Aviation of World War II

Aviation of World War II

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BRITISH ALLY, No. 45, November 5, 1944 Publication of the British Ministry of Information. The price is 2 rubles.


(From the appeals of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks))

Photographs of the new British rocket plane, designed by Brigadier General Frank Whittle, have been published in London. Rocket planes, which have very high speeds, are fighting "flying bombs" with great success. The engines of these aircraft have already been transferred to mass production.

Passed by build


Air Marshal Sir Harold Whittingham
Chief of the Medical Service of the Royal Air Force

The Royal Air Force medical service plays a less prominent but no less important role in air warfare than, say, the crews of combat vehicles or aircraft designers.

The success of British bombers and fighters, both in day and night operations, is largely due to the tireless research work in various fields of aviation medicine, carried out by doctors and scientists.

The task of the medical service is not only to maintain the health of military aviation personnel, but also to develop a set of special issues related to high altitudes and speeds.

To experimentally test the theory, to collect factual material directly in the air, more than 120 medical workers have mastered flying skills and wear wings on their chests - the emblem of the Royal Air Fleet.

Here are the problems they are working on: the effect on the pilot of altitude, the effect of speed, the peculiarities of night flight.

We will dwell on the results of their work and the proposals developed.

Due to limited space, the reader is advised to remember that the Medical Service conducts its work in close cooperation with designers, physicists and all specialists who are somehow connected with aviation.

Height Problem

High-altitude flights pose a variety of problems for medicine. Most of these issues are related to the provision of normal oxygen supply as we rise into the upper atmosphere.

The amount of oxygen taken in by a person in one breath becomes less and less as you climb. At an altitude of 13,000 meters, the air pressure is five times less than on the ground.

If a person breathed pure oxygen at this pressure, he would still receive one percent less oxygen than under normal conditions on earth. Therefore, at altitudes above 13,000 meters, the human body cannot exist for a long time without a supply of compressed oxygen.

The symptoms of oxygen deprivation, collectively referred to as anoxia, or "altitude sickness", appear after staying for an hour or more at an altitude of 3500 meters. A decrease in the speed of reaction, ingenuity, drowsiness, a sense of serene calmness is followed at an altitude of 5000 meters by a decrease in visual acuity, and at an altitude of 6000 - dullness of hearing.

Slow reaction, muscle weakness, loss of consciousness ultimately lead to complete exhaustion. These symptoms appear much sooner if a person expends his reserve of strength by hard work.

The consequences of anoxia are fatigue, headache, nausea, and darkened consciousness.

Pressure chambers are used to demonstrate some of these phenomena in order to warn aircraft crews of anoxia that creeps up unnoticed. They can reproduce the change in atmospheric conditions at altitudes up to 13,500 meters inclusive.

Deterioration of handwriting, errors in simple arithmetic calculations, various results of "shooting from photoguns and photomachine guns, obtained with and without oxygen by the shooter, blind flight experiments using training instrument panels - all this quickly convinces those who are skeptical about the dangers of oxygen hunger.

An “anoxia meter” is installed on the instrument panel of the aircraft. The scale of the device, using a photocell mounted on the earlobe, shows the pilot the amount of oxygen he receives.

Oxygen nutrition is now given great attention in the entire process of training the flight crew. Pilots are taught to recognize the sensations and signs that indicate a lack of oxygen, to apply the necessary protective measures.

In the course of their studies, they will learn how to regulate the pressure in the middle ear during rapid descents or ascents, how to avoid or overcome abdominal swelling, how to deal with "bends".

The categorical order requires pilots to use oxygen during the day for all flights over an hour at an altitude of more than 3,500 meters and for flights at an altitude of more than 5,000 meters, regardless of their duration.

At night, for reasons related to vision, oxygen must be used in all flights at altitudes above 1,500 meters, and by gunners and pilots - up to the moment of landing.

For oxygen breathing, special masks are used, connected to a reduced pressure cylinder. With the help of a regulator mounted on the instrument panel, the pilot changes the intensity of the oxygen flow as the altitude changes every 1800 meters, always leaving a reserve.

Those crew members who have to move around the aircraft are served by light portable cylinders containing a supply of oxygen for 20 minutes. With a long stay in one place, each crew member is included in the oxygen points, which are available in abundance in all parts of the fuselage.


Skydiving from high altitudes requires oxygen tanks of a special type. These cylinders weigh only 1.0-1.5 kilograms, fit into a parachute pack and provide a ten-minute supply of oxygen, that is, an amount that is quite sufficient for a paratrooper to pass through the upper layers of the atmosphere.

Studying parachuting, the staff of the Physiological Laboratory of the Royal Air Force conducted a series of extremely life-threatening experiments. They were hung on the straps of a parachute in a pressure chamber, establishing the behavior of the human body, walking in an unconscious state through the upper atmosphere.

Experiments have shown that at a normal fall speed with an open parachute at altitudes of about 13,500 meters, a person can apparently live up to 7.5 minutes. If the release occurred at an altitude of 12,000 meters, the pilot will reach an altitude of 6,750 meters in 7.5 minutes.

It can be seen from this that people who ejected at an altitude of 13,500 meters without oxygen devices have very little chance of recovering from an unconscious state before reaching low altitudes.

Even in the case of a long jump from a height of 12,000 meters, after a free fall lasting one to one and a half minutes, a person cannot open the parachute due to the phenomena of "altitude sickness".

This is why the equipping of emergency oxygen devices of the type described has played a big role in aviation operating at high altitudes.

It has been established that when flying at altitudes of more than 13,000 meters, in order to provide the pilot with a sufficient amount of oxygen, it is necessary to supply it under pressure with each breath.

Soft suits maintained at normal pressure of the type used by First Lieutenant M. J. Adams to climb to 18,000 meters suffer from the disadvantage that they greatly restrict the movement of the pilot.

The most satisfactory results of the complex of all problems associated with high-altitude flights are undoubtedly pressurized cabins in which pressure is maintained corresponding to an altitude of 6000 meters. The crew does not experience any inconvenience and retains complete freedom of all movements.

If the cockpit is penetrated at an altitude of, say, 14,500 meters by an anti-aircraft gun, the sudden decrease in pressure inside the cockpit does not have a visible negative effect on a physically hardened oxygen-fed pilot.

In an aircraft where the pressure inside the fuselage is not maintained by artificial means, during long flights at altitudes of more than 10,000 meters, the crews feel signs of "caisson sickness".

A decrease in atmospheric pressure causes the formation of gas bubbles in the blood vessels and in some parts of the nervous system. Physical effort, cold increase the danger of "caisson disease", which is a consequence of a violation of normal blood circulation.

The most common symptoms are itchy skin, joint pain, blurred vision, chest pain or breathlessness. Behind them, in the event of further development of the disease, sooner or later, loss of consciousness and death occurs.

The consequences of the disease - the appearance of blind spots in the field of vision, headache, memory lapses can persist for several hours.

To combat the dangerous consequences of high-altitude flights, each crew member undergoes a test in a pressure chamber, which establishes the degree of his susceptibility to "caisson sickness". In the event of severe pain or asthma attacks, the subjects are not allowed to high-altitude flights.

Healthy pilots not older than 30 years and not too overweight receive, as a result of the precautions taken, relative immunity to "caisson sickness". Inhalation of oxygen for half an hour immediately before the flight or special gymnastic exercises, along with the use of nitrous acid salts, displace a significant amount of nitrogen from the body, open small blood vessels and reduce the risk of their blockage.

Another scourge of high-altitude flights is the cold. The air temperature drops by about one degree Celsius for every 150 meters of altitude, up to 12,000 meters. Further, up to 24,000 meters, a constant temperature of -55 degrees is maintained.

Due to the fact that loopholes for weapons and opening windows for viewing make it extremely difficult to effectively heat the cabin, special types of warm flight clothing have been developed.

In connection with the need to develop the most satisfactory type of clothing suitable not only for high altitudes, but also for parachuting in the Arctic regions, many samples of suits, boots and gloves heated by hot air or electricity were tested. This clothing combines lightness and flexibility, air and water resistance.

Cooling the body slows down circulation and respiration, increases anoxia and leads to physical and mental apathy. Under these conditions, an adequate supply of oxygen to the body is necessary.

Significant work has been done to prevent freezing of oxygen masks.

With regard to frostbite, thanks to the measures taken and widely implemented, the number of cases of frostbite has decreased dramatically. One in 2,000 sorties, or one casualty in 12,000 aircrew.

Impact of High Speeds

The second most important issue that aviation medicine deals with is the clarification of the physiological consequences of aerobatics and high speeds.

A modern aircraft, which has very high speeds and a high rate of climb, exposes a person to especially difficult tests. They are caused not only by speed and its sharp fluctuations, but also by sudden changes in the direction of movement.

The effect of acceleration is most clearly seen when the aircraft exits the dive. Centrifugal force drives blood away from the head. Without a sufficient supply of blood, the retina and brain soon cease to function. A "blackout" occurs, followed by loss of consciousness.

A large acceleration is felt at first in the form of an indentation of the body into the seat. The soft tissues of the face are drawn inward, the abdominal organs no longer fit in the pelvis, and a graying of the field of vision is noticed, sudden blindness occurs, accompanied in some cases by a short-term loss of consciousness.

The danger of this condition when maneuvering in combat does not need much explanation; if the pilot tries to avoid these phenomena by refraining from sharp turns, he thereby opens himself up to the blows of a more determined enemy.

In order to protect the pilot from the phenomena associated with dive recovery, various measures are taken to maintain combat effectiveness. So, if the pilot crouched in the seat, raised his legs and brought his chest closer to his hips, he could increase the maximum load that he was able to withstand by about one and a half times, reducing by half the efforts of the heart to supply blood to the brain in this position. The blood no longer rushes to the legs with such force.

