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Slingsby Type 31/ Cadet TX Mk.3

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Slingsby Type 31/ Cadet TX Mk.3

Old 10th Jan 2019, 13:03
  #61 (permalink)  
Thought police antagonist
 
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" The T.31 had a much inferior glide ratio and I seem to recall that circuits lasted barely three minutes "

This is true, hence the reason after an impeccable...well I thought it was... first solo at Burtonwood, the second was more "interesting " in that, sinking earthwards rapidly, I reasoned I wasn't actually going to arrive back on the very long runway, as it still was, so decided to land on a ramp area.....containing xxxxx 45 gallon drums and sundry bits of metal / ground equip not entirely conducive to gliders.

The management arrived in a bit of a hurry, and were" less than complimentary" about my flying skills, but then changed their mind when I asked where they thought I should have landed and indeed praise, of a sort, followed. I am still awaiting my "Good Show " for this feat of airmanship at such a young age.

Thereafter, my liver and digestive system were exposed to the GSA.....along with a bit of gliding.
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 13:37
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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First flight April 1970, Chipmunk, Cambridge AEF, insisted on being turned upside down.
First solo T-31 at RAF West Malling, August 1972, aged 16. My second solo was very short, a cable break at 200ft - I asked if I got to do that one again (because after the 3rd you went to the back of the priority list) and was told "No, you got airborne and landed again. That counts!".

It was West Malling where one of my contemporaries at school lost his father (a serving Wg Cdr) in a cable-break accident (1973). The nose-down pitch after the break didn't stop and they went in just past the vertical. It turned out the cadet in the front had a caliper on his leg and it was believed to have prevented aft stick being applied.
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 13:40
  #63 (permalink)  
 
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Chevvron
Re the 'killing' of a sheep at Gaydon - it did not occur but a sheep was hit and had some wool taken off its back! This was the result of a keen young instructor concentrating too much on patter and not enough on positioning - had to scrape back and land in a partitioned field next to the runway, with the sheep jumping into the air between the struts!. This happened around 1974. I was the instructor and it was the start of a long career with the Air Cadets.
Incidentally I later became adjutant after the move to Little Rissington and kept records of courses. I seem to remember that we averaged 60-70 solos per year almost exclusively on the Mk III.
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 13:54
  #64 (permalink)  
 
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In early 1965 I had three Air Experience flights in a Mk3, but I'm struggling to remember where they took place. My RAF Form 3822 records the glider number as 253, and at the time I was a member of 1166 (Welwyn Garden City) ATC Sqn. Would Halton have been the most likely?
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 15:52
  #65 (permalink)  
 
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XN246, RAF Manston, summer 1977. 40 flights and 2 hr 26 minutes flying time before being let loose. XN246 still exists, dangling from the roof of Southampton Air Museum.
Happy days ! I now have a lovely ASW28, but I get the nagging feeling that I'm not having as much fun as I did in those carefree days !
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 19:17
  #66 (permalink)  
 
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First solo in a Mk III in 1971 with 643 VGS at RAF Hemswell. By then it was definitely CBSITCB.

Later as a Staff Cadet I remember occasionally setting up the field solo shortly after dawn ready for the adult staff to arrive around 0800. Tow out the caravan and winch, and then a couple of Mk IIIs to the launch point.

Towing out the gliders single-handed without trolleys was a technique handed down from Staff Cadet to Staff Cadet. It involved giving the Rover a bit of choke for RPM (can’t remember which gear), letting out the clutch, then jumping out quickly and grabbing the wingtip. Once in the vicinity of the launch point drop the wing, quickly pull the release then dash for the Rover.

Looking back now it seems horrendous, but it always went smoothly with no dramas. Of course, back then at that age we didn’t really consider all the (many!) things that could have gone wrong. Most certainly not to be recommended…

It all inspired me to follow a (non-flying) aviation career. Had to wait until retirement to get my PPL(A) a few months ago – I have a lot of catching up to do!
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Old 10th Jan 2019, 19:46
  #67 (permalink)  
 
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Mk 3 tales

Straight from ‘ATC Record of Service – Gliding Training’

4 Oct 59 Mk3 WT917 Self 4 min (624 Gliding School-Exeter Airport)

What is not recorded, is that our launches (by winch) were conducted around the take offs and landings of the DH Mosquitos of No 3 CAACU. They had priority.

A tiny digression. Shortly after this date, DH Vampires replaced the Mosquitos. At that time, one of the Gliding School vehicles was a wartime Bedford lorry (with canvas doors!) The lorry’s steering wheel was not fully connected to the steering column, and could be removed whilst driving. One of the young sons of an instructor used to drive this lorry, and one of his party tricks was to remove the steering wheel whilst driving around the peri-track and hand it to the front seat passenger and jokingly say,’here, you do the steering’.

Unfortunately, the Bedford was not over-endowed in the braking department, and one day, the inevitable happened. He handed the steering wheel over to a new cadet, and could not get it back on to the column before the lorry left the peri-track and careered into the side of one of the Vampires. As I recall, it was the Vampire COs favourite aircraft!
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Old 11th Jan 2019, 07:07
  #68 (permalink)  
 
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At South Cerney in the summer of 1960, I was less than the exceptional student and had an instructor called Mr Harding whose ability to teach me was either poor or he had a hopeless student (others opine it was the latter).

I took over 30 launches to get solo and suspect I was very close to the chop before the great day arrived (I left school on the Friday and went solo on the Saturday).

Before getting to that point, I had had a medical with a very harassed GP, who after checking my vision (top notch) asked if I was colour blind. Having just failed my colour test for a merchant navy cadet, I said "No Sir" and was passed.

At Biggin Hill three years later, there was no outsmarting the coloured dots and my glowing career as a navigator was ended before it started. Interestingly, at Ternhill, at a time when air signallers were taking over the duties of helicopter crewman from volunteer ground crew, nobody asked if I was colour blind and I was (I boastfully claim) the last member of ground crew to be trained as a crewman.

Old Duffer
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Old 11th Jan 2019, 17:01
  #69 (permalink)  
 
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Like OD it took me 39 launches before my 3 solos; this was at Swanton Morley in May 1973. All were in Sedberghs (WB981 and 987) which - unusually - had canopies. I was apparently put into the T21 because I am left-handed, but in retrospect there may also have been a weight/size issue...

it was the convention then to address the pilot (even a 16yr old Air Cadet) as “Sir”
My second and third solos were flown when the others were heading off to lunch, so the instructors did the ground handling. "Cable on, Sir" from an instructor was a further boost to my sense of achievement, subsequently deflated by my chum who had "borrowed" my beret because he "didn't think you were coming back" [for lunch].

Drifting slightly, my first ever flight was in Chipmunk WK640 on 13 April 1970 during Easter Camp at Waddington. The officer giving the mass brief on emergency drills concluded with something to the effect of "I've never had to bale out, and my only forced landing was due to my Wellington being damaged by a night fighter" which we all found very reassuring!
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Old 11th Jan 2019, 18:19
  #70 (permalink)  
 
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We had a couple of Sedberghs at Halton with those canopies. We had the sloping rear panel removed and the 'fly' screens replaced so they could be flown without the canopies, otherwise it was difficult to teach the correct attitude (keep the top of the flyscreen on the horizon) and the aural cues to keeping the speed just right were denied to you.
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Old 11th Jan 2019, 18:23
  #71 (permalink)  
 
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it was difficult to teach the correct attitude (keep the top of the flyscreen on the horizon) and the aural cues to keeping the speed just right were denied to you.
So THAT'S why it took me so long to solo! Nothing to do with my aptitude...
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Old 11th Jan 2019, 19:52
  #72 (permalink)  
 
