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View Full Version : Greatest U.S. fighter poll AKA what would you fly?



Freiwillige
10-23-2008, 02:09 AM
USAAC fighters were all good, Well mostly anyways.

Badsight-
10-23-2008, 02:13 AM
the Bearcat

http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/9247/f8fqc2.jpg

if i cant have a F8F , im not playing . unless i get a F7F instead

TinyTim
10-23-2008, 04:34 AM
Of course it depends on a mission... but I guess I'd go with the P-47 if forced to pick one.

Chris0382
10-23-2008, 05:04 AM
The P-47 can take the punishment and bring you back home. One German ace ran out of ammo because the P-47 took all the hits from his guns and the P-47 kept on going.

PhantomKira
10-23-2008, 09:20 AM
Lightning, because... Bong (40 kills) flew one (as did McGuire! [38 kills])

Seriously, I like the twin engines, though they aren't air cooled radials, which I prefer. Also the fact that all the guns are in line, so there's no convergence range for primary armament.

Mr_Zooly
10-23-2008, 10:57 AM
Not a big fan of US aircraft but I do quite like this..
http://i354.photobucket.com/albums/r422/Zooly_photo/300px-F7F-3P_Tigercat.jpg

I_KG100_Prien
10-23-2008, 12:54 PM
http://home.att.net/~historyzone/F3f-1.jpg

arjisme
10-23-2008, 01:23 PM
Considered the Lightening because of the two engines. Considered the Jug because it is so rugged it can absorb a ton of punishment. But went with the Mustang because it is fast. Speed is life. And besides, the Mustang won teh war and I want to be a winner. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

HayateAce
10-23-2008, 01:28 PM
Why, the greatest FIGHTER of all time, of course.

KATYDID

http://www.station131.co.uk/55th/images/Plane%20Photos/P-51D%2044-72227%20KatyDid%20CL-M.jpg

thefruitbat
10-23-2008, 02:20 PM
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y290/thefruitbat1/800px-SpitIntl_Illust3.jpg

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/59.gif

seriously though, despite the fact that the 47 and the 38 are good, and indeed better than the 51 at somethings, i'd want to fly the 51 for the USAF in WWII. Mainly for the simple fact that you wouldn't be flying until the start of '44, by which time other planes, including the 47 had done most of the hard work http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/crackwhip.gif

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y290/thefruitbat1/desktop-1.jpg

This was taken at Manston, kent, summer 07, and best of all, i got to sit in it, sweeeeeeet http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

fruitbat

iL2fan
10-23-2008, 03:10 PM
http://www.thunderace.org/images/BF109E4.jpg

HayateAce
10-23-2008, 03:13 PM
Bastid.

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/crackwhip.gif

So, following your theory: The butt-fugly hurricane did the heavy lifting in teh bOb and the Spittle scurried around looking cute? Hmmm, come to think of it, P47s began the first deep escorts into the west front, leaving the Spit behind.

Did the spit do ANYTHING in WW2?

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

Mr_Zooly
10-23-2008, 03:19 PM
hmm, I choose NOT to take the bait offered by HayateAce http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/34.gif
I will say though that the P38 was OK in the warmer climates but didnt like the temperate climes of Europe.

TgD Thunderbolt56
10-23-2008, 04:21 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v687/Thunderbolt56/13th_MM_P47D22_grab0033_cropped_800.jpg

jugs rule!

WTE_Galway
10-23-2008, 05:03 PM
Originally posted by HayateAce:
Bastid.

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/crackwhip.gif

So, following your theory: The butt-fugly hurricane did the heavy lifting in teh bOb and the Spittle scurried around looking cute? Hmmm, come to think of it, P47s began the first deep escorts into the west front, leaving the Spit behind.

Did the spit do ANYTHING in WW2?

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif


It looked very pretty in RAF recruitment posters http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

CUJO_1970
10-23-2008, 07:07 PM
That list would be easy for me to choose from...P-51 Mustang without even thinking about it.

None of the other aircraft on that list are even in the same class. P-47 is a distant second.

BillyTheKid_22
10-23-2008, 07:47 PM
P-51 and P-47!! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif



http://aviationartstore.com/images/photo_R.Johnson.jpg



http://www.centuryconcept.com/images/prints/old_crow_lg.jpg



http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

huggy87
10-24-2008, 04:27 AM
Originally posted by thefruitbat:
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y290/thefruitbat1/800px-SpitIntl_Illust3.jpg

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/59.gif

seriously though, despite the fact that the 47 and the 38 are good, and indeed better than the 51 at somethings, i'd want to fly the 51 for the USAF in WWII. Mainly for the simple fact that you wouldn't be flying until the start of '44, by which time other planes, including the 47 had done most of the hard work http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/crackwhip.gif

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y290/thefruitbat1/desktop-1.jpg

This was taken at Manston, kent, summer 07, and best of all, i got to sit in it, sweeeeeeet http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

fruitbat

Fruitbat. Ya know. Adobe reader is up to version 9.0. Update your stuff; sheesh. And is that a porn link... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

tagTaken2
10-24-2008, 04:56 AM
Mustang. A thoroughbred, and the English accent makes all the difference.

