Ndege - May 1969
Flight Lieutenant Alan J. Cockle
New Sarum Liaison
Flight Lieutenant G. A. Baverstock
Warrant Officer C.D. Herbert
Wing Commander A.D. Brenchley
Flight Technician K.R.C. Malcolm
Corporal Technician D.L. Whyte
Photographs by RRAF photographers unless otherwise credited.
THE COVERS were both filmed on location by kind permission of the management of La Boheme, Salisbury, and of the Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation, respectively.
The opinions expressed in this magazine are the personal views of contributing writers; they do not necessarily reflect official RRAF opinion. Unless otherwise stated, contents should not be construed as regulations, orders or instructions. Contributions are welcome, as are comment and criticism, but the Editor reserves the right to make such changes as he believes will improve material without altering the intended meaning.
All articles, designs and drawings published in this magazine are free from copyright restrictions except where expressly stated. However, should any of this material be reprinted in any other journal, Editors are requested to notify us for record purposes, and are expected to print an acknowledgement to this magazine. All correspondence should be addressed to Ndege, Private Bag 721, Causeway, Salisbury.
Ndege is published by and for the Royal Rhodesian Air Force and is printed by the Government Printer,
Hail to the Chief /farewell message
The Production Story /how Ndege is produced
The Art of Instructing/technical technique
People/ personal jottings
Spotlight on the Sections/the Radio Section
The Day of The Gun /editorial essay
FOCUS/Squadron Leader Grier
Sob Stories/accident summary
Write and be damned/the story of an SOR
The Rocket Race /a history of rocketry
Those were the days /the open cockpit
Working Girl /photo spread
Simple Spymen /histrionics at Thornhill
VR Profile/SAC Fenton-Wells
The Voice from Home/Sally Donaldson
Operation Tarpaulin/rainmaking experiments
Forum/letters to the Editor
A time of change
It is paradoxical that one of the few constant factors in life is the state of change. The advances of this technological age, the introduction of new techniques and materials, the discovery of new systems and methods; all combine to negate static or retrospective thinking. Times change and we must change with them.
The problem is one which has, of late, affected military formations to a greater and greater degree, and the ability to cope with, or even produce, change is an essential requirement in every Serviceman. We perhaps state the obvious when we point out that this Force is subject, at this moment in time, to a large number and variety of changes.
It is incumbent on each one of us to ensure that major changes for the better are effected as smooth, orderly transitions rather than as chaotic upheavals, and also that we are aware of, and able to resist, those changcs which would lend to lower our standards and detract from our performance.
By the time this magazine appears in print, the command of the Force as a whole, and of many of its Units, will have changed hands. There will have been a number of retirements, promotions and new appointments. It is not the policy of Ndege to emulate POR's in the recording of personnel changes, so we will not list all those concerned. Suffice it to say that we wish all retiring members the very best of luck in their future activity, and offer our congratulations to those newly promoted. In this connection, we must again point out that this Editorial is written well in advance of publication—and also in advance of the promotion list. We therefore run the risk of "under ranking" some of the people mentioned in this issue, and we apologise accordingly.
Those members with an eye for graphic design will notice that this magazine itself has felt the effects of change in many ways. Some of the change is experimental, and some is the result of reader reaction; all of it is intended to make your magazine more readable and more acceptable to the Force as a whole. Active support for this project, in the form of contributions, is increasing, though perhaps not as quickly as it might. It is apparent that very few people are aware of the time problems involved in the production of Ndege, and we have therefore included an article describing the process. The content and layout of this magazine can be changed at will, the better to cater for your needs and requirements—as long as we know what those requirements are. And only you can tell us.
On a more serious note, we have to report that a definite change for the worse is reflected in the accident rate for the period September '68 to February '69. As well as major damage to aircraft and equipment, the tragic death of Flight Lieutenant Annandale deprived us of a valuable and popular officer. It is again apparent that there was, during the review period, an unacceptably high level of "Pilot Error" and "Negligence" accident causes. This is a trend which must be resisted and reversed, and that process will be achieved only by constant care, concentration and total application to the task in hand. Pilot Error, in the case of those with little experience, is sometimes understandable; for Pilot Negligence, there is never an excuse.
We have, as a Force, a reputation for efficiency and expertise; for getting the job done with a minimum of money and equipment. That reputation has, if anything, been enhanced during the past few years. It is a reputation which has been dearly bought and carefully nurtured in pride of achievement. It is a reputation which will not liehtly be sur- rendered. It is a reputation which, regardless or change, must be upheld through the initiative, commonsense and devotion to duty of each one of us.
HAIL TO THE CHIEF
Air Vice-Marshal Hawkins was born in Australia and served with the RAAF throughout the war. A briefpart of his service was spent in Rhodesia and it was to this country that he returned in 1946. He joined the Southern Rhodesia Defence Forces (Air Unit) the following year and was thus a founder member of the SRAF when it was formed in 1950. He served as Air Adviser to the Federal High Commissioner in London between 1954 and 1956. He was awarded the AFC in 1951 and the CBE in 1960, and was appointed an Honorary Additional Air ADC to Her Majesty the Queen in 1961. Air Vice-Marshal Hawkins is a graduate of both the Royal Air Force Staff College Bracknell, and the Imperial Defence College, London.
He played rugby before and after the war, and has taken an active part in the administration of this sport in Rhodesia. He is President of the Rhodesian Rugby Football Union and serves on the administrative bodies of many other sports. Air Vice-Marshal Hawkins has commanded the Royal Rhodesian Air Force through one of its most difficult phases, and now retires after the statutory four-year period in office. In this, his valedictory message, he wishes the Force as a whole Good Luck AND FAREWELL.
I am not going to attempt to produce a personal memoir, and I am only going to look back briefly in writing this simple parting message. For an Air Force must always look forward; the backward look is only useful as a sort of dip into the reservoir of experience, when it can help build for the future and, of course, assist us to avoid past mistakes.
When I came here from the Middle East theatre in January 1944, the Rhodesian Air Training Group was in its heyday, and what a tremendous achievement it was; but from my personal angle, what was more significant was that I was here long enough to catch the mood and the feeling of Rhodesia. I felt an immediate affinity with this place, and this feeling has never left me. So I came back here as soon as possible after V.J. Day, and I have never regretted my decision for one moment.
The story of the post-war re-birth of the Royal Rhodesian Air Force is too well known to readers of this publication to bear repetition from me. I have been privileged to play a part throughout the various post-war stages, and over the past four years I have had the honour to be its Commander.
Perhaps the thing which has given me the greatest satisfaction in the latter period has been the pitch to which we have brought inter- Service co-operation between the Army, the Police, and ourselves. This could not have been more timely, of course, and no doubt the onset of insurgency lent the spur — if any were needed—which ensured really efficient jointness, mutual respect, and comradeship. It is something every member can continue to foster in his dealings with our sister Services, to the lasting benefit of Rhodesia as a whole.
I retire confident that the Force is in good shape, in good heart, and in good hands. I know that it has been built on the strongest foundations and I believe these to be, above all, the quality of its men and the standards which they consistently maintain. Even greater things lie ahead for it and for you, and I am sure you will prove worthy of them.
I shall retain a very close interest in the RRAF, and if I can ever assist it, or the people who serve in it, I shall be ready to do so.
Air Vice Marshal
The Production Story
Since the new format of this magazine was introduced last year, there have been many questions asked about our ability to produce, and especially, to afford, a journal of this standard. The short answer lies in our very happy working relationship with the Government Printer's department, but various factors now make it desirable that we should expand on that explanation.
The first step in the compilation of an issue is obviously the collection of material. As with other magazines of the type, it is this stage which poses the most problems. There arc always a number of standard articles such as "VR Profile" and "Spotlight on the Sections", but the bulk of the content has to be fresh material covering as wide a spectrum of interests as possible — and preferably contributed by as wide a variety of writers as can be bullied, cajoled or threatened into action. This last is an important point; although the editorial staff could write the whole magazine. it is obviously important that style and content should not become stereotyped but should reflect the interests of the Force as a whole.
During the compilation process each article received is "visualised" in a final layout form, together with the relevant photographs and illustrations. It is only in this way that the instructions to the printer about type faces, type sizes and column widths can be decided. Having assembled all the "copy" in typewritten form (which normally runs to over 100 foolscap pages containing 35,000 words) the sheets are marked up with setting instructions and sent to the printers.
Some two to three weeks later, the complete text of the magazine is received back, set out on long rolls of newsprint. These are the "proof" sheets, which are carefully scanned for printing mistakes and marked accordingly. Also at this stage, the exact sizes of all the blocks of type are carefully measured and the layout planning process begins. Starting with a blank sheet of paper for each page of the magazine, the sizes of the blocks of text are drawn in and the appropriate photographs. illustrations, captions and titles arc decided. In the meantime, the corrected proof sheets have been returned to the printers, where the necessary alterations are made and the text is again printed; this time as a "fair copy" on a high-quality paper. On receipt of these sheets, the final layout process begins.
Using the rough layout plan previously compiled as a reference. the columns of text are cut up and pasted on to blank page sheets. The captions, page numbers and titles are added with Letraset individual letter transfers and line drawings are stuck into position, but photographs are marked only by a pencilled outline. For each page which carries colour blocks, a transparent overlay sheet is prepared for each colour, with relevant areas carefully drawn and registering exactly with the master page sheet.
It is at this stage that most of the complicated juggling is required. Each magazine consists of a separate stiff cover plus 48 pages, which are printed on three large sheets of paper. Each side of these sheets, containing eight pages, is called an "imposition"; five of which are printed in black with one colour, and the sixth in black and four colours. This latter imposition carries all the colour photographs and multi-colour diagrams. The problem is that as the printed sheets are folded in a pre-determined way in the final binding process, page positions cannot be juggled once the impositions are made up. It is therefore necessary to ensure during layout that a page which requires a blue illustration, for example, is part of a "blue" imposition rather than perhaps a "red" one.
Once all the layout sheets are completed they are, together with colour overlays and black-and-white photographs cut to size, delivered to the printers for the last time Colour photographs (as transparencies) will have been delivered long before this as their reduction to printing plates is a lengthy process.
The next step, in the Lithographic department, is the make-up of the six impositions plus smaller ones for the separate cover. Individual page layouts are stuck together in their appropriate positions forming large imposition layouts. Again each colour, as well as black, has its own sheet. At this stage the photographs, processed to a series of minute dots, arc added and the sheets are photographed on to full-size film. From the film, in a rather complicated process, the final printing plates are made. These are then fitted to the presses and the final printing stage is under way. Each colour of each imposition is printed separately, which means that the full-colour pages roll through the presses no less than seven times. The accuracy with which each colour registers with the next, to make up the composite picture, is a tribute to the skill of the Lithographic department in a process which takes up to two months.
Once all of the large impositions sheets have been printed, the whole job is sent to the binding department Here the sheets are folded inside each other, the covers added and the magazines stapled and trimmed. After being packaged, they are delivered to us and distributed as quickly as possible.
As will now be realised, the production of Ndege is a lengthy and often arduous proccss. It is one which, though representing only a tiny fraction of Government Printing and Stationery's yearly output, nevertheless benefits greatly from their attention, enthusiasm and skill. It is one which produces a magazine of which the Force can be proud.
What you can do to help
This article should have dispelled the illusion that because Ndege is published relatively infrequently, there is no time problem with production. There is always a problem as an issue must be complete, as far as articles are concerned, three months before the proposed publication date. We have no wish to pressure the printers into reducing this time; Ndege is by no means their most important task, and we must take our placc in the queue The only way we can speed up issues is by reducing the compilation time by contributing articles. At the moment this stage lakes more than three months, and is started before the previous issue has been published.
Our needs are really quite simple. Wc require articles on virtually any subject, cartoons, photographs or just ideas. Material need not be in perfect English or even typewritten, it's part of the Editor's job to hack everything into final form. We particularly need material from the plumbers and from the VR. so as to cater for their respective interests.
In a previous issue we stated that we needed colour transparencies, but could not accept anything smaller than 21 inches square. We have now developed a system which can take smaller sizes than this, and would welcome 35 mm. slides on relevant subjects.
Ndege is your magazine, ralhcr than the personal property of the Editor. So don't just ask when the next issue is coming out; write something. and help us to get it to you all the quicker!
Technical instruction is a subject which often strikes dread into the heart of a pupil and instructor alike. It is also a subject in which, especially in the Forces, both principals and principles seem to be unchanging. The military instructor is, and always has been, rather different from his civilian counterpart, and his unique qualities pass from generation to generation with unruffled disregard for the march of time.
The fact that there is, to say the least of it, a definite continuity within the field gives us a chance to pass on words of wisdom from the past. An RAF booklet, published twenty-live years ago, set out to instruct the instructors in their art and, purged of some of the jargon of the day, the story went something like this:
Instructors, like Gremlins, are of many different types —each distinguished by his own particular style and method of instructing. But all of them fall, broadly speaking, into one of two main classes—good and bad. A good instructor is one who puts the gen across so that it sticks in the pupil's mind. A bad instructor is one who fails to put his stuff over, and is therefore wasting everybody's lime. For, of course, the basic definition of an instructor is someone who imparts information; the imparting is done with a definite purpose in mind, and that purpose is that it shall be retained in the mind of someone else.
It has been said that good instructors are born, not made. This is a lot of rubbish as well as being disheartening, for the truth is that good instructors have got that way by practice. Further, the percentage of natural, perfect instructors is—present company excepted, of course—negligible.
As we have said, the types of instructor are various, but from experience we like to place them in four main categories. First there is the timid and apologetic type; the sort who starts his lecture with, "I'm sorry, chaps, you'll find this a bit of a bore". Or, "You probably think this is a lot of bull, but it's in the syllabus and I've got to push it out". This type generally has the saving grace of being approachable and sympathetic towards his class; so at least he has some of the qualities of a good instructor.
Secondly, there is the aggressive type with the parade ground manner. What he says goes, sort of thing, and lie brooks no contradiction or question—though these are often necessary for the pupil's complete understanding of the subject.
Thirdly, we have the superior type whose chief aim is to impress with his superior knowledge. To instruct is an act of condescension on his part, and occasionally he is so bent on imparting information which only he knows, that he gets confused between fact and fancy.
Lastly, the comedian. Always full of fun and games, and generally overdoes it so that the work in hand suffers. A sense of humour is a valuable asset, and the odd joke is often useful to keep up the interest or to illustrate a point, but the lecture room is no place for a clown.
