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World's first swoop alarm audible altimeter? 1941?


377  (F 666)

Aug 17, 2011, 11:48 AM
Post #1 of 2 (651 views)
World's first swoop alarm audible altimeter? 1941? Can't Post

I aquired one of these gizmos (see photo link) and assumed it was an altitude switch for an old school UK AAD. It is basically an altimeter with a presetable SPST switch that will close the contact at a selected altitude.

Turns out I was wrong. These are called Contact Altimeters and were installed in WW 2 RAF Sea Fury aircraft to sound a warning horn during a dive bombing run when the plane had reached a preset pull out altitide.

Well, dive bombing is not really swooping but the same safety issues arise: start arresting that high descent rate before it's too late.

Someone is seling one on eBay now for an absurdly high price and that's where I learned what the application was. Mine cost $10.


(This post was edited by 377 on Aug 17, 2011, 11:49 AM)
Attachments: alt switch photo[1].JPG (114 KB)

pchapman  (D 1014)

Aug 17, 2011, 2:27 PM
Post #2 of 2 (552 views)
Re: [377] World's first swoop alarm audible altimeter? 1941? [In reply to] Can't Post


The Stukas also had something like that, where one could get a warning light at a pre set altitude during a dive. That's an earlier plane than the Fury so would have had the feature earlier -- and who knows when someone first invented it for dive bombers.

The online history of the Stuka devices is a little unclear. Some sources make it sound like it also triggered an automatic 6 g pullout (with manual override available), others say that was on late models only, and others say that that feature was in an optional module on Ju 88's only, not the Ju 87 Stuka. One has to dig a little deeper than wikipedia to make the truth clear.

Not quite a full swoop computer but it was a start.

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