Just a SPROG pilot

POST WAR DAKOTA ADVENTURE

HAVING BEFRIENDED FORMER RAF PILOT JIM TILLEY, STEVE RICHARDS SHARES SOME OF THE AIRMAN’S MEMORIES OF FLYING DAKOTAS IMMEDIATELY AFTER WORLD WAR TWO

Igot to know Jim Tilley quite well during the late 1990s, shortly before he died. I always remember asking him if he recalled any particularly ‘hairy’ moments, to which he replied in a somewhat serious tone: “I nearly lost one of my crew out of the back door. We often practised dropping heavy supply containers, which we did from slightly lower than 200ft. No parachutes or anything, just freefall. For this role, the cabin had a conveyer installed to get the cargo out as quick as possible. These containers would ‘whoosh’ through the fuselage over the steel rollers and were then pushed out the cargo door. One of the lads got hit in the back of the legs by a load and very nearly went out with it!”

A fl ight of six RAF Dakotas. More than 1,900 of the type were supplied to the RAF, under the USA Lend- Lease programme during World War Two, and fl own by some 46 squadrons, plus support units.
ALL KEY COLLECTION UNLESS STATED
Fairchild’s Fleet Cornell was used extensively throughout the Commonwealth Air Training Scheme for basic pilot training. Jim Tilley first fl ew the type on February 2, 1944.
VIA DAVID NEWNHAM

AFRICAN EXCURSION

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