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Questions about procedures etc.

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John-G View Drop Down
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    Posted: 19 May 2011 at 12:24

I have been sent a few chapters from a novel that some one is writing based on 66 squadron personnel and patrols.

 

whilst I am quite comfortable answering questions on the people I do not have any knowledge of some of the technical aspects of aeroplanes or procedures that might or might not have been in practice in WW1.

 

For example.

 

The story line reads that a pilot arrives on the squadron and is then assigned a machine which he then signs for and then the plane becomes his responsibility.  Was this really the case in 1917?  Whilst I can see that pilots quite often flew one aeroplane regularly, was it the individual’s aeroplane or the flights?

 

I am also aware that individual pilots modified there machines, P G Taylor for one, W G Barker another, but unlike to day I do not think they would have had to clear the modifications with anyone but the flight sgt and c.o.?

Would a pilot have actually put his name to paper to take over the machine?

 

In today’s air force, when a crew go out for a flight they do the checks, kick the tyres sign it all off and then light the fires, what if any was the procedure in a combat situation in 1917?

 

Does any one know the rate of climb of a Sopwith Pup?

What was the top speed of a Pup in a dive or terminal velocity?

 

I have been under the impression that when a flight took off that in general they climbed to height on the allied side of the lines before crossing over, this I believe was done so that they were not caught climbing at a low height over the lines and therefore at a disadvantage if attacked from above and below from the ground, is this generally correct?

 

German two seat aircraft, the Observer again I assume that the rear gun was mounted on some sort of mounting that allowed it to cover above, sides and to some extend downwards is this correct? 

 

Were these two seaters regarded as reconnaissance machines, light bombers or a bit of both?

 

The Bristol Fighter. If it had a WW1 nick name, was it a Biff?  I have seen Brisfit, but have always thought that this was really used after the war when policing what was left of Empire?

 

In ww2 if a patrol was stood by and ready to leave or if it had taken off and shortly after returned to base this was quite often called a "Wash out" was this term used in WW1?

 

And finally.

 

Rotary engines, from what I have read there was not much control of the revs, it was either on or not and the only way of controlling it was to blip it.  Could a pilot control the revs at all?

 
 
 
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Rob View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2011 at 22:04
Regarding the Bristol Fighter, i've only ever seen it referred to as 'Brisfit' in post-WW2 written books. Books nearer to the WW1 Period, and anything written by someone who flew them, refers to them as the Biff.
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John-G View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John-G Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2011 at 22:56
Rob,
 
Thanks you have confirmed my own thoughts.
 
huckj
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Paul R Hare View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul R Hare Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 07:27

Rotary engines had no throttle and ran, more or less, at a constant speed ( around 1200 rev/min). A"blip switch" was often provided to cut the ignition to reduce power, say for landing. the other principal control was the "fine adjustment lever" which reduced the amount of petrol being delivered  to keep the mixture constant as the air became more rarifed with height. Failure to attend to this control.as the machine climbed would cause the mixture to become too rich ( a bit like always running a car with the choke out) and it would eventually cut out.

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

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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: 20 May 2011 at 08:06
I agree with Rob about Biffs, Brisfit seems to have been an invention of the interwar period; remebering the type remained in RAF service until 1932 (?).
 
Shuttleworth did a very good little booklet on flying rotary aircraft, based on the notes of an RFC pilot. I'll see about sending you the relevant bits.
 
David Ogilvy's 'From Bleriot to Spitfire' include an account of flying the Pup from a pilot's perspective which should answer a number of questions.
 
Pilots had individual aircraft, with appropriate code letters. New pilots usually got the clapped out aircraft.
 
I don't know when 700s became standard, though FJ Adkin's 'Through the Hangar Doors' might tell you.
 
I know that you had to sign out the watch and a pistol, so signing for the aeroplane doesn't seem so unlikely.
 
Rear cockpit MG mounts on German aircraft were built in to the fuselage which meant that elevation/ depression would have been less than with a scarff ring and more of a burden on the observer (though, at least, better than the lot of the Fee observer).
Nick
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John-G View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John-G Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 08:18
Hi Paul,
 
Thanks for the additional information it is begining to make sense now.
 
 
 
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John-G View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John-G Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 08:23
Hi Nick,
 

I will follow up some of the suggestions you make.  I agree about the pistols and watch.  I have through the hangar doors so will take a look through it.  I am not familiar with other publications.

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MikeMeech View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MikeMeech Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 09:42
The details on climbing rates can be found in jack Bruce's 'British Aeroplanes 1914-18' page 561.  This has full details of the 80 hp Le Rhone version and some figures from the 100 hp Monosoupape version.
Some examples from the Le Rhone are;  5 min 20 secs to 5,000 ft, 14 min to 10,000 ft, 29 min 10 secs to 15,000 ft.
On climbing to height before crossing the lines, it has always been my (logical?) assumption that this happened but I cannot give you chapter and verse on that.  We should remember the Pup had an endurance of 3 hrs in its 80 hp version (1 3/4 hrs in the Monosoupape version) so a large(ish) part of your time in the air can be used up climbing to height.  But saying that, in general, British Scouts were better off in the endurance aspect than many German, the Fokker series of fighters appear to have 1 1/2 hrs endurance, so a larger percent of their endurance would be used up climbing to height (maybe a reason for not crossing the lines so much?).  The Albatros types appear better off in this regard with 2 hrs, as do Pfalz types.
Hope that helps
Mike
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John-G View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John-G Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 10:57
Thanks Mike.
 

I am sure I have read accounts when patrols climbed to height so  that they would evade most of the possible effects of ground fire, AA etc and also that the were not tactically at a disadvantage, i.e. no room to maneuver at low altitude.   I was looking at a report last week when a squadron patrol met 27 squadron at altitude on the British side of the line before entering German airspace.

 

 
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John McKenzie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John McKenzie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 13:29
Hello  Huck J....There has always been a lot of confusion over Rotaries and Throttle.

(Discounting the  early  Gnomes letter series which were pre war ). 
During WW1 Gnome Monosoupe ( incl various copies/licence builds) of 100 and later 160 HP motors were , due to their design , unable to be throttled effectively , and control was pretty well limited to petrol supply and ignition blip and sequential switching in the case of the 9N.
Regard to all other rotaries ( LeRhone and copies , Clerget , Siemens, Bently etc) ....Virtually all British & French rotary powered machines used  forms of Rene Tampier quadrant control for the Bloc tube carburettor and fine mixture control unit ...such that the full power at circa. 1250 rpm could be reduced down to something like 800 rpm , dependant on adjustments ....at which revs considerable power was still produced .....A blip switch , which cut the ignition was also provided .
On German machines the typical Tampier segment / lever control of the Pup and Camel etc. was generally replaced by a Bowden twin cable type control handle on the LH side of the control column , as in DrI ....In this case , should the cables leading to the air slide /  fuel needle valve of the Bloctube carburettor be severed during combat , then the slide assembly was spring loaded to snap fully open ...( the closure of same being via a "pull-back-to close" rod , on the RH side of the cockpit )....The toothed segment on the LH side of the DrI is in this case for a wooden handled lever operating a rod to the Benzinregler fine fuel adjustement for altitude (similar to the Tampier type unit) , with below it , the rod to the open (auf=fwd posn.)......off (zu = aft posn.)  , petrol tap .
The emergency throttle facility was normal in various forms for all German machines , in line and rotary ,  after probably about 1916.

Far more detailed information and knowledgeable discussions on all aspects of operation of WWI Motors etc. can be found by searching threads on " The Aerodrome " website .

Regards John M
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