P-61 or Reverse Lend Lease Mosquito

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by pinehilljoe, Sep 15, 2016.

  1. pinehilljoe

    pinehilljoe Member

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    Hind sight, but Mosquito's might have been a better choice than developing and producing the P-61. Wings/Airpower did a multi issue article on the P-61. The pilots they interviewed loved it. Any thoughts?
     
  2. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    US reports on the Mosquito are less than glowing, though nowhere near as bad as those on some British types. I suspect that the P-61 or something similar was always going to be developed, not least in the US national interest.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
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  3. pinehilljoe

    pinehilljoe Member

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    In the Wings articles, one Pilot interviewed talked about a flight test between the two aircraft. He said the P-61 flew faster than the Mosquito but he was convinced the pilot held back on the plane.
     
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Problem is timing By the time the first Mosquitoes were flying in a night fighter squadron about 150 P-61s were on order and the order was increase to 410 the next month. Well before the Mosquito had proved itself. In fact 50 of the 410 P-61s were supposed to be supplied to the British under lend lease. Work on the P-61 had started back in the fall of 1940 and the British sat in or contributed to some of the initial design requirement discussions (perhaps were the turret came from :)

    By the end of May 1942 the US was ordering another 1200 P-61s to be built in a new factory but this was cut to 207 aircraft to be built in the existing factory by the end of July.

    Night fighters were being designed without really knowing what kind of radar (how big or how heavy) they would be equipped with so the size if the fuselage/cockpits tended to be on the generous side. Turned out the radar was developed as fast or faster than the airframes.
     
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  5. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Do we know the details of the cutback? Why?
     
  6. pinehilljoe

    pinehilljoe Member

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    was the F-89 on the drawing board when the cuts were made?
     
  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    No - the AAF design spec that led to the F-89 was released in Mid 1945.
     
  8. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    The USAAF ordered 120 Mosquitos for pru, but only 40 were delivered and given the U.S. designation F-8 (six Canadian-built B Mk VII and 34 B Mk XX). Only 16 reached Europe, where 11 were turned over to the RAF and five were sent to Italy. The RAF also provided (directly) 145 PRMk XVI aircraft to the 8AF between February 1944 and the end of the war. These were used for a variety of photographic and night reconnaissance missions.

    In addition to pru missions, the USAAF employed its PR MkXVIs as chaff dispensers; as scouts for the heavy bomber force; on clandestine OSS missions at Watton only, 492nd BG never used the "Redstocking" label; on weather observation flights, and as H2X "Mickey" platforms by the 802d Recon Gp , later renamed the 25th BG (Recon). The 25th BG flew 3,246 sorties (this includes B-17, B-24, B-25, B-26, A-26 and Mosquito flights) and lost 29 PR Mk XVIs on operations (this total includes destruction from ground-loops on landing or takeoffs), the lowest loss rate of all the various types employed by that specialist gp.

    The 416th NFS in Italy used Mosquito NF.30s during the latter part of the war, claiming one kill.

    more mosquitoes were deployed to the ETO for the USAAF than p-61s.
     
  9. Ascent

    Ascent Member

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    Is there some kind of link for these reports? It'd be interesting to see what they were less than happy with considering the excellent reputation it has.
     
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  10. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The critcisms of the Mosquito at Patuxent River were mostly minor. The most serious was its slow rate of climb.and 'sloppy' control on approach combined with a high landing speed. In the context of night fighting it was considered

    'Unsuitable for night operations because of landing and take-off characteristics and bad field and weather encountered in Pacific.'

    Which would have made the hundreds of British and Commonwealth pilots who flew the Mosquito almost exclusively at night chuckle. The weather in NW Europe is always ideal for flying :)

    Generally ground handling was not considered good. All the Americans found the cockpit cramped, despite its size, and the seating positions uncomfortable ('too upright').
    As I said, compared to comments on other British types, this is mild.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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  11. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    ... and it didn't have ash trays :)
     
  12. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    How comes someone nearly always wants to blame the UK for every daft idea the USA came up with!!!
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmmm, who else was trying to stick turrets on night fighters?
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    But, yes the US could certainly come up with some daft ideas of their own without any help.
     
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  14. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I'm trying to recall who it was that had an obsession with putting turrets on fighters...

    Blackburn_B25_Roc.jpg

    Boulton-Paul-Mk1_Defiant.jpg
    :lol:
     
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  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    We could probably go on.......especially with drawings of projects. :)
     
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  16. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    And with all this evidence that it didn't work, the USA still went ahead and followed blindly.
     
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  17. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The learning curve for turret fighters was being learned while the P-61 was already in development - the solution for the turret on the P-61 was to be remote and more aerodynamic, still was found to be troublesome when it was put into service, so in some cases it was removed and the well was used for additional fuel storage.

    Even though the U.S. didn't make any turret fighters, they still came up with fighter ideas that were not all that great.

    image.jpg
     
  18. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I believe the theory for night fighters was that if the pilot/crew failed to pick up the target visually in time to use fixed forward firing guns then the turret guns could fire at an angle to the line of flight and still engage. If a night fighter overshot a target and tried to circle around to regain the contact was often lost, at least with many early radars.
    Various radar sets had rather different capabilities as far as working out to the sides of the aircraft, Some would work fairly well at 60 degrees to the line of flight, Still meant a 300 degree turn to get eh target back in the covered area. The P-61 and a few others would work at 90 degrees to the line of flight, Some early radars has a pattern like a ellipse or several ellipses with some overlap.
    Radar some planes wound up with was not the radar they were initially supposed to carry.
    While the turrets may have been handy at times, in the overall scheme they simply cost too much. Speed/climb/turn/ due to weight and drag. added maintenance and so on.
     
  19. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #19 GregP, Sep 16, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
    The worst criticism of the Mosquito is also still valid today. It hs the highest Vmc of any twin in WWII. As long as both fans were turning and you accelerated past Vmc, you were OK. If you lost an engine before that, it was going to land straight ahead or crash with finality. Steve Hinton said when he flew the Mosquito that came out of New Zealand that it had a higher Vmc than the crusie speed of many planes he had flown. Once it was comfortably fast, things were dandy.

    By way of example, in a Mosquito FB6, safety speed (Vmc) at 17,000 pounds, +9" boost, and flaps up or 15° down was 155 knots. At +18 lbs boost it was 170 knots! The manul sattes these spees vary considerably between aircraft! So, they could be higher!

    That ain't good for a plane operating from a short island strip.

    By contrast, Vmc for a P38J/L was 120 mph (104 knots). You can see it would be an unusual flight experience for a US pilot. Can't find Vmc for a P-61 right now, but the stall speeds are lower than for a P-38.
     
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  20. pinehilljoe

    pinehilljoe Member

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    I have always loved the Airacuda. It looks like a plane straight out of Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow,
     
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