Author Topic: Cockpit Blues!  (Read 14568 times)

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Offline =CfC= Ax

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2014, 09:52:14 AM »
Right riveting read Bluey, please more. ;D

Offline =CfC=Bounder

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2014, 12:15:50 PM »
Did they call the Navigators "Talking Baggage" as in the RAF?

Bounder ;D ;D

Offline =CfC=BlueDog

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2014, 10:54:22 PM »
And so, after a couple more trips in the trainer (formation, night flying, instrument flying and instrument rating) we transition to the B20 bomber version (like the RAF's B2).   Hey, there's more room up here without the cantankerous instructor, a bit more headroom so I can sit without my bone-dome hitting the canopy, the control yoke is a better size (the trainer's yoke was scaled down to allow dual control) and I'm sitting in an ejection seat - for that slightly better peace of mind.   John's down the back doing whatever navs do.   This is so cool!

Airborne it's a delight.   Now I don't want to fly the trainer anymore - this will do me fine.   Although.......they promise, if I'm a good little boy they'll let me fly the bomber with the upgraded Avon 109 engines later on.

The larger yoke makes a big difference (improvement) to lateral control.

We can now get on with the operational business: down the coast at the Evans Head bombing range.  Usually we fly as a pairs formation to and from the range, then operate individually for the bombing runs.   In Vietnam the boys are carrying six 750 lb bombs, but for training we use 25 pounders with a flash charge.   On our last bombing exercise we drop a couple of live 500 lb bombs - now that's fun!

Unlike some Canberra operators, we don't have a dedicated bomb aimer; the work is done by the nav.   At the appropriate time approaching the target John unstraps from his ejection seat (putting in the safety pins first), muscles past me and crawls down the front tunnel to the bombsight.   He's provided with a full length cushion for a tad of comfort - I tell him I'd prefer it if he doesn't have a bit of a snooze down there.

It's 1971 and the world of airborne ordnance delivery has moved forward from the late '40s era.   Aircraft are equipped with bombsights which provide a continuously computed impact point (CCIP) so that all you really need to do is to track the aircraft over the target and when the pipper is on the target you press the bomb release button.   Within reason, you can ignore airspeed, altitude, dive angle etc.   Not so with the good old Canberra:   the nav had to peer through the sight in the nose and call heading changes to the pilot to direct the jet over the target.   You had to be close to the required track some distance out, and the nav would then refine headings with calls "left left....steady" "right...steady"; until eventually "steady, steady, bomb gone"  (the nav had the bomb release button).   The pilot had to maintain altitude and airspeed accurately (+/- 20 ft, +/- 2 knots), no slip/skid using minimum control input.   Despite these limitations Canberra crews could achieve quite accurate results.

So the bomb's gone,  we get a score from the range controller and relax a bit heading downwind in the bombing pattern, preparing for the next run.   I notice if I raise the nose a bit, then do a bit of a bunt to less than + 1 'g', John rises from his cushion.   If at the same time I pop the speedbrakes the aircraft slows, but John does not!   He is propelled forwards into the bombsight.   I am reminded of Newton's three laws of motion.   My reverie is interrupted by expletives emanating from John.

Apparently I am the only one aboard amused by this activity.

Exercise complete and it's time to head back to base.   John has strapped in again and doing whatever navs do back there.   Suddenly, something hits me hard on the shoulder and bangs me several times on my bonedome.   It's John wielding his 'swizzlestick'!   He can reach me with it and there's nothing I can do!   "THAT'S FOR THE BUNT ..... THAT"S FOR THE SPEDBRAKE" he shouts, hitting me again and again.

Once again I am reminded of Newton's three laws of motion: particularly "for very action there is an equal and opposite reaction"....................       

Offline =CfC=BlueDog

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2014, 10:55:42 PM »
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Did they call the Navigators "Talking Baggage" as in the RAF?

Either that or "200 lb ballast"

Offline =CfC=Woof

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #34 on: June 19, 2014, 10:27:20 AM »
Is that you second from left, Bluey?  The really good looking young fella? :-*


I'v got deja vue all over me...

Offline =CfC=BlueDog

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #35 on: June 19, 2014, 08:48:41 PM »
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Is that you second from left, Bluey?  The really good looking young fella?

