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About 303sqn

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  • Birthday 17/08/1954

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    Polish Air Force

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  1. 303sqn

    Turbinlite Havoc: when and where please?

    15th November 1942, when the Polish Air Force standard was passed to 307 Squadron.
  2. 303sqn

    Getting PART photo etch in the UK?

    Aeroclub used to import Part PE. They were only one to import into the UK, I think. I Get mine from the Jader Shop. http://jadarhobby.pl/
  3. 303sqn

    Spitfire PR 1G

    On 17th December 1942, The Air Ministry wrote to OC PRU at Benson explaining that a request had been received from Washington DC for details of any special type of aircraft camouflage used for particular missions such as photographic reconnaissance . The AM requested that full details of the various camouflage schemes and markings used by the PRU be supplied along with any details of any special tactics or methods used to conceal an aircraft in flight be forwarded without delay. The PRU’s reply was sent to HQ Coastal Command for onward transmission on 22nd December. It stated that two standard schemes had been adopted for camouflage of PR aircraft. Scheme A was applied to high-flying aircraft and consisted of an overall finish of PRU Blue (33B/494) with the exception of national markings. Scheme B was applied to low-flying aircraft and consisted of Extra Dark Sea Grey (33B/245) and Extra Dark Sea Green (33B/338) on the upper surfaces. Under surfaces were PRU Mauve which was mixed from 5 parts PRU Pink (not in Vocabulary of Stores), 2 parts PRU Blue and one part ident red (33B/72). 33B/72 is the pre-war bright red.
  4. 303sqn

    Very narrow fin flash on the 1940-1941 Hurricanes

    Aircraft based in France had set a precedent of applying stripes to the rudder in the style of the French. This was perceived as causing problems with the rudder’s balance. On 1st May 1940 the AM sent signal X485 to all commands, at home and overseas, giving instructions to amend the markings carried by RAF aircraft. Vertical stripes, red white and blue, of equal width were to be applied to the fin. The blue stripe should be nearest the rudder but clear of the hinge. The signal stressed that the marking was to be applied to the fin. A second signal, X740, was sent on 11th May, stating that the three vertical stripes fin marking need not necessarily occupy the whole fin. It was sufficient that the width was to be clearly visible. As no specifications were given as to the width of the stripes, many different interpretations were made by units. The narrow stripes seen on 302 Squadron Hurricanes are also seen on other aircraft. I know of al least one Spitfire that has them and several Blenheims. Narrow stripes are found on Ansons, at a slant long the rudder line, and Whitleys, perhaps because they have small fins. As for 302 Squadron, there are few photos of their Hurricane Mk Is. WX*W (perhaps P3120) has ‘normal’ fin flashes whilst its successor V6941 had the narrow type. There is more material for the Hurricane Mk IIs where it seems to be common to have the narrow type of fin flashes but not exclusively. Z3332 WX*R and P3307 WX*J had the ‘normal’ type of fin flashes. Z2667 WX*E, Z2668 WX*H, Z3095 WX*N had the narrow type. They seem to have lasted until the end of service with the squadron with no effort made to replace them even when the aircraft were repainted in the Day Fighter Scheme e.g., Z3752 WX*L & Z3675 WX*B. The latter was later photographed at Sverdlovsk in USSR still with its 302 Squadron markings. Some 306 Squadron Hurricanes had slightly narrow fin flashes but not as extreme as 302 Squadron apart from UZ*Z Z2923 which were identical to 302 Squadron.
  5. Turkey, Bulgaria, Rumania, Greece. All versions were covered by Azur/Frrom. The Frrom boxings contain vac canopies.
  6. Polskie Lotnictwo Myśliwskie w Boju Wrześniowym - Foot Note 820 Translation According to the reports of Capt. Cwynar, IPMS Lot AII.23/1a-6, -7, -8. Despite some reliable information about the use and successes of Kobuz in the defense of Wielicka, contained in the London documents and September studies in the archives of IPMS, in Poland the fate of Kubuz remained unknown until recently; the most common was the erroneous message about the prototype's destruction during the Okęcie bombing. At the same time, the legend was established, finding its source in Henryk Szczęsny's statements that in Wieliczka he flew a P.24. Kubuz had a closed P.24 cabin and, apart from the Mercury VIII engine, it was very similar to the P.24. One can only surmise, Lt. Szczęny did not realize what plane he fought with. The message about the evacuation of the Kobuz to Wielicka and handing it over to Lt. Szczęsny was also confirmed by Jerzy Widawski. None of the surviving original documents indicating the equipment of the Pilot School mentions a P.24.
  7. There are stories of a P.24 being used in combat but they are false and originate from Henryk Szczęsny who did fly the P.11g Kubuz in combat shooting down one German aircraft. However he thought the Kubuz was a P.24. Well, lets face it, it looked more like a P.24 than a P.11.
  8. Zumbach returned to 303 Sqn at the end of March 1942 as Flight Commander and took command of the squadron on 17th May. On 1 December 1942 he finished his tour and became Polish Liaison Officer to HQ 9 Fighter Group RAF. All the squadrons's Mk Vs and first MK IXs had IFF "wires". The IFF Mk III, with a rod aerial under the wing, began to be introduced in early 1943 and first appears on the Squadron's Mk IXs in late 1943.
  9. 303sqn

