I sat in the cockpit of an ME-109

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by grampi, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. grampi

    grampi Member

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    At the Kalamazoo Air Zoo this past weekend, I was able to sit in the cockpit of a (is it Spanish or Italian built?) 109...it was one of the types that has a larger front end and the 4 bladed prop. I could not believe how cramped the cockpit is. In fact it was so small, I would not have been able to fly it. The rudder pedals were so close, my knees were bent so far that I would not have been able push on the pedals. Also, there was so little room between the seat and the canopy that I would've had to crouch down to get the canopy closed. I would say you'd have to be 5' 5" or less in order to fly this plane...my 6' frame simply would not fit...I'm guessing all the 109 pilots had to be small guys or they just wouldn't fit...any American fighters of the time that I've sat in had much roomier cockpits...
     
  2. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    cool.....i am going to have to venture up that way someday.
     
  3. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  4. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Very nice. I could slide right into that cockpit though I may not get the lap-belt together.

    Geo
     
  5. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    How big was the seat cushion? When flying with a parachute, you take the cushion out and sit on the chute pack, so could sit a few inches lower.
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Nice one. I think I would fit in OK, as nowadays, my legs are already bent, and my shoulders stooped, so that I'm now around 5 ft 8 ins or less, instead of the 5 ft 10.5 ins I used to be. However, a crane would be needed to get me onto the wing to start with !
    BTW, it's a Hispano 'Buchon', a Spanish, licence-built '109G, with a Rolls Royce 'Merlin' engine.
     
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  7. spicmart

    spicmart Member

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    Speaking of cockpits. From the F-model onwards the 109 had a different canopy than the types before it. This canopy was more angular and seemed less roomy, at least at first sight.
    Why did they change it? And was it really smaller?
     
  8. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    It changed from the E-3 onwards, and was actually more 'roomy' than the original, curved - top canopy of the earlier models, with better visibility - although still very limited - due to the re-location of the upper horizontal frame, from roughly eye-level, to the top of the canopy. It also allowed easier mounting of the head armour, with a curved top plate which, although possible to mount in the earlier canopy, made visibility, and room, even more restricted.
    The windscreen on the later canopy also offered better visibility, although again still restricted, with less distortion particularly through the side-screens.
    Later still, the so-called 'Galland Hood', or Erla canopy was introduced, offering marginally better visibility and head room and, on much later Czech-built (Avia) aircraft, a 'blown' canopy was at last introduced.
     
  9. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Some tall men flew the Bf 109. I've sat in one too and wonder how they did :)
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  10. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Very cool! I wish I could try it out but if I had the chance I'm sure I'd be too tall and also like George, too big for the seat belt.

    Here's a picture I took of it several years ago
     

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  11. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    During my time in the USAF in the late 60s, I saw a lot of fighter pilots, plus one of my cousins was one also.

    Most of these guys were not big guys, but they were well muscled, like high school football stars maybe, but not big hulking brutes .

    Medium to approaching even short in height.
     
  12. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    There are height limits for jet pilots, to do with losing your knees when ejecting, I hear.
    As for muscular, good muscle tone helps with G tolerance. the lack of height helps too.
     
  13. BiffF15

    BiffF15 Well-Known Member

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    I've also heard the average USAF fighter pilot is extremely intelligent, attractive, and well endowed.

    Except for me of course...

    Cheers,
    Biff

    PS. Sorry I couldn't resist!
     
  14. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    200904.jpg
     
  15. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Go Gabby!
     
  16. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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    In the italian Air Force maximum height for Pilots is 6' 2".
     
  17. grampi

    grampi Member

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    There's no way a guy that's 6'2" would fit in this cockpit...I'm only 6' and I don't fit...
     
  18. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    I don't know anybody else's age or weight on here, but I was much more agile 50 years ago, and 30 lbs lighter.

    Most pictures of WW2 pilots I've seen show them to be usually from the trimmer part of humanity.

    Except maybe Pips Priller, I've seem pictures of him being helped into a 109. It looks like quite a squeeze, but because of his width, not his height.

    Cutaways of the Bf109 shows a seat adjustment lever, and a lot of aircraft have adjustable rudder pedals, maybe the 109 you sampled had everything adjusted for a small guy.
     
  19. BiffF15

    BiffF15 Well-Known Member

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    I guess Goering never flew it then...
     
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  20. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Bf 109s had an adjustable seat, later models only on the ground. They did not have adjustable rudder pedals unless I'm remembering wrongly. As I said before, some tall men flew 109s, so they could fit. I don't think any, tall or short, were exactly comfortable, but think of a US air gunner in a ball turret if you want serious discomfort. They were there for much longer too.
    Cheers
    Stve
     
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