Mystery Flight Deck

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by BuckFelize, Sep 30, 2010.

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  1. I've just watched a rather excellent documentary on the ATA on BBC2. One image kept cropping up: Diana Barnato-Walker in her office - or rather one of them. It looks vaguely familiar, but it's now making my head hurt. It's not one of the usual heavies, and I was leaning towards something obscure like a Botha. The big clue is the tiny DV window. Over to the experts.

  2. Anson.

    At least that's what the caption on the original photo says... (in all seriousness, though, it does look as though it is an Anson and that the caption is correct)
  3. Of course... a bloody Anson. I didn't think of that. That's why it looked 'familiar'. Sorted!
  4. My grandfather was an ATA pilot and instructor, having transferred across after a tour on Wellingtons. Over the years I have met many of them at annual meetings and reunions and the association is stuffed full of characters. I knew Diana and she, like so many of the ATA pilots, had absolutely fascinating stories to tell. Reading my grandfather's log book is like looking at a list of everything that flew out of the UK during WW2, he flew most, if not all, of the operational British types as well as many foreign types. Pilots would be assigned a plane to deliver and, if they had never flown the type before, given a very basic 'how to' guide, and off they would go learning very much 'on the job'.

    The ATA was, to the best of my knowledge, the only wartime aviation unit employing female pilots, over 160 of whom served.
    The Royal Air Force - History Section

    One of the best known, Lettice Curtis, was so small that she barely came up to the top of the main wheels of a Lancaster bomber, however became the first woman qualified to fly one:


    A unique feature of the ATA is that physical handicaps were ignored if the pilot could do the job. Thus there were one-armed, one-legged, short-sighted and one-eyed pilots with the ATA. Representatives of 28 countries flew with the ATA.

    It is a little known but nevertheless very interesting part of RAF history from WW2.
  5. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    Only that "Lancaster" is a "Stirling"
  6. Haha yes
    I didn't even click to the 'missing' 2 engines!
  7. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    What missing two engines

    Attached Files:

  8. I surprise even myself with my mongness sometimes :(
  9. I watched it last night and found it very interesting. It’s amazing to think that some of the old women telling their stories flew so many hours on so many different types with just the Ferry Pilots Handling Notes to refer to.

    The woman who delivered the bomber and was waiting for a lift to the tower made me smile.

    Paraphrased slightly. She was standing by the newly landed aircraft when the car turned up:

    “Are you here to take me to the control tower”

    “No miss we are here to pick up the pilot”

    “I am the pilot”

    “Don’t be silly, women don’t fly bombers”

    They got out of the car and actually boarded the aircraft to search for the pilot, they reluctantly gave up and gave her a lift to the control tower.

    I can’t believe they flew alone while navigating by road maps and landmarks.
  10. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    I don't think that is an Anson cockpit I think it's an Airspeed Oxford, there was a large consol in the centre of the Anson instrument pannel

    Attached Files:

  11. Prtty sure it's an Anson.

  12. Now this is interesting. I understood that my late aunt was disqualified from joining the ATA because of a hearing defect (which I have come to share). I had assumed that this was because of the consequent difficulty in using radio; but one of the points made, either in the programme or on one of the websites dealing with the ATA, was that radio silence was maintained on ferry flights.

    I find myself confused (which is normal for me). Was my aunt a walt? I must say I have not found her name in any of the published documentation, but then again, I'm not sure she ever actually joined.
  13. Shandy,

    Good hearing is essential for flying so I don't think your aunt was a walt.

    Comm silence may have been maintained during transits (which were often out of range of comms anyway). However, for departure and arrival, ATC would still have been required. Similarly, on a large aircraft, ATA would likely have been carrying other crew so intercom would have been a factor.

    Finally, there is always the minor audio clue that can be an indication that something is not quite right; wind noise suggesting the undercart has not retracted fully or a panel is loose; a rough running engine or even in modern Air Power context, the ping from the galley which tells me my chicken madras is ready! :eek:)

  14. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    You are correct it is an Anson ,the only Anson I ever got a cabby in was the one they had at Aldergrove back in 1970 and it was a much later verson with much improved instruments and a completly different panel, and a bulkhead instead of the open flightdeck of the early versions,
  15. Thanks MM. I had never considered my aunt a walty kind of person, and my use of the word was somewhat jesting :).
    It's good to know that Air Power is being maintained by an appropriate (explosive) provision of food!