Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: “Long N” course ???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    3,666
    Thanks
    24
    Thanked 19 Times in 18 Posts

    Default “Long N” course ???

    Hi all,

    would be anyone so kind and can give an explanation what “Long N” – course could mean?
    It is some kind of course for air observer/navigator what I understand from following diary text:


    "He is now going to a “Long N” – course, held at Prince Albert, Ont. That course is about the highest instruction in air-navigation, one can get, and after it one usually becomes something big, e.g. Group-Navigation-Officer or some thing like that. "

    TIA

    Pavel

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Canada, eh
    Posts
    1,217
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Most likely a Lead Navigators course, sort of graduate school or instructors training.

    Prince Albert, Saskatchewan was home to No. 6 EFTS and No. 6 Air Observers School, using Ansons. Your quote might also refer to Port Albert, Ontario, home to No. 31 Air Navigation School, also with Ansons, originally an RAF unit that gradually came under RCAF control.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    3,666
    Thanks
    24
    Thanked 19 Times in 18 Posts

    Default

    Many thanks for info Bill.

    Pavel

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Posts
    1,039
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 7 Times in 7 Posts

    Default

    Pavel,
    Long (and Short!) Navigation courses dated from the days in the RAF when there were no Navigators (or Observers) as such, as all had been constructively dismissed in the years after the Armistice of 1918/19, and therefore the only type of fulltime aircrew possible was the God-like pilot. All others in flying crews (and these tended to be "scratch" crews anyway) were lowly tradesmen who volunteered for flying duties in addition to their normal day jobs and received a small amount of flying pay for their troubles. These tended to be Wireless Operators or perhaps Engine or Airframe fitters who had volunteered as part-time Air Gunners; however W/Ops were also used in their own trade as a matter of course as the wireless equipment of those years were cantankerous contraptions at the best of times, and pilots were ill suited to coax anything at all out of them - "best left to the experts".
    As pilots were now in the driver's seat in more ways than one, it was realised that they would also have to be the chief navigator in the larger aircraft (night bombers, flying boats, and transport/bombers in the far-flung corners of the old Empire). As their normal navigation training was fairly crude, much more rigorous navigation courses were introduced to bring them up to a more useful level. As implied by the previous sentences, this did not apply to fighter or Army Co-operation pilots on the whole, as they were primarily "fair-weather" men, and could not really be of any use in foul conditions, even if they were excellent navigators (which was normally not the case).
    The re-introduction of "Air Observers" in about 1937 meant that this new trade gradually took over the responsibility of navigating His Majesty's aircraft from the pilots, and instead of flying boats being crewed by three pilots (one acting as navigator), only two were carried - the captain and a less experienced fellow. From mid-1942 the RAF decided to split the "Air Observer" trade into its separate components - Navigation and Air Bombing ("Bomb Aimer"), and this is how the trades remained in the RAF well into the 1980s (with exception of Air Bomber whose role was taken over once again by the Navigator).
    Getting away form the main subject here, but this is the origin of "Long" and "Short" nav courses, and until computers gradually took over the role of the specialised navigator from the 1980s onwards, pilots of larger aircraft could free their minds from this exacting science and leave it all to the man sitting behind them.
    David D

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •