Aviation of WWII
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Pilot`s Notes Lancaster Pilot`s Notes



Air Ministry, May 1944

30. Testing engines and installations

While warming up:

(i) Check temperatures and pressures, and test operation of hydraulic system by lowering and raising flaps and bomb doors—but do not test bomb doors if a bomb load is on board.

(ii) Switch off electric fuel booster pump so as to test engine-driven pumps.

(iii) After warming up until the oil temperature is 15°C and the coolant temperature is 60°C, switch the radiator shutters over-ride switches to OPEN, and at 1,500 r.p.m. test each magneto as a precautionary check before increasing power further.

(iv) Open up all four engines together to 0 lb./sq.in. boost and check operation of two-speed superchargers. R.p.m - should fall when S ratio is engaged, and on aircraft with electro-pneumatically operatod supercharger gear-chunge, red warning light should come on. Return to M ratio.

(v) At the same boost exercise the constant speed propeller at least twice by moving the speed coitrol lever through its full range. With the control lever fully down r.p.m. should fall to 1,800 r.p.m.

Note. The following comprehensive checks should be carried out after repair, inspection other than daily, or otherwise at the pilot's discretion. Normally they may be reduced in accordance with local instructions.

(vi) For each engine in turn open throttle to the take-off position and check take-off boost and r.p.m—see para. 20.

(vii) Throttle back to +9 lb./sq.in., check that r.p.m. fall below 3,000 and if not, throttle back untii a drop is shown, to ensure that the propeller is not constant speeding. Then test each magneto in turn. The drop should not exceed 150 r.p.m.

31. Check list before taxying

Ground/flight switch FLIGHT

Navigation lights .. On if required

Altimeter .. .. Set

Instrument flying panel Check vacuum on each pump. 4 ½ lb./sg.in.

Radiator shutter ... switches OPEN

Brakes pressure .. Supply 250-300 lb./sq.in.

32. Check list before take-off.

Autopilot .. .. Clutch IN

.............................Control cok OUT (or SPIN, if Mod. 1161 is incorporated)

DR compass .. .. NORMAL

Pilot head heater switch ON

T-Trimming tabs .. Elevator—

........................4½ divs. nose heavy at 65,000 lb

........................2½ divs. nose heavy at 55,000 lb

........................Rudder neutral

........................Aileron neutral

P —Propeller controls Fully up .

F —Fuel .. .. Check contenti of tanks

........................Master engine cocks ON

........................Tank selector cock, to No. a tanks

........................Crossfeed cock OFF

........................Booster pumps in Nos. I and 2 tanks ON

Superchargers ...... MOD

Air intake .. COLD

Radiator shutters switches AUTOMATIC

F—Flap. .. .. 15°-20° down

33. Taking off

(i) Align the aircraft carefully on the runway, making certain that the tailwheelis straight.

(ii) Open up to 0 lb./sq.in. boost against the brakes to check that all four engines are responding evenly.

(iii) Release the brakes gently and open the throttles slowly to the take-off position,

(iv) Keep straight by coarse use of the rudder and by differential throttle opening,

(v) As speed is gained, ease the control column forward to raise the tail. Do not attempt to raise the tail by exerting a heavy push force on the control column during the very early stages of the take-off run.

(vi) At 65.000 lb easo the aircraft off the ground at 105 m.p.h. I.A.S. and at 72,000 lb. at 120 m.p.h. I.A.S.

(vii) When comfortably airborne brake the wheels and retract the undercarriages

(viii) With flaps 20° down, safety speed at 65.000 lb. is 165 m.p.h. I.A.S. when using + 18 lb./sq.in. boost and 3,000 r.p.m ; at 72,000 lb. it is 175 m.p.h. I.A.S. In view of these high speeds power should, where practicable, be reduced early after take-off.

(ix) Raise the flats in stages above 300 feet. Then return the selector to neutral.

(x) Switch off the electric fuel booster pumps in Nos. I and 2 tanks after the initial climb, but if a warning light comes on (or on Lancaster X fuel pressure gauge shows less than 10 lb./sq. in.), switch on No. 2 pumps immediately.