Negative, Woof.  Bluey is the extremely 8) good looking one third from left (in the photo of ancient aviators).

Anyway, where's your F86 contribution?

Offline =CfC=BlueDog

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2014, 11:56:49 PM »
On a more sobering note regards bombing in Vietnam (as distinct from the somewhat frivolous tone in my last epistle), just consider the navigator's plight during a bombing run:

The bad guys had lots of nasty anti-aircraft weapons (including SAMs) and here was a Canberra aircraft flying low level (1000 to 3000 ft), virtually non manoeuvring, bombing runs, by night and by day. The nav was out of his seat and down the tunnel towards the nose of the aircraft.   Had the jet taken a hit, he would have had to back out of the tunnel, struggle back to his ejection seat, strap in and then blow the hatch before ejecting.  All this would have to be done with (perhaps) the aircraft out of control with large 'g' forces and roll/pitch yaw motions etc to contend with.   His chances of success would have been low.

The aircraft operated up to the Demilitarized Zone and south to the Mekong delta, so the really 'hot' areas of North Vietnam were avoided (fortunately).

Nonetheless we lost two aircraft during the four years the Canberras operated in-country - both to SAMs.   More on that later...........   


 

Offline =CfC=Woof

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2014, 08:52:43 AM »
My apologies, Bluey.  My tiny brain was still in vacating mode yesterday and I missed the two previous pages.  Of course you're the gorgeous hunk with the man purse.  Blush, brush and lipstick?

And how on earth do you remember all this stuff?  I can barely recall which had steam engines and which were piston driven.


I'v got deja vue all over me...

Offline =CfC= Ax

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #38 on: June 20, 2014, 09:42:23 AM »
A delight to read and a real privilege, thankyou Bluey.

Yes Woof, you also must have had some rather marvellous and non forgettable experiences?




Offline =CfC=BlueDog

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #39 on: June 20, 2014, 11:49:59 PM »
To clear up any misconceptions, Bluey never got to exercise his extensive skills  ::) in a war environment.   

We finished our operational conversion in late September 1970 and were then put on the waiting list for our posting to 2SQN at Phan Rang.   However, the decision was made shortly afterwards to withdraw the Canberra fleet from Vietnam by mid-1971.   None of we four pilots went, however all four navs did abbreviated tours.

Still have a couple of yawnful tales to tell re the operational conversion and what followed.   So stay tuned to this station.................     

Offline =CfC=Woof

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #40 on: June 21, 2014, 08:42:03 AM »

Yes Woof, you also must have had some rather marvellous and non forgettable experiences?





Well, I had some fairly idiotic times.  Grab a bag of popcorn and settle down with Officers Club/Bush Pilot Tales/Ah, Memories (sigh).   Ten pages of much deering do from several Chuffyites.


I'v got deja vue all over me...

Offline =CfC=BlueDog

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #41 on: July 24, 2014, 10:56:30 PM »
So, back to the operational conversion:

Instrument flying was rather interesting.   As I mentioned before, the Mk1 artificial horizon suffered several errors; the most evident being an acceleration error.   Going from 0 to 90 to 100+ knots during takeoff resulted in a significant pitch and roll error on the ball, so you paid a lot of attention to your secondary instruments just after takeoff - sort of flying what was known as 'limited panel' as if the AH had failed.   You checked that you had the required rate of climb on the VSI, and that the T&S showed no turn or slip.  All a bit disconcerting on a dark night or if disappearing into cloud/mist during or shortly after takeoff.   Still, like the many other deficiencies with the jet, one got used to it and simply compensated when necessary.

Doing a TACAN (tactical air navigation) approach was also a bit of a challenge in IMC (cloud).   The TACAN system consisted of a rotating compass with a needle to give the bearing and a separate readout of distance in nm from the station (Bounder and Conky probably flew a similar arrangement with VOR/DME; Woof would have loved his TACAN).   No problem with the needle readout (although an offcourse/steering bar arrangement would have been nice); but the distance readout was on an instrument mounted close to the door - well remote from the bearing indicator and well out of the normal viewpoint of the pilot.   So, in nasty bumpy cloudy rainy weather whilst wrestling the beast and trying to fly and accurate instrument approach, the pilot had to unglue his eyes (figuratively) from his primary instruments and regularly check distance to station by looking across the cockpit towards the door.    Nicely thought out, guys.

