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WW2 - Sunderlands - My father

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WW2 - Sunderlands - My father

Old 24th Nov 2019, 14:34
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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No chance David, Sunderland range was almost 2000 miles, distance from Pembroke Dock to Bermuda is 3000+ miles, to Nova Scotia about 2,700, and then you've got the prevailing westerly winds. There could be no air cover in mid-Atlantic until the arrival of the Liberator and the escort carrier.
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 14:57
  #42 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Geriaviator View Post
No chance David, Sunderland range was almost 2000 miles, distance from Pembroke Dock to Bermuda is 3000+ miles, to Nova Scotia about 2,700, and then you've got the prevailing westerly winds. There could be no air cover in mid-Atlantic until the arrival of the Liberator and the escort carrier.
So at the end of a 12 hour sortie they would be down to the last few pints?

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Old 24th Nov 2019, 15:47
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Not necessarily, others here better qualified than myself but any aircraft performance varies with power settings. I'd guess that a Sunderland cruised around 160mph to and from station but would patrol at lower speeds and so use less fuel. The Catalina cruised around 130mph but would patrol at 110 or even less, with endurance of 20 hours or more thanks to its long glider-like wing. To quote one of the poems remembered by our late lamented Danny:
The Cat was a dandy, the Cat was a Yank
And her crews they called her the f-f-flying plank.
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 17:04
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Originally Posted by Davidsa View Post

The notes include several diagrams of the VP propeller mechanisms but from what I can see there is no mention of there being just two settings. Maybe there were lots of variations.
The classic illustration of the transition from fixed pitch to fully variable pitch constant speed propellers is of course the Spitfire. By WWII the early fixed pitch two bladed wooden propellers of the Mk1 had been replaced by two pitch propellers. This was an improvement but still left the advantage very much with the opposition. It is often related how De-Haviland (which had UK rights to the Hamilton Standard design) servicing teams were touring the Fighter Command Stations replacing these two pitch propellers with their three bladed ones fitted with CSUs, just in time for the strategically all important Battle of Britain. Other types no doubt went through a similar transition at about this time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superm...Mk_I_(Type_300)

We had an ex Sunderland pilot on 30 Sqn when we flew the Hastings. He always said that with operating the 'boats you needed to know as much about Seamanship as you did about Airmanship!
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 21:03
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I've had another look at the lecture notes and found some information about weight and range. Obviously a crucially important topic.
Speeds in knots:
AUW: 58000 lbs
Max Cruising speed/max continuous speed: 205 kn
"Desirable" cruising speed: 125 kn
Speed could be reduced by 5 kn for each 4000 lb of weight reduced, equivalent to 550 galls fuel burnt, down to 110-115kn
Use high boost and low revs
Absolute min speed for endurance 95 - 98 kn,
And fly at 1000 - 2000 feet for low fuel consumption and visibility.

Another question occurs to me, not directly related to the above:
When the Sunderlands were moving from one base to another - ie from Pembroke Dock to Alness, would they have gone round the coast, so they could alight in the case of engine failure, or taken a direct route overland?

Thanks in advance

David





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Old 24th Nov 2019, 21:43
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Chugalug2

Sorry to correct you! I think you meant to say on 30Sqn Hercs at Fairford - Abe Lincoln of course. I flew as Abe's nav a few times and boy was he a stickler for everyone giving 100% at all times! When the squadron moved to Lyneham, Abe went off to be one of the wing pilots - for those not in the know, that meant his job was carrying out check rides on captains and co-pilots.
Flying en-route at 25000' Abe would look down at the sea and give a surface wind check for his nav. He was a great guy to fly with and I learnt so much from him, but he could be so frustrating after landing, at say Akrotiri - the crew would be in a hurry to get to the bar for a wind-down beer but Abe would take 20 minutes plus to get out of his seat. IIRC he was teetotal and in not such a rush as the rest of us!
He left the RAF in the mid-70s in the big exodus and returned to NZ - about 20 years later I happened to be looking at magazines ( !! ) in W H Smiths in Blandford when I heard a short snippet of conversation behind me at the checkout, crikey I thought that sounds like Abe Lincoln. I looked around and there he was - I went over to say hello and to my everlasting pleasure he recognised me and said "My favourite nav' ! ". He had got fed up with life and aviation bureaucracy in NZ and had returned to Blighty. At that time he was restoring an old aeroplane ( Stinson?? ) at Henstridge. I think he passed away in the early 2000s and he left instructions that no-one was to attend his funeral!!