A VITAL PART
Instructing at the best of times, though so vital a job, is a thankless one. Be as good as you like, and still you'll seldom be praised. But you'll very soon hear about it when you're bad. It is, however, an art and, like all artful things, is full of tricks. Learn the tricks of the trade and apply them—and it's amazing how good you can become. The first point to appreciate is that instruction is a psychological process involving the transfer of facts from one brain to another. The brains which are to receive the pearls you cast among them do not always function on your super intellectual level, so you must gauge their ability as you go along, and lecture accordingly.
Remember that each pupil group is made up of different individuals who are not nearly as standardised as the uniforms they wear. Each group will have its dim-wits, its know-alls, its furtive sleepers and comics as well as its workers. Learn to recognise and classify them. Remember also that many of the junior types might not be nearly as familiar with "Manualese" as you are. Translate the manuals into simple English for them; the pupil who learns everything parrot-fashion without understanding the language is no good to anyone. Some manuals use peculiar phraseology which succeeds only in making delightfully simple things absurdly difficult. The following description of a simple mechanism, as it might be given in a Manual for Sanitary Engineers, illustrates the point:—
DESCRIPTION OF WORKING OF MECHANISM
The working of the mechanism may be briefly explained as follows.
When the Short Saw-toothed Horizontal Torque Production Beam is moved in azimuth to the right, as shown in the diagram, the saw-toothed teeth on its upper horizontal edge engage with the teeth of the Geared Sprocket Wheel. This engagement causes the Geared Sprocket Wheel to rotate in an anti-clockwise direction through a radius of movement directly proportional to the lateral movement of the Short Saw-toothed Horizontal Torque Production Beam. The rotary motion of the Geared Sprocket Wheel actuates an appropriate System of Levers which ultimately causes the Status Indicator Panel to be elevated in the vertical plane. The reverse side of the panel, being visible only through a slot aligned with its upper half, is inscribed with two legends. The elevation of the Panel in the vertical plane causes the lower half of the Panel to come into alignment with the slot, taking the place of the upper half, and thus presenting to the anxious enquirer the legend shown thus:
Similarly, when the door to which the mechanism is affixed is closed and secured, the Short Sawtoothed Horizontal Torque Production Beam is moved in azimuth to the left and the saw-toothed teeth on its upper horizontal edge engage with the teeth of the Geared Sprocket Wheel causing it to rotate in a clockwise direction and so actuate the System of Levers that they cause the Status Indicator Panel to be depressed in the vertical plane. The reverse side of the Panel will then present, in alignment with the slot, the legend: ENGAGED.
This sort of thing sounds very impressive sometimes, but it often leaves a pupil quite cold because he cannot understand it. The instructor should remember that he is there, not to impress but to create understanding. The chap who always has to turn—
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky.
—into something like this:—
Scintillate, scintillate, constellation vivific,
Fain would I fathom thy nature specific
Loftily poised in the ether capacious,
Strongly resembling the gem carbonaceous.
—has no place in the lecture room. That sort of thing is fine in the pub or in literary journals, but should have no connection with basic technical instruction.
So there it is—wisdom from the past. Will this copy of Ndege be used by some Space Force 25 years hence to hammer the point yet again?
Did you noticc how up-to-date we were with the cover of the last issue? Mere days after Fit. Lt. Barnes made his impetuous bid for glory, we had the whole thing captured in living colour. Hasten to add of course, that our version was probably a trifle more luxurious than the real thing, but nevertheless it was curiously prophetic. Best wishes to Nobby Nightingale, by the way . . .
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The word about Ndege certainly gets around — on a world-wide scale, it seems. About the turn of the year, we wrote to a USAF pilot—who had just completed a particularly nuggetty tour in Vietnam, asking if he'd care to contribute an article on his experiences. The reply came back hotfoot, thanking us for the honour but regretting that the story could not be supplied "because its publication in Ndege might prejudice the Paris pcace talks".
Whilst we appreciated that both Averell Harriman and Xuan Thuy probably dipped into their copies when they got tired of arguing about the shape of the table, we hadn't realised we were that influential. Wonder if we should put Harold on the mailing list?
* * * * *
Talking of writing for (or even to) Ndege. a survey of our mail proves interesting. Remember that monologue of Hancock's. The Radio Ham, in which he claims he's "got friends all over the world—none in this country, but all over the world"? Well, it's true of us. too. Less than 10 per cent, of our production goes to people outside the Service, yet they're the chaps who supply all the comment.
Nice to get all those jazzy letterheads into the files, of course, but wc would like the odd reaction from our own sources from time to time. Odd thing is. we get almost as many letters from the Browns as we do from the Air Force; we were surprised to sec how many of "em were avid Ndege readers. On reflection, though — when you've got a magazine like theirs . . .
Intriguing item from an RTV news bulletin shortly after the Presidential Inauguration:— "Mr. Wilson said that he wishes to meet Mr. Nixon as soon as possible. He said that there will be no discussion at the first meeting".
What with the President having (at the time of writing) said nothing about his policies, and the Emperor clearly unwilling to. we can perhaps look forward to a brighter, more constructive period in Anglo-American relations. Love the idea of that meeting, though sounds a lot like an Ndege editorial conference.
Our thanks to the handful of eagle-eyes who picked up our fluffs in the last issue. Apologies to Dr. Stoke for the plurality, and to the Rhodesian branch of the Clan Geeringh. The over-powered Hunterin Sob Stories actually suffered a double radio failure, of course, and we set out to converse rather than conserve by telephone in Desk Survival.
We do strive for perfection, but the one-armed paper-hanger we employ to do our proof-reading does go berserk from time to time. Still, as our colleagues at the Zambian Space Academy want to exclaim. "Bettah to hev tried and failed____"
Noted with interest the recent Royal Air Forcc decision to pro- mote all their VC-10 captains to Squadron Leader, on the grounds that they arc generally employed on VIP ferry duties and therefore spend most of their time hobnobbing with a variety of Wheels. One cannot escape the conclusion that Tiger, Fearless and so on obviously allccted the decision: one hopes that the boys of Air Support Command are duly appreciative of the Rhodesian contribution towards their well-being.
The whole thing has back-fired, of course. The Command Squadron Leaders are now greeted with the query. "Are you a real Squadron Leader or just a VC-10 captain?" Had a disgruntled visitor the other day who muttered that we seem to operate the system in reverse— as far as he is concerned. The poicnant question (within his hearing) is. "Are you really a passed- over Flight Lieutenant or just a member of the ---- Branch?"
"Let's see. Minister. We had an operational requirement for a supersonic strike aircraft, and you wanted us to use the Buccaneer. We rejected it bccausc it was no good for the job. and the TSR-2 was built. Then you said that the TSR-2 had been too expensive, so after having spent the money, you cancelled it in favour of the more expensive F-III, But that fell apart too often, and having wasted all that money in cancclling the TSR-2. you said we couldn't afford it anyway. So now we're bringing in the Buccaneer for a job which it can't do, and after 10 years we've finally wound up with an aircraft which we didn't want in the first place. Well, at least it keeps life interesting".
Under the heading of "Great Recruiting Campaigns We Wish We Had Thought Of First", we must salute the latest BSAP advertisements. All very professional. But what think the new recruits when they find themselves doing indelicate things to horses instead of playing darts in the pub all day?
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Then there's the saga of The Loneliness of The Long-Distance Medal. The Flight Sergeant answered the telephone to hear a youngish female voice asking for Squadron Leader-. Our hero informed the caller that the Squadron Leader was out, and asked whether he, Flight Sergeant----. could take a message. Back came the cool reply. "No thanks. I want to speak to somebody with authority — put me through to the Corporal !
Recent Rhodesia Herald article:-based around the large-scale use of air fuelling techniques which the RAF has perfected.
What a great idea! And how come wc didn't think of it first; just try slapping sanctions on that!
Our friends to the South now have a fresh instrument of torture with which to sort out aspiring aircrew entrants. Consists of a book full of Gottschaldtt Figures, which are fiendishly complicated geometric scribbles. The idea is that hidden in each one of these nightmares lurks any one of five basic key shapes, and the unfortunate candidate is asked to select which shape goes with which scribble. His ability, or otherwise, to select the correct shape presumably reveals some facet of his character or potential to the Selection Board- though which facet, precisely, is open to question. I failed a specimen test quite handsomely, as did several of my illustrious colleagues of the Air Staff—and we're some of the brightest people I know!
Brings to mind a much more valid test which used to be conducted in dark corners of Squadron crew-rooms around 1369 time. Try it yourself; throw down a copy of Flight magazine and note which page holds your subject's interest. If he turns straight to the classified Job Vacancies, there's his Service Loyalty mark gone for a chop. The chap who reads all the aircraft articles is obviously well-motivated with a fair level of professional knowledge, but is likely to be a bore at Cocktail Parties. And so on. Come to think of it. throw down a copy of Ndege instead and watch for the chap who divides his time equally between Collage and the Working Girl. Now there's your man!
Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Joubert, harking back to the Early Days, recently reminisced:—
"Though ill-equipped, I am sure that we had more fun than the modern aircrew. There were many-fewer regulations and low flying was actually encouraged — to the annoyance of farmers and land owners. It was- always possible to arrange a forced landing near some large country house where we were sure to enjoy lavish hospitality and the admiring glances of the young ladies. Bur as engines became more reliable and senior officers more authoritative. such opportunities became fewer."
Now. alas, they are non-existent; I fear that not all change is for the better.
"Well, Fred, we've got nothing to read except that captured copy of 'The Thoughts of Mao'; it says 'ere the Board of Censors won't let us 'ave Playboy 'cos it might subvert us."
PEOPLERolls Royce Trophy Winner
At the recent passing out parade of No. 21 Apprentice Course, the Rolls-Royce Trophy was presented to Junior Technician P. V. Horsburgh
The son of a British Army officer. Horsburgh started his education in India before coming to this country. He finished school at Prince Edward. Salisbury, and joined the RRAF in February. 1967. Six months later, he had completed the initial stage of his Apprentice Course and was posted for on-the-job training to Thornhill.
As a keen member of the Armament team at that Station, he was awarded an Ndege Good Show (May 1968) for averting probable damage to a Hunter. He was posted back to the GTS for the final phase of his Course, and completed the two years training with an over-all average of 84 per cent.
Jnr. Tech. Horsburgh is the first Armourer to win the Rolls-Royce Trophy, and we are pleased to add our somewhat belated congratulations on his achievement. It is perhaps interesting to note that the first apprentice to win the Trophy, J. G. W. du Toit, is now a Flying Officer and acted as Parade Adjutant for 2l's passing-out ceremony.
Flight Lieutenant Don Annandale
It is with deep regret that we record the tragic death of Flight Lieutenant Donald Annandale on the 9th January, 1969.
Don was born in Selukwe in 1936, educated at Guinea Fowl School, and joined the Royal Rhodesian Air Force in April, 1955. He was a member of the first Local Airman Recruit course, passing out as an Armament Mechanic and later as an Armament Fitter. In 1963, he was selected to attend an Officer Cadet Training Course in the United Kingdom, and was commissioned as a Flying Officer in the RRAF during the same year.
A keen sportsman, Don had a go at most sports. He excelled in rugby, representing his Station, his Province and his Service on numerous occasions when his determination, tenacity and sense of fair play were outstanding characteristics. In his later years he became a competent golfer who represented his Service with the same qualities of studied skill and sportsmanship with which he endowed all his activities.
Don always worked hard, played hard and lived life to the full. Regarded as an efficient, resourceful officer, he presented to his subordinates an attitude of calm, unassuming confidence. He will be sadly missed by the Service as a whole, and by his many civilian friends throughout the country. We take this opportunity of conveying to his family our deepest sympathy for their tragic loss.
Sportsman of the Year
Flight Technician Joe Cameron was recently awarded the Airwork Trophy for the Thornhill Sportsman of the Year in respect of 1968.
The trophy is awarded both for sports performance and for services to sport, and Joe is well qualified on both counts. During the year he represented (as a formidable, driving loose forward) RRAF Thornhill, the Midlands, the RRAF and the Rhodesian Combined Services rugby teams, as well as acting as Secretary to the Station Rugby Section.
On the basketball court, Joe has captained Station, Province and Inter-Services teams. He has been the
driving force at Station level, coaching both the Thornhill team and the local Ladies Team, which he also
In his spare time, Joe has occupied the post of Secretary to the Thornhill Sports Club. He was awarded the RRAF Honours Badge fqr Services to Sport in 1964, and the award of the Airwork Trophy is fitting recognition of his continued efforts in the field.
Warrant Officer Takaruza
Warrant officer Takaruza died at his home in the Mondoro Reserve on the 30th December, 1968.
He joined the Southern Rhodesia Air Askari Corps in 1940 and served throughout the war years, attaining the rank of Company Sergeant Major. After a brief return to civilian life, he attested into the Rhodesian African Rifles as a Private in 1947.
By 1953 he was once again a CSM, and was chosen to represent his Regiment at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth in London. He transferred to the General Service Unit of the Royal Rhodesian Air Force in 1961, to take up the senior Warrant post at New Sarum.
Before he retired in 1965, Warrant Officer Takaruza was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, and also the British Empire Medal. After retirement he joined a commercial security organisation in the capacity of training officer, and held this position until early 1968 when he contracted the illness which later resulted in his death.
Warrant Officer Takaruza was a respected, cheerful, popular disciplinarian who will be long remembered by all the members of the Defence Forces with whom he served. He is survived by his widow and six children, one of whom is serving with the G.S.U. whilst another is a third-year B.Sc. student at the University College of Rhodesia.
The above pin-up photo (what a pity the WAMS are gone) shows Flight Lieutenant E. R. "Charlie" Wilkinson with the aircraft in which he completed 2,500 hours on type. In characteristic fashion, he used someone else's aircraft for the job!
Fit. Lt. Wilkinson was born in Shanghai in 1936 and graduated through a Japanese P.O.W. Camp and Churchill School to the RRAF, which he joined in 1955. After gaining his Wings, he was posted to No. 1 Squadron, then equipped with Vampires, and was present during four of the Squadron's operational visits to Aden.
He graduated through IRE, CIRE and QFI categories to the RAF Central Flying School, which he attended in 1965. He notched up his 2,500th hour on the
Vampire in July, 1968, and since then has added one hundred more. Currently on his third ground tour, he is reputed to get more hours in, whilst officially chair borne, than the Squadron pilots get.
Fit. Lt. Wilkinson has experienced only two prangs whist amassing this total. His most recent was the "wheels-up" which was reported in Ndege of May '68, but the first prang was more interesting. Also a "wheels-up" caused by a hydraulic failure, it occurred at Thornhill whilst Group Captain Bradshaw was OC Flying. The then Wing Commander had driven out to the runway and was standing on the grass watching the Vampire's approach. During the landing slide, the aircraft swung off the tarmac and very narrowly missed the keen spectator—who is reputed at that moment to have coined the immortal phrase "Chase me, Charlie!"
