View Full Version : WW2 P-38 airfield-approach / landing

01-01-2006, 05:20 AM

I often read stories of P-38 veterans who did have a special way of landing after mission return but it,s not clear to me how they did it.

It,s like buzzing the field, make a loop ( or an Immelman) http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a190/potver/uitsnede3.jpg and settle down nicely with just enough speed?


01-01-2006, 09:08 AM
flaps, gear, slam it down and kick the brakes all the way down the runway http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif

sorry im just kidding.

01-01-2006, 09:36 AM
Fighterpilots often used to show off in different ways, with displays or att takeoff or landing.
Sometimes people went to heaven.
I have quite a few related stories saved from many theatres.

Regarding the P-38 it could do a trick that no other US fighter could do, nor German I suppose.
It could pull contrails in a steep turn in slow speed almost until touchdown in a curved approach.

Other pilots tried it but failed. One p47 pilot almost killed himself trying to pull contrails but through a miracle survived in a hard setting and crashing through obstacles close to the airfield.
It was this pilot who told the story about the p38 and the contrails.

I have the story somewhere in my files.

01-01-2006, 09:51 AM
Not so mircale I would say.. crashing in a p47 while at very slow speed was probably safer than most things in war.

01-01-2006, 10:04 AM
We had an RAF Squadron Leader seconded to our unit who specialized in landing a T33 off either a loop or half cuban eight. He would dirty it up while inverted. Of course he eventually killed himself doing this.

01-01-2006, 10:21 AM
Thanks for your responds, I tried an immelman but had too much speed with the landing , only my wheels broke but my AC was written off.
Unfortunatehttp://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a190/potver/uitsnede3.jpg ly I was degraded to flight seargent and returned home to do the dishes on our home base.

01-01-2006, 10:31 AM
Use a side slip from the apex of the immelman to landing.

01-01-2006, 10:56 AM
I think the poster is referring to a break landing. Basically consists of a low level pass over runway about 100 meter above it. Just after over the threshold, the pilot performs a relatively quick 360 degree turn in which he reduces power, extends flaps, and deploys gear. It is supposed to reduce the approach and landing time although I am rather dubious of that considering executions I have seen of it online. If performed with a number of planes in line astern formation (the preferred time to use a break landing), the lead plane breaks nearer to the center of the runway and subsequent planes before that in order. The lead plane lands on the latter half of the runaway and the rest behind him in order. It is intended to land a number of planes quickly.

01-01-2006, 11:01 AM
I prefer a safe, 1000 foot left hand pattern in any plane.

01-01-2006, 11:57 AM

That comes close to what I,ve read, I don,t know if it was authorized by the CO but apparently they did it due to the tension of battle-flying and some became very experienced to the point of being reckless .( Don Gentile)http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a190/potver/uitsnede3.jpg

01-01-2006, 10:36 PM
Here's one reference to the break landing:


and a picture of modern aircraft utilizing a similar procedure


and here


My apologies. The procedure is most often referenced as "break for landing" and is performed from an echelon formation. If you Google "break for landing" you will find several hits for it.

01-02-2006, 03:56 AM
Thanks TacHyon1000,

Interesting read and try googling later on the subject.http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a190/potver/uitsnede3.jpg

01-02-2006, 05:07 AM
It's actually how I quickly land my 109 online: Zoom directly over the runway at around 450 km/h (at 30 meters hight) and when I'm on the end of it I count to ten, power to 15-20%, make a quick off center loop, drop gear and flaps at the top and sideslip back for the last couple of hundred feet. When the base is under attack by enemy aircraft, you need about 20-25 seconds of time to pull it off.

Wise people would say to disengage when the airbase isn't secure, but sometimes you have no choice (smoke contrails will get you killed you know, it's like flies on sh*t online...).

I have to admit that I went for the quick side-slip approach lately.....incredible quick loss of airspeed in combination with landing gear down and landing flaps.....

But to get back to topic: Yes, I remember reading about the contrail part with the P-38 landing after a quick short loop.


01-02-2006, 11:46 AM
Don Lopez, an ace with the 23rd FG in China, recorded in his book Into The Teeth of the Tiger that P-40 pilots who didn't make wingtip contrails on their breaks into the landing pattern were made usually fun of, and in some cases, threatened with reassignment to bombers.

A sharp turn is the most efficient way to kill your speed for landing. Using a loop to kill your speed is for guys who've cancelled their life insurance after catching their wives cheating...



01-02-2006, 04:32 PM
The problem is that sharp turns in landing configuration risk a deadly stall. In landing config/slow flight, any bank over 30 degrees and excessive force can cause drastic problems.