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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 22nd Jun 2016, 18:21
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Danny Two more grist for the mill . .. . seeing you do use the goad now and then.

. . . . . while I'm looking way back and finding much of the nostalgia I was once told was all I had to look forward to .. . This one was from 1965-66 during days of wine and roses in WA with Caratti Bulldozing. Ah . . the Ironclad Hotel at Marble Bar .. . seems like yesterday. Or Freddie Ashleford seriously hung over (as I later found out) at 6 am bringing his MMA DC-3 down the main street of Hedland. I saw him. I leaped out of bed the moment I heard his approach. I swear as I leaned over the rail he was level with the upstairs verandah of the Esplanade Hotel. He was flying from my right to left . His side window was open and I also swear as he went by he turned his face left momentarily and gave a huge wink.

There was another MMA skipper called Mike Gent. The story goes Mike was taxying Fitzroy Crossing where he had overnighted.
He called Broome to pass his details. He also was a little worse for wear as he could not remember the call sign. He knew it was MIKE MIKE something as that was how the airline's fleet were all registered. So Mike Gent says in a ponderous way -


They knew the call sign they knew their man all along of course.

Last edited by Fantome; 22nd Jun 2016 at 20:08.
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Old 22nd Jun 2016, 18:52
  #8782 (permalink)  
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...to be welcomed back just eight years later as a national hero?...
There was another man in more recent times, a failed politician of 58, widely distrusted as he had "crossed the floor of the House of Commons twice" (changed political allegiance twice), and derided as a "warmonger" because he had repeatedly warned of the growing Nazi threat. His political career was finished, it seemed.

Eight years later he would take over the reins of power - and (by the sheer power of his oratory) save this country from its greatest danger in a thousand years.

Winston Churchill.

Old 22nd Jun 2016, 19:18
  #8783 (permalink)  
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..... . seeing you do use the goad now and then...
Well, like all large enterprises (and "Pilot's Brevet" is pretty big now), a prod from time to time does a power of good.

Nothing surprises me from the heartlands of our "Wild Colonial Boys !"


...There were stories current once of POWs locked in cells with a common masonry wall. By tapping on the wall with a boot heel or anything else to hand for the purpose . .. if the two prisoners were skilled morse men they could communicate...
Before I went into the RAF, an office colleague who'd been in Signals speeded-up my Morse with a school ruler balanced over a pencil. Made an excellent double-acting Morse key.


Last edited by Danny42C; 22nd Jun 2016 at 19:38. Reason: ADDN PS
Old 22nd Jun 2016, 20:40
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Colleagues in the tower were relatively polite to each other, more likely he was flashing:

.--. .. ... ... --- ..-. ..-.
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Old 22nd Jun 2016, 21:04
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well all we have to do is keep stirring the pot and if Oliver asks for more
dish up the best we can a lad will not put on any condition on thin gruel .

While thinking of the DC-3 hey days of MacRobertson Miller Airways
(whose co-founder Horrie Miller, a veteran of the RFC and assistant from before the first war to Harry Hawker and Tommy Sopwith, told a marvellous story of a full life in EARLY BIRDS.) I was reminded of a few trivial little incidents relating to the Daks. The late Les Jaycock was one of those skippers who came over from 'the East' to take up an instant command. Such imports as Les usually encountered a sense of being an alien so askance did your average sand-groper regard Eastern Staters . One blazing hot day at the airstrip at Marble Bar I was killing time waiting for my boss to turn up, sitting in the shade on the main wheel of our Cessna 182, when the Perth flight came into the circuit. MMAs aircraft were always polished to a high natural finish. . no point in adding to your empty weight with a hundred pounds of paint.

The sun flashing off the gleaming Doug was a sight to behold. After landing taxying in and disgorging a few passengers the pilots came off. The skipper was in no hurry as he strolled over for a yarn. That was my first encounter in the flesh with Les. I say in the flesh because four years prior to that when he was flying Bristol Frighteners on freight runs to Tasmania he had happened to overhear me asking any aircraft for an actual on the NSW south coast.
So brief as that exchange was it was memorable in that the skipper of the Bristol was so affable and so helpful. I found out his name later and stored that bit of info away in my once reasonable memory bank. So that warm morning at Marble Bar it was almost like encountering an old friend.

