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#351 onelung

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 23:36

According to my book on British WW2 aircraft typical specifications (Beaufighter first) were:

Top speed - 303 mph - 362 mph
Range - 1470 miles - 1650 miles
Ceiling - 15000 ft - 33000ft
Guns - four 20mm cannon + six 0.303in machine guns + one 0.303 machine gun in dorsal turret - for 20mm cannon + four 0.303 machine guns
Bombs - two 250 lb bombs or eight rockets plus one torpedo - 2000lbs or 1000 lbs plus eight rockets
Number made - 5500 - 7781

So the Mosquito appears to be ahead on nearly all counts.

The Beaufighter would be considerably heavier, too...?

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#352 D-Type

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 23:45

Not by as much as you'd expect:

Empty - 15,600 lb vs 14,300 lb
Maximum take off - 25,200 lb vs 22,300 lb

But remember that all these figures varied with the different versions so we may not be comparing apples with apples.

#353 Allan Lupton

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 00:35

As you might expect, I shall weigh in on the Mosquito's side!
The aerodynamics of the DH98 Mosquito were rather good to the point that the bomber prototype was faster than the Spitfire of the time and that efficiency naturally contributed to the range available. The Beaufighter too had been a bomber (Beaufort) originally and was an earlier design than the DH98 making its first flight two years earlier.
I can't believe the ceilings you quote and of course the max. speeds depend on the altitude specified ( I've seen 330 m.p.h. quoted for a late Beaufighter and 425 for the Mosquito) but then both aeroplanes went through many marks and none of the parameters Duncan quoted would be the same for all marks.
When it comes to weight you can use weight or waste it. The difference between empty and max take-off weights is payload and fuel and (subject to tank capacity) the proportions can vary a lot.
Duncan's comparison includes both bomber and fighter payloads (in the case of a fighter "payload" would be ammunition) so really there should be a range associated with each version, etc.

#354 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 00:59

My History teacher at Simon Langton Grammar School in Canterbury told us stories about when he was in the RAF in intelligence and he occassionally flew an unarmed Beaufighter over Europe; checking on bomb damage I presume. He apparently once got chased by a German fighter but got away from it.

#355 Gary Davies

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 02:40

...he occassionally flew an unarmed Beaufighter over Europe; checking on bomb damage I presume. He apparently once got chased by a German fighter but got away from it.


Yes, quite different strengths and weaknesses for the two aircraft. Father-in-law flew Beaus against Japanese naval and ground installations in New Guinea and it's my understanding that in that type of low level work (there's a story of an RAAF 31 Sqn pilot who brought a Rising Sun flag, wrapped round his tailplane, from a Japanese army base to a point just off the Australian coast before it fluttered into the sea.), the Beaufighter was at its best.

He talks of the enormous muzzle velocity and hitting power of 4 Hispano 20mm's going off together. Anything that was hit by them stayed hit.

As to speed, yes, the Beau's weight and relatively poor aerodynamics inevitably placed restrictions on it. As someone said earlier it was effectively a highly modified bomber in terms of its mailplane. But in similar vein to your story, standing orders in Australian Beau squadrons said that in the event of being jumped by a Zero, the procedure was to hit the deck and push the throttles through the gate. It worked, just.... the old man effected his escape from Zeros more than once by that means. But he tells me that the rate at which they outdistanced a Zero at sea level was not great.

Here he is, incidentally, in front of the Australian built Mk21 at the Moorabbin Museum in Victoria no doubt making some highly technical point to his daughter/my managing director!

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As an aside, he took the museum curators to task over the colour green they had painted the exhaust shrouds. As he said, there are 14 exhaust manifolds within an inch of that shroud and anyone silly enough to paint them would find that the paint would be thoroughly burnt off before the wheels were retracted. As striplings of 50 to 60 years of age, they were both grateful and surprised to receive this information!


#356 Gary Davies

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 03:03

Back on Mosquitos, I'd love to kick start a debate amongst the aviation worthies here about theory of 'What if Bomber Command had concentrated on Mosquitoes to do the job that was in fact done by Lancasters'.

The idea is approximately this, as I recall.

