How emotionally attached were the pilots to there planes?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by [SC] Arachnicus, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. [SC] Arachnicus

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    In general, how attached were the pilots to the plane they flew? I assume a pilot that would name there plane would have a attachment to it. Did some pilots see their plane as "their baby"? I'm sure some just saw it as their vehicle to get the job done but I'm sure there were some that had a bit of a emotional attachment to their plane.

    I have yet to hear anything on this topic, so I thought I would ask you all who are full of knowledge.
     
  2. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    I think the crew chiefs might have had a maybe more powerful attachment to the aircraft than the pilots. They spent much more time with them, blood, sweat, probably some tears too, and a lot of pride in getting it just right.

    Just think how it would devastate a crewchief if the aircraft and pilot didn't come back, he'd probably always think there was something he might have missed, or could have done better that might have made a difference.
     
  3. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about "emotionally attached" but I think it would be a strange pilot who did not take care of "his" aircraft, or at least take an interest in the set up and condition of the aircraft he was about to fly. There are several stories of pilots who spent hours working with the groundcrew harmonizing the guns to precisely their liking, ensuring the cockpit canopy opened smoothly, that the canopy was spotless and flawless, fitting rear-view mirrors etc etc. However, such actions are not an emotional response to the aircraft, rather they are focussed on self-preservation and being better able to shoot down the enemy.
     
  4. Timppa

    Timppa Active Member

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    Depends of the plane, of course. Nicknames as:
    - Varnished Guaranteed Coffin
    - Son of a Bitch 2nd Class
    - Ensign Eliminator
    - Widowmaker

    show that the pilots were indeed emotional, but not necessarily attached.:)
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Depending where and when, pilots were sometimes not assigned a specific airplane and flew what was available to complete the mission.
     
  6. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Yep,certainly in the RAF during WW2. Most pilots didn't have a personal aeroplane but flew many. Some senior officers had first dibs on a particular aircraft but that didn't stop someone else flying it when necessary.

    I have my father's post war log books. As a FAA pilot with 801 Sqn. in the early 50s he seems to have flown just about every single aircaft on the squadron despite having his and his crew's names applied to the one aircraft (WF616) which he flew most frequently.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  7. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Even when they were assigned a aircraft, that didn't mean only they would fly it. If a pilot was scheduled for a mission and his aircraft wasn't flight ready, he flew someone else's aircraft. Or if your aircraft was flight ready, but you weren't assigned to fly, someone else might fly your aircraft.

    I was a chopper crewchief myself and know for a fact that crewchiefs do get protective and posessive of the aircraft they're working on, more so than most pilots. To most of the pilots the aircraft was just a tool, but it was our baby.
     
  8. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    That is how it is today quite a bit as well. Our aircraft were never assigned to pilots. Us Crew Chiefs were assigned the aircraft, and it was our names that were on the side of them. On any given day, different pilots would fly with it, but for the most part the Crew Chiefs always flew on their assigned aircraft. Not so much when down range. There we flew whatever aircraft we were assigned to that day, but we still had our aircraft that was assigned to us, and we were responsible for maintaining.

    Exactly...
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    In the USAF today a scheduler sets a "fly order" for the assigned mission. Pilots are assigned accordingly. I would guess that in a combat squadron a pilot might ask if he or she could fly a particular aircraft.
     
  10. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    My late father was RAF ground crew and he always said they were our planes the pilots just borrowed them.
     
  11. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Well, I'm not a pilot or a crew chief but I do have bit of a thing for my concrete mixer. Is it true that pilots who have flown a spitfire scream Reginald Mitchell's name during sex?
     
  12. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    I would guess some pilots could become attached to a particular aircraft, or a particular type - Example: James Edgar "Johnnie" Johnson was allowed to select his own personal Spitfire IX when he became Wing Leader of the Canadian Wing, Kenley, February 1943: Johnson looked at EN398, which had been delivered only a couple of weeks earlier:

    EN398 became the first JE-J and was more than likely the most successful Spitfire in combat
    Alfred Price gives the full story: (The Spitfire Story, Haynes 2010)

    1-Johnson 1-page-001.jpg 1-Johnson 2-page-001.jpg 1-Johnson 3-page-001.jpg

    In his book "Night Fighter" C.F Rawnsley, who became John Cunningham's radar operator relates how Cunningham had a favourite Beaufighter I R2161 NG-R (R "Robert") on 85 Sqn, and describes what happened to this particular Beaufighter:

    1-Rawnsley-page-001.jpg
     
  13. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Two examples, both from Roger Freeman B-26 Marauder at War:
    (Karl Berry, Crew Chief on 557 BS, 387 BG)
    1-Mar 1.jpg
    (432 BS, 17 BG)
    1-Mar 2.jpg 1-Mar 2-001.jpg
     
  14. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    A pilot without a Crew Chief is just a pedestrian with sunglasses and a cheap leather jacket.
     
  15. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    A story my dad told me.
    He was on a squadron flying Meteor 4s and a pilot who was fresh out of the egg took out the plane Dad looked after for a training flight. Usually when a pilot returned he would chat to the ground crew telling them any problems or just thanking them. This particular chick just taxied to the pen was helped out the cockpit as usual but just jumped off and virtually ran away without saying a word. Dad and the rest shook there heads, laughed, said a word about his unmarried parents and got on with the post flight checks. It took my Dad a while to work out what was wrong with the cockpit, there was an extra aroma above the usual smell of jet fuel. The new pilot had obviously forgotten to go for a pee before the flight and didnt quite make it home dry. Of course being gentlemen my Dad and his crew wouldnt have said a word, so obviously it went round the base like wildfire. The highly embarrased Pilot Officer had to stand all the crew a round of drinks and apparently for the next 20 years of his RAF career was known as Nappy (thats a Diaper for you colonial chaps) even when he got to Sqn Leader. :lol:
     
  16. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Aussie pilot Ron Cundy had this to say about his Spitfire:
    From the book "A gremlin on my shoulder" by Ron Cundy
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    "I'm ashamed to admit that my first reaction on hearing the news lacked any sympathy for the pilot."

    There's an honest man!

    Steve
     
  18. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    when they found a specific plane that ran good and smooth they loved it. but when my dad had the chance to stay in europe and fly his winged girl friend or come home and marry his flesh and blood one....the real one won out.
     
  19. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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  20. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #20 Jenisch, Jan 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
    I'm just a student pilot from civilian aviation, but I will say that the first aircraft I have ever flown in my life was a training plane, and some time after, it suffered an accident during the take off. Fortunately nobody was enjuried, but the plane suffered moderated damage. They didn't fixed it yet, and it always gives me a sensation of shame to look at that machine in the hangar, and I even remember of it sometimes when not in the flight shcool. This kind of feeling was probably more intense with a WWII pilot and it's plane.
     
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