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Thread: Approach Charts

  1. #1
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    Default Approach Charts

    Hi
    When Approach Charts were introduced into the RAF? I mean something more than a simple map of the airfield.
    TIA

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    Hello Franek

    Approaches, indicated as approach directions and in some cases specifed lanes, must have been pre-war even for the RAF, as I have been researching Southampton (Civil) before WW 2, (in WW2 the aerodrome was called Royal Naval Air Station Eastleigh / RNAS Eastleigh, called HMS Raven). Also other aerodromes have approach and take-off directions specified, before they were taken over by the RAF in WW 2.

    There was a definite lane approach to Southampton before WW2, as Hampshire Constabulary (Hants Police) correspondence survives between Air Ministry, the Local Council (Authority) and the local Police, regarding tall chimneys etc., near the approach several miles away from the aerodrome boundary perimeter.

    Also local planning files should survive at the Local Planning Offices about proposed high buildings / chimneys in or near the approach to an Aerodrome.

    The pre WW2 Air Ministry Aerodrome Licensing files in AVIA 2 have some helpful correspondence.

    Also, despite a war being on and now being led to believe otherwise, the RAF Aerodrome was still subject to the 1936 Air Navigation Act and predecessor Acts. You may not realise this, but an RAF Aerodrome under the 1939 War Lighting Restrictions was exempt from the War restrictions due to safety and still had to provide safety and obstruction lighting. Sometimes our RAF aircraft were in circuit to land, but the Air Raid sounded and the aerodrome lights were switched off, or the aerodrome blocked.

    It seems that a very dim (poor) view was taken by the Air Ministry in early WW 2 of no lights displayed, no obstruction lights for surrounding obstructions including balloon cables around an aerodrome, or the fact that the runway was blocked to prevent GAF landings, or lights being switched off, at Aerodromes in 1940.

    In 1940 the RAF base definitely had an approach or approaches (depending on wind direction), as they had a 'Chance' light and also Bomber Command Crews were given the 5 mile beacon flashing letter code and a magnetic course to steer from that Beacon to their Aerodrome, as they are indicated on the 1940 Ops Orders I have copies of for Driffield, which did not have a Lorenz / VHF Beam Approach at that point.

    If the Airfield had VHF Landing SBA / Lorenz, then as you know, the aerodrome would have had formal approach lanes with associated beacons.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 2nd May 2015 at 09:32.

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    Thanks Mark. My impression was that pre-war and early during the war aircrew were just familiarised with the area of aerodrome, and the necessary information they could get by visual signals, radio or from a map. While nav/ads were already developed at the time, I think they became popular already during the war, and at the same time number of airfields largely increased. Hence I suppose that more precise charts providing necessary informations must have been introduced, although, on the other hand, they may have not been available for aircrew due to security reasons, ie. they get necessary details on mission briefings only.

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    Hi Franek,

    The first chart that looks similar to modern ILS/Letdown Charts was the Radio Range Instrument Letdown Chart from the Pilot's Radio Facilities Handbook, first published circa 1948.

    This was a printed format amalgamating the ZZ talkdown from the early 1940s, SBA homing system of the 1942/43 and the Rebecca/Eureka/BABS of the late 1944/45 all together into one document.

    Regards
    Ross

    The talk down voice of ZZ
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    Hello Franek and Ross

    Many aerodromes were grass before and early WW2, but even grass-covered had directions such as pre WW2 Shoreham Aerodrome, which stated this:-

    "Description

    Landing Area:

    N.-S., 800 yards.
    N.E.-S.W., 750 yards.
    E.-W., 730 yards.
    S.E.-N.W., 760 yards.
    Grass-covered level surface."

    Once concrete runways were constructed, the aerodrome would have had more precise directional approaches.

    A stricken or war damaged aircraft might only get one chance, would not want to, or could not circuit and hopefully would be directed in by the controller using D/F, which would give the Pilot more or less, a direction of approach to the airfield. As long as the bomber W/Op had CW W/T (Morse) and his VHF microphone working, could also receive ok and in contact with a competant Airfield Controller, he had a chance if he could see the aerodrome beneath cloud and at night with lamp and airfield lighting, of landing.

    Once the RAF Station / airfield had Lorenz or equivalent made under Licence by S,T & C (Standard Telephone & Cables) SBA, or BABS, or any Blind Approach Landing System, there would have definitely been approach drwgs, drawn by the installers, setting out the contact lighting, beacons, glide angles etc. I noticed in a file that Coastal Command also had ASVBA.

    Also I'm fairly sure I have seen an ORB for an RAF Station that opened in 1940, which had the approach directions specified?

    Regarding RAF Airfields I found this in the 1944 Edition of Royal Air Force Flying Control:-







    Any particular Aerodrome / RAF Station of interest Franek, as I have a specimen RAF layout and other bits and pieces?
    Regards Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 4th May 2015 at 21:41.

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    Mark, I will contact you off line.

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    Hello Franek

    Sent an AM RAF Airfield Mk II Typical Layout drawn 1941 (published 8/1944). A list of Secifications and Reference Drawings, apparently takes the plan to 1942. I don't have the Lighting Manual mentioned.

    The approaches (with lead in lights) to the runway ends were funnels. The accompanying RAF manual indicates that some Stations were still using Mk I lighting.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 7th May 2015 at 22:26.

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