F4F fuselage life raft

Hoggardhigh

Airman 1st Class
192
6
Jan 6, 2014
United States
Hi all,

As stated here at airvectors.net, early F4F Wildcat variants featured a life raft in the aft fuselage behind the pilot, which was discontinued in later production.

Does anyone here know at what point in F4F/FM/Martlet production the fuselage life raft compartment was eliminated?

Thanks
 
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P-51-44-72028

Airman
21
17
Jun 9, 2019
I'm not an expert....but I thought they were in the wings originally but that didn't work out very well....so they put it in the fuselage?
 

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Hoggardhigh

Airman 1st Class
192
6
Jan 6, 2014
United States
I'm not an expert....but I thought they were in the wings originally but that didn't work out very well....so they put it in the fuselage?
You might want to read this bit from the linked AirVectors article:

"An inflatable life raft was carried in the fuselage behind the cockpit and could be ejected on ditching, but it was later deleted in favor of a raft in the pilot's survival pack. Inflatable flotation bags were fitted under the wings for ditching at sea, but after the bags spontaneously inflated in flight a few times, leading to crashes, they were abandoned."

It appears that the fuselage life raft was retained at least throughout F4F-3 production (not counting the 100 aircraft delivered as fighter trainers in early 1943), whereas the underwing flotation bags were discontinued early in -3 production.
 
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