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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 28th Nov 2016, 17:17
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What sort of landing/take-off run would a Sunderland require, very broadly speaking? There's not a lot of straight Thames, unless you taxy well downriver from Tower Bridge, IIRC.
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Old 28th Nov 2016, 21:18
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The mighty Flying Boat would alight on estuaries in Borneo to visit Dyak communities by motoring up the rivers.... On their return the beast was fired up and allowed to drift downriver using differential power till the water was suitably wide and straight for take-off.

Yes my dad has told of taxiing up the rivers of borneo in the early '50s 'swinging the lead' to check the depth of water with a wax layer on the bottom of the lead weight to see what the river bed consisted of. He was a signaller on 209 sqn. His skipper was the son of an RN officer and tried to run the aircraft as a ship. That didn't go down too well by all accounts!
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Old 28th Nov 2016, 21:28
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Topcliffe Kid
and tried to run the aircraft as a ship
When I was at China Bay (Sri Lanka) in 1957 I had several flights in the detached from Seletar SAR 205-209 Sqn Sunderlands.
All the crews I knew called the Sunderlands galley with its cookers and seats "Wardrooms" and probably called the sea "Oggin"!


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Old 28th Nov 2016, 21:39
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Warmtoast

Indeed that is correct.. I think the particular episode referred to was when the skipper wanted to be piped aboard. Needless to say it didn't happen! But yes when my dad first went onto Sunderlands there was a lot of seamanship training before they even got onto the aircraft.
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Old 28th Nov 2016, 21:58
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Abe Lincoln, of blessed memory, was on Sunderlands (before Shackletons, Trotters, and Hercs). He used to say that Flying Boat operation required Seamanship and Airmanship in equal amounts.
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 03:13
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Danny:
In your post of 9780, I guess it was the pilot who initiate the crewing up of Bomber Command. In Dad's case the Skipper approached Dad first ( as bomb aimer) then the 2 of them sought out a Navigator, on Dad's recommendation. I am not sure how the gunner and WOP joined the crew.
On their first trip at OTU Dad seriously wondered about his choice. The take off in the Whitley scared the daylights out of him. I don't know if that was standard procedure for the Whitley, but the take off involved advancing both throttles to about a quarter power. Then to Dad's absolute horror, the Skipper removed his hand from the starboard throttle, and advanced the port to full power. As they were going down the runway, to use Dad's words, he wondered 'just what kind of clown have I signed on with-he's trying a single engine take off!' Once the tail came up, and I presume the danger of a swing had passed, the starboard engine was brought up to full power and the take off proceeded normally from there. Each take off was the same, but nevertheless, it unnerved Dad each time
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 09:02
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Differential throttle on the commencement of the take off was normal though your father may have exaggerated it a bit. My father (Halifaxs) told me that they would advance the throttles with No 1 leading to correct the torque swing from the engines. Some of us on this thread know how much a powerful radial can swing on opening up. Think what a handful of them can do.
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 15:18
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My dear friend and instructor Desmond flew Catalinas from Castle Archdale in Northern Ireland during WW2, and my close friend Bob Hume was flight engineer on Sunderlands at Pembroke Dock. These are their flying boat memories as they were told to me 50 years ago, so don't take them as gospel when you prepare for first solo in your Sunderland or whatever …

MPN, in calm conditions a Sunderland or Catalina at operational weights could take three miles to get airborne. Usually it was between one and two miles. Wind had most effect of course, but calm water increased suction on the hull due to the Bernoulli effect. In such conditions a couple of launches would zig-zag across the fairway to roughen it up, a task exciting to the boat crews and to the aircrew in the Sunderland thundering towards them at 60 knots.

The flying-boats began their run by 'ploughing' through the water with the stick fully back until the nose rose and the bow-wave began moving aft. In calm conditions it helped to pump the stick gently to encourage this. At this stage the stick was eased forward to encourage the hull to rise onto its step and begin planing at around 50 knots, so decreasing the water drag and enabling the craft to attain flying speed.

The Sunderland in the picture must have had had a long taxi up-river but apparently such visits were not unusual. Earlier that year, 1949, BOAC brought its new Solent up-river for its naming ceremony. Bob said it was nothing to taxi a couple of miles along Milford Haven before takeoff, while for certain wind conditions they used an area off Angle, several miles away, and were sometimes towed by boat to save fuel, adding an hour or more towage each way to a typical 8/9 hour sortie.

Desmond said the Sunderland was much roomier and quieter than the Cat, and rather easier to fly as its behaviour was viceless. The comfy wardroom with four bunks and double Primus stove in the galley was much envied, not to mention the flush toilet in the bow compartment. After a 10-hour exchange trip in Desmond's Catalina the Sunderland skipper said he preferred dogs to cats and the the trip certainly confirmed his view although he fancied the Pratt and Whitney Twin Wasps.

