Dirty RAF Aircraft

T

tecdes

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Bit of information gleaned form the Horse's mouth so to speak.

An old Client I met yesterday. He was a pilot during WW11. Amazingly he still flies a two seater job around Britain he has to be about 90. So hope for us all.

Asked him about a number of things. One which has occured recently is reference cleaning of RAF aircraft.

He flew Albermarles, Whitleys & Stirlings. He said that he does not remember any cleaning of aircraft at all. Neither any touching up of paintwork. The Erks were all to busy servicing machinery.

Apparently they would fly their own, mostly, aircraft which when it reached 200 hours was sent off for an overhaul of engines etc. They were then given either a new or recon. aircraft. The recons may have been repainted.

Obviously this is one Pilot's memory & for bombers not fighters. Fighters aircraft would probably be a more personal thing I would think.

I see old Des. every now & then if you have any questions which he may be able to answer feel free & I will see if he can recall.

My most exciting trip was with Des. in his 2 seater from Jersey to the UK & back all in a day. Amazing insight into flying sitting there with the phones listening in. We would dodge around huge Cumulus to avoid the pressure differences. Nice to know the aircraft had two engines what a coward.

Laurie
 

colin m

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So, does this mean Laurie, as your title suggests, these aircraft did get dirty ? This could be very good news for me !

Colin M...
 
T

tecdes

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Colin a failure. Did not ask my friend Des rather stupid. Will next time I see him.

My opinion. This is for bombers. They probably had some grime during servicing. But then most servicing would be from ladders or trestles. Some from just sitting on the apron but most of that would be like our cars dust etc. Some near industrial towns would get a smattering of what was being spewed out.

But from my experience with boats belting along at 20 plus knots the boat got a good clean. Similarly but more significant. If you are buzzing along in an aircraft at 250 knots against a head wind of average 20 knots on the ground but say 50 knots above then you have a "drafty" 300 knots of wind. That will clear away the dust. But in rain or just pelting through cloud will be like a super charged car wash. So I would have thought they self cleaned. Most routes were also over country to avoid the towns & cities due to flak so any muck in the air they flew through must have been minimal.

Fighters not so sure as the mechanics seem to swarm all over these. Also they probably did not fly in such adverse weather as the bombers. I would imagine the Mosquito & the Beaufighters must have encountered a lot of muck as they flew at a relatively low speed following German intruders over Britain thereby picking up loads of German engine exhaust & oil droplets etc. Also over industrial parts of Britain with heavy pollution. So they would not have the speed to self cleanse as I speculated the bombers would have.

Putting my self into a Spitfire or Hurricane. Provided the pilot was attached to his aircraft, I have read that the inexperienced were thrown any machine available, then a pride would have been there to keep your machine clean. Also as each aircraft seemed to have a dedicated ground crew there must have been a contest to make the machine the best in the flight.

Rather racing car or sports car spruce clean, for fighters. Bombers probably not so much affection & so personal as a fighter a lorry never mind a bit of dirt unless you are an Eddie Stobart. Fighters must have been a joy to fly outside of combat. Bombers 10 hours of at times physical exaustion dragging the machine around the sky I suspect they could not have cared less provided the machinery worked well.

Looks all controversial, watch the flack, gun me down if you think fit !

Laurie
 
T

tecdes

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Dirty RAF Aircraft TAKE 2

double take removed
 
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John

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I've merged the threads, it should now show in new posts
 
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Modern passenger aircraft get very dirty .Especially the undersides aft of the main gears.Taking off and landing on wet run ways.Lining up behind others waiting to take off .And the odd hydraulic or fuel leak add to the build up of filth.I would have thought WW2 Bombers would have got very dirty flying night after night in all weathers.Servicing and repairs would have taken priority over cleaning.Of course,canopies and turrets would have been kept clean.
 

stona

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Mmmm! this is a bit of an old chestnut.

I think it is safe to say that the surface finish of aircraft,particularly fighters,was kept in as good a condition as operational circumstances allowed. Here is a list of dos and don'ts from a manual circulated to ground crew during the war. Of particular interest is #12

In 1942 maintenence of the new smooth finishes was causing concern to the Air Ministry and manufacturers as evidenced in the final paragraph here. It was thought that it could be done better.

Both these documents are courtesy of the hard work and research of Edgar Brooks.

Aircraft undoubtedly became tired and worn but a dirty aircraft would be cleaned in pretty short order. You can find evidence of aircraft which are quite mucky particularly during periods of high work loads so it's really up to you.Remember that all service aircraft spent far more time on the ground,where they could be cleaned and serviced,than they did in the air.

Cheers

Steve

Cheers

Steve
 
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T

tecdes

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Hey Steve cat among the pidgeons there. No dirty fighter aircraft a !

Do you know if Edgar has any info on Bombers ?