Typical bomb load - Lanc 12-14,000lb. Mosquito (Mk XVI) 4,000lb
Crew - Lanc 7. Mosquito 2.
Typical cruise altitude - Lanc 19,000ft. Mosquito 25,000ft
Cruise/max speed - 200mph/280mph Mosquito 300mph/400+mph

Those who support the motion (and I'm not sure I'm one of 'em) tend to make the points that
- The Mosquito required far fewer resources to build (but were there enough trees?), requiring half the number of Merlins, far fewer guns and were in fact a little over one third the weight of a Lanc.
- The Mosquito required far fewer aircrew to be trained and fed
- By virtue of its performance it was far less vulnerable to ground fire or air attack
- Which in turn would result in a far lower aircrew attrition rate

The consequence of which is that you could have an enormous number of Mosquito bombers active, with each aircraft being rotated on sorties two or even three times a day with different crews, thereby delivering a greater bomb quantum, with more accuracy, all round the clock.

Or something like that.




#357 Odseybod

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 09:02

Back on Mosquitos, I'd love to kick start a debate amongst the aviation worthies here about theory of 'What if Bomber Command had concentrated on Mosquitoes to do the job that was in fact done by Lancasters'. ....

[snip]

The consequence of which is that you could have an enormous number of Mosquito bombers active, with each aircraft being rotated on sorties two or even three times a day with different crews, thereby delivering a greater bomb quantum, with more accuracy, all round the clock.

Or something like that.


I like the idea and it will probably be debated here by those much more genned up than me. But as a starter, I wonder if the Mossie's speed and height advantages would have counted quite so much, if it had taken over the Lanc's role of mainly night operations - also how serviceable the Mosquito would have remained if it had been used on a round-the-clock basis like this (all those extra take-offs and landings)?

Without wishing to start a Transatlantic feud, a more interesting hypothesis might be to replace the B17s with Mosquitos - much closer payloads and you could probably do away with all those daytime fighter escorts, too.

Over to the Experts!

#358 Allan Lupton

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 09:35

Interesting debating point but unrealistic even though a single Mosquito having done "Berlin and back before the bar closes*" could be rearmed and refuelled and sent there again with another crew! Two sorties in one night.

The whole point of the original PV design was, as you suggest, to use different resources and deliver one-way payloads without having to carry defensive armament because of speed/height. So the idea of an unarmed bomber with fighter speed was put to the Air Ministry and to the credit of Sir Wilfred Freeman was accepted.

Leaving aside the Lancaster's ability to carry the very big "Tallboy" and "Grand Slam" weapons, it would have taken three Mosquitos to deliver one Lancaster-worth of 4,000 pounders so requiring six crew members, three of which would be pilots, cf. one pilot in a Lancaster crew. The "third of the weight " point is, as I wrote earlier, that weight is used as well as wasted. The Lancaster was able to carry 3½ times the bomb load plus defensive armament (and its operators) at a tare weight about 2.7 times that of the Mosquito which you can't complain of. Similarly the fuel consumption in gallons/delivered ton-mile was not greatly different.




*Air Marshal Sir Ivor Broom

Edited by Allan Lupton, 25 November 2011 - 09:37.


#359 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 10:27

- By virtue of its performance it was far less vulnerable to ground fire or air attack

An odd hypothesis given that the Mossie, for all its speed, was armed only with fixed forward-firing cannon. Admittedly a smaller target than a Lancaster or Stirling, but rather vulnerable to attacks from behind - from above or below. A night fighter version of the cancelled He280 or the much-delayed Me262 could have caused absolute carnage within large formations of Mosquitos: luckily, Hitler was of the opinion that the 262 should actually be a light ground attack bomber ...

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#360 kayemod

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 10:32

A night fighter version of the cancelled He280 or the much-delayed Me262 could have caused absolute carnage within large formations of Mosquitos.


Where's your lateral thinking?

The resulting showers of sharp wood splinters would have caused many injuries on the ground, that's as long as the Mosquitoes were shot down over German armaments factories of course.


#361 Tony Matthews

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 10:38

Leaving aside the Lancaster's ability to carry the very big "Tallboy" and "Grand Slam" weapons, it would have taken three Mosquitos to deliver one Lancaster-worth of 4,000 pounders so requiring six crew members, three of which would be pilots, cf. one pilot in a Lancaster crew.

And six Merlins instead of four...

