Raymond Scott was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1932, and moved with his family to Toronto, Canada in 1948. After graduation from high school in 1950, he worked as a draftsman for a building surveyor. In 1951, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force due to the love of flying he developed while he was an Air Cadet in Ireland. After graduating as a Navigator in 1952, he navigated four missions to Korea during the Korean War until 1955. He stayed active in the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he recorded over 10,000 fight hours from 1952 to 1976. Following the Korean War, he continued working for the Canadian government as a systems analyst. His experiences during the Korean War affected him so that he began a habit of investing in Korean goods, in efforts to support the South Korean people.
From Pilot to Navigator
Raymond Scott recalls why he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1951. He explains his original position as an Air Cadet in Northern Ireland, and how that experience had an effect on his future. He discusses why he was changed from a Pilot to a Navigator, and the use of mathematics and drafting in navigating.
Treacherous Trips as a Navigator
Rayond Scott's job as a Navigator during the Korean War consisted of taking a trip to Japan about every three months to assist Pilots. He recalls that the most difficult flights were landing in and taking off from Shemya Air Force Base in Alaska. He recalls the encounters of difficulty due to the intense fog and high winds.
Flying in the Face of Danger
Raymond Scott had to endure very dangerous moments while being a Flight Navigator. He explains the challenges of having to plot charts around communist islands in the face of the challenges brought by fog, strong winds, and weapons firing across war zones. He recalls a story of how a plane crashed when it hit a cross wind.
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R: Raymond Scott. R-A-Y-M-O-N-D, Scott. S-C-O-T-T. Seventh of August, 1932.
I: And where were you born?
R: Belfast, Northern Ireland.
I: Belfast? And when did you come to Canada?
R: Nineteen forty-eight.
I: Nineteen forty-eight. Wow. Tell me about how, you born in Belfast, Northern
Ireland and then come to Canada. What is all about it?
R: Uh, my family came, you know. My parents and my brother and sister and I came over in ’48.
I: Uh huh. So it was a kind of emigration into Canada.
I: The whole family.
I: Nineteen forty-eight. And then what did you do?
R: Oh, I went to, uh, high school for two years.
I: Yeah. Where?
R: In Toronto.
So you graduate in 1950?
I: Um. And what did you do after that?
R: I was a survey draftsman for the Ontario government.
I: What do you mean by survey draftsman?
R: Well, when the, you’re laying out a building site, they send a surveyor
out, and he does the work in determining where it should go, and I was the draftsman who drew up the plans to show what he had found.
I: Oh. Were you trained to be like a surveyor?
I: Uh, okay.
I: And then you joined
R: And then, uh, in 1951, I joined the RCAF.
R: Well, in Ireland, I was, uh, an Air Cadet.
I: You mean Northern Ireland?
R: Yeah. And I, uh, went solo in a glider when I was about 46.
I: Oh, you were the pilot.
R: I was a pilot, yeah.
R: So that created an interest in the Air Force, and I joined the Air Force.
I: I see. When was it?
R: In ’52 I joined the Air Force.
I: No, you said ’51. Was it ’51?
R: Oh, sorry. Yeah, I graduate d in ’52.
I: Uh huh.
I: Graduate what?
R: As a navigator.
I: Didn’t you wanna become a pilot?
R: Well, they said that I was too smart to be a pilot.
I: Okay. I’ll take that.
R: No, I guess with my drafting experience, it sort of lent
towards, uh, the navigation aspect.
I: So tell me about what does navigator do.
R: He tells the pilot where to go.
I: So what kind of skill do you need?
R: Uh, mathematics, drafting.
I: Why do you need mathematics?
R: Well, your main method of navigation was, uh, Starshot, astroshots.
I: What is that?
R: Yeah. You take a, an
angle on the star, and it determines where you are.
I: Um hm. So you liked it?
R: Yeah, very good.
I: So what kind of aircraft did you fly?
R: Uh, I flew the Norstar which was on the Korean airlift.
I: Um hm.
R: And I flew, um, with the Royal Air Force on exchange on Britannias, and I flew on Boeing 707’s and Hercules 130’s.
I: So what is the kind of one team in Norstar as one team, how many pilots and how many different kinds of crews together and how many all of them?
R: There would be a pilot and a co-pilot
R: Yeah. And a flight engineer, a radio officer, and a navigator and a loadmaster who would look after the back of the aircraft.
I: Um hm.
R: and maybe a steward to look after passengers.
I: So about seven.
I: Um hm. So tell me how you become involved in the Korean War. What was your mission? What did you do, and tell me the details please.
R: Uh, the squadron I belonged to, 426 Squadron
I: Um hm.
R: was committed to the Korean Airlift. So being a member, I would take trips
I probably be two months, three months basis.
I: Um hm.
R: We’d go from, uh, LaChine
I: Can you point in the map?
R: Yeah. We’d go from Lachine to McChord Air Force Base
I: Um hm.
R: And then up to Elmendorf, Alaska to Shemya to Haneda in Japan
R: And then sometimes we’d come back through Wake Island
and, uh, Honolulu.
R: Back to Hickam, or to, um, McChord.
I: Yeah. So were you in Korea at all?
I: Not at all?
R: Not at all.
I: Not at all.
R: No. I flew for, um, on a trip, uh, I guess, I was on the squadron ’52 to ’55. So I guess I did about four trips to, uh, to Haneda.
I: Haneda, four trips.
What was the most difficult thing, thing in that service?
