Author Topic: My ride in a FE2B - on film  (Read 309 times)

Offline Tony Haycock

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My ride in a FE2B - on film
« on: July 21, 2020, 09:25:35 AM »
Following a comment on my post about having to sell my WNW Gotha G.IV. this is the film of my ride in TVAL's Fee. I'm crouching in the front cockpit of the green aircraft, piloted by renown warbirds expert Keith Shilling. Gene Demarco is flying Jess and this is the first (and I believe the only) time the two aircraft had been in the air together.

I was there as a gopher for the Historical Aviation Film Unit who were filming that day so that's how I got the best seat in the house.

To say it was an interesting experience is an understatement! to begin with, Keith gave me the option to decline as his total time in the type was 20 minutes and he only got his type rating that morning. As far as I was concerned, if Keith was flying it, I was perfectly happy to go along for the ride.

The first challenge was to get into the cockpit. A Fee is a bloody big (and heavy) aricraft and the nacelle is a long way off the ground. First, stand on the top of the wheel. Then up onto the wing, and then the pilot can climb easily into the rear cockpit. The poor observer/gunner doesn't get it to easy. There is a step (of sorts) on the outside to aim for (if you have long legs) and then you can lithely spring over the side and  into the cockpit. I don't have long legs so that was not going work. I got into the rear cockpit then very carefully clambered from there to the front of the beast where a surprise awaited.

The surprise? There is no seat in the front of one of these things. There is a Lewis gun on a post which at least gives you something to hang on to, and a small wooden locker at the back of the cockpit which holds extra Lewis gun cartridges, but nothing to put your arse on. Options are to stand up, handing on to the gun and getting right in the pilots line of vision (which Keith and I decided wasn't such a good idea) or to kneel on the floor . The sides of the nacelle are no more than knee high so form that position I could still see what was going on. To make sure I wasn't tossed over the side (and that could happen very easily) under my leather coat I was wearing a harness with a wire rope which was clipped to a mount on the floor.

The Fee was the third TVAL aircraft I'd been in and it was a very different experience to the RE8 or BE2. Firstly it is colder but being a pusher there is no prop-wash to buffet you, just the 80mph head wind. The other thing is the totally unlimited view and range of fire which would make artillery spotting or fending off attacks from the front. Conversely, there is very little visiibilty from the rear, and while this aircraft had a second Lewis gun between the pilot and observer which fires up and behind, you would have no idea of an attacker coming from directly behind or below. You definitely feel very exposed when compared to tractor aircraft, there only being basically a bent broomstick and green doped bed sheet separating you from the scene of the accident.

https://youtu.be/xaArnJbtw_4

 

       

Online petrov27

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Re: My ride in a FE2B - on film
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2020, 09:50:52 AM »
Amazing! So envious of your flights in these aircraft! Thank you for sharing the video!

Offline Terri

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Re: My ride in a FE2B - on film
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2020, 10:13:12 AM »
Good for you Tony !


Terri

Online smperry

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Re: My ride in a FE2B - on film
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2020, 10:38:34 AM »
Thanks so much for sharing this Tony. A genuine once in a lifetime treat.

sp
There is something fundamentally amiss with a society which forces it's modelers to work for a living.

Offline RichieW

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Re: My ride in a FE2B - on film
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2020, 07:18:32 AM »
Awesome!!!! What an amazing opportunity.

Offline ermeio

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Re: My ride in a FE2B - on film
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2020, 12:51:31 AM »
unique experience!
enchanted

Offline Europapete

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Re: My ride in a FE2B - on film
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2020, 07:47:38 AM »
A fantastic experience Tony, am jealous as hell. Thank you for sharing the video. Regards, Pete in RI

Online LuckyLuke

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Re: My ride in a FE2B - on film
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2020, 08:28:17 PM »
That must have been something,once in a lifetime indeed !
Seeing as I have vertigo, big time, it would have been a no go for me but I still am envious  :)

Offline Tony Haycock

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Re: My ride in a FE2B - on film
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2020, 08:41:32 PM »
That must have been something,once in a lifetime indeed !
Seeing as I have vertigo, big time, it would have been a no go for me but I still am envious  :)

interestingly, I can't do heights at all, I won't even go up a ladder. Climbing into this thing was bloody terrifying! But once we left the ground it was a totally different experience. I'm told it is because it is you are no longer connected to earth's magnetic field and vertigo just disappears. I was more than surprised as i was expecting to be a quivering wreck. Instead I absolutely loved it. But getting out of the aircraft scared the crap out of me when we were back on terra firma.

Online LuckyLuke

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Re: My ride in a FE2B - on film
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2020, 09:56:30 PM »
That must have been something,once in a lifetime indeed !
Seeing as I have vertigo, big time, it would have been a no go for me but I still am envious  :)

interestingly, I can't do heights at all, I won't even go up a ladder. Climbing into this thing was bloody terrifying! But once we left the ground it was a totally different experience. I'm told it is because it is you are no longer connected to earth's magnetic field and vertigo just disappears. I was more than surprised as i was expecting to be a quivering wreck. Instead I absolutely loved it. But getting out of the aircraft scared the crap out of me when we were back on terra firma.
So you where brave too  ;) Well if I ever have the chance to fly in a FE2B Ill let you know if it also was the same for me !
PS: how are you on balloons... ? ;D

Online Ian from Doncaster

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Re: My ride in a FE2B - on film
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2020, 01:18:20 AM »
Thanks for posting - great to see these two in the air!

Was the chase plane filming this an interesting type.?

Offline Tony Haycock

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Re: My ride in a FE2B - on film
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2020, 09:41:28 AM »
Thanks for posting - great to see these two in the air!

Was the chase plane filming this an interesting type.?

Nothing exciting as a camera plane, a Cessna with the door off.

Offline Jeff K

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Re: My ride in a FE2B - on film
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2020, 08:48:23 PM »
this is brilliant.

i'd still like to do exactly that---fly in the observer's post in a Fee--but if travel never opens up again, let alone the Fees, you've done so for me vicariously.

plan B is Old Rhinebeck. not only am i originally from NY State, but a good buddy of mine is a photojournalist who thinks Old Rhinebeck is one of the coolest things ever. so if finangling is required, finangling will be finangled.

when humans can travel safely without a plague, of course.

Offline Tony Haycock

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Re: My ride in a FE2B - on film
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2020, 08:39:04 PM »
this is brilliant.

i'd still like to do exactly that---fly in the observer's post in a Fee--but if travel never opens up again, let alone the Fees, you've done so for me vicariously.

plan B is Old Rhinebeck. not only am i originally from NY State, but a good buddy of mine is a photojournalist who thinks Old Rhinebeck is one of the coolest things ever. so if finangling is required, finangling will be finangled.

when humans can travel safely without a plague, of course.

Glad you enjoyed it. It was a very special moment for me!


Offline IanB

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Re: My ride in a FE2B - on film
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2020, 03:20:14 AM »
To quote Monty Python"you lucky, lucky, b***ard!

I too suffer from vertigo, big time. You wouldn't get me up a tall building and I hate driving over bridges. But I have 10,000 flight hours and do not have any height problems in an aircraft. I know many other pilots who are the same, including airline pilots. There is no feeling of falling when there is nothing below you to fall off! I even did a parachute jump from a Cessna 182 and happily stood on the wheel, holding on to the wing strut, with one foot dangling free. I couldn't even get within 6 feet of the edge of a building or cliff!

Ian