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Thread: Lancaster flight engineers

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    Default Lancaster flight engineers

    Did the engineer have a safety harness and how was it attached?

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    Hello Cloud & Visibility OK,

    All I can tell you is it was a 'Rumbold' type seat (like the Canberras used in later years) which collapsed and swung out the way and almost certainly would have had a fixed seat belt/harness. Alas, I don't know where it was fitted but would think it would have been to right of pilot attached to the starboard cockpit/fuselage frame facing pilot. Also, the parachute pack would not have been clipped to the engineers harness but stored nearby until required.

    Norman



    Hours later I found this cIWM photo of a Lancaster Flight Engineer seated in a collapsible seat with back strap. Difficult to figure out if he's strapped in but logic dictates he is. http://www.626-squadron.co.uk/photos.htm
    Last edited by namrondooh; 29th March 2012 at 23:32.

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    I presume all air crew buckled up during take off and landings but I have not read about it.

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    Thanks for the info but I'm not much farther forward. There seems to be no photographic evidence to help and the Lancaster manuals I've seen on the net only ever refer to the pilot having a safety harness. Nowhere can I find a picture of a crew position other than the pilots that has a harness or even a lap strap.

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    I think you have got to consider the flight engineers seat would almost certainly have had some form of - lap strap/securing device/safety harness - or something other, affording him protection from possible injury during hazardous flying conditions. One example which comes to mind is the 'Cork Screw' evasion technique to escape sudden contact by the enemy - he may not have had any warning to reach other safety.

    Therefore why not try contacting the following organisations, explaining what you already know

    Royal Air Force Museum
    Grahame Park Way,
    London,
    NW9 5LL

    Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre,
    East Kirkby,
    Nr Splisby,
    Lincolnshire,
    PE23 4DE

    Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
    Contact through http://www.raf.mod.uk/bbmf/guestbook/ (on line form)

    They each have a Lancaster and almost certainly supporting historical 'Air Publication' covering the maintenance

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 30th March 2012 at 15:04. Reason: amending address

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    I have a photograph showing the lapstrap on the navigator' seat (Mk1 DV372), but I have not been able to locate one on the FE "second dickey" seat (or is it Dicky or Dickie ... there seems to be inconsistency of spelling on the internet).

    Most "seat" photographs available seem to be from the Memorial flight Lancaster, which obviously has modern harnesses on all seats, including the FE seat.
    Last edited by PeteT; 30th March 2012 at 19:33.
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteT View Post
    I have a photograph showing the lapstrap on the navigator' seat (Mk1 DV372), but I have not been able to locate one on the FE "second dickey" seat (or is it Dicky or Dickie ... there seems to be inconsistency of spelling on the internet).

    Most "seat" photographs available seem to be from the Memorial flight Lancaster, which obviously has moden harnesses on all seats, including the FE seat.
    Hi Pete are you able to post the picture or a link?

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    Unfortunately the picture is copyright, so I will need to seek permission to publish it. I have rechecked the picture, which was taken in the Lancaster Cockpit at the Imperial War Museum, and there is only a webbing strap on one side of the seat, so maybe it was not a lapstrap.

    In addition, I e-mailed the curator of Pitstone Green Museum today (where they have recreated a Lancaster Cockpit) and he has provided this reply tonight:

    "To my knowledge there was no restraint on either the Flight Engineer, Radio Operator or Navigator. The Flight Engineer seat was just a simple fold down seat that had only a back strap rest that clipped across onto the Pilots seat as he would have to keep on the move to see his panel and give access to the Bomb Aimer/Front Gunner. The Navigators seat was just a swivel seat later replaced by a bench seat if another crew member was on board. The Radio Operator was again a bench seat. I would guess that the Front Gunner would again have no restraint"

    Hope that helps; will let you know if I find out anything more

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Hi Peter
    I've found the picture you are refering too and for my money it looks like a lap strap but I will bow to those with greater knowledge. I've found photographs of similar seats in other aircraft which leads me to this opinion. I look forward to anything else you can offer.

    Thanks again for the useful information

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    Hello,

    This is not the most technical response, but talking to Flight Engineers suggests there was little in the way of restraint for their position.

    The F/E's I've spoken to say they stood for the bulk of the sortie, anyway, only sitting to fill in their log (and one said he sat on his tool box on those occasions). Bracing against the pilot's seat seems to have been the main way of withstanding a corkscrew. One F/E made a forced landing at Woodbridge, with the undercarriage refusing to lock down, holding the pilot's seat in this way.

    Hope that's of some interest.

    Sam

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