Dive Bombers and Other Birds

Tudor Richards, USNR

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Then the “fun” began. It should have been fun, but somehow wasn’t. I refer to the stunting stage. stuntsMy new instructor, Lt. Boland, a Marine, who replaced Baugher only because the latter got “Orders,” tried to show me everything in the book on our first hop together, and the result was not only bewilderment on my part, but for the second and I hope the last time as a result of flying, the loss of my lunch, ! which, however, was not in the plane, but again in the most convenient place. That unpleasant experience unfortunately made me more apprehensive than ever of stunting and consequently reluctant to practice enough myself.

Loops weren’t too bad, but an Immelman turn or half roll on top of a loop, which brought one back to level flight 180 degrees from the direction one started, seemed very difficult. There was something about the upside down position !that just didn’t feel right. Snap rolls were even worse, a sudden yank on the stick, back and to one side in coordination with the rudder pedals, supposedly putting the plane on its back half way through the maneuver and rolling the rest of the way around to level flight again. This maneuver was thus both quick and jerky, involving a momentary stall. For some reason we were not then instructed in either of the two smooth rolls, the easy Barrel Roll, involving a horizontal corkscrew motion, or the more difficult Slow Roll, just a roll about the longitudinal axis of the plane. There were, however, plenty of other stunts such as the Split S more stunts(half a snap roll and then a dive starting with the plane on its back), the Cartwheel (another jerky maneuver from a steep turn one way to one the other way) and the Falling Leaf (the only really easy one of the lot, the motion, much like what it is named after, being effected by shoving the stick from side to side just before the plane falls off into a spin the other way).

Not only were there some half dozen stunts to worry about, but several other maneuvers as well. Of these, wingovers were as enjoyable as anything, being a series of glides and climbs with a very steep bank started at the top of each climb and continued as the plane falls off into a glide so as to bring the plane around to at least 90 and preferably 180 degrees from the direction started. Another neat maneuver consisted of making figure eights around pylons, though the pylons were only small structures on the ground which we had to imagine extended up to our altitude. “Shooting circles” continued, but with the introduction of “slips,” or glides, made steeper by putting one wing down and losing considerable lift, that also put the plane in a slightly sideways attitude. Small field procedures continued, and I guess we were allowed to slip then too if it seemed desirable. The most !unpleasant of all maneuvers was the inverted spin, a spin resulting from the plane being stalled on its back and differing from an ordinary spin in that the top of the plane, and hence the cockpits and those in them, were on the outside of the spin, the centrifugal force giving an almost terrifying pull to one’s blood and all one’s “insides.”