Me 109 compared to Soviet fighters manoueverability

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by spicmart, Feb 5, 2017.

  1. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    MiTasol, appreciate the information. The Sabers I worked on were Canadiar Saber IVs and Vs. The aircraft were assembled when they arrived in the states and as far as i know there was never a reason to remove the wings based on the maintenance program and flight hours the owner I was working for was flying them (I'll have to look at his old program). I do remember someone taking about torquing those wing bolts, I believe earlier North American models had explosive bolts holding the wings together in that area.

    I did work on a Chinese J-2 and several MiG-15 UTIs which I think were from Poland, China and Russia. All varied with workmanship quality but once you got them together they were just about bullet proof if you flew them regularly. You are correct about the brakes, they fry very easy!

    We have the same requirements for hoses and other rubber items.
     
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  2. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I've always been impressed with the MiG-15 / 17's relaibility and ease of maintenance. But perhaps I had exposure to a couple that were exceptional. In any case, the ones I ever saw operational were easy to work on, relaible, and robust. They were all civilian-operated, so I can't say nanything about the guns except they HAD to be tehre for CG purposes, or else comparable lead weights had to be there.

    When we assembled Curtiss Earle's MiG, we asked the ATF if they'd cut maybe 75% of the way through the gun, and then let us weld a plate over it so the bolt holes wouldn't chane position. But, we found the guns were loaded and ATF got all huffy and said they could do whatever they wanted, and proceeded to cut them up into 7 - 9 pieces each!

    We used grinders to remove the molten ridges, bolted the pieces in place, and then welded pieces in to hold it together. The we removed them and filled in with Bondo and paintred them back.

    ATF were idiots and COULD have heled, but deliberately were jerks. Maybe it was because there were a few rounds in the guns. Maybe it was just the local guys, or maybe Curtiss rubbed them the wrong way, who knows? Not me. All I did was help revoer after the cutting was over. Curtiss had a spare engine taht had just been overhauled ... but the Chinese didn't send over ANY paperwork on it! So, he had to have it gone through completely. The thing is, the Chinese have NO incentive to help you just because you bought it, and there is no way to ask for help without money exchanging hands ... and you never know of the hands thaht get it will actually DO anything or not.

    At least, that's was Curtiss' experience.
     
  3. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    Wandering into the realm of firepower, it seems most air forces, including the USN's, felt the 0.50 in machine gun was past its prime before 1950. The USN had found the 20 mm much more effective, and the was already fielding aircraft with this bore.
     
  4. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    If I had almost put a cutting torch to a gun receiver that still had a round in the chamber I think i'd be upset too.
     
  5. ChrisMcD

    ChrisMcD Member

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    Hi Greg.

    When I was working near Coventry Airport many years ago. I was intrigued to see an F-100 land one afternoon. Late that evening I was going home when I noticed frantic activity going on round it, wandered over and almost gave the crew a collective heart attack. Coventry Air Museum had read that the French Air Force was retiring it's F-100's and had asked for a specimen for their display. Nothing had been heard for months and then they suddenly got a message that one would be delivered shortly - as indeed it was. The only problem was that, once the pilot had handed over the key and vanished, they had discovered it was still fully armed with 4 X 20mm cannon! I had wandered into a frantic disposal operation to make their new display fit for a museum. I left them to it!

    I thought that was typical French "saing froid" but perhaps it is more common than I had realised!
     
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  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #46 GregP, Feb 19, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
    Well, Curtiss told the ATF that the plane was armed and that we didn't expect it to be, and that we had cranked all the shells through the system andf disarmed it, and removed the guns to make them ready for the ATF.

    He offered them the guns to cut, and also the shells, even though he had a license fior auromatic arms sales. Technicaly, he could have retained ownwership (except he couldn't produce any paperwork for the shells or guns other than a bill of sale), but the guns were needed for weight and balance anyway. All he wanted was to ensure the mounting holes were not cut, so we could re-mount the pieces, tack weld them, and them re-weld into straight, suitable CG weights.

    There was really no reason for them to do what they did.

    Then again, since Curt dealt in automatic weapons, perhaps there was some history there, and perhaps it wasn't the friendliest history. I don't know and will not speculate in here. However, when someone finds a situation and promptly reports it, you have to at least give credence to the thought that they're not trying to hide anything.

    I also knew someone who imported a Shenyang CJ-6 without issues. It makes a great sport plane.
     
