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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 9th Jul 2010, 10:42
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Is that why?

I have been trying to centre my picture for ages and now it is fine . My PC nearly went out the window several times. Regle. (Or perhaps it was me , after all ? )
Old 9th Jul 2010, 17:04
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Reg a question?

Can you list the aircraft types that you have flown?

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Old 9th Jul 2010, 22:42
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A labour of love..

From my logbooks I have compiled a list of aircraft that I have flown.. My
criteria for "flown" is to have made a takeoff and landing physically unaided in the type irrespective of the time spent in the air. This covered the time when a B17 Flying Fortress landed at Marham when I was on Mosquito's. I found that the Pilot was a chap that I had trained with in Georgia USA and he invited me to do the honours from the second pilot's seat when he air tested it after repairs had been made. I remember it vividly, as it still remains in my mind as the heaviest aircraft on the controls that I had ever encountered. I was a passenger on the Constellation that took me out to India when I was going to take up the job of Instructor there . The Second Pilot fell ill after the stop at Cairo and, once again I was allowed to take off and eventually land at Bombay.
As regards the Mark of the aircraft I have generally counted them seperately where there was a marked difference in performance by the change in engines, shapes or size. Thus the DC3,4,6 7C & 10 were completely different aeroplanes whereas the Halifax1 & 2 were not but the 3 was chalk as to cheese with the advent of it's Bristol Hercules 16 engines. The short nosed Blenheim and the long nosed together with the abortion called the Bisley were altogether different but more or less equally bad . Anyway very roughly in chronological order , here goes;

1, Boeing Stearman.My first and most remembered aeroplane . The US training did not allow the luxury of an airspeed indicator or an altimeter until you went on to the next aeroplane so that you could learn to fly "by the seat of your pants". It worked too. What you had never had you did'nt miss. 2,Vultee BT13A, (The Vibrator!) 3,AT6 (Harvard) Quite nasty on landing if you were'nt careful,4,Airspeed Oxford, A good trainer that had to be watched all of the time. 5,Bristol Blenheim Mk1 (Short nosed), 6, Blenheim Mk1V (long nosed), 7, Bristol Bisley (Blenheim with a huge hole in the fuselage where they had removed the turret and left a [_] between the tail and the end of the cockpit fairing). 8,Mosquito Mk1V (unarmed light bomber) One of the finest aeroplanes that I have ever flown. 9,Miles Master, A lovely two seater that was the perfect trainer for Hurricanes and comprehensively used as a Squadron's taxi. It was even pressed into service in the Battle of Britain and acquitted itself well. 10,DH. Tiger Moth, The Station Commander's "Company car ", 11, B17 Flying Fortress.
12,Douglas Boston, First Tricycle u/c but useless operationally. Too slow and the three crew members completely isolated from one another with no chance of escape. 13, Captured Junkers 88 with escort of three Spitfires to avoid any mistakes despite RAF roundels. Very impressive with wonderful visibility and almost Mosquito speed. 14, N.A. Mitchell A bit better than the Boston but completely at the mercy of the German fighters . 15, H.P. Halifaxes 1 & 2, Slow and death traps until rudders were changed to avoid fatal Rudder locking. 16, HP Halifax 3, A completely different aeroplane and the equal of the Lancaster in everything except Bomb load but the survival rate of the Halifax crews as compared to the Lancaster more than compensated . The main spar crossing the interior of the Lancaster made escape from a stricken Lancaster almost impossible.
17, Bristol Beaufighter, I was asked to Air test one that had been repaired by our ground crews when it had landed after being shot up so I read Pilots notes and took it up. I found it a very stable rugged aeroplane but like a shire horse to a thoroughbred Mosquito but I could see why it made a very fine ground attack and night fighter. 18, Avro Anson. The Ju52 of the RAF but at least the one I flew had an electric U/C otherwise it was 120 turns of a handle to lower and raise the gear. 19,Vickers Wellington "Wimpy" after the Popeye strip in the Daily Mirror. Tough fabric and Barnes Wallis Geodetic and a good all round aeroplane in it's day. Was tested for towing Gliders for D.Day but measured more than a foot longer when it landed due to the geodetics. 20, Avro Lancaster. Superb to fly , light as a feather on the controls. I used to "limit fly " them at EFS to show what they could do and I would cut the engines at 8,000 ft. then pull the stick back until it would go no further and the Lanc . would stall, then drop the nose and without dropping a wing would pull up and stall again and I am sure that it would have hit the ground perfectly flat if you had continued. In a 60 degree bank I would do the same thing and the result was just the same. I would cheerfully roll or loop a Lanc if it had been permitted as I am sure that there would not have been any problem if properly executed. Pity about that main spar. It was difficult to climb over in flying gear to get to the cockpit even when stationary on the ground. 21, Bristol Buckmaster. Not a very pleasant aeroplane. Bristol never had a clue when it came to cockpit layouts and most of them were death traps to get in and out of. 22,Supermarine Spitfire 1X, One of the privileges of being a Tutor at the Empire Flying School was the "perks" of flying virtually any aeroplane that you fancied. I had to read the Pilots notes and pass a "cockpit check" before being let loose and then make a circuit and landing before having a real go. I think that it was the realisation of a boyhood dream when I found myself over Chippenham in a Spitfire and just had enough time to beat up the little farm where my wife, two small children and I "lived out" at a little place on the railway line to Calne called "Halt," as the train stopped there if you put your arm up to stop it ! I only logged about half an hour in a "Spit" but I shall never forget it. As they say in the Michelin Guide "Well worth a detour ". I am getting rather tired so will continue this tomorrow if you want me to. I have enjoyed some lovely moments in getting this down and I hope that you all have too. Regle