#362 Allan Lupton

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:14

An odd hypothesis given that the Mossie, for all its speed, was armed only with fixed forward-firing cannon. Admittedly a smaller target than a Lancaster or Stirling, but rather vulnerable to attacks from behind - from above or below. A night fighter version of the cancelled He280 or the much-delayed Me262 could have caused absolute carnage within large formations of Mosquitos: luckily, Hitler was of the opinion that the 262 should actually be a light ground attack bomber ...

Prolonging this digression a bit more, don't confuse the unarmed bomber with the (night-)fighter.
Also don't forget that whilst the potential of jet fighters was there, none was reliable enough early enough to influence the outcome of the war. However the late FW190/Ta152 could catch a Mosquito on BMW/D-B piston power.

#363 Gary Davies

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 14:13

An odd hypothesis given that the Mossie, for all its speed, was armed only with fixed forward-firing cannon. Admittedly a smaller target than a Lancaster or Stirling, but rather vulnerable to attacks from behind - from above or below. A night fighter version of the cancelled He280 or the much-delayed Me262 could have caused absolute carnage within large formations of Mosquitos: luckily, Hitler was of the opinion that the 262 should actually be a light ground attack bomber ...


Keep in mind that the Mosquito was as fast as anything the Luftwaffe had until very late in the piece. It had the legs, and some, of contemporary FW190s. Even the TA 152 was only marginally faster. The problem for Germany was simply that the DH98's combination of speed, operating ceiling and manoeverability made it an extremely slippery customer. The fact is, it was statistically the safest type operated by Bomber Command.

I'm afraid reference to the HE 280 and ME 262 is decidedly red herring territory. The former, whilst showing great potential, was troubled throughout its development in several respects until Heinkel gave up on it in late 1942 and the latter, as you acknowledge, was very delayed. By the time any of them became operational, the Americans were west of Le Mans, the British and Canadians were advancing beyond Caen and the Russians had reached the Baltic coast and were racing through Poland.

I do not happen to embrace the theory that large fleets of Mosquitos were the answer but I assure you the reasons were never going to be anything to do with those two German aircraft.

#364 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 14:31

Oh, granted it's red herring territory, but then the whole story of German jet development is littered with mistakes: neither Goering nor Udet was convinced they were viable and German industry didn't really gear up for war in the way Britain had until 1941, when it finally became clear to them that it was going to be a long war. Then you had Daimler Benz, BMW and Junkers all developing different jet engines ...

However, if the RAF had concentrated on mass formations of Mosquitos rather than the heavies, that would surely have concentrated German efforts on a more effective fast interceptor than the Me163.

#365 elansprint72

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 14:36

I like the idea and it will probably be debated here by those much more genned up than me. But as a starter, I wonder if the Mossie's speed and height advantages would have counted quite so much, if it had taken over the Lanc's role of mainly night operations - also how serviceable the Mosquito would have remained if it had been used on a round-the-clock basis like this (all those extra take-offs and landings)?

Without wishing to start a Transatlantic feud, a more interesting hypothesis might be to replace the B17s with Mosquitos - much closer payloads and you could probably do away with all those daytime fighter escorts, too.

Over to the Experts!

Of course this conjecture is all a bit of a fantasy, however, why would they send Mosquitos at night? The principle reason for sending the heavies at night was because they were too easy to shoot down in daylight. Let's not even mention finding the target and bombing accuracy.
Mosquitos often were used round a major portion of the clock (if not all night); a bloke who worked for me sometimes visited Berlin twice in a day when he was a 19 year-old.
There were US squadrons which used Mosquitos; of course it would not have been possible to turn out the wooden wonder in anything like the quantities of Liberators and B17s, not enough cabinet-makers and chippies.  ;)

As for weaponry- what about the Tse-Tse 6lb field gun!?
Tse Tse

#366 TooTall

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 05:31

Just to digress a bit further afield. The North American B-25H sported 8 fixed forward firing 50 cal machine guns and a 75mm cannon. The navigator doubled as loader and the pilot worked the firing button. This variant was used in the South Pacific. Additionally, the two 50 cal guns located in the top turret could be faced forward to add to the firepower. I have read that a light weight 105mm gun was tested as well.