34. Climbing

(i) The recommended speed for a quick climb is 160 m.p.h. I.A.S. The most comfortable climbing speed is about 175 m.p.h. I.A.S.

(ii) Switch on electric fuel pumps of tanks in use, at any signs of fuel starvation (it approximately 17,000 feet in temperate climates).

35. General flying

(ii) Stability. At normal loadings and speeds stability is satisfactory. At loads above 67,000 lb. then is a tendency for the aircraft to wallow. It is not advisable to attempt to correct this as use of the controls may aggravate it.

(ii) Controls. The elevators are relitively light and effective but tend to become heavy in turns. The ailerons are light and effective but become heavy at speeds over 260 m.p.h. I.A.S., and also at heavy loads.

The rudders also become heavy at high speeds.

(iii) Change of trim:

Undercarriage UP........Slightly nose up

Undercarriage DOWN......Slightly nose down

Flaps up to 25° from fully DOWN ......Slightly nose down

Flaps up from 25°........Strongly note down

Flaps down to 25°........Strongly now up

Flaps fully DOWN from 25°.... Slightly nose down

Bomb doors open .......... Slightly nose up

(iv) Flying at low airspeeds.— Flaps imy be lowered about 15°-20°, r.p.m. set to 2,650, and the speed reduced to about 130 m.p.h. I.A.S.

36. Stalling

(i) Warning of the stall is given by slight tail buffeting, which generally commences some 4 m.p.h. before the stall itself. At the stall the nose drops gently. Recovery is straightforward and easy.

(ii) The stalling speeds, engines off, in m.p.h. I.A.S. are:

  At maximum landing weight At moderate load At full load
  55,000 lb 63,000 lb 65,000 lb
Undercarriage and flaps up 105 112 118
Undercarriage and flaps down 85 92 100

(iii) High speed stall. — Adequate warning of the approach of a stall in a turn is given by strong rudder and elevator buffeting. At the stall the inner wing and nose drop gently together. Recovery is immediate on pushing the control column forward.

37. Diving

(i) On aircraft in which Mod. 1101 or 1131 is incorporated it is possible to recover from dives to the limiting speed without the assistance of the elevator trimming tab, even if the aircraft has been trimmed into the dive. If the elevator trimming tab is used, it should be applied with care, since it is powerful and sensitive.

(ii) On unmodified aircraft there is a strong nose-down change of trim ai speed is famed in the dive. On these aircraft the elevator trimming tab should never be used to assistentry, but should be used to reduce the very heavy pull force otherwise necessary for recovery.

The flight engineer should be prepared to assist the pilot if required.

38. Check list before landing

Autopilot control cock .. OUT (or SPIN if Mod. 1161 is incorporated)

.................................Clutches may be left IN

Supercharger.............. .. M (low) ratio

Air intake.......................COLD

Brake supply pressure ......... 250-300 lb./sq.in.

Reduce speed to below 200 m.p.n. I.A.S. and carry out the following drill:

U—Undercarriage ........... DOWN (check by indicator, visually, and horn)

P —Propeller speed control ... Up to at least 2,850 r.p.m.

F —Flaps......DOWN on final approach (leave selector DOWN)

F —Fuel......Booster pumps ON in tanks in use

39. Approach speeds

Recommended final approach speeds in m.p.h. I.A.S. are :

  At maximum landing weight At overload (emergency only
  55,000 lb 63,000 lb
Flaps fully down
Engine assisted 110 120
Glide 120 -
Flaps up
Engine assisted 115 -

These are the speeds at which the airfield boundary is crossed. The initial straight approach should, however, be made at a speed some 13-20 m.p.h. above these figures.


(i) The aircraft will climb satisfactorily with the undercarriage and flaps down.

(ii) Climb at about 140 m.p.h. I.A.S. and, after raising the undercarriage, start raising the flaps a little at a time, retrimming as necessary.