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Thread: 103 Sqd conversion flight

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    Default 103 Sqd conversion flight

    Can anyone speculate on why a Halifax at this unit in 1942 would be carrying 12 personnel which includes a crew. The ORB quotes 'Laden with trainees' all were killed in the crash not far from the airfield.

    A normal conversion crew duty would obviously not include that many people in a Halifax.

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    Hi Colin,

    F1180 only gives duty as Training Flight Test.

    All the detail is on the engine failure.

    Might get a bit more from the AIB report in AVIA 5

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATID=-894059&CATLN=7&Highlight=%2C9379&accessmethod=0

    Regards
    Ross
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    Ross.

    Any suggestions on why a crew would take six student air crews on a sortie to 17000 feet for half an hour at that altitude. Info from AIB.

    Would that be standard altitude training - I dont think that many oxygen plugs would be available, but I might be way of with that assumption.

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    Colin,
    Sounds like a demonstration of the effects of lack of oxygen (without having to resort to a decompression chamber!) for potential aircrew candidates. I believe that in the Commonwealth air forces in WW2 period, 15,000 feet was normally considered the maximum safe height for aircrew without breathing (oxygen) equipment, so 17,000 does sound a bit high, but not impossible. I imagine only the actual aircraft crew would be on normal oxygen equipment on such a flight.
    David D

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    Colin,

    Are you by any chance talking about Warrant Officer 'Daddy' Fullbrook DFC?

    If so, the answer might be that he was training two crews.

    Drifting the Thread a bit, I had the pleasure of chatting to a very senior gent in the bar of the RAF Club a few years ago. He told me that he and another captain and their crews, had gone off in a single Lancaster to do some fighter affiliation, when their aircraft caught fire. The other pilot, who was flying at the time, ordered everybody out but it was only after landing that it was realised that the senior gent's two gunners hadn't bothered to take parachutes with them and nobody had checked. Both gunners were killed.

    Another Colin

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    David. Do you know if such flights were common place and formed a part of air crew training, it appears a most expensive and protractive way to teack 'oxygen sence' I confess to never having seen such training sorties of this kind previously.

    Colin. No its not Reg Fullbrook DFC.

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    Colin,
    I have no idea whether such trainig flights as this were routine, or extremely rare, or if this was a genuine "one off" - in fact I have never heard of such a test for trainees as this type of exercise was normally demonstrated in a decompression chanmber of some kind, safe at ground level (which was a hell of a lot more convenient, cheaper, and safer). Nevertheless I was putting forward a possible explantion based on the irrefutable facts provided, that six trainees on a training flight were taken up to 17,000 feet for half an hour. I hasten to add that this was not particularly dangerous in itself (assuming the aircraft crew were on oxygen), but according to information I have seen, probably just outside what would have, at the time, been normal (and safe) procedures. In other words pure speculation, although this is quite clear in my post.
    David D

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    David.

    I agree, this is another of those situations that leaves us with questions in our minds. However from the facts and circumstances know, it led to the loss of 4 observers 4 air gunners 2 pilots 1 b.aimer and 1 engineer, in an age range 19 to 27 years. I will try to document it as best possible. Thanks.

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    I do know that the USAAF's Flexible Gunnery Training Groups would carry out training flights at higher altitudes in order to accustom the student gunners to performing aspects of their trade, for example clearing gun stoppages, when encumbered by oxygen masks and heavy gloves and clothing.

    Perhaps this was the purpose of the flight concerned here, rather than solely for the experience of being in a low oxygen environment, which could be, as already pointed out, simulated on the ground.

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