Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Old 25th May 2017, 14:46
  #10701 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 5,222
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
I surrender! Please don't shoot me.
Fareastdriver is offline  
Old 25th May 2017, 15:01
  #10702 (permalink)  
Danny42C
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
FED and Chugalug,

Listening in awe to you two Hastings experts (and what a wonderful pic of that heavily burdened Hastings, Chugalug), I can only add my paean of praise to that Finest Invention Since Sliced Bread - the Nosewheel !

In my p.166, #3310, I said:

"My first ride in the Meteor was a revelation. This was simply a different order of aviation from anything my previous experience had prepared me for. For the first time I could see where I was going on the ground - this was luxury indeed. Up to now, taxying had been a matter of peeking around a big nose, like an engine driver in his cab, getting mouthfuls of hot, acrid exhaust fumes, and having to zig-zag to make sure the way ahead was clear. Now it was like driving a car. The soft u/c suspension rode the concrete joints in the taxyway like a Rolls-Royce. There was no vibration and the engine noise was smooth and muted. It was like a magically driven glider. This was the way to go flying !"

And in p.167 #3340:

"...and now the biggest change in my flying experience in nearly ten years. Throttles closed in good time (engines take much longer to wind down). You didn't land aeroplanes any more, it seemed. You just flew them onto the runway. An orang-utan could do it. I could do it.

Of course this was my first nosewheel landing. "Just do a wheeler", said Willis, and demonstrated. Now he had to put the nosewheel down. I watched in horror as the nose went down.....down.... down. The wheel's still up ! The nose's going in ! - (and me with it !) Then the comforting thump as rubber met tarmac.

Now I'm in a dream aeroplane. It couldn't ground-loop - it would run true. It wouldn't float off, even if you'd come in too fast. It wouldn't bounce - it would break first (so I was told - never tried it). You could clap the brakes on as hard as you liked - you couldn't put the nose in. What more could a man want ? To stop the damn' thing before it went haring off the far end, of course! Thank God for Mr. Dunlop ! I'm afraid he was cruelly misused in our early days..."

Just thought I'd mention it. Carry on, chaps !

Danny.
 
Old 25th May 2017, 15:21
  #10703 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 82
Posts: 4,771
Received 246 Likes on 77 Posts
Danny and FED, a useful exchange in my view. There is a tendency to see all the tailwheel aircraft of that era as old fashioned and all the nosewheel ones as being superior. In the case of the Hermes and Hastings you have both contemporaneous types side by side, identical designs other than in their u/c layouts. It was an excellent example of how form should follow function. Of course, from the drivers point of view, the Hermes was preferable, but for the military requirements of the time the Hastings had the edge. Even if a mid life upgrade (after exterior loads and glider tugs were no longer on the Army wish list) could have changed the Hastings to the Hermes config, that would have then probably sacrificed the "bomb aimers" position into which the nav descended to start his "left, left, LEFT!" harangues on the run in to the DZ.

FED, no call for surrender. A discussion amongst friends as are all those in our cyber crewroom. Here's your sword back.
Chugalug2 is offline  
Old 25th May 2017, 16:05
  #10704 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 5,222
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
You could clap the brakes on as hard as you liked
My father took me along for a brake bed detail in a Halifax at Aldergrove in 1948. He and I were the only two in the aircraft, me being in the nose. Three runs went fine but on the fourth heading along the northerly runway there was a total brake failure.

There was no room to stop so my father opened up No 4 which caused the aircraft to partially groundloop to the left into 202's parking spectacles. There were no other aircraft around but we mowed down a few fire extinguishers before we stopped.

I don't know if my father was ballocked for not having me in the landing/crash position but it didn't effect him. They still sent him off to CFS.
Fareastdriver is offline  
Old 25th May 2017, 16:06
  #10705 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Often in Jersey, but mainly in the past.
Age: 79
Posts: 7,867
Received 156 Likes on 72 Posts
Danny42C ... ah, if only my flying grading had been with a nosewheel, on which I already had a PPL (as many here know). That "nose in the air, seeing bu66er all, wait until you can see the individual blades of grass out of side" stopped me stone dead in my tracks!!

