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Thread: Corkscrew Injuries any information from Lancasters?

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    Default Corkscrew Injuries any information from Lancasters?

    Are there any stats or reports on (head) injuries caused by this sudden evasive manoeuvre when crew were caught off guard / balance by the pilot's quick actions?
    The pilot had the only seat belt. I expect the gunners were ok as they gave the signal, what about the Navs and FEs?

    Any thoughts?
    626 Sqd Pilot F/S Stewart Jacques 1432964 PoW 2133 Shotup DV171 Crash Landed JB595 15/1/44 Erfurt RIP-1993. Crew: Nav Sgt G C Farran 1512473 injured Branuschweig returned S.S.Gripsolm; F/E Sgt Alfred Arthur Phillips 1583796 RIP Berlin; B/A Sgt J G Morton 1335893 PoW 1619; W/O Sgt Frank Seddon 1536326 PoW 1469; M/U Sgt John Edward Holford 3050007 PoW 1465 RIP-26/3/2013; R/G Sgt Daniel Conolly O'Donnell 1061941 injured Branuschweig returned Letitia; also M/U to 3/1/1943 Sgt A A Fletcher 1573487

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    Default Re: Corkscrew Injuries any information from Lancasters?

    Never heard of any injuries like that. Don't forget WWII a/c, particularly heavy bombers, would have been a lot less agile than ridiculous CGI 'planes' in films would have us believe!

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    Default Re: Corkscrew Injuries any information from Lancasters?

    A corkscrew is a coordinated maneuver so if the pilot puts in an appropriate amount of in-turn rudder at the start of the maneuver no one on board should be thrown to the left or right. Biggest risk would likely be an upward trajectory for anyone not strapped in during the negative g-force experienced during the initial push over into the dive. Would imagine everyone was supposed to be strapped in whenever there were likely to be searchlights or night-fighters around.

    The maneuver is used today by civil airliners flying into airports where surface-to-air missiles are a potential risk.

    Robert
    Last edited by robstitt; 7th November 2020 at 19:55. Reason: Typo

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    Default Re: Corkscrew Injuries any information from Lancasters?

    Only the Captain had a 4 point harness.
    The Nav and W Op probably had a Lap Belt but were not always sat down,the W Op would often be standing at the Astrodome to assist with visual lookout for fighters over enemy territory.
    Whilst the Bomb Aimer was in the nose he was basically lying on a floor cushion with no Harness.
    I am assuming that M/U and Rear Gunner had a Lap Belt but do not know for certain.
    The Flight Engineer was sat on a fold down seat next to the Skipper so probably not strapped in,he had to fold seat to allow access to nose for B/A.
    So I would say yes there would definitely have been injuries due to evasive manoevers but I have no idea how to check how many injuries occurred.

    I was lucky enough to get a Lanc flight with 'Jacko' out of Abingdon in 1982,I was in the Bomb Aimers Posn from take off to landing at Coningsby,inc 3 x displays on the way and there was still no way to strap into the nose compartment,it was a weird feeling to be flying and not have a harness

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    Default Re: Corkscrew Injuries any information from Lancasters?

    Excerpt from an article written by SGT John Sargeant DFM from the IBCC website...

    We were still doing violent evasive action when the fighter attacked again, this time from below, raking the aircraft from stem to stern. I was on the floor, having been thrown there from my standing position beside the Skipper by the sudden evasive manoeuvre and having seen the fighter attacking the first time from the rear starboard quarter with his tracer rounds entering the rear of the fuselage. I stayed on the floor, unable to do anything to help, waiting for ‘my packet’ if it was coming, while watching my panel of engine and fuel gauges for any trouble that may suddenly break forth. Fortunately, at that moment they were okay.
    https://internationalbcc.co.uk/about...ight-engineer/

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    Default Re: Corkscrew Injuries any information from Lancasters?

    Thanks for the replies. Also found this...

    If an attack came, I would yell, “Corkscrew” on the intercom to the skipper and he would throw the Lanc into a steep dive. When a bomber corkscrews the worst place to be is in the back. As the wings go down the tail comes hurling up. Facing backwards, you go up too, and then you plunge back down as the skipper pulls back on the stick and the plane climbs steeply in the opposite direction. The G-force clamps on your head like a ton of concrete. Your chin is pressed hard into your chest and at the same time you are still trying to fire at the enemy fighter on your tail!’

