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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 13th Aug 2016, 08:34
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Originally Posted by ValMORNA
Ricardian, Your #7174,


I have to agree; I left the RAF after 8 years as an Air Signaller in 1958, joined GCHQ in '59 until 1992. It still rankles me that staff I worked with later got that 'pension enhancement'.
And now this!
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Old 13th Aug 2016, 08:41
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easy to sense the outrage . .. . . notice his letter confirming his entitlement is from one Jennifer Parsons?

easy to see where her sympathies lie. (if you're going to question authority then don't let a whiff of sexist prejudice stop you.)
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Old 13th Aug 2016, 10:33
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Fantome:-
Chugalug . .. . does this include Australian POWs imprisoned by the Japanese?
It should do. I suggest that you enter their details and scan the results. As with any such searches of course, GIGO applies (Garbage In equals Garbage Out). So double check the spelling of their names before doing so. Good luck!
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Old 13th Aug 2016, 10:50
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In Remembrance of the Surrender of Japan 14th August 1945, Forces War Records are releasing ALL their POW collections free until midnight 15th August (UK local time):-
The website is still asking for payment to view the selected service record.
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Old 13th Aug 2016, 11:15
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Fantome, for what it's worth,

Originally Posted by CFM
Vale Group Captain Paul Metzler – 1914-2010

It is with deep regret that I inform you of the passing of Group Captain Paul Maxwell George Metzler. Paul passed away on Sunday 17 October 2010 at the age of 96.

Paul was born in the Sydney suburb of Mosman on 9 June 1914, on the eve of the First World War. Paul joined the RAAF in June 1938 and remained in the service until March 1977.

Paul was a notable supporter of the CFML, especially given that one of its primary aims is to have VH-CAT permanently based at Rathmines. Paul trained at Rathmines in 1941, qualifying as a Catalina captain. He set out from there in A24-8 in early January 1942 as second pilot to captain FLTLT Robert Thompson. They carried the normal complement of eight crew but also on board were two American surveyors carrying orders to assess various islands in the South West Pacific as potential naval and air bases. That task completed, the Americans were dropped off in Fiji and the Cat headed for home.

At Noumea, however, they received instructions to proceed to Gizo in the Solomons - there to await further orders. Those orders, it transpired, were to take-off at first light on 21st January and track towards New Hanover Island just west of Kavieng in the Bismarck Group where coast watchers had reported a large enemy fleet passing southbound. This task, to quote Paul, was “like looking for a hornet’s nest”.

Cruising at 10,000 feet and approaching New Hanover, the Cat ran out of cloud into clear skies and saw the fleet of warships. They radioed for instructions and were ordered to shadow and report. Paul later said that what they should have done was high tail it back into cloud. Four fighters took off from one the carriers in the fleet and intercepted the Cat, made repeated passes killing two of the crew in the process and setting the aircraft on fire.

When down below 2000 ft, with fabric control surfaces largely burnt away and the aircraft spirally with little control and a crash imminent, they got out of it with the application of near-superhuman effort – the two pilots succeeded in getting the nose up by hauling back on the controls and applying full power. The hull hit the ocean at a terrific pace, first – bouncing a good two hundred yards then roared furiously through the waves. They scrambled out before the boat exploded, with six of the eight crew surviving. They were unable to get to their Mae Wests due to the flames. In the water they watched the Cat, engines still running as blowing the flames back had made the abandoning marginally less hazardous.
The Cat went around and around them in circles, finally burning out amidships so that the nose went up and the tail went up. Then, with a huge hissing cloud of smoke and steam, she sank. A short while later, the flight engineer who had been at his station in the pylon succumbed to his burns.
The five remaining then struck out towards New Hanover perhaps twenty miles to their north. Paul was uncertain how far away they were.

After about two hours swimming one of the party called out "Warship!"
It proved to be a Japanese cruiser despatched from the fleet to look for survivors. As the ship neared Thompson shouted to the others "Keep swimming. Nobody wave to the bastards."
Paul recalled: "When we could ignore them no longer, Thompson called out 'Swim your best men, proper crawl in formation' ".

