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RACNSW in 'De Good Ole Days'....

Old 19th Jul 2019, 10:01
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Learned to fly initially at Kingsford Smith Flying School at Bankstown in March 1951. Used to hitch-hike from railway station to aerodrome with just enough money in pocket to pay for one hour of dual and a sandwich. Three years earlier in 1948, I did first flight which was in a Lockheed Hudson VH-SMK at Camden with Sydney Morning Herald Flying Services. The pilot was Captain Harry Purvis AFC who used to be Charles Kingsford Smith ("Smithy") chief engineer. At KSFS, underwent dual in Tiger Moths VH-BNM. ATY, AUO. Instructors in those days were Stan Birtus and Jan Kingma who were former wartime Polish Air Force. Each flight was around 50 minutes chock to chock. Could hardly understand the thick foreign accents of Kingma and Birtus shouting down through the Tiger Moth Gosport Tube primitive intercom system. I was worried that I was wasting my hard earned money. Then had Tas Dalton for one 45 minute trip. He said practically nothing and when he did, he sounded bored fartless. My morale slumped.

Next flight was saved by the bell by wonderful instructor Bill Burns who sent me on first solo 26 May 1951. By then I had 8 hours of dual. Bill was ex Hudson wartime pilot and then Qantas flight safety manager who liked to keep in flying touch at KSFS.

Ten years later, around 1961 I was RAAF Command Aero Club Liaison Officer, testing Air Training Corps Flying Scholarship cadets at Royal Aero club of NSW. I think Bill Lord was CFI then? Flight Lieutenant John Williams and later Flight Lieutenant Mike Matters (both former Sabre fighter pilots) were the local RAAF Aero Club Liaison Officers responsible for the ATC flying scholarship cadets at Bankstown.

Back in 1951, Bankstown was all-over grass field with many aircraft of different types taking off and landing in parallel 'lanes' on the aerodrome. ATC sat in small tower and used Aldis Lamp light signals. From the Tiger Moth you watched the tower for signal lights when on final. No radio. Wind direction via Signal Square adjacent to tower. You quickly learned to keep your head swiveling both on the ground and when airborne. All approaches in Tiger Moths were glide approaches. Side slip if too high or go-around. If you needed power on final you had stuffed it. After landing in your chosen lane you stopped. Then turn at 90 degrees to check nothing landing on top of you from short final. Watched for flashing green from ATC then taxi like the clappers across the parallel lanes using airmanship to get to the tarmac.

Highlight experience at Bankstown? Battle of Britain Air Force Week Display in September (?) with Mustangs dropping napalm on the aerodrome well away from spectators of course. Huge gouts of red flame and black smoke as napalm canisters hit the ground and exploded in rolling fire. Most impressive. Don't think CASA would allow that now.

Last edited by Centaurus; 19th Jul 2019 at 10:17.
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Old 19th Jul 2019, 10:34
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Centaurus, you mentioned Smithy, my mother paid 2 pounds for a joyride with him - she reckoned it was marvellous, they operated from a tiny park in Neutral Bay and flew around the harbour. She later became the personal secretary to Sir Hudson Fysh, one of the Qantas founders.
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Old 19th Jul 2019, 14:57
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Ascend C. What wonderful history for you. I wonder if your mother got a selfie with Smithy with a Box Brownie of those days? If you have time read the book "Outback Airman" by Harry Purvis with Joan Priest published in 1979 and probably held in most libraries and certainly available on the internet. In it there are many stories of Smithy and Harry Purvis flying together. Maybe Neutral Bay joy rides are mentioned.

His story in the book of how he took the surrender of 10,000 fully equipped Japanese troops in Bali at the end of the war is both serious and amusing. Knowing the Japanese General nor his aide nor any of the officers had any English, Harry signed the surrender document as "Franklin Delano Roosevelt." In fact Harry Truman was then President.. Roosevelt had died a few months earlier
I corresponded with Harry Purvis for many years until his death due cancer in Cairns in 1980.
See: https://www.abebooks.com/book-search.../harry-purvis/

Last edited by Centaurus; 19th Jul 2019 at 15:22.
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Old 25th Dec 2020, 18:14
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A BIll Lord story - Bill's (ex) wife Barbara was one of my mother's best friends and a bridesmaid at my parents' wedding. My father was a RAAF / QANTAS pilot. I was learning to fly at Kingsford Smith Aviation at Bankstown in 1990. I was keen for my father to go for a fly with me, but he would only do so once I had my twin endorsement (after all, he had four engines!!). With my newly minted endorsement on a B76 Duchess, my father readily agreed to go for a 'check ride' (him checking me). We arrived at Bankstown and were walking down to the KSA hanger and I asked my father if he had ever flown at Bankstown. He said "Ahh, about 20 years ago with Bill Lord". He then glanced across the apron and said "There he is now! Bill!! Bill!!", and my father trotted off to have a quick catch up with Bill Lord. Sadly, Bill was killed in VH-CAG at Tocumwal not long after. My father later said he shouldn't have been flying as he was "deaf and blind", but the CAA needed him as he was so experienced ... I'm sure with Bill's experience he could have flown by brail!

