PDA

View Full Version : Chance Light



Vestanpants
02-10-2008, 20:22
Hi,

Can someone post a picture of a Chance Light please and some info on how they were used? I hadn't realised that they were manufactured by Chance Bros. Ltd.

Thanks,

VP

Richard Drew
03-10-2008, 08:18
http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn23/atlantikwall-photos/Airfields/floodlighttrailer.jpg
I think this is a Chance Light, I have seen a picture of an earlier model pre-war.
I am just reading Geoffrey Wellum's book 'First Light' about his time in the Battle of Britain and one of his first landings in a Spitfire at night at Pembury, he hit the Chance Light and took the top off it and had to have a wing replaced on his Spitfire. Also he said there were six Glim lights on the runway. I am not sure what they are.

Richard

PETERTHEEATER
03-10-2008, 10:46
I think Carnaby posted an image of a chance light in the General Airfield section a few days ago but I can't find it.

Peter H

Carnaby
03-10-2008, 18:06
I haven't posted a picture of a Chance light as yet. Will find one.
In the meantime Glims were portable electric runway lights.

Some notes on pre Drem electric systems:
Paraffin flares
Money - (large buckets) - powerful, dangerous, burned for 3-4 hours.
Gooseneck - (smaller, like a watering can) spillable.
Toledo - popular small non-spillable 12-18 hours burning.

Croydon's pre-electric system used Money flares at start, then Toledos at 25 yards, then hurricane lamps at the end.

Electric Lamps
RAE Low intensity flare, (Glim Lamp) This was the first mass produced electric unit which consisted of a vertical cylinder, approximately 12 inches in height by 8 inches diameter. A glass domed top contained a large reflector in the centre of which was a 2 volt, 1.5 watt bulb. A later version had a 12 volt, 2.4 watt lamp. They were equipped with interchangeable white, orange and red globes for marking the flarepath, boundary and obstructions respectively. In 1937 the Glim Lamp superseded the Goosenecks. Twenty were supplied to each airfield. Since the units were effectively invisible above some 1,500 feet they could theoretically be left illuminated during operations. They were frequently used to mark thresholds and over-run areas.

Also used for the Controllable Glim Flarepath. Col Turner's department was responsible for this equipment which consisted of: 21 (+4 spare) glim lamps, 4 totem Poles, 2 x 24 volt batteries. Unlike the standard portable glim lamps, this system was controlled from one central point.

Syerston introduced an extensive system of coloured Glim lamps to enable aircraft to taxi to their correct dispersals.

There were also some portable battery powered spotlamps used in the Macdonald Flarepath.

Paraffin flares (usually Goosenecks) were kept in the NFE store as emergency lighting. Pilots loved them - the flickering flame provided provided valuable feedback regarding height and perspective. At the time this latter feature was of unknown value especially to novice pilots, and was to cause criticism when they were eventually withdrawn from service.

Graham

Carnaby
04-10-2008, 21:43
Airfield Floodlights.

Pre-war civil aerodromes often had a number of fixed or movable powerful floodlights - typically 3-phase 6 kilowatt.
The RAF had a requirement for a portable unit and Chance Bros produced several self-powered versions, typically 4.5 or 5 kilowatts, one of which is shown below.
http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o102/grahamcrisp/Chance.jpg
As the unit was safety related it feastured a substantial radiator assembly to ensure that the generator could never over-heat. The film 'Target for Tonight' shows a very different twin lamp unit, again from Chance.

They were used to illuminate the runway threshold only. When Mk.1 Drem came along power was made available at the end of the runway(s) which was sufficient to run a simpler construction which consisted of a box containing the lamp and reflector assembly mounts on a three-wheeled trolley. Often another self-powered unit would be sited externally from the airfield and pointing towards the approach funnel.

The threshold flood was sited ideally 75 yards from the runway end, and 25 yards from the left edge of the runway.

Drem Mk.2 units were similar, with the added advantage that switching off the flarepath (intruders present) would also extinguish the floodlight.
The improved approach funnels obviated the need for external floods, though a second lamp might be located part-way down a humped runway.

