Oxygen use in WW1

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Profile picture for user STORMBIRD262

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G' day all again!:D

:eek: How the hell did all these flyin lad's, Fly and do combat dogfightin, over 10,000 feet and even over 20,000 feet +, with out any Oxygen.

I really have not heard or read of much ever used in that time..:confused:

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Profile picture for user barnstormer

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WWI Oygen generators

No problem for those Fokker D.VIIs and other German fighters to lurk up high, in WWI. They also had special high altitude mods for the various engines.
Here is a photo of an original WWI German Oxygen generator. I had several of them,new in original wooden crates. This one dated 2/8/17 on the metal ID tag. They are now all in museums. The attached photo clearly shows how it was used.

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Great stuff Barnstormer mate!

G' day all!

Sorry it took me a while to get back here, Ive been preety damn crook this winter here in Oz, been a real coldy and a tad wet(bit like a pommie summer:rolleyes: ).

Great photo's mate, So if the Kraut's had those to play around with, did the Allie's side have any kit then.

I've read here in a book, a reinforced D.H.9 with now with Napier Lion donk, in October 1918, this aeroplane carried a pilot, observer, two machine guns, a full load of ammunition, full tanks, and two 112Ib. bombs, to 24,000 feet in 53 minutes, the speed at the height being around 95mph.

Later in Jan 1919 the same machine, weighing, with pilot and observer, nearly a ton and a half, made a record by flying to a height of 30,500ft in 66 and a quarter mins, taking only 19 and a half mins to climb to 20,000ft.

Ok, Now here's a bit about our RAAF around 1930!

From the book CHALLENGE, Sir Valston Hancock.

TOP BOOK!:dev2:

We have Val Hancock and a mate, flying over Aussie Queensland and NSW in a Wapiti, takin recon photo's, at 16,000 feet.

No Oxygen, freezin cold, and with glove's on Val dropped his pencil a few time's, and he could not get over the simple motion of leaning down left him gasping.

He say's (Val) the Term's anoxia and hypoxia were unknown to us in the RAAF in those day's.

BUT on landing after one of these trip's one day, Val was not looking very well at all, and happen to bump in to the Chief of Air Staff Tricky Dickie Williams.

He was questioned at length buy Dick, about the condition's of the flight and told to rest.

Val has a hunch that that incident, may well just have started the RAAf'S studie's in to safer high altitude flying.

So did any other of the player's in WW1 have any Oxygen device's??.

MAN those dude's musta been tough buggger's!:rolleyes:

Profile picture for user low'n'slow

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Even as early as 1915, aircraft like the BE-2c were operating up to and over, 10,000 feet on reconnaissance patrols.

By 1917/18, flights up to 20,000 feet weren't unusual for such as SE-5 squadrons etc. Pilots would condition themselves by working up their altitude tolerance in stages. Cecil Lewis in Sagittarius Rising desribes getting blinding headaches when high-altitude flying after even just a few days' leave.

The RFC/RAF began to try oxygen on a limited basis in 1918. I guess it was stored in small cylinders. It was apparently dispensed through a canvas oxygen mask, not too disimilar to the early WW2 pattern designs.

One problem recognised by crews even early in the War, was cramps when descending from altitude, similar to divers suffering from "bends". Airship, high-altitude balloon and aircraft crews were recommended to "pause" at between 14,000 and 10,000 in the their descent if possible to minimise the risk.

Cold was of course a massive issue. The sidcot fleece-lined flying suit was one answer and many crews privately bought everything from special coats to full-face balaclavas to handle it. It was also a regular thing to smear one's face with goose fat to minimise the risk of frostbite.

