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Thread: Saunders Roe Lerwick Flying Boat

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    Default Saunders Roe Lerwick Flying Boat

    Thank you Henk, Paul and Highgroundsman for your most interesting information about the crash of Lerwick L7248 in October 1941. With your kind help I have now completed my research on this aircraft but out of pure interest created by the research, I wondered if someone could answer the following questions:

    1) What were the SARO "Lerwick" Flying Boat crew positions? Beyond pilot, observer and gunner I'm become stuck. I dont mean L7248s position/crew name but generaly speaking.

    2) Could the Lerwick operate from land as well as water? I've seen a picture of one showing what looks like an undercarriage.

    3) What was a fully loaded Lerwick take-off run in distance?

    4) Thinking of clear still water, where it must be difficult to judge depth etc. how did the pilot calculate a safe landing?

    5) Did any of the 21 Lerwicks manufactured or parts of - survive the war? and if so where?

    Thank you
    Norman

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    Default Saro Lerwick various

    Hi Norman,

    Here is a good link to specs on the Lerwick:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saro_Lerwick

    With regards to a few of your questions.

    Crew positions I think would be Pilot,Obs, W/AG, and 3 riggers i.e. Engineers that could also man guns, front & upper turrets. 6 crew in total.


    Aircraft I believe was only a flying boat and took off and landed on the water, wheels I assume would have been for maintenance purposes and to haul up the ramps at bases in bad weather.

    I will leave other questions to the flying boat specialists.

    Regs.
    Dave.

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    Norman,
    From general knowledge of RAF flying boats (Sunderland, Singapore III), I imagine that the crew would normally have comprised at least two pilots, and sometimes even three if no dedicated observer was available. The RAF prewar and in the very early period of WW2 was desperately short of dedicated observers, but possessed more than enough pilots to go around, so it was normal to substitute these pilots for the non-existent observers in Flying Boat, General Reconnaissance, Torpedo Bomber and (Heavy) Bomber squadrons. Naturally as the supply of observers increased, this "misemployment" of pilots gradually faded out. Although Observers tended to be rank of Sergeant (or commissioned) the wireless operators and air gunners tended to be of lowly airman ranks (sometimes Corporals) until all these men were promoted to Sergeants in mid-1940.
    David D

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    Water at flying boat bases would very rarely be still and clear, but judging the landing would indeed be difficult under those conditions. I know of nothing other than experience to help pilots at such a time.

    I believe no part of any Lerwick survived.

    The Lerwick was designed for a crew of 9, with a cockpit sized for two pilots and an engineer. The others were an observer/gunner (presumably navigator and bomb-aimer were included as part of his roles), three fitter/airgunners, a WEM airgunner and a WT airgunner. It was considered too cramped and the crew reduced to six or seven. I don't know what WEM stands for in that title.

    I haven't found take-off distances, but at normal loaded weight it was 41 seconds, and at overload it was 60 seconds. If we assume a take-off speed of 120 mph, that suggests a distance of around a mile, assuming constant acceleration.
    Last edited by Graham Boak; 13th September 2008 at 22:02.

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    "Glassy water", as boat and float pilots call it, is still a big problem for water landing even today. The water doesn't have to be clear, just very still and reflecting the sky. Depth perception then becomes very difficult. If the body of water is large enough, standard procedure is to set up in slow flight, nose high, power on, and descend slowly in a constant attitude until water contact is made. This can work, but your touch down point may be plus or minus a few miles of your target. If you are in radio contact with anyone at the landing site, a quick spin around the water in a boat will help a great deal, for several minutes. You hear stories in the bar of pilots tossing out maps, seat cushions, anything that floats, to help depth perception, but I think these are just stories.

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