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14 Nov 1915, Chingford


I have to admit, with all the excitement in 2015, that I’ve omitted to keep an eye on what was happening 100 years ago.

So – with apologies, here’s a summary of Granddad’s flying log book so far.

15 Sep. First time in the air, with Flt Sub Lt. Fowler. It was too gusty for instruction, so Fowler took him for a 10 minute jolly round the airfield at Chingford in a Maurice Farman Longhorn.

Farman Longhorn

21-24 Sep. Instruction with Fowler and F L Merriam in a Graham White Type XV, which was the mainstay of the primary training fleet at that time and was a slightly updated version of the Bristol Boxkite. All three flights took place between 0600 and 0800 and totalled 48 minutes.

25 Sep. With Merriam. First time he had complete control. It’s not clear whether this particular Farman had dual controls, but it’s likely that Merriam may have effectively been a passenger, only able to shout instructions. This after less than an hour’s instruction!

26-27 Sep. A couple of evening flights in the Graham White with Merriam totalling 14 minutes.

1 Oct. First solo. In the morning he had a quick hop in the front seat of the Graham White, and in the evening they let him try taxiing the Bristol Boxkite.

2015-10-04 Bristol Boxkite

He had the weekend to think about it, and at teatime on Monday 3 Oct they let him do his first solo in the Boxkite – a machine he’d only ever taxied before, and with a total of 106 minutes in an aeroplane! These were straight hops, and after a couple in the Boxkite they let him try the Graham White as well. He found the Graham White much more responsive, and wasn’t impressed with his landing.

2015-10-03 Bristol Scout Shuttleworth Air to Air 048 (1024x578)

And what were we doing 100 years later? Air to Airs with Dodge at Shuttleworth, that’s what.

6 Oct. A busy day, with no less than five flights, a mixture of dual with Merriam and solo straight hops, followed by his first solo circuit – all in surprisingly windy conditions (around 15mph).

7 Oct. Busy again, with 6 flights, mostly dual, but his first solo in the Maurice Farman resulted in an engine failure at 1000ft, which he seems to have managed successfully.

11 Oct. After this, he was considered to be fit to do his test for his Royal Aero Club brevet, which consisted of a figure of eight, a vol plane (engine off glide) and a spot landing. Total time – less than seven and a half hours.

13 Oct. He completed his test in the morning. and on an afternoon flight noticed after takeoff that one of the rigging wires on the Graham White had parted, so came down at once!

15 Oct. Three flights, including a couple on the Maurice Farman Shorthorn. He says it was bumpy and uncomfortable, but whether this was due to the machine or the weather isn’t clear.

16 Oct. He flew the Henry Farman Type 15 for the first time.

17 Oct. He was introduced to the Avro 500 – his first tractor machine and tried taxiing it.Avro_500

19 Oct. First straight hop in the Avro around midday. The wind was around 20mph – he says the air was gusty; I’m not surprised! He had another go in the evening when the wind had dropped, and said that two of his landings were ‘quite fair’.

20 Oct. A couple of flights, on the second of which he got up to 3200ft and did circuits in the Avro 502. He comments on the wheel warping control.

22 – 23 Oct. More time in the Avro 501. he’s staring to accumulate time more rapidly now with longer flights, and has reached the magnificent total of 12 hours 41 minutes by the end of this week.

27 Oct. In five flights, he added two more types to enter in his logbook. First the Curtiss JN3,

The Curtiss JN3 was  almost identical to the more famous JN4 (Jenny) pictured here

The Curtiss JN3 was almost identical to the more famous JN4 (Jenny) pictured here

and then straight from that to the Avro 504B, his first time flying behind an 80hp engine.

This is 1043, which Bunnie flew when he first got to Imbros. At Chingford he flew 1044 and 1045.

This is 1043, which Bunnie flew when he first got to Imbros. At Chingford he flew 1044 and 1045.

After a couple of goes with an instructor, he was allowed off on his own, and he says it was ‘ …far the most pleasant flight I have had. I much prefer the rod control to the wheel control.’ In another first, he made his first landing without goggles. Well, the 504 has a diminutive windscreen, and it was flown solo from the back seat which is further away from the action than the Scout, but even so, rather him than me!

28-29 Oct. More time in the Avro 504B, and his longest flight to date – 55 minutes.

1-7 Nov. He was off sick.

8 Nov. Another 50 minute flight in a 504B.

10 Nov. And yet another type to master. This was a short hop with an instructor in a BE2A with a 60hp Renault engine.


14 Nov. And then yesterday he was put into yet another different type – the BE2C. Although it sounds similar to the BE2A, it was in fact a completely new aeroplane for him to master with the RAF1A engine, which was a development of the Renault.. The engine wasn’t delivering full power, but he still managed to get up to 5000ft in a 35 minute flight.

And at the end of this time he had amassed 19 hours, 14 minutes. When I think how careful we are of machines of this vintage, and how rarely we fly them, it seems remarkable to me how much time he managed to get in the air, despite the time of year.





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