Close formation flying was fun but had its moments.   In echelon, the position was just right if you felt the presence of the other aircraft was just sucking you in towards him.   In line astern, you approached the leader until his jet filled your cockpit view.   You prayed he didn't accidently pop his speedbrakes.  In the correct position you could just feel a slight buffet on the top of the cockpit from the lead aircraft's engines.   However, get up just a bit higher (not much) and #1's jetwash would disrupt airflow to your engines, resulting in a short duration compressor stall in one or both engines - and it then took a bloody long time to catch up to #1.   It was fun, but the heaviness of the controls made it hard work.

But the thing could move!  Fitted with the Mk109 engines, and considering it was a 1940s vintage bomber it accelerated fairly well up to max speed.   Also you could get up to a staggering 48,000 ft where the thick wing would let you swan around without fuss.   I recall having a duel with a Mirage III up over 40,000 ft - all I did was to keep lazily turning towards him, well within his turning circle and he just couldn't get anywhere near me.   Realistically though, cowardly fighters operate in pairs, and I would have been no match against two of the buggers.

The operational conversion finished with the obligatory final handling test - not that they were going to scrub any of us at that stage.   Joy of joys, I had to do mine with the CO!   Over 40 years on I can't remember how it went - can't have been all that bad, can't have been all that good.   But at least the CO didn't bring along "A Message to Garcia" as in-flight reading matter.

With us all given the tick as qualified Canberra operational pilots us course pukes were off on a celebratory journey - to New Zealand.   Panniers (cargo boxes) were fitted inside the bomb-bay to carry our bags and equipment/spares and because we were bound for RNZAF Base Whenuapi; we needed to bring along a suit/shirt/tie to wear in the Officers Mess.   Rather than put our best clothing with the other baggage we could put it in a separate bay at the back of the jet - an inspection access bay for control rods, electrical looms, fuel lines etc.   There was space and hooks available for us to hang them up there.

So off we went.    And the NZ weather was only foul, with low clouds, wind and rain.   A Ground Controlled Approaches GCA to minima (400 ft for us embryonic Canberra jocks) became a necessity; and I recall doing several before squeezing the limits just a tad and picking up the runway lights at the last moment, plonking the beast on the ground and using aerodynamic braking as much as possible to avoid aquaplaning.   We were there.

Taxy in to the lines, shutdown, put control locks and various bungs in, and get our bags and suits.  I open the access panel door and lo and behold, a small amount of fuel drops from the door.   Ooops, one of the fuel lines has sprung a bit of a leak and deposited AVTUR around the panel - and over my suit carrier!    So for the next few days I have to front up to meals/bar/mess functions smelling of AVTUR.   Our NZ hosts probably thought this Aussie had done a cheap drycleaning job on my suit;  and my RAAF 'mates' thought it was hilarious - and showed no sympathy.   At least no-one was game to light up a cigarette around me - small mercy.   

And it never stopped raining!               

Offline =CfC=Bounder

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #42 on: July 25, 2014, 03:02:40 AM »
Great write up Bluey......

I seem to remember doing VDF approaches in the 60's. The ATC controller just giving you a bearing (QDM or QDR) and with the use of a stopwatch from the overhead, you could usually find the country you were in!

I have a story about liquid spilling into my flight bag (Scotch) which I will tell sometime. Very tied up with house sale at the moment.

Bounder ;D

Offline =CfC=Woof

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #43 on: July 25, 2014, 06:03:16 PM »
So, back to the operational conversion:

Woof would have loved his TACAN)
     

No dirty TACANS for us.  Strictly radio range and gca for many years resulting in my favorite position for carnal congress being the lost orientation on the aural null,  :-*


I'v got deja vue all over me...

Offline =CfC=BlueDog

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Re: Cockpit Blues!
« Reply #44 on: July 26, 2014, 02:41:40 AM »
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I have a story about liquid spilling into my flight bag (Scotch) which I will tell sometime.

Thanks for that, Bounder ............ In my mind's eye I now have the disconcerting image of Bounder, in his hotel room, sucking on his underpants.   I have not slept for two nights!

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my favorite position for carnal congress being the lost orientation on the aural null

I know just how you feel, Woof: that uncertain sense of not knowing whether you should be going in or out!