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  #1  
Old 31-10-15, 04:25 AM
seaeagle25 seaeagle25 is offline
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Default observers in the RCN Air Arm

Hi there guys

I read in a Canadian article that the last RCN Observers course finished in September 1956 and that the Observer Branch was to be abolished. However, some of the aircraft/helicopters required navigators (observers) in the 1960s. Was he Observer Branch ever reinstated? I know that after 1968 the observers would no longer be required with CAF doing the Navy's flying but did they completely finish in 1956, or did the observers continue but without any new blood entering their branch?

Kind regards

Doug
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  #2  
Old 31-10-15, 02:31 PM
edstorey edstorey is offline
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Default Observers

Perhaps this role was taken over by the; Tactical Helicopter Observer, Airborne Warning and Control System or Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator.
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Old 01-11-15, 08:55 AM
seaeagle25 seaeagle25 is offline
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Default observers in the RCN Air Arm

I think you are most probably correct on that Ed, certainly after 1968. However, I was wondering what was in the minds of the RCN to abolish the Observer Branch back in 1956, not knowing that there was going to be a unification in 1968 of all 3 services. Obviously there would be the observers from the 1956 course and others from previous courses who would carry on for a few years, but there would always be a need for observers. Look at the RN and RAN - they still have the observer brevet with the observer title changing somewhat. Certainly those aircrew positions that you mentioned from the RCAF/CAF would now be doing the observer role today. Possibly the short sighted thinking of the RCN was negated by the unification but I do wonder what happened to those qualified RCN observers - did they transfer over to Air Command?

Doug
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  #4  
Old 03-11-15, 06:47 AM
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Blackadder1916 Blackadder1916 is offline
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Quote:
. . . I was wondering what was in the minds of the RCN to abolish the Observer Branch back in 1956 . . .
It was probably as simple that with the adoption of new aircraft, specifically the Tracker, there was no longer a need (or more likely a financial justification) for officers to be on naval a/c as "Observers". Prior to the RCN acquiring the Tracker in 1956 (delivery of the a/c actually occurred over the following few years), the primary ASW a/c were the Firefly (crewed by a pilot and an observer - both officers); this was replaced (circa 1950) by the Avenger that had a three man crew - the same officer pilot and observer plus a lower deck rating of Observer's Mate. The Tracker also needed two officers (pilot and co-pilot) and operating the equipment in the back were two Observer's Mates.

The Observers likely continued with what flying duties there was for them until the Avengers were withdrawn from service. Some would have also been employed in other duties (staff, training, administration, etc) and could possibly have been qualified in another occupation, including as pilots.

From my (limited?) understanding, in 1956, Observers were crew only in the Avengers. The few helicopters that the RCN used for ASW were manned by pilots up front and the sonar equipment in back was operated by ratings from the Seaman Branch with specialized training as Submarine Detectors (not Observer's Mates). I'm not sure how the Sea Kings, when they were adopted by the RCN in the early 60s, were initially crewed. In later years, following unification, the crew did include "Navigators" as the "TACCO".


Quote:
Perhaps this role was taken over by the; Tactical Helicopter Observer, Airborne Warning and Control System or Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator.
Tactical Helicopter Observers and those who wore (or wear) Airborne Warning and Control "timmy wings" would not have any connection to naval aviation "Observers".

AESOP is the modern title of "Observer's Mate". The OM rating came into being circa 1950 when the Avenger came into RCN service and the need for an additional flight crewman was identified. This rating's title was changed around 1960 to "Naval Aircrewman". Following unification of the Canadian Forces and amalgamation of similar trades from the three separate services there was a trade called "Observer" that was likely formed from the RCN's OMs/NAs and whatever RCAF trade did similar duty on its maritime patrol a/c. That Canadian Force's trade of "Observer" was renamed in the early 1980s to "Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator".

An interesting source for some of this info was the old RCN magazine "The Crowsnest". The attached image is from (a pdf of) the March 1956 issue that mentions ceasing observer training. In the April 1956 issue of "The Crowsnest" there is mention of Observer Course #10 being in progress.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Crowsnest March 1956.jpg (96.5 KB, 16 views)

Last edited by Blackadder1916; 03-11-15 at 06:53 AM.
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  #5  
Old 03-09-21, 03:25 PM
James E Buckland James E Buckland is offline
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Default RCN Observer training stops in 1956

It was Technology and the use of American Aircraft that used a Pilot and Copilot that eliminated the RCN Observer(Navigator Officer) in 1956.After WW2 copilots were handing the radio and technology like radar that eliminated the RCN Observer classification in 1956.It was the use of American produced Aircraft and Technology that eliminated the RCAF Radio Officer Classification after Unification in February 1968.
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Old 06-09-21, 01:13 AM
James E Buckland James E Buckland is offline
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Default Origins of RCN Tactical Coordinator & RCAF Tactical Air Navigator

When and what were RCN Tactical Coordinators used on the Sea King and Tracker? When did the RCAF start the RCAF Classification of Tactical Air Navigator on Lancaster and Neptune Aircraft? What were the origins of this former 1956 RCN deleted Classification of Observer that became Tactical Coordinator or Tactical Navigator on what became Maritime Command Aircraft?
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Old 06-09-21, 06:16 AM
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leigh kitchen leigh kitchen is online now
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Yes, I demand answers.
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Old 06-09-21, 06:30 AM
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leigh kitchen leigh kitchen is online now
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Sorry, I forgot to say "please".
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  #9  
Old 06-09-21, 01:39 PM
James E Buckland James E Buckland is offline
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Default Tac Nav and Tacc Coordinator

Hopefully someone knows about the RCN and RCAF Origins of the TAC Nav and TACCO and when they were first employed on the Tracker and Sea King in the RCN and the Lancaster and Neptune in the RCAF. Yes the RCN would have used Observer Mates as Helpers and the RCAF utilized the Radio Officer to drop Sonobouys etc on the Lanc.
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