Last edited by regle; 10th Jul 2010 at 05:39.
Old 9th Jul 2010, 23:17
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Just take it steady. It looks as if you'll have to ration your time ith us, so little and regular will do us fine, not one large lump a week. We need to know you are still there at the end of the keyboard each day.

It might be an idea to allow one question a time for your response so as to avoid overtiring you.

Is "the lad" still with you?
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Old 10th Jul 2010, 01:49
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I was as riveted to that post as to any other in this thread...thank you, Reg. These 'fresh' impresions of the wartime Allied aircraft armoury are as vivid and honest as any published in print so far.
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Old 10th Jul 2010, 05:14
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Please continue Reg - that's a fantastic 'potted history' of so many types we know about (and some I'd never heard of too).

Take your time and don't push yourself too hard on our behalf
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Old 10th Jul 2010, 05:50
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Seize the day !

Icare9, the man with the most apt pseudonym; we are all issued with ration books for our time and some have more coupons in them than others. Carpe Diem ! And yes, the "lad", sixty one years old last March, is looking after me very well. Andy, too, keeps me on my toes. Please keep the reponses going . They are the lifeblood of this excellent Forum , which has given me so much pleasure. Thank you, Cliff and lets hear some good news from you. I hope that you are well and ready to regale us with some more of your tales, Reg
Old 10th Jul 2010, 07:21
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regle, were your comments about the Wellington stretching when towing a glider for real, or tongue in cheek?
Was tested for towing Gliders for D.Day but measured more than a foot longer when it landed due to the geodetics.
I can see the geodetic frame possibly stretching, but if that did in fact happen, what happened to the flight control runs etc? (I could see something like that having the potential for some 'really interesting' flight control problems for the pilot!)
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Old 10th Jul 2010, 09:18
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True. The Wimpey was really a cloth covered Ornithopter
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Old 10th Jul 2010, 10:45
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I have never heard of one before but thought that an OrniKopter was a licentious Liverpool FC fan . (Tongue well in cheek) and concerning that, the Wimpy "stretch" is one of those "True " stories with no facts behind it but was "sworn" to be true by many Glider Pilots.. Regle
Old 10th Jul 2010, 11:38
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Reg. One of its manifestations was the "D" hatch just aft of the bombay,which used to float 4 to 6 inches above its seating in flight due to the slipstream. Many a W/Op going aft to wind out the trailing aerial on the portside,jumped down,and in that miniscule travel thought his last moments had come !! Always snagged in the F700.but due to fuselage stretch in flight ,became a "to be remembered item". cos it always worked on the ground.
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Old 10th Jul 2010, 12:07
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You really know how to hide your light under the proverbial bushel!