They did just that until they got to the rope netting that had been dropped down the side of the ship. He said he could still see in his mind's eye the massive grey side of the warship with a huge pink carnation painted on her bows. Paul further recalled that when they climbed over the rail onto the deck they encountered a large contingent of excited young ratings "jabbering and pointing, all wearing either short longs or long shorts - not much better than what you see on youth today hanging round the beaches and the streets”.

They were treated well enough, examined by the ship's doctor and confined to quite comfortable quarters. All five survivors saw the war out in camps in Japan. After the surrender, Paul, being permanent air force, returned to the RAAF. After only two weeks leave he was assigned to a desk job at Victoria Barracks in Melbourne. After a year there he posted himself to Sale, completed an instructor's course then went on to Point Cook.

In a short time he was CFI and then commanding officer of the base. Paul's final posting was to Air Force headquarters in Canberra. He retired as Group Captain in 1977. Outside of his service life, Paul achieved considerable distinction on the tennis court and with his subsequent authorship of several books of instruction in the sport - some are still in print in the USA.

Paul was at Bankstown on 7 December 2008 to greet VH-CAT on her arrival there at the end of her ferry flight from Portugal. Paul and his son Geoffrey took a look over her with Paul sitting in the pilot’s seat – reminiscent of his time as an operational Catalina pilot in 1942.

PAUL METZLER'S CATALINA A24-8

Delivered by Qantas as VH-AFI 16/08/41. To 20 Sqn 11/9/41. Shot Down 21/01/42, 3 killed. Crew: FLTLT Robert Thompson (Pilot), FLTLT Paul Metzler (2nd Pilot), SGT Leo Clarke (2nd Wireless Op/Air Gunner), CPL Jack Perret (1st Engineer), LAC Ken Parkyn (2nd Engineer), LAC M. Sollit (1st Wireless Op), LAC Bill Blackman (Rigger) and LAC J. Cox (Armourer).
World War Two Nominal Roll


Originally Posted by caption
Group portrait of prisoners of war (POWs), Zentsuji Camp at Shikoku, Osaska, Japan. Identified left to right: Lieutenant (Lt) Harlan T Johnson, United States Navy, USS Yorktown; Lt H D Beudeukew, Royal Dutch Navy (RDN); Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) R Thompson, RAAF; unidentified; and Flt Lt Paul G Metzler, RAAF. Most of the men in the camp were Allied officers captured in the early battles of 1942. The camp was a 'show camp' used by the Japanese for propaganda purposes, but after 1942 conditions worsened. Flt Lts Thompson and Metzler were both captured by the Japanese in the South West Pacific.
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Old 13th Aug 2016, 11:31
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Fantome, I have searched myself for both Geoffery and Paul Metzier AND Metzler on the Forces War Records site all to no avail. I rather suspect that my answer to your question was incorrect, and that those in the Australian Forces are not included (presumably being listed in the equivalent Australian site). If that is the case my apologies for misleading you.
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Old 13th Aug 2016, 12:59
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Buster11 (#9106),
... so here's the final part of my father's story...
And now another tale of Another World Long Gone Bye comes to its end in the grey, cold, war-weary Britain at the end of WWII. And another young life would never be the same again. Thanks for telling us his story, Buster - "...of such tales are dreams made of..."

Danny.
 
Old 13th Aug 2016, 13:40
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Danny takes a Bow !

Fantome (#9107 and #9109),

What can I say ? Hide my blushes ! Nothing remarkable in a boy of the "hungry thirties", who was lucky enough to get a grammar-school education at the tender (?) hands of the Irish Christian Brothers. They had taken to heart Churchill's dictum: "I would not have boys beaten at school. Except for not learning English. And I would beat them very hard for that". And Shaw, in "Pygmalion" and the later "My Fair Lady" based on it, has Professor Higgins in exasperation say: "Why can't the English learn how to speak ?"