Bob's colleagues liked their Sunderlands although their Pegasus engines sometimes gave trouble because they were consistently overworked and had two-speed VP propellors. Later Peggies developed more power but the Sunderland V had Twin Wasps and constant-speed props as used in Catalina, Dakota and Liberator, enabling the big boat to maintain height on two engines. Another desirable item was a pair of .50 Brownings to replace the Vickers K-guns in the waist mountings, but they never managed to acquire these.

During their long patrols Bob's skipper encouraged his crew to interchange their duties in case of emergencies, making Bob one of the few pilots to transition to Tiger Moth after 20 hours ab-initio in the right seat of a Sunderland, and very well he managed it.

Despite hundreds of hours on Atlantic patrol, neither of my long-gone friends saw any action although in early 1944 Bob's crew did sight a Kurier snooping around a convoy about 100 miles out. “We were all dead keen to have a go, the skipper turned towards it and we opened the Peggies flat-out though we had no chance of catching it, maybe we thought we could sneak up on him. The nav was up in the astrodome giving a commentary: he's going left, no he's going right … dammit he's turning south, the ------'s running away! I don't blame him, said the skipper, first time I saw you lot forming up at OTU I felt like doing the same thing”.
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 15:53
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Thanks, Geriaviator ... that reinforced my feelings about a Sunderland at Tower Bridge. Either a very long taxi [watching the temperatures, I would guess] or a long tow up-river before firing up the outboards for a taxi to the buoy for the cameras!


In passing, my OH's father was a Sunderland Nav, as I have mentioned before, and apparently renowned for his galley skills
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Old 29th Nov 2016, 18:23
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Floating Things

"Whereof you know nothing, thereof should you remain silent" (Wittgenstein) [Wiki] is, in general, good advice.

I know nothing about Flying Boats except for the tale I told long since about the naughty Flight Engineer, but I venture to add a few words to the learned discourse presently on Thread:

Topcliffe Kid (#9785) and Chugalug (#9786),

At Linton-on-Ouse ('62) the True Blue said: "Seamanship is only Airmanship at ten knots !"

jeffb (#9787) and FED (#9788),

Yes all the prop-driven tail-draggers I had to do with tried to do a dirty dive to the left * when power was applied. As you were ready for it, with full right rudder trim on and poised to boot on full right rudder and a bit of right brake if needed, you could keep the nose pointing down the runway (most times) until you got tailup and steerage way with rudder.

Multi engines could, as jeffb's Dad noted, get the same result with differential advancement of the throttles (wasn't the Whitley known as "The Flying Suitcase", btw ?

Either way, it was vital not to let the beast get away from you. More than 25°of swing and all was lost. If you chopped the power before then, you might be able to stop it before you ran off onto the grass. If you left it on, anything could happen. I remember a Beau which ended behind the spot it'd started takeoff from ! (Ground Loop to end all Ground Loops ?)

Note *: Except the Griffon-Spits, which swung to the right instead. Or rather, they "hopped" to the right across the runway - a sort of "Right Close March !" movement. Rather disconcerting, as at the same time, there was so much torque that the engine was trying to rotate the airframe round the prop ! Solution: feed the power in very gently indeed. Even so, would not like to try a formation takeoff !

Geriaviator (#9789),
...their Pegasus engines sometimes gave trouble because they were consistently overworked and had two-speed VP propellors...
Good Lord ! did we really go to war with 2-speed props in an operational aircraft ? Scandalous ! It means that the engine can only give of its best at two points, one in each "mode", instead of across the whole range of rpm.

Those of us who are deriving much amusement and entertainment from the T.C-T. saga, may recall the Arizona "incident" (in which the Stearman, "hot, high and heavy", manfully managed to lift-off and get up to 50 ft before "losing 300 rpm" with disastrous result (but happily without casualty).

This was first ascribed to "contaminated fuel" (but I understand that that cause has now been excluded), and I mused that it was exactly the result to be expected if the prop conrtol (which would be at "fine" pitch for takeoff and climb) had been inadvertently pulled back into "coarse".
...maybe we thought we could sneak up on him. !
With a thing the size of a Sunderland ? Good thing they didn't catch up with him - with a 20mm cannon and 4x13mm guns, he'd blow them out of the sky before they got him in range of their peashooters !
...I don't blame him, said the skipper, first time I saw you lot forming up at OTU I felt like doing the same thing”...
A variant of the better known "I do not know what effect.....but by God they frighten me !"

Danny.
 
