Troopers Tales...

Sunday… 1030am. I’m at Stoughton airfield, the old Stirling base from WWII days in Leics…
John, my ever suffering instructor, throws me the keys for ‘India Charlie’.
“Do the pre-flight and get her started Dave, I’ll be out in 5”.
“Roger mate”, and off I go to sort her out…
Within 5 mins, John is climbing in beside me as I start her up.
I complete the checks and call Leic control for a radio check and airport information.
“Ok, I’m departing on runway two eight John”
And with that, taxi out, and just short of the desired runway, turn into wind and set about doing my power checks…
Brakes on.
Oil pressure and temp within limits.
Clear behind… increase power until she registers 1700rpm.
Carb heat to hot, watch for the drop and reset to cold.
Check magnetos left and right, watch for the drop in revs, and return to normal when set to ‘both’.
Suction and ammeter correct.
Recheck oil pressure and temp, and smoothly close the throttle and check for idle, then reset to 1200rpm…

John isn’t saying much, just makes little ticks and marks on his clipboard as I now run through my vital actions, prior to taking off…
I look at him briefly then go through the list.
"Trim-Neutral… Throttle-set… Mixture-rich, mags on both, master-on…
Fuel-correct… Primer-locked…
Flaps-10 degrees, first stage… Instruments-set.
Harness and hatches secure… Strobe and Nav lights on, radios on correct frequency".

I obtain clearance from Leic radio, final check that all my controls are free, and we are off… Increase to full power, A little right rudder to keep her straight, and ease the nose up first as we reach sufficient speed, then climbing… Flaps up at 300ft.
Its all looking good as we get to 1,000ft and I turn left onto the usual lefthand circuit at Stoughton…

John tells me to continue with ‘touch and go’s’, keeping an eye out for other traffic in the pattern… and I complete three touch downs and take off again, landing with hardly a bump, and whack full power on, flaps up one stage and climb out each time…
I sit there and think this is great, I’ve been doing this for a while now, and its becoming second nature… John doesn’t even touch the controls, leaves it all to me and… The radio blares out…

“Leics this is Golf Whisky Lima, climbing out on the overhead on…”

Jesus, I’m on the downwind leg, approaching the centre of the circuit… which means Whisky Lima is climbing out on the overhead somewhere above me… ‘WHOOSH’, an aircraft passes by above me, and for a split second my heart is in my mouth, but thankfully it passes with a decent margin.
I look at John, who is just smiling…
“didn’t see him then?”
“Er… No, to be honest…”
He continues to smirk at me…
“No drama, I was keeping my eye on him… he was never going to hit us”.

I suddenly realised, that while I was flying my circuit, congratulating myself on how great I was, I had been oblivious to another aircraft, that could have resulted in a major drama… and that perhaps I wasn’t quite as good as I thought I was!.. A good and timely lesson has just been taught!

John just looks at me, smiles again and says… “Ok Dave… I think its time to take you through a new set of drills… Right, Engine failure, power off landings!”…

“Oh shit”…

LOL nice honest post mate :o Always remember that old saying = “What can go wrong , will go wrong” :smiley:


LOL… !

I’m at Stoughton airfield, the old Stirling base from WWII days in Leics

I grew up not far from Stoughton and have fond memories of my first airshows there when I was a kid. The Lightning and Vulcan were regular visitors. A couple of things in particular that come stuck in my mind was a very low display by a Buccaneer when I was watching from outside, it was one of those “f***in 'ell” moments as it popped up over the hedge to begin its display as well as seeing a Jaguar do a touch and go on the not too long runway. :slight_smile:

I thought it served as a Bomber Conversion Unit base during the war, though the memory fades and there were numerous nearby “heavy” bases round Leicestershire.

Hi mate… So you are a local eh?
Bomber conversion unit?..Not sure, have to find out, but there are pictures of Stirlings all over the club bar, and they tell me it was a Stirling base… got me thinking now, will have to find out!

So you are a local eh?

Used to be, before I became a southern softie. :slight_smile:

I think they might have flown glider ops for Normandy from there during D-Day.

If there are pics of Stirlings that might explain it as well as the Heavy conversion unit as Stirlings were used during training when going from the Wellingtons to four engine bombers.

Keets… Stoughton Airfield…

Opened Oct 1943.
One of Leicesters best preserved examples of a classic concrete wartime airfield, still with its original control tower in use. first aircraft to arrive were Stirling Mk III’s. These were later joined by Horsa gliders and stirling Mk IV bombers, training crews for the impending liberation of mainland Europe. By May 1944, training focused solely on C-47 Dakotas and Horsa glider tug techniques, which remained its function throughout the remainder of the war.

You know, I often get a feeling that when I’m approaching, or joining the circuit at Stoughton, seeing the control tower and the original dispersal areas, its like the same view that many pilots would have seen as they took off or landed during the war… Quite humbling sometimes.

You lucky b*gger Trooper :slight_smile:

Nice story mate thanks and a bit of a twist at the end when you think of how many real landing/takeoff fatal accidents there were back then when no one had the time to observe the niceties just get up get down or the country is in trouble, and where I currently am in Duel of Eagles they’re being bombed on the ground too in dispersal :eek:

Peter Townsend is saying that he lands at 03:30 from one and he’s up again at dawn for four sorties in one day :eek: :eek:

You’d had a good night’s sleep the night before that incident I hope :slight_smile:


lol… well Ming, to tell you the truth, when I did the emergency landings, I got it wrong once, and correct twice. Its all a judgement ex… engine fails, look for a landing point, and then judge when you make the turn to glide in, if you get it right, you descend at roughly 65kts, lowering your flaps in increments so that by the time you have lowered your 3rd stage, you are still maintaining that speed but are at a really steep angle pointing towards the ground… at the last second, pull up and flare out to touch down…
At least when I got it wrong, I could just re-apply power to stop touching down as I’d run out of airspeed and was undershooting!.. It would have been no good if it had been for real though…

Thanks Trooper… I can imagine it does make you think. :slight_smile:

Ah, I know how you feel mate :slight_smile:

When I was flying at RAF Benson we had 33 Sqdn’s Puma dancing about all over the field and joining the circuit in odd ways :slight_smile:

I always quite enjoyed PFLs - proper stick and rudder flying :slight_smile: