throwing bombs about for real.

As ever, Sod rules................

Old 3rd Jan 2016, 01:59
  #8025 (permalink)  
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Jack Stafford (RIP) DFC,

Geriaviator (your #8001),

It's been three days now since:
...with a sickening thump I struck the cable...

PLEASE !!!.....what happened next ??

(Does your #8019 give us a clue ?)

Old 3rd Jan 2016, 07:21
  #8026 (permalink)  
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Chugalug and GlobalNav,

My #8013 (Item 4) refers, seems we do not have to worry unduly about Gila Monsters (Wiki), as they only live in the SW of the US and northern Mexico. That said, they can keep them as they appear to be an unprepossessing animal which I would not like as a pet.

What the writer saw in N. Burma would not be one of those...... but heat and high humidity do strange things to a man, and after a while you tend to see things which are not there. Perhaps some other form of large lizard ?

Old 3rd Jan 2016, 07:27
  #8027 (permalink)  
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Creamed off Instructors

As one of those who had the misfortune to be numbered among the first-tour instructor fraternity (in the 60s) I can assure you that we were more likely to be refered to as "scummed off". Our reward was usually a posting to the aircraft of our choice - it actually came about sometimes!
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Old 3rd Jan 2016, 08:00
  #8028 (permalink)  
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Fixed Cross,

Have a look at my #8028, Note # EDIT: for a wartime view of a Flying Instructor's life (no, I was never one myself).


Last edited by Danny42C; 3rd Jan 2016 at 09:04. Reason: Error (for 8023 read 8028).
Old 3rd Jan 2016, 08:23
  #8029 (permalink)  
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Re your 3am post: Patience, we kids can't keep up with your current 24hr shifts! More today, I have been working on some pics for future posts which are worth waiting for. As you said, this man was a poet. -- G
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Old 3rd Jan 2016, 08:54
  #8030 (permalink)  
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Will possess my soul in patience ! Meanwhile came across this pic of a Piper Cub panel, here's the little tube we were talking about a while back (or one like it):

Old 3rd Jan 2016, 10:43
  #8031 (permalink)  
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Gila Monsters...they can keep them as they appear to be an unprepossessing animal which I would not like as a pet.
Now now, Danny. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I've no doubt someone somewhere has adopted one. Think of Marge (née Bouvier) Simpson's older sister's beloved Jub-Jub. Truly a friend and comfort in an uncaring world.

As you say, the ex-CBI Roundup is a gold mine for information of an often overlooked WWII theatre. If Burma was forgotten, then what about China? The article "Returns from Land of Missing" by Harry Zinder, about the forced landing of his B-29 in (just) Free China following a raid on Japan, is witness to the extreme range of these missions, when engine failure en-route often meant no RTB. The Japanese Air Force obliged in destroying the abandoned aircraft, saving the crew from doing so, who were speedily bussed to catch a B-25 home.

The Husky strikes me as having more in common with an Auster than a Piper Cub, the panel of which could never be described as "cluttered"!

Warmtoast, how warming (see what I did there?) to see those wonderful pics of your grandson, reminding us all of how we started out as wannabe pilots. Good luck to him if he too has got the bug!

Last edited by Chugalug2; 3rd Jan 2016 at 21:40. Reason: For Chub-Chub read Jub-Jub (auth Wiki)
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Old 3rd Jan 2016, 11:03
  #8032 (permalink)  
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The Husky strikes me as having more in common with an Auster than a Piper Cub
The Husky was in fact the last and most powerful version of the Auster. As a young lad in the mid 50's, one of the highlights of my year was watching Ranald Porteus, Auster's Test Pilot, carrying out amazing displays of "crazy" flying as he hopped from one wheel to the other in the Husky at the Farnborough Air Show. The only American thing in the Husky was the 180 hp Lycoming engine.
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Old 3rd Jan 2016, 11:04
  #8033 (permalink)  
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A battle to the death with the German flak crews
Post no. 19 from the memoirs of Tempest pilot Flt Lt Jack Stafford, DFC, RNZAF

MY MAIN memory is of the other aircraft streaking away from me and my Tempest hanging in the air almost stalled. She shuddered and as I stuck the nose down I noticed that the airspeed had fallen to around 170mph, well down from the 400 mph we had been doing. I was almost at the stall when I got the nose down and she recovered just in time to lift, and was almost on the ground before she regained flying speed.

