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About KevinK

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  • Birthday 28/02/52

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    Washington State

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  1. Lightning help English Electric type

    There was a gradual change from about 1966/7 (or so, not sure of the exact year) right across the RAF from the earlier blue flying suits to green. The reason/story given at the time came from Transport Command: if an aircraft operating near the lines was on the ground delivering troops, any enemy sniper could figure out that if there were several dozen in Army green, but only two or three in blue, if he shot those he shot the crew and the aircraft wasn't leaving. In any case, it would help in an escape/evasion case in NW Europe to be in green rather than blue, so this change took place across the RAF, but it took years, as flying suits would be replaced as needed, unless, of course a particular C.O. wanted more uniformity. Kevin
  2. Did keeping allied scouts drab give a real advantage?

    When I used to fly aerobatics on a Chipmunk from Farnborough, we used to operate about 10 miles West of the aerodrome, to remain clear of as much traffic as possible. Farnborough Radar used to keep an eye out for nearby traffic: Odiham's Chinooks, other light aircraft, bizjets, etc and I generally got quite good at spotting aircraft from unusual attitudes, but as you say, sometimes you just don't see them. The ones that used to scare me were the sailplanes from Lasham: those things are nearly invisible head-or tail-on and I would usually only see them if they banked in the sunlight. Kevin
  3. I finished mine back in 1964/5 both ways: I built it as a floatplane and then, when the float struts were broken in the inevitable 'play' phase, replaced the floats with the spatted wheels. Probably my first 'conversion' & I still have it. Kevin
  4. B-29 -why not in the European theatre?

    Thank you, Bedders. However, now I read it again, I'm sounding like Uncle Albert Trotter: "... during the War..."
  5. B-29 -why not in the European theatre?

    Just as an interesting data point: when I was on the Space Shuttle program, we changed the External Tank finish after the first two flights, from a white Titanium Dioxide paint finish to the bare foam. The removal (well, non-application) of the paint saved 600 lb in total vehicle mass.
  6. Agreed, it is. I sat in the cockpit of the S.6 in Southampton some years ago - there really isn't much more in there, and in any case, if there were, you couldn't see it from the outside if the pilot were in place. Once the hinged windscreen is down, there's little more than a hole in the fuselage just big enough for the pilot's head. Kevin
  7. American "prejudice"

    This is another oft-repeated half-truth which misses the real cause of the accidents. There were several very significant contributions to the crashes, including pressurising the cabin to sea-level while climbing to/cruising at 35 000 ft which increased stresses much more than necessary. The 'square window' where the failure occurred was the ADF window, not a passenger window, and was as a result of fatigue from repeated 'ballooning' of the aircraft's skin in that region after a local Redux bond line failure. This root cause was only discovered after the public inquiry had closed, and was never widely known, as it would probably have destroyed de Havillands while doing no real good. DH undertook to fix the bonding issue, which as far as I recall was the result of contamination in the bonding process. Remember, DH had, in less than ten years, produced the Hornet, Vampire and many others using wood/metal and metal/metal bonding which no-one else could match: it was their primary method of construction by this time. A huge amount was learned by DH and the RAE, which was fed back into the manufacturing process. It resulted not only in the improved Comet, but to everything built by DH/HSA and Airbus since then.
  8. I would just like to put in a word of praise for Mikro-Mir's customer service. I found a small transparency missing from one of my Beverley kits. I e-mailed Mikro-Mir on 5th June, got a response on the 11th that the part was sent, and it was in my mailbox today: the complete sprue, bubble-wrapped and in a small double-walled card box. Undoubtedly the best customer service I've had from a kit manufacturer in recent years.
  9. Horrible War Movies

    I saw this film on its first run in the cinema, with two other pilots - both test pilots at the time. During one of the "F-14 vs Zero" sequences, we all had an audible sharp intake of breath as one of the F-14s clearly ran out of airspeed trying to roll in pursuit of a "Zero": he lost about 500' and recovered with full afterburner after dishing-out. Very nearly 'splash one Tomcat' on 70mm technicolor. Seriously though, the Grumman pilots did an outstanding job of making it look good to the audience. Kevin
  10. Modern Tech

    I had one of these for a few years - lovely to drive and its low c.g. makes it a better basis for a fun performance car than the MGB IMHO. One thing to watch with the 1275 engine, though: use the best-quality head gasket you can find, as they have a definite tendency to fail between 2 & 3 cylinders. That basic engine block was bored out over several decades, from 998-1098-1275, leaving very little material between those two.
  11. Your first aircraft model ?

    Eagle Spitfire, 1/96th scale, made in September 1960 on board a Bristol Britannia of BUA, en-route from Singapore to Stansted.
  12. Hinchcliffe 10 Naval Squadron Camel, blue guns?

    Not the barrel, Alan - the jacket. The aircraft-application Vickers gun retained the water-cooled jacket of the original land-use gun, but without the water and with ventilation slots usually added. It would be possible to retain paint as it wouldn't get more than warm, Kevin
  13. Modern Tech

    And the same goes for my 2008 SAAB: a well-designed, well-thought out piece of Swedish engineering. On the other hand, my wife's 2007 VW Eos has had one damned thing after another go wrong. To be honest, it's over-engineered and badly built - I notice that most of the cars referred to in this thread are German. One further observation - my 1979 MGB (owned since 1983) runs reliably as a daily driver. Once the troublesome original electronic ignition was replaced, it has just been normal maintenance & repair which I can do myself - all parts are easily available and easy to fit. Except the heater: legend has it that the car was in fact assembled around the heater. Kevin
  14. The WNW Camel is coming!

    My copy of the book arrived at the weekend, direct from NZ so you're likely to get it soon.
  15. One possible use for the extra figures: Of course, there is extra rigging involved.