Split arsing or tight turns.
Fri Aug 12, 2011 19:59
90.205.124.170

Hi Pip

A "Split-Arsed pilot" or to refer to a "split-arse turn" was a reference from way back to the first combats and aerobatics when tight turns when flying "By the seat of your pants" was the norm. This was also known as Splitarsing around in combat or in Aerobatics. This is due to the effect on your errr, base(?), you know the word, Arse, as it slides around on the seat due to sideways pressure.

There are more modern terminologies now with Jets and also talk of rate 1, rate 2, rate 3 and so on turns ie Rate 1 turn.

I can only relate what it feels like having been in a Slingsby T67M Firefly with Bill Prest, an ex RAF jet instructor and thenan aerobatic instructor. He pulled, according to my certificate some 5.5 G in some tight "Split-Arse turns" and -2 Negative G. In reality the Accelerometre (G-metre) showed 7.6 but as the aircraft was rated to plus 9 and minus 3, it was okay, however he said to me that if the reading was registered on my documents, and by agreement, in his aircraft log, then he would have had to put the aircraft U/S for the day whilst a Certificate of Airworthiness was carried out or some invasive and intensive checks, therefore holding up the other charity event riders as I was. I did get to turn, not too tight, around Blackpool Tower, which was a thrill. This came back to mind on seeing one of the Red Arrows singletons streak past ina "Split Arse turn" and jink right behind the crowded sea front on Sunday.

Below is a peice taken from the combat account of a WW1 pilot who shot down the German ace Erwin Boehme, in this he describes, eloquently, the first meaning of a split-arse turn and what a split arse pilot could do withh a machine in flight, also known as Split-arsing all over the sky, or in desperate tight turning combat ;Then, on 29 November, Böhme took off on his last mission. Böhme had already claimed an unidentified Sopwith Camel earlier that day. Now he and his five strong flight spotted a Royal Flying Corps Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 of No. 10 Squadron on a photo-reconnaissance mission near Zonnebeke, Belgium. Veteran pilot Captain John Patten should have been preparing for home leave, but had decided to fly one more mission. In the back seat of their photographic reconnaissance plane, Lieutenant Philip Leychester manned the camera and the gun. Patten tells the story:

"Suddenly, I heard the clatter of Leycester's machine gun above the roar of the engine. I looked round to see what he was shooting at, and nearly had a heart attack. Slanting down from above, getting nicely into position thirty yards behind my tail, was an Albatros. "I immediately heaved the old A-W round in a split-arse turn, tighter I think than I had ever turned before. I felt a flash of panic as I lost sight of the Hun, but Leycester must have been able to see him all right as he kept on firing. My sudden turn had done the trick. The Albatros overshot and suddenly appeared right in front of me. Because of the relative motion of our two aircraft, he seemed to hang motionless, suspended in mid-air. I could see the pilot's face as he looked back at me. I sent a two-second burst of Vickers (machine gun) fire into him. His aircraft seemed to flutter, then slid out of sight below my starboard wing. I was pretty certain that I had hit his petrol tank. Behind me, Leycester was still blazing away. He was using tracer (incendiary bullets), and it may have been one of his bullets that ignited the petrol pouring from the Hun's ruptured tank. When I caught sight of the Albatros again, it was burning like a torch and side-slipping towards the ground, trailing a streamer of smoke. For an instant I saw the German pilot, looking down over the side of the cockpit. Then the smoke and flames enveloped him."

By the way do not try to look up, as I did the dictionary definition of split ass as you get a different meaning altogether and red cheeks1

Best wishes

Paul Davies


  • A Question.pip.., Fri Aug 12 16:11
    What is a 'Split Arsed Pilot" ??
    • Split arsing or tight turns. — Paul Davies, Fri Aug 12 19:59
    • And another.pip.., Fri Aug 12 17:04
      How and why did Sqd Ld Fanny Orton get his name!
      • Fanny Orton and Kobber Kaine Battle of FrancePaul Davies, Fri Aug 12 20:10
        Americans say, as John Wheeler will confirm, he 2Landed on his Fanny2 meaning Bum, Arse or Bottom. We are talking about arses again as in split-arse turn, see above! Whether he had a big bottom and... more
        • Newel 'Fanny' OrtonJohn M. Farquhar, Sun Nov 11 19:55
          Hello, I am researching the Moray Spitfire W3772 which was being flown by 'Fanny' Norton on 17th September 1941 when it was shot down and Fanny was killed. Neither the aircraft nor pilot were ever... more
          • Sqn. Ldr. Newell "Fanny" Orton KIAPaul Davies, Sun Nov 11 22:10
            Hi As you say, the aircraft and his body were, as far as I know, still never found. Sqn. Ldr. Newel "Fanny" Orton, (who scored almost as many victories as "Cobber" Kaine in France), has no known... more
            • Sources for the above.Paul Davies, Sun Nov 11 22:27
              Sources: B. Cull - B. Landers - H. Weiss: Twelve Days in May, Grub Street, London, 1995 Foreman J. fighter Comand War Diaries, Part 1, Air Research Publications, Walton-on-Thames, 2002 J. Foreman:... more
        • Fanny/ Hineypip.., Fri Aug 12 20:40
          Again thanks ever so. Trust my %^&^$££% mind!! I had him down as a skirt chaser!!! I thought an arse was called a Hiney in American slang? There are some terrific photos of Ayerst in the book . I'm... more
          • Fanny OrtonPaul "Sprog" Davies, Fri Aug 12 21:03
            There was, as Simon`s dad had a story, a RAF term for sweet Fanny Adams which Simon will relate. Suffice it to say, they also talked about things like to "Stop fannying around" In relation to pilots... more
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