The last issue of this magazine carried a story about Chief Technician Herbert, New Sarum's photographer-artist. Not to be outdone, Thornhill have sent in details of their hypo-and-oils personality.
Corporal Technician Doug Whyte's story is similar to that of his Sarum colleague. When he's not running around as a local reporter for Ndege, or producing scenery for Thornhill's amateur dramatic group, Doug spends his time seated before his easel.
He took a "distinction" pass in Art at school, but has had no formal training since then and paints merely for relaxation. He has attempted most art forms and media, and has recently progressed into the field of aircraft illustrations. The Vampire painting depicted here is a recent work which took about 20 hours to complete.
From track to 'crack'
Flight Sergeant David Dodds is a sportsman who delights in the unconventional. Gaiming to have been "useless at athletics" whilst at school, he took up running seriously only at the age of 18. The late start did him no harm, for soon he was representing his County in both track and cross-country events.
After emigrating to this country, he won Rhodesian Championships at all distances from three miles to the Marathon, and came second in the South African Marathon event. He ran a marathon over the original Greek course in 1957, and then represented the Federation at that distance in the Cardiff Empire Games of 1958.
In that year, at the age of 28, he decided that it was time for a change, and he took up riding. He became a leading amateur jockey, winning 50 races including, in 1965, the Rhodesian Grand National.
Having thus achieved another pinnacle of sporting success, he switched again and exchanged the jockey's silks for the loose uniform of Karate. Now up to Brown Belt standard. Fit. Sgt. Dodds took to the sport as a way of keeping fit both physically and mentally. The sensational "trickery" of Karate is well-publicised, he says, but not so well known is the fact that most of the sport is sheer hard work, with a drop-out rate amongst beginners of about 90 per cent.
recently enjoyed an eventful detachment to Bulawayo, about which they promised to write for this issue. And promised. And promised. However, all our efforts to extract something on paper were in vain, so we turned the problem over to our cartoonist. We dedicate this result to the eager scribes of 5 Squadron
"Okay, if you say so—it's Woodvale. But it's changed a bit since that party last night."
Spotlight on the Sections
The Radio Section
written by Flight Lieutenant E. Mitchell
Ever sincc Marconi sent his first short Morse message crackling across the Atlantic from Goonhilly Down, radio communications have revolutionised life all over the world. The phenomenon of radio propagation provides man with a virtually limitless reach around the globe and out into space; it assures him of constant access to entertainment and information, and of a relatively foolproof link with his fellow man. It enables him to keep a constant check on the world's weather; to control, remotely, many millions of unmanned machines; and to broadcast warnings and safety messages.
From the huge coils and primitive semi-conductors of Marconi's day to the micro-miniaturisation of modern electronics, the state of the art has progressed by leaps and bounds. No less impressive is the amount of knowledge which has been accumulated in the field; knowledge which is the stock-in-trade of every radio mechanic and communicator.
In the Royal Rhodesian Air Force of today, that basic knowledge takes something like four years to assimilate; a process which has created a requirement for a permanent staff of qualified instructors. The training system provides a constant supply of technicians who are amongst the most highly qualified in the Service.
The first radio tradesmen were recruited into the Service in 1948, and their duties at that time consisted of maintaining and operating Air Traffic Control radio. By 1952, the complement consisted of four Wireless Mechanics and one Signaller/Air Traffic Controller; all still concerned with very localised radio systems. Soon afterwards, however, the move from Cranborne to New Sarum saw an expansion into the field of ground-to-ground communications, and the beginnings of "Air" or "Ground" radio specialisation. In 1959 there was a further expansion with the need for radio- equipped general security vehicles.
Since then, the demands placed on the radio trades and the widening scope of their activities have ensured a steady increase in complement, and a crystallisation into definite "Air" and "Ground" divisions.
Air radio personnel deal with all the radio and radar installations which are in use as air/ground facilities. It's a far cry from gosport tubes and Aldis lamps to the present range of equipment which must function perfectly, and which therefore demands servicing of the highest order.
The Section is equipped to cope with virtually all airborne radio and radar navigation and communications equipment. Apart from dealing with fixed "standard" installations there is the constant challenge of modifications and improvements; no sooner does an aircraft arrive than the radio technicians are festooning it with black boxes and aerial cables. It is their proud boast that they can provide equipment for anything which moves, and it is only pressure of work which prevents them from having a go at the station bicycles!
Equipment is available to provide world-wide communications. should that be necessary. However, the normal activities of the Section are generally confined to the local sphere, and consist of maintaining and operating the equipment which provides voice, CW and radio teleprinter contact with units around the country.
The long range facilities were, however, recently used by the Prime Minister's party during the Tiger and Fearless talks. In co-operation with the Royal Navy, an efficient radio link was established between Salisbury and the ships in the Mediterranean area—so efficient, in fact, that the British experts were more than surprised. A senior Naval officer with relations in Salisbury used the system to send a message to them—and received his reply within the hour.
Of course, that story illustrates some of the "glamour" of the job. whereas the day-to-day work is generally more down to earth—though never dull. The field of radio communications is one in which ideas are never stagnant; there are always new techniques and new equipment advances to change the status quo. So wide is the variety of hardware, in fact, that standardisation is becoming more and more difficult, yet that variety is still not wide enough to provide "off the peg" equipment for all our needs. To cope with this problem, and to ensure that we keep abreast of the times, a design and development team has been established at New Sarum to produce specialised equipment "made to measure". The standard of training demanded by the Section is high, as is the dedication to the job in hand. And the work load, at times, is even higher. So if you trot your transistor set round to the back door for "minor repair" and find yourself rebuffed, don't think too badly of us; we're probably thinking of sixteen other things at the same time.
It is often said by Canadians that the safest creatures in the woods at the start of the hunting season are the game animals, and that the life expectancy of the average hunter during that period is less than that of an infantryman in Vietnam. Fortunately the fever of the first mad rush to kill soon abates, and only a nominal number of hunters are accidentally shot in the rest of the season. Nevertheless, that "nominal" toll accounts for over 1,000 victims throughout Canada each year.
Startling though that figure might be, it pales into insignificance when compared with American statistics. Each year, the United States suffers 20,000 fatalities and 100,000 injuries—all caused by The Gun. In Britain, on the other hand, the yearly fatalities figure is something less than 50, and Rhodesia's figure is almost negligible.
In part, the enormous disparity in these statistics can be attributed to differences in population totals; yet if this were the whole reason, it should be expected that Britain, with a population one quarter as large as the United States, should suffer one quarter of that country's casualty figures. The real cause of the disparity is not a difference in population, but a difference in gun laws which leads directly to a tremendous difference in the numbers of guns which are privately owned.
The average American citizen has been able, until very recently, to buy guns and ammunition of all kinds as easily as he buys a bar of soap. In recent years the upsurge in crimes of violence in that country has spurred a maniac internal arms race, and there are now stated to be more guns in Los Angeles than there are in Saigon. Attempts to control weapon sales by the introduction of new legislation are inevitably foiled by a powerful Congressional lobby which points to the American Constitution's guarantee that "the people shall have the right to keep and bear arms". The wave of anti-gun feeling following the Kennedy assassinations has. however, produced a ban on inter-state mail order trading in weapons; a restriction which is hardly likely to have an appreciable effect on America's problem.
At the other end of the scale, the Briton finds it almost impossible to own weapons legally—with the exceptions of shotguns and sporting rifles, and even these are very carefully controlled. Unlike the American system, all weapons which are legally owned are subject to registration, and heavy penalties are prescribed for transgression.
The situation in Rhodesia falls somewhere between these two extremes. Though retaining the requirement for strict registration of guns and ammunition, the local regulations enable the Rhodesian to acquire arms rather more easily than can his British counterpart. Certainly, we possess privately more firearms per head of population than do the British, and yet the accident problem in this country seems to be minimal. As in other areas of social psychology. the Rhodesian appears to be a level-headed, law-abiding gun-owner who is not subject to the fears and passions which often trigger American killings, or to the carelessness which breeds accidents. The factors which determine the Rhodesian record in this respect have never been professionally analysed, but it is possible to theorise that of those factors, training and tradition are amongst the more important.
In much the same way as those in the American West, the early settlers of this country carried and used arms as a normal daily function—though with one vital difference. Southern Africa seems to have avoided the tradition, and subsequent glorification, of gun-fighters; having achieved instead a tradition in which the gun is generally used for defensive rather than aggressive purposes. Similarly, the degree of familiarity with guns felt by the average Rhodesian falls somewhere between the over-familiarity which results in unthinking use. and the lack of knowledge which causes accidents. These attitudes pass from generation to generation and combine with thorough training to produce a society in which, as we have seen, the gun problem is minimal.
Yet though minimal, a problem docs still exist, and one would be naive to imply the reverse. Though serious crime involving the use of firearms is virtually non-existent, there are. from time to time, shooting accidents—and there are certainly many contraventions each year of Rhodesia's firearms regulations. The law dealing with the possession and use of weapons is set out in the Firearms Act of 1956, and under this Act there were, in 1968. 895 convictions. By far the majority of these were convictions for offences such as unlawful possession, illegal transfer or failure to safeguard weapons. On these points the Act is strict and unequivocal, but it goes farther than merely seeking to control weapon transactions. Many of its sections deal with weapon use and abuse—and lay down appropriate penalties for transgression.
Section 39, for example, provides for a fine of £50 or six months' imprisonment for the offence of "pointing a firearm at any other person"—whether the weapon is loaded or not! It is a sobering thought that most of us at some time or another will have jeopardised £50 in the commission of that offence. A similar fine is prescribed for those convicted for carrying firearms whilst drunk, under the influence of drugs or whilst behaving in a disorderly manner. Whilst this sort of legislation may appear to be unduly harsh, it must be remembered that offences such as those described are responsible for a majority of all weapon accidents.
The case of the young officer who was practicing his quick-draw technique on detachment is a case in point. When the bullet went off. smashed through a wall and grazed the forehead of a passing colleague, it provided one of the standard "funny" stories of this Force. A variation of one inch of distance or one second of time would have provided both a story of different character and an irrevocable blot on our reputation.
On the whole the Royal Rhodesian Air Force has a very good weapon accident record. But it is a record based on statistics of actual, rather than potential accidents—and in many cases that vital difference is determined only by the element of pure chance. Luck is a capricious factor on which to depend in any sphere of activity, but when dealing with firearms such dependence is criminal.
By definition, a military service deals with arms and armaments. We are perhaps fortunate that, until quite recently, we experienced an era in which arms were used on a practice basis only. But that era has gone, and the threat of continuing aggression against our country is likely to increase our personal involvement with firearms, and also to change the emphasis of their use. Whilst the survival of the nation is not in doubt, the survival of its individual components is a question for each one of us to decide. If we are to retain our record, operate efficiently and prevent accidents, we must replace the element of luck with a solid foundation of weapon discipline.
Practice muzzle control; keep the gun pointing away from your friends.
The basic rules applicable to the handling of weapons may be stated simply:
1.: Treat every gun as if it were loaded. Don't indulge in horseplay and don't wave weapons around unnecessarily.
2.: Unload guns when not in use or when handing them over to another person. And remember that "unloading" means removing that round up the spout as well as unclipping the magazine.
3.: Never point a gun at anything which you don't intend to kill. As well as being an offence under the Firearms Act, it is this crime which is responsible for most shooting accidents.
4.: Carry your gun so that the muzzle is under control at all times. That means pointing it at the ground in most cases; above all, don't carry weapons slung over your shoulder so that they point at someone in
front of, or behind you.
5.: Make sure that the barrel and action are clear of obstructions. Don't use a gun as a walking stick—barrels clogged with mud and debris may blow up in your face. Make sure that all the moving parts are protected and that they are clear before using the gun.
6.: Use the correct ammunition for your weapon. It sounds elementary, but use of the wrong sort or size of ammunition is more common than you'd think. The BSAP Armoury has a revolver exhibit with no less than eight oversize rounds jammed one behind the other in the barrel. The owner kept firing until the eighth round jammed the cylinder; he was "just lucky, for the gun should have exploded in his face before then.
7.: Never leave guns unattended or unsecured. This is another contravention of the Firearms Act—and one which often results in tragic accidents to small children.
8.: Never climb or jump obstacles with a loaded weapon. Hand the gun to someone else to pass to you, or else unload it whilst the obstacle is negotiated.
9.: Use the safety catch. It is designed for "safety" so make use of it; keep it on at all times until you need to fire. The revolver equivalent of this rule is "never keep or carry a revolver in a 'cocked' configuration".
Always check to see that a gun is unloaded before handing it over.
These basic rules apply to all firearms and all their uses: there are operational conditions under which some of them may be changed slightly, but until you experience those conditions, stick to the rules. And
remember that when in possession of a weapon of any sort, you are a potential killer. The gun is neither
intrinsically safe or intrinsically dangerous; it is the manner of its use which determines its effect.
Squadron Leader M.Grier
No. 2 Ground Training School
No. 2 Ground Training School
First of all, Squadron Leader, would you tell us some thing of your personal background?
Thank you. Now would you outline, very briefly, the task of the Ground Training School.
The school also runs the Station Publications section and is responsible for the administration of the TF trainees on the Station.
Of all those responsibilities, you would presumably rate the training of the Cadets as the most important?
Yes, that's true. Each facet of our work is important in its own right, but as I said, our prime task is the officer training of the students. They come to us having convinced a selection board that not only do they have the physical attributes necessary for pilot training, but also that they are potential leaders and commanders. Our task is to develop their talents by tuition and direction—and above all, by example.
Lecturing is the medium of tuition; direction is dependent on an accurate assessment of the student's personality and potential. And of course, unless the instructor is himself an efficient, competent officer he cannot hope to turn out students of the required calibre.
Before we leave the School itself, and talk about the broader aspects of training, would you explain your staffing system?
Certainly. Besides myself, we have two junior GD Officers who alternate as PTC Course Commanders, two SNCO's and one civilian clerical officer. One of the NCO's is the PTI/Drill Instructor and NCO Discipline, and the other is a Master Technician who lectures on mathematics and the technical subjects.
Those are the basic staff, and they are responsible for the bulk of the lecturing. We do also, of course, use a large number of extra lecturers to instruct in the specialist subjects.
Thank you. Now, you have said that basic Officer Training is your primary task. How do you set about it?
Officer Training has three main aspects. The academic aspect covers the reasons for, and the value of. discipline. This requires a detailed knowledge of military law and the regulations which control our lives in the Service—their application and the reasons for having them. In the physical aspect we insist that the students reach and maintain a high level of fitness. We encourage both team and individual sports because in addition to the obvious advantages of improved co-ordination and speed of reflexes, they offer differing opportunities for the assessment of personal strengths and weaknesses.