And if you can speak, you can write. I would be a hopeless author, as I cannot imagine plots or scenarios, tho' perhaps able to describe them.

Was "thrown" a bit by your:
...this wonderful bloke on the other side of the world musing away (and cursing) at his keyboard. We needs must be grateful to him and to his devoted daughter...
until I realised which side you are on !

G'day, mate !

Danny.
 
Old 13th Aug 2016, 14:12
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Buster, I too thank you for giving us your father's account of his trek west from Sagan. A difficult thing to do, given that the then German place names are now Polish and he probably had only the phonetic versions to go by anyway. This site gives a German/Polish listing of place names in present day Poland:-

Index of German-Polish and Polish-German names of the localities in Poland & Russia. ATS notes.

Thus his first nightstop was probably at Halbau rather than Hellbau and is now called Ilowa, some 16Km to the southwest of Zagan. The third night at Muskau Bad is now Leknika, some 44Km from Ilowa.

Somewhere in between must be "Sichdichfür", but I'm not sure where that figures in the list (even if indeed it does) either in German or Polish. Perhaps our linguists might help (Danny?). At least Leknika gets him to the present German frontier, so making the rest of the march easier to follow.
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Old 13th Aug 2016, 14:41
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Chugalug,

Never came across "sichdichfür". Google Translate no help. No Dictionary to hand.

Meaning is clear enough: "Self - thou - for", the exact rendering of the French "Chacun pour soi" = "Every man for himself !".

Danny.
 
Old 13th Aug 2016, 15:13
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Danny
And another young life would never be the same again.
Not sure which of our lives you refer to, but my father was 45 when he came home in 1945 and I was almost ten. I suppose both of our lives were changed. He missed influencing my formative years and physically he came back with arthritis of his hands, not good for an artist; the treatment involved regularly immersing them in baths of hot wax.

Again craving the indulgence of the moderators (not to mention PPRuNe people) I'll try to give an idea of life as a child growing up in what, even in a Hampshire village, were exciting times.

From late 1940 at the age of five I lived with my mother in a small village called Eversley, on the Hampshire/Berkshire border, to which we moved from the family home near Croydon.



Spindle Cottage, which my mother had leased from a naval officer whose wife had moved to Portsmouth where he was based, dated from the early eighteenth century and had an outside earth closet. Hot water was provided by boiling a large kettle on the wood or coal fired kitchen range and bathing was done in a large galvanised bath in the scullery. The cottage had the advantage for me of being on a road that saw a lot of military traffic, so from about the age of six I became an expert at tank recognition. As the war progressed the Matildas, Valentines and Crusaders passing the door of Spindle Cottage gave way to Churchills and US-built Grants, Lees and Shermans with prominent white stars on their sides. When I re-visited Eversley in about 1995 the kerb outside our cottage still showed the regular chips to its edge caused by the steel tracks of a Churchill that took it a bit close on the way down to the invasion ports. There were Daimler scout cars, Beaverettes, Bren carriers and 25-pounder guns towed by Quad tractors, which had a distinctive gearbox whine as they passed us in regular convoys; later on, tanks with mysterious concertina-like skirts and tall vertical exhaust pipes, amphibious jeeps and DUKWs in the convoys made it pretty clear that we were seeing the build-up to the invasion.

Our house was a hundred yards from a bridge over the Blackwater river, and the bridge was believed by the locals to be mined; cylindrical concrete tank stoppers, maybe a couple of feet in diameter and three feet high, were beside the bridge, ready to be lifted into place to block the crossing in case of invasion. Later in the war, every Tuesday there were Army exercises around the bridge that involved a lot of Thunderflashes and smoke grenades, with troops crawling round in the undergrowth with camouflage draped over their helmets. Finding a dud Thunderflash was always an exciting moment for the local boys, as the magnesium powder could be removed and lit, with a spectacular but non-explosive flash resulting. We could also get a good result after removing the diamond-shaped flakes of cordite from discarded blank rifle rounds and lighting the pile. Black bakelite caps from the practice grenades, along with white tapes that were also part of the igniting system, were also sought-after collectibles. One day the man who ran Bonney’s the grocers, opposite our house, and who was in the Home Guard, discovered me in the garden shed having just put a recently-found 20mm cannon shell, complete with cartridge, in the vice; I forget what my plan had been, but fortunately it was thwarted. ‘Window’, - strips of aluminium foil dropped from aircraft to confuse radar, - was also collected; there were two types, one plain metal and another that for some reason was anodised matt black on one side. Maybe one was Allied and the other German. Occasionally we found a complete roll that had not been chopped into quarter-wavelength reflectors, and this made splendid decorative chains for Christmas.



