Cockpit Lighting on Early Stirlings

Post Reply
jamesinnewcastle
Flight Lieutenant
Flight Lieutenant
Posts: 354
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:31 am

Cockpit Lighting on Early Stirlings

Post by jamesinnewcastle »

Here's something they may be of interest - can anyone shed more light on it? (No pun intended)

Studying the early MkI cockpit and referring to the change documents it appears that there were no lights in the early MKI Stirling cockpit apart from the three lights associated with the bomb bay doors. These were the standard round lights that were everywhere but these were not given the little snap down filters for night operation (until later)

So it looks as if the dial luminosity was the only way of showing any of the instrument readings and when the doors were opened for the bomb run the glare from one or three unshrouded lights would have been tremendous to 'night vision' adjusted eyes even though they were only pointed towards the second seat.

Interestingly you are faced with the question of how long the luminosity lasted - did the crew sometimes/often have to land with hardly a glimmer from the dash? It certainly adds a new dimension to the crash I am researching.

I'm still looking at the light situation, in later models there were the small adjustable shrouded lights over the compass and other points and two 'floods' on the roof pointing to the dash but these were added later.

Surely the lighting issue could not have been so badly considered? Was the intention at the time of the design to fly only on daylight raids?


Cheers
James

Stirling Project
Group Captain
Group Captain
Posts: 817
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:05 pm
Location: St Neots, Cambridgeshire

Re: Cockpit Lighting on Early Stirlings

Post by Stirling Project »

Hi James

I think your last statement pretty much covers it. The Stirling was designed at a time when the belief was that the bomber will always get through and early aircraft were certainly used on daylight raids but quickly transferred to night operations. Probably even in wartime, the lag between discovering night time operations are a necessity and designing suitable modifications led to a number of aircraft relying on luminous instruments as the primary lighting source

John L

jamesinnewcastle
Flight Lieutenant
Flight Lieutenant
Posts: 354
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:31 am

Re: Cockpit Lighting on Early Stirlings

Post by jamesinnewcastle »

Hi John

The cockpit reveals another possible design flaw in that it lacks feathering switches.

Apparently the early propellers (DH 20s) could not be fully feathered. Probably OK if you only had one propeller - if that stopped you would just get out and not worry about a 'windmilling' prop trying to turning a seized engine until something catastrophic happened! But in a multi-engined aircraft you would have to sit there and wait to see what was going to snap first! Seems pretty scary!

Not so sure that it was an oversight though as I guess there were multi-engined bombers before the Stirling.

Very quickly there also appeared a panel which was a basic 'you left your lights on' display - these did have the dark filters!

I guess that it was a rush to design a bomber and get it into production so that many lessons will have been learned 'on-the-job' so to speak, you would have to hope that lessons learned would have been passed onto later bombers.

James

Post Reply