Cheers,
Kurt O. (former North American Rockwell Technical Illustrator)

#367 GreenMachine

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 09:38

Prolonging this digression a bit more, don't confuse the unarmed bomber with the (night-)fighter...


To elaborate, there were (without consulting my references) two basic versions, bomber (unarmed, glazed nose with bombaimer's position), and fighter (4x 20mm, 4x .303 in solid nose). Permutations of the fighter version included the night-fighter and the fighter/bomber.

#368 john winfield

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 09:57

A Spit flew over yesterday as I was gardening. I always, always stop and admire them when I hear that distinctive engine note. It seems there was a get-together of McIndoe patients yesterday, mentioned on local TV, and the Spit flew over them too.


Have just noticed that, at 11.00am in the UK, there's a half hour BBC Radio 4 programme on Archie McIndoe etc. 'Hurricane Rash'. It's repeated on Thursday at 9.00pm here in the UK.


#369 Cargo

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 11:46

20x Spitfires buried in Burma. Griffon engined Mark X1Vs.

http://www.telegraph...rned-to-UK.html

I'm suprised another TNF-er hasn't linked to this story before now as the story has been all over the web for the last two weeks. Actually, the situ' described in the above link is not quite the way it is right now, as the "discoverer" of the Spits - a Mr Cundall - has revealed the location to a "sponsor" who is now organising a separate dig on his own. Doesn't seem very sporting to me. I don't understand how Mr Cundall could have trouble financing the excavation as this is the kind of subject matter that National Geographic would happily step in and sponsor.

But, it could be that the whole thing is "not kosher" anyway. Why would the Spits have been buried, rather than torched/crushed?



#370 arttidesco

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 12:08

Great find by Mr Cundeall I wonder what kind of condition they will be in after spending so long buried in Burma, I know wax paper and such can do a great job preserving metal but for these machines to have spent 60 years in tropical heat and monsoon conditions makes me wonder if anything restorable can possibly have survived. Fingers crossed.

#371 Tony Matthews

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 13:10

...60 years in tropical heat and monsoon conditions makes me wonder if anything restorable can possibly have survived. Fingers crossed.

Well, in crates, 40 feet underground, the temperature and humidity shouldn't be a problem. As you say, fingers crossed...

#372 nicanary

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 18:47

Only just read this thread, so I'm a bit late with the action,so to speak.

1) re the number of Poles in the UK at war's end - whilst at grammar school in Norwich in the 60s, our soccer team's entire defence was of Polish descent (I recall Czapp and Podolski amongst others). Somehow the words Poland and defence do not seem happy bedfellows.
2)following the success of the early Mosquito raids against enemy transport in Northern Europe, a Polish squadron was formed, with strict instructions to follow orders to the letter.The squadron lasted a matter of weeks - when they reached Holland they always turned left instead of right. As a nation who have been uninvaded since 1066, it's difficult for us to imagine the bitter hatred these Poles held for those who had desecrated their country.
3)I once read an autobiography by a Canadian Mossie navigator - he reckoned that the second seat was just below and in front of the pilot, and that he was regularly peed on from a height because his buddy didn't bother to use the funnel correctly.
4)I have also read reports by Walrus pilots who reckon it was just the nicest, friendliest thing to fly. They loved it dearly.(I like the post describing the Yank reaction when one landed at their base - my nephew flies Hercules into Iraq and Afghanistan, and the UK version is always miles behind in software - the Yanks call the RAF lads "The Flintstones")

Sorry for the rambling, but when you've just read about 300 posts you've got a lot on your mind.

#373 RS2000

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 19:58

60 years in tropical heat and monsoon conditions makes me wonder if anything restorable can possibly have survived


All they'll be concerned about is the manufacturers' name plates for perfect restorations.
Now why does that sound familiar in a competition car context......

#374 TimRTC

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 20:23

Posted Image
BBMF in formation by Tim R-T-C, on Flickr

To tie this thread into motorsport, one of the BBMF Spitfires is going to be overflying Santa Pod during the June 'Main Event', would make for an interesting photo-op if you could get the right angle.

#375 GreenMachine

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 02:19

When I was more active in aircraft restoration activities, this was a perennial.