Pse check your PM's.

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Old 10th Jul 2010, 16:35
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I have already replied to you in length but it must have gone astray. Sorry, but I was a tutor at E.F.S, the old Empire Central Flying School which became E.F.S. when the "C" became the Central Flying School at Little Rissington.The E.F.S was a sort of University type of establishment for high ranking Officers and civilians of many countries. Your relatives were at the Empire Test Pilots School , E.T.P.S a sister school and much sought after course as it was a "must" for any would be Test Pilot.
Good luck in your search. By the way, I have wondered where that light went for a long time but never thought of hiding it there. Regle
Old 10th Jul 2010, 18:50
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By the way, I have wondered where that light went for a long time but never thought of hiding it there

Regle - You, Sir, may be forgiven for not looking, because the references concerned are in the New Testament!

With kind regards and looking forward to the next list with great interest

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Old 10th Jul 2010, 22:45
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̉ne or two more....

I get your point, Union Jack, but being very open minded I have read from many books and articles including the Koran, The New and Old Testaments and have learned much from all of them. I have always respected the right of the other person's point of view and found myself sympathising many times when I should'nt have been doing so.

Here are a few more thumbnail sketches of aircraft that I flew. I see that I flew a little German monoplane called a Bucker 181 that we used for communications whenI was at the EFS, I flew with a Sqdn. Ldr. Primavesi in one and also with a Wing Cdr. Dobree-Bell for familiarisation flights in early 1947. I remember it as a comfortable ,low wing, side by side ,two seater monoplane with a delightful performance. Losing count, by now but I see that No.29 on my list was my introduction to the jet age in my one and only flight in a Gloster Meteor 3 in the early part of 1947. I was airborne for an hour and remember that it scared me stiff by the phenomenal rate of climb compared with previous aircraft. I found it fairly easy to fly and very responsive on the controls but confined myself to keeping very close to the aerodrome as it was scary the distance it covered in a few minutes and I would have hated to make a fool of myself by getting lost so did a circuit or two and got out of it feeling very different somehow to what I had felt before about the jet age.

The next one on my list could not have been more different to the Meteor . It is marked in my log book as a Percival Prentice (prototype) so I assume that we had it at Hullavington as one of the tasks there was the writing of "Pilots Notes" for various aeroplanes as they came into the RAF. I flew it with a Wing Cdr. Chater for under an hour in May of '47 and remember absolutely nothing about it or the Wing Cdr. Two days later I was flying a Miles Martinet trainer which was also a prototype with a certain P/O Steff-Langston . On the 20th.May 1947 I flew an Oxford with S/Ldr. Cosby, the 22nd. a Harvard with Air Marshall Hampson and on the 28th. of May 1947 , I made my last flight in the RAF in the prototype of the brand new Vickers Viking Air liner which had been given to us at Hullavington to test and to comment on. I flew with a Wing Commander Foster and I remember how impressed we both were with the sheer luxury of the interior compared with what we had been used to since I joined the RAF in October 1940. It even had a considerable improvement on the old Elsan which we duly christened with great gusto ! I had flown 32 types of aeroplane ( I did'nt count the two Gliders that I soloed on , the Kirby Kite and the Kirby Cadet (Or was it Kadett ?) My total hours were 1,527:25 minutes. I will continue with the next lot soon.
Old 11th Jul 2010, 08:16
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Considering that the Viking was a (slight) reworking of the Wellington with a new roomy fuselage, I'm sure you were surprised that the basic design was capable of such development, evolving further into the Varsity and Valetta.

