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Spitfire pilot's first flight in a Typhoon
 
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'Warspite'

 

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Post subject: Spitfire pilot's first flight in a Typhoon  Reply with quote   (Liked by:0)  Like this post
Free-French Spitfire pilot Pierre Clostermann DFC recalled his first flight in a Typhoon…

***

"With my parachute on my back it took three people to help me up to the Typhoon's cockpit, which is nine feet off the ground. As the plane is very streamlined there is nothing to hang on to. You have to get your fingers in the hollows which are covered by metal plates on spring hinges. The close up again when you remove your hand or your foot just like a rat trap. In the end they hoisted me up, settled me in, slapped me on the back, shouted 'good luck' and I found myself all alone inside the bowels of the monster.

I rapidly called back to mind all the gen. my instructors had given me. As the exhaust gases had a high carbon dioxide content and seeped into the cockpit, you had to breathe oxygen all the time. I therefore hurriedly put on my mask and opened the intake valve. On take-off Typhoons swing hard right and I therefore adjusted the rudder trim very carefully. I opened the radiator wide. I checked the locking of the under cart - the lever looked uncomfortably like the one for the flaps. I lowered the flaps control to open up the pneumatic circuit in order to avoid ram effect just as I started up.

I switched on the instrument panel light. I regulated the throttle lever - open five-eighths of  an inch (not one fraction more otherwise the carb might flood and there might be a blowback}. I pushed the pitch control lever right forward, and then back an inch or so, to avoid run-away in the constant speed unit.

I verified my tanks were full and selected the centre fuselage tanks for the take-off (gravity feed in case the pumps packed up). I unscrewed the Wobble pumps; one sent a mixture of alcohol and ether into the carb, the other a mixture of petrol and oil into the cylinders.

I inserted a cartridge into the starter… With one finger on the coil booster and another on the starter button, I fired the cartridge. The mechanic hanging on to the wing helped to 'catch' the engine and it started with a deafening roar. The amount of noise is about five times as great as in a Spitfire. After missing a few times times, the engine settled down to a reasonably steady rhythm, though not without exuding oil at every pore. The sound of the engine and the way it vibrated struck me as suspicious. My nerves were very much on edge and I didn't feel at all easy in my mind. What on earth had induced me to return to Ops?

These reflections probably lasted some little time because, when I looked up, there were the mechanics looking slightly surprised and waiting for a sign from me to remove the chocks. I began to taxi - a bit too fast. I must be careful not to overwork the brakes. They overheated quickly and hot brakes don't function.

That engine! You moved forward quite blindly, picking out the way like a crab, with a bit of rudder now left, now right, so as to be able to see in front. Once  I  was on the edge of the runway, before venturing further, I cleared the plugs, as per instructions, by opening up to 3000 revs and a film of oil immediately spread over my windshield…

Here goes! I tightened my straps, released the brakes, carefully aligned myself on the white line down the middle of the concrete and slowly opened the throttle, with my left foot hard down on the rudder bar.

I had been warned that Typhoons swung but surely not as much as this! And the brute gathered speed like a rocket! I corrected as much as I could with the brakes but even then I found myself drifting dangerously to the right.

Half-way down the runway my right wheel was practically in the grass. If I came off the concrete I would gracefully flip on my back! To hell with it! I tore her off the ground.

This plane just had no lateral stability at all. I still went on drifting to starboard and, with those miserable ailerons that only 'bit' at speeds higher than 100mph I daren't lower my port wing too much. Luckily they had hauled 'F' hangar down after a series of accidents all due to the same cause but even then I passed uncomfortably close to 'E' hangar. I retracted my under cart but forgot to put the brakes on. A terrific vibration which shook the whole plane reminded me that my wheels had gone into the cavities in the wings still revolving at full speed. I only hoped the tyres hadn't been ruined.

In the end I got my hand in a bit and felt better. There was a tendency to skid in the turns but it wasn't too bad.

Just a wee dive to see what happened. Phew! With its seven tons the thing's acceleration downhill was simply fantastic. I realised with satisfaction that as far as speed was concerned this was much better that a Spitfire. What would it be like in a Tempest?

Half an hour quickly passed and I began to summon up courage courage for the landing. First a circuit at full throttle at 420mph to clear those bloody plugs all over again. But after that I couldn't seem to reduce enough to lower my under cart with safety even though I throttled back, swish tailed violently and lowered my radiator. One circuit, engine ticking over, at 300 mph. another circuit at 250. In desperation I did a vertical climb without the engine. This took me up to about 3000 feet but it reduced my speed to about 200 mph. At this low speed the machine became horribly unstable and letting down the undercart had an unexpected effect on the centre of gravity. Once again, though I had been warned, I was taken by surprise by the terrific swings, more like incipient spins than anything else."

He eventually made a heavy landing safely and walked away from his first flight in a Typhoon.
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Last edited by 'Warspite' on Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:37 am; edited 1 time in total
PostSat Jan 05, 2013 9:09 pm
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firehouse

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Post subject: Reply with quote   (Liked by:0)  Like this post
That's a cool rendition.

I love accounts like that, thanks for sharing Smile

Now I want to play AAAF and use my two Typhies
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PostSun Jan 06, 2013 2:35 am
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'Warspite'

 

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Post subject: Reply with quote   (Liked by:0)  Like this post
firehouse wrote:
That's a cool rendition.

I love accounts like that, thanks for sharing Smile

Now I want to play AAAF and use my two Typhies


Thank you. A user view is always useful. His comparisons with the Spitfire are helpful.


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PostSun Jan 06, 2013 9:47 am
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