Opposite our cottage was the village post office, manned by Miss Andrews; In the evenings we could hear the regular thump-thump as she hand-franked the day’s mail on the counter. One day in 1941 she came to our door with a telegram; it told my mother that my father was missing in action and that we would be informed by the Air Ministry as soon as there was further news. Eventually there was and he spent the next four years of the War in German prison camps. We were allowed to send parcels to my father, but the packing had to be done by the International Red Cross and occasionally we took a bus to Farnham Castle, the local centre for this; my contribution to one was a laboriously knitted orange and green housewife (pronounced ‘huzzif’) in which to keep darning needles and wool. I still have all his PoW letters to my mother and me and occasionally he asked for chocolate and artist’s materials, though at the time we had no idea of the uses to which the latter were sometimes put. That came out after the War.
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Old 15th Aug 2016, 15:47
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I posted this once before but I pulled it so as not to steal Walter 603 and Buster11's thunder. Now the thread is on Page 2 it is now time to re-insert and probably get booed off the stage.

I spent two and a half years on Valiant tankers and during that time I visited Omaha, Goose Bay, Luqa, Akrotiri, Tripoli, El Adem, Nairobi, Bahrain, Masirah, Karachi, Bombay, Gan, Butterworth and Tengah averaging an overseas trip every couple of months. This, compared with a Main Force Bomber crew’s ration of a Lone Ranger once a year, was continuous globe trotting. It all had to come to an end in 1965 when the Valiants were suddenly withdrawn from service. For the Air Secretary’s department this was a nightmare, being saddled with several hundred aircrew to post; somewhere. Luckily help was at hand in the form of Dr. Sukarno of Indonesia who was in Confrontation with Malaysia. Two squadrons of helicopters had been sent out at short notice to Borneo and their pilots would need replacing over the next year and so I, with several other Valiant co-pilots, went to Tern Hill to learn to fly from Zero to 120 instead of 120 to Mach One.

Man, through millenniums, has watched the birds and wished he could fly like they could. After thousands of years trying man learned to run down a hill and become airborne in some rickety contraption. Nearly a century later man learned to propel a construction along the ground at such a rate that empennages either side used the resultant wind’s effect to lift it in the air. Birds, except some waterborne versions that do a high speed Jesus Christ trick, don’t do that, they take off from the spot. Flying around on a hot summer’s day and spying an ice-cream wagon one can swoop down and acquire ample refreshing ice cream for oneself and the crew. Fixed wing can’t do that, only helicopters and seagulls can. I was now going to learn to FLY and in retrospect, it was the best decision that the RAF even made for me.

The ignorant and uninformed on this thread have expressed their distain for we rotary wing brethren. Their appreciation has been restricted to their being hoisted out of a hostile sea or a numbingly cold mountainside. For their education I will describe the training that one HAD to go through to be a real pilot, not a fixed wing systems operator. I emphasise the word HAD; it doesn’t happen this way anymore.