    PZL P37B LOS 1/72 Scale.

    Part have a PE set specifically for the IBG model. https://www.jadarhobby.pl/part-s72260-172-pzl-p37-ibg-p-55900.html
  10. 303sqn

    Question re Airfix's Spitfire Vb Malta colors

    Serial is AB264, Airfix probably used the MMP book as reference. It was an Operation Spotter Spitfire of which PL has the following to say. "Because these Spitfires were intended for service in Egypt they were finished on the upper surfaces in the Desert Scheme of Dark Earth and Mid Stone and on the under surfaces, so it is thought, in either Sky Blue on those Spitfires tropicalized by Supermarine or Azure BIue as dictated by official policy on those Spitfires which had been tropicalized by the ASUs. Following the arrival of the first batch of Spitfires in Malta from Operation Spotter on 7th March, the Mid Stone segments of the upper surface camouflage was overpainted with some kind of dark grey paint. After the second batch of Spitfires was delivered by Operation Picket on 21st March, it would appear that AHQ Malta sought and received permission to have the upper surface camouflage on its Spitfires modified by overpainting the Desert Scheme in its entirety and replacing it with a single dark colour. Such a monotone scheme appears to have been applied at Gibraltar to the Spitfires delivered by Operation Picket II on 29th March." Scale Aircraft Modelling December 2015
  11. Born 1st May 1897, Skarżyński began his military career in 1916-17 as a member of the Polska Organizacja Wojskowa (Polish Military Organization), a clandestine organization tasked with gathering intelligence on and sabotaging Poland's enemies. He transferred to the Polish Army when it was created in 1918 commanding units engaged with disarming German soldiers in his home town Warta. After that he fought in the Polish-Soviet War being wounded twice, the second time severely which left him with a permanent limp. Because of this he was unable to continue serving in the infantry and transferred to the aviation arm completing pilot training at Bydgoszcz in 1925 and then serving in the 1st Air Regiment. Skarżyński first found fame with his tour of Africa. In September 1931 he conceived the idea, to acquaint the world with the achievements of Polish industry and prove the reliability of nationally developed aircraft, of a long range flight over a difficult route. Deciding of a tour of Africa be selected the PZL Ł.2 obtaining full backing from PZL for the venture. By the middle of November he had the blessing and financial support of the Department of Aeronautics, Ministry of Transport and LOPP. Work to convert the first production Ł.2 was quickly undertaken. Fuel capacity was increased from 150 ltr to 630 ltr by fitting four fuel tanks in the wings. A small fuel tank under the pilot's seat was replaced by an oil tank. Four luggage compartments, one replacing the original oil tank, were built into aircraft. The engine was enclosed in a cowling ring and Col Rayski loaned Standard Steel adjustable pitch metal airscrew from his own aircraft. The aircraft, registered SP-AFA and named Afrykanka, completed its trials in January 1931, and on the 1st February Capt Skarżyński and Lt Markiewicz left Warsaw for the first stage of a long tour. They were delayed for a few days in Kraków because of bad weather in the Tatra Mountains and foggy and stormy conditions in southern Europe. Flying by Gyoma, Belgrade, Soplje, Athens, and Mersa Matruh, reaching Cairo on the 18th February. A damaged piston forced the aircraft down in the desert near Atbara, spares were brought from Atbara and the crew managed to replace the faulty cylinder and fly to Khartoum, where the engine was checked and cleaned of sand. On the 14th March they took off taking the route Malakal, Juba, Kisumu, Abercorn, Luebo, Leopoldville, Port Gentil, Lagos, Abidjan, Bamako, Dakar, Port Étienne, Casablanca, arriving at Alicante in Spain on the 12th April. On the way to Bordeaux the engine seized because incorrect oil had been supplied by mistake at Perpignan. This delayed them by two weeks. Eventually they landed at Warsaw on the 5th May having covered 25,770 km in 147 flying hours. Despite the engine problems, the the tour proved an outstanding success. The aircraft spent more than three months in the open, being exposed to frost, snow, tropical storms and tropical sun, and survived the most incredible take-offs from unprepared fields, stony beaches, deserts, and 2 m high grass with no ill effects. In June 1931, SP-AFA was flown by Skarżyński in the Bucharest Rally. Later it was involved in the first glider towing experiments conducted in Poland, and, fitted with a prototype tow gear assisted the Polish team during the 1932 Rhöne Meeting. For his epic transatlantic flight, Skarżyński consulted the RWD designers and selected a specially