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View Full Version : Wildcat mishap - true story



Prangerman
03-01-2005, 06:58 AM
Barrett Tillman's excellent book on Wildcat Aces of WWII relates this story of the Wildcat in Royal Navy/Fleet Air Arm use as the Martlet.

"Workload was very heavy in the Martlet straight after take-off as the undercarriage had to be hand-cranked shut. This took 29 turns and you had to be careful not to snag your R/T helmut lead around the handle. One pilot had crashed his aircraft only weeks after the first Martlet Is had arrived in Scotland when he got himself tangled up and wound his head down into the cockpit."

Ouch! Glad that isn't modelled, although with OM's attention to detail it's surprising it's not modelled.

womenfly
03-01-2005, 07:12 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> you had to be careful not to snag your R/T helmut lead around the handle. One pilot had crashed his aircraft only weeks after the first Martlet Is had arrived in Scotland when he got himself tangled up and wound his head down into the cockpit."

Ouch! Glad that isn't modelled, although with OM's attention to detail it's surprising it's not modelled. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

<span class="ev_code_PINK">Yes, its a good thing OM did not include it ... can you just imagine the 1000's of postings, threads and whining on that subject ...</span> http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

Great book too!

Aero_Shodanjo
03-01-2005, 07:14 AM
Hehehe, can you imagine if it is modelled then in one of the mission when you crank up the gear you see a notification on the screen:

"R/T cable stuck in the crank"

And in the next moment the screen goes blank.

Ouch http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Waldo.Pepper
03-01-2005, 07:26 AM
There is often more to the story. The engineering of the cockpit of Wilcat/Martlet was pretty poor as well. Here are more details of a similar misshap fo the Wildcat/Martlet.

"One of our ex-Pensacola boys was Dennis Hillyard who, when we first joined up, had seemed little more than a child, having come into the Service straight from Ampleforth. I like to think that I was in some small way responsible for his growing up for, whilst we were at Pensacola, I seemed to spend a fair amount of time rousing him from his bed, forcibly making him wash and shave and make his bed before breakfast; generally keeping him out of trouble. He must have paid a fair bit of attention to 'Uncle Norman' for he was now a smart young man, looking every inch the dashing young naval officer in his brand new Midshipman's uniform. Alas! He was all too soon to die a tragic death in the North African landings and I still bemoan the loss of a good friend.
He was, thank God, still full of fun, life and vigour on the morning he first took up a Martlet. The small wheel which controlled the rudder trimming tab had, under its Perspex cover, an indicator showing the number of degrees of rudder trim in use. The snag was that, as the wheel was turned to the right, the indicator turned to the left-all very confusing. And you certainly needed a rudder trim on the Martlet for, as its engine surged on to full power, the torque to the left hit you like a brick.
So Dennis carefully put on six degrees of right rudder trim. But when the indicator turned to the left, he was scathing in his thoughts about the Grumman Aircraft Company of Bethpage, Long Island. So he turned the wheel back until the indicator showed-or appeared to show-six degrees of right rudder trim.
Off he went down the runway. As the power built up, no mortal man could have withstood the pressure. The aircraft, just clear of the ground, did an acute turn to port of about 130 degrees and came tearing back across the airfield at about 20 feet. Hillyard, understandably, was still in the 'office', busily winding up that infernal undercarriage. I doubt if at this juncture he had noticed anything untoward.:

Prangerman
03-01-2005, 09:52 AM
Strange too how we humans get used to doing something one way only to come unstuck when it changes.

Some Spitfire pilots were also caught out on converting to Griffon engine Spits as the prop turned in the opposite direction to the Merlin engined Spits. More than a few in Griffon engined Spits dialed in the usual amount of rudder trim for a Merlin engined Spit, and paid the price on take off.

EnGaurde
03-01-2005, 12:18 PM
what a remarkably easy way to die an utterly useless wasteful death.

VF-3Thunderboy
03-01-2005, 10:24 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>what a remarkably easy way to die an utterly useless wasteful death. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, good thing no flight sims really model torque, it would just confuse the heck out of ppl...!! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif

IV_JG51_Razor
03-02-2005, 12:09 AM
My Dad was designated a Naval Aviator in April of '41, and I grew up listening to a lot of his "lies and sea stories" LOL! As I grew up, I tried to separate fact from fiction and occasionally would go back to him and ask for confirmation of this, or that. One of the stories I remember very well, was about the landing gear of the F3F and F4f. He told me that it was not uncommon for a pilot to roll upside down after takeoff, and release the down lock on the gear, allowing it to retract by itself, albeit with a little help form gravity. He went on to say that many a 'Gruman Ironworks' pilot could be identified at the bar by the scars on his knuckles from trying such a trick and not getting his hand out of the way in time!

Texas LongHorn
03-02-2005, 07:34 AM
Hey Razor, that's a great story. Oddly enough, dear departed Uncle Sid told me the exact same story about the 'Cat! LOL! All the best, LongHorn

IV_JG51_Razor
03-02-2005, 02:36 PM
Thanks LongHorn, maybe now I can strike that one off the "Lies and Sea stories" list! Dad passed away a couple of years ago, so it's gratifying to hear some independent coroboration now and again http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

marine428
03-13-2005, 07:21 PM
When I was about 14 years old I had the wonderful opportunity to have a tour of the air museum at (the late) MCAS EL Toro, CA. The real treat was that our tour guide was a Wildcat pilot during World War II. One of his stories was about the Wildcat's crank landing gear. He was taking off and starting to crank up the gear when he noticed that he didn't set the throttle lock (as he described it; it kept the throttle locked because of vibration changing the throttle setting). As a result the throttle came down and the plane was nearing stall. Pilots were trained to always have one hand on the stick no matter what. Because of that he removed his right hand from the crank to grab the stick so he could reset the throttle. When he let go of the crank it spun around and broke his wrist. It just amazes me of how games like this can bring back such memories. That's why I love this game so much.