Highest number of sorties for an airframe

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wuzak, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    In the the thread about the LW intercepting Mosquitoes in 1941 I posted the fowllowing:

    Ian Thirsk, de Havilland Mosquito, An Illustrated History, Volume 2.

    de Havilland Mosquito - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    LR504 flew 200 sorties and LR503 flew 213 sorties during the war. LR504, at least, was an Oboe equipped Mosquito used for PFF operations. Most, if not all, of their missions would have been at night, and a significant number probably were to Berlin.

    What other aircraft had extraordinarily high numbers of sorties?
     
  2. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    What, for example, was the highest number of sorties by a Lancaster or a B-17, Mustangs or Spitfires?
     
  3. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    R5868 'S for Sugar' has the highest number of sorties for a wartime Lancaster at 137 (combat). W4783 'G for George' has the next most, at 96 combat sorties. It also never suffered a crew fatality.
     
  4. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    Slightly more than that:-
    W4964 - 106, DV245 - 119, DV302 - 121, ED588 - 116 (at least,) ED860 - 130, ED888 - 140, ED905 - 100+, EE136 - 109, EE139 - 121, EE176 - 122, JB138 - 123, JB663 - 111, LL806 - 134, LL843 - 118, LL845 - 113, ME746 - 116, ME758 - 108, ME803 - 105, ND458 - 123, ND578 - 100 at least, ND644 - 115, NE181 - 101 PA995 - 100+. Four Halifaxes went over 100 sorties, as did a Mitchell FW111.
     
  5. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Interesting info guys, only knew some of those!
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Sorties on an airframe mean little. The main life meter of an airframe is hours. Depending on aircraft and manufacturer, engine starts and landing grear "cycles" are also counted.
     
  7. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Sure, in the normal scheme of things, and in civilian use.

    For WW2 military aircraft sorties were usually over hostile territory or in hostile airspace, and a large number of sorties per airframe was not to be expected. Nor were the airframes expected to reach the hours limit.
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Based on combat, not airframe life. Although a high sortie life airframe is noteworthy, I think one has to look where and how it was operated and the opposition.
     
  9. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you would, but that is even harder to do.

    Some airframes spent more time training than on missions - like some of the Lancasters in the Dams raid - they only flew one mission but were operated in training flights.

    LR504 was an Oboe equipped Mosquito B.IX. For at least some of its 200 sorties it must have been marking targets for main force Lancasters, and being required to fly a predictable course for some time during the operation.
     
  10. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    I recall a story on a B-26 Marauder, "Flak Bait", that completed some 202 combat missions before it was retired.
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    And the rest? A sortie can be as short as 20 minutes in the air. Compare the sorties with hours (include training) and now you're showing something
     
  12. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Flak Bait logged 717 hours of combat flight time.
     
  13. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    What sort of sortie would be 20 minutes - other than an aborted one?

    If LR504 wasn't marking targets for main force bombers it is almost certain that it was pathfinding for the main force or participating in Light Night Striking Force raids.

    I don't have that information, nor anywhere to look for it at the moment.

    As for hours, it probably did less combat hours than Flak Bait, simply because it took less time to get to and return from targets.
     
  14. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I think you are intermixing sortie with combat mission. They are not necessarily the same. A sortie can be any flight, for training, maintenance or a joyride. A combat mission is one where the aircraft goes into bad guy land.

    If you are talking about sorties, the aircraft that would be at the top of the list would be trainers, slogging along day in and day out for years with good pilots and knuckleheads.

    If you are talking about combat missions, that is quite different. Keep in mind that a lot of fighters of the era were not designed to be still flying today. A good example of this is the F4F Wildcat. I was chatting with a guy that worked on the one near here and the wing fold hinge doesn't have a grease fitting. They didn't bother adding the weight for one because they figured it would average about 25-30 hours before it would be lost!

    The B-17 "Knockout Dropper" flew 75 missions with the 303rd BG and came through those missions nearly unscathed.
     
  15. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    In the case of hours and sorties ther must ne a Canso/Catalina right up at he top
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Quite right.

    Which is harder on an airframe, an 8 hour bombing mission in which the plane is not hit or 8 hours of touch and go landings with student pilots? :)
     
  17. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    http://www.mossie.org/images/donated_images/Neil_Hutchinson/LR503.jpg

    From the 203 painted on bomb symbols I would guess that the whole sortie count, of 213, for LR503 were bombing missions.

    LR503 appears also to be an Oboe equipped aircraft.



    That is impressive. What model B-17 was it, and over what period did it do its missions?

    I assume it had at least 3 crews during that time?
     
  18. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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  19. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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  20. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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