A pity you never got your hands on the Vickers Windsor (Did Vickers purposely choose names that would be difficult for the Chermans to pronounce correctly)?
Four main undercarriage legs!! A pity it didn't get into service, I wonder how it compared to the Lincoln.
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Old 11th Jul 2010, 15:06
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Vickers & Knickers

Talking of Vickers and the Germans. The Vickers Viking ?. It didn't help Air India when they got it. There is,also, a "Windsor" chair which has, presumably, four legs so why (K)not ?. Regle
Old 11th Jul 2010, 15:36
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The late 'farmer' John Steele once told me of his experience in the back of a Viking in the 1950s. He was on his way back from Paris to Blackbushe on a scheduled airline flight after having been to watch an England-France rugby match. Approaching Blackbushe, there was a change in noise level and an unexpected yaw... Being an A1 QFI, this naturally attracted his attention!

Peering out of the window, he noticed that one of the props had been feathered.

So he wandered up to the front and asked what was going on.

"Ah, we're a bit early, so I'm doing a practice single-engine approach and overshoot. Haven't done one for a while and I've got a check ride coming up next week...."

"Hmmm", replied John, "Stewardess, another gin and tonic please....a large one, I think!"

Fortunately it all went OK. I guess things were a bit different back then!
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Old 17th Jul 2010, 21:00
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Cliff, wherefore at thou?

A bit concerned, are things OK, Cliff?
We could do with an update on what responses you had with trying to contact Cherman vebsites!! I know you've been pootling around in the beach buggy, but we need to know you're still around!!
Without you, this thread would never have become legendary!
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Old 18th Jul 2010, 10:33
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Some more of Peter Brett's Hawker Typhoon memories...

We now noticed that 'Noball' targets were no longer our prime objectives. More and more we were attacking radar stations and doing armed recco operations. Although of course we did not know it, this was the run up to D-Day. We were knocking out as many radar stations as possible - mainly to blind the enemy as to the approach of an invasion fleet but also to confuse the issue by attacking radar site miles from any projected landing sites.

On May 20th myself and F/O Eric Harbutt were detailed to cooperate with the G.C.I. (Ground Controlled Interception) controllers to calibrate some new RDF (Radio Direction Finding i.e. Radar) stations. We were sent off in opposite directions; I was sent east up the English Channel and Eric was sent west. After about 15 minutes, we were told to change frequencies on our radios so that we were no longer in contact with one another but each of us only with his own controller. I was given several vectors to fly and was told to fly at exactly 5000 feet. The final vector was due west. The controller then told me to look out for my target (Eric) dead ahead and 500 feet above. For several minutes I strained my eyes to pick up this aircraft that was approaching me. Suddenly I saw this little dot which very rapidly became a head-on view of a Typhoon which almost immediately shot overhead, missing me by what seemed to be inches. The GCI was perfect but unfortunately it seemed that our altimeters had not been adjusted exactly the same and, although Eric was told to fly at 5500 feet,which he did according to his instrument, our vertical separation was only some 100 feet! He never saw me at all, since I was hidden by the nose of his aircraft. Our combined approach speed was some 800 mph and, at that speed, over 1000 feet per second, there was not much time to react from the moment of sighting until the moment of passing. Fortunately the controllers were satisfied with the one pass and we did not have to repeat the experience!

