Author Topic: Houston, we have a problem...  (Read 504 times)

Offline AKA_Knutsac

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Houston, we have a problem...
« on: December 08, 2013, 08:22:55 am »

“I had only just rid myself of this pest when huge white plumes of smoke began streaming back past the hood from the direction of the engine exhaust…[a] quick glance at the instruments assured me that the engine was as rough as it felt, with the radiator temp. well around the “clock” on its second trip, together with negligible oil pressure.  When black smoke and oil fumes suddenly enveloped me from the direction of my feet blotting out everything and almost suffocating me, I realized that I shouldn’t see my base…that day again.  After a struggle I slipped the hood back…[t]his action served to drive all the smoke and filth back to the bottom of the cockpit, and cleared my head a bit.” (“Ten Fighter Boys”; 1942; Pg 32-33)

“There was, all of a sudden, a terrific explosion inside the cockpit, and smoke seemed to be coming from the engine – not the smell of my guns, but an acrid stench…[a]t that moment I knew all right what it was when a shower of bullets hit my aircraft…”  (“Ten Fighter Boys”; 1942; Pg 50)

“…it was no good stopping to fight, as my oil pressure was nil.  I could see oil over the port main plane as I glided down…all of a sudden my engine coughed and stopped.”  (“Ten Fighter Boys”; 1942; Pg 58-59)

“My engine began to choke and splutter, and twin streams of white smoke issued thinly from my exhaust stubs.  I watched my engine instruments carefully – oil temperature, too high; oil pressure, too low…I nursed my faltering engine as carefully as possible, maintaining height with difficulty…I clattered on and on, watching my tell-tale dials so carefully that I was amazed to find myself almost over the aerodrome…I put down my wheels and flaps and was at 500 feet, turning into the wind to land, when the cockpit filled with clouds of dense smoke.  I still had my oxygen mask in position…otherwise I should almost certainly have succumbed to the fumes, which were so thick I couldn’t see my instrument panel.  Almost immediately – pouf!  My long suffering engine caught fire…I side-slipped vigorously to keep the flames from my face and body…[a]s soon as I touched down, the flames became unbearable…”  (“Ten Fighter Boys”; 1942; Pg 80-82)

“I heard the bullets striking my aircraft; and opened the throttle wide, but there was no response…[w]hen I was clear I checked-up – oil pressure, zero; oil temp., off the clock.   Suddenly my engine seized and the prop stopped dead.”  (“Ten Fighter Boys”; 1942; Pg 87)

“I returned towards England, when suddenly my windscreen was covered with oil.  Hastily checking my instruments, I saw my oil pressure registering zero and the glycol and oil temperatures rising.  I switched off the engine and prepared to force-land.”  (“Ten Fighter Boys”; 1942; Pg144)

“…and much to my surprise found the DO. 215 was about ten feet away…[t]he rear gunner played merry hell into my machine…[t]he hood departed and the wireless was put out of action…so I attacked again, but this time I opened fire at 100 yards, not stopping until I noticed that my glycol was on fire…the coast was about ten miles away, my engine had cut out, the glycol was on fire, and my wireless out of action.”  (“Ten Fighter Boys”; 1942; Pg 184)

“Unfortunately one piece of shrapnel pierced my radiator and my engine seized up…[a]fter gliding down to 1,000 feet everything was still under control, but suddenly the cockpit and instruments became covered in thick oil…”   (“Ten Fighter Boys”; 1942; Pg 190)

“…I heard “Pop-pop-bang!”…I saw a large cannon-shell hole in my port wing and several bullet holes.  A thin trail of whitish smoke was streaming out from underneath my nose…and I guessed an incendiary had hit the glycol tank and set fire to it…[t]he smoke suddenly increased and turned grey, then enveloped the nose and cockpit.”  (“Fighter Pilot” by Paul Richey; 1941; Pg 108-109)

“…I was just about to fire again when bullets began to thud into my engine and almost immediately I was enveloped in a fine spray of glycol from a punctured header tank.  The fine spray quickly turned to thick white smoke which completely obscured my forward vision.  With a punctured coolant system there was no hope of reaching England…I steered towards the coast pulling back my hood as I did so, only to be met by clouds of black smoke pouring from a punctured oil tank.  I switched off the engine immediately…”  (“Nine Lives” by Alan Deere; 1959;Pg 64)

“We opened fire together, and immediately a hail of lead thudded into my Spifire…[t]hen we hit…the control column was snatched abruptly from my gripping fingers by a momentary, but powerful, reversal of elevator load…smoke and flame were pouring from the engine which began to vibrate, slowly at first but with increasing momentum causing the now regained control column to jump back and forwards in my hand.  Hastily I closed the throttle and reached forward to flick off the ignition switches, but before I could do so the engine seized and the airscrew stopped abruptly.  I saw with amazement that the blades had been bent almost double with the impact of the collision…[w]ith smoke now pouring into the cockpit I reached blindly forward for the hood release toggle…t refused to budge…I peered through the smoke and flame enveloping the engine”  (“Nine Lives” by Alan Deere; 1959;Pg 99-100)

“On the climb to height, and at about 10,000ft, my engine began to vibrate so violently that I was forced to throttle back immediately.  A quick glance at the oil pressure gauge revealed that my oil pressure was dangerously low but before I could check further there was a tremendous bang followed by a gush of oil over the engine cowlings and windscreen.  I switched off immediately…[e]xamination of the engine revealed that a connecting rod had come through the block.  This was an unusual failure in a Merlin and gave cause for alarm.”  (“Nine Lives” by Alan Deere; 1959;Pg 194-197)

“At last one of them found his mark; bullets riddled my aircraft shattering the instrument panel and canopy.  It was a miracle that I wasn’t hit, the armour plate behind my seat no doubt deflecting a great number of bullets…I turned into the attack, but still the bullets, fortunately no cannon shells, found their target until eventually the now vibrating engine confirmed my worst fears.  The oil tank had been punctured; a steady stream flowed over the cowlings and on to the windscreen, partly obscuring my vision ahead…throttling back I peered anxiously at my oil gauges.  Both were shattered.  As a precautionary measure I jettisoned my splintered hood…seconds later the engine burst into flames…”  (“Nine Lives” by Alan Deere; 1959;Pg 127-128)
“…I felt the shock of impact on my aircraft as an unseen Hun found his target; like a crack of doom the sound of an exploding cannon shell came deafeningly through my headphones…my aircraft was still airworthy though obviously badly damaged…I throttled back to an economical cruising speed…I could see that, although the oil pressure was normal, the coolant temperature was much too high.  An immediate reduction in engine revolutions seemed to stop the needle climbing higher in the danger zone but when after a few minutes there was no drop in temperature I realized that I had either been hit in the radiator or a glycol pipe line was punctured…lowly and inexorably the needle on my coolant temperature gauge climbed higher in the danger zone, but still the engine showed no signs of seizing.  It couldn’t run for much longer; the temperature was now 115° or only 15° less than the absolute maximum…[g]lancing anxiously at my port wing I noticed that the cannon shell had left a frightening hole in the wing root and as much of my fuselage as could be seen from the cockpit was riddled with bullet holes…I was within gliding distance of Manston airfield and throttling fully back, I eased the nose down…”  (“Nine Lives” by Alan Deere; 1959;Pg 217-219)

“‘See this, sir.  It had gone through your engine cowling, leaving only a neat little hole, and lodged itself in the glycol header tank.  It required a fair amount of levering to prise it free and when I pulled it out, the glycol flowed freely.’”  (“Nine Lives” by Alan Deere; 1959;Pg 227)