A bit of extra lift

Letter of the month, published in AEROPLANE, July 2004

    Fred Grisley’s letter in the April, 2004 issue, Something to talk about, where Bill Waterton was in desperate need of a bit of extra lift, brought back memories of an incident in Norway in April 1945, when I too was in need of a bit of extra lift.
    I had just completed an SOE supply drop to the Norwegian resistance, the drop zone (DZ) being in a valley in what is now Hardangervidda National Park. The semi-violent manoeuvres required to run in on the difficult DZ on the side of the valley resulted in the gyro-compass toppling and instead of exiting to the safety of the south-east we headed north-west of the valley.
    It soon became apparent that the valley was rapidly narrowing and the ground rising at a greater rate than my rate of climb. There was not room to do a 180° turn back. Even with full power and optimum climbing speed, it appeared unlikely that we would clear the firs on the ridge ahead.
    Some instinct told me to lower take-off flap and at the last moment we lifted 50 to 100 feet to clear the treetops - just; my rear gunner saying he could have stroked the tops of the firs.
    So at the cost of 5 to 10 knots we gained the extra lift required to avoid our spot of bother.

DOUG COXELL

Ex 297 Squadron, 38 Group

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