The final aspect is moral. The Service demands the highest standards of behaviour and integrity in an increasingly permissive society. We must develop in our students the pride we have in our Force, its traditions and its achievements. This pride, supported by a critical faculty, which we try to install should give them the ability and conviction to assess changes in society and to assimilate only those which are worthwhile.
The most important part of an Officer Cadet's training is the most difficult to define. It is the fostering of these qualities which make a man worthy of holding a Commission, and make him a trustworthy guardian of the standards and traditions of the RRAF. This aspect of training cannot be instilled by formal instruction or practical exercises; it is a constant process of acquisition which is dependent on guidance and example. That fact must be a consideration which pervades every aspect of training, every aspect of our task of influencing attitudes towards the right lines.
The Cadets' syllabus contains a Survival March. Apart from the obvious benefits of accrued survival experience, what other value does the march have?
Well, we regard it as a very important part of the syllabus. It is not purely an endurance test, although it does provide a measure of physical hardship, stress and discomfort. The basic point of the march is that it is really a team effort requiring the exercise of self discipline, tenacity, initiative and interest in the welfare of others who may not be as fit or strong as oneself. The opportunity is provided to recognise one's own limitations as well as other peoples'. Lessons learned on the march will be applied later on in the students' careers—in the sphere of man management—and, of course, the GTS staff apply observations from the march in their guidance of the students in later training stages.
Finally, Squadron Leader, what do you think of the standards achieved here at the GTS?
We're generally very satisfied, though you must remember that we are only the first stage in a long process of training. An officer's training does not cease when he qualifies for his Wings and leaves our control, so we must give him a sound foundation and framework on which subsequent Station and Squadron training can build.
Our aim is to have, as an end-product, a good officer whose decisions are based on sound professional knowledge and critical reasoning. Each student passing through our School is, in theory, a possible future CAS; in any event the standards we set and achieve must affect to a great degree the future efficiency and effectiveness of the Force.
Accident Analysis: September 68/February 69
The 34 incidents reported during the period represent a marginal increase by comparison with the same period last year, and a 70 per cent, increase over the figures for the March/August '68 dry season. The rainy months, providing both meteorological problems and the seasonal influx of birds, generally produce an increase in incident figures, and the period under review is no exception. However, although we have experienced a startling increase in bird strikes, it would be foolhardy to attribute our increased rate to natural hazards alone.
The human error factor has remained static at an unacceptably high level, and what is more important, has resulted in major damage to aircraft and equipment. Although Pilot Error causes have been reduced by comparison with the last period, the technicians are now getting into the act with servicing errors. On the face of it, No. 1 Squadron would seem to scoop the pool with a total of ten reported incidents; nevertheless only one of these was classified as Avoidable, which is a better record than that achieved by some of the other Squadrons. The stars of the show are undoubtedly the pilots and technicians of No. 6 Squadron, who went through the period unscathed.
Amongst the Pilot Error "targets" appear the now familiar set of telephone lines and an ever-present tree. A new twist was provided by the Canberra crew who. in a burst of press-on spirit, holed their own aircraft with bomb shrapnel. Fourth on the list was the Power Line Incident. The Servicing Error category covers incidents which resulted in one broken wheel, one flame-out, and one in-flight deployment of a brake parachute.
Under Operational Hazards, we encountered the case of excessive turbulence which is reported elsewhere in this issue, and suffered one nosewheel puncture. In addition, no less than nine birds died in contact with our aircraft; either there are more of them about this year or their marksmanship is improving. Whilst we would hesitate to suggest that any of these bird strikes could have been avoided, we may point out that the rainy season produces a need for a very sharp lookout in all low level flight phases.
PICK OF THE PRANGS
Take time to think
At 125 knots on a take-off run, a Hunter pilot was informed by the tower that his aircraft was venting fuel. He then asked the tower whether they wished him to abandon the take-off, and received an affirmative reply. He streamed his brake chute and applied wheel brakes; the deceleration seemed quite rapid so he did not call for the barrier, and neither did he stop-cock the engine. However, the aircraft ran just off the end of the runway—at which point the pilot turned it towards the taxi-track and closed down.
This saga has a lot in common with those newspaper brain-teasers which present you with a detective story and ask you to count the villain's mistakes. The first and most important point to establish here is that fuel venting is not in itself a hazardous occurrence—although it tended to become so in this case. Hot brake drums and fuel spillage are not a recommended combination. It has been pointed out that this aircraft could have been taken-off and flown round the circuit for a normal landing, but if the pilot thought he could stop in the space available, then he was entitled to make that decision. The manner of making this particular decision, however, has caused some comment; to have dumped it in the lap of the tower controller seems a rather peculiar course of action!
Anyway, decision made, our hero then started braking. He used his 'chute and wheel brakes, but not full flap, which would have added something to the drag effect. That he miscalculated the deceleration is evidenced by the fact that he did overshoot the runway in the end. Similarly, standard procedures for this situation call for the engine to be stop-cocked immediately; an action which, if completed, would have prevented our hero from committing his final crime. Once off the runway, he should have closed down immediately and should certainly not have turned the aircraft towards the taxi-track.
Serious damage could have resulted in a number of phases of this incident. In the event however, the aircraft came out unscathed and the pilot, nearly so. A cosy chat with his Squadron Commander served to emphasise the errors in his mind, and no further action was taken.
The incident cause has been classified as Technical Defect, the offending fuel valve has been repaired, and everyone lives to fly another day.
During a landing run on a grass runway, a Trojan pilot noticed that the nose was lower than normal, and that there was considerable vibration from the nosewheel. The aircraft came to rest without the use of brake some 300 yards from touch-down. The pilot stated that the landing was "firm" but not heavy, but the tyre, inner tube, wheel, axle and part of the suspension system were all subsequently scrapped.
A considerable amount of investigation was carried out into the circumstances surrounding this incident. There are obviously a number of factors, such as pilot technique or the condition of the landing surface, which could have been the root cause of the mishap. However, it was found that the nose wheel oleo was incorrectly charged and that shock-absorbing capacity was therefore much reduced. It is thought that this allowed the tyre to compress so much that the wheel rim struck the ground and disintegrated. The incident cause was classified as Servicing Error and steps have been taken to prevent a re-occurrence.
How low is low?
During a low-level navigation exercise, a Canberra was following the course of the Sabi River when it struck some power lines. The impact ripped away 2,100 feet of ⅜ inch cable which imbedded in the port tiptank and the fin, and trailed behind the aircraft for about 700 feet.
The aircraft returned to base and landed, during which process the trailing cable broke two telephone wires and two approach lights.
The subsequent Board of Inquiry assessed the height of the cables at the point of impact as between 32 feet and 47 feet AGL, and as the aircraft was struck on its upper surfaces it must have been flying rather lower than this. The briefed minimum height for the exercise was 250 feet AGL, and the pilot was clearly guilty of unauthorised low flying. He was found to have been negligent and appropriate disciplinary action was taken.
It is a tribute to the design virtues of the Canberra that it returned safely to base with a severe drag loading, with a fin severed to two-thirds of its width, and with 525 lbs. weight of cable still attached.
Need more drag?
On breaking into the circuit, a Hunter pilot saw his brake chute stream lights come on. The parachute had deployed and parted from the aircraft, and the aircraft landed safely with no further incident.
The parachute deployed because of a Servicing Error in that the drogue cable was found to have been incorrectly stowed. Although no damage was done on this occasion, and the complete parachute assembly was recovered, a serious mishap could have resulted, given different circumstances. Unexpected brake chute deployment in the final approach phase of a flight might well have very serious results.
For those concerned, AP 4347J, Vol 1, Sect 2, Chap 2 makes illuminating bedtime reading!
Bird bites Hunter
During a low-level flight phase, the pilot of a Hunter heard a loud bang and assumed that he had had a bird strike. A quick visual inspection revealed what appeared to be a blood smear on the starboard outer drop tank. A slow speed handling check was carried out, and the aircraft returned to base. On arrival, it was found that the tank had been extensively holed; damage which was obscured from the pilot's vision by the inboard drop tank.
The impact of the bird had shattered the phenolic asbestos skin of the tank, leaving a hole approximately four square feet in area. The moral which comes out of this story is that the pilot was absolutely correct in reducing speed and returning to base after the impact. Seeing only what he believed was merely a blood smear, he might have been tempted to press on with the exercise, in which case more serious damage to the tank, and possibly the aircraft, might well have resulted.
At this time of the year, we expect the odd dent and scratch from bird strikes, but biting great chunks out of our aircraft is carrying the war too far! The encounter was classified as Operational Hazard —Unavoidable.
Who's to blame for no flame?
A Vampire pilot was engaged in practising aerobatics when he rolled the aircraft inverted at 12,000 feet and started a bunt manoeuvre. A few seconds later, total engine failure occurred. A recovery to normal attitude was effected, the throttle was closed and a very work- manlike forced landing was completed at Thornhill.
The cause of the flame-out was found to be a circlip, in the Fuel Collector Box, which was wedged between the gravity-operated Clack Valve and its aperture. This caused the fuel level in the collector box to drop below the level of the opened valve, resulting in fuel starvation and the flame-out.
It was theorised that some unknown person was responsible for losing the offending circlip in the vicinity of the collector box, and was then guilty of failing to search for it. The incident was therefore classified as Servicing Error—Avoidable.
The fault would not, of course, have affected fuel flow during normal "right-side-up" flight, and there has been subsequent speculation as to why the pilot did not attempt a relight rather than deciding immediately on a forced landing. He states that he preferred the latter course because he had no idea of the flame-out cause, and because he was in easy reach of Thornhill for the forced landing. As it happens, he had no indication of engine failure and an attempt at relighting would have been the correct (and successful) course of action. However, the mild reproof on this score was balanced by a "good show" comment on the forced landing from his O.C. Flying.
In a recent SOR dealing with a bird strike, it was suggested at Station level that as this was a normal and inevitable hazard about which little could be done, SOR action need not necessarily follow. A comment appended farther up the line pointed out that unless SOR's are submitted, there is no way to keep accurate and detailed Flight Safety records. Strange as it may sometimes seem, periodic checks are made of SOR's, and trends are noted and published in safety bulletins. Quite apart from enabling the CFSO to keep a tally of bird deaths, the statistics pinpoint areas of weakness in servicing or aircrew training, consistently faulty components or poor design. The compilation of such statistics is vital to the safety of our flying operations, and therefore it is essential that SOR's are completed whenever appropriate.
There is also a human factor which tends to complicate the problem. However blameless an SOR originator may consider himself to be, there is always the fear that some chair bound aviator with lots of time to think may just pick enough out of the report to be able to criticise. The answer here is that the CFSO has generally been through it all himself and should understand the problems of rapid airborne decision-making. But it is, nevertheless, his job to point out other people's mistakes—not because he merely enjoys being pontifical, but because bringing general attention to those mistakes is supposed to make repetition unlikely.
The case of the Hunter pilot who overshot the runway is typical of the system. He submitted his SOR which bounced back at him in due course in the form of the aforementioned chat with his Squadron Commander, but no real blow to his pride was struck. On the credit side, however, both he and the Squadron in general should have learned something from the incident—and that something could well save a life next time.
We won't go on at length on this theme, because the subject is emphasised in "Write and be damned" else- where in this issue. Just bear the main point in mind: SOR's must be submitted for each and every untoward flying experience.
WRITE AND BE DAMNED
The paperwork of Flight Safety is detailed and often complicated; so much so, in fact, that it sometimes defeats its own purpose by deterring aircrew from reporting what they consider to be "marginal" incidents. The need for all the detail is obvious; it is only when all the facts are produced that the lessons of a given incident can be analysed.
Yet those forms are a deterrent; and there's lots of work involved in getting them filled in and typed; and when they are processed there may be some embarrassing questions to be answered; and it's not as though the safety of the aircraft was really endangered—so why bother, after all?
The pilot who adopts that sort of reasoning is not such a rare bird: some of us'are just too apathetic to bother about reports, some consider that our particular incident cannot possibly have any further Flight Safety application—and some are deterred by having been "bitten" before.
Flight Lieutenant P. J. H. Petter-Bowyer of 7 Squadron could well have been an example of that last category. Earlier in his present tour, he was involved in a very minor mishap with some well-concealed telephone wires strung across a bush LZ—and duly submitted an SOR. hoping thus to bring the telephone wires to the attention of other pilots. He was very surprised to hear subsequently that the accident had been classified as "Pilot Negligence stemming from over-confidence", and to find himself censured for the episode.
It is not the purpose of this article to examine the justice of that incident, but merely to point out thatone of the results was to produce a somewhat cautionary attitude towards SOR's in Petter-Bowyer's mind. When, therefore, he was involved in another potentially dangerous incident in February, he thought twice about taking reporting action. In the event, he came to the conclusion that the situation he had experienced contained some important lessons which should be passed on, and he submitted an SOR which contained the following report. The actual place names are not relevant to the story, and have been deleted.
The Pilot's Story
"On Wednesday, 5th February. 1969, I departed from A to fly direct to B. The meteorological forecast was obtained at 1330 hours for a 1400 to 1600 period. The predicted weather was isolated thunderstorms with south-westerly winds at 10 to 12 knots.
"Diversions for the flight were planned, and it was intended to return to A if the fuel state was less than 550 lb. at a pre-determined check-point.
"I took off at 1400 hours and set course in an ESE direction for B. At 1425, a large storm was encountered, moving north-east at about 30 knots. I altered heading to pass the storm to the north-east and experienced severe turbulence at about two miles in the line of advance.
"At 1500 hours my fuel state was 600 lb. and I was still 10 minutes short of the pre-computed fuel decision point. A very long line of storms lay parallel to, and port of. my track. I elected to hold my heading, believing that 1 was on the rear side of the storm line. The forecast wind direction and the movement of the first isolated storm confirmed this belief in my mind.
"Ten minutes later I was in the area of the fuel check- point, and decided that the fuel was adequate tocontinue to B. I had been flying in calm conditions for some minutes, but then encountered mild turbulence and sudden drift conditions.
"Cloud conditions at this point were light stratus and cumulus above me. with rain falling about two miles away to port. The drift became excessive and the heading/track difference was soon approximately 40 degrees. 1 noticed some low cloud about half a mile to starboard which looked like cumulonimbus roll cloud. Realising that I was now flying on the advancing side of the storm line, and possibly between a Cb and roll cloud. I elected to do a 180 degree turn and divert to an LZ close at hand. However. I found that there was now heavy rain falling behind me. and I was committed to maintaining the original course. By 1512, the drift was still excessive and the degree of turbulence increasing. Within a remarkably short space of time, rain was falling all around and below the aircraft, which was itself, however, flying in a dry area.
