Flying the B-314
Nigel Sutcliffe

I was a Pan Am flight engineer on the 314 out of La Guardia 1940-1943 and was steered to Stefan Schaefer in Jan 2002. You are far advanced in your operation than I am. Answers to your questions; The 314 was serviced at its La Guardia base by, mechanics AND the flight engineers who were to fly on it the next day. Test flights were very common to swing the compass, calibrate airspeed, R/C,Altimeters, Manifold press. etc. The inspections were accomplished then. On the line, inspections were from the top of the wings. The nacelles had doors from which you could see some of the back of the engine. This door and an extension was accessed from a crawlway inside the wing. If you were real brave, you could crawl on the prop and spinner. We routinely inspected the 314 every 2 hours during flight, including the space over the cabin, and through passenger windows, the outside of the engines. We continued this through the 747. There was no hesitation to go through the cabin to see the outside through a passenger window. I have been able to make hands off TO and LDG by emptying all fuel except 10% in the center tank. 10% flap, 50% uptrim, beaching gear-off, in 15 seconds. Landings require a slight flare. I fly from behind the 314. My peripheral vision is very important to me. The real 314 had a center or wing tank in each wing. On arrival or departure, a pilot would lasso a loop of floating line and use the bow post. The rear attachment was accessed by a rowboat.