But thousands managed ... I just wish I could have joined them!!
MPN11 is offline  
Old 25th May 2017, 16:11
  #10706 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 5,222
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
I started on the Provost T1 with the Alvis Leonides nine cylinder radial. That was much as Danny described and having 550 h.p. it was a slightly different ab-initio than a Tiger Moth or a Stinson.

Good fun though.
Fareastdriver is offline  
Old 25th May 2017, 16:19
  #10707 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: UK
Age: 83
Posts: 3,788
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Hastings Heavy Drop:

Perhaps it might be useful if I were to add what I wrote on the subject in my book about 53 Squadron:

"In March 1952, two crews were sent to Abingdon to carry out heavy drops of jeeps and guns. A heavy beam was fixed to strong points underneath the fuselage of the Hastings and to this was attached either, two jeeps or one jeep and a field gun, fitted with parachutes. Having this sort of load hanging underneath did absolutely nothing for the performance of the aircraft and an engine failure on take-off would have had catastrophic consequences. It is interesting to note that it was this requirement to carry external loads on the heavy beam and the space needed to load them underneath the aircraft, that dictated the extremely nose-high attitude which the Hastings adopted when stationary. In fact the cockpit was over twenty two feet above the tarmac. This made doing a decent landing in a Hastings a rather demanding exercise, as anyone who has ever seen one make a series of quite spectacular bounces would willingly testify!

Three crews were sent out to Kasfareet in the Canal Zone on 3 May with aircraft fitted with heavy beams to join other Hastings and Valetta aircraft (note: there is only one "L" in Valetta unlike the capital of Malta) taking part in Operation Leapyear. This involved flying at night from Kasfareet in formation and making dawn drops at Mafraq in Jordan. Formation flying and supply-dropping was still flown in vic formation at this time. Keeping station in a vic formation at night was one thing, but managing to do it with the additional handicap of having two jeeps hanging underneath was another. W/C Jimmy Brodie MBE AFC once made the observation that when power was applied to catch up, the aircraft responded like a dead donkey and when it was necessary to slow down, it behaved like a young stallion after a mare! Kasfareet airfield had to be closed for repairs after the exercise. Extensive ruts had been made in the tarmac and runways by the heavy aircraft which had taken part in the operation".

Then we move on to Suez:

"A few Hastings fitted with heavy beams had been provided but the normal fighting vehicle used by the Parachute Regiment at the time was the Austin Champ and the Hastings could only carry jeeps. This meant that the troops had to go into battle with war-surplus vehicles and with which they were unfamiliar. The French forces on the other hand, were supported by rear-loading Nord Noratlas aircraft and were supplied with all of the equipment that they needed".

Finally, I have (hopefully) attached two photographs of F/L Alistair MacLean and some of his crew contemplating the enormity of what they are about to do!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
Jeep1.jpg (81.1 KB, 62 views)
File Type: jpg
Jeep2.jpg (89.0 KB, 63 views)

Last edited by JW411; 25th May 2017 at 16:58.
JW411 is offline  
Old 25th May 2017, 16:31
  #10708 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ireland
Age: 76
Posts: 242
Received 15 Likes on 7 Posts
Well...... as we all seem to like nosewheels, let us remember the chap who gave this boon to us. I raise my glass, (any excuse), to the late, great American engineer Mr Fred Weick (1899-1993) First he designed the NACA low drag engine cowling for air-cooled radial engines. Later his experimental W-1 aircraft design was the first to employ a steerable tricycle landing gear which he later gave to his 1937 Ercoupe design (thousands still flying).
In 1957 he joined Piper Aircraft where as Chief Engineer he created the Piper PA-25 Pawnee Ag. plane series, and, with John Thorp, he co-designed the PA-28 Cherokee line of aircraft which started in 1960 and are still in production today.
I say Cheers! for Mr Weick and all his works.

Ian BB
Ian Burgess-Barber is offline  
Old 25th May 2017, 16:46
  #10709 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: UK
Age: 83
Posts: 3,788
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Finally, for today anyway, I'm sure many of you out there might remember the apocryphal tale of the Hastings parked at Clark Field in the Phillipines?

Alongside is a smart USAF C-54 (DC-4).

The Hastings F/E (he is a Master who hails from Scotland) is doing his walk round when he is approached by some curious Americans.