There were two basic threads - aircraft dumped at sea (lend-lease) and aircraft buried (just plain 'surplus'). There might have been some recovery of the burial-at-sea aircraft, at least there is photographic evidence of this happening so we know it did really occur. But as far as I know, there has been no recovery (or even site identification) of the land-borne variety, or even (AFAIK) any photographic or documentary evidence that it did occur.

This may turn out to be a 'pot of gold(?) at the end of the rainbow', but I am not rushing to become an investor in the recovery effort.

In a similar vein, a friend and I got very excited as callow yoofs when we heard about the E-type that was found with a very decomposed body in it, and was being sold for the proverbial song (for reasons I will not go into, but are pretty obvious). Funnily enough, we could never quite pin down the location, let alone the seller :lol:

#376 zepunishment

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 03:07

I wouldn't imagine that the mk xiv's would survive completely unscathed if the integrity of the crates have failed and allowed the weight of earth to partially crush them. I believe when they excavated glacier girl they also found a b-17 that had been pretty much squashed flat, although there wouldn't be as much weight. Perhaps they will cannibalise some to complete others, rather like the zero that sits in the museum next to yasukuni shrine which I believe was completed from several found aircraft.

Slightly off topic, but I remember seeing a Hawker Tempest in early 2005 at Shaibah logistics base in Basrah, subsequently a few months later it had had it's wings dismantled and was loaded onto a flatbed for transport. Google tells me that the RAF flew Tempests there after the war which would add up, but does anyone know what happened to it?

#377 Piquet959

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:23

Talking about the Avro Lancaster, my father survived a full tour of ops as both a mid upper and tail gunner in the Lanc.

The funny thing bout the Lancaster is it started as a twin engine bomber called the Manchester. Which was an OK aircraft but when the thing was redesigned and had the extra 2 engines installed it was a totally different aircraft. Roy Chadwick was the designer and the modifications to the aircraft were done without Air Ministry approval.

My dad met Roy Chadwick whist on leave in Scotland in 1944. He would often talk about things like that but some things he never spoke about until just before he died.
Cheers
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#378 RS2000

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 20:53

the Manchester. Which was an OK aircraft


Most histories probably fall into the "less than" bracket as regards "OK".
Maybe with two engines pushing out adequate reliable horse power it might have been OK but the RR Vulture seemed to fall well short.
I guess it's a matter of what counts as "OK" by wartime standards. The Typhoon retained some fairly substantial deficiences throughout its operational life and disappeared rapidly as soon as the Tempest became available but it was the more than OK workhorse of 2nd TAF in Europe during a vital period.

#379 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 01:52

20x Spitfires buried in Burma. Griffon engined Mark X1Vs.

http://www.telegraph...rned-to-UK.html

I'm suprised another TNF-er hasn't linked to this story before now as the story has been all over the web for the last two weeks. Actually, the situ' described in the above link is not quite the way it is right now, as the "discoverer" of the Spits - a Mr Cundall - has revealed the location to a "sponsor" who is now organising a separate dig on his own. Doesn't seem very sporting to me. I don't understand how Mr Cundall could have trouble financing the excavation as this is the kind of subject matter that National Geographic would happily step in and sponsor.

But, it could be that the whole thing is "not kosher" anyway. Why would the Spits have been buried, rather than torched/crushed?

There is a link on that story about a Kittyhawk found in the Sahara near complete also. Though to me it looks too good to have spent 60 years in the desert.

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#380 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 01:57

Yes, highly recommended, this programme has already been shown at least twice, and I watched and enjoyed it both times. The most memorable bit for me was how these remarkable 90 year olds told how they coped with ferrying planes like Stirlings and Lancasters, a "Slip of a girl" as I think one of them put it, possibly not even 20 yet, coping singlehanded with a massive four engined bomber. That can't have been easy, and I bet it developed their muscles.

I somewhat doubt ferry pilots [of either gender] flying Lancs singlehanded. From what I understand 3 was the mininum crew to fly a Lanc.

#381 zepunishment

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 12:25

There is a link on that story about a Kittyhawk found in the Sahara near complete also. Though to me it looks too good to have spent 60 years in the desert.


http://www.telegraph...l?frame=2216170

'But there are fears over what will be left of it after locals began stripping parts and instruments from the cockpit for souvenirs and scrap'

):

#382 D-Type

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 23:59

I somewhat doubt ferry pilots [of either gender] flying Lancs singlehanded. From what I understand 3 was the mininum crew to fly a Lanc.

