Ten best turning twisting climbing fighters

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Senior Airman
Mar 21, 2005
What are your top picks for this catagory?
Turning, Macchi 200,202 which will outturn the Cr.42
Turning (Biplane): I-153

Turning (Monowing): Ki-43-I

Climbing: Spitfire LF Mk IX w/ 2000 hp Merlin 66

Twisting/ rolling: Fw-190A

Other honourable mentions got to the:

Bf-109F (climb, turn)
KI-84 Hayate (climb, turn)
La-7 (climb, turn)
A6M Zero (turn)
Yak-3 (turn)
MC205 (turn)
Re 2005 (turn)
F8F Bearcat (climb)
Spitfire XII (roll)
A7M Raiden (roll)
It depends on the part of the war.
Earlier fighters were better turner, later were better climber.
For late 1941 - 1942 the C.202 was certanly a good climber (3'32" at 4000m, 5'55" at 6000m)
The Re.2001 was a better turner, but a worse climber (4'10" at 4000, 6'30" at 6000)
The C.205 was a good climber too in 1943 (5'30" at 6000 at the RA trials at Guidonia)

In the ETO the ultimate T&B fighters were the Spitfire, Bf-109 and Yak-3, these three were the best at T&B fighting in the ETO.

In the PTO, well its obvious isn't it, the Zero(The king of T&B fighters), no other could match it so there's no point mentioning any others...

My honorable mention would have to go to the Ta-152H-1, as it was quite the T&B fighter as-well.

In terms of overall maneuverability however, I'd pick the Fw-190D-9 any day! (The exception being if the party is at high alt)
I disagree on the Zero point, because i'm a disagreeable guy ;)

The Ki-43, Ki-27 and A5M were all considered more agile in horizontal and vertical manouvers than the Zero, both by Japanese pilots and their opposition.

In fact, strange as it sounds, of the first two generations of Japanese monoplane fighters, the Zero was probably the worst at purely horizontal manouvers, despite its reputation. It was larger, heavier, more powerful, better armed, more complex and more advanced with higher wingloading than any Japanese fighter before it.

It did have other significant advatages over the IJA fighters: speed, range, sustained climb and armament. Its like comparing a P-40 to a P-47 or a Hurricane to a Spitfire.

The Zero was still fantastically manouverable. I have an interview of Saburo Saki from the 1970s, commenting on its combination of very effective elevators and high power (for a Japanese fighter) making it an excellent climber and looper, even more so than it was a turner.

Allied opponents had a propensity to label almost all early Japanese fighters as a 'Zero' even when it wasn't a Navy fighter. Most of the Zeros claimed in the Far East and CBI were actually Oscars or Nates, and the same fantastic manouverability is also ascribed to them, but they were usually, and incorrectly, called 'Zekes' of 'Zeros'.
Hehe, and I agree with you Jabberwocky, the Ki-43, Ki-27 and A5M all turned tighter in the horizontal than the Zero, but only just. And the reason I mentioned the Zero is that it was clearly the numerically most important fighter the Japanese had for most of the war.

However when the allies really started going on the offensive the Oscar probably was the main encountered type.
The Oscar had a butterfly flap that gave it phenomenal maneuverability, and like to Zero all under 300 mph. After that it's advantage was lost. The Zero/ Oscar identification mix up was identified and corrected by the summer of 42' but through out the war Japanese aircraft were always confused which each other because their silhouette was so similar.
very true, and the advantages and disadvantages and strategies were the same against the Ocar and the Zero
was the Ki-61 encountered often?
I always hear a few people mention the Italian fighters. What data or sources are relied on that indicate that these planes were such tight performers?
For the aircrafts effectively tested by the RA, the figures usually comes from the RA official acceptance papers.
Since the aircrafts tested by the RA usually were made to fit the charateristics given by the RA in an official concourse, the results can be considered accurate. The aircrafts presented by the different firms were tested toghether, in combat conditions (full load), with the RA test pilots and the test pilots of the firms that alternate themselves over the different machines. Even mock-up fights were done.
For example, the figures I reported for the C.202 come from the official test of RA for the VI-VIII series (that with the two adjuntive 7.7mm wing mounted machineguns)
Unfortunately, the main part of the documents stored at Guidonia was destroyed after the armistice, so, for some of the less comons aircrafts,the figures come from copies made for different reasons. For example the figures for the SAI 207 come from an internal document of the SAI in which the results of the RA tests were taken as base to calculate the projected prestations of the SAI 503.
For this, for some of the aircrafts, the figures are not complete.
For the aircrafts never tested by the RA, as SAI SS4, or Piaggio P.119, the figures are those of the constructor, and are clearly less reliable.

For the users of Google Earth: the test airport of Guidonia still exist, it's at 41°59'30"N 12°44'10"E
Dogwalker - How did the best Italian birds turn compared with the best Japanese fighters in turn.
I think it's an impossible comparison, since none flew both.
The C.202 is an european fighter. Heavy (for it's dimension), heavily armoured and fast (for 1941-42). The pilots that entusiastically stated about his handling, compared it with the aircrafts they known, and often they talk specifically of the handling at high speed. I dont't think it can match the japanese (with the exception, obviously, of the Ki-61) in slow turn.
Probably the earlier Italians, as the C.200 or, better, the Re 2000, are comparable to the japanese, since they were projected with a similar type of aerial fight in mind.
loomaluftwaffe said:
very true, and the advantages and disadvantages and strategies were the same against the Ocar and the Zero
was the Ki-61 encountered often?
80th FG guys encountered them all the time...

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