Sgt Alan Smith (Warbirds Rising)

Date: 1 June 1915
Mission: Transfer Flight from Biggin Hill to Ablee

1 June 1915 The day has finally arrived. I am off to the front, assigned to 6th Squadron. My observer, Capt. Sebastin Johnson and I are assigned to fly a BE to our new home at Abeele, in Flanders. The weather is terrible for a cross channel flight-steady rain, and almost a solid cloud base at about 4,000 feet. I won't be sorry to leave this English weather! Capt. Johnson suggests that since we really don't want to have our engine quit over the channel, we should get in the air early and do some touch and go's at Biggin Hill. The machine handles wonderfully. After landing and refueling, the adjutant verifies my latest flights in my log book and notes that I now have ten hours solo time, and so should be capable of this short flight to France. He's a queer one. I never know when he is being serious.

Capt Johnson and I are back in the air at 9:15 AM. With luck, we should get use to our new home in time for lunch. It continues to rain. I climb to 2000 feet, and head ESE, staying below the clouds so I can follow the roads. At Tonbridge, I climb to 3500 feet, and head to Ashford, my next navigation checkpoint. However, ten minutes East of Tonbridge, the aircraft begins to lose oil pressure. Fortunately, Kent is relatively flat, and I spot a suitable pasture. After shutting down the engine before it seizes, I make a successful dead stick landing, which was possibly the best landing I have ever made. A friendly farmer gives Capt Johnson a ride into Tonebridge to call Biggin Hill, and they send a mechanic to repair the engine. Fortunately, the problem was a relatively minor seal, which is quickly replaced. While the mechanic does the repairs, the farmer and I patch some holes in the field to provide as smooth a take off run as possible. By 1:30, the job is done and I do some engine run ups to make sure the repair holds. By 1:45, we are back in the air. By this time, the weather has substantially cleared, with only scattered clouds at 2000-4500 feet, and no more rain and light winds. Following roads, we easily make our next navigation check point at Dover without incident and then onto Calais, and from there on to our new home at Abeele, landing at 3:15 PM.
[Player note-I had a random engine failure and set it down in a field. To recreate a subsequent take off, I did another QC flight with the time suitably adjusted for a subsequent T/O, using Bekesbourne airfield, which is located relatively close to the pasture I landed in ]

Leaving Biggin Hill

In a cow pasture

Leaving England

Last edited by Combs; 06/01/15 10:30 AM.

No man commands safely unless he has learned well how to obey.