"Turbulence became so excessive that on one occasion the aircraft descended from 1.500 ft. AGL to 200 ft., in spite of maximum power and reduced speed. As soon as the sweeping rain level was reached the aircraft rocketed upwards at 3,000 ft. per minute with power reduced to 20 per cent. Air speed varied between 110 and 40 knots in spite of a constant attitude for 60 knots being maintained.
"From the moment I had tried to divert to the time I eventually cleared the storm. I realised that high winds and rain would probably make landing more hazardous than continuing. The storm was cleared at 1525. at which lime a position check showed that I had progressed 10 nautical miles along the track but had drifted 23 miles off it.
"Once well clear of the storms, a landing was made to check for possible damage and then the flight was continued to B without further incident."
OC Flying Comments
Such was the stirring tale; it is obvious that the aircraft encountered the rolling effect which often precedes a storm line ("Surf in the Sky"; Ndege. May '68). The phenomenon was the subject of much detailed comment from the OC Flying Wing when the SOR was submitted:—
"Many years of meteorological observations supported by valuable data obtained from aircraft flying through thunderheads on experimental sorties, and increased information obtained from flight recorders and other accelerometer devices have assisted aircraft designers to establish a reasonable "average" maximum gust velocity upon which to base aircraft structural design. This figure is not the highest gust velocity that may be possible in nature, and this is occasionally confirmed by aircraft sustaining "permanent set" or even total structural failure when flying through thunderstorms.
"The developed thunderstorm is a complex and highly dangerous phenomena as far as aircraft are concerned. It does not follow any set pattern. Severe vertical and horizontal wind shears can be expected, and the thunderhead's direction of travel cannot be predicted in spite of the general wind direction. The pilot's report gives a good indication of how rapidly he found himself in adverse conditions where he experienced severe turbulence and vertical wind shear.
"Had he been in a fixed wing aircraft he would have experienced greater discomfort from turbulence because of the necessity to maintain a safe margin of speed above stall. The loads resulting from varying gust intensities at a given speed will vary in different aircraft. As an example, a Dakota operating at an all-up weight of 25,200 pounds at 184 knots and encountering a 30 ft./sec. gust, will experience a load factor of 2-98G. If a gust of the same intensity were to be encountered at a speed of 220 knots, the load factor produced would be 3-42G which is over the design limit load factor, and which could cause permanent set, but not failure, of the various components of the structure. Alternatively, if the Dakota were being cautiously flown at 110-120 knots, it could encounter a 45 ft./sec. gust without risk of producing loads that might cause permanent set. This same gust, if entered at any speed above 200 knots, would produce a load factor which could result in destruction of the aircraft.
"For interest, a 45 ft./sec. gust amounts to a speed of 30 m.p.h. Some of the larger hailstones recovered have been of such a size that the vertical force of wind to sustain them in suspension, until their weight over- comes the drag force, has been calculated to be in the region of 200 m.p.h. Even if this figure is in error and on the large size by 100 m.p.h., the remaining gust velocity, if instantaneous, will easily cause load factors to exceed the design limitations of our Dakota, Trojan, Baron and Alouette III aircraft.
"This incident raises a question:—'Do our pilots leave themselves enough room to manoeuvre when they are flying around thunderstorms?' It is possible that because the vast majority of our storm clouds are average to below average as far as potential airframe fatigue is concerned, the experience gained by pilots has given them a false idea of what safety margin to allow, particularly for the 'above average' Cb. "The pilot is to be commended for taking reporting action on this incident and it should be circularized to all Squadrons as a reminder of the dangers involved."
Well, the report is circularized, and deservedly so. As our article in Ndege of May '68 pointed out, this particular weather phenomenon is rather unusual in this part of the world, and for that reason some of us may be ill-prepared for it. If we have now learnt the lesson (and it is to be hoped that we have!), we have to salute the commonsense of a pilot who, though once bitten, was not twice shy—and who wrote his SOR anyway.
From the Chinese official Wan Hu, who incinerated himself during the first recorded attempt at manned rocket flight in 1520, to the equally inventive and more successful Werner von Braun, rocketry has played an increasingly important part in man's attempts to propel his weapons, and himself, through the air. It was not until the Second World War, however, that the full potential of rockets became apparent. Every major belligerent power made some advances in this field, but it was the Germans who made the greatest progress in....
THE ROCKET RACE
(Rocket Technology, 1930/1945 by Brian J. Ford)
Ancestor of the Katyusha and Nebelwerfer: a Mongolian rocket battery of the late 13th Century, developed by the Chinese
The war was. in many ways, responsible for a dramatic change in rocket technology. In the 1930s the subject was, if not ignored, certainly widely misunderstood and underestimated by the majority of informed opinion; developments took place in irregular, uncoordinated leaps and the whole subject was more the province of the eccentric inventor than the serious scientific investigator. Today of course the scene is very different indeed. The rocket is part (in some senses a mainstay) of our civilisation, and the technology of rocket development and design has become one of the foremost branches of scientific advance.
It is easy to imagine that progress would have been inevitable even without the stimulus of the wartime effort—but there is evidence to the contrary. In the first place, rockets were first used in war many centuries ago (they were well documented in the 13th Century—and rockets for less war-like purposes date back certainly well over 1,000 years), but without any startling progress in principle being made for literally centuries on end. And secondly, it is worth noting that the German A-4 (the V-2 rocket) was still used by the USA as its most successful space vehicle for research as late as 1952—the American scientists had to use one of their former enemy's weapons for their own research!
So we can see the importance to the history of rocketry of the Second World War. Earlier rockets had been no more than simple "fire-propelled" charges or flimsy, experimental rigs designed to test an idea. It is believed that the first recorded use of rockets in war was in 1232. when the Chinese fired propelled arrows at invading Mongols. Roger Bacon gave a good formula for the propellant gunpowder in the early part of the 13th Century and the Paduans (1379) and the Venetians (1380) used rockets extensively in war. Indeed, it was as long ago as 1520 (or thereabouts) that a Chinese Government official named Wan Hu built an apparatus made of kites, fitted with a saddle and a battery of rockets at the rear—truly the first rocket vehicle. Mr. Wan, sadly, was blown to fiery pieces in the attempted launch.
In 1802 a British officer. Colonel William Congreve, began to study the use of rockets in war. and a few years later the first Rocket Troop—175 men in all—was formed. By 1815 the Americans had followed suit with the formation of ten rocket batteries; and later William Congreve was knighted for his enterprise. His book on rocketry published in 1814 was the first work of any detail on this subject. Then, following the use of rockets in ship rescue (they were used to secure a line aboard a stranded vessel) the Frenchman Le Prieur produced a rocket that could be fired from an aircraft— the first air-to-ground missile. The Horace Farman F40P biplane was later fitted with racks of five of these rockets on each side of the fuselage.
The father of the rocket, in its theory at least, was the Russian Tsiolkovsky who—in 1903—had designed a hypothetical liquid-fuelled rocket powered by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. He also expounded the principles of the multi-stage rocket. Later, in America, the physicist Robert H. Goddard made several experimental liquid-fuel rockets, many of which flew in the late 1920s to heights of several hundred feet.
Though it is not widely realised, the Russians made similar progress at about the same time. In 1929 a petrol-and-air motor was tested by the Russian designer Tsander. and by 1935 a 10-foot rocket (very like the V-2 in appearance) fuelled by paraffin and nitric acid, had been developed and successfully fired. However, it was the Russian Katyusha rocket, a solid fuel device, which came to prominence in the war. rather than their larger missiles. The standard model was 5 inches across, 6 feet in length, and weighed just over 90 pounds—half of that was the warhead. The rocket was feared by the Germans, and it was used with devastating effect during the war years.
Britain: Advisers to the USA
Work in Britain during the years immediately before the war was far greater than is generally realised—indeed, the USA sent specialists to learn British rocketry techniques as part of the American effort later in the war. British research and development first produced a 2-inch rocket propelled by cordite. Both the inner and outer surfaces of the charge burned during firing, which kept the exposed surface area relatively constant and prevented the risk of premature explosion; the warhead itself was protected from the heat by a special compound of sodium silicate and ground aluminium. Tests were highly encouraging, and by late 1940 a large 3-inch version—which could be fired in volleys of up to 128 from a pad known as a "projector"—was brought into service. But of course there were many problems to overcome, and the organisation of such a rocket battery had to be developed experimentally with virtually no previous tactical experience to go on. Accordingly, on May 20. 1940. in the back room of a public house at Aberporth in Wales, a meeting was convened under the command of the Ordnance Director, and it was decided at that discussion that the rockets should, in principle, be used as a routine measure against aircraft. Within weeks the Greenwich firm of G. A. Harbey had been appointed to the task of mass- producing the "projectors", and by September over 1.000 had been manufactured.
The following month. Duncan Sandys (then a Major) took control of the experimental battery and organised a rocket section to defend Cardiff with the 3-inch rocket. and the first German plane was brought down on April 7. 1941. By the end of 1941 there were three such batteries (known as "Z" batteries) in existence, one at Aberporth for training (where there is still a missile testing range) and the other two in operation around Cardiff. Later, pioneer radar, radio-command, and order-of-battle prediction apparatus was assembled on the nearby Penarth golf course, and the UP-3, as the rocket became known, was intensively studied and modified, eventually emerging as a 6-foot rocket with a lethal radius of nearly 70 feet. Within a year—by December 1942—there were 91 batteries in existence, despite persistent enemy raids which twice razed the factory producing the rocket fuses.
At about this time, the British produced the first of their air-to-surface missiles, a modification of the 3-inch rocket, nearly 6 feet in length and capable of a speed of 1,000 m.p.h. By 1942 they had been developed to operational stage, and although their use was confined to naval warfare (particularly against submarines) they were a very successful development. In 1943 the army, which had been investigating the potential of a 5-inch rocket. 6 feet in length, decided to turn the idea down as impracticable and in the tactical sense superflous. However, realising that it could be used to backup assaults from amphibious craft, the Navy acquired the interest instead and began production of the six-unit "Mattress" projectors for use at sea. They were used, with devastating effect—particularly on the morale of the enemy forces—in the landings on Sicily and Italy which followed. Further trials at Sennybridge. also in Wales, encouraged the army to change its mind during the following year, and a "Land Mattress" went into production which was used by the Canadians when they fought for the Rhine and Scheldt rivers.
It was towards the close of the war that the most enterprising rocket was developed; the so-called "Stooge". This was designed specifically to attack enemy aircraft, particularly (as it happened) the Japanese suicide squads, and was a 740-pound. 10-foot-long. radio-guided missile with a range of some 8 or 9 miles. It had a top speed of 500 m.p.h. and carried a 220- pound warhead.
An English scientist. Dr. Lubbock, also did some experimental work on liquid-fuel rockets which came to nothing in practice; although the British were left with such a fund of knowledge and so wide an experience of solid-fuel devices that after the Pearl Harbour attack the Americans sent specialists to study British techniques. Subsequently a British pilot plant for production of fuel was sent to the USA to help with American developmental research.
America: One step behind Germany
Quite apart from their co-operation with the British later in the war. the Americans had of course carried out much original development in the earlier years and. although they did not make such impressive practical strides as the German rocketry teams, they did much work in a greater range of devices than is generally realised. For instance, it is perhaps surprising to realise that by the end of the war the US Navy alone had over 1,200 factories engaged in rocket production in different ways.
Almost certainly the first really successful American missile was one of the smallest: the bazooka. It was in December 1940 that development began, largely to find an answer to the insurmountable problem of recoil when an armour-piercing shell was fired from a portable gun; so fierce was the equal-and-opposite recoil that it seemed impossible to design an anti-tank weapon which could be used by the individual soldier on the battle-field. But of course a rocket propelled missile would overcome all these problems, since the motive force is generated during flight and is not due to the massive reaction of an exploding cartridge. As a result the 3½-pound, 21-inch rocket was developed and this, fired from a 7-inch tube, was capable of being carried by a soldier and fired from shoulder-height in battle. It is said, incidentally, that the device derived its title from a sardonic description applied by an unimpressed major who witnessed the first demonstrations of the prototype. "Recoilless gun?" he is reputed to have said. "It looks more like Bob Burns' Bazooka to me!"—so the name was born, and it has stuck ever since.
The bazooka in war was a formidable weapon: it could knock out a tank at over 200 yards, and was effective against stationary targets (emplacements, etc.)at up to 750 yards.
Subsequently (and after a period of Air Corps opposition which was only overcome by witnessing the results of British experience in the field) similar but slightly enlarged rockets were developed for use in aircraft. One of the most popular was a series of devices 4½ inches in diameter, some of them with a range of several miles, and a slightly smaller rocket (3½ inches in diameter) was also developed as a test vehicle for proximity-fuse experiments. Later a larger version—7½ inches in diameter—was used for heavy bombardment on land. Then 20-tube "Whizz-Bang" launchers, and 24-tube "Grand Slam" launchers were fitted to tanks, and later a 120-tube launcher—the "Woufus"—was fitted to landing craft. These missiles had a range of only a few hundred yards and a speed less than 125 m.p.h., but they did prove effective for their specialised purposes.
Two other Air Corps developments in 1943 were less successful. The first of these was a "hydrobomb", a kind of rocket torpedo which would propel itself through the air and then through water to its target by means of conventional rockets—but this idea was soon abandoned as impracticable. Another plan was for a rocket-assisted bomb which—because of the boost in speed it received in flight—would penetrate heavy armour. This idea, too, was dropped; however, the experience gained in its development was used in a navy project. At the time too many enemy submarines were escaping because the pilot overshot his target; by the time the attacking aircraft had sighted the submarine and released its bombs, they were usually too late and so overshot the submarine harmlessly. The navy therefore decided to develop a retrorocket which would slow a bomb and allow it to fall straight down on to the target—this was, in many ways, the same principle the Air Corps had already developed, and after modifications the idea became reality. The last submarine to be sunk in the war, on April 30, 1945, in the Bay of Biscay, was destroyed by one of these weapons.
The USA also developed, during the later years of the war. what proved to be the largest airborne rocket (fired from an aircraft in flight) used in battle. This weapon—as is often the case—was incongruously dubbed "Tiny Tim" and was a 10-foot missile carrying 150 pounds of TNT, and designed for attacks on bunkers. It was fired by a length of cord which triggered the ignition sequence when the rocket had fallen a few yards below the aircraft that released it. It was a crude method of firing; too crude in some ways, as the first test—in 1944—resulted in the rocket demolishing the mother-plane entirely. The crew was killed.