ImMoreBetter
10-24-2008, 06:18 AM
http://www.warbirdphotographs.com/LCBW5/FW190-A5-9s.jpg

But really, I'd take the P-47.

Low_Flyer_MkIX
10-24-2008, 07:01 AM
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y231/Low_Flyer/whirlwind-redtail_sig_wip.jpg

Or, for getting-you-home-ness, the Jug.

Chris0382
10-24-2008, 08:12 AM
If the squadran leader yelled "RUN-AWAY!!!!" Ide rather be in the P-51 but if we had to stay and fight, the P-47 is were Ide like to be.

Bremspropeller
10-24-2008, 08:26 AM
Jug in ETo.
P-38 in PTO.

F4U fer c00lness.

F8F fer performance and as a Fw 190 descendant.

b2spirita
10-24-2008, 08:31 AM
Id go with the 47, cause it would suck to take a radiator hit and go down. Plus its performance is right up there with the best.

Xiolablu3
10-24-2008, 08:40 AM
Originally posted by huggy87:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by thefruitbat:
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y290/thefruitbat1/800px-SpitIntl_Illust3.jpg

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/59.gif

seriously though, despite the fact that the 47 and the 38 are good, and indeed better than the 51 at somethings, i'd want to fly the 51 for the USAF in WWII. Mainly for the simple fact that you wouldn't be flying until the start of '44, by which time other planes, including the 47 had done most of the hard work http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/crackwhip.gif

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y290/thefruitbat1/desktop-1.jpg

This was taken at Manston, kent, summer 07, and best of all, i got to sit in it, sweeeeeeet http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

fruitbat

Fruitbat. Ya know. Adobe reader is up to version 9.0. Update your stuff; sheesh. And is that a porn link... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Tut-tut is that also a NOn genuine version of Windows XP I see?? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/crackwhip.gif

Raptor22ADF
10-24-2008, 10:30 AM
Originally posted by Badsight-:
the Bearcat

http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/9247/f8fqc2.jpg

if i cant have a F8F , im not playing . unless i get a F7F instead

Agreed, 'cept for the F7F part. I don't like twin-engined prop fighters.

JtD
10-24-2008, 10:56 AM
P-51 for everyone who wants to miss the war but not the glory, the other types for those who like it the other way round.

Aaron_GT
10-24-2008, 11:01 AM
Wot no P-61 (although to be fair it was used as a light night bomber more than it was night fighter in WW2 so an A- designation might have fitted better).

Marcel_Albert
10-24-2008, 12:02 PM
P-47 for me http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Great engine , reliable ,tough , good speed , nice range , nice armament .. good ground pounder .. In real life with proper doctrines and disciplined comrades around you , was one of the safest rides IMHO

msalama
10-24-2008, 12:05 PM
A Yak-3 for me please.

(runs for cover)

thefruitbat
10-24-2008, 12:06 PM
Originally posted by Xiolablu3:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by huggy87:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by thefruitbat:
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y290/thefruitbat1/800px-SpitIntl_Illust3.jpg

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/59.gif

seriously though, despite the fact that the 47 and the 38 are good, and indeed better than the 51 at somethings, i'd want to fly the 51 for the USAF in WWII. Mainly for the simple fact that you wouldn't be flying until the start of '44, by which time other planes, including the 47 had done most of the hard work http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/crackwhip.gif

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y290/thefruitbat1/desktop-1.jpg

This was taken at Manston, kent, summer 07, and best of all, i got to sit in it, sweeeeeeet http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

fruitbat

Fruitbat. Ya know. Adobe reader is up to version 9.0. Update your stuff; sheesh. And is that a porn link... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Tut-tut is that also a NOn genuine version of Windows XP I see?? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/crackwhip.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

That was a quick install on a mates comp, with a spare harddrive i had after my comp blew up last year. I hadn't activated windows at that point, nor did i care about up to date software, save il2, as it was temporary for a couple of months, until i got my new comp.

so there.

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/halo.gif

not sure about the link though http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

fruitbat

HayateAce
10-24-2008, 01:53 PM
Originally posted by msalama:
A Yak-3 for me please.

(runs for cover)

You wouldn't be able to run for cover vs a Mustang. If the P51 knows anything, the fight and speed will be kept high and the Yak never stands a chance. There was a cool Blue vs Red vs Orange (USA) server back in the day where you could use P51s and P47s vs USSR machines. The Yaks and La's are HIGHLY susceptible to .50cals.

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/59.gif

Buzzsaw-
10-24-2008, 02:15 PM
Salute

There is no way to fly the best US fighter in IL-2, since they are not modelled.

There is no +25 boost Mustang IV, or P-47M.

