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View Full Version : P-51D and P-47N, a pilots impressions.



Slickun
02-18-2005, 07:52 PM
As promised, some reminisces from my Dad, who flew both.

Dad flew the P-47N during WW2. The war ended before he took it into combat, but he flew many, many mock dogfights with USN and USMC pilots during his unit's train-up.

His unit would fly training missions from Dover Delaware down the East coast of the US. The missions would last for many hours. Dad said the N had "gas everywhere". On takeoff the guys would burn almost all the fuel in a belly "slipper" tank, and jettison it in a designated spot in the Atlantic. They would still have the wing and fuselage tanks, as well as the huge drop tanks. They'd go on these looong flights down the coast, turn around and come back.

On the return leg they would pass near USMC and USN bases, and they would engage in mock dogfights with the F4-U and F6-F guys.

Dad had a lot of respect for the Corsair, if it was a -4. He said you could tell immdeiately because it did everything so much better than the earlier versions. Against the -4's Dad says above 15,000 feet the Jug ruled, below that Corsair had the edge. The higher you went the better the Jug did. Dad also makes no bones about it, the -4's could outturn them. He got into many Luffberry's with the Corsairs and never could "outpull" them. The Jug had nasty stall characteristics, but gave a LOT of warning as you got critical.

But, as Pop always said, the Luffberry's were for fun. I asked him once about getting into a turn fight in the P-47 and he cocked an eye at me and said "Why would you?" A very succinct answer that encompases the gist of aerial combat....maximise what you do best, avoid the other guy's envelope.

When he was serious he never turned enough to get into a lower energy state than his opponent. I asked him what he'd do if he was overrunning another plane and without hesitation he said "go vertical." He felt if he entered a fight with more speed he was unbeatable.

The -4's would employ a tactic against P-47D models that Pop's unit also had....they would let you get onto their tail, bank, and reef into a turn. As speed bled they would go vertical and outzoom the D model Jug. Very frustrating to Dad.

In the N model, the Jug not only outrolled the -4, but also out zoomed it. Dad said they would wave bye bye as they went past. The Corsair pilots would wave back with one finger. A good illustration of superior roll and zoom the N had over the D T-Bolt.

Dad said the N was a better plane than the D. More maneuverable (to my Dad that meant roll rate, acceleration, rudder authority, lightness on the controls more than Luffberry or sustained turn ability), faster at high altitudes, better zoom climb. He said the D sustained a climb MUCH better, but that didn't matter.

Pop looks at the Hellcat with disdain. He felt it was little better than a training plane. In his world, performance meant everything, and as we all know the Hellcat was, by wars end, a slow fighter compared to other US types. He felt he could smoke one at any altitude. I asked if he could outturn one and he shrugged. "What did that matter?"

Dad also flew the Mustang after the war when stationed in Japan. He loved his Jug, he truly did, but is blunt in saying the Mustang was a better plane.

We once went down the list of attributes one would want in a fighter. He'd say which plane, the P-47D or P-51, was better at each one. He answered "Mustang" to almost every one. The N went a bit farther, and was a bit faster at high altitudes, and he felt the 8 .50's was substantially better than 6.

Otherwise the Pony outrolled, outturned, out accelerated, out climbed, and outdove the Jug. I pressed him on the dive, and he said the Pony picked up speed so fast in a dive, it would get a big lead. After awhile the Jug would SLOOWLY walk up on it. Then the ground was coming up, and the Pony pulled out more quickly, and was much more controllable at those very very high speeds.

He did say that one put the nose of the P-47 down at full power and you KNEW you were going to be able to pull out. Total confidence. The Pony never gave you that feeling.

At about 25000 feet Dad says the two began to be very similar in speed. At about 30,000 feet the Jug was better. But, he said with the Mustang "you still had an airplane". He felt the P-47 ruled the skies above 30,000 feet.

Dad said flying the Pony was so much fun because at high speeds you were still very maneuverable, still able to joyride. Throw the stick over at 400 IAS and your head hit the opposite side of the canopy.

