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Gosport Tube

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NickForder View Drop Down
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    Posted: 23 Feb 2010 at 15:22
"The problem with communicating with pupils in the air was baffling, and Smith Barry was determined to solve it. In 1912 a primitive 'speaking and hearing' tube, the Audiophone, was a marketed at three and a half guineas, and some machines were fitted with tubes resembling this. But they were of little use. At his own expense Smith Barry sent a sergeant to London to buy a set of electrical gear. They wired this up at Alvarbank, then Smith Barry played the piano in one room and the sergeant listened in another. They changed places and repeated the experiment. It worked well, and the set was installed in an Avro. When the engine was running, neither could hear what the other said, and no remedy could be found.
 
'The electrical experiments had failed (wrote SE Parker), and I began examining the useless speaking-tube system with which machines were fitted. For the purposes of economy a single tube was used and provided at each end with ear pieces for listening and a funnel for speaking into. The article was useless, the sound of the voice being drowned by the engine-noise. I thought that if two separate tubes were used with ear pieces at one end and a speaking funnel on they other they might be more efficient, and I had two sets made up for a test.
 
It was a beautiful Sunday morning and I tried out one set with a pupil I was teaching and we were delighted that we could hear what each other said though we were speaking without engine noise. I was most excited with he result and I asked my pal Captain Moore who was just going up to put a set in his machine and he said he would as soon as he came down from a flight he had to make with a pupil, and he took off in his machine. A few minutes later a mechanic rushed over to and said Captain Moore had come down near the golf course....
 
The speaking tube was an immediate success and all machines were fitted with it. The days of hand-signalling were over and now for the first time the instructor could explain in full detail what was going on at all times... This simple device was adopted by all the air forces of the world and was in use for over thirty years. It was known as the Gosport Tube.'"
 
Pioneer Pilot : The Great Smith Barry who taught the world how to fly, FD Tedrey 
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NickForder View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2010 at 14:09
"It was at Alvarbank that experiments were conducted to perfect what would be known internationally as the 'Gosport Tube.' This device consisted of a hollow tube not unlike a stethoscope into which the instructor could speak directly to his pupil in the pilot's seat, the tube ending in earpieces in the trainee's helmet.
 
A former parlourmaid at Alvarbank has recounted how Smith Barry and his instructors trailed tubes and wires from room to room, testing their voice levels and getting cross if the domestic staff dared move or even tiptoe round the tangle of primitive-looking equipment. ...
 
The successful test flight for the Gosport Tube took place over the Solent on 20th June 1917 and the equipment was immediately put in to use at Grange. It remained the principal teaching device throughout the world until the 1950s."
 
Wings Over Gosport : A Celebration of Flying History, compiled by Lesley Burton, A Gosport Society Publication
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