Helicopters are classed as rotary wing aircraft. This is because instead of generating lift by hurling it down a concrete runway (fixed wing) we spin our wings around the top of the aircraft in the comfort of the squadron dispersal in order to do the same thing. This cuts the time from coffee to getting airborne, and vice versa, to a couple of minutes instead of Le Grande Tour of the airfield both ways. They are, in aeronautical terms, of extremely high aspect ratio; this makes them very efficient as can be demonstrated by modern airliners whose wings are pathetically thin in cruising flight yet grow to an enormous size by the use of slats, fowler flaps and other gizmos for take off and landing. Structures like this bend in operation and those that have been passengers in airliners will know that there is a fair amount of flex whilst in flight. Helicopters blades, especially the Sycamore’s, being made out of wood, have to work far harder than that so instead of bending they have hinges that let them fly up or down called flapping hinges. The varying drag as they rotate causes them to try and decelerate and accelerate so they are allowed to with drag hinges. Lift and direction is enabled by varying the angle of attack as the blade goes around so to allow this there are feathering hinges. Basically they can go up/down/forwards/ backwards and twist within the control and structural constrains but the most powerful effect is from the pitch operating arms on the leading edge of the blade that controls the pitch. Wiki has a excellent picture of a Sycamore rotor head.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristo...rotor_head.jpg

The control arms have colour coding bands so the yellow control rode is attached to the yellow blade pitch operating arm; red to red, etc.

The Sycamore uses a central spigot that is allowed to articulate and slide with a ball within in the rotor shaft. This means that when you lift or wriggle the bottom the top moves in sympathy. Later control systems have two discs around the shaft below the rotor head; one attached by the controls and the fuselage and the top attached to and controlling the rotating head. They are called fixed and rotating stars.

Before I get shot down by Bell and 105 pilots there are some smaller helicopters that are either teetering, rigid or semi rigid but, however, in the overwhelmingly majority of cases they are known as fully articulated rotors.

Controlling them is as natural as possible. A stick is placed in front of the pilot in a similar way to a conventional control column. This is called a cyclic stick because is controls the rotor blades pitch cyclically as they go round. It works in much the same way as a control sick inasmuch as whichever way you push it the aircraft tends to pitch or roll in sympathy. Rudder pedals on the floor control the tail rotor and work in much the same way. Most of us older pilots on this thread can remember putting bootfuls of rudder to overcome the torque reaction from a propeller. Helicopters also have the same problem with torque reaction when they lift from the ground. Pedal movement not only controls this but enables you to point the fuselage in the direction of choice. Twin rotor machines have the rotors going opposite ways so the torque is cancelled out so directional control is by tilting the front and rear rotors in different directions. Lastly there is, unique to helicopters, the collective lever. This is a lever than resembles a deluxe handbrake that collectively increases or decreases the pitch on the rotor blades. This is the bit that enables you to go up and down. On the end is mounted the throttle. In older designs of helicopters it controls the engine in the same way as in older designs of aeroplanes. Newer examples are levers that control Engine Management Systems which look after the engines for you as do modern fixed wing. There is a cam on the collective that will open the throttle as the lever is raised so as to increase the engine power in sympathy with the lift required. It worked with the original P&W but the Leonides had a different throttle gradient so it wasn’t so good. The controls are arranged in such a way that with ability and experience the pilot can carry out knife edge manoeuvring without being conscious that he is actually flying it.

But not with the Bristol Sycamore HAR14 !!!!!!!!!

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=br...75weqdjCk2M%3A

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 15th Aug 2016 at 18:28.
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Old 15th Aug 2016, 18:49
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Excellent post, FED. Thank you.
A few weeks back, there was a post (I think it might have been on the funnies page) where the Chief Pilot of a large fixed-wing operation
described his first rotary wing experience.
It think it must been in a Bell 47.
He'd expressed it as something like trying to shave and wank at the same time.
That one still has me chuckling.
.

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Old 16th Aug 2016, 07:58
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c'mon mate it's a given fling-wing drivers always have their hand on it... (Lack of aviation content forbids mention of 'sailor' and wankers away.)

But if the wife's best friend will not go in peace - this is a the repeat I'm afraid . . .( stop me if…..) about a county game of cricket. Sutcliffe was on strike. A fast rising ball hit him hard in the cods. He dropped his bat. He went into a pained stooped over position rubbing the effected parts vigorously. A Yorkshire spectator cupped his hands for his voice to carry . "Herbert. . . . . . stop pleasurin' tha self .. play cricket."