converted RWD 5, that became known as the RWD 5bis (modified). The aircraft was completed by the end of March 1933 conforming to the FAI Category 2 requirements (single seat weighing less than 450 kg) and given the registration SP-AJU. Later it became known as Amerykanka. Powered by a 130 hp Gipsy Major engine, its fuel capacity was increased to 752 ltr and oil to 36 ltr giving a maximum range of 5,000 km. 452 ltr of fuel were carried in four 113 ltr tanks mounded side by side in the reinforced wing, and 300 ltr in a large tank fitted in the rear cabin, the doors and windows of which were omitted. To ensure greater comfort on long flights the pilot's seat was provided with rubber cushions that could be inflated in case of an emergency landing on water. Arm rests and foot supports close to the rudder bar were fitted. The intended start date was the 7th April but the IBTL requested further trials before clearing the aircraft. These included a 10 hour endurance flight over Poland, which was made on the 15th April covering 1,650 km. Clearance followed five days later and on the 27th April SP-AJU left Warsaw reaching St Louis-du-Sénégal in West Africa on the 4th May. According to an official statement it was to make an attempt on the International Distance Record for Light Aircraft in category 2 from St Louis-du-Sénégal in the direction of western Europe. Skarżyński's true intention of making the South Atlantic crossing to Brazil was a well guarded secret only to be revealed when he was already on his way. Take-off was 23.00 on the 7th May and after 20 hours 30 minutes landed at Maceió, Brazil, 19.30 local time. Immediately after landing, the chief of the airfield's radio station approached the bare headed Skarżyński in a grey suit and enquired who he was. Skarżyński replied “I am captain Skarżyński of the Polish Air Force. My last take-off was from St Louis-du-Sénégal.” The bewildered official glanced at the tiny monoplane and the casual looking stranger in front of him, and, convinced that it was a hoax, shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Maceió control had been informed about the the attempted crossing (the RWD 5bis did not have a radio) but expected to see and impressive, large transatlantic aircraft, especially as Skarżyński had bypassed Natal, the nearest Brazilian airfield on his route. Only when the registration had been check did Maceió break out in celebration. In fact, on arrival at Maceió, Skarżyński still had fuel reserves for several more hours flying but decided not to extend the flight so as to avoid a risky landing in darkness on an unknown airfield. Skarżyński's flight raised the International Distance Record in the FAI Category 2 to 3,582 km and with an empty weight of 450 kg, the RWD 5bis was the lightest aircraft to cross the Atlantic, and because Category 2 class was later abolished, the distance record was never officially beaten. After triumphal tour of Brazil, including several demonstration flights, Skarżyński and SP-AJU left Rio de Janeiro on the liner Avila Star on the 11th of July, to arrive at Boulogne on the 17th July. After reassembly it was flown to Łódż and then Warsaw on the 2nd August, covering the entire tour of 18,305 km in 104 hr 40 min flying time. Skarżyński was given a hero's welcome and was decorated with order of Polonia Restituta. SP-AJU was presented to him by the Aeroclub of the Polish Republic and subsequently converted to a standard two seat configuration. In 1934 he was promoted to Major and commanding a bomber squadron, and from 1938 was deputy C/O of the 4th Air Regiment in Toruń with a rank of Lt.Col. In April 1939 he became President of the Polish Aero Club. In August 1939 he became deputy Air Attaché for Rumania. When war broke out he helped with the escape of Polish Airmen to France and after the fall of France helped 17,000 Polish airmen move to Britain. In Britain he was made C/O of Polish training schools at Hucknall and then Newton, eventually appointed C/O of RAF Lindholme. On the night of 25/26 June the Bomber command launched a 1,000 bomber raid on Bremen, of which the Polish contribution was 71 Wellingtons, 13 from 300 Squadron, 14 from 301 Squadron, 15 from 305 Squadron, 7 from Coastal Command 304 Squadon, and 22 from 18 OTU. Skarżyński volunteered to fly a supernumerary member of the Józef Szybka's crew in Wellington Mk II Z8528 SM*R. The Welligton suffered engine failure and Szybka ditched in the sea. The navigator launched a dinghy but Skarżyński exited the cockpit on the wrong side, was hit by a wave, and swept away. He was heard calling for help for some time but the sea's heavy swells prevented the dinghy from reaching him and he drowned. The rest of the crew, Józef Szybka, Kazimierz Nowak, Edward Rudowski, and Władysław Szmidt were rescued eight hours later.
  12. 303sqn

