Gerald Riley "Kieth" Jackson Worked in the Bombsight/AFCE (Automatic Flight Control Equipment) section. He was the ranking NCO in charge along with T/Sergeant Vernon Haukie. The two of them worked very closely beginning at Wendover, Utah and shortly after their arrival in England where they modified the AFCE in their lead planes. They installed a separate elevator control, actually a small stick, so the copilot could control elevation from an upright position, instead of bent over reaching for the elevator control nob on the AFCE control panel. This elevator stick lead to the development by the Honeywell Company of the Formation Stick installed on all B-17s in 1944-45.
In the spring of 1943 T/Sergeant Haukie and Jackson converted the British Bomb Trainer to use the Nordan Bombsight after several teams from the US representing Bendix, Norden and others were unsuccessful in their efforts to convert it use the Norden Bombsight. The British Bomb Trainer projected on actual picture of a proposed target for bombing on a floor of a dark room about 10' below the bombsight. The picture traversed under the projection lens making the image on the floor appear as if you were flying over it.
The problem with using the Norden Bombsight stemmed from the use of the gyros used to stabilize the sight. As the two men were in one of the first classes in the wartime Bombsight school at Lowery Field they were aware of the mechanical follow-up systems used on the original AFCE's. They rigged up a mechanical system using a forgotten precision motor located in the base of the horizontal stabilizer of the Bombsight to turn the sight as directed by the bombsight and Bombardier on its horizontal basis.
They later modified the trainer using electronic equipment instead of mechanical follow-up. This innovation lead to its adoption by all of the 8th AF in England and the lead crews could actually make a bomb run of the actual target before they left England.
Both men were decorated with the Bronze Star for their achievement. The two men later converted the Link Trainer to use the AFCE enabling the pilots to practice setting up for bomb runs.
Units served with
Constituted as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Mar 1942. Trained for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF Eighth Air Force in September 1942 Station 111 Thurleigh. During combat,...
Military site : airfield
Built for RAF use in 1941-42, Thurleigh was initially used by RAF Bomber Command before being handed over to the Eighth Air Force. Its runways and hardstandings were improved, and the B-17s of the 306th Bomb Group began using the base. It was their...
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