He tells them how far and how fast they can fly. "Gee, that's great but why the hell do you land on your ass?"

"Have ye ever seen a burd land on its bloody beak?"

There really is no answer to that.
JW411 is offline  
Old 25th May 2017, 17:22
  #10710 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Fairford, Glos
Age: 99
Posts: 155
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Response to #10695, tail wheel a/c and fun with weather

Danny I really have nothing further to say about my York time, and in fact have already given on this thread the story of my post-Canada days up to demob in late '46. I have no further narrative as such 'in store', however I have written up various episodes in my later flying career and might consider posting some of them if the demand is there (hate being a bore). A brief sample is appended below, chronologically well out of sequence I fear but as there has been discussion recently on weather-related matters it might be of interest.

As for tail v nose wheels, if only because the latter makes any aircraft easier (and thus safer) to fly it has to be a better set-up. A nightmare with large tail draggers, especially those fitted with that dreadful differential brake system, was taxying them in strong wind conditions when a tail wind could lock the rudder hard over despite the pilots' (yes, both of them!) best efforts. If it was then locked over in the direction opposite to that which one wished to apply brake to keep straight, there was a problem!

harrym


EXCITEMENT OVER BRIZE NORTON, Feb. 1967



Passage of a cold front had been predicted for later in the evening, but so far conditions had not been too bad; good visibility beneath the 3000ft. overcast, and a light to moderate NW wind. True, I had observed some distant flashing off to the NW during the initial part of our training detail, but could not be absolutely certain about its origins; now, as we neared the Brize NDB to commence an ILS approach into Fairford, it was pretty well out of my mind on this dark April night.

I was therefore slightly surprised when we ran into a ragged cloud base on approaching the overhead, accompanied by some moderate turbulence; perhaps the front was closer than predicted? The ghostly flicker of St. Elmo's fire played across the windscreen panels, followed by occasional forking of what appeared to be miniature lightning. As these phenomena increased I suddenly noticed a ball of intense blue light, about the size of a small apple, perched on the ice detector probe just outside my direct vision panel. I was in the act of drawing the co-pilot's attention to this curious object, when there was a blinding flash accompanied by a most tremendous bang that left us all dazed and totally blinded.

For a short while I remained unsighted, and my head rang like a bell; then, very gradually, sight returned in odd reddish-blue hues similar to those seen through the spectacles issued to viewers of early, experimental 3-D films. Fortunately we had been on auto-pilot, and this continued to function as if nothing had happened; a check with the rest of the crew found them also scared witless but otherwise OK, with all systems functioning normally. A demoralised voice from the tower requested a radio check, saying they had received a lightning strike; "so have we" responded the co-pilot somewhat brusquely, thus terminating that particular conversation. I decided to land and have the aircraft checked over - surely such a massive strike must have caused some damage?

Miraculously, our VC10 was totally unharmed, not even a wick discharger burned off. Static electricity is a strange beast; I have known comparatively mild strikes cause significant damage, yet this terrifying zap had left no trace whatever. A ground observer later stated he had seen a great stab of lightning from our aircraft's nose as we passed overhead Brize; for my part, I think that we were probably victims of that mysterious, seldom seen and little understood phenomenon known as ball lightning. If so we had been especially fortunate, as it is quite unpredictable in its behaviour and capable of causing damage should the ball "explode", as it apparently had done in this instance.

We were Fairford-based at the time, Brize being closed for installation of new runway lighting.
harrym is offline  
Old 25th May 2017, 17:38
  #10711 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Co. Down
Age: 83
Posts: 848
Received 253 Likes on 81 Posts
Harry, this is just the sort of story we were hoping for! Thanks for the comments on the York, a machine which always interested me.
Chug's photo of the jeep-pregnant Hastings is a stunner. I knew the Hermes quite well because it staged through Khormaksar in the 50s and seemed popular with BOAC passengers. As well as the nosewheel, of course, it was pressurised too.

BOAC also used the Argonaut, a DC-4 with Merlin engines for an extra 40 mph. Unfortunately the mighty Merlin snarl drove the passengers scatty, for the Pratt & Whitney radials had (I think) turbochargers which dampened the exhaust noise.
Geriaviator is offline  
Old 25th May 2017, 21:12
  #10712 (permalink)  
Danny42C
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
What a stunning flourish of Posts - just like old times. Settled down to comment, but went to sleep instead (happens at this time of day). No matter, pick up the threads ......

