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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 7th Feb 2024, 10:53
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Chug, I don't think WW2 aircraft had de-icing other than Kilfrost paste which is like a brown grease to smear along leading edges and props. It was still available in the 1960s, a brave friend used it on his Cherokee in the airways. One thankfully brief but terrifying experience with freezing level 4000ft so plenty of room to descend and thaw out was enough for me and I still wonder how those who posted on this thread make so little reference to icing.
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Old 7th Feb 2024, 12:03
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Having just scrutinised the wonderful cutaway drawing of the Lancaster (done by Jimmy Clark during WW2) in my copy of "Classic WW2 Aircraft Cutaways" by Bill Gunston, I can report that the only ice protection to be seen on the aircraft is the pair of 'Anti-Icing Glycol Window Sprays' in front of the cockpit screens.

Ian BB
Avro York (derived from Lanc.) unsurprisingly, had same 'windscreen washer' de-icers. However, US B-17 and B-24s were fitted with 'Boots'. It seems that there are records of experienced B-17 crews in European Theatre having the 'Boots' removed as they caused both drag and flutter when they had been shredded by 'Flack'.

Last edited by Ian Burgess-Barber; 7th Feb 2024 at 20:28. Reason: Further research.
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Old 7th Feb 2024, 13:35
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Thanks for the updates Geriaviator and IBB. You live and you learn! Recalling the inadequacy of the Hastings aerofoil de-icing system (fluid pumped from a tank to distributors on the leading edges of wings, tailplanes, and fin) as it was totally ignored by the ice as we battled north in cloud up the Rhone valley against the Mistral wind, I imagined that it was simply inherited, like so many of the systems and components of the Hastings, from the Halifax. I now discover it was 'state of the art' it seems! The props had 'slingers' to feed fluid along the blades but what affect that had you were never quite sure as centrifugal force alone seemed to fling off the ice, resulting in it being hurled against the fuselage sides to the great alarm of crew and pax alike. Thoughtful of them to provide for windscreen anti-icing in WWII so that you could at least look ahead as you were forced ever downwards as a/c AUW inexorably increased as the lift decreased!

As you say, Geriaviator, a wonder that not more mention is made of it. A known known, I guess. Don't fly into CBs, avoid icing conditions, end of? It must have affected planning missions. If the met man warned of icing conditions on the planned routeing. Did they go anyway, reroute, or postpone for another night? And of course, met forecasts for flights over enemy territory had its own challenges.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 7th Feb 2024 at 15:21.
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Old 7th Feb 2024, 15:34
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Originally Posted by Union Jack
And here's one who fully merits the title of this outstanding thread - airborne in a Spitfire at 102!

Jack
Behind a paywall UJ. Hope this works :-

Former bomber pilot, who served in Second World War, becomes oldest person to fly the fighter
RAF hero, 102, soars again with flight in Spitfire

It’s almost impossible for younger generations to imagine the skies being filled with the roar of Spitfires, let alone fathom the idea of signing up to go to war.
Jack Hemmings doesn’t recall feeling frightened when he joined the RAF in 1940 at 18 – he trusted that the training he had received would prepare him for whatever the Second World War threw at him.
Going to war “made me grow up a bit I suppose”, said Mr Hemmings, a former RAF squadron leader, who yesterday became the oldest person to fly a Spitfire, at 102.
A bomber pilot during the Second World War, he was stationed in Kolkata with 353 Squadron to protect the Bay of Bengal and the coast of Burma – as it was then known – until1946, and received the Air Force Cross for “exemplary gallantry while flying”.
This year will mark 80 years since the Battle of Kohima – the turning point of the Japanese offensive into India, where Mr Hemmings was stationed. He is one of only two remaining members of his squadron.
Last month, Gen Sir Patrick Sanders, the Chief of the General Staff , implored ministers to “mobilise the nation”, suggesting the country’s defences could be strengthened by bringing back conscription, which was suspended in 1960.
What could younger generations learn from Mr Hemmings? “Who’s to say that our generation was any better than theirs?” he said, speaking at Biggin Hill airfield, in Kent, before his flight. “But, by and large, I think the present generation are a bit scatty.”
He added: “Going to war, your mind is concentrating on what you’re doing, which is your part in the war. You apply your mind to your task and do it as well as you can.”
As the Spitfire roared into life yesterday, you could feel the power of its Merlin engine. But as soon as you take off , Mr Hemmings said, there is a great sense of peace that comes with being airborne. “Once you’re off the ground and away from controlled airspace, the sky is yours,” he said. “You get all sorts of emotions.”
It has been 84 years since Mr Hemmings, now a grandfather of three, first took to the skies.
He might not have been fazed by much at 18, but at 102, you could have forgiven him for being daunted by the prospect of clambering into a cockpit and taking to the skies.
However, as soon as he received the signal to board, he bounded out of his wheelchair and strode towards the aircraft in his khaki flying suit with the vim and vigour of a man at least20 years younger. Yesterday’s
‘Who’s to say that our generation was any better than theirs? But I think the present generation are a bit scatty’
flight was by no means the first time in 80 years Mr Hemmings had been airborne. He bought a small aircraft after his retirement and, on his 100th birthday in 2021, performed an aerobatic display in a Slingsby Firefly – a surprise gift from his wife, Kate.
In 2022, he flew a 1947 Gemini – the same model he had taken to Africa in 1948 in what was the first British mission to assess humanitarian needs in isolated communities dotted across the continent.
Setting out with a map, a compass and only the River Nile as their guide, he and his friend Stuart King, who had been at D-day, visited more than 100 mission outposts separated from vital resources by jungles and deserts. They crashed on a mountainside in Burundi, a moment Mr Hemmings – who once nicknamed himself “Crasher Jack” – remembers vividly.
“The surprising thing was we smacked the ground at 100 miles an hour, into a totally undeveloped hillside,” he said. “We could have gone straight into an enormous boulder or tree but we went into rough ground and didn’t burst into flames and the lid in the door opened quite simply.
“Neither of us was injured except I had a bruise on my thigh where it hit the throttle and Stuart had a cut on his little finger.”
They founded Mission Aviation Fellowship, the world’s largest humanitarian air service, which still delivers aid and medical help in low-income countries.
Coming into land after his 30-minute flight, Mr Hemmings wore a look of pure contentment on his face.
His co-pilot, Barry Hughes, had handed over the controls mid-flight. “I don’t think he’s lost his touch,” he said.
How did Mr Hemmings find it? “Absolutely delightful,” he said. “Slightly heavier than I expected. We were flying at about 210 knots, which is faster than I used to fly in my Air Force days.
“I was a bit rusty. Not surprisingly, as I am rusty.”

