Author Topic: Cockpit Blues!  (Read 14569 times)

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Offline =CfC=BlueDog

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2014, 03:16:52 AM »
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Great pic and story Bluey.

And who would have thought that almost 50 years ago, this group of fine young lads was the only thing preventing invasion of Australia by the Communist hoards from the north!

Well, they missed their opportunity, didn't they!  ;D ;D ;D ;D

Offline CFC_Conky

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2014, 06:52:29 AM »
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Great pic and story Bluey.

And who would have thought that almost 50 years ago, this group of fine young lads was the only thing preventing invasion of Australia by the Communist hoards from the north!

Well, they missed their opportunity, didn't they!  ;D ;D ;D ;D

Only way to get into Australia because it's full eh Bluey?  :D

Excellent stories mate (pronounced mite  ;))!
Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

Offline =CfC=Bounder

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2014, 09:59:06 AM »
Whilst we are talking of old cockpits.....my first commercial machine was the Bristol 170! (Silver City)

3 cars and 14 passengers 5 times a day Lydd-Le Touquet!

This is what the office (some 25ft above ground level) looked like:-



The coloured rotary knobs behind the throttle and pitch levers were friction knobs. When we did our training (I was 19!) the Training Captain used to tighten one of the knobs on the throttle up really tight whilst you were just about to do a go-around from an instrument approach so that you only got one engine kicking in (Bristol Hercules.....as Beaufighter and Blenheim) and one throttle able to move! provided entertainment for all watching from our offices at Lydd!

Like most chaps straight out of flying school, I managed to get a landing bounce to register on the altimeter! (around 20-30ft!). They were big bouncers (a bit like Fifi really) especially when empty and we were only allowed to do wheeler landings when online for the first year.

Additional horizon and gyro compass in the middle of the panel was the infamous wartime Sperry wing leveller course holder (not a true autopilot by any means)

The cockpits leaked terribly in winter! We wore raincoats and gloves even at our normal cruising heights of 1000ft to France and 2000ft back!

Carried horses, cows and sheep in winter to keep the business going....the smell was just awful!

However, we all had a great time (1966) and happy memories of all the wartime chaps I flew with who told such marvellous stories of skill and daring!

Bounder ;D

Offline =CfC=BlueDog

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2014, 08:04:13 PM »
Great cockpit shot, Bounder..........and here am I being critical of the Canberra instrument panel. ;D ;D

A lot of those instruments, switches and stuff look familiar - MOD must have had a fire sale back then.

As for sheep; I suppose you didn't have air hosties on the Bristol Frighteners. ;D :D ;D

Offline John Cartwright

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2014, 02:26:02 AM »
That's a real MAN's cockpit! None of yer gurlyweed digital bollocks! :)

Your comment about thumping the tailwheel last night Bounder put me in mind of my parents' experience on an internal flight in Russia in the mid '70's. Somewhat disquieted to see a number of broken seats tied down with rope, they were further alarmed when one of the engines wouldn't turn over to see a bloke with a fag dangling from his mouth amble over with a step ladder and a lump hammer, with which he beat said engine into submission until the prop reluctantly whirled.

I thought that sort of thing you described was 'only in Russia' :)
"Take that; you rotten Swastinkers you!"
:British Pathe News 1940

Offline =CfC=BlueDog

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2014, 07:33:19 PM »
 The thing that struck me about OCU was the more relaxed atmosphere, compared to that of the by-the-book outlook of the C130 squadron.   The word 'cowboy' springs to mind but it was far from that - I would call it more 'free-wheeling'.
  
"Initiative" was the big thing.   The CO gave us a huge 'required' reading list which included a short book: A Message to Garcia.   Apparently this was about some American dude way back when; who was given the task of delivering some message to another dude called Garcia.   So this guy salutes the Colonel, dives  overboard and swims ashore somewhere, message firmly gripped between his teeth; then spends a couple of weeks looking for Mr Garcia to deliver the message.   (Yes, I know it wasn't really quite like that) - the aim of the story being to demonstrate INITIATIVE.   Having been given the quick overview in class, BD turned to his companion and whispered "well, he probably would have shown more initiative had he asked a couple of questions - like who the hell is Garcia, and where might he be found".   Unfortunately, the comment was made just as the CO passed by within earshot......................... :-[ :'( :'(

Enough of the BlueDog trivia, WHAT ABOUT THE CANBERRA?  I can hear the bored sighs from here!

