Pilot Protection in Single Seat Fighters (Full Version)

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witpqs -> Pilot Protection in Single Seat Fighters (1/23/2009 7:15:04 PM)

It seems clear that the US gave a high priority to protecting the pilot in single seat fighters. It's also clear that (at least for the most part) that had the luxury of having that alternative available.

So, if the US had been stuck with (essentially) the same engines that Japan had, then what choices do you think the US would have made in single seat fighter design re pilot protection?




m10bob -> RE: Pilot Protection in Single Seat Fighters (1/23/2009 8:09:33 PM)

Gee....dunno...even the Boeing P 26 had armor, as did the Hawk fighters before it.




witpqs -> RE: Pilot Protection in Single Seat Fighters (1/23/2009 8:40:59 PM)

I'm not suggesting that 'no armor' is the only option - although of course it is one option. I'm throwing out there the thought for discussion - if the US did not have better engines - what are the possible strategies it might have followed regarding pilot protection?

Same as Japan? Lots of protection with slower less maneuverable aircraft? Etc. I'm just curious what people think. I'm not sure what I would have done.




tocaff -> RE: Pilot Protection in Single Seat Fighters (1/23/2009 9:18:59 PM)

Better engines and higher octane gasoline.

Maybe pilot protection was a reflection of the cultural based differing views on the value of life.




khyberbill -> RE: Pilot Protection in Single Seat Fighters (1/23/2009 9:45:08 PM)

quote:

t
American pilots didnt have an overwhelming desire to crash their planes into enemy ships either. You are comparing apples to oranges. If American pilots didnt have armor in their planes, would they have cut off the heads of their captives?




Feinder -> RE: Pilot Protection in Single Seat Fighters (1/23/2009 9:53:21 PM)

I forget where I was reading it, but they were saying that, on the bridge of the Yamato, they would leave the portholes of the bridge open, so as to expose the bridge crew to similar risk as the gunners on deck, for the sake of Bushido.

I can't quote a source, other than it's something I've read in the last month or two.

I wouldn't say that Japan valued life any less.  So much that the US valued living, more.




wdolson -> RE: Pilot Protection in Single Seat Fighters (1/23/2009 11:11:24 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: witpqs

It seems clear that the US gave a high priority to protecting the pilot in single seat fighters. It's also clear that (at least for the most part) that had the luxury of having that alternative available.

So, if the US had been stuck with (essentially) the same engines that Japan had, then what choices do you think the US would have made in single seat fighter design re pilot protection?


The engine in the Zero, the Sakae series, was based on the P&W 1830 Twin Wasp. This was the same engine the F4F Wildcat had. So this is not a theoretical question.

All but one of the world's flying Zeros today have P&W 1830s in place of the original engine. The one flying on an original engine was the first one restored, which belongs to the Chino Planes of Fame Museum.

Before the war, the US led the world in radial engine design. This was driven by the civilian airliner market. The US also had the resources to boost the octane in aviation fuel as high as 140. Though 100 octane was most common. When existing engine designs were adapted to this high grade of fuel, they got much better performance.

Most Axis aircraft flew on 87 octane. The BMW 801 caused logistical problems because it required a minimum of 92 octane. The development of the Ju-88 was plagued by a tug of war with FW for engines. The higher performing Ju-88s used BMW-801s, but demands for Fw-190s required Junkers to use lower rated Jumo engines for most Ju-88s. This made the C series night fighters somewhat anemic.

The battles between F4F and Zeros in 1942 show what the design philosophies produced when using the same engines. The F4F was not as good as the fighters built around the P&W 2800, which was a scaled up 1830, but in the right hands it could hold its own against the Zero.

Bill




witpqs -> RE: Pilot Protection in Single Seat Fighters (1/24/2009 12:59:46 AM)

This is one of the things I love about this forum. Questions can elicit answers that were wholly unanticipated and provide a wealth of information that enriches your knowledge of the subject. [:)]




Barb -> RE: Pilot Protection in Single Seat Fighters (1/24/2009 11:06:09 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: khyberbill
American pilots didnt have an overwhelming desire to crash their planes into enemy ships either. You are comparing apples to oranges. If American pilots didnt have armor in their planes, would they have cut off the heads of their captives?


IMHO Japs viewed captured allied pilots as they viewed their own. If the pilot was captured in a brave fight, Japs will "offer" him a chance to die honorably. If not, they take him into POW camp where he would have bad time. In other words they viewed their enemies as they were viewing themselves.




mikemike -> RE: Pilot Protection in Single Seat Fighters (1/25/2009 11:07:10 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: wdolson


Before the war, the US led the world in radial engine design. This was driven by the civilian airliner market.

Bill


I'll agree with your statement if you limit it to engines in series production in 1939. By 1938/39, the following engines were running in prototype form:
Bristol Hercules, 1590 HP;
Bristol Centaurus, 2000 HP;
BMW 139, 1550 HP;
Bramo 324, 1560 HP;
Bramo 325, 2000 HP.

The Centaurus was largely ignored in the early years of the war. The BMW 139 was abandoned as the BMW 801 was more promising, and the Bramo engines were abandoned when the company was merged with BMW because Udet deemed it too small to be worth existing (the engineering talent thus acquired did the development of the BMW 801 a world of good).

This opens a number of intriguing alternate history possibilities: think the Typhoon powered by a Centaurus instead of the unreliable Napier Sabre (although a R-R Griffon-powered variant would have been more probable - the Hawker Tornado had actually been ordered); the Beaufighter with Centaurus engines (possible but far-fetched). On the other hand, imagine Ju 88s during the Battle of Britain being powered by 1500 HP or even 2000 HP engines instead of the 1200 HP Jumo 211 - they might actually have been faster than the Hurricane. No reason why those engines couldn't have been in series production by 1940.




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