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Post Info TOPIC: Anecdotes


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Anecdotes


 

I had this letter in from a Hastings pilot a couple of years ago and reproduce it here

 

> Thank you for that excellent feature on the Hastings. Yes the Mk1 was
> certainly a brute insofar as elevator control was concerned, excessively
> heavy and not always producing the expected results - indeed, it was
> said of one rather diminutive pilot that his first attempt at landing
> "....resulted in the control column remaining fixed in position while
> the pilot slid forward in his seat"! True or not, I think that just
> about sums up the Mk1.
>
> The Mk2 and other variants were certainly much better, with the lowered
> tailplane of much increased span providing more effective if arguably
> slightly spongy response to elevator inputs. Certainly it would appear
> that Handley Page went through a period of difficulty in tailplane
> design, from the early Halifax through the Hastings and right up to the
> prototype Victor, the tailplane of which detached in flight.
>
> Regarding sundry occurrences of elevator hinge bracket failure, I have
> always thought it possible that RAF training methods may have been a
> contributory factor; for it was a requirement that pilots demonstrated
> an ability to make sustained turns (both on full panel AND primary
> instruments!) at bank angles of 45 degrees, a practice hardly in accord
> with the injunction in Pilots' Notes concerning 'manoeuvres appropriate
> to a transport aircraft'. This practice was wisely terminated around
> 1958-60, but by then any fatigue damage had probably already been done.
>
> No mention was made as to the greatest Hastings mystery of all - why,
> unlike its brother the Hermes, did it have the third wheel at the wrong
> end? In any discussion on the matter, the army usually got the blame -
> something to do with making life easier when loading external stores or
> internal freight? - true or apocryphal I don't know, but the pilots sure
> earned their bread when coping with strong crosswinds.
>
> This task was rendered even more onerous by the dreadful braking
> system, which required differential rudder application to operate left
> or right brake as necessary. In really bad conditions, a combined effort
> by both pilots was necessary to ensure movement in the desired
> direction, and I used to pine for toe brakes as per the old Dakota of
> treasured memory. They were anyway none too powerful, and easily
> overheated; bad news as the air bags on which the brake shoes were
> mounted used to burn out, thus causing total brake failure.
>
> Sadly no proper description was given of the Mk4, which (even allowing
> for its lack of pressurisation) provided a standard of luxury for VIP
> travel that was unequalled at the time.



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From my diaries:

11th January 1965 El Adem: ........... So windy on the airfield that we had to tow a Hastings off the runway, pilot wouldn't taxi it to dispersal!


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From my diaries:

23rd January 1965 El Adem: Hastings TG551 came back to base with #2 propellor feathered, loss of oil pressure, when I checked the oil tank NO OIL! Dropped the scavenge and pressure filter, no metal fragments. Put 29 gallons of oil in the tank, ran the engine for 20 minutes, all pressures and temperatures normal and no leaks.



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From my diaries;

12th February 1965 El Adem: Hastings in, it was full of paramedics following the Queen around Sudan and Ethiopia, an Argosy returning to Benson had an armed guard on board protecting the Queens gifts from Emperor Haile Selassie, some of these gifts like African Spears and Shields could be seen, the rest were crated!.



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From my diaries:

13th February 1965 El Adem  Saturday night shift, 4 Hastings turned up, one had an 80RPM mag drop, did a plug change ran the engine = 100 RPM mag drop! We had to work on that throughout the night to sort it out!!biggrin


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