Lanc Flight Instruments
The Front Cockpit with the Pilots Control Column and his Flight instruments on the Left. On the Right are the Flight Engineer’s Engine Controls & Instruments.
Main Dash Panel
Low to the Pilot’s left was the Compass, but to allow him to Steer without constantly having to glance inside the Cockpit, a Compass Repeater was mounted on the Centre Strut of the divided Windshield. On the Dash in front of him were many Dials & Switches, which included the essential Flying Instruments; Air Speed Indicator, Artificial Horizon, Turn & Bank Indicator and Rate of Climb/Descent Indicator among them, while the Throttle Levers & Propeller Speed Controls were mounted on a Central Console where they could be reached by both the Pilot & the Flight Engineer.
The Flight engineer sat to the Right of the Pilot. He had a Folding Seat, which was necessary to allow access to the Bomb Aimer’s & Front Gunner’s positions, and a tubular Footrest which pulled out from under the Raised Floor section beneath the Pilot’s position. His task was to look after the Engines, Throttle settings & Propellor Pitch settings, Fuel flow, & generally act as the Pilot’s Assistant. He had 2 Panels to Monitor. The 1st on the Starboard Side, that contained Oil & Fuel Gauges, Booster Pump switches, Fuel Pressure warning lights, Fuel Tank selector cocks, and many other things. The 2nd was part of the Main Dash, which could also be seen by the Pilot. This contained Revolution Counters, Boost Gauges, Ignition Switches, Engine Fire Extinguisher buttons & Propellor Feathering buttons, plus much else. All in all, the Flight Engineer was a pretty busy man. Sitting on a Bench Seat sometimes for more than 9hrs with total concentration controlling this Panel was vital to keeping the Plane in Flight. From the Engineer’s Position, he looks down into the Bomb Aimer’s Compartment. He does have his drop down Seat but most of the time was required to Stand Up being required to move about.
Flight Start-Up Procedures
One by one, the 4 engines were started up and Flight Engineer monitored the instrument readings on the Flight Engineer’sPanel. When all 4 were warmed up, the Pilot checked with the Crew to ensure they were all happy with their Equipment and that their Oxygen & Intercom systems were working. He then taxied onto the Perimeter Track (“Peritrack”) and awaited the Signal for taking off. The Flight Engineer would be either sitting or standing beside the Pilot, ready to assist him with the Throttles, Undercarriage & Flaps; between them, they ensured that the fully laden Heavy Bomber got off the ground and climbed to its allotted Cruising Height.
Having reached Cruising Height, he ensured that the Aircraft maintained its optimum Cruising Speed, utilising the minimum amount of Fuel (“Flying for Economy”). He also Synchronised the Propellers to minimise Engine Vibration & Noise. Throughout the Flight, he monitored the Fuel Consumption, Engine Revs, Oil Pressures, Coolant Temperatures etc and logged them, “at every change of Flight or Engine conditions and at 30-minute Intervals”.
He monitored the amount of Fuel in each of the Wing Tanks and used the Fuel Cocks to ensure that it was evenly distributed across the Tanks; this ensured that if one leaked, or was hit by Enemy Flak, there was sufficient Fuel in the other Tanks to keep the Aircraft in Flight. The Perspex Astrodome above his head enabled him to ensure that they were clear of other Aircraft (and to Monitor for Enemy Aircraft during Operational Sorties). Having completed their assigned Exercise or Sortie, the Flight Engineer assisted the Pilot with the Landing, Shutdown & Post-Flight Checks. Any issues were reported to the Ground Crew using the Form 700 and the 4 page Flight Engineer’s Log was handed in for Review & Signature.
69 Oil Pressure Gauges
70 Pressure-head Heater Switch
71 Oil Temperature Gauges
72 Coolant Temperature Gauges
73 Fuel Contents Gauges
75 Inspection Lamp Socket
76 Fuel Contents Gauge switch
77 Fuel Tanks Selector Cocks
78 Electric Fuel Booster Pump Switches
79 Fuel Pressure Warning Lights
80 Emergency Air Control
81 Oil Dilution Buttons