FED (#10705),
I know things were rather slack in '48, but how old were you ? Was the Boss happy with the family arrangement ? (Did he even know ?) Hostage to Fortune, I would've said !

MPN11 (#10706),
Said it before, say it again: they gave you a raw deal IMHO. Tailwheel to Nosewheel - fine ! Nosewheel to Tailwheel - NOT fine.

FED (#10707),
Provost T1. as a primary trainer ? Bit hairy ! On a par with the US BT-13 (which I'm still trying to forget). But at least we'd had 60 hours on the Stearman as a lead-in. Against a Tiger Moth ? No comparison.

JW411 (#10708),
"... (note: there is only one "L" in Valetta unlike the capital of Malta) ..."
Touché - I stand corrected (it's a fair cop, Guv !) Thanks !

harrym (#10711),
"...I have written up various episodes in my later flying career and might consider posting some of them if the demand is there (hate being a bore)..."
Consider no longer, please, Harry (it's later than you think). The demand IS there, believe me. You are NOT a bore ! As Geriaviator has said "Harry, this is just the sort of story we were hoping for!"

More of the same soon, please !

Geriaviator (#10712),
IMHO, the Pratt & whitney "Wasp" family were all much smoother than the Wright Cyclones, and their sound was more "sonorous" (can't think of a better word for it). Pity the pax didn't like four Merlins synchronised "on song". But on the overrun when the throttles were closed for landing, the popping, f##ting and banging might well alarm the faint-hearted.

Salaams to you all, Danny.
 
Old 25th May 2017, 22:17
  #10713 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 82
Posts: 4,771
Received 246 Likes on 77 Posts
harrym, ball lightning is an almost mystical affair, described as an unexplained atmospheric phenomenon by wiki. Reported throughout history it, manifesting itself in WWII by pilots as "foo fighters". Various airliners have encountered it in the passenger cabin, such as this report by RC Jenson of the University of Kent Electronic Laboratory:-

I was seated near the front of the passenger cabin of an all-metal airliner (Eastern Airlines Flight EA 539) on a late night flight from New York to Washington. The aircraft encountered an electrical storm during which it was enveloped in a sudden bright and loud electrical discharge (0005 h EST, March 19, 1963). Some seconds after this a glowing sphere a little more than 20 cm in diameter emerged from the pilot's cabin and passed down the aisle of the aircraft approximately 50 cm from me, maintaining the same height and course for the whole distance over which it could be observed
I've not observed it (I'm glad to say). It seems you are part of the 5% of the Earth's population who have. As Geriaviator says, we demand more please, and in any order that suits you.

JW411, it would be interesting to learn more of the Hastings external load system. My knowledge is only third hand and most probably wrong in many ways. Anything that you can add about the beams, release system, drop height, parachutes etc would be greatly appreciated. We have now learned that jeep meant jeep, and no other. What about the gun? Was it the 105mm recoilless favoured by the paras? Presumably it was relatively lightweight. As far as you know, was the Hastings ever used as a glider tug at all? I suspect that capability was already redundant when it entered service.
Chugalug2 is offline  
Old 26th May 2017, 08:49
  #10714 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: South Africa
Age: 87
Posts: 1,329
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Danny42C

MPN11 (#10706),
Said it before, say it again: they gave you a raw deal IMHO. Tailwheel to Nosewheel - fine ! Nosewheel to Tailwheel - NOT fine.

Salaams to you all, Danny.
Is this not the reason why the RAF BBMF have a couple of Chipmunks?

All of the current a/c types in service with the RAF have a nose wheel.

Most RAF pilots have never flown a type with a tail wheel.
ian16th is offline  
Old 26th May 2017, 09:14
  #10715 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 5,222
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
Danny; I was eight at the time. We lived on an extension to the WAAF officer quarters by the road from the officer's mess to the perimeter track. It is now a car park.
Through the windows I had a grandstand view of all the going ons on the airfield. Spitfires nosing over, Mosquitos swinging off and a Halifax that had an argument with the BABS van which retaliated by removing the port mainwheel. The ensuing landing was a stopping off point for the dump.

