Saturday, September 14, 2013

World War II Letters Home September 14, 1938-Estelles Wickenkamp

                                                                                                       No. 2 Flying Training
                                                                                                        Royal Air Force
                                                                                                        September 14, 1938
Dear Esther:

This afternoon we are all supposed to take part in 'Organized Games', but it I don't get caught I am going to stay in my room and write letters and probably take a nap.  I got your letter today write letters and probably take a nap.  I got your letter today that you wrote on August 3 and sent to "Canada House" and according to it you haven't heard from me yet;  by the time you get this there should be 4 of 5 letters for you.

We don't get much flying here as at Hatfield.  Yesterday I went solo in our big Oxfords after 5 hours of dual instruction.  They sure are different to handle than our Tiger Moths.  The Tigers are so flexible and fully aerobatic while these Oxfords fell cumbersome, heavy, and you cannot do any aerobatics in them.  they are classed as medium bombers.  They have 2 375H.P. motors, the wing span is 53 feet and the length 34 feet 3 inches.  Empty they weigh 2 tons, 800 pounds and will carry a load (including 80 gallons of petrol) of 1 ton, 500 pounds. the average cruising speed is 1800 m.p.h - the maximum top sped is between 225 and 270 m.p.h depending on the condition of the motors.  The way they are equipped now they carry a crew of 4, Pilot, Bomber, Gunner and Wireless Operator who also is the Navigator.  I haven't any photos yet, but expect to get some this week, so I am sending a picture of one from a magazine.

The Albatross that cracked in 2 was at Hatfield.  It had an overload of 3,000 lbs. in it.  They were testing it out.  In a plane like that (Monocoque construction) the covering carries most of the load of the fuselage so they will probably repair and reinforce it where is is weak.

We had quite a few Harts (fighter planes) written off here.  some of them just for a few days and some for a re-build.  It is mostly the undercarriage that gives way on them.  When they do they usually stick their noses in to the ground and rest on one wing.

The Oxfords I fly will swing too, if you don't watch them but having their wheels so far apart and being so heavy they won't go on their noses.

Harts are one of the "Hawker" planes, the smallest - 37 feet wing span, 2 seater.  There are about 12 kinds of Hawkers.  One of them is the Hawker Hurricane, which you have probably read about making a world speed record for land planes - 400 m.p.h.

I am going to work hard to get my Navigator;s and 2nd Class Engineer's Certificate while I am here.  It will mean a when I get back to Canada.  I'll be able to get a good paying job.  We have quite a large syllabus to cover here so it means a lot of studying.  I have had to brush up on Trigonometry.  Besides the different subjects I have written about before, we also have meteorology (weather).

I haven't any pictures of myself to send you now - but hope to get some soon.  I sent Mama a R.A.F. pin.  When I find out whether she got it or not I'll send you one - you can were it on your scarf.

One of the boys broke a few ribs in a canoe last Sunday for this Sunday he and I are going to paddle it into Oxford, 40 miles, to get it fixed.

I don't know what else to write about now so I'll quit.  You can send one of those solo pictures to Uncle Richard if you wish, and what is his address?  I don't know any one's addresses, so I can't even write to them.  I'll write next  Sunday.

                                                                                             As Ever, Your Brother,


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