W.A.A.F. on the Wing

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Njaco, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    While going through a book I have on the Spitfire (Aero Publishers 1966) I found this odd passage.......

    "This Spitfire Mk Vb AB-910 was built in 1941 and delivered to RAF No. 222 Sqdrn. Later it was delivered to 43rd Group and while there was damaged in enemy action. During 1945 an odd event occured with this aircraft while it was stationed at Hubbleleston with the 53rd Operational Training Unit. This was the actual aircraft which took off accidentially with a W.A.A.F. clinging to the tail. The pilot reported tail heaviness but landed the aircraft safely." (There is a pic of a Spitfire with the code letters 'QJ J')

    Anybody know more about this event?
     
  2. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Ok, call me STUPID, but what is a WAAF?
     
  3. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I believe it means Womens Auxilliary Air Force?
     
  4. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    #4 Aaron Brooks Wolters, Jan 17, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
    :thumbright: Thank you Chris. Now the story makes sense to me. So if I understand correctly there was a woman clinging to the tail?:shock: He landed the plane safe, what shape was she in?!!
     
  5. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I have no idea! Thats what I'm questioning. Sounds....ummmm...interesting. :)
     
  6. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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  7. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Bet Terry would know something about it.
     
  8. vliegend

    vliegend New Member

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    Wow.. I've always wondered if one could in theory, manage to grip a tail of an aircraft and fly.. I also heard stories of Germans clinging to JU-52's trying to escape the pocket of Stalingrad. sadly I believe they fell to their deaths.
     
  9. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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  10. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Thanks Glider. amazing!!!!!!

    But there was another incident about flying training. As I mentioned, Kirton had a satellite airfield at nearby Hibaldstow. This was in April 1945, not long I had been posted from Kirton and was in Brussels. It involved a W.A.A.F. flight mechanic, ACW Margaret Horton, and a veteran Spitfire. When an aircraft engine had been serviced, the practice was for the training instructors to run the engine and do a particular test. Margaret had finished work on the Spitfire, when the pilot began this test. It was necessary, if it was windy, for a mechanic to sit on the tail of the aircraft while it taxied to the end of the runway ready for take-off. The mechanics were given the order, ‘Tails’. Having got to the runway, the aircraft would pause for the mechanic to drop off. This time the pilot did not pause. Whether he was unaware that the order to ‘tail’ had been given, nobody knows. He just carried on with Margaret Horton hanging on for grim death, and him unaware that he had a ‘passenger’ on the tail. ‘I thought the aircraft was tail-heavy’, he said later. The Spitfire had risen to 800 feet or more when the strange shape of the tailplane was noticed from the ground. The emergency services were called out and the pilot talked back in without being told what had happened. The aircraft landed safely with Margaret Horton still in one piece. Just how daft the machinery of the R.A.F. could be was shown when she was reprimanded for her unofficial flight and charged for the loss of her beret! She was posted later to West Raynham and, despite her ordeal, survived into her eighties.
     
  11. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Chris, both are the same incident. Margaret Horton was on the tail of AB910 when it took off, completed a circuit and landed.
    It was standard practice at all Spitfire bases to hold down the tail during engine run-ups, and depending on weather conditions, during taxiing. Normally it would be one (or two) airmen on each tailplane.
    Spitfire MkV AB910 is with the BBMF, and I met it a few times, and Margaret once, although very briefly.
     
  12. TheMustangRider

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    I've read stories about fighter pilots taking their sweethearts for a ride in their planes in the same manner as the "Pearl Harbor" movie, but never in my life about a woman hanging onto the tail of a flying aircraft:shock:
    Talk about a wild ride!!
     
  13. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Dated a girl like her once, Talk about clingy! Jeez!

    And she was blonde.
     
  14. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    What a fantastic story. talk about a panic grip.
    Sort of reminds me of the USS Akron (dirigible) trying to dock at San Diego. 3 sailors held onto the ropes as the ship rose into the air. 2 fell and were killed while the third managed to climb the rope into the airship
     
  15. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    damn beat me to the "clingy bitch" reference!! :D
     
  16. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Bobby, well you could have commented on HOW she developed that powerful grip, i.e. hours manipulating the pilot's joy sticks
     
  17. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i am sure there was the generous use of some very strong thigh muscles as well.... yippe-ki-yo-ki-yeh
     
  18. Oggie2620

    Oggie2620 Member

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    Yes Njaco you are right... :D
     
  19. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Sorry to disappoint you guys, but she leaned across one tail plane, and folded herself around the fin.
     
  20. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Haven't tried THAT one...talk about looking it up... where is that copy of the Karma Sutra...
     
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