This is a very fascinating subject & thanks & well done Edgar those are very interesting papers. Sad that all photos of that time are in black & white. Colour would have shown us so much more. The papers show despite the war the amount of detail that went into these matters. 5mph on the speed remarkable.

Laurie
 

stona

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I would never say no dirty fighter aircraft,they must have been mucky before they were cleaned :smiling3: I would say that they were generally well looked after,including routine cleaning,and whilst they might be a little tired or worn,particularly in more hostile environments like North Africa or the Far East they would not usually be allowed to become filthy.

A bomber takes a lot more cleaning but I suspect that it was done whenever possible.

Cheers

Steve
 
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Try not to think in absolutes, when it comes to making a model. True, aircraft get/got dirty, but, divide that by 1/48 or 1/72, and how much can you see? The most noticeable weathering, on a Lancaster, are the (six, never eight) exhaust streaks across the top of the wing; on a Sunderland, it's the waterline, and the top of the wings, where the paint was bleached by gulls' "calling cards."

Fighter pilots lived, and died, in aircraft where speed was of the utmost importance; 5 mph could be the difference between life and death, so the surface finish called for far more attention than that of a bomber. "Sprog" pilots were not deliberately given poor aircraft; erks were proud of their charges, whoever flew them, and considered them to be only out on loan, until the pilot brought it back. An example of this relationship can be seen, when Johnnie Johnson was hit, for the only time, by a German opponent, he apologised to his ground crew, for bringing it back damaged.

Pilots rarely flew the same aircraft, all the time, at least early in the war; that was usually reserved for the C.O.

I'm sorry, but nightfighter pilots didn't fly around behind German aircraft; it's a helluva big sky, out there, and they often stooged around, all night, with no "trade" whatsoever. They might well, if they got lucky, cause an enemy to blow up, in which case the Mosquito (usually) got a liberal coating of engine oil, even human remains, but that would be cleaned off, often with a high-pressure water jet (these had to be kept available, in case of gas attack, which would have entailed a complete washdown for all aircraft.) There were also well-documented occasional cases of Mosquitoes losing their fabric to a burning enemy.

Turning to the Mosquito, do not be tempted to show damaged fabric, unless it has just landed; any damage would be immediately stripped off, the fabric replaced, and then doped over again. You might be able to see an area of fresh paint, but that's all.

There's little chance that a bomber would pick up much dirt from flying over the countryside; industrial output doesn't climb to great heights, and no pilot would willingly fly too low over a large town or city, for fear of collecting a barrage balloon or two.

We were always taught that weathering should be added in tiny doses, and, when you can see it, stop, walk away, then return, later, and have a look; if it's visible, but not prominent, pack it in.

I always preferred Peter Cooke's method, which was always the last item (never heard of preshading, in those days.) He would smear undiluted Designer's Gouache over the model, then, using a handkerchief (or old cloth, if the wife's watching) dampened with saliva, wipe it away, gently, in the general direction of the airflow; this causes the paint to collect behind rivets, and in panel lines which are at right-angles to the airflow, while not giving the impression of a patchwork quilt. Yucky as it might seem, the saliva appears to act as a base, to keep the gouache where you want it; it also can, with practice, impart a slightly streaky finish, which can subtly hint at wear, without shouting.

Edgar
 
T

tecdes

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Thanks Edgar for all that information. A bit more of a look into the past.

One thing which has not been touched on, I do not think, is fading.

As even in the house a white paint will rapidly fade to off white or pearl what must have been the result of aircraft left out 24 hours a day & in the sun especially in Libiya & Italy etc. Even in England the greens especially & the browns would have faded I would have thought very quickly.

A couple of things from your reply Edgar. There was no suggestion from me that new joined pilots were given poor aircraft.

The end of last year, during the construction of my Mosquito I read for the umpteenth time Jimmy Rawnsley & Bob Braham’s books on night fighters. Aimless stooging around was generally not the game as Braham’s book title suggests, Scramble.

They were called up for action as enemy aircraft were spotted leaving Belgium & France & vectored where possible on to enemy. Some nights there was no action at all.

When the enemy was located on the Night Fighter’s radar the ground controller handed it to the Fighter which then stalked the enemy. No quick kill it was in most a slow process of approaching the enemies tail, first to identify (enemy or friendly), dropping back to position for destruction.

Sounds straight forward but the Enemy liked poor weather where they flew in the cloud layer. The NIght Fighter may then take 15 30 40 mins to carry out it’s business as the Enemy hopefully cleared cloud for a time. This was the business stalking close to the Enemy . So close at times that the Mosquito was modified & fitted with an air brake on it’s fuselage as it had such a high lowest speed factor that it was over taking the enemy craft.

Read all about it in detail in the following. Both Cunningham with Rawnsley & Braham were innovators so their stories have great relevance.

Rawnsley Wright Night Fighter (Rawnsley was Cunningham’s navigator)

Bob Braham Scramble

Prof R V Jones Most Secret War

Laurie
 
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T

tecdes

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Getting a bit off topic but of interest this picture of air brakes on a Mosquito. This slowed the Mosquito down while stalking behind German Bombers.