The airline also operated the Fokker Friendship. A senior pilot was Jack Murray. One day I was going with MMA Kalgourlie- Albany-Perth. I wandered over before boarding to say good-day to the F27 skipper (Jack Murray) of that flight and hint that if he offered the jump seat I'd well jump at that. And so it transpired.
He told me a story once airborne of an F/O who went light on deodorants in the pits. He was balling the young man out in a raised voice to the extent that the hostie came up and asked Jack what was the trouble. "I'm telling this stinking young animal I'm cooped up with here to stop waving his hands over my head when he reaches up to the overhead panel .. Can you spray him with a bit if your eau de cologne?" (or words to that effect).

The place I had rented when living in Perth was close to the threshold of the main runway. It was not uncommon to hear the first flight in of a morning from MMA's northern services. So just after daybreak on a dead still morning you could be lying in bed listening . You'd hear the distinct sound of the mains touching down. You could then count to five and within a second of that count hear the tiny squeak of the tailwheel. (It was around that time I heard someone in the airport bar say "Before I die . . I want to fly . . . a Douglas Dee Cee Three." My turn did come later back East with two outfits based in Sydney . . the CSIRO cloud-physics research aircraft VH-RRA. . . and then Rebel Air's VH-MIN '.)

As a final aside Donald Campbell came in one day to Perth in a rented Aero Commander. He was after the world water speed record on Lake Dumbleyung. I was working at the time for the firm that had the avgas agency on Perth Airport so it was a treat and an honour to fuel his plane. Just before he was ready to start engines I'd asked him if I could take a picture. It is of him smiling through the little side window with his stuffed toy mascot propped up in front of him on the dash. I must look for it and post it here.
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Old 23rd Jun 2016, 12:04
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Fantome (your #8780),
...So this booklet was illustrated by an artist with a pen name like WEG or WEP
There's a Mossie in flight coming head on with both props stopped . .the caption - NEVER FEATHER BOTH TOGETHER...
I suppose it must be a QFI's worst nightmare (never having been one): in a twin he pulls No.1 back just after takeoff, Bloggs in a panic, feathers No.2

Happened many times during the war, and in training since; so they were taught: "Dead leg- Dead engine" (for the benefit of our backseat friends and others, this can never fail, as in the case above the aircraft would yaw savagely to the left, Bloggs instinctively boots right rudder hard on to hold it straight, this leaves his left leg unemployed - ie "Dead": He must feather the left [No.1) engine [and a lot more besides later], but that is life or death in those first few vital seconds).

There are exceptional to the "NEVER TOGETHER" rule. An "Anson" had its u/c well and truly stuck up; pilot would have to land it like that (actually, Anson wheels protrude down slightly when in "up" position - same with DC-3 "Dakotas" - to avoid belly-landing damage as far as possible).

He set up final approach a bit high for a glide landing, shut down both, then cranked the (2-blade) props horizontal with the starter motors. Touched down on runway, no damage at all, they jacked it up, freed the u/c, bird was good as new !...............Smart Lad !

Can't happen today ? Don't you believe it ! Sad case that comes to mind is the Kegwoth disaster in 1989. Now it ill becomes me (or any other pilot) to criticise one of our fellows (for have we all (at times) not thought: "There but for the grace of God..." ? But in this case their actions do seem inexplicable. Reliant on my memory of the reports at the time (although Wiki has a full description), the sequence of events was something like this:

At cruising Flight Level en route to Belfast in a BMI B-737, they felt engine vibration. There were vibration meters on the panel, indicating that the left engine was at fault. But the meters were distrusted (later there was a suggestion that the wirings had been crossed, there had been prior instances of this very thing); rightly or wrongly (and, as it proved, wrongly), they concluded that the right engine was to blame, and shut it down.