By 1944 floodlights were rarely used and the redundant power socket available near the end of the runway was used to supply high-intensity sodium approach lights instead.

Graham

Peter Kirk
04-10-2008, 22:12
There are a few adverts in the Flight archives showing a lantern with a flat front beam.

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/index.html

search for "Chance Light"

Peter

Carnaby
05-10-2008, 13:33
Flight archives - http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/index.html
There is some wonderful stuff buried in these archives. Hadn't discovered them before.

Graham

Vestanpants
05-10-2008, 13:46
Great, thanks for the information, very useful.

VP

PETERTHEEATER
06-10-2008, 08:37
Carnaby said:

Paraffin flares
Money - (large buckets) - powerful, dangerous, burned for 3-4 hours.
Gooseneck - (smaller, like a watering can) spillable.
Toledo - popular small non-spillable 12-18 hours burning.

The Toledo Flare was spherical formed from pressed steel sheet. The hollow base was loaded with lead shot to keep it stable in use. I used these during my early career with the RAF.

When I was posted to Bomb Disposal, one of the exhibits in our museum was a Toledo Flare labelled ' Assassin's bomb'. The CO was not amused when I identified it for what it was!

Peter H

Carnaby
06-10-2008, 09:46
The Toledo Flare was spherical formed from pressed steel sheet. The hollow base was loaded with lead shot to keep it stable in use.
Very interesting, Peter. I'd known about the other two flares for decades, but the name Toledo only appeared within the last 18 months.
Useful info. Now looking for a picture of one (Money flare also).

Graham

PETERTHEEATER
07-10-2008, 08:48
The Toledo Flare was spherical formed from pressed steel sheet. The hollow base was loaded with lead shot to keep it stable in use.
Very interesting, Peter. I'd known about the other two flares for decades, but the name Toledo only appeared within the last 18 months.
Useful info. Now looking for a picture of one (Money flare also).

Graham

On reflection, the the hollow base was loaded with iron shot, not lead, but served the same purpose. The top hemisphere contained the burner - like a slotted cylinder - which had a wide tape 'wick' which hung down into the paraffin (kerosene) filled interior.

I've probably got a transparency image of one in my personal effects but they are in storage in UK.

I assume the name TOLEDO was associated with the company who made them.

Peter H

PETERTHEEATER
07-10-2008, 09:00
I had a Google and found this which is the modern day version by the same company Toledo Pressed Steel USA:

http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l366/PRACHUAP/toledo.jpg

Also their site which is:

http://www.airportlighting.com.au/toledo.htm

PETERTHEEATER
07-10-2008, 09:05
MONEY flare is mentioned in this text as money-bucket flare:

http://www.catcs.co.uk/ppete.htm

Carnaby
07-10-2008, 12:20
Thanks for those Peter. The Toledo photo is great - just needs the word 'Bomb' on it and it could be straight out of the Dandy or Beano.

Re the Glim lamps I mention earlier, I totally forgot that very confusingly the flush flarepath lights of the Drem Mk.1 system were also called Glims. Why this was done I will never guess as they are totally different. The Drem Mk.1 Glim was an enormous casting, two foot in diameter, and projected over four inches above the surface of the concrete block into which they were fitted.

They were initially used only on the left hand side of the runway (but there was also a set on the right, facing the other way), and spaced longitudinally at 100 yards.

I have been trying to find one for decades, but suspect that they were melted down, owing to the huge amount of cast iron they contained, when the system was upgraded to Mk.2 Drem.

Graham

OneEighthBit
02-03-2011, 00:35
Can anyone confirm what kind of unit this is? I think it's the same type in the tiny picture Richard posted in #2. It's obviously some sort of floodlight rather than a signal lamp?

Peter Kirk
02-03-2011, 00:39
At first I thought that little light is very bright but I think the whole tubular element is a tall light. I have seen one before, or at least something similar. I wonder if it has a girls name?

PETERTHEEATER
02-03-2011, 05:50
Stay away from Sandra you cad!