Or for that matter, Spit XIV or Tempest V with +13 boost. (unless you count the mods)

If these planes were in the game, I'd pick the Tempest V +13 boost for short range air superiority fighter, and the Mustang IV +25 boost for a longrange escort. Which tells you I think the Mustang is the best USAAF fighter, although I personally like the P-47, because it fits my flying style.

R_Target
10-24-2008, 04:34 PM
Originally posted by Bremspropeller:
F8F fer performance and as a Fw 190 descendant.

Just curious, what leads you to believe the F8F is descended from Fw 190?

Aaron_GT
10-24-2008, 04:45 PM
Just curious, what leads you to believe the F8F is descended from Fw 190?

It's a descendant of the F6F but possibly partly inspired by the 190 (Grumman examined one) - very similar size and weight, for example. There is an idea that the F8F was light and the 190 was heavy, but they were essentially the same at ~7000lb empty, just that the F8F was lighter than the F6F. Designs with similar form existed in 1930s Bristol and early 1940s Folland designs too, so it was also a case of solving the same problem with similar responses, although these designs were a lot lighter but had lower engine power.

Pigeon_
10-24-2008, 05:16 PM
According to most WW2 pilots, the P-51 was the best fighter, so that's what I'd fly...
BTW, where in the world did you get the idea the P-40 is ugly??

http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/7007/avgvl8.jpg

Picture by Simplex



Originally posted by R_Target:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Bremspropeller:
F8F fer performance and as a Fw 190 descendant.

Just curious, what leads you to believe the F8F is descended from Fw 190? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

If I remember correctly, this is mentioned in this documentary about the 190: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=905_1204540624

ElAurens
10-24-2008, 05:21 PM
http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/3492/p40bsmallgv7.jpg

Curtiss Hawk, FTW.

Freiwillige
10-24-2008, 05:30 PM
"According to most WW2 pilots, the P-51 was the best fighter, so that's what I'd fly..."

The best at what, flying far? Looking good?
P-47's destroyed more enemy AC then the P-51.
I beleive that all american fighters were great but as for me it would be the JUG!

R_Target
10-24-2008, 05:39 PM
Originally posted by Aaron_GT:
It's a descendant of the F6F but possibly partly inspired by the 190 (Grumman examined one) - very similar size and weight, for example. There is an idea that the F8F was light and the 190 was heavy, but they were essentially the same at ~7000lb empty, just that the F8F was lighter than the F6F.

Grumman test pilot Bob Hall (and possibly Bud Gillies) flew a captured 190 during a trip to England in 1943; that's about the extent of the examination as far as I know. Hall was certainly impressed with the 190 though. As far as weight goes, I wouldn't consider either particularly heavy. The genesis of F6F and F8F were in the original 1940 Grumman Design 50, which called for installing a much larger engine in a reworked F4F.

http://i35.tinypic.com/nwlmbt.jpg

Steep USN range requirements as well as structural considerations of the time resulted in a bigger plane. In July 1943, Roy Grumman sent a memo to Grumman chief engineer Bill Schwendler expressing misgivings that the twin-engine planes then in development for the USN--XF7F and and XTB2F were overly reliant on the still relatively unproven twin configuration for carriers. As a result, Grumman himself wrote the specs for what would be an experimental design program independent of BuAer funding:

a)Same size and dimension as the Wildcat
b)Normal gross weight of 8500 lbs
c)Two-speed R-2800 engine
d)Armament of four .50 cal MG
e)Internal fuel capacity 170 gallons
f)Bubble-type canopy
g)Wide track undercarriage providing adequate propeller clearance
h)Performance superior in every way to that of the F6F
i)Power loading at normal gross weight of 4 lb/hp and wing loading of 33lb/sq ft




Designs with similar form existed in 1930s Bristol and early 1940s Folland designs too, so it was also a case of solving the same problem with similar responses, although these designs were a lot lighter but had lower engine power.

It seems that little plane/big engine was certainly not a new idea. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Xiolablu3
10-24-2008, 05:51 PM
Its quite common knowledge that the captured FW190 inspired the design of both the Tempest 2/Sea Fury and the Bearcat.

I have read about it before.

'The Bearcat concept was inspired by an evaluation in early 1943 of a captured Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter in England by Grumman test pilots and engineering staff. After flying the Fw 190, Grumman test pilot Bob Hall wrote a report he directed to President Leroy Grumman who personally laid out the specifications for Design 58, the successor to the Hellcat, closely emulating the design philosophy that had spawned the German fighter, although no part of the German fighter was directly copied. '

Badsight-
10-24-2008, 06:18 PM
Originally posted by huggy87:
Fruitbat. Ya know. Adobe reader is up to version 9.0. Update your stuff; sheesh. 5.0 is more stable & boots faster

Badsight-
10-24-2008, 06:20 PM
Grummans chief test pilot , & test pilot for the entire Bearcat development :

F8F Bearcat - the untold story , Corkey Meyer


It's fascinating what the mind remembers and what it doesn't. I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, but some test flights stick in my mind as though they happened this afternoon. The flights in which I was paid to intentionally break large parts of the wing off Grumman Bearcats while in the air and then land minus more than 20 percent of the wing and half of the ailerons are among those. I remember every aspect of the Bearcat program in infinite detail. A few folks have marveled that I have such a retentive memory. But, when one was a 24-year-old bachelor who was paid for flying experimental fighters and hadn't yet discovered girls, such events are indelible in the mind's eye.