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Swanton Sedburgh Canopy

I remember that canopy for another reason. Attended Swanton as a staff cadet to do a glider inspection, and minor repair course. This was in the winter, but on Wednesday the barge was taken out for 'sports day trips'.
Yours truly was duly appointed to fly some of the victims, and this was my first sight of the multi panel locally made canopy (winter flying mod).All seemed ok until the lid was attached and we were launched..
Within seconds the damm contraption misted up (it was very cold) and off we went with me trying to maintain some sort of order looking out sideways.
Swanton was obstruction (and other aircraft) free, and is quite large compared with Kenley so I bumbled around and put her back on the spot quite relieved not to have to admit the rather limited vision, as after all it was P1 flying and one never refused that. After a few more trips I just got used to it so decided not to mention anything.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 09:09
  #73 (permalink)  
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Woodspring gliding club at Weston-Super-Mare had a T-21 with a canopy. During a launch one day, one side flew off and got trapped between the strut and the fuselage. The other side remained attached which caused all the crud in the bottom of the cockpit to be sucked off the floor and into P1’s eyes. An interesting circuit ensued, trying to see and at the same time not lose the errant canopy.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 10:14
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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I came off the winch launch one early morning and set up to return when I noticed the variometer was showing a climb. Must be my day I thought and I attempted to "thermal". It soon became obvious that I as not going up and I made a hasty return and just got back. The ball was stuck at the top of the glass tube due early morning moisture. I should have known that a T31 would not go up on a cold damp day! This was at RAF Waterbeach in the 60s All good fun tho.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 15:26
  #75 (permalink)  
 
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A nervous me trying to smile for the camera prior to my first ever winch launch October 9 1971 Cadet Mk 3 XE791 Mr Beaver Capt. RAF Burtonwood.
The first 4 minutes of what would become a total of 24 hrs 29 minutes flying in Mk 3 and Sedburghs.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 15:39
  #76 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Consulman View Post
Chevvron
Re the 'killing' of a sheep at Gaydon - it did not occur but a sheep was hit and had some wool taken off its back! This was the result of a keen young instructor concentrating too much on patter and not enough on positioning - had to scrape back and land in a partitioned field next to the runway, with the sheep jumping into the air between the struts!. This happened around 1974. I was the instructor and it was the start of a long career with the Air Cadets.
Incidentally I later became adjutant after the move to Little Rissington and kept records of courses. I seem to remember that we averaged 60-70 solos per year almost exclusively on the Mk III.
At least that's clarified then; twas the instructor who supplied the minibus for the '91 summer course who told me and I remember him saying the sheep jumped into the path of the aircraft hitting the bracing wires; I was guest admin officer for that course and used that minibus to drive to Brize every day to collect evening fodder.

Last edited by chevvron; 13th Jan 2019 at 17:19.
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Old 12th Jan 2019, 18:59
  #77 (permalink)  
 
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Devil Mk3

Hairy solos late February 1965 with snow showers blotting out the airfield for minutes on end. On third launch despite dumping cable as soon as the first flecks of cloud whipped past managed to find myself between two layers. Boys into men PDQ
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Old 13th Jan 2019, 15:01
  #78 (permalink)  
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Thanks All for the fabulous reminiscences - towing gliders out solo, and with no one even in the car! Launching kids on early solos into snow showers! It really was a different world back then!!
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Old 13th Jan 2019, 15:04
  #79 (permalink)  
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Thought some of you might enjoy a close-up A2A. As you may well appreciate, close formation in a T.31 is not easy!
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Old 13th Jan 2019, 17:24
  #80 (permalink)  
 
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Perhaps if you'd kept the spoilers closed, the photo aircraft would have had a better chance.
One day at Halton I was doing AEG in a Mk3 flying from the front seat (hadn't yet been checked out for back seat) and I found I could easily spot land by turning final a bit high then opening the spoilers and doing an almost vertical descent, closing the spoliers about 5 feet up and using ground effect to float back to the launch point; cadet out, another one in, cable on and away again.
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