Ferry Command

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by pbfoot, Nov 2, 2006.

  1. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Just watched a documentary about Ferry Command and learned an interesting fact the RAF wouldn't supply pilots to ferry the aircraft as they thought it couldn't be done so Beaverbrook and the Austrailian Bennett were forced to recruit pilots bush pilots and crop dusters or those with low time and few skills to ferry aircraft across the North Atlantic . Another interesting fact was up to this point fewer then 100 flight had transited the pond.
     
  2. ndicki

    ndicki Member

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    Lots of women, too - look for the ATA.
     
  3. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    The ATA did great work but mainly delivered aircraft short distances flights I've seen log books for the ATA and in the UK the average flight was under 25 minutes but the Ferry Command guys ferried over 10000 aircraft around the world thats a huge difference pioneering the North Atlantic. Flying aircraft across the Atlantic with no navaids to a land that was blacked out hoping the weather at their destination was as forecasted with the limited met facilities available
     
  4. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Yeap the US also used a lot of women as ferry pilots.
     
  5. ndicki

    ndicki Member

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  6. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Not to demean the women but ferry command pilots flew aircraft long distances from the factories in North America to the theatres of operations flying an aircraft from the US to India or Austrailia is much more difficult then flying from Manston to Debden. The fact being the women get more credit then the guys who pioneered trans oceanic but I guess we must be politically correct
     
  7. dmoores

    dmoores New Member

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    Thanks for the info. Any idea who made it? Does Gander NFLD feature in it?

    Cheers

    DM
     
  8. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    heres a link to the documentary it was on the CBC or Canadian Broadcasting Company and to clarify something there were no women in Ferry Command
    CBC-TV: Doc Zone - Ferry Command
     
  9. Magyckman

    Magyckman New Member

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    Along those same lines, I have a very interesting little booklet titled The Atlantic Bridge published in London in 1945 by His Majesty's Stationery Office. I paid a nice little price for it to an Air Canada pilot who fetched it back across the pond for me when I was working in Alberta a few years ago. I'd have to reread it to recall the details, but it's quite an interesting read and "jumpng the pond was no small feat then." These men played a vital role in the war effort.
     
  10. Krabat42

    Krabat42 Member

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    And don't forget the russians. They had their own "ferry command" with lots of pilots picking up planes in Alaska and flying them to Siberia. AFAIK they were using women too. I remember a book about this topic. I have to check for the title though.
     
  11. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Another interesting and lesser known operation was conducted by QANTAS and the RAAF starting in 1943 called the Indian Ocean Service. Because the Japanese had captured Singapore, a new route across the Indian Ocean was needed, therefore QANTAS flew via Sri Lanka (Ceylon). The distance from Perth (western Australia) to Sri Lanka was 5632Km (3513miles). These flights were initially made by Catalina's and later Liberators in complete radio silence (Japanese a/c were active in the area) and without any radio navigation. Apparently this was the worlds longest non-stop over water service at the time.
     
  12. Magyckman

    Magyckman New Member

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    I don't remember offhand which WASP it was, but one of the WASP who flew P-39's and P-63's to Great Falls to be flown on to Russia sat across from one of the Russian women in the chow hall who had came to pick up a 'Cobra . There's an interesting little anecdote about the WASP not knowing who the Russian woman was and sticking her foot in her mouth.

    You probably already know this, but the Russians used a lot of women in combat in WWII. One group flew old Po-2's and harrased the German troops by droping small bombs on their barracks every night. A lot of the women burned to death in those old crates when they were hit by the guns of German night fighters. The Germans despised them and named them the "Night Witches."
     
  13. Nonskimmer

    Nonskimmer Active Member

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    Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

    Sorry. Bad habit, picking on useless sh*t like that. Always drove the wife insane. ;)

    Wasn't there a national history ad on TV a couple of years back, celebrating some Canadian female ferry pilot during WWII? Remember, in the ad she was delivering a Spitfire to an English field somewhere, in heavy fog? I forget her name already, that's how interested I was. :lol:
     
  14. Pike

    Pike New Member

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    The outfit was called The Air Transport Auxillary and their story is told in a book entitled possibly "The Thin Blue Line"
     
  15. david_layne

    david_layne Member

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    From "Atlantic Bridge"
     

