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A Fine book by former RAAF Kittyhawk pilot.

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A Fine book by former RAAF Kittyhawk pilot.

Old 5th Nov 2017, 13:46
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A Fine book by former RAAF Kittyhawk pilot.

http://airpower.airforce.gov.au/APDC...tion-Pilot.pdf

Laddie Hindley’s fine book “The Joys and dangers of an Aviation Pilot” is available in digital form at the above website.
Laddie was a flight commander at No1 BFTS Uranquinty when I first arrived at Uranquinty as a new flying instructor in January 1956. On 11 January 1956 Laddie checked me out on area familiarisation in Wirraway A20-213 for a 40 minute trip.
The CFI was an RAF Exchange pilot Squadron Leader Bridges. He was a thorough gentleman.

Laddie Hindley was a wonderful bloke and was 33 years old when I first met him. He had flew operationally on Kittyhawks against the Japanese in the SW Pacific area including New Guinea. In later years he flew helicopters during the Vietnam war.
He lives in Canberra and is now 94. I last talked to him over coffee around 2008 during one of my visits to Canberra.

His latest book was published in 2012. It was the winner of the 2012 RAAF Heritage Award.
See: http://www.pprune.org/pacific-genera...an-i-know.html
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Old 6th Nov 2017, 07:52
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Centaurus, thank you again for an interesting post. Sadly, such airmen with very often incredible tales to tell are now few in number. My relatives who flew in combat in WW2 are all passed on, and I regret that I didn't speak with them more about their experiences when I had the chance. I will read this with interest.
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Old 7th Nov 2017, 03:50
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Thanks for posting Centaurus. Looks like a great read. Cooperplace my father flew in Europe during WW2 and I also regret not asking more questions when he was around.

He really only discussed it with others who were over there at the same time.

Last edited by Frontal Lobotomy; 7th Nov 2017 at 04:01.
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Old 7th Nov 2017, 06:09
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Originally Posted by cooperplace View Post
Sadly, such airmen with very often incredible tales to tell are now few in number. My relatives who flew in combat in WW2 are all passed on, and I regret that I didn't speak with them more about their experiences when I had the chance.
When I was a teenager there was a gentleman who lived across the road from us who had flown Lancasters during WW2, he showed me his log books and photos a few times, simple log book entries about engines shot out, the photo of his wings course with only a handful surviving the war.
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Old 7th Nov 2017, 06:27
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I am very fortunate to have my Father's logbook and personal diaries from 1944-45. These guys were going on Ops at night in four engine aircraft with less than 500TT.
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Old 7th Nov 2017, 10:05
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Frontal, I have the same, my father was flying a Halifax on Pathfinder ops in Africa with 500 hrs total, and 2 crashes in a Botha in the previous year - notorious machines for being hard to handle.

Regarding the above story about Laddie, my brother flew Iroquois with him many moons ago.
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Old 7th Nov 2017, 13:39
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I am very fortunate to have my Father's logbook and personal diaries from 1944-45. These guys were going on Ops at night in four engine aircraft with less than 500TT
Not forgetting these chaps were flying single pilot IFR as well. Flight instruments included only one gyroscopic driven artificial horizon and a directional gyro compass; both of which would topple over and become unusable beyond 55 degrees angles of bank. So if you were attacked by an enemy fighter and whipped into a steep turn to evade a stream of cannon shells, you could count on not only instantly losing your AH but having to recover from an unusual attitude on Limited panel in IMC.

That left you with a single Turn and Balance indicator (known as Bat and Ball or Turn and Slip Indicator depending on its design). Hence the origin of the term Limited Panel flying. Also called flying on Primary instruments - the T&B being considered the primary instrument as it would not topple. Then the pilot had to hold level un-accelerated flight waiting for the P8 magnetic compass to settle down before trying to synchronise it and the directional gyro (after you had caged then uncaged it). Meanwhile the enemy pilot or radar controlled anti-aircraft guns were just waiting for you to fly straight and level before having another go..

Contrast that with todays Airbus and Boeing four-bar aces who scream blue murder if the flight director is turned off in daylight..