The P-47 was a "cadillac", all sorts of pilot comforts and such, very roomy. The P-51 was the "Spam Can" that you squeezed into. He said you "wore" the airplane. Wear gloves, or you cut your fingers on the unfinished metal surfaces. Actually a bit more leg room in the Mustang, but Dad was 5'11" and both had room for him to stretch out.

Dad said the K-14 was awesome. When you had it set right, the bullets went where the sight said they would. As you flew along, you would be fiddling with the K-14, the throttle, and the trim and flaps settings with your left hand. After awhile, you didn't think about it.

Dad said some guys used combat flaps in the Mustang, some guys never did. He did say that they made a big difference.

On a personal note, I've never seen any data on the effects of 10 degrees of combat flaps on the Mustang's turn performance. All our arguments assume a clean wing, yet the 10 degree setting was put in expressly to improve turning. Dad said that if you flew along with them down they had a fairly big performance hit, but you didn't do that. You'd use them judiciously, popping them down at that right moment when you needed to pull another 1/2 G, get the shot, and pop them back up. He said they went up and down with almost no delay. Anyway. We do arguments, discover that such and such a plane had a small advantage over the Pony in wing or power loading, and declare a winner. There is a huge, yawning chasm out there....how much DID the 10 degree flap setting help? My guess is that very often it DID get that P-51 pilot over the hump. I've never seen any data, just pilot's reports.

I asked Pop which plane had the best visibility. He said the Mustang had the best visibility of any prop plane he ever sat in. Easily.

All my Dad's opinion, fellas. Hellcat fans, remember this is a typical AAF pilot talking, and my Dad had his share of fighter pilot elan and ego. Take it with how many grains of salt you wish.

Slickun
02-18-2005, 07:52 PM
As promised, some reminisces from my Dad, who flew both.

Dad flew the P-47N during WW2. The war ended before he took it into combat, but he flew many, many mock dogfights with USN and USMC pilots during his unit's train-up.

His unit would fly training missions from Dover Delaware down the East coast of the US. The missions would last for many hours. Dad said the N had "gas everywhere". On takeoff the guys would burn almost all the fuel in a belly "slipper" tank, and jettison it in a designated spot in the Atlantic. They would still have the wing and fuselage tanks, as well as the huge drop tanks. They'd go on these looong flights down the coast, turn around and come back.

On the return leg they would pass near USMC and USN bases, and they would engage in mock dogfights with the F4-U and F6-F guys.

Dad had a lot of respect for the Corsair, if it was a -4. He said you could tell immdeiately because it did everything so much better than the earlier versions. Against the -4's Dad says above 15,000 feet the Jug ruled, below that Corsair had the edge. The higher you went the better the Jug did. Dad also makes no bones about it, the -4's could outturn them. He got into many Luffberry's with the Corsairs and never could "outpull" them. The Jug had nasty stall characteristics, but gave a LOT of warning as you got critical.

But, as Pop always said, the Luffberry's were for fun. I asked him once about getting into a turn fight in the P-47 and he cocked an eye at me and said "Why would you?" A very succinct answer that encompases the gist of aerial combat....maximise what you do best, avoid the other guy's envelope.

When he was serious he never turned enough to get into a lower energy state than his opponent. I asked him what he'd do if he was overrunning another plane and without hesitation he said "go vertical." He felt if he entered a fight with more speed he was unbeatable.

The -4's would employ a tactic against P-47D models that Pop's unit also had....they would let you get onto their tail, bank, and reef into a turn. As speed bled they would go vertical and outzoom the D model Jug. Very frustrating to Dad.

In the N model, the Jug not only outrolled the -4, but also out zoomed it. Dad said they would wave bye bye as they went past. The Corsair pilots would wave back with one finger. A good illustration of superior roll and zoom the N had over the D T-Bolt.

Dad said the N was a better plane than the D. More maneuverable (to my Dad that meant roll rate, acceleration, rudder authority, lightness on the controls more than Luffberry or sustained turn ability), faster at high altitudes, better zoom climb. He said the D sustained a climb MUCH better, but that didn't matter.