Bev and Bill were several miles ahead of me, such was my loss of speed, and were attacking a train which included several flak cars. As I stumbled up, the Tempests were well on their way with the flak following them. I gave the flak cars a couple of long bursts and I also plastered the loco. The gunners had their backs to me and were firing madly at Bev and Bill so I was able to upset the plans of some of them for that evening and many to follow.

My speed had not really built up so the flak gave me a hard time as I flew low over them. They had just me to shoot at and really wanted to get the man who had given them such a pasting. I heard hits on my aircraft and she shuddered, almost staggering in the air. I caught up to the others as we approached a town which met us with a violent barrage of flak.

My only chance of survival was to be low, low, low. I was just clear of the ground, firing my cannons at the flashes from their guns as they poured it at us. As we came to the town I raised one wing and I skidded down the street between buildings. Billy lifted up to clear a building on my left, we were only meters apart, and I could see light flak pouring into the underside of his fuselage. His aircraft was wobbling and as we left the town he was forward in his seat and getting lower towards the ground.

I flew beside him screaming at him to pull up, but his head kept falling forward and lifting again as he struggled to see and to control the crippled plane. I was devastated, I yelled and cursed the Hun as I watched him finally slump forward and his aircraft dropped lower, still being struck by the following flak. He hit the ground, skipped like a stone and hit again, exploding into a great orange ball, the colour exaggerated by the misty low cloud. I felt so sick I could hardly hold my head up.

At that point I took a cannon shell from behind which deadened the radio and filled the cockpit with smoke. I could smell the explosive while wearing an oxygen mask. Bev, who had been a mile or so out to port from us, closed up on me and I climbed into the cloud, finally breaking through above it. Bev kept trying to formate on me expecting me to lead but I wanted him to get a vector home and kept pointing to my earphones. Finally he got the message and turned slightly, indicating that he was in contact with control. We droned on just on top of the cloud ready to drop into it if attacked by German fighters. I was anxiously checking the instruments, for the engine had low oil pressure and a high temperature, but apart from being very noisy everything seemed to function.

Last edited by Geriaviator; 3rd Jan 2016 at 11:13. Reason: typo
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Old 3rd Jan 2016, 11:08
  #8034 (permalink)  
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Re the Beagle Husky, I'm with you, chugalug.
The Husky was simply a development of the 1945 era Auster Autocrat - the major difference being the Lycoming 0-320.

p.s. Oops, post crossed with that of pulse1.
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Old 3rd Jan 2016, 11:40
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O C Chave

The Flying Instructor's Lament - Aircrew Remembered
15 Squadron Stirling I BF448 LS-T Fl/Lt. Chave

Fl/Lt O C Chave also gets a mention in in Denis Peto-Shepherd's book 'The Devil Take The Hindmost' which is an account of the author's wartime RAF service from his initial enlistment, through his training (ITW at Torquay and Babbacombe-various hotels are mentioned!) to become a 'creamed-off' flying instructor before eventually, towards the end of the war, making it to an operational bomber squadron. He and Chave served together at one point.

'The Devil Take The Hindmost' is packed full of the sort of minutiae that readers of this thread thrive on (and a lot about his travails at a minor public school, of which I could have done with less) and I highly recommend it.
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Old 3rd Jan 2016, 12:20
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the Beagle Husky was a new one on me, but on checking it, seems to be just a big Piper Cub. Looks nice to fly, should be very stable.
I certainly had no problems with some gentle turns and keeping mostly S&L to Duxford and back. Sometimes wish I had pursued matters back then - probably should have hooked up with UAS when at university, but inexplicably this never occurred to me at the time, despite sharing a flat with a fellow engineering student who had already obtained her PPL before uni.