Pax B

According to Jefford's book "RAF Squadrons' Sunderlands were never based in Bermuda. I guess the US covered that part of the Atlantic.
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 22:52
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Brian, yes Hercules of course! Am I getting old? "Oh, no not you!", do I hear you say? No? Well please yourself. I clearly don't drink from the same fountain that our dear Danny did!

Interesting that Abe went back to NZ only to then return to Dear Ole Blighty. Ever a man of discernment, and one of nature's gentlemen. He came to 30 from the British Antarctic Survey where he drove garishly painted Trotters for a living. A varied and distinguished career indeed.

Davidsa, your suggestion that Sunderlands would choose to overfly water where possible is well made. I can only say that the Sunderland that the King's brother, Prince George, perished in was planned to route around the Scottish East Coast before setting heading for its supposed destination, Reykjavik. Instead it crashed well inland on Eagle Rock that overlooked Loch More, which in turn bordered the estate of Sir Archibald Sinclair, then SoS for Air . The Duke, an Air Commodore, was officially on a tour of inspection of RAF bases, though mysteriously had a briefcase chained to his wrist stuffed full with Swedish Kroner.

15 bodies were recovered, the official SOB, when a 16th, the rear gunner, turned up alive. The aircraft supposedly was some 30 mins late on flight plan in crashing, the time of impact being recorded by witnesses. The extra body was supposedly that of Rudolf Hess on his way home via neutral Sweden. Which raises the question of who died at Spandau with a horizontal ligature, evidently a hitherto unique result of suicide?

What has this to do with Sunderland routeing? Nothing much, but a rattling good yarn wouldn't you say?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbeath_air_crash

Prince George's mysterious death in 1942 - Political Conspiracies - The Education Forum
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 14:41
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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I've had another look at the lecture notes and found some information about weight and range. Obviously a crucially important topic.
Yes David, that's the info your father would have used. Speeds were even slower than I thought but were seldom important, rather maximum endurance to loiter on convoy escort, opening up only when a target was detected.

One of his major responsibilities as f/eng, in between monitoring pressures and temperatures and adjusting mixtures for each power setting, would have been keeping a meticulous log of fuel consumption against time. The Sunderland had up to 10 fuel tanks which would be emptied in a prescribed order or perhaps transferred one to another using crossfeed connections. As each tank emptied, its capacity against time gave the fuel consumption which could be compared with the flight manual figures to reveal any inconsistency. This info would be constantly passed to pilot and navigator.

Of course there were no flowmeters to measure consumption of each individual engine and tank gauges were notoriously inaccurate. Some crews even ran each tank until the engine spluttered, so ensuring they took the last drop.

As regards overland flight, there were several instances of damaged aircraft alighting on land so it wasn't a problem, and a lightly loaded Sunderland could maintain height on three engines anyway. The Pembroke Dock aircraft had only to head west along Milford Haven and out into the Celtic Sea, towards the Western Approaches or the Bay of Biscay. The other big base, Castle Archdale on Lough Erne in Northern Ireland, had a short corridor across neutral Eire to avoid the long flight around Donegal but in practice, I was told, they came and went via the most convenient routes.

Whichever way you look at it, your father and his colleagues did a fine job!
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 19:34
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alighting on land so it wasn't a problem,
There was a Sunderland in the aircraft dump at Aldergrove in 1949. It would have been to difficult to tow from Lough Neagh across the railway so it must have 'flown' in.

