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Airman 1st Class
Dec 11, 2005
Cupertino, CA
U.S. Naval Air Station
Patuxent River, MD
16-23 October 1944

This joint confererence involved representatives of aircraft manufacturers, NACA test pilots, representatives of the U.S.A.A.F., U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force and fighter pilots from all the aforementioned services.

The Conference was held to evaluate several aircraft and understand their relative strengths and weaknesses and to distill desireable characteristics for future fighter aircraft. The Report is a running transcript of much of the 7 day Conference.

Aircraft included: FM-2, F6F-5, F7F-1, XF8F-1, F4U-1C, XF4U-4, FG-1, P-38L, P-47D, P-47M, P-51D, YP-59A, P-61, P-63, Firefly, Seafire, Mosquito, Zeke 52

On this thread, I will share some interesting views that were presented.
I will start with the "Summary of Questionnaires." Pilots were asked to fly numerous aircraft that were provided and were asked to rate several aircraft according to specified criterion. A summary was tabulated. (I will get into the meat and potatoes of specific aircraft after the summary which will shed light on why the votes turned out the way they did. There were specific comments concerning each aircraft.) I will cover a few related topics each day.

The division of votes were as follows: USAAF - 9 votes / USN - 15 votes / British - 7 votes / Contractors - 20 votes

Best All Around Cockpit (91 percent of questionnaires returned)

F8F - 36%
F7F - 20%
F6F - 16%
F4U-4 - 12%
P-51 - 7%
F2G - 5%
P-47 - 4%

Worst Cockpit (95% of questionnaires returned)

P-38 - 55%
Mosquito - 11%
P-61 - 10%
F4U-4 - 9%
P-63 - 4%
P-47 - 3%
F6F - 2%
P-51 - 2%
Seafire - 2%
P-59 - 1%
FM - 1%

Best Cockpit Canopy (96% of questionnaires returned)

P-47 - 43%
P-51 - 24%
F8F - 16%
F4U-4 - 5%
F2G - 4%
F6F - 3%
F7F - 2%
Any good bubble - 3%
Greg P. asked, "Could you post the entire text and graphics?"

No. I have no way of doing so. Anyone is free to purchase the report for themselves though. Just do a web search for the title and you will find it.
no it is very interesting and I don't doubt its veracity it was just an observation
Nicest Arrangement of Engine Controls (94% return of questionnairs)

P-51 - 20%
F7F - 17%
P-47 - 13%
P-63 - 12%
F8F - 10%
F4U-4 - 9%
P-61 - 5%
F6F - 3%
Mosquito - 3%
F4U-1 - 2%
FM - 2%
Mock-up - 2% (I have no idea what this is)
P-38 - 1%
F2G - 1%

Most Convenient Gear and Flap Controls (94% return of questionnairs)

F8F - 19%
F6F - 18%
F7F - 14%
P-51 - 11%
F4U-1 - 8%
F4U-4 - 7%
P-63 - 5%
Mosquito - 3%
P-47 - 3%
P-61 - 3%
Mock up - 3% (I have no idea what this is)
F2G - 2%
FM - 2%
P-38 - 2%
...Great salesmanship, thanks for bringing it to our attention. I too will buy a copy pending the answer to this question: The 7 British 20 contractors disturb me, as there are only 51 votes. Are they more clearly identified as combat pilots, test pilots, pilots, or advisers?


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I'm afraid that many of the disturbing aspects and related questions will remain unanswered even after you read the report yourself.

It's a must read though IMHO for members of this forum.
Most Comfortable Cockpit (92% return of questionnaire)

P-47 - 24%
F8F - 18%
F6F - 15%
F7F - 11%
F4U-4 - 9%
P-61 - 8%
P-51 - 7%
F4U-1 - 3%
FM - 2%
Seafire - 2%
F2G - 1%
Best All-Around Fighter Below 25,000ft (89% return of questionnaires)

F8F - 30%
P-51 - 29%
F4U-1 - 27%
F7F - 6%
F6F - 2
Mosquito - 2%
F4U-4 - 2%
F2G - 2%

Best All-Around Fighter Above 25,000ft (82% return of questionnaires)

P-47 - 45%
P-51 - 39%
F4U-1 - 7%
F6F - 3%
F4U-4 - 3%
Seafire - 2%
P-38 - 1%

Best Fighter-Bomber (72% return of questionnaires)

F4U-1 - 32%
P-47 - 19%
Mosquito - 14%
F6F - 12%
F7F - 11%
P-51 - 7%
P-38 - 5%

Best Strafer (75% return of questionnaires)

P-47 - 41%
F4U-1 - 18%
F7F - 17%
P-51 - 9%
F6F - 7%
P-38 - 3%
F8F - 2%
P-63 - 2%
F2G - 2%
Since other members have now purchased the book and no doubt have the ability to scan and reproduce portions here on the forum, I will cease the laborious task of transcribing.

I look forward to the great discussions that this book should engender.
The report was frankly highly critical of most aircraft. I was surprised to see the P-47M treated so unkindly. (After all, she could pull 3,775fpm climb at 5,000ft in full combat weight and do 386mph at S/L, 472mph at critical altitude (32,000ft), roll very fast and dive like a rocket)

The in depth reports had the pilots issue "cards" rating each of the aircraft in a dozen or more areas from handling characteristics to combat qualities. Several comments on the various areas rated were published as well. I'm sure that when some of the forum members obtain the book, the will post the P-38L section.
Specific comments relative to the "Combat Qualities" of the P-38L

Combat Qualities - Answers included 1 from Army, 9 from Navy, 5 British and 13 Contractors

Good - 3
Fair - 0
Poor - 1
Other - 15
Blank - 9 (No comment)

Bad visibility to sides down. Would rather have F4U or F6F for Pacific -1. I would not consider this a modern fighting aircraft. Poor coordination of control forces and effectiveness, combined with very weak directional stability make it a poor gun platform, and its manueverability rating is so low as to preclude its use in modern combat - 1. As a fighter bomber - good; for fighter sweep-just fair; as escort - poor - 1.

Good due to 1) Twin engine reliability; 2) altitude performance; 3) good accelerated stall; 4) versatility; 5) dive recovery flaps which make prolonged zero lift possible - 1.

Apart from very queer aelerons, the aircraft is quite pleasant to fly, and would probably make a very good strike fighter. There is, however, an objectionable wobble in bumpy air- 1. An excellent escort fighter. Speed should be sufficient for most present day Jap fighters. View is poor - too many struts in the way. Rudder makes aircraft very hard to manuever on first flight - 1. Too complicated and full of gadgets - would make unserviceability rate very high - 1. Query on maintenance and operational problems with liquid cooled engines in hot climates - 1. Too much mechanical equipment for one man to operate in combat - 1. Record speaks for itself - 1.
P. 87

Colonel Garman: "I can speak only for the African theatre and only for a particular type of operation. The P-38 was used at low altitude on many occasions and we found that it was quite vulnerable to ground fire - any type of ground fire, even small arms fire. But other planes also experienced that same ground fore and the radial engines brought the planes home. You can't lay down any hard and fast rule and say the in-line engine is no good at low altitude as far as ground fire is concerned, It all depends on the operation entirely."

Lietenant Colonel Tyler: "We have data which shows that in the entire European theatre the P-47 is much better able to take punishment and return after any sort of mission - either ground attack or any mission which incurs damage. That may be due to the P-47 airplane or due to the air-cooled feature. We don't know which, but it certainly can take it better than other types."

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