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Thread: Compass Swing Pans

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    Default Compass Swing Pans

    Does anyone know if there was a standard position for compass swing pans on RAF airfields or could they be situated anywhere so long as they were away from magnetic interference?

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 16th November 2010 at 02:32.

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    Default Swing pans

    At a guess, they would also be situated well and obviously clear of the normal taxi-way. The last thing that a pilot taxying from a landing would want to see would be an aircraft turning - he might wonder whether it was a loose cannon!

    At sea, when compass swinging, we would hoist the "Unable to manoever" signal, Black ball over white diamond over black ball [RWR Lights at night].
    Alan Gordon,
    61st Entry, 3 Wing, A Squadron and later, Admiralty Ferry Crews.

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    Default

    The Compass Swing Platform at Wittering was at the far north-west (i.e the old Collyweston) side of the airfield (probably where that recent Harrier stuff has been built). In addition to being remote from magnetic interference it had to be remote from HT electrical buried cables and GPO cables. The problem was that the location was fairly open and windswept. There was a further condition (I'm talking Lincoln, Canberra, and Valiant, days). The wind had to be (from memory!) less than 15 kts! This needed a GPO telephone connection on the Station PBX/PABX. When installed this proved to be near a wartime fuel pipeline spur (or so it was said). How anything ever worked properly I'll never know. The local AMWD/MPBW/PSA Engineers, GPO Engineers, had plans that showed what was actually in place. But decisions were made by Regional (or similar) HQs. Their plans showed what they thought was in place! The two were often wildly different! I can only presume that this occurred - to a greater or lesser extent - at most WW2 airfields in the immediate post-WW2 era.
    This sort of thing reinforces my aphorism that We didn't win WW2 - They lost it!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Compass swing pans on RAF airfields

    Alan & Peter,

    Thanks for your replies.

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 17th November 2010 at 22:45.

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