R: Well, it was, uh, this was the difficult place here cause it was Shemya.
I: Shemya. Everybody hates it.
R: It’s the only place in the world where you can get fog and 60 mph winds.
R: It’s, uh. And then this area. This was a long trip here.
I: How did, how did it take? How long did it take?
R: Ten hours.
I: Ten hours from Shemya.
I: Shemya to Haneda, hm.
R: Haneda, yeah. Then the bad guys were up here, the Russians.
R: So you had, you came quite close to [KUROWS].
I: Were there any encounters between Canadian and Russians?
R: No. But I remember one trip when I, uh, went into the weather briefing,
and the Americans used to send the, uh, B29 up here to collect the weather for us to
R: do the ocean trip.
I: Um hm.
R: And you could see the marks where the winds were coming in. And then there’s an x where the Russians had shot the aircraft down the day before we. So that trip the, uh, pilot
said, you know, where are we, and I said well South of Track.
I: Um hm.
R: I figured if the Migs come out of there, they, they better have a lot of fuel to, to find where I am
R: because I’m, I’m down here.
I: What is the equipment and the machine that tells you where you were at the time? How did you know where you were? In your brain?
R: You plot. You, you take a, you carry a, a plot on a chart
and that, you feed into that plot the information. It may be, uh, Laran, long range, um, it may, mostly Starshots or astronomical observations. You would take three, and that would give you a, uh, position.
R: And then when you get close in shore, you would, radio beacons were. We also used a
thing called pressure pattern which was a differentiation between the, um, radar altitude and the pressure altitude on the, uh, altimeter.
R: Quite, uh, quite effective but not particularly accurate.
I: Were you good?
R: Yeah, very good.
I: So never been lost?
I: Okay, good.
R: Not that you’d admit anyway. You would say man is not lost, he’s just unsure of his position.
I: Okay, okay. Got it. Um, anything you remember, the episode, danger, dangerous moments, anything like that?
R: Well, the trip I did in here
R: I, uh, the pilot was a real, very good pilot. He got back to
Montreal, and someone went sick and he took the next trip. And on next trip, he crashed in Shemya.
I: Oh. Crashed it like, I mean, because of the wind?
R: Broke the nose off.
I: Yeah. I got this picture from Champeau
I: No, no, no, no, no, Sutton
I: Mr. Sutton.
R: Yeah. That, uh, actually it was interesting
on that trip because, uh,
I was very particular about fastening my seat belt and all those steps, especially on bad weather.
I: Um hm.
R: And the guy that was on that, the navigator was careless
I: You know, you knew him?
R: Yeah, I knew him, yeah. I can’t remember his name.
I: Could you hold it and show it to the camera?
R: And he, uh,
I: Show it to the camera please.
I: That was the plane that
R: crashed. The pilot was Chris Herr. He was a very good pilot. But it wasn’t his fault. Like a wind, crosswind hit him.
R: It just blew it off the runway which was a horrendous wind.
I: And everybody was killed there?
R: No one was injured.
I: No one injured.
R: No. The, uh, the navigator there, uh, was lucky. He, uh, got
thrown out of a seat
and he phased aft, towards the back, and the radar sent him through the back of his seat. So, he came forward. So he was lucky to, uh,
I: Very lucky.
R: survive, yeah. But no one was injured, a few bruises and shook up but, uh,
I: That’s it.
R: But like all those things, the pilot was blamed. So
it wasn’t really his fault. But that happens.
I: We need scapegoat.
R: Oh yeah.
R: And you had a thing called Pilot Error when they don’t know what the cause was. They call it Pilot Error.
I: Yeah. So when did you finish your duty as a navigator?
R: Uh, 1976,
I: Oh. You stayed long there.
R: Yeah I had about 10,000 hours flying.
R: Quite a long time.
I: Hm. And then what did you do after you retired from Air Force?
R: Well, I continued working for the government as a Systems Analyst designing compute r systems.
I: Designing computer system
I: for navigation?
R: The operation, they, how, how to use them in a, uh, in any organization.
I: Um hm. Can you share some secret?
R: Well, the, uh,
any organization has a mechanical, or used to have written diaries, written down. Whereas a computer can make it sim, simplified.
I: Um hm.
R: And, uh, so we would determine if it was worthwhile putting it in, and if it would go in how it would be used to, to be used for inventory.
It can be used for maps, yeah. Well, one of the interesting things about Korea is the, uh, one of the largest Presbyterian churches in the world is Korea.
R: So we, in Canada, know quite a few Koreans who attend our church or their own Korean church. So we have an infinity to, uh, to
them that way. And, of course, their, uh, they make such good stuff that, uh, one of my hobbies is flying a remote model aircraft, you know, a radio controlled
R: and I use Korean equipment in that.
R: because it’s probably the best.
I: What is the brand name?
R: High Tech.
I: High Tech?
I: Do you have a Korean car?
I: That’s the next item you need to buy.
I: Okay? How about tv?
R: I got a Korean tv.
I: Samsung or LG?
I: LG. Good.
R: Got a Samsung phone.
I: Samsung phone. Any other message for young children in Canada or any message to the Korean people out of your service?
R: Well, I’m just happy that it worked out so well, that, uh, everybody
made a small contribution, and they were able to, uh, become independent, democratic and, uh, very, very successful. So, I would say, uh, children, think of the, uh, military as a career or as a train, early training even for a couple of years. It gives you a lot of, uh, courage and dedication to
getting things done.
I: And becoming very successful businessman like you out of navigator career, right?
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