  7. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    I remember reading a LW pilots account of being on the eastern front. his comment was that for him it was more personal because he was able to see the faces of his enemies many times. since they were at lower alts oxy masks were either off or left dangling. when he would merge head on with an EA the pilots oft times looked at each other. his other comment was he knew that after one or 2 more turns he would be on that enemies tail. so not sure if it was inexperience of the VVS pilots, lack of maneuverability of the AC, or a combination of both...but his 109 never failed to best his enemy's plane
     
  8. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #48 GregP, Feb 19, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
    The Germans had some very good combat pilots. Their best were the world's best, at least from the point of view of most effective as indicated by indovodual kills to losses. You can argue their kills. You can't argue very successfully that their best pilots didn't shoot down WAY more than were shot from under them. Some Lufwtaffe pilots lost up to 10 or possibly more aircraft, and were wounded. But they came back to shoot down more on a LOT of occasions.

    Aside from political fanatics, combat pilots are combat pilots. German combat stories are good, and largely read the same as combat stories from the other side on a LOT of occasions, with aircraft types reversed.

    Soviet combat stories are also good, but read as though the Soviet pilots were largely a lot more "on their own" than the coordinated attacks by other nations' pilots. Perhaps the Soviet pilots were taught that way, but their stories seem more pointed at individual achievement than at wingman-leader units.

    Seems that way to me, but maybe it's just the selection I read. I have no particular source, but chance across a story from the Soviet view every once in awhile.
     
  9. MiTasol

    MiTasol Active Member

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    Leroy Penhall's aircraft at Chino?
     
  10. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    There is evidence to support the notion that VVS fighters were superior in the horizontal to any of the main LW piston engined types before 1944. In the summer of 1943, a brand-new La-5 made a forced landing on a German airfield providing Luftwaffe with an opportunity to test-fly the newest Soviet fighter. Test pilot Hans-Werner Lerche wrote a detailed report of his experience. He particularly noted that the La-5FN excelled at altitudes below 3,000 m (9,843 ft) but suffered from short range and flight time of only 40 minutes at cruise engine power. Further, all of the engine controls (throttle, mixture, propeller pitch, radiator and cowl flaps, and supercharger gearbox) had separate levers which served to distract the pilot during combat to make constant adjustments or risk suboptimal performance. For example, rapid acceleration required moving no less than six levers. In contrast, contemporary German aircraft, especially the BMW 801 radial engined variants of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 front line fighter, had largely automatic engine controls with the pilot operating a single lever and electromechanical devices, like the Kommandogerät pioneering engine computer on the radial-engined Fw 190s, making the appropriate adjustments.


    Due to airflow limitations, the engine boost system (Forsazh) could not be used above 2,000 m (6,562 ft). Stability in all axes was generally good. The authority of the ailerons was deemed exceptional but the rudder was insufficiently powerful at lower speeds. At speeds in excess of 600 km/h (370 mph), the forces on control surfaces became excessive. Horizontal turn time at 1,000 m (3,281 ft) and maximum engine power was 25 seconds. In comparison with Luftwaffe fighters, the La-5FN was found to have a comparable top speed and acceleration at low altitude. It possessed a higher roll rate and a smaller turn radius than the Bf 109 and a better climb rate than the Fw 190A-8. The Bf 109 utilizing MW 50 had superior performance at all altitudes, and Fw 190A-8 had better dive performance.


    Lerche's recommendations were to attempt to draw the La-5FN to higher altitudes. This has been misreported post war that the LW was issued orders not to engage below 5000m. no such order existed, but the LW did try to avoid low altitude combat against all single engined fighter types after the release of Lerches report. This was unfortunate, since most of the serious ground support operations by the VVS were conducted at tree top height. The LW reverted to BoB tactics, to escape attacks in a dive followed by a high-speed shallow climb, and to avoid prolonged turning engagements.


    The La-5 had its defects which were gradually ironed out with the introduction of later types like the Yak-3 and La-7 and later the La-9. Perhaps the most serious of the criticisms that can be levelled against the La-5 is the thermal isolation of the engine, lack of ventilation in the cockpit, and a canopy that was impossible to open at speeds over 350km/h. To make things worse, exhaust gas often entered in the cockpit due to poor insulation of the engine compartment. Consequently, pilots ignored orders and frequently flew with their canopies open.
     
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  11. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #51 GregP, Feb 19, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
    That performance is a bit off from a LOT of other reports.

