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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)

Bomber pilots seemed more ready to take the weather seriously. Most fighter pilots seemed uncaring, until some fighter aircraft were lost because of adverse weather.

Squadron-Leader Ralph Barnes of D.Met.S. tells a not-so-tragic story of easygoing flying. After the fall of Singapore, there was an increasing number of American fighter pilots ferrying aircraft from Brisbane to Port Moresby. Few of these very individualistic pilots had maps, and often had only a very limited knowledge of navigation. They would ask for directions when proceeding northwards.

'We at Brisbane would always say, 'Keep Australia on your left", smiled Barnes, 'and away they'd go quite happy. Of course, on the run from Brisbane to Rockhampton at low level, they would travel many extra miles by following right around the coastline of Sandy Cape and Fraser Island, keeping Australia on the left!' [41]

However, not all pilots appreciated the friendly approach. One day at RAAF Garbutt, Townsville, a world-famous US aviator with the rank of Colonel, walked up to the duty officer and asked, 'May I have a forecast to Nadzab please?'

'Well', replied the Met. officer, being friendly, 'I think you'll have a pretty good trip up that way today—good weather all the way'.

'I didn't ask for an opinion', growled the Colonel tersely. 'I asked for a forecast!' [42]

It is impossible to record precisely how many aircraft have come to grief because of the weather. There are certainly enough known instances to establish, beyond any doubt, the importance of knowledge of meteorological conditions to aviation. Because of the relatively stable weather over Australia, this continent is more favourable for aviation than others, where conditions are more extreme. Nevertheless, wherever he is, the wise pilot will avoid 'one cloud from which the lightning flashes'.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Directorate of Meteorological Services (D.Met.S)

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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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