    Sun bloom ! .

    The main cause of of yellowing in plastics is oxidation, heat and UV light. They cause desaturation and conjugation. When all the available bonds on a carbon atom are occupied by hydrogen atoms it is ‘saturated’. When there are carbon to carbon double bonds, C=C, then the molecule is said to be unsaturated. That is the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats. The formation of these double bonds results in conjugation. Conjugation is simply a chain of alternating double and single bonds like so, C-C=C-C=C-C=C-C=. In conjugated systems the π bonding electrons delocalise. That means that the electrons are no longer associated with a single carbon atom. Delocalised electrons absorb light in the visible spectrum and it is that that leads to the plastic looking yellowish. The colour of many dyes is derived from this mechanism. Most flame retardants are safe but aliphatic bromine compounds are sensitive to heat and UV light and breakdown to release bromine. This accelerates the yellowing process. But you say that the plastic has a blue colour. That seems to be rather unusual and I do not know of a mechanism that would cause that. The only thing that I can think of is that some manufacturers add a blue dye to counteract the yellowing. Maybe something is happening in the degradation of the plastic causing the blue colour of the dye to manifest itself.
  13. Spitfire Mk IIa P8387 PK*H ‘Halina’ with the presentation name ‘Barty’, 315 Squadron August 1940. Previously served with 308 Squadron which is the origin of the large chessboards. Served until the squadron they converted to Mk Vs in early September. The photograph of this Spitfire has appeared in a number of publications, e.g. Gifts of War. It little unusual as it was fitted with a de Havilland spinner and prop not the bulbous Rotol unit usually found on Mk IIs. Canopy had a breakout panel. No crowbar. Was one of the options for the AZ Model Spitfire Mk IIa kit released a while ago now. Unfortunately there were several errors in the markings in particular the name ‘Barty’ in the wrong colour which was Medium Sea Grey, not white or yellow. References: Gifts of War, Henry Boot & Ray Sturtivant, Air Britain. Polish Wings 6, Supermarine Spitfire I/II, Wojtek Matusiak, Stratus, 315 Squadron MMP.
  14. 303sqn

    PLZ P7 Polish national insignia

    The photo is of 74 Squadron Demons during trials of an experimental scheme. Taken in September 1935 at the time of the Abyssinian Crisis. Colours were, Dark Sea Grey, Light Earth, Malta Soil, Malta Rock and Dark Green.
  15. 303sqn

    PLZ P7 Polish national insignia

    No. The chessboards were applied asymmetrically on all combat aircraft at the factory. They were in line, not one in front and one behind. The latter were applied to P.7s in the training schools. They were not applied asymmetrically. However, aircraft get transferred and it possible they might turn up elsewhere. It was done so that and enemy pilot would miss the fuselage (and pilot inside) if he centred is aim between the the two markings. Also, by a trick of perspective, it could deceive the enemy pilot as to the direction the aircraft was flying. The starboard wing would appear to be higher than the port wing making it look like the aircraft was banking and turning to the left. The enemy pilot might then apply too much deflection and miss. There are some examples where the chessboards under the wings were applied asymmetrically. The chessboard under the starboard wing was moved inwards (two panels) to lie next to the struts. This was probably done to accommodate the buzz code.