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Old 16th Aug 2016, 08:43
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I will ignore all these rude remarks about helicopter pilots with the comforting knowledge that some women will do anything to get a ride on our choppers.
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Old 16th Aug 2016, 09:05
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With reference to my post, above, the Bell 47 (depending on the model) was, within limits, a mild-mannered beast.
Just ask Vertical Freedom.
And, no, I was never a rotary-wing pilot myself - although I'd spent quite some hours in the left-hand seats.
Now that we've stopped chuckling, we'd seriously be most interested to hear your impressions of the Sycamore, FED.
An uncle of mine used to fly those with the RAN but he'd passed away before I knew enough to ask some questions.
.

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Old 16th Aug 2016, 10:41
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I had been to Tern Hill before doing my basic training with the Provost T1. The Bristol Sycamore, our basic helicopter trainer, had the same type of engine, the Alvis Leonides. Between the Valiants folding and my rotary wing course I had got a few hours in the Chipmunk so I was reasonably au fait with suck, squeeze, bang and blow; one at a time.

The cockpit instruments were conventional suction driven with the addition of your staff of life, the dual taco Engine and Rotor rpm. Just to make things difficult the boost gauge had been changed from LBS to Manifold Air Pressure so +8 boost was now something like 46 ins. There was no hydraulic assistance so the controls were low geared and heavy. To alleviate this there spring tensioned pitch and roll trim wheels arranged conventionally to assist the cyclic. This was high tech compared with early S51s that had loops of bungee strategically placed around the cockpit so that the cyclic could be restrained by a convenient loop. A follow on from the restricted control range was a matter of fuel and passengers. These were all in front of the rotor mast so to keep the CofG correct there was a tank of glycol/water mix under the cockpit floor. This was controlled by a two-way switch that pumped it back or forwards to a tank at the end of the tail boom to adjust the CofG. Get this wrong and you were going backwards or forwards fairly rapidly when you got airborne. The S51 had a weight that the pilot slid along the floor. The problem with this was that he was always moving it uphill. (Think about it)

28th June 1965, I stepped into the Right Hand Seat (normal with helicopters) of XJ384 for my first attempt. The introduction to the cockpit followed observing that there were dual controls but only one collective so relaxing ones hand so the instructor could recover us from disaster was paramount. The dual tacho gauge looked like a torture chamber. I was used to 2,800 rpm +4½ of boost being take off with 3,000 +8 for emergency. Judging by the bands on the Rotor Taco the engine was in this range all of the time.

Starting was electric. The left hand operated the co-located starter and booster pump switches, the right hand held the throttle and the knees held the cyclic in case the rotor started moving. This was because there was a centrifugal clutch between the engine and gearbox which started engaging at about 1,000 engine RPM. The plan was to start and idle at 800 RPM without engaging the clutch but depending on the engine this could not be guaranteed. We started, warmed it up and my instructor lifted into the hover. I was right; the engine was roaring away at full bore with everything shaking and rattling. We then hover-taxied to a quiet part of the airfield for ‘Effects of Controls’. I was showed how to work them one plane at a time and it did what it was supposed to do and then I was given it to hover.

It sat there, five feet above the ground, motionless and as solid as a rock. This is easy, I thought; where were all the horror stories I had heard about helicopters, this is a piece of cake. Just then a faintest whisper of a draught, not even a minor zephyr, wafted onto the port side. The aircraft, in perfect balance, drifted to the right. I corrected and it banked slightly to the left. This changed the lift equilibrium so it sank which I corrected by lifting the lever which increased the drag on the disc which caused it to reduce Rrpm. I caught this by opening the throttle which increased the torque so the aircraft turned to the left so I inputted right rudder which increased the loading so the Rpms dropped again. Meanwhile the aircraft was drifting off to the left and climbing. I corrected by lowering the lever which caused the aircraft to turn right which changed the wind direction to the rear quarter so the aircraft drifted forward and sideways. I pulled the nose up to stop it with the result that the tail rotor’s thrust line went below the main rotor hub so the aircraft rolled to the left. I put in too much forward and right input so the aircraft pitched violently forward and right and started a rapid descent. I pulled up more lever, the rpm dropped so I opened the throttle and this caused the aircraft to turn left so the wind got behind and pushed the tail up again and as I was trying to level it the wind pushed the tail around so I was facing a different way which I tried to correct with tail rotor which made the rpm go up again so I closed the throttle and it turned and sank and drifted rapidly to the left.

AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

“I have control”, and I felt the instructors hand take over the collective and the world stabilised and came back into focus.

We went through the effects again and the next time was slightly better but then it was time to leave the circuit. I followed lightly on the controls as we increased forward speed. At about 30 knots there was a violent shudder and roll from the aircraft which almost immediately disappeared. This was the transitional buffet. What happens is that there is one set of rules in the hover and another one in forward flight and the transition is where a new pack of cards is shuffled. Once it’s past that then it follows almost fixed wing characteristics.

In the cruise at 100 knots it was almost normal. The trim wheels worked fine and one could let it fly itself for a short time and the rotor rpm was fairly stable. After a time there was not a lot of difference from having a Leonides blaring away in front of you to one blaring away behind.

We returned to the circuit and after a standard pattern we approached to land. I was reminded at about 100 feet to put the trim wheels at 2 degrees right and 2 degrees back as that would put the controls to where you wanted them when you got into the hover. Not too many disasters and now my first flight was over so we staggered over to the dispersal to shut down.

Once on the ground the throttles were retarded so that the engine ran at 1,200 rpm to cool down. Then the throttle was closed to idle. This is when one looked into the mirror at the top of the windscreen to check that the droop stops were in.

Droop Stops are wedge shaped things that restrict the downwards flapping of the blades at low Rrpm so that they don’t chop the tail off. They can be seen on the rotor head picture extending out of the top of the picture. They each have a weighted ball on the end which will fly out at high rpm and withdraw the wedges against a spring. Conversely the spring will force them and the wedges back when the rotor slows down. Should one fail and this can be seen by one of the balls not rotating the same as the others then there is a high risk of a blade hitting the boom.

In that case we go to Plan A:

The rotor is accelerated and decelerated a few times with small movements of the cyclic to try and centralise them.

Should that not work we go to Plan B:

A fire engine comes along and positions a large hosepipe to the right rear of the rotor disc. The blades rotate clockwise looking from above so it is on the side before they reach the boom. A jet of water is then directed just over the boom in front of the tail rotor and the engine is shut down. As the rotor decays and the errant blade sinks it lands on top of the water jet and is carried over the boom. The blades, although wooden, were made by real carpenters so they were unaffected by this sudden dowsing.

Should there not be a fire engine available then we go to Plan C:

There isn’t a Plan C.

What they had to do was to place a large think blanket over the boom at the critical point where the blade would hit it. The mass balances on the blade tips looked like 20mm cannon shells and as such they would bounce off this as they went around. In practice there were only two of three thumps and then the blades stopped. No blanket: Bang, Bang, Thud, unless you were very lucky.

This time there was nothing untoward and that was it for the day and being Friday it was off for the weekend.
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Old 16th Aug 2016, 10:42
  #9138 (permalink)  
 
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Still a couple more bits of the 'by the way' stuff on a thread that must surely be due some sort of prize for being the most divergent from its actual title.

It was probably in 1943 that we had a short holiday with relatives in Newcastle-under-Lyme and I remember large numbers of Canadian troops based nearby. For local small boys their special appeal was that they smoked Sweet Caporal cigarettes and on the back of the packets were a series of aircraft recognition silhouettes; these were highly collectable and the cry “Got any Sweet Caps” followed any soldier with a ‘Canada’ shoulder flash. We were after the packets rather than their contents and much enthusiastic swapping took place in order to get a complete set of silhouettes. With a father in the Air Force it was probably inevitable that aviation was my main interest, and like several friends I could not only recognise a vast range of aircraft visually, but also a lot of them by sound. One of my possessions was a cardboard device that one held at arm’s length, consisting of two arms pivotted together at the bottom. A list of aircraft types was printed up one side and when you had identified a type and moved the cardboard arms so they appeared to touch its wingtips you could read off its altitude on a scale.

