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AIR RACE HOPES:
AU ST RALI AIS-BUILT CANBERRA JET which will compete in the LondonA^hristchur, i air race next month. Australia has entered two locally made jets in the race. Each will carry a pilot, second pilot, and navigator. Their average age is 31, and all are season, I
Wives of R.A.A.F. crews are
"quite calm about it all"
The 12,000-mile London-Christchurch air race next mouth is expected to take only about 24 hours, but the R.A.A.F. m n who will fly two Australian-built Canberra jet aircraft in t ie
race have been training for months. I
The Canberras will average about 500 miles an hour, with four stops on the way for refueling.
By SUSAN BARRIE
ACE R.A.A.F. test-pilot
Wing - Commander D. R. Cuming, A.F.C., trained the two plane crews at Laverton, near Melbourne. They are now in England preparing for
the take-off on October 8.
The planes will be number four and number five in the
race. Wing-Commarder Cum- ing will captain the number four Canberra.
Stocky and balding, Wing Commander Cuming, a 36 year-old bachelor, is publicity shy.
"It's impossible to predict how we'll go at this stage," he said. "We can't say much about our plans, because that would only help our competi-
"We'll just do our best."
Toughest competition for the Canberras is expected from the Vickers Valiant four-en-
gine jet entered by the R.A.F.,
which has also entered three British-built Canberras.
Competing against the jets in the speed section of the race will be a Mosquito, piloted by Squadron-Leader A. R. ("Titus") Oates, of Syd- ney, and a Mustang piloted by Flight-Lieutenant Whiteman, of Sydney.
The Australian Canberras will each carry two pilots and a navigator.
"We're all very honored to be in the crews," said good looking, 28-year-old Flying Officer R. J. Atkinson, of Bris- bane, who is "second dickie" to Wing-Commander Cuming in plane number four.
"Flying jets is the real thing. We have covered about 25,000
miles in our trial flights and we will be right up to pitch.
"Wing-Commander Cuming and I will take alternate legs
of the race."
Flying - Officer Atkinson's wife, Vilma, is already plan- ning the welcome home when he gets back to Brisbane.
Navigator in the crew of number four Canberra is 33 year-old Squadron-Leader C. G. Harvey, of St. Kilda, Vic
toria, who was Wing-Comi
der Cuming's navigator in he first British Canberra fl < vn out from England two \ rs
A war veteran, he joined he R.A.A.F. in 1939 and ai
made 130 trips with Cunnii g.
"Technical knowledge is vital in test flying, and \\ g Commander Cuming has it,"
"There's not a more te< ai
CREW OF NUMBER FIVE Canberra ¡et (from left) Flight Lieutenant W. D. Kerr, Squadron-Leader Peter Rate. D.F.C., and Flight-Lieutenant F. IS. Davit inspect a Britith-built
Canberra at Laverton (Victoria) R.A.A.F. station.
Ace fliers m a ii local jets
CREW OF NUMBER FOUR JET. If inn-Commander D. R. ("Jel") (.urning. A.F.C. (right), check» the log with Flying-Officer R. J. Atkinson (left) and Squad ron
Leader C. G. Harvey.
rally competent man in the service."
Squadron-Leader Harvey's wife, Novar, drove him to Laverton to farewell him, with their two children, Christine, six, and Peter, two.
"My wife doesn't worry un- duly," he said. "In fact, I think she's quite proud."
I y ng at an altitude of be tween 30,000 and 40,000 feet, their oxygen masks make eating impossible, but they hope to arrange for a special
tube which will allow them to take fruit juices from a can while they are in the air.
Otherwise their only food will be soup, coffee, or a quick snack when they stop for refuelling at Bahrein, Colombo, Cocos Island, and Guildford, W.A.
The altitude also means that
the average temperature in the aircraft is around zero, so the crews will wear special elec- trically heated suits.
No stimulant or sedatives of any kind are allowed during the flight, but the crew mem- bers say that they never need
"There is not much ner- vous strain because the noise
level and vibration are very low compared with other air- craft," explained Squadron Leader Peter Raw, of Mel- bourne, first pilot of the num-
ber five Canberra.
"None of us felt fatigued after our 17-hour Christchurch flight, which we did via Dar- win and Perth.
"Incidentally, the factory at Fishermen's Bend did a won- derful job and we're very proud of the aircraft."
The 30-year-old squadron leader will pilot on alternate legs of the flight with Flight Lieutenant F. N. Davis, of Ipswich, Queensland.
"We each do about the same amount of flying," said Squadron-Leader Raw, "but whoever is not flying at the time has his hands full doing fuel calculation.
"This is a job in itself, be-
cause we have to make the
best use of the fuel, judging
whether to use it rapidly or
Flying-Officer Davis has two children, Kim, three, and Bar- bara, two. His wife, Nina, expects their third child on October 8, the day of the race.
"But she is quite calm about it all," said Flying-Officer Davis, smiling.
Navigator in the crew of number five, Flight-Lieutenant W. D. Kerr, of Ripponlea, Vic- toria, is also a family man.
He claims "two of the best children in the world," David, six, and Rosemary, three. His wife, Josephine, also takes the air race calmly.
"In fact, she enjoys it. You know what women are," added Flight-Lieutenant Kerr with a grin.
Five other R.A.A.F. navi- gators will be key men in the race, although they will not leave the ground.
Each will be stationed at a refuelling stop along the route and will provide flight plans for each leg of the flight.
"We just need knowledge of meteorological conditions. We have to try to predict winds and advise on the best heights at which to fly," said Flying Officer Frank Quinn, of Wol
longong, N.S.W, who will be
stationed at Woomera.
This will be an alternative
refuelling spot, in case con- ditions at Guildford make landing there impossible.
The other ground navigators are Flying-Officer R. B. Den niston, of Queenscliff, Victoria,
who will be stationed at Bah-
rein; Flight-Lieutenant Colin Campbell, of Perth, W.A., at Ratmalan, Colombo; Flying Officer R. L. Thomas, of Coolgardie, W.A., at Guild- ford; and Pilot-Officer H. J. Hurley, at Cocos Island.
^T Cocos the Canberras will
be refuelled by two high pressure portable hydrant re- fuelling un'ts which have been specially flown to the island
for the air race.
The units will refuel at more than twice the rate of any
tanker in the world.
"We'll have to be quick, too," said Flying-Officer Quinn. "If we're not we'll
probably be selling papers in Sydney after this race."
Chief "back-room boy" is Mr. L. L Cook, of Tea Gar- dens, N.S.W.
A 26-year-old engineering grrduate from Sydney Univer- sity, he spent three months at No. 1 Long Range Flight at Laverton working out graphs by which the navigators will
estimate how far the fuel will
carry their aircraft in prevail- ing winds.
To enliven the graphs, Mr. Cook decorated them with sketches of aircraft, known to the crews as "Cook's car- toons."
He will be ¡»t Christchurch at the end of the race to de- brief the crews and collect facts and figures on the flights for R.A.A.F. files.
Special safety precautions have been arranged by the
R.A.A.F. and R.A.N.
Neptune anti - submarine planes equipped with power- ful searchlights will patrol at various points along the route in case of mishaps.
The R.A.N. will have the aircraft-carrier Vengeance sta- tioned about half way be- tween the north-eastern point of Tasmania and the middle of the west coast of New Zea- land's South Island.
UNUSUAL PICTURE of the Australian-built Canberra jet which mil be number four in the air race, captained by Wing-Commander "Jel" ('.urning. The other Australian Canberra jet will be number five in the race. The aircraft will fly at an average
altitude of between 30,000 and 40,000 feet during the race.