The Sunderland that I mentioned before predated my tenure.
Fareastdriver is offline  
Old 26th May 2017, 10:15
  #10716 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Llandudno
Age: 100
Posts: 120
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I was a lowly co pilot on 47 Squadron at Topcliffe from February1952 until October 1952. Then it was to Coastal until 1964. My first trip was to collect the Queens staff from Mombasa. The first R.A.F. Duty for the new Queen. Our Hastings still had a hook in the tail to tow Gliders, but by that time gliders were " out" , and parachutes in. In April I went to Abingdon for three days to be briefed on carrying jeeps and trailers on a beam attached to the aircraft, in our case, if I remember correctly, underneath the pilots position, and well forward of the picture shown? The load was dropped by the navigator from the bay, again underneath the pilots. We went again to Abingdon on the 18th and did two heavy drops, each of two jeeps. 28th and 29th to do a parachute drop of troops. On 3rd May we flew to Luq with 18 paras, next day to Kasfareet. We had three days of formation flying then on the 8th we did a drop of 2 jeeps and 10 paras. May 12th Exercise Leap Year 1 started and we dropped Two jeeps, from the beam and 10 Paras and 6 containers out of the main door. On the 13th we dropped a jeep and a trailer and 10 Paras. I watched the next drop from the ground. Then we went up to Mafraq in Jordan for an exercise with the Arab Legion, but no drops. All very interesting. I was to be the co- pilot on a supply drop operating out of Thule to the British North Greenland Expedition, but as I was only a Sergeant at that time, and the Americans insisting on Pilots and Navigators being commissioned, I didn't go. The Hastings crashed on the drop and the crew were brought out by a U.S. Albatross which landed on the ice, used RATOG and brought the crew back to Thule. I hope all this is relevant!!
Ormeside28 is offline  
Old 26th May 2017, 11:03
  #10717 (permalink)  
Danny42C
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
FED (#10705),

"...I don't know if my father was ballocked for not having me in the landing/crash position..." So it was all right to have you aboard a moving aircraft at all ? If you'd been (unfortunately) written-off in an incident, what would they tell the Coroner ?

Even in the war, it was quite a hassle getting authorisation to carry a civilian - and even then he/she had to sign a "blood chit", absolving the RAF from any responsibility to you, or to your heirs or successors, for any mishap which might happen !

Autre Temps, Autre Moeurs !

Danny.
 
Old 26th May 2017, 13:37
  #10718 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 5,222
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
I don't remember asking for blood chits from the uncountable number of locals in Borneo that we would give a lift to. Fifteen minutes in a straight line at 90 knots was a day's walking for them.

The main discussion in the crewroom was whether to keep a heavy load of chickens in their cages or whether to keep them airborne in the back if you were short of power to get airborne.
Fareastdriver is offline  
Old 26th May 2017, 13:38
  #10719 (permalink)  
Danny42C
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Puzzled Danny42C

Today (1425 BST),

On "Military Aviation" page, my latest Post is annotated in the LH Margin thus:
<alt="You have 2415 post(s) in this thread, last 26th May 2017" border="" /> Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II>

Clearly this is a message fom the Moderators, but I cannot interpret it. Anybody ? - Please !

Danny.

(1432) It's gone now (as you were ?)
 
Old 26th May 2017, 14:11
  #10720 (permalink)  
Danny42C
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
FED (#10719),

Point taken ! In those circumstances .........

My Logbook shows that, on 6th December, 1945, I flew a "Miss Thompson" from Cannanore to Yelahanka & back. (No, not the damsel of another name you may have in mind - if you'd read my storY !) My faint recollection is of a lady closely resembling the "Miss Prism" of the glorious "Importance of Being Ernest" film a few years back. Think she was a Scientific Officer in C.D.R.E. and it was all completely above board. But my deeply and sadly missed Mrs D. (RIP) harboured doubts about that.

Anyway, the paperwork was a real "bind".

Rather taken by the conundrum of the free-ranged chickens. Would it not be analogous to "hoisting oneself up by one's own bootstraps" ? Is there an aerodynamicist in the House ?

Danny.
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.