Air-to-surface missiles also made an appearance in the American war effort; one, the "Gargoyle", was developed from a glide-bomb and was fitted with liquid-fuel motors when it went into production in 1944; but it missed the war, and ended up as a postwar test vehicle. The "Bat" was a long-range radar-guided weapon nearly 12 feet in length and capable of speeds of 3.000 m.p.h. It had a range of 20 miles, but also arrived too late to make any significant impact on the progress of the war.
It is not generally known that the French, during the period of occupation, also made some small progress in rocketry by the development of liquid-fuel prototype rockets at a secret base in Lyons. This was given the title of Service Central des Marches et de Surveillance des Approvisionnements (literally: Central Service for Markets and the Control of Supplies) and developed a perfectly workable LOX (liquid-oxygen) petrol-ether motor which was fired experimentally in 1941. During the tests one of the rockets disappeared and was never found; it apparently flew some 20 miles from Le Renardiere and landed—but the occupying troops do not seem to have made any record of finding it. It was probably just as well.
"The Rocket Race" originally appeared in Purnell's History of the Second World War, and is printed by-kind permision of the author, who holds the copyright.The article should not be reprinted in other publications without his specific approval. Part 2. dealing with German and Japanese rocket developments, will appear in the next issue of this magazine.
BOTH ENDS OF THE SCALE
1. Explosive warhead
2. Guidance systems
4. Helium (to prevent oxygen and alcohol from exploding)
5. Oxygen tank
6. Refrigeration tanks
7. Alcohol tank
8. Oxygen feed pipe
9. Alcohol feed pipe
10. Hydrogen peroxide tank
11. Steam generator
12. Pump (driven by turbine)
13. Steam turbine
14. Steam outlet pipe
15. Fuel injectors
17. Fuel coolant (alcohol, which is heated and mixed with oxygen)
18. Combustion chamber
In the notorious German A4 V-2", shown in cutaway at left, the rocket war reached its technical zenith; but at the other end of the scale were rocket weapons which either saw longer service or which were equally important in the fields for which they were designed. Some of these are shown below
The Russian Katyusha missile was invariably used in mass. The full salvo did have an unavoidable scatter', and a considerable part of its effect was on the morale of both Soviet and enemy troops; but Katyusha salvoes amounted to a vast concentration of firepower
The British developed the 2-inch AA rocket to supplement their anti-aircraft gun barrage, and the rockets were intended for use against low-flying bombers. Like the Katyushas, the British
2-inchers were fired from batteries known as projectors'
Developed as an air-to-surface weapon,the US 4-5-inch missile was soon pressed into service as a ground-to-ground missile, fired from tanks, trucks, jeeps; and it was also used by the US Navy in pre-landing softening-up bombardments
The British 3-inch followed the 2-inch into service, and by the end of 1940 3-inch batteries were being used alongside the heavy gun defences in the UK. The rockets were fired from batteries of twin- barrelled launchers in salvoes of 128
The US 'Mousetrap' was introduced late in 1942 after the US Navy had asked for an anti-submarine bomb similar to the British Hedgehog'. For this sub-chaser role they were grouped in batteries of four, and scored many kills against both Japanese and German submarines
The British Stooge' rocket was a winged missile introduced to combat the Kamikaze menace. It had a power plant of four rockets, was guided by radio control, and had a range of 8 miles
THOSE WERE THE DAYS
The days of the open cockpit, though almost gone, are not forgotten, and there are still safety lessons to he learned from them. In "The Tale of a Tiger", Sqn. Ldr. J. M. A. Parker, RAF, presents a candid account of a casual approach which so nearly resulted in disaster.
Air Vice-Marshal Bentley's short story on signalling serves to remind us that life way not all beer and skittles—hut certainly the Art of Airborne Conversation seems to have been lost!
Once upon a time there was a jet pilot with some 2,000 hours. He reckoned the game was on and one day a friend of his, who shall be called Wee Jock (because he now works in Flight Safety and must remain anonymous), offered to lend him a Tiger Moth for a week's joy-riding. After a moment's thought (fly the girl friend), a complicated briefing (five minutes) and handover of a postdated cheque, the deal was confirmed and all that remained was to collect the Tiger. There was a minor snag here in that the aircraft was at Nottingham and the jet pilot lived at Elstree. It was arranged that a friend of Wee Jock's should deliver it, provided he could be flown back to Tollerton.
All went well, save for some small delays, and at seven p.m. of a lovely September's evening our jet pilot landed at Tollerton to drop off his ferry pilot. Because he wanted to get home (Elstree airfield closed at eight) he didn't stop the motor, and. with one eye on the fuel gauge, shouted
"Have I got enough fuel to get back?"
"Plenty," said the ferry pilot and disappeared rapidly towards a sign that said laconically "Pilots" and beneath it "Bar".
At this stage the fuel gauge on top of the main plane showed half full. It was one of those glass tubes poking up in the breeze with what looked like a nail rammed into a cork floating in it.
Our jet pilot blasted off the green grass of Tollerton rolling into a steep turn past the hangars as he set course for home. He tucked his scarf into the borrowed Irving jacket and whistled a snatch from "The High and the Mighty".
It was a really lovely evening and levelling off at 3.5 on quadrantal the patchwork fields were spread out like a carpet below. The engine purred along and Leicester, Market Harboro' and Northampton went peacefully by wrapped in their protective hazes.
The fuel gauge now showed ¼ full and there wasn't much fuel to be seen in the little tube.
For the first time our jet pilot began to wonder how greedy was the little motor humming away merrily up front there? A lightning calculation showed thirty miles to go, with Cranfield coming up on the beam. To divert or not? Pilot's Notes were not available for range calculations, and so, in the best manner of fighter pilots, he decided to press on and land on the fumes if necessary.
Cranfield went by and now Luton came up and the fuel gauge still showed ¼- full. "Got it made " thought the pilot and let down to 1,500 ft. to get under the Zone. He felt a little guilty about flying over Luton at that height, but considered it justified in the interests of being right on track and getting back on time.
Squarely over the middle of the town, with a delicate and faintly apologetic cough, the engine stopped. The fuel gauge still showed ¼- full.
Our pilot thought of relighting (no button), ejecting (no handle), pumping the throttle (no response). Looking round (the mind now quite full of adrenalin) there was just one chance. A football field, bordered at one end with a line of poplars and at the other with a railway embankment, was to hand. With the greatest of good luck and a lot of rudder our jet pilot put the Tiger neatly between two (active) football pitches. It was immediately surrounded by an enthusiastic crowd of junior footballers, teenagers, motorcyclists and one park attendant. It was a little bit like Yuri Gagarin arriving at London Airport except that Yuri didn't show his obvious relief at being on the ground again.
Bidding the largest youth to keep his contemporaries away from the Tiger, our aviator walked over to the main road which ran alongside the railway line. Not 20 yards from the entrance to the field was a B.P. petrol station, still open. An attendant, who didn't seem at all surprised to supply petrol to the Royal Air Force, obligingly filled up two 5 gallon jerry cans with 70 octane, and offered to do the refuelling. This took a total of some 20 minutes.
The Law now arrived and insisted on seeing the aircraft's registration book, etc. Fortunately, this appeared to be up to date, and. apart from a cautionary "the last of these here aircraft I attended was in a hole, Sir", he appeared satisfied. He proved invaluable in controlling the multitude, which had now grown to resemble the 5,000, and in soothing the park attendant who was muttering about his grass. The engine, with the Law sitting on the tail, started on the sccond swing. Over its smooth tick over he said that during takeoff he would hold back the crowd, which was still swelling. By this time it was growing dusk, the field looked very small and the railway embankment very high. However the alternative was a night stop with unwelcome publicity, so our aviator decided to try for Luton Airport (about 5 miles away) and spend the night there.
". . . said he would keep back the crowds during take-off!"
All went well, but the Law was a little time shooing back the crowd, so that, once airborne and comfortably over the embankment, night had practically fallen. The street lights stood out beautifully but unfortunately there was no sign of Luton pundit or runway lighting. For the second time our pilot wondered if he had done theright thing.
After some stream-lined thoughts (head for London Airport?) reason prevailed and a black patch in an area of light simply had to be Luton airport. Circling it, a glimmer of light was seen from a concrete runway and our pilot prepared for his first night landing in a Tiger Moth. It was decided to land on the grass, as the edge of the Westerly runway could be seen from about half a mile on finals. The grass itself was as black as pitch. At about 100 ft. all the lights came on (the Law turning up trumps again with a flash call to Luton ATC) just in time to enable our aviator to fly round the ILS hut and arrive bumpily and thankfully on terra firma. From there it was plain sailing: muttered apologies, payment of a landing fee, did I know Flight Lieutenant "X" at Shawbury? —a call to Elstree and Uxbridge ATCC and a lift to the station.
The Jet Pilot has been back to that football field and he finds it hard to believe his own story. However, the mistakes made were so numerous and so glaring that they overcome a poor memory and periodically come back to haunt him. Have you counted them all? I have, because I made them.
Signalling was an Art
Round about the early or middle 1930s, a few of the aircraft of the Royal Air Force were equipped with singularly unreliable radios, but the great majority had none at all. As communication between aircraft was, nonetheless, considered essential, we had to resort to manual methods of signalling.
For the passage of messages, all aircrew were officially introduced to an inspired signalling method called "Zogging". The two aircraft concerned would fly side by side in loose formation and the sender would extend his left or right arm, as appropriate, vertically downwards over the side of the cockpit to indicate his desire to send a message. The receiver acted likewise to indicate his willingness to receive, and the whole procedure often made formation flying most interesting!
The actual message was sent in a form of Morse code. The arm raised, fist clenched, to the shoulder and then dropped to the horizontal, signified a "dot", whilst arching it down to the fully extended indicated a "dash". This performance was continued until each word was completed, when the receiver raised and lowered his clenched fist to confirm reception. This system was, of course, slow and crude—and sometimes extremely rude—but it did provide a means of communication when no other existed.
Another manual signalling system was related to formation flying, and was used to convey the formation leader's wishes to the rest of the gaggle. The signals used were all obvious and self-explanatory. An intention to fly straight ahead was indicated by a fore-and- aft movement of the hand. A turn was signalled with the appropriate arm fully extended a la Highway Code, and decisions to dive or climb involved vertical swooping motions with the palm of the hand. "Close formation" entailed the placing of the palm on the head, whilst waving both hands across the face meant "Break Formation"—and occasionally a few other sentiments besides!
In every case, the leader's signal was repeated by the crews on either side of him, and so on down the line until the outer crews were seen to be waving acknowledgement. At this point, the manoeuvre was duly initiated. A formation of nine bombers handled in this way was, to say the very least, majestic.
With the introduction of the Gauntlet, in the latter '30s, and the consequent increase in speeds to over 200 kts, manual signalling began to present problems. One Flight Commander of a Gauntlet Squadron, attempting to signal a loop to his formation, promptly dislocated his shoulder, and from this time onwards the system seemed to fall into disuse.
Sweet SUE hails from the Midlands; from The Rising Capital of Gwelo, in fact. She's very reticent about all the vital statistics, but you don't need the measurements to appreciate the form, and you can accept the age as being "under 21".
Sue is in her final year at the University of Cape Town, where she is majoring in French and Fine Arts. Our photographers are a bit short of French, but they claim to have learnt a lot about Fine Art on this assignment.
After graduation Sue intends to take a look at Europe before returning to Rhodesia to teach. Those of you who would like a closer acquaintance with our Working Girl are advised to take up swimming, literature and dressmaking, for those are Sue's hobbies, too.
The entire company of actors and back-stage personnel assembled on the set of Simple Spymen.
The big grin in the centre is worn with some justification by Producer Barney Barnes.
Way back in 1963 Flight Sergeant "Barney" Barnes, who was then a civilian living in Marandellas, got involved in a local attempt to stage "Simple Spymen". Although the production never came off, Barney was so impressed with the play's potential that he kept his copy of the script with an eye to the future.
An opportunity presented itself last October when Barney interested an odd assortment of Thornhill bodies in the idea, and assembled them for a preliminary meeting. After some discussion, it was decided to produce the play at Thornhill—the first such local effort since 1961.
Flight Sergeant Barnes was elected producer, the parts were cast, and rehearsals started at a rate of two a week. The tempo increased towards Opening Night, and the rate went up to six nights per week as time ran out faster than the problems were solved. In the manner of the theatre, the final dress rehearsal was catastrophic, but all turned out well in the end.
The play opened on Thursday, 28th November, to an over-capacity audience—and to tumultuous applause at the final curtain. There were two more scheduled performances on Friday and Saturday nights, and then came the wait for the newspaper criticisms. The Bulawayo Chronicle described the production as "asmooth, sparkling and well-timed show which . . . brought sheer joy to Gwelo audiences", whilst the Gwelo Times declared that "the playing would not have disgraced London's Whitehall Theatre, the home of the farce".
So much for the experts, but the reaction amongst the general public was no less enthusiastic; two further performances had to be staged during the following week to satisfy the demand. So successful was the whole project that some thought was given to the possibility of presenting the show in Salisbury, but postings problems intervened and the idea had to be dropped—this time!
As well as being something of a "smash hit" on the local scene, the production provided a valuable boost for deserving charities. The Midlands Children's Home, the Mayor of Gwelo's Christmas Cheer Fund, and the Station Commander's Benevolent Fund each received a large percentage of the profits with a smaller amount being donated to the Gwelo Theatre Building Fund.
"Simple Spymen" has proved that RRAF talent can compete, and can provide entertainment of a high standard, given the determination and hard work required. It is to be hoped that we may be able to continue the Thornhill reputation for good amateur dramatics.
D. L. Whyte
Steven Dudley Fenton-Wells was born in Bulawayo in 1924 and was educated there until the age of 14, at which time he was accepted for a Junior Cadetship in the Royal Navy.
He started life at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, in 1939 and completed three years of Cadet training before being posted to the Mediterranean as a Midshipman. After six months' sea service, he was transferred to the Fleet Air Arm for flying training on Tiger Moths, Masters and Grumman Martlets before being awarded his Wings in 1943.
Until the end of that year he flew Seafires off converted merchant ship "Woolworth Carriers" in the South Atlantic, on convoy protection duties. He was then posted to a Photographic Reconnaissance unit, and flew Spitfire 16's on PR duties until D-Day. The Invasion saw another change in role, and he found himself flying Spit 12's on interdiction and ground- attack duties against enemy airfields and road and rail traffic—and anything else which moved!
He was shot down in Normandy in July, 1944, and received injuries which necessitated hospitalization in Britain. Some four months later he was sent back to Rhodesia for extended leave, and here he stayed for the remainder of the war.