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  16. david_layne

    david_layne Member

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    eBay: Atlantic Bridge. Official Account of RAF ferry flights (item 200085771005 end time Mar-11-07 11:55:34 PDT)
     
  17. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Amazing what these guys did , there had only been 40 crossings of the Atlantic up until 1939 including Alcock and Brown and Lindberg there was no weather service no navaids no nothing > the RAF was so desparate for aircraft particularly the Hudson as an ASW aircraft that they were willing to sustain 50% losses . Thanks to Bennett the Aussie who got the operation up and running they did far better then 50% losses its really an amazing undertold story how a bunch of US and Canadian civilian pilots and a load of pilots from all the Allied forces got those birds across the pond . Some of the aircraft had no icing equipment and all had extra fuel tanks installed making a fire hazard . There is even a documented case of a Catalina icing up at 20000 feet and recovering at lo level and such was the strain that both ailerons separated the aircraft he finished by landing aircraft 17 hours after loosing ailerons. Anyone with any interest in WW2 aviation should surely check this forgotten topic a look . For your info there were no women with the exception of Jackie Cochrane (was not allowed to touch controls) that were involved in this operation
     
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  18. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    1942 movie > Captains of the Clouds

    Captains of the Clouds - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Brian MacLean (James Cagney), Johnny Dutton (Dennis Morgan), "Tiny" Murphy (Alan Hale, Sr.), "Blimp" Lebec (George Tobias) and "Scrounger" Harris (Reginald Gardiner) are bush pilots competing for business in rugged Northern Ontario, Canada in 1939, as the Second World War is beginning. While Dutton flies by the book, MacLean is a seat-of-the-pants kind of pilot, mirroring the differences in their personalities.

    When Dutton saves MacLean's life by transporting a doctor under dangerous flying conditions, MacLean is grateful. He steals and marries Dutton's badly-behaved girlfriend Emily Foster (Brenda Marshall) in order to save him from a life of misery. Dutton, however, does not see MacLean's actions as an act of kindness, and abruptly ends their friendship. Depressed, Dutton gives his savings to charity and enlists in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
    Brenda Marshall and James Cagney during his recovery Reginald Denny, Alan Hale, George Tobias and James Cagney listening to Churchill's radio broadcast James Cagney and Dennis Morgan in a confrontation prior to takeoff on the ferry mission.
    Among the bush planes that "starred" in the production was the Noorduyn Norseman seen touching down, and the Fairchild 71C above it, now displayed in the Alberta Aviation Museum.[3]

    Later, after hearing Winston Churchill's "We shall fight on the beaches" speech on the radio, MacLean and the other bush pilots attempt to enlist in the air force, only to find that they are too old for combat. They agree to train as flight instructors for the Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Their superior officer is none other than Dutton. MacLean's brash and fiercely independent nature clashes with the military way of doing things and he inevitably washes out. For revenge, he and Tiny buzz the airfield in their bush planes when renowned Canadian First World War ace Air Marshal William "Billy" Bishop (playing himself) attends his group's graduation ceremony. Unfortunately, Tiny suffers a blackout (loss of vision due to g-forces) during a strenuous maneuver, crashes and dies.

    When two transport aircraft crash, killing all 44 ferry pilots aboard, there is a desperate need for pilots to transport Lockheed Hudson bombers to Britain. MacLean and other civilians volunteer to fly the unarmed bombers from Newfoundland. He finds himself in a flight commanded by Dutton when they are attacked by a German fighter. "Blimp" Lebec is shot down. With his navigator Scrounger dead and no other way to fight back, MacLean uses his superb flying skills to crash his unwieldy bomber into the nimble fighter, sacrificing himself to save the remainder of the flight.
     
  19. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    There's also a book entitled, "Spitfire Women of World War II," by Giles Whittell, and there's been a TV programme with (I think) the same title. Before going on about PC, it pays to remember that the idea of women flying warplanes was unthinkable, 70 years ago, and 15 of them, including Amy Johnson, died doing the work. The prejudice, against them, was incredible; their boss had to fight hard to get them equal pay, and even to be allowed to wear trousers.
     
  20. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Yep they did good work and through no fault of their were not allowed to play in the big leagues. But thats enough of my PC'ness . Ferrying an aircraft in the UK with its small area or flying aircraft around the continental US with its airways and navaids is a whole different game then what these guys did and the difference is huge
     
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