Last edited by Centaurus; 7th Nov 2017 at 14:04.
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Old 8th Nov 2017, 04:38
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Thanks for that. Have read some of it sso far and its really interesting and nicely written.
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Old 21st Dec 2018, 08:12
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So if you were attacked by an enemy fighter and whipped into a steep turn to evade a stream of cannon shells, you could count on not only instantly losing your AH but having to recover from an unusual attitude on Limited panel in IMC.
-- - - - "with nothing on the clock but the maker's name."

Fortunate enough to record and transcribe two who were on Cats in the RAAF. GP CPT Paul Metzler and FL LT Ron Roberts.
Paul's story of being shot down in the Bismarck Sea in January 1942, then spending the rest of the war, a POW in Japan, is rivetting. Ron took a while to warm up, but when he did he had a few very funny yarns about flying post war for Qantas based in Port Moresby. Had a chat with Clive Caldwell in his office in York Street Sydney. Did not have a tape, sadly.
Another was Joe Palmer who had a long civil and air force involvement. Got a bit of Joe on tape. He features in Ellison's FLYING MATILDA in the chapter Porcine Paraphrases. (Joe did anything to pile on the hours while instructing at No 9 EFTS. So Norm Ellison dubs him 'a flying hog'. And Jerry Pentland . ."this little piggy stayed at home . . " Jerry had a pet piglet that grew and grew, until one Christmas . . . .. )
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 05:26
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Another fine book and a great story of 3 Squadron pilot Bobby Gibbes, Bobby's exploits were covered very well including his post war Aviation life in "Sepik Pilot" by the recently late James Sinclair
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 13:29
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Just read author Michael Veitch's fine book "44 Days - the epic battle in the skies above Port Moresby: Published in 2016. Available in local libraries ISBN 978-0-7336-3363-8
Edited extract:
RAAF No 75 Squadron Kitty hawk pilot Sgt Wilbur Wackett lined up a Zero but found only one of his six guns was working. Then in his cockpit all hell broke loose. He failed to take into account the second Zero which had lined up behind him, spraying him with 7.9- millimetre bullets. One ricocheted off his wristwatch, another exploded on the dash in front of him. Holes began to appear along his wings,accompanied by the sound of tearing metal. Then he heard a series of pings as projectiles struck the Kittyhawk's sole piece of armour plating just behind his head. Thick black smoke began pouring from the engine as ruptured oil lines came into contact with hot metal and the Allison motor began to run rough."
I read the book in one day as I just could not put it down. It is these history books which should be in school libraries
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 19:04
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"Another fine book and a great story of 3 Squadron pilot Bobby Gibbes, Bobby's exploits were covered very well including his post war Aviation life in "Sepik Pilot" by the recently late James Sinclair "
Even better than Jim's book "Sepik Pilot" is Bobby's personal autobiography "You Live but Once" which includes more of his War time exploits, Bobby gave me a copy but they are extremely scares and very hard to find.

"Sepik Pilot" is readily available via Google, but the asking price seems to have risen significantly in recent months.
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 11:45
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I was fortunate to have Bobby autograph both of my copies of 'Sepik Pilot' and 'You live but once'. The problem with his autobiography was that Bobby was the author, publisher, almost the printer and the book binder; it was by all means an in house production... hence its lack of availability.
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Old 27th Dec 2018, 04:43
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Originally Posted by Centaurus View Post
Not forgetting these chaps were flying single pilot IFR as well. Flight instruments included only one gyroscopic driven artificial horizon and a directional gyro compass; both of which would topple over and become unusable beyond 55 degrees angles of bank. So if you were attacked by an enemy fighter and whipped into a steep turn to evade a stream of cannon shells, you could count on not only instantly losing your AH but having to recover from an unusual attitude on Limited panel in IMC.

Contrast that with todays Airbus and Boeing four-bar aces who scream blue murder if the flight director is turned off in daylight..
Respectfully there’s no connection here for me Centaurus. Have you read Luftwaffe night-fighter accounts? Not everyone recovered from these manoeuvres and terrain kills common- though guns kills claimed otherwise by German pilots.
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Old 27th Dec 2018, 05:40
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Here's why Limited Panel flying makes the difference....

Flt Sgt Middleton RAAF and his crew arrived above Turin after a difficult flight over the Alps, due to the low combat ceiling of the "bombed-up" and "fueled-up" Stirling (due to its short stubby wings, designed to keep all up weight down, but of little use at high altitudes). Over the target area Middleton had to make three low-level passes in order to positively identify the target; on the third, the aircraft was hit by heavy anti-aircraft fire which wounded both pilots and the wireless operator. Middleton suffered numerous grievous wounds, including shrapnel wounds to the arms, legs and body, having his right eye torn from its socket and his jaw shattered.


