Brewster Buffalo Landing Gear

Discussion in 'Other Mechanical Systems Tech.' started by MIflyer, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. MIflyer

    MIflyer Member

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    I started reading a new book, “Sinking the Rising Sun” about an F6F pilot in WWII. He flew Brewster F2A’s in training and provides some interesting data about the landing gear system.

    He says that the Buffalo was the first USN fighter with hydraulic landing gear and that the process for raising and lowering it was complex and challenging. The pilot had to carefully pressurize each part of the system before going on to the next step. A mistake could result in the gear either not coming up or refusing to go down and pilots were provided with wire cutters which they could use to reach behind the panel and cut two wires, enabling the gear to drop down, theoretically.

    The F2A gear led to the pilots not jauntily yanking up the gear as soon as possible but flying off elsewhere so they could get the process done carefully. This does not sound like a good thing for a quick scramble.

    I always thought that the hand-cranked gear of the Wildcat was an imposition on pilots, but it must have been welcome relief after the F2A!

    By the way, I have some close up photos of the gear well area of an FM-1 Wildcat if anyone is interested.
     
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  2. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    The RAF pilot's manual for the Buffalo doesn't indicate anything as complex as you describe. See it here:

    http://www.warbirdforum.com/buffpilotmanual.pdf

    The emergency procedures seem more complex but standard raising and lowering seems pretty straightforward to me.
     
  3. superkeith1872

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    While I'm not familiar with this case, I do know that issues like this would crop up with new weapon systems, especially when designed and built in cold/dry climates. When aircraft ended up in the south pacific with the heat and moisture, unexpected things would happen. The first year of the war, things were moving pretty fast with design and production and problems were discovered in the fields. I recall an electrical bomb release system that would jettison weapons by putting it on standby, so they learned real fast to do things other than the proper way.
     
  4. MIflyer

    MIflyer Member

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    #4 MIflyer, Jun 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
    Yes, I have the Buffalo manual, but then again maybe the approach used in training was based on a long period of negative experiences. Maybe the standard approach did not work very well. I do note that one of the Ospry books has a Buffalo on the cover, engaged in combat with the wheels down!

    By the way, this was in training in Florida, not in the Pacific. He appears to have been lucky enough to fly only the F6F in combat.

    He also said that during landing the angle of the fuselage and canopy of the F2A blanked the vertical tail, making it difficult to apply enough rudder.

    But in any case it is what the author of the book says, not me.
     
  5. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    #5 buffnut453, Jun 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
    The event depicted on the cover of the Osprey book was the first engagement by 453 Sqn on 13 Dec 41, the pilot being Flt Lt Vanderfield. It is one of only 2 recorded instance of any of the Commonwealth units where the undercarriage failed to retract in a combat situation, the other being another 453 Sqn pilot who hit a gun emplacement while taking off at Kuala Lumpur on 22 Dec and ripped off most of one undercarriage leg in the process.

    There was one pre-conflict training incident, yet again on 453 Sqn, where the undercarriage would not extend and the pilot ended up doing a wheels-up landing, for which he was criticised for not following the correct emergency procedures. The aircraft was repaired and subsequently saw service with 21/453 Sqn in Jan 42.

    If there was a "long period of negative experiences" I would have expected retraction failures to be more common. The biggest criticism of the Buffalo's undercarriage was a lack of adequate strength for carrier landings.
     
  6. superkeith1872

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    From everything I've read, when these guys would get a new model plane in the field, they would flip through the manual briefly and takeoff. Not a lot of training on new models. I don't think this was the case with the Buffalo because it was such an early war plane for us, I think they probably had structured training for it but the posts above made me think about their lack of training on new models later in the war, when in theater.
     
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