Pop looks at the Hellcat with disdain. He felt it was little better than a training plane. In his world, performance meant everything, and as we all know the Hellcat was, by wars end, a slow fighter compared to other US types. He felt he could smoke one at any altitude. I asked if he could outturn one and he shrugged. "What did that matter?"

Dad also flew the Mustang after the war when stationed in Japan. He loved his Jug, he truly did, but is blunt in saying the Mustang was a better plane.

We once went down the list of attributes one would want in a fighter. He'd say which plane, the P-47D or P-51, was better at each one. He answered "Mustang" to almost every one. The N went a bit farther, and was a bit faster at high altitudes, and he felt the 8 .50's was substantially better than 6.

Otherwise the Pony outrolled, outturned, out accelerated, out climbed, and outdove the Jug. I pressed him on the dive, and he said the Pony picked up speed so fast in a dive, it would get a big lead. After awhile the Jug would SLOOWLY walk up on it. Then the ground was coming up, and the Pony pulled out more quickly, and was much more controllable at those very very high speeds.

He did say that one put the nose of the P-47 down at full power and you KNEW you were going to be able to pull out. Total confidence. The Pony never gave you that feeling.

At about 25000 feet Dad says the two began to be very similar in speed. At about 30,000 feet the Jug was better. But, he said with the Mustang "you still had an airplane". He felt the P-47 ruled the skies above 30,000 feet.

Dad said flying the Pony was so much fun because at high speeds you were still very maneuverable, still able to joyride. Throw the stick over at 400 IAS and your head hit the opposite side of the canopy.

The P-47 was a "cadillac", all sorts of pilot comforts and such, very roomy. The P-51 was the "Spam Can" that you squeezed into. He said you "wore" the airplane. Wear gloves, or you cut your fingers on the unfinished metal surfaces. Actually a bit more leg room in the Mustang, but Dad was 5'11" and both had room for him to stretch out.

Dad said the K-14 was awesome. When you had it set right, the bullets went where the sight said they would. As you flew along, you would be fiddling with the K-14, the throttle, and the trim and flaps settings with your left hand. After awhile, you didn't think about it.

Dad said some guys used combat flaps in the Mustang, some guys never did. He did say that they made a big difference.

On a personal note, I've never seen any data on the effects of 10 degrees of combat flaps on the Mustang's turn performance. All our arguments assume a clean wing, yet the 10 degree setting was put in expressly to improve turning. Dad said that if you flew along with them down they had a fairly big performance hit, but you didn't do that. You'd use them judiciously, popping them down at that right moment when you needed to pull another 1/2 G, get the shot, and pop them back up. He said they went up and down with almost no delay. Anyway. We do arguments, discover that such and such a plane had a small advantage over the Pony in wing or power loading, and declare a winner. There is a huge, yawning chasm out there....how much DID the 10 degree flap setting help? My guess is that very often it DID get that P-51 pilot over the hump. I've never seen any data, just pilot's reports.

I asked Pop which plane had the best visibility. He said the Mustang had the best visibility of any prop plane he ever sat in. Easily.

All my Dad's opinion, fellas. Hellcat fans, remember this is a typical AAF pilot talking, and my Dad had his share of fighter pilot elan and ego. Take it with how many grains of salt you wish.

Cajun76
02-18-2005, 08:06 PM
Thank you VERY much Slickun. Great stuff and I'm glad you took the time to post it. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif



Just to reiterate, these are <span class="ev_code_YELLOW">pilot impressions</span> . No need to flame or argue in this thread....

Slickun
02-18-2005, 08:09 PM
Amen. Mix in 84 years old, 30 years of flying to dilute memories, stir in an active pilots ego, and spread thickly. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I enjoyed posting it.

Owlsphone
02-18-2005, 09:02 PM
I don't mean to sound selfish or anything, but please post more. It's not every day that we get to hear a real pilot's impressions.