This I think is the Youngman Brake. From what I can gather de Havilland then introduced there own which looked much more robust.

LaurieView attachment 42217

http:tongue-out3:/books.google.com/books?id=6nbDN5fUkyMC&pg=PA128&lpg=PA128&dq=de+havilland+mosquito+airbrakes&source=bl&ots=1bI9Y4hgf3&sig=fpPzriew2YtfVbg7VzWVGbUeHb8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=qXFn This shows the De Haviland brakes

View attachment 45594

mosquito_AIRbrakes.jpg
 
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Stevekir

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tecdes: "An old Client I met yesterday. He was a pilot during WW11." My uncle was in bomber command, (not as the pilot), and I think took part in the bombing of Dresden. I haven't yet told my two excellent Anglo-English grandsons in Germany (8 and 24), but when the elder was about 11 he took part in a short discussion in the car about the morals of carpet bombing Dresden and I felt it necessary to mention London and Coventry, and gave 60 seconds on what a country could expect if it marches all over the place with guns!

Amusingly, my uncle started the war as a member of the crew of a balloon (squadron!) but found it too boring and volunteered for BC. He survived but I never had the opportunity to talk to him more than a few minutes once. I would have liked to ask him what it was like flying for hours cramped in a Lancaster (assuming he flew in those). Like most, he never volunteered anything.



When visiting another relative in South Germany last year, at Langenargen, on the shores of Bodensee (Lake Constance) I expressed curiosity about why 99% of all German houses look so new. She waved her hand towards the town and said that the RAF re-modelled it! I felt slightly on the back foot! She also mentioned that a nearby town near the Swiss border decided to leave all its lights on at night to give the RAF the impression that it must be in Switzerland. It worked a treat. They had no damage.

End of ramble.
 

Stevekir

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Edgar Brooks: "The most noticeable weathering, on a Lancaster, are the (six, never eight) exhaust streaks across the top of the wing".

Where were these: the inboard or outboard engines, why 6, not 2 per engine = 4, and where exactly were they?

Thanks.
 
T

tecdes

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\ said:
tecdes: "An old Client I met yesterday. He was a pilot during WW11." My uncle was in bomber command, (not as the pilot), and I think took part in the bombing of Dresden. I haven't yet told my two excellent Anglo-English grandsons in Germany (8 and 24), but when the elder was about 11 he took part in a short discussion in the car about the morals of carpet bombing Dresden and I felt it necessary to mention London and Coventry, and gave 60 seconds on what a country could expect if it marches all over the place with guns!Amusingly, my uncle started the war as a member of the crew of a balloon (squadron!) but found it too boring and volunteered for BC. He survived but I never had the opportunity to talk to him more than a few minutes once. I would have liked to ask him what it was like flying for hours cramped in a Lancaster (assuming he flew in those). Like most, he never volunteered anything.



When visiting another relative in South Germany last year, at Langenargen, on the shores of Bodensee (Lake Constance) I expressed curiosity about why 99% of all German houses look so new. She waved her hand towards the town and said that the RAF re-modelled it! I felt slightly on the back foot! She also mentioned that a nearby town near the Swiss border decided to leave all its lights on at night to give the RAF the impression that it must be in Switzerland. It worked a treat. They had no damage.

End of ramble.
That is an interesting ramble Steve & worth the ramble.

Laurie
 

stona

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\ said:
Edgar Brooks: "The most noticeable weathering, on a Lancaster, are the (six, never eight) exhaust streaks across the top of the wing".Where were these: the inboard or outboard engines, why 6, not 2 per engine = 4, and where exactly were they?

Thanks.
It's just an effect of the aerodynamics of the wing. There were of course exhausts on both sides of every engine but the airflow around the outer side of the outer nacelle didn't cause the exhaust to strek over the wing.

This picture shows a typical pattern of staining on the port wing. The starboard outer engine has had an oil leak,hence the black stain and oil on the horizontal stabiliser behind it.

Also visible here.

This disconcertingly is a "bombing photo" taken from an aircraft as it released its bombs. There were many cases of aircraft being damaged by bombs from aircraft above. Many must also have been destroyed this way but it would have been rare for anyone to survive to tell the story.

Cheers

Steve
 
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Stevekir

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Thanks for that. I like that sort of authenticity (for when I get round to do a Lancaster).
 
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Getting a bit off topic but of interest this picture of air brakes on a Mosquito. This slowed the Mosquito down while stalking behind German Bombers.

This I think is the Youngman Brake. From what I can gather de Havilland then introduced there own which looked much more robust.

LaurieView attachment 42217

http://books.google.com/books?id=6n...pPzriew2YtfVbg7VzWVGbUeHb8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=qXFn This shows the De Haviland brakes

View attachment 45594

View attachment 158620
Those got discontinued eventually.
 
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