In some units, to get frostbite was regarded as chargeable negligence! There is also one BE pilot who talked of an observer who had less than hygenic toilet habits having a significant body part badly damaged by frostbite! :eek:

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In a book entitled ' The Dangerous Sky, the history of aviation medicine' by Douglas H Robinson published in 1971 by Foulis it mentions 84 Squadron RFC commanding officer, Major Sholto Douglas who recalled : I found that pushing the Lewis gun back into the fixed position while flying in the open cockpit of the SE5 at high altitude called for an effort that was almost superhuman. We had no supply of oxygen in those days, and I found that my strength at height fell off considerably. It was difficult enough to change the double drum of ammunition on the Lewis gun without having to manhandle the gun into position for an attack and fly the aeroplane at the same time. There were others who had the same experience, and more often than not we had to dive down to a lower altitude before we could reload.
One British fighter aircraft, the Sopworth Snipe, certainly carried oxygen equipment when it went out to France shortly before the Armistice. John Milner formerly of 43 Squadron, RAF, recalls that 'though we had oxygen bottles and masks fitted in the Snipe (for patrols at 25,000 feet), the cylinder was a very small one and you'd had it after a few gulps'.
Was it worth the extra weight?
The Germans in the last year of the war possessed the Rumpler C VII 'Rubild' a fast two seater reconnaissance plane with a service ceiling of 24,000 feet and an endurance of three and a half hours. With a high-compression, high altitude engine, the Maybach Mb IVa of 245 hp, it had good power output at its ceiling, and its crews were accustomed to making long flights deep into the rear of the Allied lines unmolested by enemy fighters. The Rubild, for the sake of lightness, had only the observers Parabellum machine gun and no forward-firing weapon; but liquid oxygen equipment was carried and the crews flight suits were electrically heated.
55 Squadron of the Independent Force possessed two special DH4 reconnaisance aircraft with larger DH 9a wing panels. No bombs were carried, and ammunition was much reduced. An engine- driven generator heated the crews flight clothing, camera and guns. Compressed oxygen was breathed above 15,000 feet.

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Thank's all interesting stuff!

Profile picture for user STORMBIRD262

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Bristol 138 high flight's!!

G' day all again :D .

In 1936 Sqd Leader Swain reached an Alt of 49,994 feet, easly beating the exiting record.

The year after with Mod's on the aircraft and the pressure suit, Flt Adam took the Bris 138 to a new record of 53,937 feet.

But the research stopped their and did not go any further.

Now I have a pic of Swain and Adam holding a pilot upright in a early pressure suit.

Mad suit :eek: , it look's like a prop from a doctor Who show!!:dev2:

It must have been real hard to fly an aircraft in one.

Would any formite's just happen to have a copy, my new/old scanner's cactus:mad: .

If ya have and can put it here, Thank you in advance. ;)

Profile picture for user STORMBIRD262

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Calling Formite book worm's!

Any taker's for the pilot dude's in their 1930's Doctor Who spaceman suit's :)

It's an interesting get up :eek: .

Thank you in advance if you can put up a picture or three ;) of the suit's.

I must crash now, burnt me self out again walking 5 km's with me stick in the nice sunshine, we hit about 15/16 c(bit like a pommies summer's day).

I'm knackered so " Gut Nacht ". Good evening, Good afternoon, Good Moaning to you all where ever you may be ;) .

Ooooo Roooo for now.

Croc Rule!!:dev2:

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Not the chaps you were looking for, but another famous 1930s aviator: Wiley Post. Veteran of two "around-the-world" flights in his Lockheed Vega Winnie Mae (the second one solo). The Vega had a formed-plywood fuselage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Vega

In 1934, with financial support from Frank Phillips of the Phillips Petroleum Company, Post began exploring the limits of high-altitude, long-distance flight. The Winnie Mae's cabin could not be pressurized so he worked with Russell S. Colley of the B.F. Goodrich Company to develop what became the world's first practical pressure suit. The body of the suit had three layers: long underwear, an inner black rubber air pressure bladder, and an outer suit made of rubberised parachute fabric. The outer suit was glued to a frame with arm and leg joints that allowed him to operate the flight controls and to walk to and from the aircraft. Attached to the frame were pigskin gloves, rubber boots, and an aluminium and plastic diver's helmet. The helmet had a removable faceplate that could be sealed at a height of 17,000 feet, and could accommodate earphones and a throat microphone. In the first flight using the suit on September 5, 1934, Post reached an altitude of 40,000 feet above Chicago. Eventually flying as high as 50,000 feet (unofficial, as his recording altimeter had frozen before he ended his climb, while the normal one kept working), Post discovered the jet stream and made the first major practical advances in pressurized flight.

Note that Wiley lost one eye in a oil drilling accident before he ever learned to fly!

He died in a plane crash August 15, 1935 in Alaska.