But passengers on the left of the cabin had seen flames coming from the left engine. Alarmed, they had called the FAs to see. They saw - but did not tell the pilots (believe that, if you can).

Meanwhile the crew had called an emergency, requesting immediate diversion and landing. By a happy coincidence, they were abeam East Midlands airport (the Company base). Of course, the left engine would have been pulled back to idle for the descent, so seemed normal. At the final stage of their approach to the airfield, they had to open it up; it failed; desperately they tried to restart the right engine - but ran out of time ! Wiki has a pic showing how close they got - and has the casualty list.

They were at 30,000+ ft, for pity's sake. They had all the time in the world. Why not leave the airway, throttle both back, vibration would stop, then open each in turn and see what happened ? But it's easy to be wise after the event, isn't it ?


Last edited by Danny42C; 23rd Jun 2016 at 14:41. Reason: Typo
Old 23rd Jun 2016, 13:21
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Fantome's mention of Chris Wren brought back some memories.
I was a great fan of his "Wrenderings" and particular favourites of mine were his "Oddentifications".

I wonder if any of our contributors have, and are able to post, some examples of his work.
They'd be much appreciated by all, I'm sure.
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Old 23rd Jun 2016, 13:35
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Danny - - -
they were taught: "Dead leg- Dead engine"
- - - - another way to do it and get it right every time is FEATHER THE FREE FOOT . One of the drills in place went -

CONFIRM (place hand on feather button till confirmation)

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Old 23rd Jun 2016, 13:51
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There are five of Chris's here. To open the file
put the usual http:// in your browser . . . .then follow that with -


were there are eight asterisks replace with the letters of this word without and dashes or gaps

b - l - o - g - s - p - o - t

(it is a word that is somehow blocked when you put it in precisely. And we all like to see and feel it put in precisely. at least there's no code encrypting big brother enforcing itself when it encounters the odd blokey aside)

Click in the image of the Wren caricature for an enlarged version. Then get hold of your magnifying glass.

Last edited by Fantome; 24th Jun 2016 at 13:09.
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Old 23rd Jun 2016, 14:27
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Feather the engine that the nose is pointing at.
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Old 23rd Jun 2016, 14:47
  #8791 (permalink)  
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But when both engines point forwards???

I jest, I know what you mean.
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Old 23rd Jun 2016, 19:00
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SEEING AS HOW . .. . .there is pretty wide-ranging discourse on here and that I did not think it worth starting or going to a Gallipoli thread to tell a little story here goes.

Wife is off today to visit the Dardanelles for a couple of days.
I emailed her to wish safe passage etc and repeated this story that I think she has heard before. But I doubt any habitués of this thread have and hence think it might be worth the telling.

When Australia's deputy PM Tim Fischer was there in 1990 for the 75 th memorials he stripped off on the beach early one morning and plunged into the water swimming out a fair way. Geoff Pryor, cartoonist for the Canberra Times, was on the beach too that morning with a couple of Canberra reporters . . .. . one of whom (Cranston) had a fair larrikin streak . Tim turned to swim back and as he reached the shallows stood up calling to his audience as he strode through the water " this is too easy. . . imagine having 150 pounds of kit on your back plus your rifle" . Cranston who had picked up two handfuls of small rocks passed some to Geoff saying "c'mon mate give the old bugger a bit of a barrage .. . . if he wants to pretend he knows what it was like in 1915."

(Tim Fischer was Deputy PM from '96 to '99 . . . think he might have been Minister of Trade in 1990)

Last edited by Fantome; 24th Jun 2016 at 00:46.
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Old 25th Jun 2016, 09:22
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Apologies to all for an intrusion of a purely administrative nature. Hopefully I can keep it brief!

Danny, you sent me a PM saying that you are missing messages from your inbox that you haven't deleted. If I have this right then the only explanation that I can think of is that your PMs (sent, received, saved) have topped out at 150 (the max allowed). The total should show when you go to inbox.

If that is the case I suggest that you open a new file in My Docs called "PPRuNe PMs" or some such (Right click to create a new file).

