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Thread: RAF Syerston

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    Default RAF Syerston

    Does anyone have any memories of what the "Funnel" was at RAF Syerston? We think it is a cleft in the hill at the end of the main runway, but would like to know. Or any recollections of taking off and landing at Syerston in WWII over the precipitous banks of the River Trent? In particular, January 1945. Thank you.

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    Hi Helen
    You may be right in your belief as to what the "Funnel" was but the term also got used to describe part of the procedures for the approach to Syerston's Runways and if you think about it there is an appropriateness to describing the final feed in to the runway as a "Funnel". Syerston was not an isolated airfield in WW2 , around it and stretching into neighbouring counties were dozens of airfields where the basic Circuit around each one often overlapped it's neighbour. In the RAF of the 50's and 60's I flew with many veterans of WW2 and met even more when I went into Civil Air Traffic Control and the stories of near misses in crowded overlapping circuits were many. So an attempt to set out a procedure to enable returning a/c to get down without any further alarms was clearly useful and needed to operate largely without the use of Radio if possible although perhaps a short range Radio Beacon could be used. To end it in a "Funnel" culminating in the runway in use at the time was sensible and the word was appropriate to the circumstances . The non Radio part would have been a recognition of the German habit of following a returning Bomber stream and shooting a/c down in the final stages of an approach, probably not quite so necessary in 1945 as in previous years but it would be , even then , not something you would get complacent about. A word to the RAF Museum or the Air Historical Branch might bring further information although it will take a little time
    Regards
    Dick

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    Thanks Dick, we ask because the pilot of JB125 was asked by the airfield if he could see the "funnel" and was then observed in "a steep turn to port over the funnel" which made it sound like a geographical feature or local place name. I will continue to ask around but thanks very much for the info.

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    If we are talking about seeing the funnel then you might be referring to Approach Lighting which could have been a series of bars across the extended runway centre line gradually reducing in size(hence "funnel"). I seem to recall you have a brother or -in law who flies Commercially and he should be able to demonstrate what I mean with modern systems most of which had their roots in WW2 practice
    Regards
    Dick

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    Helen, Funnel:- A series of markers or lights on the ground to guide the pilot of an approaching aircraft onto the centreline of the runway on an airfield.
    HTH,
    Bill.

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    Dick and Bill - thank you very much for explaining!
    Helen

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