Film: 987

War + Military | 1940 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

RAF Safety Flashes during World War Two

A man driving a small tractor looks back at the camera. A propellor powered air craft swoops in to land. A more distant shot across a landing strip as the aeroplane comes down, the tractor moves across the frame on the ground before we see actual touch down. The landed aeorplane moves swiftly past and we glimps the pilot in the cockpit and the circular lettering on either side of the target on its side -P - A ? Close-up of a mans hands violently turning a steering wheel on a moving vehicle. A brief glimps of tractor tires and a disorientating view of the ground.
A smart gentleman looks out of a window through a pair of binoculars, we get a clear view of the four stripes of his military rank on his sleeve, he lowers them and turns looking worried, he rubs his chin. A new shot of the group captain as he turns to address the room, we see more of his uniform with its R.A.F wings badge. "Yes, what a fantastic effort, and as usual there's more to this than meets the eye - four separate [?] movements were responsible for that display, lets look into one of them now." Two younger men in lower rank uniforms sit next to each other at a table and look at each other, one of them asks the other to order a smoke signal be laid and the other picks up a telephone. At the receiving end - two men sitting and one standing around a table, one of them picks up the phone. Cuts back to the caller "…smoke signal on the signal square…" Back to the reciever - "Smoke signal? Jolly well" and he hangs up the phone, stumping out his cigarette as he does so, he retrieves a cannister from a cupboard and leaves the other two men. The same man appears out of an exterior door of the building and walks towards open ground. A closer shot sees him put the cannister on the ground, kneel down next to it and detonate the contents, he walks away. A distant shot of an aircraft coming in to land over a row of trees, a chequered airhanger can be seen in the foreground. A man indoors looks through binoculars out of a window. A different view of the same plane as it approaches the air strip. The man observing the exercise says "What does the damn fool think he's doing?" The cannister on the ground has stopped smoking. The same tractor driver moves slowly down the runway pulling something behind, not looking where he's going. The aircraft comes into land over the landing strip and the same accident occurs, we see the tractor move into frame in the way of the plane. The group captain "Yes, he is undoubtedly to blame." Cut off mid sentence.

Three large loud speakers mounted on a pole project the words "Attention please! Attention! Calling all ground crew…" A young man stands in an airfield next to a plane, a truck drives up to him and he dismisses the driver - "No no! She's only done three circuits" - writes something on a pad and the truck driver departs. We see the back of a crew member's head as he sits inside the cockpit. Close-up of the control panel and fuel dials looking low. He calls out to his colleague on the ground, we see both of the men in shot, one looking down on the other from inside the plane. He raises concerns about the low fuel readings and reminds him about other empty tanks. His mate rudely dismisses him - "I don't care…" A close-up of the chart on which he records the fuel, oil and coolant levels as he writes 'full' under coolant when we know he's lying. Another man approaches him and looks at the chart while a pilot comes up to them ready to fly. "Ok for fuel sergent?" The uniformed man has his bag taken off him by one of the men and he signs the chart given to him by another.
Shot of the plane as it takes off. View of the aircraft from the side in the sky, we can see its markings 'JE [target] M'. The pilot in the cockpit looks down. Close-up of the dials which show the fuel tanks are nearly empty. Shot of the pilot through the cockpit glass. A distant view of the plane and the patchwork landscape of fields below. A brief view of the pilot. The plane decending rapidly, it crashes out of site on the otherside of a grassy hill, smoke and flames emanating from the crash site.
A military ambulance rushes to the scene, moving quickly past the camera, its crosses clearly visible. An American narrator starts speaking " The [?] ambulance, and YOU are responsible for it sergent 'know-all' the man who just couldn't be bothered." A distant view of the ambulance and emergency truck on the horizon, fade out.
The loud speakers "Attention! Calling all ground crew." An aircraft starts to make its way down the runway, propellor spinning. A view of the wheel, the narrator speaks "A flat tyre, a small thing in itself, but to us, enemy of air crew..." Two crewmen wave enthusiastically as the plane taxis by them, desperately trying to warn the driver of the problem - "…difficult to detect but deadly.." One of the men runs off to notify someone else via phone - "..ahh bright lad, thank God they've seen it…" The crew member successfully warns a member of ground control. A shot of the flat tyre stll in motion. Three men seated by a window in the control tower, one of them radios the pilot and informs him of the flat tyre. Shot of the pilot. The plane pulls over to await assistance. "…A very small thing, but tyre failures have been responsible for more fatal accidents than any other single cause, the remedy is constant inspection and prompt action by all concerned."


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