T-21
02-03-2011, 08:28
Good article on the Chance light here http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1937/1937%20-%202902.html

Carnaby
02-03-2011, 10:26
That is a good article, and just about sums up what's in OEB's picture. There seems to have been a number of different floodlights in use in early WWII. I've never seen one like that described in AP3236 'Works'.
Sandra was a different concept - from my book:

Sandra

By late 1941 some airfields had already discovered that a single searchlight, situated in the middle of the airfield and pointing vertically upwards provided a useful orbiting aid especially when the Drem circle was probably invisible due to bad weather. Early in 1942, a series of experiments were conducted at a number of Bomber Command stations, the objective being to make airfields easier to find in poor visibility, and especially in conditions of low cloud. The tests used small calibre searchlights which were unsuitable for aerodrome defence, such as the Projectors, Mark 6 & 7.

Up to four lights were used at various points on, and close to the airfield. It was found that the cloud penetration of three lights, forming an equilateral triangle around the airfield was very much more effective than two. As an example the Woodhall Spa 'cone' was clearly visible by from aircraft approaching the coast over the Wash.

In the Spring of 1943 it was proposed to equip all Bomber Command airfields with three Sandra lights. Parent stations would also carry a fourth as a spare, and despite a shortage of personnel it was hoped to man at least two lights every night.

When only two lights were available they would normally be located at the left hand side of both ends of the runway in use. The light at the upwind end would project its beam almost vertically, whilst that at the downwind end would project towards it at an angle of 45 degrees to the ground.

WELLINGTON75
02-03-2011, 17:04
4240Chance Light which was in use at Yeovilton. The photo dates from about 1968.

hth

David Molyneux

P Bellamy
02-03-2011, 17:40
Snow-encrusted Chance Light trailer beside the control tower at Deenethorpe in January 1945:

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k227/ramc181/DSPc3.jpg

As a special extra for Graham, note the HILV lamp (and possibly crated spares) in the lower right corner.

All the best,
PB

OneEighthBit
02-03-2011, 20:26
At first I thought that little light is very bright but I think the whole tubular element is a tall light. I have seen one before, or at least something similar. I wonder if it has a girls name?

Meh! :)

Read the thirst page of this thread - Richard says he thought his picture was a Chance light and no-one actually confirmed. Carnaby's picture looks nothing like the lamp in mine.

*rasp* :P

Carnaby
02-03-2011, 20:59
In the same way that what the Air Ministry called 'Airfield Lighting' was known as 'Drem' by probably everyone who used it, then the 'Portable Floodlight' was generally known as the 'Chance Light' after its original manufacturer. Certainly the unit depicted in AP3236 (Works) was a local construction and was not a Chance Bros device. GEC were another principal manufacturer of 1930 -1950 airfield lighting devices - especially floodlights.

FLIXTONRAY
02-03-2011, 21:31
Hi I worked for Stone Chance, late 50`s. From pictures I suspect that there were variants on a theme. Chance were famous for optics for lighthouses and marine buoys. Concentrating almost all the light into a narrow beam. I have seen pictures of lights with all round illumination and also very directional beams to mark a path.
Just after WW2 I had some lights called Glim Lamps, about 9 inches diameter with a torch bulb in the centre. The light could only be seen over a very narrow vertical area.
FLIXTONRAY

PETERTHEEATER
22-02-2012, 08:16
A Chance Light, a powerful runway floodlight on a trailer, in operation at Pocklington, Yorkshire. Behind the Chance Light is the Airfield Identification Beacon, also on a trailer.

http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l366/PRACHUAP/PocklingtonChanceLightIWMCH6695.jpg

Courtesy of Imperial War Museum IWM (CH 6695)

PETERTHEEATER
22-02-2012, 08:26
A Gloster Meteor F Mark III of No. 616 Squadron RAF Detachment, takes off from B58/Melsbroek, Belgium, shortly after joining No. 84 Group of 2nd TAF for air defence purposes. In the foreground a mobile Chance light stands parked by the main runway.

http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l366/PRACHUAP/BelgiummobileChanceLightIWMC5658.jpg

Courtesy of imperial War Museum IWM (C 5658)

P Bellamy
06-04-2012, 14:54
Chance Light trailer currently being offered for sale not too far from me:

http://www.milweb.net/classifieds/large_image.php?ad=61565&cat=7

PETERTHEEATER
10-05-2012, 04:39
I stumbled across this but, is it a Chance Light?


