Winged Heroes

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by PanBiker » 21 Jan 2018, 11:14

The pilot could not see over the nose either on the Spitfire and had to weave when taxiing. I count 13 young women on that Hurricane, all over it like a rash, fabulous picture.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by plaques » 21 Jan 2018, 11:44

PanBiker wrote:
21 Jan 2018, 11:14
I count 13 young women on that Hurricane,
The last supper for the pilot?

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 21 Jan 2018, 12:11

That difference in undercarriage was why Spitfires needed smooth, hard runways whereas the Hurricanes could take off from bumpy grass fields. Most of the airfields in France at the beginning of the war were rough grass strips. It also contributes to why the Hurricane could be used earlier on aircraft carriers - the first instance being in May 1940 when 18 were embarked by crane on HMS Glorious bound for Norway and managed to take off when the carrier got to 30 knots speed. The Norwegian airfields were also bad, so much so that the Hurricanes had to stay aboard Glorious on her return journey to Scapa while work was done to improve the landing strips, then went out again to Norway. Some days later the Hurricane squadron had to be hastily evacuated by flying them back to HMS Glorious. Sandbags were stowed in their tails to allow full braking on landing. This was the first time a high performance monoplane had landed on a carrier without a tail hook. A risky business!

The story has a sad ending. Glorious, with an escort of two destroyers, was engaged by two German battle cruisers and all three British ships were sunk. The aircraft on Glorious were not able to be ready for action. While this battle took place the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire sailed by at a distance of about 40 miles and at full speed ahead. Vice-Admiral John Cunningham was under orders to sail directly to Britain and maintain radio silence - he was carrying the Norwegian Royal Family.

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 22 Jan 2018, 04:26

:good:
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by PanBiker » 22 Jan 2018, 11:16

Following Bob's post regarding Willa Brown I had a session on Pinterest browsing information on female aviators. This of course covered Tuskegee of which I already knew a little about and then onto the ATA girls who flew point to point with nothing other than altimeter, map, compass and stopwatch, those young women were trained to fly over 30 different types of aircraft but once assigned to a pool had to fly whatever they were assigned. Anything from biplanes to four engined bombers. One of their number Mary Wilkins Ellis once flew a new Wellington bomber to it's designated base and after landing and exiting the aircraft the 5' 2" blonde just turned 20 asked the ground crew to take her to the control tower, they told her they would take her when the pilot exited the plane and actually searched the aircraft when she told them that she had flown it on her own! She also delivered the first operational Gloucester Meteor jet to its operating base and after signing the chit for the aircraft was told "you have 35 minutes of fuel so you had better be back on the ground by then", she had never flown a jet before. Mary turned 100 last year, I think she is still alive and definitely a winged hero although she would be the last to say so.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Tizer » 22 Jan 2018, 16:47

Even the fighter pilots had trouble switching to the Meteor, so it makes her yet more of a hero. The first Meteors passed through RAF Culmhead, not very far from where I'm writing now and then some of them were operational from Westonzoyland, also nearby. Many pilots died in this locality while getting to know the Meteor.

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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by PanBiker » 22 Jan 2018, 18:00

If you think about it Tiz, by that time Mary had delivered over a thousand aircraft of all types. She flew 76 different types and was probably more like a test pilot than your standard operational pilot of the time who may only have flown a few different types. Jacqueline "Jackie" Cochran who came over from the USA to join the ATA, trained with them then returned to the USA and was instrumental in founding the WASP's (Women Airforce Service Pilots) back in the States. Another interesting fact is that the ATA women were the first to achieve equal pay with their male counterparts of the same rank.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 23 Jan 2018, 03:34

"Even the fighter pilots had trouble switching to the Meteor" Indeed. I saw one crash and kill the pilot at an air display in Cheshire. We identified the accident on the old site.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 24 Jan 2018, 10:10

Something heavy, prop driven and multiple piston engined has just flown low over Barlick from South to North at low altitude but higher than the overcast so it couldn't be seen. Not Merlins, sounded to be a more modern engine sound.
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Re: Winged Heroes

Post by Stanley » 09 Feb 2018, 04:04

Thinking about the Condor we mentioned recently I was reminded of the Messerschmitt Gigant transport. (LINK) The largest airplane used in WW2.

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