The concept of purposely blowing large portions of an aircraft's wing off in flight would appear to be pure insanity until you examine the nature of the time when the Bearcat was in its gestation period.

By late 1942, it had become clear to the Navy that the Grumman Hellcat was a great improvement in fighter performance when compared to the vaunted Japanese Zero fighter. But newer enemy aircraft that would have much increased horsepower and improved performance were being developed. All students of aerial warfare know that the fighting life of any weapon in wartime is limited, so a replacement for the Hellcat would be needed sooner rather than later.

Development of engines in mass production, like the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 2,000hp engine used in the Hellcat, could be easily synchronized with new aircraft design. However, it would have been, and was, on all too many occasions in WW II, imprudent to count on an experimental engine to come to fruition either in time or in sufficient quantity for a new aircraft design. The engine had to pass its first official, full-power, 150hour ground-test demonstration before it could even be considered for a new plane.
Passing that critical test was a very minimum requirement for an aircraft company or the government to give the go-ahead for mass production of a new engine or aircraft. It was clear that to get a further increase in performance, designers would have to produce smaller and lighter airplanes utilizing engines that were currently in production and hope for engine-performance improvements later on in their production runs.



In early 1943, Grumman officials were invited to England to see the captured fighters of the Axis powers and to fly some of them. The test team included: Leroy Grumman, president of Grumman and test pilot during and after WW I; Bud Gillies, vice president flight operations and a test pilot current in all American airplanes at that time; and Bob Hall, chief engineerexperimental, a famous test pilot of Grumman and other airplanes of the Gee Bee era.

Of all the airplanes they saw, they were most fascinated with the Focke-Wulf 190. It not only offered sprightly performance, but it also had excellent flight characteristics with a gross weight of 8,750 pounds and only 1,730hp. The Hellcat was 3,200 pounds heavier with just 270hp more. Both Gillies and Hall evaluated the Fw 190 and found it to be the aircraft they would have liked to have designed themselves. It was exactly what the Hellcat follow-on aircraft should be. The only things the Fw 190 lacked were a good gunnery-lead computing angle of vision over the nose and a structure that would withstand carrier operations.

The Focke-Wulf impressed them so much they felt compelled to hurry home and put together an airplane of this gross weight in time for the water-injected Pratt & Whitney R-2800 C model engine of 2,400hp (War Emergency Power) to be installed. This would give our naval aviators a big performance increase over the newer Japanese fighters and would still retain the proven performance of the P&W R-2800 series production engines installed in the Hellcat.

The F8F design was started immediately on the trio's return. Mr. Grumman took a direct hand in its design. As the design progressed, it became obvious that meeting the 8,750-pound gross weight of the Focke-Wulf would be difficult. The structure required to withstand the loads encountered during carrier operations hadn't been required in the Fw 190 and would impose significant weight penalties on the new design.

Innovative measures were needed to meet the stringent goals that Mr. Grumman and his team were striving for. Many items considered standard equipment would have to be sacrificed, including a reduction in the number of guns from six to four, a reduction in fuel capacity from 250 gallons to 185 gallons and the elimination of the adjustable seat. The seat would be integral to the structure, and cushions or the parachute-either seat or backpack-would be used for seat adjustment The wing-fold mechanism would have to be simpler than the Hellcat's and would be moved to the outer portion of the wing to save weight. A single rather than a three-tank fuel system would simplify the airplane and reduce its weight.

Even with all this ingenuity, the bogey of 8,750 pounds was still unattainable. Finally, Pete Ehrlendsen, chief of structures, came up with a far-out but intriguing idea to save about 230 pounds of wing structure-a large chunk of the weight savings necessary to meet the goal.

Ehrlendsen remembered that during my Hellcat structural demonstration flights, I had four failures at the midpoint of the stabilizers when I pulled up into the "buffet boundary" to attain the needed G to meet the Navy requirements. No prior Grumman fighter had experienced this disastrous phenomenon. We later found out the Lockheed P-38 and the Republic P47 had experienced this buffet boundary, and the P-38 had lost complete tail sections, killing two pilots who were trying to meet the required demonstration G points. During subsequent squadron operational flying, Hellcat pilots had bent and even broken off stabilizers and elevators at mid-span when the airplane entered the same mysterious and unknown buffet boundary during high-G pullouts above 10,000 feet while fighting Zeros.

The stabilizers and the elevators fortunately either bent or broke at their mid-span iust outboard of the mid-span hinge. Bv breaking, the stabilizers unloaded themselves of their stress. More important, the remaining portions of the stabilizers were stronger because their span loading was reduced as the tail loads were now on a much shorter moment arm. The structural failure fortunately left enough of the tail feathers to fly the airplane home.

