Dive Bomber Pilots

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by olbrat, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. olbrat

    olbrat Member

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    Watching some WWII film footage, I had a few questions about Dive Bomber Pilots:

    I was curious how Dive Bomber pilots dealt with pressure on their ears. I imagine the drastic changes in altitude could be painful. I usually feel some discomfort in a regular commerical airliner or, on occasion, even driving through mountainous areas.

    I imagine the feeling in your stomach would be uncomfortable too. Screaming down in a near-vertical position couldn't be that good. It sounds kind of like a roller coaster, except you add a few hundred miles per hour, the concern of going "splat" and people trying to kill you. Did they "just get used to it"?

    In general, how did these pilots feel about their jobs? Did they like it? Hate it? Feel it was a death-trap? Better than torpedo planes? Better than heavy bomber duty? I know there were some people that liked it (the german pilot that preferred JU87's for example), but then I knew a guy who loved working for the sewer works.

    How about combat survivability? I remember hearing that the life expectancy of a bomber crew in Europe was around 12 missions in 1942. Are there statistics regarding Dive Bombers?
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I knew a dive bomber pilot named Paul(?) Chinn. He flew SB2Cs and was a charter tailhook member. Never spoke much about the physical part of his job, but was very proud of what he did. My last contact with him, he was living in Bishop Ca and was heavily involved in CAP.
     
  3. Mangrove

    Mangrove Member

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    Lauri Äijö And Onni Rautava - Blenheim And Junkers 88 Pilots

    Four G's with Junkers 88

    Äijö: And we bought 24 Junkers bombers. One fell in the Riga Bay on their way home, 23 arrived in Finland. It was one tough plane, a dive bomber. Starting from 4000 meters, it came in 60 degree angle down, and began leveling off at 1500 meters.
    It had an automatic device that did the leveling. It was set to pull back at 4 G's. Your weight went up four times...
    Rautava: A hundred kg man weighed 400 at that moment.

    Did it make the pilot blackout?
    Äijö: No, it wasn't hard enough for that.
    Rautava: It happens around 6 G's.
    Äijö: I noticed I never heard the engine noise, even if there where two big 2000 horsepower engines one meter away, the other a bit further. I didn't hear them until my ears opened a bit after leveling off.
    Rautava: My hearing never quite recovered wartime.

    Äijö: The navigator had two gauges to adjust. The speedometer and the altitude meter.
    You had to calibrate the gauges on the automata, so they read the same as the actual flying gauges.
    You had to adjust it?
    Äijö: You had to look at the gauges during the dive, and turn the knobs. Gravity went haywire once we went into dive. Once I saw the JK's 13mm gun's drum clip, that was usually on the floor, was floating in front of my face. I had to remove the clip from the gun and tuck it at my feet. Otherwise, when leveling off, it would have gone through the cockpit plexiglass. (The JK was equipped with a heavy MG or a 20mm cannon, that the pilot could use as a fixed gun or the navigator as a steerable gun.)
     
  4. Bigxiko

    Bigxiko Member

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    certainly it was hard to manage the planes and keep conscious at the same time, but most of them were trained pilots, not some rookies, so it was hard, no doubt
    but nobody could handle it like them
     
  5. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    One of the big problems the USN pilots had in the early going in the Pacific was that the telescopic sights in the SBD3s when entering the air at low altitudes during a dive, fogged up because of high humidity and they could not see the target.
     
  6. olbrat

    olbrat Member

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    Thanks for the answers!

    Another question:
    As a pilot, were you assigned to dive bombers, or did you volunteer?
     
  7. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Navy pilots in WW2 were trained to fly all aircraft in the inventory. Fighter, Dive Bomber, Partol, ect. After training, they were typically assigned to a job and, to my understanding, generally stayed there. If you were assigned a dive bomber pilot, you usually stayed as one. However, some, like Swede V., moved over to Fighters from Dive Bombers due to a proven ability as a fighter pilot.

    In short, you were assigned. There was some movement around to other types of aircraft but how much I do not know.
     
  8. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Tim, I believe that the training you are talking about where they learned to fly all AC was true prewar. Once the war had begun the training syllabus was shortened and the pilots were specialised rather early in the training.
     
  9. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    My mistake. Sounds more like wartime that way.
     
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