The school glider

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The school glider

Post by time please »

Did it ever get off the ground?

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Re: The school glider

Post by ZeroDeConduite »

As I remember (hazily) the one in the late 1950s was in effect a horizontal bungee jump – merely a training aid designed to give at most a few seconds of 'flying' experience a few inches off the ground. The bungee was stretched by a sort of rugby scrum then a restraining mechanism was released.
I don't remember whether I actually saw it, or just a description. I think it was an RAF device on loan for a few days to the CCF?
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Re: The school glider

Post by brian walling »

I don't have the answer, but I have wondered about this myself and was intending to make a post about it (I assume that we are talking about the same thing and same time frame: the CCF (RAF Section)'s glider, about 1959-60.

Postings about Pongo (E A littlefield) in recent days reminded me of this issue. My own vague memories of it are as follows.

The RAF Section under R Rae (after I think E A Littlefield stepped down as leader) acquired this about 1959 but I left the CCF and then CH shortly after. It was what was called a Primary Glider – essentially just a wing and a tailplane attached to a lattice framework fuselage with a skid below and a seat perched at the front . It was launched by release from a V-shaped elastic rope that had to be stretched out to full tension ahead of it by a ground team. It was planned to take to the air this way from the rugby pitches north of the Dining Hall, with the aim of flying a circuit around the pitches before landing. Did it ever fly? I'm not sure whether I ever saw the thing, but I do recall Bob Rae talking about it.

Incidentally, some of those in the RAF Section at that time may well have made their first flight, as I did, in a 2-seater De Haviland Chipmunk trainer on an RAF Section Field Day at White Waltham RAF station near Maidenhead. Anybody else who had that experience may like to know that, if they flew in Chipmunk serial number 861 (as my CCF record, signed by Bob Rae, shows) that very aircraft is still flying today over 60 years later. I traced it through its serial number to Masterton airfield north of Wellington in North Island, New Zealand. I didn't realise it at the time, but this was also the trainer aircraft in which Prince Philip had been taught to fly at White Waltham in 1952 and it carries Prince Philip's royal crest on its fuselage. The Chipmunk in fact was retained by the RAF for a variety of basic training roles right through until 1996. Unfortunately the recent Netflix TV Series "The Crown" misrepresented Prince Philip's early flying lessons, because it showed him being trained in an old DH Tiger Moth biplane, which obviously looks more picturesque on the screen but which had already been replaced as the RAF primary trainer by the Chipmunk (just one of several misrepresentations in this series).
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Re: The school glider

Post by Ajarn Philip »

brian walling wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 10:49 am
Incidentally, some of those in the RAF Section at that time may well have made their first flight, as I did, in a 2-seater De Haviland Chipmunk trainer on an RAF Section Field Day at White Waltham RAF station near Maidenhead. Anybody else who had that experience may like to know that, if they flew in Chipmunk serial number 861 (as my CCF record, signed by Bob Rae, shows) that very aircraft is still flying today over 60 years later. I traced it through its serial number to Masterton airfield north of Wellington in North Island, New Zealand. I didn't realise it at the time, but this was also the trainer aircraft in which Prince Philip had been taught to fly at White Waltham in 1952 and it carries Prince Philip's royal crest on its fuselage. The Chipmunk in fact was retained by the RAF for a variety of basic training roles right through until 1996.
I have very few memories of my time in the RAF section of the CCF in the early 70s, but going up in a small 2-seater is one that has remained with me - a big thrill. I have no idea where, or if it was the Chipmunk referred to above, and I didn't realise there were such things as a CCF record! I wonder if mine still exists somewhere...?
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Re: The school glider

Post by J.R. »

I have vague recollections of the glider.

