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Thread: MAD

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    Default MAD

    Can anyone explain why Coastal Command was reluctant to use MAD magnetic Anomaly Detectors? I know they were employed in the Med. Views appreciated as part of my research into MAD trials with Catalina FP258 at Helensburgh

    robin bird

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    I have never looked into this subject, but the answer may lie in AVIA 6/12607 "U.S. magnetic anomaly detector Mk IVB2 for submarine detection" or AVIA 15/1649 "AIRCRAFT EQUIPMENT: General (Code 8/1): Magnetic anomaly equipment for submarine detection in Catalina flying boats; trials" they are the only 1940s files which a search for magnetic anomaly on the NA catalogue brings back.
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    My understanding (from Alfred Price's 'Aircraft v Submarines) was that at the time they were only effective when the submarine was in shallow water hence their use over and near the Straits of Gibraltar. The aircraft also had to operate at low level hence the unsuitability of using them on normal patrols.

    Malcolm

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    thank you gentlemen. My late father was the official photographer for MAD trials at Helensburgh, hence my interest. The USA air forces were more successful with MAD than Coastal Command.

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    My 'MAD' professor contact in Australia would like to know of anyone in the UK who worked on MAD projects in the post war years 45-55? One of the problems, it seems, of using MAD on RAF spec Catalinas was its weight and associated equipment/weapons. VP-63 US Navy favoured PBY-5s as opposed PBY-5As. Trials at Helensburgh were held in an attempt to overcome the weight problems as well as to test MAD.
    robin bird

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    The RAF preferred the flying boats too. You mention weight being a problem: can I query whether this was a matter of moving the cg too far aft rather than the weight of the equipment per se?

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    Both I think, hence MAEE fitted MAD TO A CONE ON THE TAIL, THEN TOWED IT AS A 'CAT' UNDER THE CATALINA,
    robin bird
    Last edited by robin bird; 20th July 2015 at 14:49.

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    Robin,

    Would that be a towed 'bird' rather than a 'cat'?

    Robert

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    yes, dad called the bird a cat because his surname was Bird. The MAD device when towed had various nicknames although I think it was officially known as the cone, or stinger More commonly it was called the bird. When fitted to the aircraft's tail, it resembled a phallic symbol and had various nicknames, which I will not go into! Early MAD trials were not successful until the RAF got its hands on later versions from the USA. After the Catalina trials at Helensburgh MAD trials continued using a Swordfish with the bird slung underneath. The Swordfish needed to carry three heavy 12v car batteries plus other equipment to operate it. This caused the Swordfish's centre of gravity to become critically dangerous. These trials were immediately aborted. Thank you for your interest, robin
    Last edited by robin bird; 22nd July 2015 at 09:06.

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    Incidentally, trials of a dummy bird with the Swordfish also found that the bird became unstable when the length of the cable reached 30 to 40 ft, especially in rough seas. This was found to be potentially dangerous. Ref Report on trials of Mk X MAD on Swordfish Aircraft August 1943 Secret.

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