Next day I led an armed recco. We approached the French coast and had began our climb up, reaching about 3000 feet when my number two suddenly called "Bandits two o'clock below". I looked down to my right and spotted two aircraft heading out from the French coast and about 1000 feet below us. They were too far away to identify but I called 'Tally-Ho' and peeled off into an attacking dive. As we came within range the pilots of the 'bandits' obviously saw us and broke violently - one each way. This presented me with a perfect plan view of an American Thunderbolt! I immediately called out on the R/T 'Friendlies, Friendlies' and pulled round to try to formate on them. It took a few minutes of milling around until we managed to get alongside the Thunderbolts so that they could see our markings. We finished up waggling our wings at each other and we were just about to depart and carry on with our operation when I received a call from base telling me to look out for two American Thunderbolts who were short of fuel and needed to be escorted back to the coast in case one or both of them had to bail out or ditch if they ran out of fuel.

We were told to switch to channel 'C' and contact the Thunderbolts which I did. I called 'American Thunderbolt R - Roger. This is RAF Typhoon HF-P on your starboard wing. Be advised that we are to escort you to the English coast. Please formate and we will lead you to the nearest airfield'. The reply I received was certainly not correct R/T procedure; it went something like: 'Jesus Christ man, you damn near scared the sh*t out of me back there. I'll stick to your wing, but I think I am running on fumes so keep tabs on me in case I faze out'.

Just then, the ground control called up and gave us a course to steer for Tangmere which was our closest airfield. We escorted the two Thunderbolts back, and saw them safely land then returned to Thorney Island. Next day the two pilots, a Captain and a First Lieutenant and their C.O., a Colonel, arrived in a chauffeur-driven American staff car to come and say thank-you. Needless to say, a drunken mess party ensued and they eventually left around midnight. As one of the pilots confided in me, it had been considered that they would fly over from their base, but they were pretty sure that there would be a party and they did not want to be 'party-poopers' by having to refuse to drink if they were flying back. Fortunately we were also on 'stand-down', so could afford to whoop it up as we would not be flying again until the 24th.

On that date we started our series of attacks on radar stations with an attempt against the site on Cap d'Antifer north of Le Havre. Unfortunately the cloud was 10/10 over the target area, and we could not attack. Next day was an unusual operation in that we attacked two radar sites on the same trip. The first just on the northern outskirts of Boulogne and the second at Hardelot just south of Boulogne. Both were our first low level attacks. Since we knew that Boulogne would obviously be heavily defended the C.O. decided that we would fly inland well north of Boulogne, turn back and pick up the railway track then follow this down to just south of Wimereux when we would turn out to the coast and hopefully hit it at the site of the radar station. We would then attack with cannon and fire four of our eight rockets. After the attack we would carry on heading straight out to sea, turn south when out of site of the coast, fly DR (Dead Reckoning) until we were opposite Hardelot and then turn into the coast again where, once again, we would hopefully strike our target and once again attack using cannon and our remaining four rockets.

Strange as it may seem everything worked out perfectly. The defences at Boulogne were caught by surprise and most of us had completed our attacks before the flak started. When it did, it was a case of better late than never and we were followed out to sea by a veritable hail of 20 and 40mm tracer. The gunners at Hardelot were also not fully alert, perhaps they had been told of the attack on Boulogne and had assumed that that was it for the day. In any case we once again managed to start our attack before the ground defences reacted. Since this time we were coming in from the sea the gunners could see us much earlier than the Boulogne defences were able to and the flak therefore started much sooner. Luckily there was not such a concentration of guns and the overall effect was much more normal. Nobody was hit and both stations were put out of action for at least 24 hours.

A day off for me and then another radar station. This one was a 'Freya' installation which had an enormous moveable antenna which was the most vulnerable part of the station. The site was at Fruges but we were unable to attack due to very thick haze. Although the leader took us down to 2000 feet we could not find the target and had to give up. Whilst we were looking for the target it seemed that every German gunner for miles was determined to get a shot at us and we seemed to be flying through a continuous barrage. This was made all the more impressive by the thick haze which hid the ground except almost vertically below and accentuated the brightness of the tracer which would suddenly appear in mid-air.

Once again, nobody was hit and we brought our rockets back. I was spare man on a show the next day, but nobody turned back so I just acquired another 40 minutes Typhoon time.

More soon ==TOW
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