Open cockpit question

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jerry W. Loper, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. Jerry W. Loper

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    At what speed does it become a bad idea for a plane to have an open cockpit?
     
  2. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    aerodynamically and environmentally it is never a good idea to have an open cockpit. I guess if you are below 50 mph and 5000 ft in the Summer it could be fun. Historically, open cockpits started disappearing when speeds got around 200 mph.
     
  3. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Some larger pilots flew early pre blister canopy Spitfires with the canopy slid back.
    Cheers
    John
     
  4. glennasher

    glennasher Member

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    I never figured out the Sovs designing the Rata and Mosca to have open cockpits. I guess wintertime flying before 1941 wasn't very popular with them?
     
  5. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Only reason I can think of is because if you had a open cockpit, you didn't have any side windows to frost over and completely blind you.

    Of course you frosted over instead, but you could clear your goggles, and keep vision.
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Several reasons that I know about.

    Alot of it had to do with visibility. Early single piece bubble canopies weren't exactly crystal clear. You also had 'framed" canpoies (Hurricane, Zero, P-40) that also resticted visibilty as well. many pilots choose to cruise with the canopy open and close it during combat. Sometimes it was also a matter of ventilation as you may have a temperature inversion where it's actually warmer at certain altitudes than it is at sea level. Lastly you also had a comfort factor during egress.

    Depending on the aircraft the POH also gave limits on what speeds the canopy can remain opened.
     
  7. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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  8. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I have flown in an open cockpit at around 90-100 MPH for around 45 minutes. The weather was very nice (70 degrees) and we were not above 1000 feet AGL but the wind is pretty fierce and it is chilly. The buffet and noise from the engine( and we had earphones on) is wearing. I would think a cross country of several hours would be very tiring.
     
  9. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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  10. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I often fly with the canopy open for photo shoots, depending on the aircraft. In the T-34 and T-6, you can have the rear canopy open for the whole flight, at the discretion of the PIC. With bubble canopies, it gets really hot in the summer with the canopy closed. It's like a greenhouse and you will roast in the back seat. I rode in the RV-4 on Friday. It has a canopy that opens to the side so you cannot open it in flight at all. The vents are up front, so with the flight suit and helmet on, I got pretty toasty.

    At Chino, for the show, you will see a lot of pilots fly the show with the canopy at least cracked open to get some ventilation as the temps in the cockpit get well over 120F.
     
  11. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    I posted a picture a long, long, long time ago of a Meteor flying with his canopy open... nothing like cruising to combat in a jet chilling in the wind.
     
  12. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Went for a microlight flight last summer. Ground level it was hot so we didnt bother with scarfes or long johns just jacket, helmet and thin gloves and it was a scramble to get moving before we melted. At 2,500 feet I suddenly realised I couldnt feel my toes or fingers and my lips and cheeks had stopped working. Quickly dropped to 800 and headed back to the field, making my worst landing in years. I wonder how many pilots made a 6 foot under landing just because there hands feet and brain were cold and dull.
     
  13. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    All the aircraft mentioned typically flew around 200 mph except the swordfish, which barely flew. There is a difference between an open cockpit and an opened cockpit. When higher speeds and higher altitudes became important open cockpits disappeared. Many times, as mentioned here, cockpits have been opened for various reasons. In fact, I think that, at one time, Navy pilots routinely opened there cockpits on carrier takeoffs and landings in order to increase the ease of escape if the plane ends up in the sea. I think this continued into the jet age.
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Yep, very true, also would raise the seat and fly a circle approach keeping the bow insight at all times.
     
  15. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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  16. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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  17. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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  18. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    I have been making fun of the slow speed of the Swordfish, but it certainly earned a reputation against the Italians and Bismarck. And, in truth, the American contemporary, the TBD Devastator, cruising with torpedo at about 110 mph was probably not much faster. It is also a sad story that the Allied torpedo bombers were quite obsolete compared to the Japanese B5N Kate, which itself was almost obsolete at the start of the war. The Swordfish did have one large advantage over the Devastator, it had torpedoes that worked!
     
  19. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    The Swordfish was a relic in 1939, its very British in our own 'make do' way that it was still in service in 1945.
    How ever did we get away with it?
    Cheers
    John
     
  20. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    From 1943 on it did a job that very few (possibly no) other aircraft could do. It was never replaced its role simply ended with the end of the war.
     
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