Middleton's grave in Beck Row, Suffolk.

He passed out briefly, and his second pilot, Flight Sergeant L.A. Hyder, who was also seriously wounded, managed to regain control of the plunging plane at 800 feet and drop the bombs, before receiving first aid from the other crew. Middleton regained consciousness in time to help recover control of his stricken bomber. Middleton was in great pain, was barely able to see, was losing blood from wounds all over his body, and could breathe only with difficulty. He must have known that his own chances of survival were slim, but he nonetheless determined to fly his crippled aircraft home, and return his crew to safety. During the return flight he frequently said over the intercom "I'll make the English Coast. I'll get you home".[14] After four hours of agony and having been further damaged by flak over France, Middleton reached the coast of England with five minutes of fuel reserves. At this point he turned the aircraft parallel to the coast and ordered his crew to bail out. Five of his crew did so and landed safely, but his front gunner and flight engineer remained with him to try to talk him into a forced landing on the coast, something he must have known would have risked extensive civilian casualties. He steered the aircraft out over the sea, off Dymchurch, and ordered the last two crew to bail out. They then too bailed out, but did not survive the night in the English Channel. Middleton stayed with the aircraft, which crashed into the Channel. His body was washed ashore on 1 February 1943.
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Old 27th Dec 2018, 06:46
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Here's why Limited Panel flying makes the difference...
And this extract from My Secret War by Richard S. Drury of his experiences when flying the Skyraider during the Vietnam war. His engine was failing with smoke enveloping the cockpit and he was in a thunderstorm at night.
Edited quote: "I pulled down my clear visor to cover my eyes and tightened my straps for the exit. Fighting the nose down trim and the smoke, I thought about being captured once again, the vision of being lashed to a tree and skinned alive that many of our companions had faced before.

As if to comfort me the propeller stopped surging and the sparks went away. I took out my little flashlight, held it between my teeth and attempted to fly with what was left. The only thing that appeared workable for navigation was the magnetic compass, the one we referred to as the standby compass. It sat atop the instrument panel and pointed roughly west. I swung to the right and attempted to set out northwest. The attitude indicator started turning upside down, toppling without power, and I used every ounce of determination to avoid looking at it. The heavy stick began to hurt my arm since all that down trim created a great deal of pressure.

I went through a series of oscillations which carried me roughly a thousand feet either side of the altitude I was trying to maintain. The weather was still there and I tried to keep the airplane upright using the standby compass and its fluid level. It was rather an impossible task and fortunately I would break out of cloud decks in time to accurately determine aircraft attitude, which was usually a matter of being in a steep bank. It was tiring and hard work, but it was taking me home. For thirty-two minutes I kept the machine going, flying with less than precision but with brute force and with physical endurance and great amounts of willpower.. Unquote.
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Old 30th Dec 2018, 00:40
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Just for the last two posts, I was not at all questioning the merits of limited panel flying in a bygone era nor even now. There's just no connection to modern airline flying and the swipe was irrelevant if deeply discussed.

Over the target area Middleton had to make three low-level passes in order to positively identify the target;
I find this interesting considering a murderous bombing campaign deliberately targeting Italian civilians whom were disproportionately female too. In the hope it would accelerate the rise of public dispirit against Mussolini's fascism. Three low level passes over the target is tactically inept? If it wasn't the Fiat factory that seems a lot of target fixation when the policy was to bomb civilians.

Last edited by Gnadenburg; 30th Dec 2018 at 05:09.
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Old 30th Dec 2018, 13:42
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Stirling (due to its short stubby wings, designed to keep all up weight down, but of little use at high altitudes)
OT for a sec guys. I always thought the truncated wingspan of the Stirling was due to the Air Ministry's rather short sighted directive that the aircraft had to fit through the front door (100') of the standard RAF hangar of that period. The Stirling had a wingspan of 99'.
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Old 30th Dec 2018, 20:39
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GB I understand you are correct. This requirement limited the operational ceiling of an otherwise good aircraft. The old man said he enjoyed flying it. Unfortunately none have survived.
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