The UK's Control-line Carrier-Deck Site!
As time ticks slowly by towards the 2016 flying season, many carrier fliers will be busy in their workshops building new models and repairing the knocks received in those hard landings during 2015.Once again I’ve been a bad lad and made very little progress with the five or six projects I’d promised to complete. Instead, I’ve been exchanging some wacky ideas for extending the classes with Max Uttien for the past few weeks, mainly by way of fantasy but who knows? So, to help you relax after all that gluing and screwing in the man-cave here’s a couple of our brighter ideas
Some say that Colonel James Brodie was a bit of a Secret Squirrel, working for the OSS spy organization, while his day job was the design and modification of warships. In 1943, with the war in the Pacific now being taken back to the Japanese island strongholds, artillery spotting from the air was essential to allow US warships standing off the coast to target the enemy fortifications accurately.
Brodie was able to use his strategic and engineering knowledge to design a way of flying Piper and Stinson spotter planes from LSTs – tank landing ships with NO take-off or landing space. Why do this? It saved fuel and allowed the planes to fly much longer missions, and didn’t take up space on a conventional carrier.
The system employed a 300 ft. cable suspended 50ft. above the ground or water that allowed aircraft equipped with a hook above their C of G to run down the cable to take off, and to hook a hoop when returning to the ship. The aircraft were hitched onto the cable, reeled to the aftmost point of the cable, then accelerated along the cable until flying speed was reached, unhooking and flying away. On the LSTs the cable was suspended between two horizontal booms fore and aft along the side of the ship. Hard to visualise? Well, have a look at these pix!
For info on the patent that Brodie registered, try http://rexresearch.com/brodie/brodie.htm. There’s also awesome colour film of the system in action during WW2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Wrz20iLAEA
Of course, Brodie’s general idea wasn’t entirely new! The US AIr Force experimented in the 1930s with two massive helium-filled airships (the Akron and the Macon) in the role of flying aircraft carriers.
The role for the airships was fleet shadowing and artillery spotting for naval engagements, and both were equipped with a squadron of Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk biplanes operated from internal hangars as protection. Just like the Brodie aircraft, the Sparrowhawks had a hook above the C of G allowing them to launch and recover to their parent, being winched up and down as needed.
Due to various design and operational problems, neither of the two airships survived to perform their alloted tasks in conflict. In service for less than two years, in 1935 Macon was damaged in a storm and lost off California’s Big Sur coast, with the Akron also being destoyed in similar circumstances. The size and complexity of these craft can be seen in the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU3fS22ZI9M.
There are many, many equally interesting (if sometimes bizarre) instances of small aircraft being hosted by a mothership for exactly the same operational reasons that have driven the need for conventional carriers over the past 100 years. To celebrate these alternative technologies Max and I are quietly plotting to design and build a portable gantry launch and recovery system for one of our BCD mini-carriers, and to then issue the Sparrowhawk Challenge for Overwing Operations – we’re sure that once you’ve tried it, you’ll be hooked!
During the course of 2016, there will be a considerable amount of construction work undertaken on the airfield which will render a large area out of bounds. As such, the view of those in command was that they would not be in a position to support a major public event at Barkston Heath in 2016. It is only the third occasion in the last thirty six years that the airfield has not been made available to us for the Power Nationals.
We are certain that members will share our disappointment at this announcement, as will local businesses which are set to lose tens of thousands of pounds as a consequence. Our hope is that Barkston Heath will be available to us again for 2017 but this cannot be confirmed at this time.
The Free Flight Nationals will still take place as usual over the late May Bank Holiday at Barkston Heath as this is a much smaller event which the RAF are happy to accommodate.
Alternative arrangements will be made for the various component contests within the Power Nationals and we can confirm that the intention is to run the Showline as a standalone event with a full trade show and camping over the August Bank Holiday weekend. The venue has yet to be confirmed.
Further announcements will be made as information becomes available.
CEO and Nationals Co-ordinator
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Last modified: 04/05/2015