Leading Aircraftman G Bidwell (left) and Corporal W Jones carry out maintenance work on one of two mobile lighthouses installed on the hilltops at Mull of Oa, Islay, as part of the 'Occult' Scheme. This was an scheme to delineate the coastline of the British Isles to aircraft by a series of aerial lighthouses operating from a number of fixed sites no more than 15 miles inland. They flashed letters in morse code which were changed periodically and were intended to be visible to aircraft approaching the coast. The airmens' tour of duty at the site was two or three months, during which time they lived in a small cottage and maintained contact with their base using a wireless set.


Courtesy of Imperial War Museum IWM (CH 16506)
http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l366/PRACHUAP/IslayOccultChanceLightIWMCH16506.jpg

ted angus
10-05-2012, 09:43
Peter this is where using manufacturers names can sometomes cause confusion. Your examples at 25 & 26 are runway floodlights - often known as chance lights but to confuse matters in 1930s adverts often called aerial lighthouses.

Your example at 28 is what was officially called an aerial lighthouse They only flashed one letter.

they too were by Chance Bros


then of course we have the landmark beacon to give airfield ID which flashed 2 morse letters - they had a square section light unit and many of them were often by Chance Bros !!

TED

Carnaby
10-05-2012, 10:10
Yes Ted - I agree 100% with the above, and tend to reserve the term 'Chance Light' for the floodlight used for night landings. This seemed to be the case during WWII. (Note a second floodlight was sometimes used off the airfield during the early WWII days [Drem Mk.I lighting] to help with the approach path. This was no longer needed with the improved funnels which followed).

PETERTHEEATER
10-05-2012, 10:22
Right! See, you can teach old dogs new tricks! I could amend my captions to state that they are lights manufactured by Chance Bros and still meet the thread title.

ted angus
10-05-2012, 10:58
JA for sure !!!!

TED

Carnaby
10-05-2012, 13:32
I should have mentioned (just to totally confuse things) that the runway floodlights used later in WWII and called 'Chance Lights' by the crew, were not manufactured by Chance.

ted angus
10-05-2012, 20:13
Now am I surprised. Sqn personnel always referred to Ground Power Units as Houchins- never by which actual rating of machine they wanted, the 20KW single axle job brought in to be used in place of the 48Kw on detachments was by Vosper - but the overpaid black box tyre kickers still called them Houchins !!

TED

PETERTHEEATER
11-05-2012, 06:54
In the days when all ballpens were called Biros and all vacuum cleaners were called Hoovers................!

Thomas T
31-12-2012, 17:56
Hello all,

I am new to your area and have a document that I think will help you with your research on Chance Lights. It was written by one of the head engineers at Chance Brothers in 1944 and has information about all of their Aerodrome lighting. For some reason I cannot attach the file to this message. Please contact me and I will send you the file.

ted angus
01-01-2013, 15:12
Gents I have just received the file from Thomas it is pdf format of 37 pages. Can anyone split the file into say 4 parts so it can be uploaded as an attachment to the thread. ?

TED

Richard Flagg
01-01-2013, 15:52
Ted, how big is the file?

OneEighthBit
01-01-2013, 17:36
Gents I have just received the file from Thomas it is pdf format of 37 pages. Can anyone split the file into say 4 parts so it can be uploaded as an attachment to the thread. ?

TED

http://www.splitpdf.com/

Able Mabel
07-01-2013, 19:37
I would certainly be interested in seeing that document, would possibly help clear up a few things i would like to know particularly if it had two vertical lenses ??

ted angus
07-01-2013, 20:07
Ian I have e mailed the document to you
TED

I tried to split it into 4 chunks but I ended up with 37 seperate documents i.e. one per page ???

Able Mabel
10-01-2013, 22:04
Ted
have received said document. many thanks, is of great interest.
Ian