Turn radius of USAAF fighters

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Kurfürst, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. Kurfürst

    Kurfürst Banned

    Mar 13, 2005
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    Aquincum, Pannonia Prima

    I wonder if anyone has specific data (ie. not tactical comparisons) for the turn times and turn radiuses of USAAF fighters. It's a usually very vividly argued and controversial subject relative to other fighters of the time (and for this reason, I ask you to keep this kind of stuff out of this thread), so I wondered if anyone has any hard data to come by about P-38, P-39s, P-40s, P-47 and P-51s.

    There are some Russian dataset to start with for Allison engined Mustangs (V 1710 39) and P-47 D-10 (R 2800 63). These give rather modest values for turn times at 1000 meter altitude, 23 secs for a complete turn for the Allison Mustang, and 26 seconds for the 'bolt.

    P-39 turn radius under the same conditions is given as 253 - 280 meter (presumably the difference between lighter and heavier versions of the P-39 in use by the VVS).

    Thx in advance!
  2. Sgt. Pappy

    Sgt. Pappy Member

    Jun 7, 2006
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    You could always take a look at WWII Aircraft Performance
    There's tonnes of info on planes on that site... not just Brit planes.

    Also, theres lots of information on weights and wing area there and all over the web. Look that up and you'll be able to find out wingloading from waht you know (which is loaded weight divided by wing area). That's just one of the main factors on turning performance.

    Also, radius isn't the biggest thing in turning. Turn RATE is very very handy for turning battles. A Spitfire, for example may turn extremely tightly, but if an F4U drops its flaps at the right moment, it can actually turn FASTER than the Spit, that is, complete more degrees of a circle faster, which allows it to outturn the Spitfire. The Bf-109, also, could turn very tightly even due to its large wingloading, all thanks to wing slats which smoothened the airflow over top of the wing in high Angle of Attack (AoA) maneuvers. So a plane that will turn faster won't necessarily have to turn tighter to win the contest.

    Main factors to turn performance include wing loading, power loading, drag and sometimes, wing/flap design. This is so due to the fact that US planes have the top notch flaps of all the countries; slotted flaps (which takes air from under the wing, pressurizes it and shoots it over the top of the flaps to gain lift), Fowler flaps (flaps that not only bend down for greater AoA, but also push outward, increasing wing area), and the split-flap (kinda like the Spitfire's flap. splits the bottom half of the wing downward. not the best flap).

    In your arguement, I'd have to say the turning radius of each plane, from smallest to largest are:

    P-39, P-40, P-51, P-38, and P-47.
    My F4U should fit somewhere in between; just worse than the P-40.
  3. mad_max

    mad_max Member

    Oct 4, 2006
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    The problem with turn tests as I see it is:

    Each airframe has a best turn speed. That's why I think we see so many pilot
    accounts of I out turn this and that. It would depend at what speeds the aircraft where at. Some turned better slower and others better faster.

    I will bet when a P-47 pilot said he turned with a 109 it was over 250 MPH. Under
    250 mph he would lose the turning battle. Most of the low speed turn fighting
    was done in WW1 and at the beginning of WW2. Once WW2 go more involved
    Alt and speed were strived for more than low speed performance.

    So it would depend on what speed the turning was done at. IMHO

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