I can't remember it getting more than a couple of feet off the ground.
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Re: The school glider

Post by jhopgood »

I remember seeing it on Little Side, even moving, but I joined the Lazy Gang in the RE's where we spent most of our time sleeping in the Bird Sanctuary.
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Re: The school glider

Post by eucsgmrc »

I too recall seeing it very occasionally on Little Side. It looked perfectly capable of gliding, but not soaring, so with a bungee launch it would never be able to get far off the ground. I'm sure it would respond to all the normal control inputs of a plane, but it only had a brief time to respond before it came back to earth, so, whatever the "pilot" did, the glider was probably still the right way up and pointing more or less the right way when it touched down, and the pilot could feel proud of a good (i.e., survivable) landing. I imagine a winch launch would let you fly it properly, but what do I know? I remember feeling faintly envious of those who got the chance to try it, but I never seriously thought "that could have been me" - and I've never laid a hand on the controls of any aircraft in the years since.
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Re: The school glider

Post by brian walling »

Ajarn Philip wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 11:25 am
brian walling wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 10:49 am
Incidentally, some of those in the RAF Section at that time may well have made their first flight, as I did, in a 2-seater De Haviland Chipmunk trainer on an RAF Section Field Day at White Waltham RAF station near Maidenhead. Anybody else who had that experience may like to know that, if they flew in Chipmunk serial number 861 (as my CCF record, signed by Bob Rae, shows) that very aircraft is still flying today over 60 years later. I traced it through its serial number to Masterton airfield north of Wellington in North Island, New Zealand. I didn't realise it at the time, but this was also the trainer aircraft in which Prince Philip had been taught to fly at White Waltham in 1952 and it carries Prince Philip's royal crest on its fuselage. The Chipmunk in fact was retained by the RAF for a variety of basic training roles right through until 1996.
I have very few memories of my time in the RAF section of the CCF in the early 70s, but going up in a small 2-seater is one that has remained with me - a big thrill. I have no idea where, or if it was the Chipmunk referred to above, and I didn't realise there were such things as a CCF record! I wonder if mine still exists somewhere...?
CCF Record of Service: in my day it was a nondescript (5in x 4in) beige-coloured 12-page paper booklet, pre-printed with all sorts of
detailed headings under which activity and achievements in the CCF could be documented - but rarely was, except that Bob Rae liked to document any flight experience. The main purpose of it at CH was that a parent or guardian had to sign inside it that they gave permission for their child's participation in all activities of the CCF, including flying and being flown. For those in the RAF section, the booklet also had to hold the signature of the school's Medical Officer certifying medical fitness to go up in an aircraft. I just happened to hang on to mine - one of several relics that I still have from CH days.
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Re: The school glider

Post by sejintenej »

brian walling wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 10:49 am
I
The RAF Section under R Rae (after I think E A Littlefield stepped down as leader) acquired this about 1959 but I left the CCF and then CH shortly after. It was what was called a Primary Glider – essentially just a wing and a tailplane attached to a lattice framework fuselage with a skid below and a seat perched at the front . It was launched by release from a V-shaped elastic rope that had to be stretched out to full tension ahead of it by a ground team. It was planned to take to the air this way from the rugby pitches north of the Dining Hall, with the aim of flying a circuit around the pitches before landing. Did it ever fly? I'm not sure whether I ever saw the thing, but I do recall Bob Rae talking about it.
I remember seeing it "fly" several times but I don't remember it getting more than a few feet off the ground and certainly not making a turn before hitting the turf. I was not in the RAF section (did far more interesting stuff which benefited me and others for half a century) but I did feel that the effort expended in getting it up was not worth the result. In retirement there was a glider club close to where we swam so we saw them coming in at 20 feet over our heads - very impressive and a pity I never tried that
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Re: The school glider

Post by Jabod2 »

It was called a Grasshopper, and it flew in my time, when an exuberant bungee team gave it extra beans and the pilot (master or boy - possibly Dickie Midwinter who was heading for the RAF I think) took off higher than was intended on Little Side, managed a turn and safe (but abrupt) landing in the middle of the running track.

I also recall the visit(s?) to White Waltham (just down the road from me now) where we went up in Chipmunks and were given control momentarily. I think that this was all under Bob Rae's aegis.