Old 29th Nov 2016, 22:59
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Sunderlands - Long take-off runs


Don't remember Sunderlands at China Bay needing 2 -3 miles to get airborne and what about Seletar - was there 2-3 miles of straight water available for take-off there?
Photos below show the China Bay alighting area (just below the float on the wing), Four Sunderlands moored at CB and one alighting in the bay.








Last edited by Warmtoast; 29th Nov 2016 at 23:13.
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Old 30th Nov 2016, 09:10
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Originally Posted by Danny42C
wasn't the Whitley known as "The Flying Suitcase", btw ?
I believe that was the Handley-Page Hampden, due to the extremely narrow fuselage. 3' IIRC, although that does sound ridiculously narrow.

Spitfires and Hurricanes still had 2-speed props at the beginning of the BofB. De Havilland rushed out conversion kits and they were converted to VP on-site at the squadrons.

There's an anecdote, I think in Jeffrey Quill's "A Test Pilot's Story", about a Wing Commander who turned up to collect his first Griffon-powered Spitfire.
Dismissing the sergeant who tried to explain with "I know how to fly a Spitfire", he applied a bootful of wrong rudder, opened the throttle and took off at 90° to his intended direction of flight, narrowly missing a hangar.
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Old 30th Nov 2016, 10:11
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Terrific pictures, Warmtoast, especially the one of the great boat coming off the step, just look at that flap area! Bob was very clear about three-mile runs on a calm day. He said his Sunderland was underpowered and overloaded with tanks filled to the brim for max endurance, hence the much resented hour-long tow to the takeoff point before starting up for an eight or nine-hour Atlantic patrol. They also carried over a ton of depth bombs and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Hence the Pegasus engines often had to be flogged at full throttle, causing wear problems if not failure.


Maybe your Seletar Sunderlands were Mk V with Twin Wasp engines producing at least 20% more power, and did they carry armament? Whatever the explanation we doff our helmets to those hardy folk who flew the wartime versions.
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Old 30th Nov 2016, 14:24
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In 1927, 4 Supermarine Southampton flying boats of the Far East Flight left the U.K. They flew in stages to Singapore, on around Australia and the South China Sea and back to Singapore. The aircraft did the whole trip as a foursome, and to a pre-planned schedule, and on only about 2 occasions did they slip from that schedule.
On arrival at Singapore the second time, in 1929, the Far East Flight disbanded and became No 205 Squadron. Group Captain Cave-Brown-Cave, who had been in command, returned home, and his deputy, Sqn. Ldr. Livock became the Squadron commander. 205 was the first R.A.F. Squadron in the Far East, and its motto "Pertama di Malaya" means first in Malaya. The Sqn was in Singapore from 1929 - 1941 (Southamptons/ Short Singapores/ Catalinas) and 1946- 1971 (Sunderlands/ Shackletons)
Livock wrote a book "To the Ends of the Air", telling his story from joining the Royal Naval Air Service in 1914 at the age of 17. It covers the story of the Far East Flight, but does not go into great detail about 205's early days in Singapore
However, in the Sqn Museum at Changi in the late '60s there was a typed copy of what I believe was to be a second book, covering that period. I can find no trace of it ever having been published, or what happened to that typed copy, so what follows is what I recall from reading it nearly 50 years ago.
The Squadron was much involved in surveying and anti piracy in Borneo. Fuel dumps would be positioned with planters beside the rivers. The boat would fly up river until a tennis court was spotted next to the river. That was the favoured sport of the time, and provided a good navigation aid. The boat would land, anchor, refuel, and the crew would stay the night with the planter
The planters were ex-officio local post masters, so they would send their letters home with the aircraft, and affix home made stamps, produced by carving lumps of rubber to print with. Many of them later presented the Sqn. with pieces of silver - apparently the Sqn silver was subsequently thrown off the end of a jetty at Seletar when the Japanese arrived, and never recovered.
As regards the straight stretch of river for take-off, apparently it was possible to make quite sharp turns during the take-off, once the boat was on the step. (This was the Southampton ) He recounted one incident where things were a bit tight, and he had to start the take off run while his co-pilot was still stowing the anchor. The co-pilot stuck his head out of the forward hatch "whereupon his solar topee blew off and went into one of the propellors. I told him the next time he stuck his topee into one of my propellors he could do it whilst wearing it."
He also told of ferrying troops to a spot on a river as part of an operation against pirates. On their return the troops were carrying a box containing two heads, They refused to leave them behind, as without the heads they could not claim the head money.
I wish I could recall more of his writings, but it is a long time since I read it all. Does anyone know what became of it after the Squadron dis-banded?
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Old 30th Nov 2016, 16:13
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Maybe your Seletar Sunderlands were Mk V with Twin Wasp engines producing at least 20% more power, and did they carry armament?
Mark V's in 1958. ISTR they carried no armament, but could if necessary carry bombs and did so when engaged in FIREDOG missions over the Malayan jungle.
Meanwhile below two IWM photos of Mark III's photographed at Gan in WWII.
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Old 30th Nov 2016, 16:51
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THE PARKHOUSE MEMOIRS – Part 2



The memoirs of Sqn Ldr Rupert Parkhouse, recorded in 1995 – Part 2
The first post in this series is #9775 on page 489 of this thread.