We wanted to convert the floats into boats but the RAF police kept chasing us away.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 19:59
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When I joined Coastal in 1964, people still joked that the Catalina used to take off at 90 knots, fly at 90 knots and land at 90 knots.
Years later I bought a facsimile copy of Catalina Pilots Notes at the excellent museum at Pembroke Dock referred to above. The speeds quoted were not that far off the joking reference to 90 knots.
It left the water at 65 knots, but was then accelerated to safety speed, which was 80 knots. Climb was at 85kts.
Range speed was 98 knots heavy, 88 kts. light.
The graphs show endurance speed at 75 kts, but the text says"for endurance, speed may be reduced to the lowest speed at which the aircraft can be comfortably flown - about 80 kts."
Graphs are given for nautical miles per U.S. gallon with and without depth charges. Being under the wing and not in a bomb bay the drag of the depth charges reduce the ANMPG by about 10- 15%.
Range clean to dry tanks was about 2500 N.M.
However, after the fall of Singapore and the cutting of the telegraph cables a secure mail service was operated jointly by the RAAF and QANTAS between Perth and Ceylon, a distance of around 3100 N.M. The aircraft were stripped of a possible weight, and carried additional fuel tanks in the hull.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 20:38
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3,100 n.m. / avg 93kts. 33 hrs. 20 minutes. That would do your ears no end of good.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 22:23
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Fareastdriver: Have some memory of seeing a photo of a Sunderland after landing on grass at Aldergrove, or somewhere nearby, after badly holing the hull on takeoff, This, of course, removed the possibility of landing on water. It apparently slid easily along the grass and suffered very little more damage. This may be the hull you saw?
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 23:04
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If you giggle "Sunderland flying boat at Angle" there is a film on youtube of a landing at Angle, a grass airfield near Pembroke Dock - not at Anglesey
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 09:36
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#pettinger93 -- Another senior member on frequency. Good health Sir!
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 09:51
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A guy I knew won a DFC for a Catalina flight Sullom Voe to Spitzbergen and back, 23.5 hrs ISTR. Later got a bar for sinking an Italian submarine in the Med
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 10:56
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I had one trip in a Sunderland. Engine synch was interesting: 1 and 2 were done first, by eye looking through the prop discs, then 3 and 4, and then the two pairs were matched by ear.
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 11:36
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Originally Posted by binbrook View Post
I had one trip in a Sunderland. Engine synch was interesting: 1 and 2 were done first, by eye looking through the prop discs, then 3 and 4, and then the two pairs were matched by ear.
Who would do the synch? Captain, engineer, or a joint effort? Presumably getting the synch right would make a 10 or 12 hour sortie a shade less unbearable.

Flying in WW2 aircraft generally could not have been good for the hearing!
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 11:57
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Originally Posted by Chugalug2 View Post
Brian, yes Hercules of course! Am I getting old? "Oh, no not you!", do I hear you say? No? Well please yourself. I clearly don't drink from the same fountain that our dear Danny did!

Interesting that Abe went back to NZ only to then return to Dear Ole Blighty. Ever a man of discernment, and one of nature's gentlemen. He came to 30 from the British Antarctic Survey where he drove garishly painted Trotters for a living. A varied and distinguished career indeed.

Davidsa, your suggestion that Sunderlands would choose to overfly water where possible is well made. I can only say that the Sunderland that the King's brother, Prince George, perished in was planned to route around the Scottish East Coast before setting heading for its supposed destination, Reykjavik. Instead it crashed well inland on Eagle Rock that overlooked Loch More, which in turn bordered the estate of Sir Archibald Sinclair, then SoS for Air . The Duke, an Air Commodore, was officially on a tour of inspection of RAF bases, though mysteriously had a briefcase chained to his wrist stuffed full with Swedish Kroner.

15 bodies were recovered, the official SOB, when a 16th, the rear gunner, turned up alive. The aircraft supposedly was some 30 mins late on flight plan in crashing, the time of impact being recorded by witnesses. The extra body was supposedly that of Rudolf Hess on his way home via neutral Sweden. Which raises the question of who died at Spandau with a horizontal ligature, evidently a hitherto unique result of suicide?

What has this to do with Sunderland routeing? Nothing much, but a rattling good yarn wouldn't you say?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbeath_air_crash

Prince George's mysterious death in 1942 - Political Conspiracies - The Education Forum

Excellent yarn indeed. Surprising that it hasn't been filmed.

My father did speak about going to Iceland, but I don't know if hey actually went, or went ashore if they alighted there.

He did patrol to such places as Rockall and the Faroes.
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 12:13
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The Shackleton had an instrument which aided synchronising, but if it was not working the procedure as quoted by binbrook.
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 18:17
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Geriaviator: Thank for your greetings, but I fear that I do not qualify as a senior member: the number '93' on my ID name is not my age, (though I hope to get there eventually.)
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