Two questions

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by ummagumma, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. ummagumma

    ummagumma New Member

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    1) There was a term for WW2 pilots in the pacific theater who developed "mysterious" mechanical problems. A mechanical problem was one of the only reasons you could abort a mission. Claiming they had such a problem, when they returned the ground crews would not find anything wrong with the plane. I forgot what was that term for what this pilot experienced.

    2) What was the initial name for the Spitfire before they chose that name? It was deemed not fearful or threatening enough.
     
  2. Jerry W. Loper

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    (1) I don't know, but (2) thought I'd heard one name suggestion was the "shrew," as far out as that sounds.
     
  3. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Don't know the term, but yes, the Spitfire was possibly going to be named Shrew, among other possible names.
     
  4. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    1) While certainly there were fighter pilots that were less than "most aggressive", I suspect that almost all of these guys were weeded out prior to Pacific operations. Training would identify those pilots fairly readily. What was more likely than a mission abort due to mechanical failure (verifiable) was a pilot that just was not aggressive in engagements. This would be only more identifiable by operational wingmen.

    2) Type 224 experimental? I have no idea what you are referring to.
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Item 1 - Gremlins
     
  6. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Ta-da!
     
  7. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Ah, Gremlins. A slightly different meaning in the RAF during WW2, covering most, if not all, genuine equipment failures, problems, faults etc, which could occur, and then seem to either 'cure' themselves', or not be attributable to any known cause.
     
  8. ummagumma

    ummagumma New Member

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    #8 ummagumma, Jun 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
    2) Yes, Shrew it is that was rejected for lacking a ferocious sound.

    1) Well, although it certainly applies, I would have remembered "gremlins". But the term was not a general term for actual aircraft mechanical anomalies. It was a strange term they used for describing the actual pilot, a symptom in a doubtful tone, not the plane's problem, who was claiming to have experienced the alleged malfunction. It was something like Kowookie Syndrome or something like that. Some men wore down and developed a fear or phobia in battle after accumulating trauma, and no one-time-up-front evaluation can weed them out once and for all. But anyway, it was one cable show a few years ago that was featuring a particularly dangerous spat of South Pacific US missions that described this situation.
     
  9. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    You got your numbers backwards.
     
  10. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    So the story goes, Mitchell wanted it to be called "Shrew", but McClean (of Vickers) wanted "Spitfire", although I don't know who thought of it. Mitchell's reply was "just the sort of bloody silly name they'd call it!" Or something to that effect!

    Gremlins still affect aircraft maintenance to this day!
     
  11. KiwiBiggles

    KiwiBiggles Member

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    Gremlins would have been an interesting choice for the USN. I believe the term was invented by ground crew at RAF Manston, and was derived from the name of local brewery Fremlins. Fremlins still exists; many of the pubs in the Folkestone area serve it.
     
  12. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Is it any good? Fremlins I mean...
     
  13. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    #13 Edgar Brooks, Jun 8, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2012
    "Gremlin" was nothing, whatsoever, to do with the pilot; it was a "being," which inhabited aircraft, with the sole purpose of bringing it back to earth. The National Archives, in Kew, have several wartime posters adorning the walls, e.g Aircraft made from Private Scrap, and fires kept at bay by Colonel Stirrup-pump; also included is one with gremlins, in the cockpit, causing mayhem for the crew. It has nothing to do with pubs, or beer, but is a derivation of "goblin," a creature dedicated to causing trouble.
    Spitfire was chosen by Vickers's chairman, for the Type 224, at the behest of his daughter, since that was how he always referred to her. The (always misquoted, according to his son) remark, by Mitchell, concerned calling the Type 300 by the same name; Gordon Mitchell said that R.J. actually said, "Bloody silly, naming it after a failure."
    The expression which was used for aircrew who had finally had enough, and suffered (probably) a mental breakdown, was LMF, or "Lack of Moral Fibre," which would be stamped into their paperwork, and they were treated with utter contempt by the hierarchy, often being reduced to the ranks, and given jobs like cleaning out the toilets.
     
  14. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Quite right on both subjects Edgar, but I don't think the US term our friend is looking for is LMF, although it is of course the same thing. There was a very good novel around about 30 or 40 years ago, apparently based on a true story, which described in detail all that surrounded LMF in the RAF, and the consequences. As I remember, the book was titled 'The Hollow Square' (after the Parade formation), but I can't remember the author.
     
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