    The Soviets themselves reported a level turn at 16,000 feet for the La-5FN at 18.5 seconds, and an intial climb rate of 4,331 fpm.

    For the standard La-5, they reported a level turn at 16,000 feet at 22.6 seconds, and no initial climb rate. It is probably in the neighborhood of 2,500 fpm since the M-82A and M-82F engines were both rated at 1,700 hp and the La-5F had a climb rate of 2,543 fpm and only 160 lbs less weight at normal load. The M-82FN in the La-5FN went to 1,850 hp.

    The Soviets also reported a range of 740 km but no power setting for that range was quoted.

    I have seen approximately those same numbers in several sources, not all of which appear to be exactly the same, but are generally around these numbers. Perhaps there is a reason for it that would be reasonable.

    Allied test pilots reported several "odd" flight characteristic of the Bf 109, including a very large trim change when flaps were lowered. if you talk with former Luftwaffe pilots, they report no such thing. The flaps and horizontal stab trim wheels are located side by side and the Germans were tought to use both wheels at the same time, with no resulting trim change at all!

    It would appear that how you were taught to fly affects the reported handling of planes in various flight regimes. Perhaps the Soviet pilots were more in tune with their planes than a Luftwaffe test pilot with no knowledge of the aircraft. With extended testing, he might have arrived at the same turn rate. Either way, the Luftwaffe test isn't all that far off ... but it DOES amount to over 10% difference in turn time.

    I'm sure that Allied testing of Luftwaffe planes was probably off by about the same numbers from German tests, too.
     
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  12. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Al Hansen, Mojave - also did work for guys located in Utah (St. George and Wendover)
     
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  13. Zipper730

    Zipper730 Member

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    GregP

    So basically their areas of strength relied on the ability to get blows in early on before the enemy gets a chance to use their turning advantage at moderate to high speeds? At low speed if I recall it was possible to generate a substantially tight rate of turn at low-speeds due to slats, particularly if stab-trim was employed (though I'm not sure if it exceeded the Hurricane or Spitfire), though there was a tendency for the ailerons to come out unevenly and produce a wobble that'd make it harder to keep the gun-sight on target.
    That's actually a good point.
    Damned straight

    spicmart

    High taper-ratios reduce wing-tip vortex strength, which means more lift for the same area.

    swampyankee

    Sounds about right.

    parsifal

    So the Luftwaffe had a leg up early on due to training...
     
  14. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #54 parsifal, Feb 24, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
    Z730, re your post 53...

    Germany had a massive advantage in terms of aircrew training and combat experience over the Soviets from the beginning to around mid'43. During that period there had been a steady decline in the LW pilot quality, but this qualitative advantage was maintainined, relatively speaking because the Soviets were churning out pilots of really poor experience. There were some administrative changes by the Soviets, termed the "Novikov reforms" that centralised VVS C&C, whilst relatively speaking the LW took backwards steps as they moved their training functions into operational units.....men learning as they went so to speak. Throughout 42 and the first half of 43 the LW frittered its strength away as a sort of fire brigade, with no periods of rest, and further, the ground supporting elements to the sirborne gradually lost their mobility as the wheeled transport components were gradually hived off to support the army. it became increasingly difficult for LW formations to be moved up and down the front as they had been in the opening months of the campaign. This loss of mobility worked against a key advantage of the LW....it mobility and ability concentrate where needed.

    These changes don't sound like much, but they were the beginnings of significant changes. The LW took its first big hit at Stalingrad, and whilst not suffering a defeat as such at Kursk were challenged for the first time on a sustained basis. It was in a relative sideshow, over the Kuban that the first inklings of change began to appear. The LW was still fighting very effectively, but the Soviets were by this time simply swamping the LW to the point that the LW no longer controlled the battlefield.

    Gradually as 1943 dragged on, other commitments in other TOs took their toll on the LW. They were never able to field enough fighters to make a difference on the EF, though to the end they could generally control local bits of the front if they needced. The VVS came to realize that they did not need to frive the LW from the skies completely, they only needed to hold an area to allow their Ga a/c to do their job and also hold the stukas at bay to be successful. By 1944, the VVs was doing that with cold efficiency as they set about deconstructing the LW
     
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  15. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    Thanks P, so that is where that myth got its origins. it has been the crux of many a debate but no one has yet to show any LW order to not engage VVS ac in turning battles.
     
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