RAAF P-51D Mustang underwing recognition lights?

Discussion in 'Aircraft Markings and Camouflage' started by joe10490, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. joe10490

    joe10490 New Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm building a 1/48 P-51D Mustang from Tamiya and intend to finish it in the markings of A68-809 flown (and sadly, crashed) by Wing Commander Lou Spence of 77 Sqn in Korea.

    The model (designed to be an American-built F-51D) features three lights to be painted red, amber and green on the underside of the port wing tip. It is to my understanding that these were recognition lights, a sort of primitive IFF system. I know these weren't featured on British built RAF Mustangs with Allison engines, but were these featured on RAAF mustangs?

    From photographs, the RAAF Museum mustang doesn't appear to have them, but this was a CAC built aircraft, A68-809 was a lend-leased aircraft (judging by its late serial number), so is it possible that these lights could have been included on Spence's aircraft? The best picture I could find of the aircraft's wings is on the Australian War Memorial site (148931 | Australian War Memorial), but from what I can see it is not entirely clear whether they're there or not.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. ozhawk40

    ozhawk40 Active Member

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    #2 ozhawk40, Sep 2, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
    Yes A68-809 had the recognition lights. Here's a pic of 803, Brian Eatons aircraft, and you may be able see them just inboard of the wingtip.

    Cheers

    Peter
     

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  3. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Peter, that photo shows the starboard wing, with the small nav lamp inboard on the underside.
    I've checked some photos of CAC - built Mustangs, and haven't been able to see the three lamps normally found beneath the port wing, although I'll admit the contrast and angles were not the best for viewing.
    A clear photo of a late (USAF) F-51 suggests they were not included on late models, so entirely possible/probable that they were not on the Australian aircraft.
    BTW, there were no British-built, RAF Mustangs - they were all built by NA, whether Allison-engined Mustang Mk1, Mk1a and MkII, or Packard-Merlin engined Mustang MkIII and MkIV.
     
  4. ozhawk40

    ozhawk40 Active Member

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    #4 ozhawk40, Sep 2, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
    Hi Terry

    I think Joe meant the Starboard side as per diagram attached (source: "Southern Cross Mustangs" D. Muir) with the three lights in a row.

    A68-809 was a NAA built aircraft not a CAC one. The CAC version had a single light in this location.

    Cheers

    Peter
     

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  5. joe10490

    joe10490 New Member

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    Silly me I was looking at it the wrong way, I meant starboard wings, thanks for your help so far!
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Oops! Apologies Peter and Joe - lack of sleep must have affected my wing orientation!
    I've had another look, but again, nothing conclusive. Some photos appear to show the three recognition lamps, whilst a couple seem to show a plain area, without lamps, but with what might be a small blister-type lamp, possibly a 'repeater' of the wing-tip nav lamp. The photo posted by Peter looks similar and, although this seems to have the outline of at least one more of the circular lamps, I'm not sure that darker patch is one of the three, looking more like the 'blister' mentioned.
    Certainly all other P-51s and F-51s, on further viewing, have the three starboard recognition lamps, and as this was part of the design, I would think that CAC Mustangs probably had them too.
    I'm fairly sure I've got a clear photo or two of CAC-built Mustangs, though I haven't a clue where they are - either in one of many books, or possibly a magazine article. But I also think some museum pics of Aussie P-51s have been posted here on the forum - if they can be found!
     
  7. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Here is a pic of A68-791 which was a fellow 77sqn P-51D-25-NT, the same variant as Spence's A68-809. I've conveniently had the starboard wing bent up for you guys so you can have a better look. :)
     

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  8. ozhawk40

    ozhawk40 Active Member

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    Sure appreciate that Andy.....:lol:8)
     
  9. joe10490

    joe10490 New Member

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    Fantastic thanks for your help!
     
  10. joe10490

    joe10490 New Member

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    Thanks for all the help guys, I'll post a photo of the finished product for anyone who's interested, should be done by this Sunday.
     
  11. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Good stuff Andy, and definitely got the three recognition lamps! Now, do you have to assist in repairing that wing ..............
     
  12. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #12 Wurger, Sep 3, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
    As memo serves these three lights were for group flights.
     
  13. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Also used to flash the 'colours of the day' to ground forces, for recognition purposes. The switch unit was on the starboard wall, with a switch for each colour, with positions for On/Off, Steady and Flashing, and I believe their was also an interval timer incorporated, to enable a timed combinations of light sequences.
     
  14. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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  15. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Good info Terry.
     
  16. joe10490

    joe10490 New Member

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    Here she is WP_20130915_003.jpg WP_20130915_004.jpg WP_20130915_006.jpg WP_20130915_007.jpg WP_20130915_009.jpg
     
  17. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Looking nice. A good job. :thumbright:
     
  18. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Yessir, I like it.

    Geo
     
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