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Thread: Air tests...when did they occur?

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    Default Air tests...when did they occur?

    Hello,


    I’ve be reading Guy Gibson’s book “Enemy Coast Ahead” and it made me aware of something that I had not noticed about my Dad’s operational time with 77 Sqn at Full Sutton.


    I had always thought that crews did an air test each day of an Op on the aircraft assigned to them for that trip.


    Yet when I review my Dad’s log book he completed an air test on only 6 of his 35 Ops.


    Can any one tell me what the conventional wisdom was with regards to air tests? Were they only necessary if there had been a snag on the last flight that aircraft made?


    Thanks.


    Mike
    Last edited by anglin.mj; 28th September 2020 at 00:12.
    Mike Anglin

    Barrie, Canada

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    Default Re: Air tests...when did they occur?

    Rather when the repairs or overhaul required testing in the air. Not every snag required it.
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    Default Re: Air tests...when did they occur?

    There is no record in Dadís logbook of him doing any air tests on any day he was on operations. If you think about it the aircraft were being bombed up, gun tracks loaded, window placed into the aircraft (by the aircrew), fuelled and oiled. There were briefings to go to and charts to work on. The crew did check things out and any work or issues from the previous operations were discussed with the ground crew chief. Iím uncertain if that was the case on other squadrons.

    Jim

    Jim

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    Default Re: Air tests...when did they occur?

    It's a very good question Mike. There is not a single notation about an "air test" in my Dad's logbook (59 ops), and I have copies of the logbooks of his crewmates as well - again, no notation.
    Either they weren't done as Jim suggested, or they were so short they were not recorded. I tend to think Jim is right, they were only done when necessary, not routinely.
    Hope this helps, Clint

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    Default Re: Air tests...when did they occur?

    Hi all,

    I would say that "air tests" were more common during the first WWII years. I can say that for example 311 Squadron equipped with Wellingtons were doing them quite regularly between Sep 1940 - Apr 1942. The common routine was to make an air test during the morning before the night operations to give some time to the ground staff to make repairs if any problem appeared.
    But I have not met the air tests in such a range when researching Halifax/Lancaster squadrons in 1943-1945. In this period I would join the opinion they were made only after some major repairs or engine exchange, etc.

    HTH

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Default Re: Air tests...when did they occur?

    Hi Mike,

    In 75 (NZ) Squadron Air Tests were common before an operation.

    This was standard through the Wellington's, Stirling's and Lancaster's the squadron used. They usually lasted around 30 minutes.

    The ORB's are full of 'Air Test' or 'NFT' Night Flying Test mostly during the morning.

    Maybe it's a Group thing, or down to the squadron C.O. to decide if they are carried out as standard procedure.

    Cheers.

    Wayne.

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    Default Re: Air tests...when did they occur?

    Having just re-read 'Luck and a Lancaster' by Harry Yates DFC, who was operating with 75 Sqn in 1944/45, his full crew were always conducting air tests prior to ops. This appears to have been pretty standard stuff for this unit.
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    Default Re: Air tests...when did they occur?

    I guess there must have been an approved instruction or recommendation in regard of flying tests. Possibly TNA or RAF Museum should be approached. Also, operators like BBMF may have a lead, what & where to look for. I have been reading about pre-ops testing, not seen that confirmed in documents, but in fact I have never made a close scrutiny in bomber units.
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    Default Re: Air tests...when did they occur?

    I've looked into this a little further. Just after dad came to 419 Squadron he recorded in his logbook a 35 minute air test on KB.762 on September 28, 1944 and recorded ASI U/S. Late that afternoon, F/O Bruyne flew KB.762 on an op to Cap Gris Nez, taking off at 1740.
    https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/o...92/839?r=0&s=2
    On November 21, 1944, he recorded in his logbook a 10 minute air test on KB.762 and later that afternoon, F/O Williams was flew KB.762 on an op to Castrop Rauxel, taking off at 1532.
    https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/o...92/945?r=0&s=2

    So I stand corrected! The aircraft in both situations flew on operations the same day as the air test, however dad was not the operational pilot on either case.

    Jim

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    Default Re: Air tests...when did they occur?

    When Les was at 49 Squadron he did 25 OPS. Out of these there were 5 Air Tests and 1 Air Fighter Affiliation.
    At 83 Squadron out of 26 Ops there were 2 API test and 1 acceptance test.. also 3 or 4 Early Returns due to Special Y being US.
    Magda

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