He resumed his Naval duties in 1946, and then took the opportunity to go to Southampton University the following year. He gained a degree in Zoology in 1949 and was then involved in the Korean War, flying ground-attack Corsairs off H.M.S. Ocean and the Australian carrier Sydney in addition to operations from Korean airfields.
Another move took him to the Middle East where, once again, he changed roles. Operating out of the southern ports of Cyprus, and later from the Canal Zone itself, he navigated LSTs around the Eastern Mediterranean during the Egyptian unrest of the early fifties.
In 1953, he left the Navy after 14 eventful years and 1,850 hours of flying, and returned to Rhodesia. He started civilian life as a Pest Control Officer in a job which required considerable research in the field of entomology. For the past ten years he has been employed as an agronomist with a large fertilizer manufacturing company, and has been involved in Lowveld
development for most of that time.
SAC Fenton-Wells joined the VR in August, 1967, and was selected earlier this year for Officer training. Thus, 30 years after entering Dartmouth as a Cadet, he once again achieves that status—though with just a spot of excitement alone the way!
For one special hour each Saturday afternoon, members of the Defence Forces, in the Valley and elsewhere, tune in to their own radio programme of music and personal messages presented by a cheerful, enthusiastic voice from the Salisbury RBC studios. The programme is Forces' Requests, and the voice that of Sally Donaldson.
"Calling Corporal Van der Merwe of the RRAF, who is somewhere in the Bush. Jim, your message comes from Mum and Dad in Bulawayo, and from your girlfriend Janet, and they all wish you .. .."
Each week for more than a year, Sally Donaldson has brought to "the boys in the Valley" the music and messages sent in by their families and friends. Each week she acts as the vital link with "home"; compiling and presenting a lively, balanced programme of record requests especially for servicemen in the field.
The Forces' Requests programme is by far the most successful of its type in the history of Rhodesian broadcasting, with an average of 400 letters a week pour- ing in to Broadcasting House, Salisbury. The series started on 2nd September, 1967, when "Aircraftsman" Keith Kennedy read out all the 39 requests received—and the following week there were 300 requests! "Since then", said John Baldwin, Director of RBC's English Service, "the response to the programme has been fantastic, and we get many more messages than we can broadcast."
After Aircraftsman Kennedy's tour of duty the programme was run briefly by Barry Shepherd, and Sally took over early in 1968. Apart from a short break, she has run it ever since.
Sally was born in Bulawayo. and started her career working as a Programme Operator behind the scenes at RBC. Bulawayo. After two years in the job, she transferred to the Salisbury studios, working there for a further two years before taking a working break in Britain. On her return, she had what she describes as a "whirlwind romance", and started married life back in Bulawayo.
For a 10s. bet. Sally attended an audition run by RTV for the purpose of finding new announcers. She got the money and the job. and soon she was appearing regularly as an announcer and hostess of the Bulawayo "Tonight" programme. A few months later, Sally's husband was transferred to Salisbury, and once again she became involved with broadcasting from the capital city. This time, the job was with a commercial organisation, producing advertising and "package" programmes for the RBC. And so to Forces' Requests.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
As with all programmes of its type. Forces' Requests is compiled some time before the actual broadcast. and a considerable amount of work is involved in putting the whole thing together. Sally spends about eight hours in sorting out the mail and compiling lists of requests and records, for each hour of broadcasting. The process starts anew every Tuesday, when she collects from Broadcasting House the large bundle of the week's letters and postcards. The first step is to sift through all the requests to establish which are the week's most popular records; as there is time on the programme for only 14 pieces of music, Sally chooses them on a majority-of-requests basis. Which means, of course, that the lad whose Mum has asked for "In a Monastery Garden" is likely to lose out — as far as the music is concerned.
He will, however, still have a good chance of hearing his message, for Sally tries to ensure the fairest possible coverage in this respect. Each programme features about 150 messages (just count 'em up next time!), and Sally keeps a list of all the recipients, week by week, so as to ensure that that glamorous RLI Corporal with hundreds of girl-friends doesn't hog the whole thing every week. So having sifted out all those recipients who starred on the previous programme, Sally makes a lucky dip of the rest and eventually establishes her list of messages.
The next step is to edit the relevant post cards or letters so that they can be read on the programme with no loss of time. The longer, rambling messages are reduced to a reasonable length (and you'd be surprised at how much some girl- friends can cram on to one postcard!), and others are re-written into legible form, where necessary. All the requests are then split up into blocks of 10 or 11, and linked to an appropriate record for final broadcasting. As far as possible, and within the limitations imposed by having only 14 records, Sally tries to put each message into the right record group. "If some of the boys don't get quite the right record on their request", she says, "they're losing out in the fairest possible way. and we do try to group them with a similar music choice when possible."
Sally told Ndege that she finds Forces' Requests one of the most rewarding programmes she has ever undertaken. "With some kinds of broadcasting", she said, "you never really know who's listening or whether you're getting across to them, but when I'm reading these messages for the Forces, I know that every word I say means something to somebody. The boys are doing such a marvellous job out in the Bush, and it's a great pleasure to be able to do something for them in return."
She added that she hopes to continue with the programme indefinitely — a sentiment which is, without doubt, echoed in Messes, barrack-rooms and tents all over the country. As long as the requests keep coming in, Sally will be there to sort them out and broadcast them. She'll make sure that your request goes into the bag. and she'll spend a lot of time picking the music and messages in the fairest possible way.
So if your request comes over without the chosen record — or is left out completely — don't shoot the announcer; she's doing her very best!
Messages for inclusion on the programme should be addressed to:—
— and posted about 10 days before the required broadcast date. Requests should be written clearly and legibly on postcards, not letters. Recipients should be identified by name, rank and unit only, and no indication of actual loca- tion should be included. And good luck, Van der Merwe: we'll be listening . . .
OUT AND ABOUT
Lights to order
One of the newest developments in lighting was recently announced by the Sylvania Corporation in America. Called "Panelescent" lamps, the units consist of a plastic layer a few millimetres thick, which is bonded to a metal backing. When switched on, the plastic provides a cool, uniform light without glare, and it is claimed that the monochromatic output has no effect on night vision.
When applied to a suitably thin base, the unit can be bent or twisted into any required shape and can be built into virtually any piece of equipment. Because of its unique construction the plastic element can be bonded to any metal shape which can be stamped out. Other claimed advantages are great savings in weight, power and cost, and increased durability.
Currently in use with the NASA space programme, Panelescent lighting should become standard aircraft equipment within the next decade.
Smoothing the image
The latest idea in the field of high-speed photographic reconnaissance is a device which combats the effects of vibration and turbulence. It consists basically of a gyro system which is linked to a bellows unit fixed in front of the normal camera lens. The bellows are sealed at each end with optical glass plates and filled with alcohol; the net effect is to form a supplementary"lens" which can be squeezed to produce an infinite variety of wedge or prism shapes.
During a photo run, each individual turbulence shock is sensed by the gyro unit, which instantaneously produces an "equal and opposite" signal to the bellows. The effect is to produce an appropriate wedge shape in the bellows "lens" which will bend light rays, from the selected target, back into the camera. Thus the target is photographed continuously, regardless of the degree to which the camera is waving about in the turbulence.
During the recent rainy season some important airborne rainmaking experiments darkened Rhodesian skies. Squadron Leader G. L. Pink and Flight Lieutenant D. R. Doig explain in this article, and describe the contribution of technical skills and expertise which was made by RRAF participants.
It is unlikely that the untimely end to the cricket match pictured above was caused by ''artificial" rain, though it is a fact that some of the precipitation in the Salisbury area of late has been man-made, in a sense.
Perhaps it was the lack of first-class cricket fixtures (which normally guarantee a good downpour); perhaps the witch-doctors had failed to appease the Rain God. Chaminuka; or perhaps it was simply a general pressure rise resulting from volumes of hot air rising over Africa—whatever the reason, the 1TCZ and its associated rain belt made a very poor showing in Rhodesia during the 67/68 season. It was apparent that if the 68/69 season did not produce substantial rains, we would have on our hands a drought of major proportions.
The effect, on the agricultural sector and on the economy as a whole, of the prospect of such a drought, was such as to give cause for grave concern within Government circles. A number of discussions were held at Ministry level, and it was decided to conduct cloud seeding experiments to examine the whole subject of artificial rain-making. The Chief of Air Staff, in consultation with the Ministry of Defence, agreed to make an aircraft available for the project, and Government funds were allocated. A Committee on Co- ordination of Cloud Seeding Experiments (COCCSE) was established to control the project, which was given the code name Operation Tarpaulin.
The Mechanics of Seeding
Before discussing the experiment in detail, it would be as well to examine the mechanics of cloud seeding and discover what actually happens. Clouds vary in type and size, depending on the conditions which cause their formation, but it is only the Cumulus (or heaped) cloud which is suitable for seeding. Cumulus clouds are formed when moist air masses are lifted over terrain obstacles by prevailing winds, or when the air masses arc heated by the earth's surface and start to rise. As the mass rises, it cools to below its Dew Point and the water vapour present condenses out into water droplets. These droplets form on condensation nuclei existing in the form of dust, soot or salt particles.
The speed at which any one of these droplets falls through the air is dependent on size—to the everlasting confusion of disciples of Galileo! The terminal velocity of a droplet of 0.5mm diameter is about eight feet per second. A 2mm. droplet falls at about 19 feet per second, and a 5mm. droplet at just over 26 feet per second. It will be seen from these comparatively low terminal velocities that it requires only a moderately strong upward air current to suspend droplets within a cloud. Before a cloud can produce rain, therefore, the droplets have to reach such a size that they can no longer be supported by up draughts.
The process of increasing in size is accelerated by freezing and subsequent coalescence. Unfortunately, water droplets can still exist in liquid form at temperatures well below freezing point, and they generally require some form of nucleus on which to freeze. It is often a lack of these "freezing nuclei"—not to be confused with condensation nuclei—which prevents a cloud from producing rain. Cloud-seeding projects, therefore, set out to provide artificial nuclei which accelerate the freezing stage and allow the resultant ice crystals to grow to such a size that they become too heavy to support within the cloud. They then fall out of the cloud mass, and melt back into water droplets which fall to earth as rain.
A number of different chemical compounds have been used in cloud-seeding projects around the world, including dry ice and common salt. But silver iodide was chosen for the local experiments because this substance had been found effective under Australian conditions which were very similar to our own. Silver iodide crystals are dissolved in an acetone solution which is then pumped into a burner, atomised and ignited. The resulting "smoke" consists of numerous tiny particles similar to snowflakes, and these form the freezing nuclei. The seeding process may be carried out either at the top of a suitable cloud, or at the base. The latter has proved to be more effective bccause the strong updraughts carry the nuclei up through the cloud, producing an even distribution above the freezing level.
At the first meeting of the COCCSE the conduct of the experiment, and the method of gathering statistics on the results, were discussed. It was generally agreed to use what was termed the Target and Control Area method, which involved the establishment of a wide network of rain gauges within a selected target area, which was sandwiched between two control areas. Suitable clouds within the target area would be seeded on a random basis, and comparisons made between rainfalls in the target area and the control areas. The system provided the advantage of the use of historical records, since rainfall during the experimental season could be compared with rainfall during previous years. Having agreed upon the basic system, the Committee ordered the burner equipment and sent a Met Officer to Australia to study current techniques. Following
his return, however, the whole pattern of the experiment had to be changed.
Advice received from the Australian experts suggested that more conclusive data on results would be achieved by seeding single selected clouds under conditions of careful observation. The system involved the seeding of a cloud and then the measurement of rainfall at its base, and the comparison of rainfall with that from similar, but unseeded, clouds in the area. The method appealed to the Committee, but the major disadvantage was the necessity for special measuring instruments which would have to be fixed on the aircraft. The principal device used had been perfected at Farnborough, and drawings of it were obtained from Australia. Called an "impactor", it consists of a box containing a motor-driven roll of thin metallic foil which travels past a slot open to the airflow. As the raindrops strike the foil, they cause a number of permanent dents, from which can be ascertained both the size of the droplets and the amount of rain experienced. In addition to the impactor, it was decided to use some device which would collect the rain into a reservoir within the aircraft.
Benjamin Disraeli had a few harsh things to say about statisticians, though he seems to have been more concerned with their honesty than their acumen. Wonder what he would have said had he been at one of the early Operation Tarpaulin meetings. The statistician present had been listening intently, and had all the principles clear in his mind—except for one nagging problem.
"What happens," he asked, "if the wind is blowing the cloud so fast that the aircraft can't catch it?"
Disraeli was quite bright—even if his Canal did finally get the chop.
Although both data-collecting instruments could have been purchased, the costs would have been prohibitive and the delivery times unacceptable. In time honoured fashion, therefore, the ball was cunningly passed to STSO, who found himself with the responsibility for local manufacture. Although, as stated, drawings and photographs of the instruments were available, there was a noticeable lack of comprehensive specifications. However, the Technical staff recognised the challenge to their ingenuity, and with typical aplomb, undertook manufacture of equipment and fitment of all components well in advance of the rainy season.
The technical problem
The task facing the technicians was considerable, involving the manufacture of the vital measuring instruments from scratch, and extensive modification to the aircraft. The size of the job dictated that the equipment should be fitted semi-permanently, and so Dakota 7307 was chosen, christened "Chaminuka" and handed over for modification.
The Burner System consists of two streamlined pods into which the silver iodide/acetone mixture is pumped, atomised and mixed with an air intake, before being ignited. The pods were mounted on pylons which were fitted on each side of the rear fuselage. Rear-view mirrors were bolted in front of the pods so that the observers inside the aircraft could keep a check on the 12-inch flame which indicated correct burner operation. In addition, thermocouple switches were located on each pod to provide an electrical indication of temperature.
The burners were fed from a 14-inch gallon Reservoir Tank fitted inside the aircraft. Double-walled and vented to outside air so as to prevent fume leakage, the tank was fitted with appropriate pumps, cocks, contents and pressure gauges and the flow control panel. All of this equipment had been supplied from outside the country, and was fitted with a minimum of technical hardship; but meanwhile, a number of brains were battling with the measurement devices.
This typical strip of used recording foil shows the circular time markers along the centre, heavy rain impressions at the left, and impressions from lighter rain towards the right.
As stated, the principal instrument of measurement was to be an Impactor, for which only sketchy drawings and specifications were available. After a period of trial and error. Chief Technician G. Harvey eventually built an excellent impactor from an unlikely variety of bric-a-brac. A truck windscreen wiper motor supplied the power, gears were salvaged from some obsolete radar equipment, and the Radio Section provided a rotary solenoid. Numerous extra parts such as cams, spools, shafts, bushes and the casing were specially manufactured on Station.