    Sergeant Bob Pearson aged 19 in 1944 when he served on a Lancaster Squadron based at RAF Waltham, Lincs.
    626 Sqd Pilot F/S Stewart Jacques 1432964 PoW 2133 Shotup DV171 Crash Landed JB595 15/1/44 Erfurt RIP-1993. Crew: Nav Sgt G C Farran 1512473 injured Branuschweig returned S.S.Gripsolm; F/E Sgt Alfred Arthur Phillips 1583796 RIP Berlin; B/A Sgt J G Morton 1335893 PoW 1619; W/O Sgt Frank Seddon 1536326 PoW 1469; M/U Sgt John Edward Holford 3050007 PoW 1465 RIP-26/3/2013; R/G Sgt Daniel Conolly O'Donnell 1061941 injured Branuschweig returned Letitia; also M/U to 3/1/1943 Sgt A A Fletcher 1573487

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    Default Re: Corkscrew Injuries any information from Lancasters?

    Two comments on the Corkscrew Manoeuvre.

    About 10-12 years ago I watched a real-live demonstration of the corkscrew manoeuvre carried out not by two aircraft, but by two birds. I have a wonderful view of the ocean and I happened to see (aided with my spotting scope) an Osprey catch a fish. The osprey was approached by a Bald Eagle intent on obtaining said fish. The chase ensued, but as the eagle approached the osprey dove to hard to port. The eagle followed but overshot its target as the faster and more manoeuvrable osprey climbed to starboard. This was repeated multiple times over the course of about a minute until the osprey finally dropped the fish and flew off. I don’t remember if the eagle obtained the fish or not. But this was a clear demonstration of the corkscrew. So, the corkscrew manoeuvre was around and carried out by avian species long before it was carried out by humans in aircraft.

    I don’t have evidence of injuries but I do have an account of the effects of an extreme corkscrew event on the Lancaster. My dad had a correspondence with Vince Elmer, the 419 Squadron Historian, and who (reputedly) prepared the 419 Squadron History. Vince’s account to my father, (Typed letter to my father dated September 28th, 1984.):

    Edit: Vince Elmer was “ground crew”. I don’t know his trade.

    “You mentioned Andy Anderson. Once he finished his tour he came into the hangers and did all our test trip flights on the new aircraft and ones we did major inspections on. I flew with him on a number of these. One I will never forget and we talked about it down in Toronto a few years ago. One of his last tests when we hade everything else checked out, was to put the Lanc into a cork screw. This day we were away out over the North Sea. Any way I was ready for it and braced myself between the main spars. [?] This time Andy did not pull out of it as quick as others. I finally slipped down on the floor and blacked out, although I could still hear. When he finally levelled out and I got my vison back, looking out we were just above the water. He also blacked out his rear gunner as well. To make a long story short we got back to base, signed the aircraft out [sic] 9about 8pm at night in April0 and went to eat. The next morning you could smell the petrol practically back to the mess. The skin was missing off the bottom of the main tank between the body and the starboard inner and the tank ruptured. Further checks later the starboard main spar was cracked. I must add that I knew what a cork screw manoeuvre was after that. There were two Andersons at that time, one was J.A. and the other W.J. I hope we are talking of the same one—W.J. Both were pilots…”

    So, what is recorded of this incident? The Aircraft in question was KB.860. And the incident occurred March 16, 1945. The Air Ministry in a letter to 419 Squadron requested a Form 765C [REPORT ON FLYING ACCIDENT OR FORCED LANDING NOT ATTRIBUTABLE TO ENEMY ACTION] be filled out on this incident. The Occupants: F/L W.J. Anderson, pilot, F/O Steele, B/A, P/O Roberts (RAF) F/E, P/O Burton A/G, WO1 Carpassiti W/Op. No injuries. Elmer is not listed on the crew manifest.

    Anderson’s Statement: “Normal test flight carried out. No unusual reaction during the test.” Signed W.J. Anderson F/L.

    II. Report by Appropriate Specialist officers. “This aircraft was inspected by Mr. Whitehead of Messers A.V. Roe Ltd. (stress Dept.)
    Cause of failure, not known. Obviously overloaded in that the underside skin rivets are sheared at about rib No. 20 with serious skin wrinkled along front spar outward from rib no. 20, plus a’chord [?] wrinkle at position of Mod. 1003. Further note Mod 1003 embodied. Remarks of Base commander: nil Signed A/Cdre Dunlap. 30.3.45. Signed off by 6-Group for Air Officer Commanding 11th April, 1945.
    “It is agreed that the cause of this skin failure is not known. One possible cause may have been the removal of the tank panel without supporting the outer mainplane. It has now been determined that Mod. 1003 was (underlined) embodied. Therefore, the remarks in para 11. are not consistent.”

    Anderson’s comments are notable in their brevity! If Elmer is to be believed, the manoeuvre was well beyond the limits of the aircraft! I have the records of this incident, if anyone wants to review it further, but I believe I have hit the “high points” of what was recorded.

    Dad did comment over the years that the corkscrew could be quite violent and with "rivets popping" however this comment I thought was for effect, rather than literal.

    Jim
    Last edited by JDCAVE; 9th November 2020 at 03:41.

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