I hadn't realised that there was an ITW at Cambridge in university/college buildings and accommodation during the war, presumably tied with 22 E(R)FTS run by Marshalls at Cambridge (who I note also ran 25ERFTS at Kidlington, thus providing UAS facilities for Oxford as well as Cambridge, as well as 4FIS at Cambridge and another EFTS down in Wiltshire). Learned a lot of local wartime history in the last 24 hours whilst chasing around on Google.

Teabar in corner of crewroom, 2d in the jar, please
Of course
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Old 3rd Jan 2016, 13:33
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Robert Smith Barry

It gives me great pleasure to offer this to Danny 42C and all of you as I pickup on Danny's #8028. I hope I do not stray too far from the thread, but all who flew in WW2 and me later in my Chipmunk owe our lives to RSB, (no hyphens in his name) although we may not know it.

He revolutionised flying training, which before his time had concentrated on avoiding the manoeuvres, such as spinning, stall turns etc which were the cause of many accidents. Instead he taught how to do these things so you could get out of trouble. Before I knew this was his approach, when I was teaching in industry, I taught people how to tackle the most difficult problems with simple methodologies, so they had less fear of the unknown. I was too late RSB beat me to it.

The point of all this is to let you know there is a superb biography of RSB which is sometimes available via the South American watercourse or Abebooks called Pioneer Pilot: The Great Smith Barry who taught the world how to fly by F D Tredrey pub.Peter Davies Ltd London 1976. If you want to read about an exceptional pilot in a cracking book written with the assistance of his friends, second wife and former pupils, packed with anecdotes of his flying exploits, this is the one. He also seemed to have a history of deliberately burning his problems, (paperwork, office and an experimental SPAD), fell out with Trenchard, invented the Gosport tube (did you use one Danny?) and reduced pilot deaths by tens of percent. Thank you Bobbie.
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Old 3rd Jan 2016, 17:16
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Squadron numberplates

Danny from your #8029 it seems we were on the same squadron, though not at the same time; as previously recorded here, I joined it overnight when my 'old' unit 96 Sqdn was summarily re-numbered 110 in spring 1946.

I have never figured out RAF policy as to the apparently random extinction and re-creation of squadron titles (as opposed to the actual setting up or disbandment of functioning units), but suspect it is mainly driven by a high-level policy of keeping alive those numbers with either a long and auspicious history or perhaps associated with an exceptionally outstanding event i.e. 617 Sqdn - am I right?

From the account of your first solo in a VV, it seems we share the same experience of nil previous dual on type - but that is another topic!

Happy New Year-

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Old 3rd Jan 2016, 20:19
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110 Sqn. That makes three of us.
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Old 4th Jan 2016, 01:42
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harrym (your #8043),

You are right. I think the thing was/is: we have so much invested in this number, its name and traditions, all the Mess Silver, its Crest approved and initialled by the Sovereign, its colours (if any) and all the two, three and four (?) stars in post and retired who ever served on it rooting for it, that they will pin it on anything rather than scrap it. Even then it will be put in mothballs until reincarnation in the next WW.
...From the account of your first solo in a VV, it seems we share the same experience of nil previous dual on type - but that is another topic!...
In our far-off times the idea was, once you got your wings, you were now a Pilot, ergo you could fly anything which came along (much as, once you get your licence, you can drive any car). This was true in respect of single-engine things, no one wanted a dual Hurricane or a Mustang or a Spitfire, you just jumped in and took it away (the Mk.IX(T) Spit is an aberration, nobody would want it as a trainer in WWII - or ever).

When it came to twos and fours, they had to concede that it might be a good idea for the new lad to have someone with him on his first few trips (and they mostly had two seats, which was handy).


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