Sea Gladiator Dingy

This is a query for any RNAS types that might know: How did a Sea Gladiator pilot get at that little dingy beneath the a/c? Did he eject it before he made his water landing? Did he eject it and then bail out? Its seems to me the chances of the poor chap being able to reach the dingy after any of above were very precarious in terms of success. What if you had a bad guy on your six and he just wouldn't leave you alone long enough to allow you to do any of the aforementioned drills? I think they should have left the silly thing off and given the pilot more fuel and ammo. But then it was another time and another train of thought? Mike IPMS

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Mike Keown
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Mike wrote

Well, I'm no expert on this, but it would seem to me that either:

  1. The fixed landing gear would cause the aircraft to "trip" when it hit the water and the Sea Gladiator would likely come to a stop "belly up", thus making it easy to retreive the dingy, or

  1. When the Sea Gladiator did come to a stop, assuming it was right side up, the nose (engine weight) would would be heavier, causing the front of the aircraft to be lower than the (lighter) tail, thus making it easier to revrieve the dingy. This is supported by photos of ditched Sea Gladiators and other similar aircraft, they do not sit level in the water, but with a very pronounced nose low/tail high attitude.

I do have a reference that shows that the dingy could be released from inside the cockpit, and as it inflated, it would naturally float to the surface.

No expertise involved, just thinking it through with my own unique form of logic. Hope this helps.

What I do know for a fact is that the entire concept of "ditching" an aircraft with fixed gear would be extreemly getting the dingy was probably not high on the minds of pilots about to ditch their Sea Gladiator...just getting the thing down and getting out would seem to be the immediate issue.

Nat Richards

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