Last edited by Chugalug2; 7th Feb 2024 at 15:45.
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Old 7th Feb 2024, 16:18
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Trust the press to get the facts wrong. 353 (T) Squadron was a transport squadron for which Jack Hemmings flew Dakotas, Hudsons and Ansons. I have deep respect for those who flew in operational areas in aircraft that couldn't shoot back . The ORB for March 1944 has F/L Hemmings, J.S. flying Hudsons both Mk.III and Mk.VI. (Granted Hudsons and Ansons were armed but the ORB suggests they were being used as trucks by 353)

His final duties were in the RAFVR(T), resigning his commission with the right to retain his rank as squadron leader in 1975.


Last edited by SLXOwft; 7th Feb 2024 at 17:37.
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Old 11th Apr 2024, 23:54
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Over the Hump

Originally Posted by Brian 48nav
I don't have memories being a baby-boomer, but I can recommend the book 'First in the Indian skies" by Norman L R Franks, the history of 31 Sqn. 31 were equipped with Dakotas and involved with supporting the Chindits and also flying 'The Hump' to China.
One of their pilots, Mike Vlasto ( who used to live in my then village in Somerset ) was IIRC the first to land a Dakota in a jungle clearing and take-off again with wounded soldiers.
Another book on my shelf mentions Vlasto and I note that your father is mentioned several times - 'War in the Wilderness' by Tony Redding.
Just before my father Flying Officer David Margerison died in 2013 I remembered that he had told me that one day after landing at RAF Kunming he was met by an American Officer, who said your driving to which my father replied that he did not have a licence the American said that he was not to worry, and that he just should not stop if he knocked any Chinese over! On the way to the base he noticed a camera man that was shooting a film, and he said he often wondered what the film was about. I did some research, and found 'Over The Hump' in which he appears as the jeep driver. I went to the home, and showed the film to my Dad. He saw WCo 'Flossy' Wyatt whom my father had flown with as Wop Ag on Wellingtons early in the war, and then Sq Ldr Vlasto oh yes he said that's old Vlasto, and then he said where did you get this. I said that it's in the IWM oh he said he always wondered. My father was at RAF DUM DUM and for about a year he was dropping supplies. Then he was put on the VIP crew of Lt General Adrian Carton de Wiatt. He was a sergeant and the general called him in one day, and said that all his crew were officers. At that point my father thought he was for the chop, but he said so I'm sending you to be commissioned, and that he would have to find his own way back to blighty!
The pilot in charge of the VIP crew was Flt Lt W. J. Noble 'Paddy' from Belfast. He had been a spitfire pilot and is named on the London Battle of Britain Memorial. After the war he became a GP in Sutton, Surrey he died in 1995. He used to write to my father for a while after the war. I wonder if he has family? As a young lad 18 - 23. I was an airman assistant air traffic controller, and then left to do degrees and lots of other things. Time has induced something of a glow over that period of my life, however at the time I was only concerned with achieving objectives in education. I think this is the way of youth.
Dr Paul Margerison PhD
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