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Thread: Contact strip- airfield terminology

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    Default Contact strip- airfield terminology

    I am reading some reports that mention 'a contact strip'.
    It mentions aircraft landing on such at RAF Graveley in 1943.

    Can anyone enlighten me on what the contact strip was?

    TIA.
    Paul H

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    Default Contact strip?

    Hi Paul

    Just a guess - would that be the section of the runway where an a/c would be expected to first touch down, if it was going to be left with a safe length of landing run after that point?

    Ian

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    To explain a little more:-
    The term 'contact strip', came from a part of the log of a flying control officer at 35 squadron on 5/5/1943.

    "03.30 S/405 [ presume aircraft coded S from 405 squadron] landed using the contact strip.

    04.10 B/405 sqn landed but in doing so became stuck on the end of the main runway, causing another change of runways and making it impssible to use the contact strip."

    Thanks for your thoughts Ian
    Paul H

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    Paul,

    From http://lancasterdiary.net/March%201944/march_19_1944.php

    "Contact strip - Grass strip beside the runway, which could be used to land disabled planes"

    From http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/48/a2763948.shtml

    "The Contact Strip was the first two or three hundred yards of a runway, with large circular lights set into it up each side. A pilot in any sort of difficulties knew if he could put his kite down on the Contact Strip he would have a whole runway in front of him, with an excellent chance of survival"

    Regards,

    Dave

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    My thanks alieneyes, an excellant description and fits in perfectly with my research on the landings and failed landings of 5/5/1943 at RAF Graveley.
    Bit by bit the picture becomes clear!!

    Paul H.

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    Default Contact Strip

    A bit of additional information.

    According to my Lorenz Blind Approach and other information I have collected, the "contact strip" was mentioned with a Lorenz Blind Approach system and a similar S.B.A. (Standard Beam Approach) system manual mentioned "contact lighting".

    Threshold Lights guided the pilot onto the runway contact strip, especially immediately after he/she had crossed above the Lorenz Inner Marker beacon.

    On a 1939 civil layout I have, the first part of the runway were green coloured lights, the runway mid section were white lighting and last section of the runway was red lighting.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 31st December 2012 at 19:57.

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    Thanks to all for replies. But was the contact strip an extension on the lenght of the runway or an extension at ther side of the runway? The responses seem to suggest it was either.
    I think I'm going for an extension at the begining of the runway.
    Thus
    Contact strip.... Main runway.... hedge at perimeter!


    Paul H.

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    The diagram in Air Publication 1751 "Blind Approach Pilot's Handbook", shows two rows of "sunken contact lights" lighting the whole of the runway lane. AP 1751 "Fig. XXI Contact Lighting" shows the two rows of Contact Lights offset to one side to enable the Pilot to see them (to his front side) as he was flying down the "beam axis" upon which the aircraft should be centred upon. The first part of the runway being lit with "green sunken contact lights" (approx one quarter of the runway length); the middle and longest section (about half of the runway length) with "white sunken contact lights" and the last section (approx the last quarter of the runway length) with "red sunken contact lights".

    I have a few official WW2 publications up to 1946 regarding landing and wireless vhf/beam guidance systems and at least three mention "contact lights" linking them to Runway Lighting. I only have one 1939 publication mentioning the "contact strip", which was on a Lorenz beam landing approach system, lit with two rows of Green, White and Red Contact lights along the runway (with Threshold Lights before the runway). I believe "Contact Strip" meant a runway strip with special lighting and probably with some type of navigational approach guidance landing system, to land aircraft in difficult weather, at night and/or aircraft with problems.

    I would be really interested now to find an official description of the installation that was fitted at your RAF Station of interest.

    A 1946 PICAO (Provisional ICAO) Aerodrome publication with contributions from Member States, including the United Kingdom does not use the term "contact strip", but it uses several terms, including either "ILS Strip" or "non ILS strip".

    Once an aircraft was stuck anywhere on the runway with the contact strip, that runway would be out of use.

    Apparently, at some point during WW2 RAF Graveley had FIDO, a fog dispersal system, a system of jets fed by flammable liquid and lit.

    The 1943 ORBs for RAF Graveley in AIR 28/324 (Oddly, the Station ORB only covers March 1943 according to their catalogue) and AIR 28/325 at The National Archives, Kew, might mention the installation of the system and/or what was in use just prior to your dates. Also the files in AIR 2 or AVIA series at TNA, Kew, for the FIDO system in general, might just mention the RAF Graveley installation.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 2nd January 2013 at 16:34. Reason: Air Publication 1751

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