Comet 4 - BOAC Navigator's Station

Flight Navigator's Station — Comet 4 (BOAC) — Improved Detail

Continuing the theme of improved detail in the cockpit, this screen shot shows progress on the flight navigator's station, thanks to finding new and original Comet manuals (including an illustrated parts manual for this area).

This arrangement is specific to BOAC in 1958, and represents the huge task that navigation was 60 years ago. Flying at 500 mph over sea, or above the weather, and with no sight of ground, was more than a full time job: BOAC Comets could support two navigators (or a flight navigator and pilot/navigator) if necessary.

Real Comet cockpits look full and busy. The first draft of mine looked empty and unfinished. There are changes to the structure of racks and shelves, which were previously suspended "by magic", and now have brackets, silent blocks and Barry mounts. Oxygen masks look more convincing (see RAF Type H Oxygen Mask). The navigator's rack has a lethal looking crash-axe and containers for spare bulbs and fuses. Under the table, I have modelled Smiths Flight System gyroscopes and amplifiers, with a certain amount of interconnected wiring. I have only modelled things in plain sight, and even then, not everything (but an awful lot of it).

The navigator's station was the part of the cockpit that differed most from one airline to another. RAF Transport Command were very similar to BOAC. Inter-continental airlines (like BEA) benefitted from Decca Navigator, and had a very much smaller navigation table.

It was also the part of the cockpit that changed most with time, RAF Transport Command bucking the trend of civilian operators by adding more equipment, not less, the panels expanding upwards, the layout actually becoming cleaner, and more Nimrod-like.

At this stage, I do not intend modelling every variant (or I'll still be here in 2020). Just two main versions (large and small) and as they were ex-works (according to the factory parts manual).

The next step is to add "anglepoise" style lamps that dangled from the roof, to upgrade the periscopic sextant bracket (the sextant is fine). Once that's done, I'll model the quilted lining and studs, and start the business of "colouring-in".



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