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Table of Contents

RAAF Meteorological Service



Chapter 1: The Weather Factor in Warfare

Chapter 2: Establishing and Developing the RAAF Directorate of Met. Services (D.Met.S)

Chapter 3: Recruiting and Training of Personnel

Chapter 4: Meteorology in Aviation
The RAAF Meteorological Flight
Hazards Galore

Chapter 5: The Met. Retreating

Chapter 6: The Met. Advancing

Chapter 7: The Met With the Army and the Navy

Chapter 8: Divisional Offices of the Bureau of Meteorology During the War

Chapter 9: Research and Instrumental Development

Chapter 10: The End, Aftermath, and Beyond

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Appendix 3

Appendix 4



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Hazards Galore (continued)

Masses of supercooled water droplets lurk in cumulonimbus clouds, uniting quickly to form thick ice on an unwary plane and force it down. I had one hair-raising experience of flying into one of these natural powerhouses and emerging upside down. Many aircraft have been destroyed in cumulonimbus clouds before, during and since the war, and pilots avoid them.

Very bad weather was invariably experienced over the Solomon Sea, which aircraft based at Port Moresby and Milne Bay had to cross when attacking targets in New Britain. Visibility in this area was often hampered by tropical rain storms, but aircraft making large sweeps along the coast of New Britain often deliberately flew during squalls, using them as protection for their low level attacks. Of course, this was risky. In January 1945, two Beaufort aircraft of 100 Squadron were lost in bad weather. Poor visibility prevented them from reaching their base at Milne Bay after an attack, and they crashed into the Owen Stanleys with the loss of both crews. At the time, I was officer-in-charge of the meteorological section at Milne Bay. Bombing attacks by 100 Squadron RAAF at this time were plagued with bad weather. From one operation during a storm off Gasmata in May 1945, only one aircraft out of six survived to make it back to base.

In North-Western AreaNew Guinea RAAF File No. 264The Beaufighter in North-Western AreaNovember 1942 to July 1943—Wing-Commander Eric Read, commanding RAAF 31 Squadron, reported that in NW Area, weather conditions on the whole were not as difficult as in New Guinea. A considerable amount of cloud and rain was encountered during the wet season, and there was a persistent frontal zone north of Darwin. Strikes over Ambon were frequently hampered by poor visibility due to rain and cloud, but during nine months in this area (including a wet season) the aircraft of 31 Squadron only missed one day's flying because of weather.

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Joyce, J. 1993 'The Story of the RAAF Meteorological Service', Metarch Papers, No. 5 October 1993, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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