Landing the Seafire

Spitfire Site

Click to enlarge image Seafire Mk. IIC captured a moment before landing on an aircraft deck. Due to the nil visibility over the nose ...

Click to enlarge image

Seafire Mk. IIC captured a moment before landing on an aircraft deck.

Due to the nil visibility over the nose of the aircraft, landing the Seafire required a difficult curved approach, with canopy slid back, cockpit door unlatched to block the hood in the open position and the pilot sticking his head out at the port side of the windscreen to keep the glimpse of the carrier in view.

Deck landings were directed, from half-way through the turn, by the batsman who, aided with two bats and significant portion of body language, indicated to the pilot if the aircraft was at the right height, speed, angle and position in the turn. Batsmen were always experienced pilots. Directing the aircraft from a platform at the port side of the flight deck, the batsman was assisted by two “talkers” behind him, who kept him continually informed of events on the flight deck and in the circuit.
Deck landings on a Seafire were difficult. Far more Seafires were lost through operational accidents than ever fell to enemy fire.
[Crown Copyright, via HMSO Publications/Ashley Gates]

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