How do you get 3? Obviously on ferry flights there are no air gunners or bomb aimer. That leaves Pilot + navigator, flight engineer and radio operator.

I can see an argument for dispensing with any of the three on a short UK delivery flight - after all the ATA girs did fly Spitfires, Hurricanes and Mustangs. But I agree that they wouldn't have flown a Lancaster solo. I can see a Mosquito, Beaufighter, or even possibly a Dakota possibly being flown by a single person but I would expect they probably still had a crew of 2 on delivery flights


#383 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 00:36

How do you get 3? Obviously on ferry flights there are no air gunners or bomb aimer. That leaves Pilot + navigator, flight engineer and radio operator.

I can see an argument for dispensing with any of the three on a short UK delivery flight - after all the ATA girs did fly Spitfires, Hurricanes and Mustangs. But I agree that they wouldn't have flown a Lancaster solo. I can see a Mosquito, Beaufighter, or even possibly a Dakota possibly being flown by a single person but I would expect they probably still had a crew of 2 on delivery flights

For a non combat flight a pilot, navigator who can double as radio operator and a flight engineeer.
For a short flight they could very maybe do away with one person, but flight engineers usually are not the best navigators!
There is no doubt women flew Lancs in non combat roles but not solo. They did also do some reconisance flights of military importance, but no combat roles. Though I have heard that some of these did actually involve conflict, eg The enemy found them in the sky.
Fighters probably though.

#384 Allan Lupton

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 07:41

I do not know, but I can be pretty sure that ATA pilots navigated themselves around the UK skys in whatever aeroplane they had to deliver.
It would only be necessary to have a second member of the crew where a flight engineer's station had controls that the pilot could not operate - such as throttles, flaps and landing gear.
Mosquito, Beaufighter and Dakota were not like that, as they had no flight engineer, but the heavy bombers were.
Radio operators were not required as the ATA flew in radio silence.
Oh and just because an aeroplane is quite big and heavy, it does not mean that the control forces are also big and heavy. The "slip of a girl coping with a heavy bomber" idea is good press but has no basis of logic.

#385 kayemod

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 09:20

I'm sure Alan is right in most of what he says, but ATA flights weren't 'radio silence', planes almost always left the factories without any radio or armament at all, that was fitted after delivery, so 'silence' wasn't even an option. As far as Lee's final comment is concerned, there were one or two instances of ATA flights encountering enemy aircraft, but with unarmed planes, it's stretching things a little to describe that as 'conflict'. What follows is dimly-remembered childhood reminiscence, so comes without any guarantees, but I remember that my mother had at least one friend in the 1950s who had been an ATA pilot. No more than a vague recollection, but I'm sure that one told stories of trans-Atlantic delivery flights with Canadian manufactured Lancasters, she said that the best moment was on arrival in the UK, to see the reactions of RAF ground crew when "two young girls" stepped out of a Lancaster, at least once, someone had insisted on entering the plane "to find the rest of the crew". I'd guess that these planes would have been equipped with radios for such a lengthy flight, so maybe a second crew member was primarily there as navigator and radio operator, but I'm sure I was told that solo delivery flights in four-engined planes were quite common, they were never enough competent ATA pilots, they were worked hard, so possibly it was often just a question of crew availability. One of mum's friends wrote a book about her wartime experiences, there must be copies of that still around somewhere. Being a young boy at the time, the question I was burning to ask but didn't dare, involved their 'going to the loo' experiences, did they have to be very quick about it?

#386 Allan Lupton

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:44

Most ATA delivery flights were from maintenance bases to operational aerodromes, so radio was fitted by then. I say most because each aeroplane was only delivered once from the factory, but could be repaired or otherwise subjected to heavy maintenance several times if it survived combat.
I'm pretty sure a flight engineer or at least someone to operate the f.e.'s controls was necessary for Lancaster and similar. I just had a look in Diana Barnato Walker's book but as she didn't fly any four-engined type there's nothing to be found there.
She wrote a lot about DR navigation and not being cleared for blind flying, but nowhere is an obligatory second crew member mentioned so far as I can see.

Edited by Allan Lupton, 12 May 2012 - 11:44.