Well, there were, of course, a few weeks of ground school before flying the jet.  We learned about such things as half-ball valves in the fuel control unit, blowback rods, control rods, generators, inverters etc.   And a familiarisation look-see at the cockpit thrust us back to aircraft Jurassic Park times.   The whole package simply reeked of being British-esque.    Unsurprisingly, everything appeared to have the notation MK 1 (mark one) after it.   Eg, the MK1 artificial horizon (which was easily 'toppled' and had a rather large propensity for acceleration error - more of that later).
  
The T4 trainer had side-by-side dual controls for the pilot and instructor and the navigator was in a little nook behind the pilots - no ejection seats for the pilots; but there was one for the nav.  The MK20 bomber had Martin Baker MK1 bang (ejection) seats (for both the pilot and nav) which were rated at 1000 ft (yes, that's one thousand ft) MINIMUM altitude - which assumed everything worked perfectly - and 2000 ft minimum SAFE altitude; giving a bit of margin in case one had to do some fiddling.  There were no auto functions - you had to manually push yourself out of your seat once you were outside the aircraft and then manually pull the ripcord.  But even before you got out of the jet there were things to do:  the nav had to activate a switch to jettison the hatch above his head and the pilot (although ejection was through the canopy - ouch!) had to operate the "snatch" unit which severed the control lines somewhere along their runs and a big spring pulled the control column forwards against the instrument panel.   This was done so that the pilot's knees were given clearance during ejection - nice!.   We were told (unnecessarily) not to operate the snatch unit unless we were planning to eject.

Couple this with the complete lack of electronic warfare sensors or countermeasures and one could question the sensibility of putting an aircraft like this into a hostile and electronically 'hot' environment like that of Vietnam.

The fact remains, though, that the jet performed admirably in V.   Operating as part of the USAF's 35th Tactical Fighter Wing, 2 Squadron's Canberras flew just six per cent of the Wing's sorties but inflicted 16 per cent of the damage. Overall, 11,963 sorties were flown in Vietnam, 76,389 bombs dropped and two aircraft lost.    More on that later.

To be continued if not too boring.......          

« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 12:15:42 AM by =CfC=BlueDog »

Offline John Cartwright

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2014, 02:23:37 AM »
Interesting reading as usual BD(Aus), thanks for posting.
'Message to Garcia' brings back 30-odd years ago memories of the highly dangerous world (irony) of Retail Management I was involved in at the time.
'Message to Garcia' in corporatespeak meant do the task asked immediately with no questions asked. Which usually meant that someone higher up the chain had dropped a bollock and wanted their arse covered.
I was 'New Stores Visual Marketing Manager' which meant i had a team of 20 odd girl window dressers to control. It was hell I tell you.
Redundancy was a great relief.
"Take that; you rotten Swastinkers you!"
:British Pathe News 1940

Offline Gizmo

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2014, 10:50:08 AM »
Blimey, it sounds like this could be a preffered route out of a Canberra

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcW_Ygs6hm0

Offline =CfC= Ax

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2014, 02:21:05 PM »
Great stuff gents, love hearing these tales of yesteryear. ;)

BTW Bluey, the current issue of PC Pilot has an article / review of Just Flight's Canberra PR9 aircraft for FSX / Prepar3D. Pretty impressive addon from what I've read. Not sure how modern these are in comparison to the ones you experienced though?

Keep it coming chaps!

Offline =CfC=BlueDog

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2014, 12:35:56 AM »
So.......what was it like to fly?

There's an old saying: if an aircraft looks good, it will fly good.   Well, that's not necessarily so; but in the case of the Canberra, I my view it's a beautiful looking bird and it flies beautifully as well.   That's not to say it didn't have problems.  When you consider the aircraft was built primarily for level bombing and therefore had to have strong static and dynamic stability in all three axes, and when you consider it had an airspeed range of from 0 to 500 knots, and had no hydraulic fight controls you would be right in assuming the control forces would be high-ish.   But not massively so.   One got used to getting a good physical workout fairly quickly!   And also, mounting engines mid-wing pretty well guarantees there are going to be engine-out asymmetric problems.
 
So, I get aboard the trainer with John my allocated nav, and Des the instructor.   John first, strapping into his bang seat then Des straps into his non-bang seat next to John, then I strap in 'up front'.   Des's seat is on rails and he struggles to pull himself forward and lock his seat abreast of mine.   I note there is not much shoulder room and, with my seat raised so I can see forward, my bone-dome restricts how high I can sit because it comes into contact with the canopy.   I have to cant my head slightly to the right, and Des has to cock his head to the left to get a good view of the outside world.   We look like a pair of co-joined twins!

I can reach and see most switches and dials, unlike John who's switches for the electrics are mounted on a panel to his right, conveniently just out of reach.  So he has a 'swizzle stick'; a sort of a prod with a couple of 'fingers' on the end with which to extend his reach and, with some degree of difficulty allows him to turn on the electrics.