Ehrlendsen thought that if the F8F wing was designed to have an ultimate or breaking load of 7.5G at a controlled point about three feet inboard of the wingtip, the wing would relieve itself of the tip load, and the remainder of the wing structure would support an ultimate load of 13G, which was the standard ultimate load of fighters at that time. The wing area remaining after the tips had separated was calculated to be sufficient to make a safe carrier landing.

Ehrlendsen suggested a carefully designed rivet joint be made at half span of the outer folding wing panels. In addition, a break joint would be designed in the ailerons so the outer halves would detach when the wing panels broke off. This would leave half of the ailerons connected by two of the three hinges to the remaining wing structure and would provide adequate control for carrier landings.

It took a great deal of persuasion for the Navy to agree to such a novel design. However, wartime pressures dictated more and more climb performance, which in turn required greater power-to-weight ratios. Because of the Navy's operational experience with Grumman Ironworks airplanes, Grumman designers had an outstanding reputation with the Navy brass and pilots-so much so that the Navy finally agreed to the innovation.

A very detailed ground-test program proved the rivet joint would break as promised. One must realize that wing loads were merely estimated, and even those measured in a flight test were still not too accurate. Before the Navy approved the idea they required that Grumman make an experimental installation of this design on an F4F Wildcat Grumman had to pull the outboard portion of the wing and aileron off to demonstrate that the airplane was still flyable. At the same time, Grumman had to prove it was in the general area of the predicted flight loads and that the wingtips would come off at the required G-load.

A Wildcat was then rigged with the wingtip rivet joint and aileron severance capability. One of our test pilots, Carl Alber, demonstrated the viability of the theory in one flight early in 1944. Everything worked as predicted in the air, and the airplane demonstrated more than sufficient maneuverability for a satisfactory carrier landing at a speed not too much higher than the usual Wildcat approach speed. The Navy and Grumman were satisfied the F8F would be operationally satisfactory with such an installation.



Once the Bearcat flew, the Navy required Grumman to demonstrate takeoffs and landings with one wing panel removed at a time as well as with both wingtip panels removed. This requirement demonstrated that the airplane would not only fly in an acceptable manner, but it would also land safely aboard a carrier. It was my duty to fly those tests in one of our two experimental Bearcats, and although it was obvious there were minor asymmetrical lateral and directional flight deficiencies, the airplane was easily flyable and landable. It required only 15 degrees of flaps and a landing-speed increase of 19 knots. WW II carriers were very capable of handling those requirements. Both Grumman and the Navy were pleased with the results.

It would be easy to think such meager ground and air testing was insufficient for such a unique innovation. Remember, however, that high production rates were paramount. For instance, during a single month, March 1944, when the Bearcat was in its design and ground-test phase, Grumman delivered 620 Hellcats and 85 other airplanes, including the F7F and many amphibians. In the rush of the times, it seemed to Grumman and the Navy that the testing program was indeed sufficient. As you will see, in the process of getting Bearcats of squadron quantities to the Pacific theater asap, we underestimated the quality and quantity of our design and testing phase by an order of magnitude!

By early 1945, the F8F had entered the fleet. Immediately, pilots found it was indeed a great shot in the arm to have such startling performance because, as we had anticipated, the Japanese had introduced several airplanes with much improved performance over the Zeros. The timing of getting the Bearcat to the fleet was perfect. Not only was it an exciting airplane to fly (one could even see the Focke-Wulf heritage), but it was also 47 knots faster than the Hellcat, without water injection, and took off in 200 feet of carrier-deck space compared to the Hellcat's 325-feet requirement. It had an amazing rate of climb of 5,340 feet per minute, which was more than twice the Hellcat's!
It had the fastest rate of climb of any propeller-driven fighter in the War. Its rate of climb endeared it to the Navy pilots because getting on top of the enemy had been the criteria of aerial combat success ever since WW I. You can imagine that Navy aviators also heartily enjoyed that the F8F could easily outperform any and all Army Air Force fighters at the time!

After a few weeks of glowing operational reports on the Bearcat, word came back that a pilot had shed one of his two wingtips in a dive-bombing-run pullout and had augured in. Several similar occurrences followed, and the Navy and Grumman became greatly concerned. The wingtips weren't coming off as predicted, so Grumman hurriedly sent a team of engineers to visit the squadrons and study the remains of the aircraft to find out what had gone wrong. It became apparent that the severe vibrations the outer wing panels were subjected to during carrier landings and the very strong wing oscillation when the airplane was pulled up into the buffet boundary at altitude put strains on the special rivet joint that had not been predicted.
In the rush of getting the Bearcat into production and service, these strains hadn't even been considered. It was also discovered that the rivet joint was not getting the quality-control attention in production that it merited. Additionally, as the War ended, the Navy looked at
operational accidents with a much more critical attitude. The flight envelope of the Bearcat was severely restricted, and it was immediately removed from carrier operations.

