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Thread: USe of enemy aircraft?

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    Default USe of enemy aircraft?

    Supposedly German airmen flying Allied aircraft-such as the P-47-complained the cockpit was too large. Allied airmen flying German aircraft--such as the Me-109complained the cockpit was too cramped. What did RAF pilots think of the Me-109 and the FW-190?

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    Hi
    Try and get a look at a book "Wings of the Luftwaffe" by Capt Eric Brown. Although RN he was one of a team of test pilots that both during and after the war flew as many of the Enemy a/c as were available including the jets. There are pretty comprehensive reports on 17 types including the 2 that you mention.
    The book is a softback ISBN I 85310 413 2 and was published by Airlife Publishing Ltd
    Regards
    Dick

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    I think that EVERY pilot who was given the chance to sit in (or actually fly) a P-47 commented that the cockpit seemed to be excessively commodious, particularly if they had previously flown Spitfires! The cockpit of the P-40 was also considered to be large and comfortable compared to a Spitfire. The framers and writers of the original specifications issued by various air forces were usually blamed for the comfort (or lack of it) in various aircraft types, usually because they often put high performance capability (along with other characteristics which placed high demands on range capability, ceiling, landing and take off performance, additional equipment), but it was then up to the actual designer to interpret the specification and translate it into a working aircraft capable of meeting the performance required. Often the comfort of the occupants was sacrificed to an extent in the final design, and it could take quite a major redesign of the airframe at a later date to enlarge the "living spaces" in an aircraft considered to be too cramped. Usually however this was much too difficult and the unfortunate occupants just had to learn to live with it. More often it was poorly arranged controls and the like rather than space itself, but many fighters later in the war had redesigned canopies to improve the pilots ability to have all round vision.
    David D

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    Default P-47's

    Can't remember where it came from now but I'm sure I recall reading the comment once along the lines that: 'If ever you got bored flying a P-47 Thunderbolt, you could always go for an invigorating run around the joystick'.

    :-)


    The other comments I recall was about the low hood of the Me 109 (unlike the Spitfire with its slightly bulged hood) and the obstructions to vision caused by the framework.

    Ian

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    I think the P-47 wound up with a large fuselage cross section because of the large radial engine, and the decision to place the turbo charger behind the cockpit, with large air ducts running to and from the engine. Once you had the large fuselage, you might as well use the volume.

    The "jogging around the stick" comment reminds of Roger Bacon's comment about the Gannet: an aircraft designed for naval aviators who prefer to fly standing up.

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    I have discussed the issue with a not very short RAF pilot. According to him, Typhoon cockpit was not as cramped as it seemed for me, and that Thunderbolt was really roomy. He did not complain too much about lack of comfort, but I know the issue from other pilots. I would say that British fighters were user unfriendly for no apparent reason. Such things like cockpit floor or well fitted canopy do not add too much to weight or cost, but improve the comfort greatly. I do not mention servicing which often required more than one elbow in an arm. Definetelly, poor engineering.

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    Franek's arguement continues on to today in aircraft design. There is no easy answer, but I have to stick up for the engineers a bit ;).

    The design task is a series of compromises. Often, compromising means pissing off everybody a little bit, but trying to minimize the total discomfort.

    I have heard the mechanic's plea for an extra elbow many, many times. The small size and tight fit of many military aircraft, from the Great War to today, results from the designer (and the customer) placing an emphasis on performance. The designer has to decide between upsetting the mechanic daily, and upsetting the pilot in the occasional combat situation. When it seems like most of the enemy air force is behind you and shooting, would you feel better knowing that the designer gave up 5 knots, or even 1 knot, to make a mechanic's life easier?

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    You are correct in general, but I cannot agree with some points. Such factors like time of maintenance or quality of maintenance are very important. Having some experience with cars and somewhat participating in service of a Spitfire, I would say that some features of the latter were just senseless. It was not question of a compromise, but rather an approach. Modification of shape or position of opening does not affect performance, and cannot be considered as compromise. It is just a careless engineering approach. Check Fw 190 for what is considered perhaps the best engineering job of the period.

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