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Over the Rainbow by former RAAF pilot Ron Raymond

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Over the Rainbow by former RAAF pilot Ron Raymond

Old 21st Aug 2019, 12:46
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Over the Rainbow by former RAAF pilot Ron Raymond

https://airfactsjournal.com/2019/08/pilots-make-a-deal-with-the-devil/?trk_msg=PO3A98BADVB4F36IKH7OU2GTGG&trk_contact=MGPJERQCR959 BS70D255CAEM5S&trk_sid=JDQL5664L5PV78IAE3HPIVBF48&utm_source =Listrak&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=READ+MORE&utm_campaign=F1 9083A&utm_content=Mac+McClellan+-+Pilots+Make+A+Deal+With+The+DevilI

I hope the Mods don't treat this link as advertising matter but this Ppruner has rediscovered the joys of reading at leisure in retirement. What used to be a paper magazine is now digital and is called Air Facts Journal and is an American free publication. The editor welcomes reader's stories. The above link makes interesting reading
More Air Facts Journal stories here https://airfactsjournal.com/author/johnlaming/

.A few months ago I talked by phone to an old friend now age 87, who lives in New Zealand and has just had his book published. His name is Ron Raymond and we served on the same squadron in the RAAF flying Lincoln bombers from Townsville in the 1950's. For those who have never heard of the type the Lincoln was the bigger version of the wartime Lancaster. Ron's book is called "Over the Rainbow" and it is a very good book indeed; especially his recollections of flying the Lincoln Mk 31 long nose version. His descriptions of a few scary moments struck a chord with me as I had been in similar predicaments and I can assure Ron's stories run true. His writing is full of wonderful self deprecating humour tinged on occasions with a touch of sadness.

There was one story, the ending of which reduced me to tears. Edited for brevity here, there had been a train smash in the Atherton Tablelands behind Cairns - the engine jumped the rails and the fireman had finished up partially in the firebox: the poor fellow was in a very serious way indeed. The SAR Lincoln flown by Ron was sent from Townsville to Cairns as there was a real urgency to transport the fireman to proper care in Brisbane. In Ron's words "We submitted our flight plan, kicked the tyres, lit the fires and launched for Cairns where I found, to my dismay, that the patient and his young wife would be accommodated behind the mid upper gun turret on a stretcher. I had hoped to accommodate them in the nose of the Lincoln along with a medical nurse - somewhere a little more comfortable and less remote. The poor chap seemed to have only two chances of survival, Buckley's and none, so that said we took off into the wild black yonder"

Ron describes the flight from Cairns to Brisbane.with the sky smooth but moonless. "The tricky part came approaching Brisbane with a layer of stratus cloud below and a flock of airliners above, all unable to descend until everybody knew exactly where we were. I could blame the river for wispy ground mist, or it may have been the humidity and evening cooling, or I might have simply misjudged the flare height. Whatever it was, it resulted in the worst Lincoln landing I ever made. The aeroplane fell onto the runway like a bag of bricks, bounced once, ran out of inertia and fell again - fell being the operative word - at which point the gymnastics involved in keeping the aeroplane somewhere near the runway centerline began, a problem attributable to inability to see the centerline over the nose. I judged our progress by watching my side of the runway though the storm window, but at night, I only had the occasional flare flicking past.

We finally found a parking spot courtesy of a 'Follow me' truck and the bomb aimer's guidance

."Steady at that skipper."
"Right hand down a bit."
"A left turn coming up."
"Looking good."
After shutting down the engines, I made my way back to the patient as he was being removed though the Lincoln rear door. The prognosis looked grim and I could see his lady quietly weeping. I asked if she was all right, if she had anywhere to stay in the city, if we could be of any help? She smiled a faint, sad smile, shook her head and rummaged in her bag before offering me a five-pound note for flying them to Brisbane. I must admit to feeling a bit choked up at that - they could have hardly been defined as 'wealthy.'
I never saw her again after that; however I learnt her husband died in hospital shortly after the flight. Of course, money was out of the question for more reasons than simply having done what we were paid to do."

Centaurus back again. I am half-way though Ron's book and would recommend it to anyone who flew in the Fifties. www.booktopia.com.au

Last edited by Centaurus; 21st Aug 2019 at 14:16.
Centaurus is offline  
Old 21st Aug 2019, 17:40
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Join Date: Nov 2013
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Love reading these history lessons about the real flying days.

There are so many great books out there.

Two of my favourites that I can’t remember the title, the MMA one and Flynn of the outback?

Whilst maybe not relevant to today’s flying it certainly shows where we have come from!

Hats off to all and sundry of the prior flying generations.
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Old 21st Aug 2019, 22:36
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I think I've read Centaurus book three or four times over the years and find something else interesting every time I read it.

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Old 22nd Aug 2019, 08:33
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Centaurus...I was intrigued by your comment " all unable to descend until everybody knew exactly where we were." I assume the Lincoln was not fitted with the navaids that were standard on airline aircraft of the day. I recall there was a mercy flight under similar circumstances that crashed into a mountain out near Cunninghams Gap west of BNE.

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Old 23rd Aug 2019, 02:49
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I recall there was a mercy flight under similar circumstances that crashed into a mountain out near Cunninghams Gap west of BNE.
Lincolns had a radio compass as the only radio aid to navigation. They were also equipped with a military form of DME called Lucero. This was used at selected military bases only and there were no charts as it was nothing more than a homing device to get the aircraft an accurate overhead of the beacon and from there you were on your own. In the case of Ron Raymond's approach to Eagle Farm in his Lincoln, he would have to arrange own separation I suspect rather like present day OCTA. I don't recall if Brisbane had radar in those days.

En route navigation was usually by DR coupled with long range HF bearings and astro compass shots of the sun or stars. Hence navigators were part of the crew. In the case of the Mount Superbus crash of the SAR Lincoln you refer to, that flight Townsville to Eagle Farm Brisbane airport was flown totally at night and in cloud most of the way. One theory was the navigator may omitted to set the variation counter on his prime compass system judging by the 10 degrees track error all the way to Brisbane. I recall the variation was 10 degrees East.

It was virtually impossible to obtain accurate pin-points at night due cloud cover as well as sparse ground lights on the night of that accident. When the Lincoln reported the lights of Brisbane in sight and ATC cleared it to descend as required, in fact the lights were probably in the area of Oakey 50 miles off track. This would indicate that at the time of that particular accident Brisbane did not have ATC radar.
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Old 23rd Aug 2019, 06:51
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Just downloaded a digital copy from Amazon for AUD$6.42.
May be of interest to those of us with E-readers.
Looks interesting.


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Old 23rd Aug 2019, 11:05
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Hi 'Global Aviator' et al,...…

Cheers, Griffo
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Old 24th Aug 2019, 23:50
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Didn't the Lincolns have radar? Like the H2S in Lancs that were used for navigation mostly..
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Old 26th Aug 2019, 09:36
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Didn't the Lincolns have radar? Like the H2S in Lancs that were used for navigation mostly..
Yes. Same type of radar basically as Lancasters but adapted for anti-submarine work. Map reading Ok but range terrible. Lucky to pick up a sub snorkel at 5 nm. Definitely could not be used for weather radar as different band frequency or something like that.
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