The Navy and Grumman agreed that a better way to guarantee the wingtip separation was needed that did not depend on a rivet joint that took such a beating in those flight regimes. The repeated operational stresses on that critical area were wreaking havoc. Many ideas were suggested, but this one seemed to be the best: put a 12-inch strip of prima cord (an explosive rope used to detonate dynamite) just outboard of both wing-break joints, and have a set of electrical microswitches at both break joints. These microswitches would activate the other tip's explosive device at the instant the first wingtip came off. (We called them "ice-box" switches, which shows where we were in technical antiquity!) The ground tests were spectacular, to say the least. After several successful tests, we rigged up a Bearcat with this "Fourth of July" system, and I was sent off to do my job as a test pilot.

One of the tips was structured to come off at 5G and, according to theory, the ice-box microswitch in the other wing would electrically activate the prima cord and blow the other tip off at the same instant. Three hundred and twenty knots at 7,500 feet altitude in a 30-degree dive angle was selected as the demonstration point. To record the action, we had photographers in chase airplanes on both sides of my Bearcat. I pulled 6G to ensure the 5G rivet joint would fail and activate the other tip explosive.

Lo and behold, the genies of fate again urinated on the pillars of science. With an impressive flash of fire, smoke and debris, one weakened tip left the airplane as predicted at 5G, but the other remained as fixed to the wing as ever. From the cockpit, a Bearcat appears to be nothing more than a huge engine with tiny wings. However, to look out and see that not only has one short wing become even shorter, but also that the other one is full of holes gets your immediate attention.

One of my chase pilots came in and inspected the wing damage. He saw a large hole in the bottom surface, proving the prima cord had indeed fired, as predicted, but the wingtip had remained firmly attached even though the 12-inch hole was in the most critical stress area-the lower or tension area skin. Good old Grumman Ironworks! Fortunately, the 12-inch hole did not cause any aerodynamic disturbance as might have been expected, and I had already landed the F8F with single tips removed and was ready for the experience, so the landing was uneventful.

It was quite obvious during the debrief that there were a lot of very perplexed engineers. Finally, one non-program engineer timidly offered the suggestion that slipstream effects might not have been considered sufficiently. So, back to the old drawing board.

The project engineer suggested 26 inches of prima cord be used on the next flight after ground tests were run to check whether that amount of explosive would effect proper wingtip severance. On the next flight, when I pulled 6G, both tips departed as planned amid much smoke and debris flying off the airplane. Even though the prima cord had made a deafening explosion during ground tests, slipstream noises canceled out all of the explosion noise in the air. Both chase pilots were much more excited than I was by the visual effects; I hadn't seen them because my eyes were glued to the accelerometer in the cockpit.
They said it looked as if the airplane had blown up when both tips blew and the ailerons and wingtip sections departed the bird. There were two very smoky explosions as two wingtips and two aileron halves came off in very rapid succession along with much shattered metal. The wingtip ends were cleanly severed as hoped for. There weren't even small pieces of metal outboard of the end rib to suggest an explosion had done the surgery. The test was considered a great success by Grumman and the Navy.

A side note: we had stuffed the wing and ailerons sections with kapok so we'd be able to pick up the pieces from Long Island Sound. The wing pieces floated fine, but the aileron portions sank because their balance weights overcame the kapok's buoyancy.

We could now guarantee that both wing portions would come off simultaneously. With the advent of peace, however, the Navy asked us to do a complete flight-envelope demonstration instead of the one-shot demos we had previously done. Consequently, a program was developed that pulled the wingtips off at all speeds-from slow flight to the Bearcat's limit speed. For the final demonstration, the Navy required the wingtips be pulled off in a vertical dive. For an extended period of time, when I left for work in the morning, I knew I would spend my time blowing the wingtips off a Bearcat. Just another day in the office.

During the wingtip severance at 5G, I noticed the airplane pitched up one more G than I had tried to attain. Having been the structural demonstration pilot on the F4F, F6F, F7F and F8F, I had made hundreds of pull-ups and always came within one tenth of a G, so this excessive G bothered me. I spoke to the engineers about it, but they suggested I was probably nervous-strongly implying, as they usually did when they couldn't find an engineering answer, pilot error. I promptly and wrongly put this implication and phenomenon out of my mind.



We then beefed up both wingtip rivet joints to 7.5G (the Navy's required wing demonstration strength), armed the prima-cord devices and proceeded with the full-blown program. On the first pull-up, I aimed at 8G to be sure that one or the other riveted joints would fail. They came off with the usual fireworks, and after it was all over, I noticed the maximum G recorded was 9.5! I came back and stated emphatically that I couldn't have overshot by that much and, using some indelicate four-letter engineering terms, demanded an explanation from the aerodynamics department. After a little rethinking, one of the non-program aerodynamicists said of course the airplane would pitch up without the pilot's effort when the area, span and aspect ratio were changed so drastically. He proceeded to calculate that 9.5 was exactly what the airplane would have pitched up to-so much for pilot error!

