Avro Lancaste and DeHav Mossie Gauges
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Thread: Avro Lancaste and DeHav Mossie Gauges

  1. #1
    Charter Member 2016 mongoose's Avatar
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    Avro Lancaste and DeHav Mossie Gauges

    I don't suppose anyone here knows how the gauges of these ac were illuminated at night?? Radium? UV? Combo?

    Cato said "Carthaginem esse delendam"
    I say "Carthago iam diu deleta,sed enim Bellum Alium adhuc aedificandum est"

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    SOH-CM-2017 BendyFlyer's Avatar
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    Nope none of that fancy stuff, just a simple red lamp or two shining on the panel and on the cockpit generally.

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    Charter Member 2016 mongoose's Avatar
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    That was really it?? Seems primitive compared with some USA ac?

    Cato said "Carthaginem esse delendam"
    I say "Carthago iam diu deleta,sed enim Bellum Alium adhuc aedificandum est"

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    SOH-CM-2017 BendyFlyer's Avatar
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    Afraid so and it was very basic compared to some but not all US aircraft, the reason was basically electrical systems. I have flown that era of aircraft and the cockpit lighting was woeful with one red lamp on the panel, a good hand held torch was mandatory if you wanted to see anything and as an emergency lighting system. The next step up was to put little eyebrow lights on the instruments, you can see these in the C-47 and a lot of other aircraft. Background lighting and internal instrument lighting followed later. There was an idea about that you saw better at night with a red light not a white light, but this actually is not true, so red lit instrument lighting has basically disappeared. There was also another important aspect minimising light glare that could be seen from outside the aircraft which was important in combat at night, one little light can be seen a long way at night, basically in a completely dark night you could see a match being lit from 20,000 ft.

    This era of aircraft were all pretty simple and uncomplicated electrically and generally electrics were only used where you could not use a mechanical lever or cable-pulley or hydraulic system. Most instrumentation was barometric, gyro or vacuum driven so no need for electrics. If you look at the Lancaster and a lot of other types of the period for example you will see the pilot controlled no radios, no radar and no bombing equipment, this was all done at the crew stations for that activity, all they had was a simple intercom system. Magnetos are not electrical per se but a simple magnetic system to generate a spark at the plug, the switches in the aircraft basically are wired to the ignition circuit to test the dual magneto and to break the circuit or turn it off, hence you could hand start most engines one way or another but really big engines meant a hand crank was hopeless and so starter motors would be fitted.

    US aircraft really changed that with the use of multiple electrical systems in aircraft (Boeing in particular). In WW 2 electrics were primarily for radios, radars and bomb dropping equipment, especially in British aircraft. Part of the design approach was also to use an external power source, like a starter cart which then was plugged in to energise the aircraft and get the engines started, once a generator was online the cart would be disconnected. Some even used cockpit mounted cartridge guns where you stuffed in basically a big shotgun shell and fired it off to spin the engine. Another things was all this early gear was bulky and heavy (look at a 1940's radio compared to a transistor radio and now digital) and space and weight was always a premium issue in any aeroplane. Radio gear for example could take up the space of two people at the back of a cockpit with big metal racking to hold it all. The rest as they say is history.

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    Charter Member 2016 mongoose's Avatar
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    Thanks. I greatly appreciate all that information. Solves some issues at least.

    Cato said "Carthaginem esse delendam"
    I say "Carthago iam diu deleta,sed enim Bellum Alium adhuc aedificandum est"

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    FWIW Not sure if you can see this but mid section top just below the glare shield you will see two black cylindrical objects angled left and right - they are the cockpit panel lights. If you look at the Mosquito you will see similar lights but the Mossie has a few more and to the left fuselage cockpit side as well to illuminate the engine control levers etc that were placed there. The Plane Design Lanc has these modelled into the VC but not as far as lights are concerned - I have no idea how you get that beam effect into FSX screens and judging by the drama that Visser had with the C-47 project I would say it is a problem because of the way light is run by texture files. Anyway that is all. Good luck with it all.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails e2309bd012f28b1b965485a906b9620e.jpg  

  7. #7
    In WW 2 electrics were primarily for radios, radars and bomb dropping equipment, especially in British aircraft.
    I may well be wrong, but, aside from the weight, and size, considerations, was that copper, a very good electrical conductor, was in VERY short supply during WWII. Mostly used for bullets, and cartridge casings. Given Britains materiel shortages, it's no real surprize they tended to try to prefer other ways than electrics for various systems. Some things, yes, thee were just no other ways than electrics, but for many there were alternatives.
    Also, lets face it, electrics, let alone electronics, were in their infancy. Couple that with British consveratism, and electrics were just not very popular. Although they took to Radar like a fish to water, so I may well be wrong on that...
    Just my 2 COPPER PENNIES worth
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    SOH-CM-2017 BendyFlyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomTweak View Post
    I may well be wrong, but, aside from the weight, and size, considerations, was that copper, a very good electrical conductor, was in VERY short supply during WWII. Mostly used for bullets, and cartridge casings. Given Britains materiel shortages, it's no real surprize they tended to try to prefer other ways than electrics for various systems. Some things, yes, thee were just no other ways than electrics, but for many there were alternatives.
    Also, lets face it, electrics, let alone electronics, were in their infancy. Couple that with British consveratism, and electrics were just not very popular. Although they took to Radar like a fish to water, so I may well be wrong on that...
    Just my 2 COPPER PENNIES worth
    Pat☺
    Agree, the Poms still designed aircraft to be looked after by staff, individual trades etc for everything and every bit, they were still doing it post WW 2 and even though they caught up technically and in a lot of cases were brilliant designs, they were maintenance nightmares and they wonder why Boeing and Douglas ate their dinner! A couple of mechanics and engineers to fix things as opposed to a dozen.

  9. #9
    Having been a Maintenance guy myself, I have to say that it seems, whatever the company, or country for that matter, the engineers that design planes take NO account of maintenance! Anything from 50 screws where one will do, and on up. You name it, sometimes it seems like they make it harder on us than needed!
    Just my opinion, of course
    Pat☺
    Fly Free, always!
    Sgt of Marines
    USMC, 10 years proud service.
    Inactive now...

  10. #10
    When I was a child there were a couple of instruments in the house (no idea why...!) from WWII aircraft and they were luminous. No-one knew or cared about radiation from the radium paint used and they were painted by hand. Painters licked the brushes to get a good point I'm told - and sadly many died of mouth and tongue cancers.

    DaveQ
    'Always do sober what you say you'll do when you're drunk. It'll teach you to keep you mouth shut' - Ernest Hemingway

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    SOH-CM-2017 DaveB's Avatar
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    Yes.. the 'Radium Girls' is a well publicised account although in reality.. there are no real figures to show just how many suffered illness or died.

    I have 3 ASI's.. one off a Lancaster, one off a Hunter and one off a Wellington and it doesn't bother me much. The Wellington ASI has gone a little brown (the painted numbers and index) but otherwise looks ok. The Lanc and Hunter ASI's are in great shape. Most of the problems associated with radium painted gauges stems from their overall condition. If the paint is in good order, the instrument will generally be stable. The only worry is if the paint is powdery and falling off. None of my gauges will glow if exposed to light and after this length of time.. I'd not expect them to as the radium paint loses it's luminescent qualities after a while. It may still be killing you but you won't glow in the dark

    ATB
    DaveB

  12. #12
    An online vendor of instruments mentions they have cupboards of WW2 gauges which used to glow in the dark back then but don't now and Geiger counters don't even register a thing despite the sheer number of 'em.
    Tom
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