Last edited by nreese; 25th Dec 2020 at 18:39.
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Old 26th Dec 2020, 00:10
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They got SEX, a PA-30. Instructions were when booking the acft, do NOT even think of asking the receptionist for....
Ha! I've found this aircraft, sitting in a hangar in Was-Vegas!
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Old 26th Dec 2020, 00:45
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Sadly, Bill was killed in VH-CAG at Tocumwal not long after. My father later said he shouldn't have been flying as he was "deaf and blind", but the CAA needed him as he was so experienced ... I'm sure with Bill's experience he could have flown by brail!
If that was the accident where the CAA Bonanza collided with a glider at Tocumwal then your father was accurate in his assessment.
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Old 28th Dec 2020, 09:18
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Centaurus, my Dad was an instructor at RACNSW early/mid 1960s, I was only a very young lad then. I recall dad talking about Arthur Kell being the CFI, unfortunately Arthur was killed in a spinning accident in a Chippy (VH-FTA), the 20c coin caught in flight control system incident.
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Old 28th Dec 2020, 18:05
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I recall dad talking about Arthur Kell being the CFI, unfortunately Arthur was killed in a spinning accident in a Chippy (VH-FTA), the 20c coin caught in flight control system incident.
That was Arthur Kell, DFC and Bar, the aircraft was VH-FTA (C1-0499) which crashed near Cobbity NSW 27.1.1968. I'm perhaps a fraction older than you, Roundy - I was charter flying in WA at the time and can still remember the shock waves through the GA ranks following this accident.
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Old 29th Dec 2020, 05:04
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Arthur trained me 65 to 68, a great instructor and true aviation person, spent a day at his home being show his model collection and other aviation stuff. He was not CFI in my time with the RACNSW.
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Old 29th Dec 2020, 21:49
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A contributing factor to the VH-CAG accident was that the Bonanza and glider were on different frequencies - one for GA and one for the gliders (which I still think is a strange decision) ...
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Old 27th Jan 2021, 01:26
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A good thread Griffo.
But you did not mention the RACNSW member who thought the dining room's oyster shells were reused and just loaded up with bottled oyster meat.
To check the theory this member used to scribe his initials into the used shells with the tip of his dividers.
Didn't he Griffo?
Result?????

RACNSW had a clay pigeon shotgun range outside the club and it was not uncommon to hear pellets rattling on the fuselage of the C172 when taxying from Illawarra past the Aero Club to the threshold of 11 or 18.
How did we all survive?

But great to be reminded of all the names of many who taught me back in the good old days.
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Old 27th Jan 2021, 09:47
  #72 (permalink)  
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Angel

AAAHHH..... Oi have no recollection of that, Sir......
(Too much 'red'...)

Used to hear the shotgun pellets rattling off the Chippy's wing though, when taxying from the Club and the wind was right....

Cheeerrrsss....

Ch yr 'PM's' Mr A......
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Old 28th Jan 2021, 08:16
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Devil

(Too much 'red'...)
Griffo! Nogat sem bilong yu?? ( Trs; Aren't you ashamed of yourself?)

There is no such thing as 'too much Red.' !!


(signed) Pinky the Pilot.
"A Son of the Barossa"
Barossa Valley born and raised.
"Bei Tanunda once."

Last edited by Pinky the pilot; 28th Jan 2021 at 10:52.
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Old 28th Jan 2021, 22:07
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Originally Posted by Pinky the pilot View Post
Griffo! Nogat sem bilong yu?? ( Trs; Aren't you ashamed of yourself?)

There is no such thing as 'too much Red.' !!


(signed) Pinky the Pilot.
"A Son of the Barossa"
Barossa Valley born and raised.
"Bei Tanunda once."
Now Pinky, that could have been written in reference to a former RAAF Flt Lt, whom I flew bank runs with in the early/mid 90ís. He lived at the club, and was rather partial to a bottle of red.

As most of us were I hasten to say.
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Old 31st Jan 2021, 13:17
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who told us all about the 'experimental' Prone Position Gloster Meteor, where the 'experimental' pilot was housed in a 'forward' cockpit, added onto the nose of a 'standard' Meteor, the last production aircraft actually
One of the test pilots on the prone Meteor was Eric Franklin DFC AFC. Eric was later a test pilot with A.V. Roe at Woodford, Cheshire when I was there as a RAAF pilot in 1966/67. Eric did my conversion to the RAAF HS 748 VIP version which I ferried back to Canberra. Eric Franklin was a gentleman and a first class instructor.
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Old 31st Jan 2021, 15:05
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Old 31st Jan 2021, 23:52
  #77 (permalink)  
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Cool

'Slight' thread drift here fellas , this started off in the Old Fliers Group thread, however......
Thanks for the excellent illustrations Mr C.

There were some 'limitations'. Like, how could the 'prone' pilot see UP?
As can be imagined, in an emergency, the poor fella in the front had a whole list of things to go thru before he could 'slide down - out the back'.
Including ensuring that the nosewheel was retracted ! But then, if he was 'that' close to the ground.....well.......

The other fella in the normal cockpit went out with a bang - thanks to Messrs Martin - Baker.

Thank goodness common sense prevailed.....
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