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Thread: Contactor and fuel gauge

  1. #1
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    Default Contactor and fuel gauge

    Gents
    I came across a mention that a Spitfire pilot switched contactor on, and in the result he had not heard w/t. I recall that some pilots just set their w/t sets to talk, and forgot switch them off, resulting in whole squadron having problems with receiving messages. Is there any other explanation?
    Also, did Hurricane and Spitfire fuel gauges show the same amount of fuel left or were there any differences? Usually Spitfire fuel gauge showed less fuel than there was actually available, but was there a marked difference with Hurricane?
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    Franek,
    Spitfires, Hurricanes, etc, did not use W/T, they only had R/T (Radio Telephony, voice only, originally TR.9D HF, later VHF sets). I presume the "Contactor" you mention is the Master Contactor ("Pip Squeak"). I have heard of this problem, with just general static being broadcast by the guilty (careless) pilot, causing reception problems to all and sundry.

    As to fuel gauges, I would say that the indications of ALL fuel gauges then, as today, should be treated with the greatest of suspicion, and am not aware that any type of British fighter aircraft was noticeably any worse that another. I am not certain as to the types of fuel gauges in general use in RAF aircraft, but presume most were of the well-known articulated float type, although the hydrostatic type may have been in limited use. Misleading indications from various fuel tank gauge systems have been fairly common throughout history - I am thinking of my own vehicle - would not consider that particularly reliable, you just have to learn to "understand" them. Fortunately on larger types of modern aircraft, fuel flow gauges are common (to give apparently fairly reliable indications of actual consumption en route), and crews always calculate expected fuel consumption over each stage of their scheduled service based on temperatures, forecast winds, altitudes, engine settings, etc, to ensure they will always have enough fuel (including legal reserves) to complete their service with some fuel to spare. At least that is my (rather limited) understanding of how fuel is monitored - I am perfectly willing to allow a commercial pilot to give a much more accurate narrative of how it all works in the real world!
    David D
    Last edited by David Duxbury; 19th July 2018 at 19:57.

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    Thanks David!
    Yes, for sure R/T. Yes, Pip Squeak was one of the possible reasons. Nonetheless in the short note there is no mention of jamming others' R/T. The other possibility is to set R/T on in the speaking mode. I recall that the R/T sets when broadcasting, could not receive signals, but would such case be called switching on contactor?
    I am aware of all problems with fuel gauges, various solutions, and the fact it was not solved until now. I will try to reiterate my question. If pilot had been flying on Hurricanes for a while, and then converted onto Spitfires, would it be possible that difference in position error between two gauges could cause him to force land the Spitfire.
    Franek
    Aside, fuel gauge does not work in my car. I should use chain or rod for measurements, I think. ;)
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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