I was exonerated, but I learned that engineers who have a proprietary interest in a program may not always think as objectively as professional test flying requires when the answer is not patently obvious. That hard experience stood by me during all my years as an experimental test pilot when I couldn't get rational answers that satisfied me. I began to seek two opinions long before it was an accepted practice in difficult medical diagnoses.

We finished the program without much ado, and the pitching problem was put in the handbook for future information (now that we had a satisfactory engineering explanation!). The Navy was happy with the Bearcat for full operational utilization and all aircraft were outfitted with the explosive devices.

But our travails weren't over-not by a long shot. As you might have guessed, the prima cord was actuated electrically but with all too few safeguards for ground maintenance. Shortly afterward, we received word from a squadron that during maintenance, there was a short circuit when making some electrical tests, and the wingtips of one airplane blew off on the hangar deck. One incident killed a "white hat."

The Navy said it had had enough of this weight-savings fiasco. Thev suggested that the wingtips be firmly bolted on and that the airplane's flight envelope be reduced to 4G. With the strains of carrier landings combined with pilots easily and frequently exceeding the 4G limit in air-to-ground bombing-attack practice runs and not reporting it, the Bearcat soon had wings coming off in the air-breaking at the root! A steelstrap fix was installed to give the Bearcat sufficient strength for carrier landings and 7.5G in the air, but the Bearcat was soon supplanted in operational squadrons by the much faster Grumman Panther and McDonnell Banshee jet fighters.

F8F-ls and -2s were used by the Blue Angels from 1946 to 1949, when they were replaced by the Grumman Panther. The Bearcat was put into the training command where it was used until 1953. In 1956, it was relegated to the Arizona storage fields where all airplanes, good and bad, eventually retire.

The structural weight savings of detachable wingtips was a great idea-theoretically, anyway. Unfortunately, its wartime testing, design and production just didn't allow enough time for pre-Navy shakedowns to pass the tests to duplicate the rigors of the real world. However, had the War continued and the Bearcat kept in the fighter air-to-air role for which it was designed, its performance would have made it a real winner. It would have had a great speed and climb advantage over the newer Japanese types it would have met in combat The Navy set a time-to-climb record with the Bearcat; this record, from a standing start to 10,000 feet, stood well into the era of Century-series jets. Even in 1989, the Bearcat, in racing configuration, made speeds better than 500mph when it was designed for only 414mph-not bad for an airplane that was hastily designed under wartime conditions over 55 years ago.

Looking back at all the aircraft I have been privileged to fly, I still put the Bearcat at or near the top of my list of favorites. It was absolutely wonderful to handle and had unbelievable performance. When a Navy pilot wrapped a Bearcat around him, he knew he was playing in a very fast lane with a very classy pussycat from the Grumman Ironworks. But every pussycat will occasionally show its claws! And so it was with the Grumman Bearcat.

Copyright Air Age Publishing Aug 1998
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

R_Target
10-24-2008, 06:42 PM
The above article as well as more about the F8F are available in Corky Meyer's Flight Journal (http://www.amazon.com/Corky-Meyers-Flight-Journal-Corwin/dp/1580070930). As well as being the F8F experimental test pilot, Meyer had design input in the addition of dive brakes after flying a P-38 and P-47 equipped with them. Also, during Halls's 1943 trip, Meyer was not chief test pilot as he had been at Grumman for about six months.

F8F design specs and G-50 information from Dr. René Francillon's Grumman Aircraft since 1929.

BigKahuna_GS
10-24-2008, 10:36 PM
Buzzsaw--Salute

There is no way to fly the best US fighter in IL-2, since they are not modelled.

There is no +25 boost Mustang IV, or P-47M.

Or for that matter, Spit XIV or Tempest V with +13 boost. (unless you count the mods)

If these planes were in the game, I'd pick the Tempest V +13 boost for short range air superiority fighter, and the Mustang IV +25 boost for a longrange escort. Which tells you I think the Mustang is the best USAAF fighter, although I personally like the P-47, because it fits my flying style.
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I agree with you Buzzsaw but also add the F4U-4 & P47N which should of been included in Pacific Fighters. The F4U-4 was a stellar performer-excellent speed, climb, combined with very good manuverability. The "4" could also carry a terrific bomb load--that's a winning combination.



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Xiolablu3 --'The Bearcat concept was inspired by an evaluation in early 1943 of a captured Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter in England by Grumman test pilots and engineering staff. After flying the Fw 190, Grumman test pilot Bob Hall wrote a report he directed to President Leroy Grumman who personally laid out the specifications for Design 58, the successor to the Hellcat, closely emulating the design philosophy that had spawned the German fighter, although no part of the German fighter was directly copied. '
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You are right I have read similar articles.
The biggest differences between the Bearcat & 190 was that the Bearcat could climb & turn a hell of alot better than the 190.