I used to go off for walks by the Blackwater and was once found by my mother sharing a baked bean lunch from a Canadian soldier’s mess-tin. On another occasion I met some Italian prisoners of war (distinguished by having large white circular patches sewn on the back of their overalls as aiming marks in case of escape); they were clearing mud from the river. By then my father was also a POW and I explained to them that he had been captured in Crete, which they understood. My mother was rather affected when I told her about this particular meeting, I think.

To supplement my father’s RAF pay and to pay my school fees my mother, who had been a teacher before I was born, did some coaching at home, but cooking and looking after a small boy in the absence of a father must have been pretty demanding. I don’t remember ever being hungry but I do recall my mother making ’marzipan’ for Christmas cakes from glucose powder, almond essence and soya flour; it tasted pretty good to me, and for some time after the War I thought this was what marzipan was supposed to taste like.

My daily walk to school, about a mile and a half, took me past a military convalescent home, where wounded soldiers, dressed in bright blue pyjama jackets and red ties were wheeled in invalid chairs or hobbled on crutches.

By the age of about six or seven I had a bike, with wood blocks screwed each side of the pedals so I could reach them; one of its features was a projection from the left of the rear hub, about a couple of inches long, You put a left foot on that, kind of skipped along with the right one, and then when up to speed vaulted onto the saddle; I became quite adept. My mother and I would go for long bike rides and one of the best used to be to Hazeley Heath. This was an area of sand pits and heathland that was used for tank recovery practice. Several old tanks lay there and while my mother gathered blackberries I would explore the interiors of these; in one, a Matilda I think, I found the turret traversing crank and managed to get the turret to rotate. One day a German PzKw III was lying there, probably captured during the campaign in the Western Desert. Another ride took us to a Bofors anti-aircraft gun site at Sandhurst, where I was allowed to sit on one of the gun’s seats and operate the elevation and shown how the gun was fired. In the saddle bags of our bikes we would carry a Kilner jar of full cream milk; the rough roads, coupled with a bit of shaking while we stopped for a picnic, produced a small amount of butter which supplemented our ration.

The other regular cycling destination was Hartfordbridge Flats, where in 1942 a new airfield was being built, re-named Blackbushe near the end of the War. The first day we went there my mother picked blackberries while I wandered about on the airfield (nobody seemed to mind reasonably-behaved small boys then); it was the sight and the smell of rows of camouflaged Hotspur training gliders and Whitley bombers, used as tugs, that got me hooked on aircraft for life. The smell of warm aircraft, with their doped ply and fabric, and the aromatic fumes of high octane aviation fuel (probably 130 octane then) cast a spell that brought me and my long-suffering mother back to that airfield as often as I could persuade her to pedal there, and kept me involved with aviation in various forms ever since. A bit more about RAF Hartfordbridge later.
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Old 16th Aug 2016, 10:49
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The Bell 47/Sioux with it's weight stabilised teetering rotor was a different world from the Sycamore. More about that later.
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Old 16th Aug 2016, 10:53
  #9140 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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This is a private fight, and will not join in, but just say that my first sight of a chopper made me think: "I'm seeing this - but I don't really believe it !" And a tinge of that belief has never left me. As for Harriers.......words fail me.

Think it's all a big conjuring trick, done with smoke 'n mirrors.

But, paradoxically, I like the autogyro idea. Seems much more friendly in a way (as a glider to an aircraft). Now if I were about 60 years younger (ain't going to happen), had the money (which I haven't) and Mrs D. would permit (which she wouldn't), would like to have one to play with.

After all, the choppers have their cyclic stick (is that what it's called ?)

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