Then go to your inbox where there is a section called "Older Messages" with a total (let's say 100) and a tick box next to it.

If you tick that box and then scroll to the bottom of the page you will find a menu for "Selected Messages".

I suggest "Download as text", then "Go", and the 100 messages will produce a text document of them all which you can select under "file" as "Save As".

Put a number like 001 at the end of the title you give it, and navigate the box above to My Docs, PPRuNe PMs (etc), and click Save.

Your older messages are now stored in that folder and can then be deleted en-bloc from your PMs with the same drop down menu at the bottom of the page but this time selecting Delete, thus reducing your content to 50 in our example. You should then receive new PMs.

Apologies if I misunderstood your PM, but I replied to no effect, hence my assumption that your inbox is full.

Hope all that helps. Apologies again to one and all.

"Bugler, sound the Carry-On!"
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Old 25th Jun 2016, 11:37
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Great Chris Wren cartoons. Here's a TinyURL link:

Miscellaneous Memorabilia: Chris Wren - Aviation Caricatures
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Old 25th Jun 2016, 14:24
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Please check my edited #8778 (back a bit !)

Old 25th Jun 2016, 15:19
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OK Danny, have just read that rather expanded post and my initial thought is that it is Deja Vu all over again! I seem to remember the exchanges about the instrument panel in question, leading to the conclusion that it was, in effect, a complete fake. Somehow a lot of those exchanges have become regurgitated as very recent ones (looking at the date/time groups), together with earlier problems of PM capacity. Why that should be so I have no idea. As you say, "There be gremlins in these parts".

As to the most recent candidate, I'm sure that your diagnosis is correct (it usually is! ;-). Whatever aircraft the panel is in, its layout is most probably updated for modern requirements.

I once had the privilege of sitting briefly in the LHS, behind the ship's wheel (for that is what it most closely resembled!), of the then recently restored to flying condition Lufthansa JU52/3M. I doubt if a third of the instruments were original, but the layout served modern regulatory requirements. Interestingly none of them were fuel gauges, as the original float sticks still served that purpose. Thus the outside was 100% authenticate, with the interior adapted to modern requirements. I imagine that the same effects are found on many vintage aircraft still flying.


Last edited by Chugalug2; 25th Jun 2016 at 15:46. Reason: Link
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Old 25th Jun 2016, 17:05
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Thanks for the steer to the link to "Tante Ju", as it was affectionately known to the many thousands of German troops, to whom it was as familiar as the "Dak" was to us. But what caught my eye was this:
...The makers of this film also managed to capture a former test pilot, now at the grand age of 103. "This makes my day" is how the 103-year-old Berliner puts sitting in the cockpit while, as ever, not being able to leave the controls alone...
So there's hope for us yet ! And the size of the control wheels reminds us of the physical strengh needed to fly things like that (no power assistance) in those days.

Old 26th Jun 2016, 07:19
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Well here we are blokes, back in the Old Dart after a few weeks in cold, wet Blighty. With my No. 2 grandson Joel as my carer, we stayed in London, Norfolk and Yorkshire. At Kirk Ella near Hull, my young step-brother Clive (only 78) provided food and drink galore and introduced us to many of his friends, warm-hearted lovely people who also wined and dined us. We visited York and Beverley Minsters, went to the seaside at Filey one overwhelmingly cold day in “flaming June” where it was 12C and it felt like 8C. When I messaged my daughter at home in Australia she said it was also 12c.

Canary Wharf on West India dock was also a place to admire. Built in 1802 to store rum, tobacco and sugar under the eagle eyes of Customs officers, some of it has been turned into flats or apartments for residents or for visitors. Lovely restaurants line the front for the delight of tourists, and a new (to me) Docklands Light Railway runs nearby as a supplement to the London Underground.

Norfolk was also a delight, and we stayed for 3 nights at a 15th century farmhouse that was full of charm. Two more nights in the same area close to Cromer to see lifelong old friends and we were off to York. What a wonderful old City!

I thank my son John for his back-up whilst I was away, and I’m about to plunge into another excerpt from my WW2 story.

