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88. Christmas Present

25/12/2013

Yesterday we received another instrument to add to the panel. Thankfully, the Scout has a very simple panel with minimal instruments to find.

The drawing for the Scout C instrument panel. We have the tacho (on the right) and the altimeter (top centre right) and now we have the clinometer (lower right).

The drawing for the Scout C instrument panel. We have the tacho (on the right) and the altimeter (top centre right) and now we have the clinometer (lower right).

We already, thanks to Simon House at Aerolocker, have the altimeter and tachometer.

This is the clinometer, which is just an oversized spirit level. They are surprisingly difficult to find for such a simple piece of kit, but I imagine they tended to get overlooked when it came to preserving keepsakes.

We don’t have any record of the exact instruments fitted to 1264; it’s not specified on the parts list, and there was a tendency for them to have whatever came to hand, but so far all the instruments are of the period and commonly fitted to RNAS machines.

Original Clinometer to add to the other original instruments

Original Clinometer to add to the other original instruments

We are still looking for the Air Speed Indicator, and a watch to go in the watch holder.
The petrol gauge is half made, and we’re starting work on the map holder, using the folds in Granddad’s original maps as a check on the dimensions.

If you were wondering what the clinometer is used for, it’s not, surprisingly, used to keep the aircraft the right way up in cloud. In fact the bubble should stay in the middle of the clinometer at all times, even in steep turns or half way through a loop. It actually indicates when the aircraft is being flown sideways, and helps to ensure that the rudder and aileron are co-ordinated, and is one of those wonderfully simple ideas that’s never been improved on. The only difference is that these days we use a ‘slip ball’, which is the other way up, with a heavy ball instead of a bubble.

This is because the ailerons on modern aircraft are much more effective, and are used as the primary control when making a turn, with the rudder being used to ‘balance’ the turn. You are taught to ‘tread on the ball’ – press with your left foot if the ball goes to the left.

In 1913, turns were initiated with the rudder, and the aileron was used to keep it in balance, which you did by moving the stick to follow the bubble.

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