Most Pilot friendly fighter?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Hermie, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. Hermie

    Hermie New Member

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    I am new to the site and this may have been discussed before, but what was the most pilot friendly fighter of WW2. Given that the vast majority of WW2 fighter pilots were felatively low time pilots it would seem that some aircraft were better suited for them. I have read that the P-47 was a solid gun platform, had good ground handling characteristics and was very rugged. Traits that would have been valuable for low time pilots. Any other thoughts?
     
  2. Parmigiano

    Parmigiano Member

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    Restricting the choice to high performance types, the scenario is not very bright in terms of user friendliness for rookies...

    P47 was not that easy for a rookie pilot, easy for newbies to pick up too much speed and dive in the ground etc.
    Twin engine P38 was complex to manage, P51 was nasty at stall and unbalanced when fully loaded with gas

    Also the German types (Bf 109 and Fw190) were not so forgiving, especially the 190. Apparently the 109F was a delight to fly, but it was still tricky in takeoff and landings.

    I think that the most user friendly/forgiving high performance fighter was the Spit, at least until the MK IX/XVI types. According to several books MK XIV was heavy and MK 21 was quite tricky.

    This, in general, is pretty normal: the more you push on performances, the more demanding is the machine.
     
  3. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Have heard the same thing about the Spit. Early ones were easy to fly, a real joy. Heard the same about the Hurricane, Zero and F6F. But the Hellcat was the last of the easy flyers. As Parmigiano noted, the bigger the engine, the bigger the bitch. By the end of WW2, they were tucking 2-3000Hp in those things.

    Yeah, I'd go with something from the late 30s to early 40s. Before that, the designers really didn't have it all together and after that, the engines got too big.
     
  4. twoeagles

    twoeagles Member

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    Probably the easiset and safest fighter to fly was the F6F Hellcat. It had
    no bad habits to speak of and was tough and forgiving of green pilot error...
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Actually folks you're all wrong - For a low time pilot gaining high performance experience, the easiest aircraft to fly out of US fighters would have been the P-39, or for that matter any single engine aircraft with a nose landing gear. An aircraft with a nose landing gear which is so much more simpler to take off and land than ANY tail dragger, especially when you're talking about aircraft with over 1000 hp. Although the P-39 was temperamental during aerobatic maneuvers, for basic flying it doesn't get much simpler.

    Most low time pilots are going to have mishaps during take offs and landings, throw in a crosswind, tail wheel aircraft and green pilot and it's an accident waiting to happen.

    BTW for what its worth, Chuck Yeager loved the P-39.
     
  6. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    And the F4U Corsair??
     
  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Tail dragger - once called the "Ensign Eliminator." Years ago I saw a guy torque roll one out of Chino airport during take off. He survived but banged up the aircraft pretty bad.
     
  8. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    I never read the Russians saying that the P-39 was easier to fly than their own fighters - which doesn't mean it wasn't - so I might just throw in the Yakovlev fighters as easiest to fly...

    And what about the Zero? I can imagine that being fun to fly for a rookie.
    Kris
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    It doesn't matter - there is no argument - a Tri-cycle landing gear aircraft is easier to fly (take off and land) than a tail wheel. Once in the air you're going to have performance and control situations where one aircraft is more "flyable" than another, but you still have a take off and land and back to a tri-cycle landing gear aircraft, hence the P-39.
     
  10. twoeagles

    twoeagles Member

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    Point well taken, FBJ. It is my own problem that I have never taken the P-39
    seriously as a fighter, although I have always admired its lines...I wanted to
    say that all real fighters are carrier qualified, but didn't want to open up that
    Pandora's Box!!!:)
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    :lol: Point well taken, but remeber the motto of the carrier pilot - "It's better to die than look bad." :evil4:
     
  12. Parmigiano

    Parmigiano Member

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    ... well, I limited my choice to 'high performance' things, otherwise we should add the Gladiator and the CR42...

    Good point for the tricycle, but let's remember that all pilots of that times were trained on taildragger trainers before climbing the cockpit of a fighter, so they should have been able to master a taidragger landing.
    The taxiing remains incomparably easier on a tricycle anyway.

    So, let's throw in the Meteor, the P80 and the 262 maybe.. :) just kidding, but once learned how to start the engines there was no torque problems
     
  13. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Flyboy J, I'll give you the point of a tri-cycle being an easier landing aircraft. Takeoff too. As well as taxi. Too many points to even get into the details.

    But most of the posts were focused on after you get up or before you get down. Yeager like the '39 but other pilots called it the "Iron Dog". Nasty habit of flat spinning because of the engine and the center of gravity being way back. Also ran out of breath at 15K. I know it was a lack of a supercharger, but there it is. Pretty airplane? Yeah, especially the prototype.

    The P39 might've been the easiest to land, but it wasn't that great of a fighter when compared with the other aircraft named. And easiest to fly has to translate into survivable when up there.

    If you're flying a fighter, in combat and you are a young pilot, which one is going to give you the best chance of coming home again so you get the chance to screw up the landing?

    My money is still on the early Spitfires and the F6F.
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Remember - Should of! :rolleyes: :lol:

    Also remember that many of the tail wheel trainers were relatively benign and some even underpowered. Even going from a T-6 (600 hp) to any WW2 fighter could be a big jump, especially to the marginal pilot.

    Agree about the Gladiator and CR 42. I think in the air you had two good well balanced machines based on their construction, power plant output and power to weight ratio. Good aircraft for a rookie fighter pilot.
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Agree....
     
  16. Hermie

    Hermie New Member

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    Well as I said I am new to your forum and I guess I didn't quite make myself clear. The essence of what I was trying to get at is which plane would be the best for a typical, if there is such a thing, WW2 pilot to fly in a combat arena and not only survive but contribute to the mission. Taking off and landing while obviously necessary is not an indicator of how well you could fight the palne. As an example early model P-38's had such poor cockpit heaters that pilot performance, at least in the ETO, suffered.
     
  17. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    The Fw 190 was reputed be very pilot friendly. One control for prop pitch, throttle and mixture. Wide track main gear. Landing stall supposed to be gentle.
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The "one does all" power lever was one of the most innovative recip devices developed during WW2. I'm surprised it wasn't further developed and used in more post war aircraft. I believe Beech or Mooney incorporated it into one of their high-end singles.
     
  19. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    I don't mind multiple levers. I guess maybe I'm used to them. Only takes a jiff to adjust your props, and the majority of the time you're just utilizing the power lever anyway.
     
  20. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I believe the question was about "high-performance fighters."

    The P-39 doesn't qualify.

    I'll stick with the Hellcat. For a taildragger, it is simplicity itself.
     
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