P-51 Drop Tanks

Discussion in 'Technical' started by Vacajun, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. Vacajun

    Vacajun New Member

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    Totally confused by photos (mostly with aircraft on ground) and artist's renderings showing 75-gal wing tanks mounted in a pronounced nose-down attitude whereas others show aircraft in flight with tank in a more streamlined attitude almost parallel to the fuselage centerline.:rolleyes:

    Anyone have an explanation??
     
  2. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    #2 A4K, Jul 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
    Can you post the pics? Should be straight in flight direction AFAIK....maybe they were just being loaded up?

    Welcome to the forum too!

    Evan
     
  3. Vacajun

    Vacajun New Member

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    F-6D Drop Tanks.jpg Moonbeam_McSwine.jpg

    "Parallel" tank on Moonbeam, nose-down on F-6
     
  4. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, see what you mean...
    Looks like they've been mounted too far forward to me, though would have thought there would be fixed mounting points...? Strange.
     
  5. Vacajun

    Vacajun New Member

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    Evan, I'm trying to understand why the tanks were rigged that way in some photos. Were the tanks variants of the 75 gal variety that needed to be hung that way? Was it done to enhance tank breakaway capabilities? Was it done to make long-range, lower-speed missions more efficient (thinking maybe the lower speed would require a more positive fuselage/wing angle of attack?

    I'm just amazed that I can't find a single reference to such an obvious configuration feature in any book or technical discussions of P-51s!
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    First pic doesn't appear to be the 75 gal tanks,but the larger tank - can't remember the capacity - on aircraft in the PTO/China theatre. Second pic is 75 gal, and they are level with the aircraft's centre line.
     
  7. Vacajun

    Vacajun New Member

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    O.K. Here's some Pacific birds with nose-down tanks, and the famous Bottisham Four Photo in ETO with level tanks. Are we on to something involving tank sizes and theater of operation?
     

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  8. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Yep, you got it. The 75 gal steel tank used in he ETO was eventually almost totally replaced by the 108 gal paper composite tank, or the similar size/shape steel tank. Some units continued to use the 75 gal tank though.
    The metal 'tear drop' tank used in the PTO and CBI theatres, although similar in shape to the 75 gal tank, was of larger capacity (as I mentioned, I can't remember the exact capacity), and of course a physically bigger tank. The suspension point, at the centre of balance of the tank, meant that the tank would therefore hang at a different angle, and, of course, it would protrude further forward than the smaller 75 gal tank, in order to clear the flaps.
    Simple as that.
     
  9. Vacajun

    Vacajun New Member

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    Airframes,

    Sounds plausible to me. However, one of the things that got me started on this kick was the artwork in Scutts' "Aces of the Mighty Eighth" shown here. I think those are supposed to be 75-gal tanks in the ETO, but show the nose-down attitude. I think the larger tanks were 110 gallon.

    Comments??
     

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  10. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Profiles vary in quality and need to be taken with a grain of salt. Always check details with photo references if possible.
     
  11. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Agree with the above!
     
  12. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Yep, me too. Many artists don't check their references enough, often copying ideas from each other and continuing the mistakes. RESEARCH people, RESEARCH...
    (The fictive RNZAF wing roundels with yellow rings continuously seen in profiles is a good case in point here...)

    Terry, great info mate, thanks! That clarifies it for me.
     
  13. Vacajun

    Vacajun New Member

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    Thanks so much everyone!! Been to quite a few forums at other sites with either no replys or "Hmmm.."

    I'm still amazed that this matter has received no documentation in the literature or elsewhere!!!

    Really appreciate your comments.
     
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