#387 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 12:14

FWIW I think Luis Fontes was flying solo when he was killed in a Wellington on an ATA delivery flight.

#388 arttidesco

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 12:30

How many navigators would it have required for transatlantic flights ?

Would they have not flown in batches in which case only one navigator would have been needed in a lead plane of a batch delivery and everyone else could have followed, might that not have lead to some planes being flown solo ?

#389 kayemod

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 16:13

How many navigators would it have required for transatlantic flights ?

Would they have not flown in batches in which case only one navigator would have been needed in a lead plane of a batch delivery and everyone else could have followed, might that not have lead to some planes being flown solo ?


Which brings us back to my unasked boyhood 'going to the loo' question.


#390 arttidesco

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 22:57

Which brings us back to my unasked boyhood 'going to the loo' question.


1940's version of an astronauts maximum absorbency garment ?

#391 onelung

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 23:55

Which brings us back to my unasked boyhood 'going to the loo' question.

It might not feature in dictionaries, but the word "pissaphone" comes to mind.
How an equivalent device for the "gentler" sex might be devised, well ... :smoking:

Edited by onelung, 12 May 2012 - 23:55.


#392 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 00:36

I'm sure Alan is right in most of what he says, but ATA flights weren't 'radio silence', planes almost always left the factories without any radio or armament at all, that was fitted after delivery, so 'silence' wasn't even an option. As far as Lee's final comment is concerned, there were one or two instances of ATA flights encountering enemy aircraft, but with unarmed planes, it's stretching things a little to describe that as 'conflict'. What follows is dimly-remembered childhood reminiscence, so comes without any guarantees, but I remember that my mother had at least one friend in the 1950s who had been an ATA pilot. No more than a vague recollection, but I'm sure that one told stories of trans-Atlantic delivery flights with Canadian manufactured Lancasters, she said that the best moment was on arrival in the UK, to see the reactions of RAF ground crew when "two young girls" stepped out of a Lancaster, at least once, someone had insisted on entering the plane "to find the rest of the crew". I'd guess that these planes would have been equipped with radios for such a lengthy flight, so maybe a second crew member was primarily there as navigator and radio operator, but I'm sure I was told that solo delivery flights in four-engined planes were quite common, they were never enough competent ATA pilots, they were worked hard, so possibly it was often just a question of crew availability. One of mum's friends wrote a book about her wartime experiences, there must be copies of that still around somewhere. Being a young boy at the time, the question I was burning to ask but didn't dare, involved their 'going to the loo' experiences, did they have to be very quick about it?

Delivery flights were normally with fully equipped planes. as for combat I am sure the delivery pilots ran away from conflict if they could as A even with equipped planes no gunners made that obsolete and B they were pilots, trained to fly an aircraft on the straight and level,, not trained military pilots. Who supposedly had more training, though often had very little.
I have read of delivery flights striking trouble and being shot down in the English north. Pilots unamed and no gender given.

As for transatlantic flights they would have needed a co pilot, engineer and a navigator/radio operator. A long way to fly a 4 engined bomber with any less. Those planes may not have been fully equipped for combat but deliverys from the UK should have been. Though almost certainly not armed ofcourse

#393 Cargo

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 07:01

Yes, I know, a bit of thread drift here...but anyway its been an interesting couple of weeks for any one one interested in WW11 fighters.. see that now a Curtis P40 has just been discovered more-or-less intact in the Sahara..

http://www.dailymail...o=feeds-newsxml

Posted Image

Love the pics in that article. Are those "bullets" being handled or 20mm cannon shells?



#394 onelung

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 07:17

Yes, I know, a bit of thread drift here...but anyway its been an interesting couple of weeks for any one one interested in WW11 fighters.. see that now a Curtis P40 has just been discovered more-or-less intact in the Sahara..

http://www.dailymail...o=feeds-newsxml

Love the pics in that article. Are those "bullets" being handled or 20mm cannon shells?

The rounds are 50 calibre.

#395 kayemod

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 11:13

Delivery flights were normally with fully equipped planes...


Not so. In the UK at least, new aircraft left factories devoid of radios and armament, they were delivered first to Maintenance Units, where this equipment would be fitted or if necessary activated. There are several published works on the ATA, and all confirm this fact, which can easily be confirmed by a few moments Googling.