With all the appropriate switches arranged in a neat and pleasing manner it's time to make some noise.  Engine start is initiated by firing a huge firecracker mounted at the front of the engine.  The groundcrew chappie disappears momentarily in a cloud of carcinogenic black smoke.   Then when it clears we make funny hand-signals, checking out the flaps and speedbrake extension/retraction and checking closure of the bomb doors.   A courtesy call to the tower for taxy clearance, chocks away, and we move off.
                 
The brakes are interesting - none of your fancy toe-brake stuff - the brake handle is on the control column; sort of a sqeeze thingo (you can see it on the cockpit photo).   To turn whilst taxying, one merely has to swing the rudder in the required direction and squeeze the handle.   And it works very well.   You can even use differential power to tighten the turn if you so desire.   But wait - what are these half loops of leather on the rudder pedals,  bit like stirrups?   Well, I'm informed that the rudder forces with an engine failure on take-off are so high that you need to push the appropriate pedal with the appropriate foot, and pull against the leather strap with the other.   And don't get it wrong!   The mantra is:  "dead leg, dead engine".

And so we line up on the runway.  Applying power whilst rolling, unless done carefully, is avoided as it can result in a dreaded ACU hang-up; so we apply full power against the brakes and then roll.

The acceleration control unit (ACU) is interesting.  It's a fuel controller which meters the fuel to the engines and allows the throttles to be slammed without overspeeding the donks.  Unfortunately, sometimes the ACU works part way, then stops, then maybe starts again or just gets stuck part way.  So, if you were to slam the throttles during take-off and were to get an ACH hang-up you might well depart the smooth black stuff and move onto the rough green stuff - with an attendant red face to boot!

We roll smoothly down the runway, rudder effective about 60 KIAS (knots, indicated airspeed); nosewheel off about 90 KIAS and lift off about 100 KIAS.   Then accelerate fairly quickly through our safety speed of about 140 KIAS (more about this later).   Gear up (flaps already up for takeoff) and we are humming.  Smooth, practically silent, and I'm loving it!   Controls are responsive and not too heavy, the jet is stable and easy to trim and obtaining the required speeds and heights is a snap!   It's a joy to fly.

So, after an hour or so, and after a few circuits it's time to put this beast back on the ground.  I should mention that touch and go landings are a procedural no-no - again because of the ACU business.  Gear down on downwind leg and for final approach to full stop, flaps are extended, speed about 90 KIAS.   Flare and land smoothly - easy peasey.   I'm wrapped.

RAAF has ordered F111 to replace the Canberra but their delivery is delayed.   So as a stop-gap, RAAF has leased some F4E jets from the USAF.   I see them flying around, bullying the air around Amberley air base.   But I don't care - ATM I'm happy to fly the good ol' Canberra!

Several instructional sorties later and John and I get to go solo in the trainer.  Here we are post-flight.  John on left, BD in centre, Des on the right.   A job well done.



More?       


Offline =CfC=Fitz

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2014, 02:28:29 AM »

Offline =CfC=Bounder

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2014, 02:47:48 AM »
Fascinating Bluey......never knew the thing flew so slowly! Must have had a dirty stall around 70Kts?

Bounder ;D

Offline CFC_Conky

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2014, 03:48:21 PM »
Fantastic stories Bluey, an enviable career to be sure!

Pip, pip,
Conky
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Offline =CfC=BlueDog

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2014, 06:26:45 PM »
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Must have had a dirty stall around 70Kts?

Been 30 years or so since I last flew the Canberra, Bounder, so i don't recall precisely.   Depending one weight of course.  I think for the light jet, it was in the order of 75 KIAS dirty and 85 KIAS clean (T4 trainer version).   I do recall the stall was innocuous, characterised by a slight snatching of aileron control followed by gentle wing drop.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 07:06:35 PM by =CfC=BlueDog »

Offline =CfC=BlueDog

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2014, 02:03:27 AM »
Naturally, BlueDog made a small 'fox pass' on the first solo. :o

Having spent the previous four years flying the multi-crewed C130, BD(Aust) was conditioned to addressing crewmembers over the intercom as follows "pilot/nav..." or "pilot/engineer..." or "pilot/copilot..." etc before launching on some very important message, such as "pilot/loadie, any banana sandwiches left?" 8)

So there we were, John and I cruising the skies in the mighty jet.  Having something important to say, I forgot myself and reverted to a previous life:  "Pilot/nav....."

There was a deathly hush for a few seconds, then I heard in a rather sarcastic tone "there's no-one else back here but me!" :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[