Striking by Night
Crew - Pilot
Height - Heavy bombers 1943- 5ft 7in tall
Other - inside leg of 41in
A combination of alertness and steadiness – promptness in decision – imagination , sense of humour – punctuality - attention to detail – power of observation good education and all round interests in mechanical bent and a love of flying. Strong personal and a gift for leadership.
He generally had about 200 hours of flying before he took command.
Physical position and conditions in plane
He had a high – backed seat on the LHS of cockpit. His parachute pack served as a hard cushion.
Only piece of armour protection is behind the pilot, protecting his head.
- Panel instruments for monitoring flight
- Controls and switches
- Dials, switches and markings glowed with radial paint to overcome problem of darkness
- The controls for the elevator and ailerons.
- Pedals for rudder control were on the floor in front of him.
- No power assistance!
On his right:
- Four throttle levers
- Propeller speed control levers
He had dual responsibility…flying and leader of crew/regardless of rank. Example was key to confidence….therefore essence of leader. Authority and /discipline were essential in air…had to maintain authority on ground, too.
In flight duties
Along with engineer -
- Started engines
- Cockpit checks: set altimeters, check instrument vacuum settings, check temp ad pressure settings, bomb doors closed, radiator shutters opened, auto-pilot off, check hydraulic pressure, set compass, set trim settings, propeller pitch fully fine, set fuel selection, booster pumps on, set flaps for takeoff.
- Taxi along runway – difficult in itself! Balancing between the correct power settings and brakes pressure made it very difficult to keep plane on runway.
A typical uniform consisted of a helmet, oxygen mask, parachute, boots, shirt, trousers, tie, gloves, a whistle and an escape kit.