That P-40 discovery in the Sahara reminds me of an interesting fact I learned from one volume of pilot's memoirs. Some of these planes were built for the French Air Force, but following the fall of that Country, diverted to the UK and the RAF. The French had specified throttles that went the opposite way to all Allied aircraft, like a car accelerator pedal that had to be depressed to close. This must have caused a few heart-stopping moments for pilots, it would have taken some getting used to, a bit like central accelerators on some early Ferrari and Maserati cars.

#396 nicanary

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 12:12

There is a link on that story about a Kittyhawk found in the Sahara near complete also. Though to me it looks too good to have spent 60 years in the desert.



It's probably par for the course. I recall other planes and vehicles from WW2 being found in recent times , all in similar condition.There was that Free French Blenheim flight that landed en masse when they got lost on a training(?) mission, and were found intact. And I think there was also a LRDG truck found just sitting there, in the middle of nowhere.

The Sahara is a big,big place. And just like the Nevada desert, things don't rust. The only people likely to have seen it are passing tribesmen, and they could hardly haul away something of that size with only their camels.

#397 SueL

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 13:00

It might not feature in dictionaries, but the word "pissaphone" comes to mind.
How an equivalent device for the "gentler" sex might be devised, well ... :smoking:


The answer is someone has! It is called a "shewee" but I cannot say how effective it is as I have never tried one out :o . Think it might be difficult to use when flying something like a Spitfire as it appears to require two hands.

(I only picked up this topic because my father was ground-crew for a Spitfire squadron during the war and therefore I have always had an interest in the iconic plane. And Hurricanes too).

#398 Allan Lupton

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 14:01

The French had specified throttles that went the opposite way to all Allied aircraft, like a car accelerator pedal that had to be depressed to close. This must have caused a few heart-stopping moments for pilots, it would have taken some getting used to, a bit like central accelerators on some early Ferrari and Maserati cars.

Bit of OT digression:
Some early cars really did have decelerator pedals!
Centre throttle pedals were more common than right hand in the early days and those Ferrari and Maserati cars you allude to were just late in changing over. That was perhaps because heel-and-toe is much easier with central throttle, as most people's feet naturally splay toe-outwards, but once that isn't necessary there is no particular advantage to centre throttle.

Edited by Allan Lupton, 13 May 2012 - 14:02.


#399 kayemod

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 14:26

How do you get 3? Obviously on ferry flights there are no air gunners or bomb aimer. That leaves Pilot + navigator, flight engineer and radio operator.

I can see an argument for dispensing with any of the three on a short UK delivery flight - after all the ATA girs did fly Spitfires, Hurricanes and Mustangs. But I agree that they wouldn't have flown a Lancaster solo. I can see a Mosquito, Beaufighter, or even possibly a Dakota possibly being flown by a single person but I would expect they probably still had a crew of 2 on delivery flights


Inevitably, short cuts were taken in wartime, but according to ATA pilot's notes, a flight engineer was only considered more or less essential on four-engined bombers, the Dakota, and Catalina & Sunderland flying boats, and female pilots never flew the last two anyway. No mention of two-up being required for the Mosquito, Beaufighter or other Bristol twins.

I wonder if members discuss motor racing on any of the aircraft forums ?


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#400 Allan Lupton

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 15:38

Inevitably, short cuts were taken in wartime, but according to ATA pilot's notes, a flight engineer was only considered more or less essential on four-engined bombers, the Dakota, and Catalina & Sunderland flying boats, and female pilots never flew the last two anyway. No mention of two-up being required for the Mosquito, Beaufighter or other Bristol twins.

I wonder if members discuss motor racing on any of the aircraft forums ?

As I wrote before, a flight engineer is necessary if the control layout requires someone in the FE station. The four-engined bombers had so many engine instruments and controls that a flight engineer was necessary - and in civil aviation we used a flight engineer's station well into the jet age.
As the Mosquito was designed for a single pilot (the other crew member having no control duties) it would never be necessary (or even helpful) to fly two-up. I would expect the Beaufighter to be similar.
The Dakota, originally designed as a civil DC-3, would have used two pilots as was/is customary in civil aviation.

Oh and PPRUNE has many threads on motor racing, including on effone which have been posted on today! :evil:

Edited by Allan Lupton, 13 May 2012 - 18:17.