During this time the RAF section had a weeks visit to RAF Credenhill (SAS) where we all had a session in the gas chamber with CS gas to give us experience of gas masks. One miscreant (Simon Law?) who had aroused the ire of the warrant officer by cheeking him and was subsequently called a 'snot-gobbling little git' was made to suffer. We had to take the gas mask off in the chamber, and give our name and school before leaving abruptly to cough our guts up. The WO went deaf for Simon, who had to repeat his name 3 times. Prior to the experience we had arrived in time to see the previous bunch crawling around in distress, so we knew what we were in for.

We also had hike across the Breacon Beacons where we were dumped at an unknown destination and told where to rendevous, so we had to work out where we were to start off with... It was only many years later that I worked out that there was probably an SAS excerise simultaneously to shadow us to make sure we didn't get lost. The pub near the Heads of the Valleys road above Merthyr sold the solitary 18 year old amongst us enough flagons of cider to get another 2 with the deposits on the first...

We also had a trip to RAF Bruggen, visited Philips in Eidhoven, and marched through Koln Cathedral (Kultur!) as we headed for the sex shops... That started my lifelong liking for beer - my first illicit pint was at Reading Station on my way home from Gatwick.

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Re: The school glider

Post by sejintenej »

Jabod2 wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 9:18 pm

We also had hike across the Breacon Beacons where we were dumped at an unknown destination and told where to rendevous, so we had to work out where we were to start off with... It was only many years later that I worked out that there was probably an SAS excerise simultaneously to shadow us to make sure we didn't get lost.
Brings back memories; leadership course, February, it had been below freezing for a long time and we had a foot plus of snow where we were camping for the second or third night on the tops miles from nowhere and even further from anywhere. I went down with malaria that night and soaked both sleeping bags etc etc. Had to find my way down alone next day, soaked to the skin and drive home. I had forgotten to take my Paludrine with me (it controls temperature when seriously overdosed). I was off work for three weeks and weak for much longer.

.. That started my lifelong liking for beer - my first illicit pint was at Reading Station on my way home from Gatwick.
My first was on a CCF summer hike; we had stopped for lunch at Adversane at a pub beside a picturesque old bridge over the river. The publican seemed used to CCF groups and plied us well. Living abroad the one thing that I missed about Britain was the bitter which I had started on there.
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Re: The school glider

Post by ASR »

Yes, I was part of the team pulling the bungee cord on Little Side in the early 1970s to propel the glider a few inches off the ground.

Also remember going up in Chipmunks at White Waltham, doing aerobatics, rolls, stall turns and barrel rolls . . . amazing to think those Chipmunks are still flying . . . I remember they had no starter motor, instead a sort of shotgun cartridge was used on the ground to get the engine going.

You had to sit on your own parachute in the plane . . . made into a cushion
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Re: The school glider

Post by sejintenej »

ASR wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 11:32 pm
You had to sit on your own parachute in the plane . . . made into a cushion
All very well having a parachute. 1) have you ever used one? 2) could you get out to use it? My brother had one but he couldn't get out of the Lancaster
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Re: The school glider

Post by J.R. »

sejintenej wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 12:36 pm
ASR wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 11:32 pm
You had to sit on your own parachute in the plane . . . made into a cushion
All very well having a parachute. 1) have you ever used one? 2) could you get out to use it? My brother had one but he couldn't get out of the Lancaster
Exactly my thoughts !!

It takes ages to be trained to use one properly.
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Re: The school glider

Post by ASR »

J.R. wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 3:47 pm
sejintenej wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 12:36 pm
ASR wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 11:32 pm
You had to sit on your own parachute in the plane . . . made into a cushion
All very well having a parachute. 1) have you ever used one? 2) could you get out to use it? My brother had one but he couldn't get out of the Lancaster
Exactly my thoughts !!

It takes ages to be trained to use one properly.
... well . . . before takeoff they showed us a hilarious film about how to use a parachute ... something to do with jumping counting and pulling . . . so guess they thought it was job done.
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