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Maureen Dunlop - A.T.A.

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Maureen Dunlop, of Buenos Aires Argentina, joined the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) in April of 1942. Maureen served with the Ferry Pool at Hamble, Southampton, exclusively delivering Spitfires straight from the factory at RAF Southampton.
During the war 168 women of the ATA were designated as the "Atta Girls" - The premier female pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary. Women from Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States, the Netherlands and Poland all volunteered for this elite group.
These skilled pilots would ferry aircraft such as Spitfires, Hurricanes, Lancasters and Wellingtons on solo trips for delivery to the front lines.
After the war, Maureen became a flight instructor at RAF Luton and later returned to Argentina to train military pilots. In later years Maureen and her family relocated to the United Kingdom, settling in Norfolk.
Maureen passed away on May 29, 2012, at the age of 91.
Lest We Forget
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A lot of excellent pilots were in ATA. I have some of the handling notes for the planes they flew, as they were given to the pilots.

One that stands out was the Consolidated liberator. The notes state that it flies with a rather nose up attitude and forward view is very poor. It should not be ferried in adverse weather conditions. The controls are heavy and sluggish in effect. The aircraft is unstable and requires to be "flown" continuously in order to steer an accurate course.

I believe ferry pilots were not allowed to use the auto pilot, which made the plane a completely different beast. They certainly did a fantastic job in terrible conditions.

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They also ferried DAMAGED and operationally unserviceable planes to get them repaired. They'd read up the main features and characteristics of the Various planes and just jump in and fly them. It would be good to get copies of the books. I've read parts of a couple including the notes on the liberator and it's NOT very flattering of those aircraft in respect of the handling. . It has quite a few vices. I don't recall the forward vision as being highlighted in particular Many planes like that require high control input loads and have slow roll rates and if you lose an engine you need a lot of pressure on the rudder pedals.

  Most boofy blokes wouldn't think a "sheila" could fly such things but these ladies did.. and without any specific training beforehand Nev

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See if you can find "Flying wartime aircraft" David & Charles :Newton Abbot.

isbn 0 7153 5550 3

This is the ATA Ferry pilots notes for Hurricane, Bell Airacobra, Hawker typhoon, DH Mosquito, Bristol Beaufighter, Vickers Wellington and Liberator.

The ATA started with 29 pilots all of whom had to be unfit or over age for operational flying. This requirement was dropped later, due to lack of people who complied.

The fatality rate of the pilots was about 12.5% and mostly due to having to fly in bad weather without rasdio or navigation aids and also at below 5000'. Not an easy task in Britain.

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They should not have been shot at at all over Britain Everyone on guns was familiar with the shape of ALL likely planes. Moving Captured types 

(always a prize) required more caution.  Nev

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Spacey is talking about Cornelia Fort, who was a private flying instructor based at Pearl Harbor in 1941 - and the Interstate Cadet she was tutoring a student in, on that fateful day, Dec 7, 1941, was shot down by Zeros as she ran into the attacking Japanese force, right as they bombed Pearl Harbor. 

Cornelia Fort successfully landed the damaged Cadet, and she and her pupil survived the attack, and she went on to become a member of the WAFS (Womens Auxiliary Ferry Service).

But she was killed in March 1943, when another pilot struck her aircraft on a ferry flight from Long Beach, California, to Dallas, Texas.

The other pilot managed to land his aircraft and survived, Cornelia Forts aircraft was so severely damaged, with six feet of the leading edge of the wing missing, she was unable to stop it spinning into the ground.


Amazingly, her famous Pearl Harbor Cadet survived WW2, and was discovered by aviation enthusiasts, and restored to flying condition.








Edited by onetrack
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5 hours ago, Yenn said:

They were not shot at often because the intention was to get a plane from A to B without losing it and they were flying low down.

I didn't say the ferry pilots where shot at! But some love to twist the story to suit!

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There were an awful lot of Allied aircraft fired on by Allied gunners with itchy trigger fingers. The Americans were amongst the worst offenders.


I have multiple issues of U.S.-issued, WW2 "Recognition Journal" large booklets, with intensive descriptions of the multitude of Allied and Axis aircraft, their profiles and features - to enable American military men to better and more quickly recognise the aircraft flying towards them, or overhead of them.

It must have been a nightmare for anti-aircraft gunners, trying to make split-second decisions in poor visibility conditions, because they knew, if they mistook an enemy aircraft for a friendly one, they would likely be dead in seconds.


The Recognition Journals not only dealt with aircraft recognition, they also dealt with recognition of every other piece of enemy armament, from tanks to vehicles to submarines.




Edited by onetrack
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