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Port & Starboard versus Left and Right

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Port & Starboard versus Left and Right

Old 10th Dec 2022, 20:16
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In RAF AD up to about 2000 port and starboard were used for commands and left and right for target information.

e.g. “ as I have target 35 left heading 270, starboard 090 for 180 displaced left”.

The reason being that, during comms jamming, the pilots could differentiate between orders and instructions.

The USA and others only used Left and Right so, as we increasingly operated in combined Ops we followed their terminology.

The RN of course favoured the use of green and red for clearing approaches and overflights - resulting in the apocryphal RAF question, “ is that from the sharp end or the blunt end?”….
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Old 11th Dec 2022, 06:49
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Good to read more about where some of the conventions have come from.

Given the discussion on Britten-Norman aircraft, I looked up the company history on Wikipedia, and this includes:
"During the 1960s, Britten-Norman were involved in the development of hovercraft via their subsidiary Cushioncraft Ltd;[6] their first craft, the CC1, was the world's second hovercraft".

So nautical connections seem to encourage use of Port and Starboard for aircraft.

In the meantime, I have also remembered at least one place where use of Port & Starboard is common (and why I wasn't dreaming this!): Those perspective cutaway drawings of aircraft that regularly turned up in 'Air International' and aircraft encyclopedias have many parts labelled as either port or starboard. At least two companies produced such drawings: Aviagraphica and WEAL (John Weal?) and all those I have looked at from both these illustrators use port and starboard for items such as navigation lights, undercarriage, wing components, engines, fuel tanks, air brakes, etc, etc. I am not sure where those illustrators were/are based.
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Old 11th Dec 2022, 08:06
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Originally Posted by tdracer
That's actually an interesting question. Since the early B-36s didn't have the jets, I'm guessing the prop engines were 1-6, and when the jets got added they were 7-8 on the left and 9-10 on the right.
But that's just an educated guess - does anyone know for sure?
I've just looked in the book, "Magnesium Overcast", and the photo's of the cockpit show the recip throttles on the centre console as 1 thru 6 and the jet throttles on the roof panel as 1 thru 4.
Need to watch "Strategic Air Command" again to see what James Stewart calls them.
Dixi.
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Old 11th Dec 2022, 10:32
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Originally Posted by dixi188
...Need to watch "Strategic Air Command" again to see what James Stewart calls them.
Dixi.
Been a while since I saw it on TV, so tool a look on www:


The calls are consistent on the numbering: At 1:23 he calls for prop engine start as 4,5,6, then 3,2,1 and at 3:18, on reaching runway, jet start is called as 1,2,3,4.
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Old 11th Dec 2022, 14:16
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Which brings us to the term P.O.S.H. as used by P & O Steamship Company for the route to/from India. The best cabins onboard were Port Out and Starboard Home.
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Old 11th Dec 2022, 14:20
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Next time I’m told to turn 20 degrees left, I’ll reply with “aye aye, coming 20 degrees to port”
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Old 11th Dec 2022, 15:40
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Originally Posted by Three Lima Charlie
Which brings us to the term P.O.S.H. as used by P & O Steamship Company for the route to/from India. The best cabins onboard were Port Out and Starboard Home.
See here for a fairly comprehensive debunking of that theory by Snopes.
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Old 11th Dec 2022, 20:17
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Originally Posted by helispotter
Been a while since I saw it on TV, so tool a look on www:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FJVxtTNjJk

The calls are consistent on the numbering: At 1:23 he calls for prop engine start as 4,5,6, then 3,2,1 and at 3:18, on reaching runway, jet start is called as 1,2,3,4.
On four engine types, the checkride seems to always end up with two out on the same side. I wonder if the B-36 checkride had five out on one side.
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Old 12th Dec 2022, 02:38
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Need to watch "Strategic Air Command" again to see what James Stewart calls them.
Back in the day when Colonel Potter (Harry Morgan) was a USAF Flight Engineer!



​​​​​​​

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Old 12th Dec 2022, 02:44
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In my UAS days in the late 60s, Port and Starboard were used for formation changes, but I seem to remember that GCA/PAR controllers used Left and Right.

I remember one of my friends wrote Port and Starboard on his white leather flying gloves!

Speaking of flying gloves, why did the RAF persist in using white gloves? They were particularly unsuitable for preflighting a Gipsy Major-powered aircraft! I think I went through a pair a year. Nowadays I have a pair of black USAF Nomex gloves. Much more practical.
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Old 12th Dec 2022, 09:26
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Leftists=Red Communists=Red Porto

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Old 12th Dec 2022, 21:48
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Originally Posted by India Four Two
I remember one of my friends wrote Port and Starboard on his white leather flying gloves!

Speaking of flying gloves, why did the RAF persist in using white gloves? They were particularly unsuitable for preflighting a Gipsy Major-powered aircraft! I think I went through a pair a year. Nowadays I have a pair of black USAF Nomex gloves. Much more practical.
Many are the aviators who labelled their flying gloves, almost as a badge of pride!

I always assumed the white cape leather was there to make hand signals more obvious; green was introduced for some years but I believe white is available these days? All brands of UK Mil, not just the RAF

On an aside, relating to being visible, when we trialed the then-new green LSJs the first thing we noticed when strapped in was that we could see the instruments without the usual yellow reflections we were used to from the old jackets. Similarly, in FJ vs Wessex intercept trials the glaring aiming point for all jet jockeys was the pilot's white helmet; but many, many years passed before the helmets were changed to green.
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Old 12th Dec 2022, 23:59
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Originally Posted by angry ant
There is no, RED PORT LEFT, in the bottle. QED.
No red port left in the Barrel. is the classic rhyme , this reminds that the port hand top mark is round reflecting its origin as a barrel
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Old 13th Dec 2022, 01:01
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Originally Posted by Mogwi

'Nuff said!

Mog
That's just to get them on the correct hands. Damn uncomfortable about half the time otherwise.
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 07:40
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The point of specifying 1, 2 etc, for engines is that they are numbered in increasing order from port to starboard as if you were reading a book, where the text goes from left to right across the page.

As well as this, the same convention works for identifying wheels, tyres, brake packs, on multi-wheeled aircraft and of course on aircraft with more than two engines.
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 09:06
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Books I read here go from right to left…

(But we do drive on the right (left) side of the road.)
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 09:35
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I knew someone would bring that up !
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 12:38
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I always assumed the white cape leather was there to make hand signals more obvious;
I hadn’t thought of that. It makes sense. Even more reason not to wear them doing pre-flights. ​​​​​​​
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 13:11
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Originally Posted by Uplinker
The point of specifying 1, 2 etc, for engines is that they are numbered in increasing order from port to starboard as if you were reading a book, where the text goes from left to right across the page.
Which engine was No 1 on the EE Lightning (the upper or the lower) ?
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Old 18th Dec 2022, 16:31
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Originally Posted by EXDAC
I have never flown, or been in, a BN2 but I confirmed they do use port and starboard as descriptors:

https://britten-norman.com/app/uploa...Islander-1.pdf

Some references seem to suggest that left, aft, and right were the descriptors used for Trilander engines.
John Britten and Desmond Norman were very keen yachtsmen, might explain a preference for nautical nomenclature!

Ooops, see somebody else made that observation!
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