I entered Cranwell on April 29 1939 and I was very proud of my hat and uniform, I thought I was very handsome. Because we had all been in the OTC at public school we drifted easily into the drill routines of the cadet squadrons, which were commanded by a cadet under officer, a cadet sergeant and cadet corporals who kept us in line.

The great thing was that one began flying on the Avro Tutor straight away. One had ground school but on a hot, dozy summer's day in class there was the glorious thrill of knowing that in an hour or so one could be up flying.

I found flying rather difficult at first, and I had a bad-tempered Rhodesian instructor, and I didn't do terribly well with him. So they gave me to a very experienced Sergeant Pilot Booker, who eventually became Wing Commander Booker who was CFI at the Empire Central Flying School in about 1945. He had come into the RAF as an apprentice clerk and transferred to flying duties.

We got on extraordinarily well, he was a very quiet and tolerant chap who never lost his temper, and after my first three weeks at Cranwell and about nine hours dual Dermot Boyle the CFI – who eventually became Marshal of the Royal Air Force – took me for a flying test and after a little confab with Booker on the ground I was given another quick circuit and was sent off solo. That was a great thing.

As summer progressed I got my half-blue on the athletics team. I was completely surprised to be awarded a Viscount Wakefield scholarship for the sons of parents of limited means. The important thing is that my father had thought he had to pay £100 a year for tuition and £100 for uniform and books for my course even though he got reduced fees because he had been in the RFC. The scholarship covered the cost of tuition and so boys of moderate means could enter the RAF and have a fine career.
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Old 1st Dec 2016, 15:16
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DHfan (#9793)
...Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny42C
wasn't the Whitley known as "The Flying Suitcase", btw ?
I believe that was the Handley-Page Hampden...
Touché ! (You're spot-on, of course !)

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Old 1st Dec 2016, 15:50
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THE PARKHOUSE MEMOIRS – Part 3



The memoirs of Sqn Ldr Rupert Parkhouse, recorded in 1995 – Part 3. The first post in this series is #9775 on page 489 of this thread.

I HAVE always regretted that I only did one term at Cranwell, because at the end of July we had a passing-out parade before Viscount Gort; with the Enfield rifles and long bayonets and the Cranwell band it was a very fine sight.

When war broke out at the beginning of September we were called back, the whole of our academic syllabus was consigned to the waste paper basket and we were trained entirely as pilots. I heard Chamberlain's declaration of war. I remember my father was very upset over the treatment of Czechoslovakia.

It was obvious that this had been coming for a very long time. We were young, we were professional pilots; one realised that a life of adventure lay ahead and I think we were somewhat elated.

I remember one of the items we were equipped with was a rather fine slide rule and I remember some of the chaps tearing their slide rules to pieces and throwing them in the bin. Perhaps it was a foretaste of what was to come. I thought it was a great waste, having come from a frugal background where every penny was counted, and I still have mine.

Our training started immediately. I was hoping to go onto twin-engined aircraft but I was put onto Hawker Hart trainers. [Dual control version of the Hart light bomber with 525hp RR Kestrel V12, used for advanced training -- Ed.] We used to have crew rooms alongside the hangars but now we and the aircraft were sent to dispersal huts around the airfield.

I spent September 3 dressed in a gas cape because we were told to expect imminent gas attack, which shows the feeling at the time, and I had to taxi my Hart to the dispersal where it was picketed down. That evening we spent an uncomfortable two hours in the shelters, wondering if this was going to be a pattern in the wartime years.

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Old 3rd Dec 2016, 00:15
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From Vintage News a Canadian thread

Hope I'm not crossing boundaries etc. But am sure this link will be of interest to many followers of this thread

Undaunted > Vintage Wings of Canada

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)
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Old 3rd Dec 2016, 09:53
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No boundaries for stories like this! Thanks for the link, PZU, and interesting to read references to the Fairey Battle which features so prominently in the Parkhouse Memoirs to which you led us a few months back. I've just read Harry Hannah's story from start to finish, and I'm now in the doghouse for not putting down that d---- iPad for two hours.

Harry's grim POW experiences followed those of Rupert Parkhouse four long years before. Another chapter from Rupert's story later today ...
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