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Thread: nose hatch of the Lancaster

  1. #1
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    Default nose hatch of the Lancaster

    Hello,

    Do you know if the escape hatch which was in the Bomb Aimer place in the Lancaster, was jettison outside the aircraft, or just removed and put in the nose when the airmen evacuated the bomber??
    So was it fitted from outside or from inside ?

    Thank you for your comment .

    Alain.

  2. #2
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    Alain,
    From AP.2062A, C, F (for Lancaster I, III, X), May 1944, Pilot's and Flight Engineer's Notes, Part IV, para 61 and 62 (Parachute Exits, Crash Exits):-

    Para 61
    (i) Hatch in floor of nose should be used by all members of the crew if time is available; it is released by handle in centre, lifted inwards and jettisoned.
    (ii) Main entrabce door should be used as a parachute exit only in extreme emergency.

    Para 62
    Three push-out panels are fitted in the roof, one above the pilot, one just forward of the rear spar, and one forward of the mid-upper turret.

    Interestingly, there are rather elaborate instructions included for the emergency parachute exit of a "wounded man" through the front hatch in the air bomber's compartment by use of a static line. This nine-part section finishes with the advice "Open and jettison front hatch", then "Slide the man through the exit feet first facing aft. Care should be taken to keep his hands to his sides. Do not hold on to the static line by hand".

    David D

  3. #3
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    It's always fascinated me why the exhortation to only use the main entrance door in extreme emergency was ever included. I cannot imagine why else anyone would be moved to jump from the aircraft whilst in flight!
    Bill.

  4. #4
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    Alain and Bill
    I don't know for certain but I suspect that the nose hatch was fitted from the inside as at non-emergency times it formed part of the floor of the a/c, even with this there was still a risk that it could open outwards accidently under enough weight.This happened with a later Shackleton when a crew man jumped into the nose area and the hatch gave way under the impact.
    As to the use of the main door,I suspect that the instructions were intended to take account of the low setting of the horizontal tailplane which would be difficult to avoid on exit from the a/c.
    Regards
    Dick

  5. #5
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    Dick,
    You're spot on with your comment about the main door as an exit. My best mate, now sadly no longer with us, baled out via the main door, narrowly missing the tailplane, but as he said, "when the aircraft's on fire and going down, you get out whichever way you can!" In the light of that comment, the entry in the Pilots and F/Es notes does seem rather pointless.
    Bill.

  6. #6
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    Not all exits were in such dramatic circumstances. There are many case where the aircraft was reasonably stable but the crew had to jump - not just combat cases but examples where airfields were fogbound, or fuel was exhausted, or undercarriage failure.....I'm sure that a little thought would come up with others. The instruction is saying that if you have to bale out but have the option, don't use the maindoor!

  7. #7
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    Dick,
    The sudden exit from a Shackleton (minus parachute!) through the forward escape hatch seems to be true. When I was flying in Gib/Malta based Shacks from El Adem as an occasional Airman Galley Slave (1953) it was given as a word of warning about jumping down, between the two Pilot positions, into the nose section. But in this instance the tale was that it was a Royal Navy Officer up to see Anti-Submarine work 'from the other end'! So we must be talking about the JASS and Ballykelly era? Be interesting to see if we can nail this one down.
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    Septimus, quia ego vado transgressus esai levabit pons!

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