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and there were few pilots with many hours on the Harvard who could claim never to have damaged a wingtip.


Its reputation as being tricky to land or to fly slowly at low levels was well enough known among the chaps who came from Guinea Fowl, and it was a bit inhibiting for them to take hold of the Harvard’s controls with the confidence they should have had. I found myself, towards the end of my stay at Thornhill, detailed to take a Harvard over to Guinea Fowl just before a new batch of pupils was due to transfer from there to our Station, and try to instil a bit of confidence in them as to the safety of handling the Harvard when landing or flying not too fast and close to the ground. I also had to demonstrate the attractions of its aerobatic capabilities by taking up a succession of pupils and showing off the Harvard’s paces. Once having introduced a pupil to the (to him) thrills of inverted flying, the word soon got around the waiting queue and I seemed to spend most of the flying time upside down.


There was great variety in terms both of character and ability in these youngsters. Some of them I still remember with great clarity. Wrench I have already mentioned. Jarrett I remember because, although he was not my own pupil, he was in my Group and I met him many years later when he was a very senior executive of the Davy United (Davy McKee as it later was) company. He was one who simply did not want to fly – to be a pilot. He had no objection to flying as a navigator, which is indeed what he became on transfer to the local navigation station, Moffat. That was something I could never understand – if anyone was going to be flying the aeroplane I was in, it was I! Pupils, I see from my logbook, were by this time described as ‘Pupil Pilots’, not as ‘Cadets’ or ‘Sergeants’. P/p Brodie is another I remember. I think he was really Tolly’s pupil, but for some reason I did quite a bit of his instructing. The bit I recollect best occurred on the evening of the 8th of September 1942, and it was during night flying practice. I think Tolly had asked me to take Brodie up to check whether he was ready for his first night flying solo, and I cheerfully asked Brodie to take off, do a circuit and one landing. He duly took off into wind up the goose-neck flarepath, climbed to 500ft, turned to port and climbed to the usual 1000ft and turned down-wind parallel with the flarepath. All was going well and he started his ‘Vital Actions’ in good order as he flew on that down-wind leg. ‘Vital Actions’ before landing were memorised by the simple word ‘BUMPH’ , which reminded the pilot that Brakes should be off, Undercarriage lowered, Mixture put to rich position, Pitch to ‘Fine’ and Harness checked. Brodie turned once more to port across wind, closed his throttle and began the descent for landing, first to 500 feet across wind and then into wind in line with the chosen line of landing on the grass aerodrome which for night flying was in line with the flarepath. I felt quite confident to let Brodie finish the glide approach, check as we got to twenty or so feet above the ground, hold off ready for the stall on to solid earth, then keep the aircraft straight, as


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