Cold Flying - John Kelly

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HendrixsWhiteSt...
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Cold Flying - John Kelly

Great article on this month's LF by John Kelly

Thoroughly enjoyed it John (not sure if you're on the forum?) and the part about the dreadful Munich air crash in 1958 was very poignant - but I would have to take issue with the view that 'things to do with ice and snow were little understood back then'.


Even as far back as WW2 Bomber crews ( of which my father was a Nav on Halifaxes and my Uncle a pilot on Lancs) and ground crews knew full well the effect on airframes, not to mention crew safety, of icing and ice. Martin Bowman's book on the early years of the service amply highlight the problems faced on the ground and in the air, even as early as 1940 and  Hampden and Whitley crews flying without electrically heated suits suffered dreadfully and even later when the 4 engined heavies arrived the issues with ice were frequently experienced . My father wore three pairs of gloves when flying on raids ( silk, wool and then finally leather gauntlets) of which I still have his silk gloves, the others being lost when he baled out after the a/c was crippled over Dortmund in '43.

 

Golf Juliet Tango
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I look forward to reading it later. John's previous articles have read well.

Stephen

Democratic dissent is not disloyalty, it is a positive civic duty

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It's a great read and he seems a very interesting chap to boot.

'scuse me while I kiss the sky

Ivaan
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HendrixWhiteSt... Have you written up your family's story, sounds like it needs recording?

BECs Rule !
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Hi Ivan

Currently writing a book about it (publication 2021/22). Have spent a few years tracing relatives of the crew of my dad's Halifax. Some of his stuff below plus fragments from the crash site recovered a few years ago.

th.

 

 

'scuse me while I kiss the sky

Mcalvert
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A certified member of the Caterpillar Club too - wow! (for anyone not aware, membership is open for those whose life has been saved by successfully bailing out of a stricken plane by parachute.  A pin badge I'd definitely want to wear with pride!

 

Michael Calvert

Lowflying Editor ([email protected])

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Hi Michael

Yes indeed - I still have the famous caterpillar (the letter  is signed by Leslie Irwin himself).  

A researcher  in Germany has pinpointed the crashsite and sent me a Google earth grab of it. The yellow dot on the left is where dad was found hanging in a tree (broke both ankles and damaged his back) and he has the names of the two men who cut him down, he was then carted off to hospital and from there to various camps.  The wooded area was much bigger in 1943 but it was pinpointed as the spot where he was found.

The area in black is where the a/c crashed (Halifax JB869 - H) and the red dots indicate, sadly, where the bodies of John Baxter and 2 other crew were found.

'scuse me while I kiss the sky

Geoff Brown
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Civvy pilots live in absolute luxury. Different when one turns up at the aircraft &  first have to brush the snow off then either de-ice yourself or direct & supervise a stranger (often foreign) to treat the airframe correctly.

The article was excellent & brought back memories of cold weather ops. Memorably it was so cold at Goose Bay (-44c) that my external intercom lead snapped & as the aircraft was tugged out of the hangar the engines were started.

Moscow was a memorable stop with Albert in January while conducting a JACIG inspection. Three days of snow, frost, semi melt, re freeze + cold soak = 6" of ice & 2' of snow. Took two very large Russian de-icing trucks to clear the airframe. Then we had to get the engines started...........

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Yep! On the forum down here in sunny Funchal avoiding the ravages of the tempest, 10 days all inclusive at the Enotel Lido.

Thanks for all the kind remarks, very pleased that you enjoyed it and it's much appreciated as this writing thing is somewhat new - 4 failed attempts at GCE English despite the best efforts of Mr Gamson (Gammy), Mr Mather (Drac) and Mr Rottesman (Rotter) at MHGS.  Very grateful too to Michael Calvert our esteemed editor for his support and encouragement and for publishing what I wrote.

Re post 1 from HWSt please forgive me as there is a degree of artistic licence here - why let facts ruin a good story and I think I mentioned earlier that I do have a tendency to talk out of my ar*e.  What I would say about about ice though is that in my active service with BA, matters to do with runway contamination and pre flight ice removal were constantly updated as new information came to hand, particularly with the differing fluids, temperatures and dilution.

Re the books and articles on wartime experiences and the Caterpillar Club I would love to read about such things which would include not only all the techy stuff but the bravery which generally, was absent from life in a civil airline.

John.

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Hi John

Lol ! No worries it was a belting read and I enjoyed it - I think I read somewhere that a lot of the BA pilots in the 60s/70s were ex RAF Bomber Aircew weren't they? Grumpy buggers by all accounts ;-)

I respect all pilots tbh civil or not !! My old man could navigate to the target and back by dead reckoning. My sense of direction is so poor I need a compass to get out of the garden !

look forward to buying you a beer one day - have fun and please write more, thoroughly enjoyed it.

cheers

HWS

 

 

 

'scuse me while I kiss the sky

blueyedbiker
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Mmm, the majority of the captains were ex military in those days, a mix of bomber and transport pilots but hard to tell as they just never mentioned it.  Lots of DFCs on display.  All we noticed was they looked so old but then I guess everybody did.  Some were indeed grumpy, others were fun and then there were the Brylcreem Boys.

We did a bit of DR nav at flying school and it's not easy so those chaps who could do it night after night, at low level with dodgy met forecasts whilst being bounced around and shot at and with a statistical chance of surviving only 3 missions were absolute heroes.

Couple of things in the pipeline should MC see fit to publish but who knows what'll happen with all the shenanigans at head office.