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  #1  
Old 22nd January 2010, 22:48
BlenheimBuff BlenheimBuff is offline
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Mosquito FB VI 'close call'

Hello all,

Had a very interesting chat with an ex-Mossie pilot last week. He was stationed at RAF Finmere in 1945, and although attached to 418 sqn actually operated independently with two other crews on special op' assignments attacking high value ground targets in France and Norway.

He said his scariest moment didn't have anything to do with actual operations, but happened whilst on a night time Gee training sortie over the North Sea! Apparently his navigator spotted what he thought was an enemy aircraft, prompting the pilot to pull a high G 180 degree turn to face the potential enemy. Next thing he knew the controls were yanked from his hands and the aircraft commenced a steep dive. After fighting unsuccessfully to get control the pilot told his Nav' to bale out, helping him to clip on his parachute in the process. The Nav was just about to open the hatch and jump when the pilot suddenly got control and hauled him back!

When they got back to base the pilot found that the emergency crew dinghy stowed in a compartment just behind the cockpit had deployed. Apparently these dinghys were tethered to the aircraft by a rope, so when this thing sprang out at 20,000 ft it looped over the tailplane and created the dive. It was only when the force of the dive finally ripped the dinghy free of the tether that the pilot regained control and saved himself and the Nav from a very long swim!

He mentioned that he'd heard of another pilot who had suffered similar problems whilst pulling high G at the end of a diving attack on a ground target, so maybe there was a design problem with the release mechanism when subject to these extreme forces. Anyone else heard of this problem with Mossies?

Regards,

Ian
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Old 23rd January 2010, 01:23
Larry Larry is offline
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Re: Mosquito FB VI 'close call'

Ian,

Very interesting - as I have an account by the late Sqn Ldr Clifford Wright recalling how the same thing happened to him when flying a Wellington Mk 1C, when the dingy came out of the stowage compartment in the wing and wrapped around the tailplane. Luckily it broke free and he landed OK. A few days later he got a call from the Air Ministry asking him for more details as they wanted to find the cause and fix the error presumably on the production line. He came to realise how lucky he was when they advised him that 'not many others had survived such a problem'!
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Old 23rd January 2010, 20:45
BlenheimBuff BlenheimBuff is offline
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Re: Mosquito FB VI 'close call'

Hello Larry,

Interesting that the problem might have been common to multiple aircraft types. Did your man explain the circumstances of the deployment?, ie. was there a high G manouvre involved?

Apparently on the Mosquito it was an automatic mechanism that activated if the aircraft landed in water, but it would appear that high G's would override the switch. The Mosquito pilot said much the same thing as your man, that there were probably quite a few such incidents that never got reported due to the loss of the aircraft involved and (sadly) its crew.

Regards,

Ian
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Old 23rd January 2010, 22:03
mhuxt mhuxt is offline
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Re: Mosquito FB VI 'close call'

Air Britain says DK288 GB-F of 105 Squadron force-landed shortly after takeoff on 13 March 1944 after just such a problem, caused by an electrical fault.

Same source has HP972 of 308 MU encountering the same problem on 12 July 1944.
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Old 23rd January 2010, 22:41
BlenheimBuff BlenheimBuff is offline
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Re: Mosquito FB VI 'close call'

Hello MHUXT,

The plot thickens!.....looks like there was a long standing problem with the release mechanisms on these dinghys. If the problem was known about in early '44 I'm surprised that it hadn't been resolved a year later!

Slightly ironic that a safety feature incorporated into these aircraft should be the source of such potentially catastrophic accidents.

Regards,

Ian
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Old 24th January 2010, 05:12
mhuxt mhuxt is offline
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Re: Mosquito FB VI 'close call'

I'm not sure that under wartime conditions, three known incidents (of which at least two were recoverable) out of the tens of thousands of Mossie sorties, let along the training and testing flights, constitutes much of a longstanding issue.
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Old 25th January 2010, 06:13
BlenheimBuff BlenheimBuff is offline
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Re: Mosquito FB VI 'close call'

I guess it's pointless to speculate how many otherwise unexplained losses could be attributed to a problem like this, we'll obviously never know. The fact that the Air Ministry took an active interest at the time seems to suggest that it was possibly more widespread than the limited number of instances quoted in this thread.

One thing's for sure.....it certainly made a big impression on the Mosquito pilot that I spoke to!

Regards,

Ian
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Old 25th January 2010, 06:36
R Leonard R Leonard is offline
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Re: Mosquito FB VI 'close call'

US Navy lost some F4Fs to the same problem before the US entered the war. Made for a redesign of the hatch lock.

Scariest thing ever happened to my father while driving a Mosquito, and I suppose it was a good thing he was by himself, was the co-pilot's wind screen blowing in.
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Old 26th January 2010, 18:18
BlenheimBuff BlenheimBuff is offline
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Re: Mosquito FB VI 'close call'

Hello,

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I imagine that a windscreen blowing in on such an aircraft at speed would have been a pretty memorable experience!

How come your father was flying alone?

Regards,

Ian
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