Badsight-
10-24-2008, 10:53 PM
The biggest differences between the Bearcat & 190 was that the Bearcat could climb & turn a hell of alot better than the 190. while the better turning ability is by far more likely , i have not seen any turn time data for the F8F . ever

R_Target
10-24-2008, 11:12 PM
Originally posted by 609IAP_Kahuna:
The biggest differences between the Bearcat & 190 was that the Bearcat could climb & turn a hell of a lot better than the 190.

Better climb for sure. The USN doesn't appear to have cared much about turn testing since F2A days, but with the F8F's lighter wing loading and superior power loading it sounds reasonable enough.

Aaron_GT
10-25-2008, 03:23 AM
Its quite common knowledge that the captured FW190 inspired the design of both the Tempest 2/Sea Fury and the Bearcat.

On the Tempest 2 and Sea Fury it was limited to the engine cooling as the airframe design for the Tempest was already done.

On the F8F I'd say not much more than inspiration in showing that a plane of the 190/F8F size was very viable.

Of the two only really the Hawker used something directly from the 190.

The light fighter movement (in the sense of stopping the weight creep of existing designs) was already ongoing but neither the Sea Fury nor the F8F ended up being light in reality, just lighter than the ongoing trend.

Aaron_GT
10-25-2008, 03:30 AM
The biggest differences between the Bearcat & 190 was that the Bearcat could climb & turn a hell of alot better than the 190.

They packed much more engine power into the same weight and the next generation of airfoil so it stands to reason. Climb was a weak point of the 190 (and perhaps of the few of the P-51)

R_Target
10-25-2008, 04:31 AM
Aaron, the F8F uses the same airfoil as the F6F. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

FlatSpinMan
10-25-2008, 04:49 AM
I haven't read the whole thread but surely the answer is blindingly obvious, isn't it? It's the P-51. It won the whole war. It's a known UbiFact. After all, Sergio said it and he was pure essence, if his sig was to be believed.

Aaron_GT
10-25-2008, 06:19 AM
Aaron, the F8F uses the same airfoil as the F6F.

Yes, which is also more modern than that on the 190 which was my point! The Fw 190 is a 1930s plane, the F6F a 1940s one. A lot happened in the intervening three years between their first flights.

R_Target
10-25-2008, 02:44 PM
Originally posted by Aaron_GT:
Yes, which is also more modern than that on the 190 which was my point! The Fw 190 is a 1930s plane, the F6F a 1940s one. A lot happened in the intervening three years between their first flights.

Actually, I re-checked my information and I was only partially right (or wrong http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif). F8F and F6F share tip airfoil NACA 23009, but F8F has a 23018 root and F6F has a 23015.6.

I'm aware that you know much more than I do on this subject, so how different are 23015.6 and 23018? How different are NACA 23015.6 and NACA 23015.3?

Aaron_GT
10-25-2008, 03:06 PM
I'm aware that you know much more than I do on this subject

I don't know more than you at all! You know more than me! I'm just going by what the RAE said in that it felt that the 190s airfoil was a bit old. But... looking it up it seems that the 190 used a 23015 airfoil too (whole wing). Having checked the actual numbers it seems I was wrong for which I apologise.

horseback
10-25-2008, 09:06 PM
I'd go with the P-47 with one proviso--gimme that paddleblade prop! It was supposed to be have transformed the Jug into something very competitive in most respects with the early Merlin Mustangs and it was far more reliable at the most dangerous stage of the war for fighter pilots. If I'm going where other people are trying to kill me, I want the biggest, fastest, safest weapon available (my Mom would insist upon it).

No question that the FW 190 concept inspired a numberof fighters directly and indirectly, but the Bearcat design was also very similar to the La-7, AND like the La-7, simply took the current engine design and wrapped the most refined and smallest airframe the builders could come up with around it.

The F8F was a next generation combustion engined fighter, however, not a copy of the FW 190. I suspect that even had Grumman put a smaller and lower powered engine in it of comparable power (1700-1800 HP), the F8F would have been somewhat better than the 190 radials, and probably been competitive with the in line versions. With the R-2800 at the acme of its design, it was no contest.

cheers

horseback

JtD
10-26-2008, 12:42 AM
230xx series is all the same profile but different thickness. The last two digits give the airfoil thickness in percent of the chord. The .x behind is a digit to the thickness percent ratio.

"The first integer indicates the amount of camber in terms of the relative magnitude of the design lift coefficient; the design lift coefficient in tenths is thus three halves of the first integer.

The second and third integer together indicated the distance from the leading edge to the location of the maximum camber; this distance in percent of the chord is one-half the number represented by these integers.

The last two integers indicate the airfoil thickness in percent of the chord.

The NACA 23012 airfoil thus has a design lift coefficient of 0.3, has it's maximum camber at 15 percent of the chord and has a thickness ratio of 12 percent."

Aaron_GT
10-26-2008, 03:31 AM
So the 190 would have a 23015 root, 23009 tip? This would mean I was very wrong as that would be basically identical to the F6F!

CUJO_1970
10-26-2008, 11:42 AM
Originally posted by Aaron_GT:
Having checked the actual numbers it seems I was wrong for which I apologise.

I forgive you.