Archive for September, 2007

Tiger Moths

The Tiger Moth Story has given me great pleasure and I now wonder if I am the only person left who has done repeated slow rolls in a standard (unmodified) Tiger Moth without losing any height.

I learnt this in 1940 when under training at Cambridge airfield from which I emerged as a full qualified EFTS instructor. As far as I can remember I could generally manage three rolls before ‘losing it’. My instructor was W/C Peter May who was the CFI at that time. He demonstrated six of these rolls and once, when I was acting as his safety pilot, he did six under the hood. When I managed three I was flying solo. I remember Peter May’s words as we started the inverted part of the roll: “Just keep enough back pressure on the stick to keep the petrol flowing”, beautifully demonstrated by several gentle and very slight back movements which conveyed exactly what was required. I managed one of these rolls with Peter May and when we landed he said “Now, boy, go and practise”!

A short time after this Peter May was shot down in an Albermarle when towing a glider during the Sicily landings. Flying the Albermarle was an achievement in itself. It was built using no aluminium and was so heavy that pilots reckoned it was useless. I believe about 60 of these 2-engined bombers were built.

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