The basic principle of operation is that the Impactor allows raindrops to pass through a shutter-controlled aperture and "punch" an impression on a strip of aluminium foil which is moving over a corrugated roller. Initial calculations indicated that a shutter cycling time of 6.25 seconds combined with an "open" time of 0.4 seconds, should give the best measurable results without saturating the foil with impressions. However, the Meteorological boffins found that saturation was occurring in very heavy rain, and asked that the "shutter open" time be reduced to "somewhere between 0.34 seconds and 0.35 seconds'*. A fairly tall order, to say the least! But the brains went to work again and produced an electrical timer circuit which enabled the shutter time to be set at exactly 0.346 seconds. A solenoid plunger was added to punch a time marker on the foil to indicate the 6.25 second cycles, the whole thing was waterproofed—and the Impactor was complete!
The next task was the construction of the Collector, which was designed to gather actual amounts of rain- water for subsequent measurements. This project was turned over to the Safety Equipment Section, who started manufacture with an unserviceable DF Loop housing. A 5½-inch opening was cut into the front, and a fibre-glass lining was fitted to funnel the collected water away. The device was mounted on the top of the fuselage in the astrodome position and connected by a length of rubber tubing to the Navigator's position. The rainwater which entered the Collector was separated from the airflow and fed down the tube into small plastic bottles for subsequent measurement.
Finally, the aircraft was fitted with a number of oxygen points for the crew, for the Met. observers who were operating the equipment, and for a photographer. All of the manufacture and modification programme was now complete—and well before the target date.
After a number of meetings between Met. Department and RRAF representatives, the method of operation was finalised. It was to be the weatherman's responsibility to decide each morning on the chances of a fruitful flight. In the event of a "go" decision, the Squadron prepared the aircraft and arranged a take-off to coincide with the time of optimum cloud development. Once airborne, the senior Met. observer selected a cloud for seeding and the team swung into action. The cloud was photographed and then seeded near its base; a wait of about 20 minutes was then usually sufficient to allow the silver iodide nuclei to spread throughout the cloud mass and produce rain at the bottom. At which point, of course, the aircraft flew through the precipitation with both measuring devices gathering data. Finally, the cloud was again photographed to determine the degree of "decay", and the aircraft moved off in search of further suitable clouds on which to repeat the process.
It must be emphasised that the objective of Operation Tarpaulin was to produce statistics on the rain-making process, and not merely to produce rain itself. At the time of writing, the final results are not available and we cannot arrive at definite conclusions regarding the success of the operation. It is, however, obvious at this stage that the experiments have been valuable. It is also possible to say that some of the clouds seeded have produced up to nine times more rain than they might have been expected to produce naturally. There are grounds for believing that "Tarpaulin" may well turn out to have been an unqualified success, and that the experiments could be of great value to the country as a whole.
Whilst we are unaware of any cricket matches which may have been washed out by Chaminuka, there are undoubtedly some people somewhere who were caught in an unexpected downpour during the operation. To those, we apologise; but after all, they did suffer in the National interest!
Pardon my splash
The fact that boffins do not have a monopoly on absent-mindedness is occasionally humorous in the proving. Witness the case of the AOC who was making a pre-war Annual Inspection of the RAF base at Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Being truly amphibious, Felixstowe possessed both a traditional runway and a large chunk of water for its seaplanes. It was in one of these latter craft that the AOC expressed most interest, and in due course a flight was laid on—with a rather junior officer as the authorized driver. In the way of all flesh, the AOC was soon throwing the seaplane around the sky himself, with the r.j.o. looking on. Which was fine until the AOC decided it was time to return, and started an approach—to the runway!
When the r.j.o. pointed out that seaplanes are normally landed on water, the AOC hastily handed back control. Haunted by the possible implications of his mistake and by the lurid press headlines which could have resulted, he was full of apologies up to the lime the aircraft came to rest—and was still apologising when he stepped out of the side hatch into sixteen feet of water.
Phoenix into Ashes
by Roland Beamont
Wing Commander "Roily" Beamont has been in the thick of British aviation for many years; his name has, for over two decades, been synonymous with test flying; and his book has been eagerly awaited. Phoenix into Ashes is the story of his life, and of the lives of the aircraft with which he was associated. Covering the thirty-year period during which British aviation survived a World War, rose to heights of undisputed leadership, and was then reduced to minimal proportions by a succession of apathetic Governments, the book provides a fascinating history of the age. It is, of course, a history seen through the eyes of one man, and coloured by his experience, his triumphs, his disappointments and frustrations.
The book is divided into three separate parts of which the first is Beamont's personal story of the war years. As a fighter pilot, he flew Hurricanes through the Battle of Britain, and then Typhoons and Tempests until he crashed and was captured towards the end of the war. In typical fashion, he writes virtually nothing about his captivity, but discusses the aircraft of the period with analytical clarity. He never flew the Spitfire operationally. and spends a considerable time exploding what he obviously considers to be the myth surrounding that aeroplane. He claims that the Hurricane, and particularly the Tempest, made just as great a contribution towards the final Victory.
Part 2 of the book deals with the bulk of Beamont's career as a test pilot; the field in which he is perhaps best known. In 1948, he was the first British pilot to fly at the speed of sound, and later was also first to fly a British aircraft at twice that speed. He nursed the Canberra through its first flight and the subsequent test programme, and it was his demonstration of the aircraft which largely persuaded the Americans to buy it.
In 1954 it was the turn of the P 1/Lightning, and again Beamont took the aircraft through the factory- to-acceptance stage. Again the tension, the excitement, the triumph and the satisfaction of test flying is apparent behind the author's factual account of the project. In a pilot's book written for pilots. Beamont quotes many of his own "knee-pad" test notes, and also many of the comments and appraisals of the P 1 from other sources.
The last section of the book sets out to describe the triumphant, and yet utterly tragic, end to Beamont's career; the saga of the TSR-2. The story is told from the inception of the project to the moment it was cancelled by a Government which also ordered all proto- types, jigs, tools and equipment to be destroyed. As in previous criticism of that decision. Beamont confesses himself baffled by the real motive. He does, however, make it clear that the cancellation was not on grounds of cost, and goes so far as to say that had the RAF officers involved been firmer (possibly to the point of threatened resignation) with the politicians, the TSR-2 would today be in Squadron service.
Phoenix into Ashes provides another glimpse of the muddled, chaotic mess which is British aircraft procurement; it is a glimpse which, though now familiar to many, is still of consuming interest to aviators every-where.
SCREEN A CIRCUIT
The silk-screen printing capability at New Sarum has already saved the initial cost of materials many times over. During the past eighteen months, tens of thousands of items have been produced and new uses for the process are being developed continually.
Printed circuit boards, in wide use in modern electronic equipment, are relatively expensive, and are produced commercially only for set circuit patterns. New developments at Sarum overcome these problems and allow our boffins new freedom in designing circuits.
The basic wiring pattern is drawn, photographed, produced on a screen stencil, and then printed with etch-resistant Ink onto a copper-covered laminated board. After drying, the board is dipped Into a solution which removes all the copper except that covered by the Ink. The ink is then removed in a further process, and component fixing holes are drilled or punched. The result Is an accurate, cheaply-produced printed circuit—' and one further step towards self-sufficiency.
Letters to the Editor
While I agree basically with the points raised in Fit. Lt. MacGregor's interesting article on examinations. I feel he has over simplified the issue. On the assumption that he is mainly concerned with officers' promotion examinations. I would say that in addition to ensuring that the candidate has done his homework and is familiar with the syllabus, they should also set out to show that he is able to express himself clearly, and that he is capablc of original and creative thought. This, of course, can only be gauged from essay-type examinations of reasonable length.
The Ballard system of examination (which has been advocated, but never fully accepted, by educationalists for the past 50 years) is a sound one provided its limitations are recognised. Rather like a crossword puzzle, you are either right or wrong. There is no measure for the near miss, or being on the right track, and no room for a partial mark. Being simple, the system is also open to abuse; for example, it is easier for the prospective candidate to learn the questions rather than the syllabus. Let's assume that a question bank of say 200 questions on Air Force Law is compiled (in itself, a lengthy and exacting operation) and 50 of these are used for each examination. After three or four papers, candidates stand a better than 70-30 chance of success by having only an outline knowledge of the subject plus a study of previous examination papers. Study in depth and a sound understanding of the subject are not essential for a pass with this
As regards multiple-choice questions; the setting of this type of paper is not as easy as it appears. One of the main drawbacks is the difficulty of ensuring that the candidate who is quick on the uptake does not guess the right answer merely because the others are so obviously wrong.
The Ballard system cannot be denied as a quick and easy method of assessing the candidates' surface knowledge, provided sufficient ques- tions are posed. As a more penetrating alternative, however. I would advocate the short answer type of question that has been used successfully in the Technical Branch for some years. These questions may require an answer of from two to 50 words, and 50 such questions can be answered in three hours comfortably, bearing in mind that even a slow handwriter can push out 20 words per minute with little difficulty. The short answer question does require more thought on the part of the candidate, and it also provides freedom for explanations. rather than a straight yes or no answer. On the general subject of examinations. I would like to see an Ndege article of preparing for and writing examinations, which I think would evoke much interest.
From the preparation aspect, for example, it has often struck me as ludicrous that a candidate studying Current Affairs will read every snippet of information on the subject. but seldom attempts to write anything about it until he sits down in the examination room. Then there is the problem of the vague question which commands the candidate to "expand" or "describe briefly". How great is expand; how short is brief? Is the candidate's interpretation of these terms pan of the examination process—or is there perhaps a need for more standardisation amongst examiners?
This letter was written by a New Sarum Flight Lieutenant whose name is withheld for very valid
reasons. An article on examination techniques would certainly he worth considering — would anyone care to write one?—Editor.
In your profile on Sqn. Ldr. Westwood you state that 616 Squadron were responsible for inventing the Gremlin. This is not so; the Gremlin was, in fact, sired by the R.F.C. out of Beer sometime in the 1914-18 war. The generally accepted story goes like this:
One evening in a Mess in France, a young Lieutenant of the R.F.C. was opening his sixth or seventh bottle of Fremlin ale. As there were no crown corks in those days, the corkscrew was the equivalent of the modern "Rhodesian spanner", and our slightly-drunken hero was having trouble wielding it. His bottle was subject to considerable shaking, and when the cork finally gave way. a geyser of beer shot up to the cceiling. The startled chap is reported to have exclaimed. "Good God. there is a Gremlin in the bottom of my Froblin!"
The Gremlin, in time, became the R.F.C.'s standard excuse for all kinds of finger trouble, and now has a permanent place in flying mythology.
In passing, your readers might like to know that there was another amusing flying hazard in those days when rates of climb and maximum ceilings were poor. This was a sub- stance known as "Spandules" — a kind of aerial sea-weed which was met at 9,900 feet and finally became so thick that it was completely im- penetrable at 9,999 feet! I understand that it is still occasionally encountered by heavily-laden Daks at 14.999 feet!
Our thanks to Mr. Eaton for lightening our darkness. We have it on good authority that he learnt the story at the knee of his Godfather who was an R.F.C. Camel driver, and should know!—Editor.
S and T Regulations
As a member of the Force who is fortunate enough to escape from the confines of my home base occasionally, I would like to raise a few points about our vastly improved S and T regulations (Ndege, November '68).
The first point is that when one is visiting a foreign base—or for that matter, another unit of our own Security Forces—one is an ambassador for the RRAF. As such, one is often involved in the expense of reciprocating entertainment; an expense for which the regulations contain no provision for recovery. Whenever this subject is raised, there is always a cry of "Fiddle" from our enlightened desk wallahs. However, I am sure that their remarkable knack of providing safeguards could result in some system of easing the load on those of us who try, in some small way, to repay the hospitality which is heaped upon us by our hosts.
The second point I would like to raise is that of meal claims. I find that I am frequently flying during the meal-times as laid down in regulations, and therefore miss both the meals and the opportunity to claim for them. Being a man of no small appetite, however, I make up the deficiency at the next meal—a process which inevitably oversteps the prescribed maximum amount, and is therefore not claimable. Surely if a man is considered worthy of £X of food per day, then he should be paid that amount irrespective of whether he eats it in one, two or three meals? Under the present system, the individual is virtually encouraged to obtain receipts for meals which he has not necessarily had, merely to claim the allowed expenses. In short, the regulations, as they stand, almost encourage dishonesty. Although they may well be suitable for those Civil Servants who can regulate their day to normal meal times, they are unsuitable for air-
crew personnel who are liable for duty right around the clock.
R. J. Gaunt,
We referred this letter to the Command Accountant for comment, and quote his reply verbatim:
"The principle of Travelling and Subsistence allowances is that the traveller should be reimbursed with the reasonable extra expenses which he may incur as a result of his absence from his home environment; conversely, he should be no better off financially because he is travelling. If a meal is missed, and providing a member is away for two or more meals, he will be paid an 'unproved
expense' allowance of 4s. per meal. In the example quoted, therefore, the correspondent should have been able to spend £1 6s. 9d.; a sum which should have secured adequate sustenance. Unfortunately, the cost of reciprocal hospitality is not covered by the regulations—this is considered to be a matter of personal responsibility. However, when a member is really acting officially as an ambassador for the Service, there exist provisions for his reimbursement.
"Finally, 1 must warn that the practice of producing false docu- ments in support of claims contravenes not only the Defence Act, but also Common Law."
In November's issue, it was stated that when astride a motorcycle and faced with a mishap, the basic rule is to get rid of the motorcycle at all costs. Let me say this is a short version of the basic rule, known to all competitive motorcyclists, namely "To hang on to the machine as long as possible and then get rid of it."
Firstly, when you are hurtling along on an out of control machine, you cannot get rid of it—you and the machine must follow the same path—Newton said so. It is only when the machine slows down that you can bale out—and then it will be in the same direction anyway. Only at very low speeds can you "eject" and roll out of the path of the machine.
Secondly, use the machine's chromium to dig up the tarmac, not your knees. Slide the bike so that the tyres, wheels and suspension absorb much of the impact, and your body is appreciably slower before the final crunch.
L. A. S. Taylor,
Thanks for the elaboration. I think that the basic principle is agreed; the answer is to stay with the bike until just before the impact, and then to try and part company so as to avoid impalement on the debris.—Editor.
Read it all? Good. Now read it over again and write something.
Thanks to Rusty Theobald (RhAF) who, many years ago, scanned this magazine and sent it to me via several emails to get the content to me.
OCR and recompiling completed by Eddy Norris, of ORAFs, and for use on "Our Rhodesian Heritage" blog that he administers.
Please spare a thought for those airmen, that are no longer with us. that did the "hard graft' for this very fine magazine.
COmments are always welcome. Please send them to Eddy Norris at firstname.lastname@example.org