It is interesting to note that legless pilots, like Lt. Col. Bader, are better able to tolerate the phenomena that occur when exiting a dive.

Gymnastic exercises, which increase the tone of the abdominal muscles, and a loud cry during the performance of aerobatics, which raises the diaphragm and makes the abdominal muscles contract, also help to fight the dimming of consciousness.

Sufficiently abundant supply of oxygen: avoidance of alcohol and tobacco is also a necessary preventive measure.

Careful selection of people suitable for aerobatics plays an important role. The selection is carried out in a clinical setting, on a rocking table, which makes it possible to prevent persons with a weak cardiovascular system from flying.

Night Flights

The third set of problems in aviation medicine is associated with night flights. The selection of night fighters and bombers requires special care, just as the preparation of their vision for the darkness of the night requires care.

Not only good adaptability of vision is necessary, but also the ability to assess the distance to an object, its shape, and so on. The rotating hex test weeds out those whose vision does not meet the needs of night flight.

Persons undergoing a medical examination first receive dark glasses with filters and a light transmission rate of 3.36 percent. The subjects spend half an hour in a room with normal lighting. Then, after a 15-minute stay in a darkened room, they are invited to read barely lit letters and numbers, to consider silhouettes.

In persons who meet all the main physiological requirements, the best vision is achieved with a horizontal or vertical deviation of the visual axis from the axis of the eye by 6-10 degrees, since in this case the fusiform cells are most actively used.

Before leaving for a night flight, the pilot spends about half an hour in ruby-red glasses.

Oxygen is switched on immediately after takeoff, as the spindle cells are especially sensitive to anoxia.

Windshields of night cars are carefully protected from scratches, dust, stains.

Finally, in the interest of combining the best possible lighting inside the cab while protecting the eyes from excessive light, the red lighting bulbs on the instrument panel are designed for the minimum amount of light that can be seen from the instruments. Preparing vision for night flights is a complex and detailed process, including target shooting, silhouette recognition, and systematic reading training under all possible levels of illumination.

The appearance of various objects that appear in the darkness, the reflections from the water, the influence of snow and fog, the value of the intensity of illumination - all this information is obligatory for a pilot making night flights. He gets acquainted with the methods of self-defense from the light of enemy searchlights, with the methods of using special "adapting" glasses, night binoculars, methods of recognizing objects and determining the size and range of ground objects in the light of fires.

Physical training in a darkened gym, built on the principle of gradualism, helps to select individuals with good eyesight at night and has a beneficial effect on the general condition of pilots during night flights.

Air Ambulance

The results of applying the various methods and preventive measures described above in the conditions of a combat operation are studied and verified by medical observers.

Selected on the basis of a combination of good flying qualities and special medical education, these observers are assigned to all major formations of British aviation. They are entrusted with the duty of providing medical supervision and control of the flight crew.

Building their work in close connection with the Flight Personnel Research Committee, medical observers follow all the latest medical science, study the behavior of the human body in air combat.

The data they receive is studied by research institutions and, after processing, is submitted to the High Command for consideration. In the course of their work, some observers made up to 60 sorties and made up to 200 parachute jumps.

In the line of duty, many air medical workers have to make parachute jumps and rescue boats, and do emergency blood transfusions.

The feats of doctors of the Medical Military Service are marked by several crosses "For Flying Merit".

The above examples are sufficient to characterize the important role that medicine plays in strengthening the British air force that dominates Western Europe.

The RAF Medical Service is committed to one mission - to make British airmen not only the most professionally trained, but also the most physically fit airmen in the world.


November 02, 2014

The success of the British rocket planes against the German "Fau" and the mass production of rocket engines is nothing more than a propaganda device, perhaps an attempt to hide the success in the production of turbojet aircraft, not rocket aircraft. Although most likely the author of the comment simply had no idea about the existence of a turbojet engine.

The success of the British in the production of jet aircraft. In total, the Meteors destroyed thirteen flying bombs in one way or another.

The experimental aircraft Gloster G.40 Pioneer by Frank Whittle, shown in the photo, had not a rocket but a turbojet engine with a single-stage two-chamber centrifugal compressor of the original design.
On the basis of this engine, the Americans built their own model of the turbojet engine - General Electric C Type 1. Its further development - Type 1-A - was installed on the first American jet aircraft Bell XP-59 Aircomet.


December 12, 2014

However, it was hardly necessary to look for radical ways to destroy the Fau-2. Judge for yourself, during the war, out of 4,300 missiles launched by the Germans, a little more than half reached their goals. According to various sources, the launch of 2,000 rockets sent to destroy London resulted in the deaths of over 2,700 people (each rocket killed one or two people).
So, in fact, the superweapon of the Third Reich - "Fau-2" turned out to be the same bluff as the jet plane created to destroy it.