Last edited by Walter603; 26th Jun 2016 at 07:22. Reason: Spelling
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Old 26th Jun 2016, 08:10
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Old Comrades

All through the night I kept starting up from a fitful doze, looking for signal flares. I felt sure we would be rescued by some magical allied submarine which would pop up nearby. This had actually happened to one of our mates only three weeks before, in similar circumstances, to an Aussie naned Hopkins and his Navigator. Although I thought I saw coloured flares several times in the distance, the miracle didn't happen for us. Daybreak was a relief from the very cold night.

Heartened by the light, and by some of our emergency rations, (mainly Horlicks tablets and chewing gum) we started to paddle eastward, in the direction of Turkey (it was only 60 miles away - a mere bagatelle). We kept up the paddling for a long time, and were doing quite well, I seem to remember, when, at about 0900 hours on 11th November, a most appropriate day, two Arados hove into view. Our Air-Sea Rescue Service. These blokes did something else other than act as fighter escort to supply ships. I felt distinctly disappointed that we were about to be saved, after all. I had begun to place high hopes on surrendering to a neutral country, and tasting some Turkish delights.

Both kites landed, and taxied slowly to our dinghy. The observer of one climbed out on to the float, and threw us a rope. "How long you shvim?" he called. "Since yesterday", I replied. "Since yesterday, hah!" he said, (as if he didn't know!) "For you, ze Var iss over". I have since learned that Jerry said this to almost every captured airman I have ever heard about. I was astounded to find that it was certainly said to all the captured aircrew in the book of collective stories put out by the RAAF aircrew of Lamsdorf POW camp (Stalag VIIIB/344).

It was a bit of a relief, after all, to sit in a dry aircraft, and be flown, courtesy of the Luftwaffe, to the western end of Crete. I didn't like the smell - all German aircraft had a typical smell that was quite unlike the exciting, familiar smell of Allied aircraft.

Stiff and sore from our overnight experience in the Aegean Sea, we were each given a blanket to wrap around ourselves, taken to a small building under guard, and fed a plateful of pasta each, with a mug of water to wash it down. After a few hours of fitful sleep, we were flown off the next morning at 0300 hours to Greece, in a Junkers JU52, the big troop transport aircraft that we had been hunting.

Now I knew the reason we were usually unable to find the troop carriers in these waters. We often did sweeps, hoping to pick up a JU52 or two (this happened earlier, when they were flying to and from Corfu, and we had several successes in this area).

We flew first to Athens, to offload some of the military passengers who were also travelling on the aeroplane. Bob Pritchard and I were closely guarded the whole time by two escorting soldiers, and we were accommodated in a large drill hall, filled with other German soldiers, where we stayed for two nights, sleeping on a couple of blankets on the floor. One of the soldiers who tried to converse with us made it fairly plain that many Germans did not approve of Hitler, who he hastened to tell us was not really German at all, but Austrian! Our first inkling that the great Leader was not the cat's whiskers with all of his people.

On the third day we were again loaded into a JU52, and taken to Salonika. I spent 10 days in a cooler there, being interrogated and pining for the Squadron.

Our prison was a suburban house, single storey, and it must have held about six prisoners. We could not see each other, being locked up in separate rooms, with guards in a section at the front of the house. I caught occasional glimpses of the other prisoners, but the only one I saw regularly was my observer, Bob, as we were taken out once daily to walk around the barbed wire compound which had been the front of the property. We were separated by at least 50 yards, to stop us communicating, and each of us was watched by an armed guard. However, by sign language and native cunning we were able to distract the attention of our guards in order to retrieve cigarettes that had been hidden behind clumps of grass or small bushes by friendly locals, who stood some way off and also made suitable signs to point out where they had hidden the little treasures.

Last edited by Walter603; 26th Jun 2016 at 10:28. Reason: Spacing
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Old 26th Jun 2016, 10:18
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Welcome back Walter! Delighted that you have had such a good visit and that you have eventually put us out of our suspense - it seems like you have been in the drink for a very long time....

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