Great post Slickun. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

AlmightyTallest
02-18-2005, 09:23 PM
A great read Slickun!! If your father would be willing to share more of his experiences I think a lot of us would like to hear more of them http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

By the way, did he ever hear the stories of P-47's using their .50's to strafe tanks during the war? A whole can of worms I know from other forum posts lol, but just wondering if they were familliar about such things during or just after the war with their aircraft in that kind of situation.

Cajun76
02-18-2005, 10:57 PM
Slickuns father recently passed away, AT. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

A Pilot Passes (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums?a=tpc&s=400102&f=23110283&m=1421092182&r=3111091282#3111091282)

Bearcat99
02-18-2005, 11:12 PM
Excellent read... Slickun... as a tribute to your father and to you I have made the notice of his passing a sticky for a few days. I hope you dont mind. If you do then I will remove it.

~S~

AlmightyTallest
02-19-2005, 09:24 AM
I'm so sorry Slikun, I didn't get a chance to see the notice about your father.

p1ngu666
02-19-2005, 09:31 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

LStarosta
02-19-2005, 09:56 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>In the N model, the Jug not only outrolled the [F4U-4], but also out zoomed it. Dad said they would wave bye bye as they went past. The Corsair pilots would wave back with one finger. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

LOL!

han freak solo
02-19-2005, 10:30 AM
More, more, more!! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

TAGERT.
02-19-2005, 10:40 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Slickun:
As promised, some reminisces from my Dad, who flew both. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Let me begin with saying sorry to hear about your dad passing away. As for the story.. WOW! That was a good read! Very interesting stuff! Only down side is it really makes me disapointed that we wont have the F4u-4 and the P47M in this game. S! To you and your dad!

Blackdog5555
02-19-2005, 11:42 AM
Thanks, very nice post. very informative. Nice Dad too!

RedNeckerson
02-19-2005, 12:04 PM
Hi Slickun,

You may remember me from the "old days" as FW190fan.

First off, let me say that I'm very sorry for the loss of your father. I always remember the great personal experiences that you shared with us from his flying days.

I remember his picture too.

We appreciate these experiences very much and hope you share more.

Thanks Slickun, and here's to your dad.

Diablo310th
02-19-2005, 01:35 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Owlsphone:
I don't mean to sound selfish or anything, but please post more. It's not every day that we get to hear a real pilot's impressions.

Great post Slickun. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/351.gif Thanks a ton Slickun. Really appreciated this. Sorry to hear about your dad.. ~S~ to him.

Slickun
02-19-2005, 02:30 PM
Dad was familiar with the claim that you could take out a tank by shooting ricochets up into the underbelly. He never did it, but I think he believed it to be true based on things he'd heard. I think it was "common knowledge" amongst AAF pilots it was possible. We were discussing what he'd do in a B-26 if he saw a tank. He said it was really hard to hit one with a bomb in level bombing, but the big rockets they sometimes had available would do it.

He did say that strafing a tank with all the .50's that a Korean War B-26 could bring to bear (18 or more in the solid nosed versions) would result in a mission kill. In other words, all the sighting mechanisms and most external equipment would be taken out.

Bearcat99, leave it up as long as you want. Appreciate it. Anybody that reads this that didn't see the notice, don't think twice about it...I knew it would probably happen...we can't read everything that goes up.

FW190fan, how ya doin? Great to hear from ya again.

I'm in a posting mood today, and will probably put up another post.

AlmightyTallest
02-19-2005, 03:23 PM
Thanks for that info Slickun, interesting that they were all familiar with that tactic. As well, interesting that it may not destory the tank, but for all intents and purposes the tank would still be out of comission and reduced in it's combat effectiveness if it still pushed on.

Again, facinating stuff, thanks for posting this info Slickun, we'd like to hear more about your dad in future posts. Sounds like he had many an interesting tale to tell. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

himura108
02-19-2005, 03:42 PM
S and thanks for the great read, i usually skip the long ones but this one is exceptional.