Visibility over the nose: Inline v Radial engine

Discussion in 'Engines' started by fastmongrel, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I know most single engine aircraft (apart from the P39 possibly) had poor visibility over the nose particulary on the ground and approaching the runway/flight deck. Did either engine type have an advantage I am thinking that possibly the shorter nose of a Radial might give an advantage but was that lost by the wider engine. Did aircraft with inverted engines have any advantage over a tradional upright inline.

    What single engined aircraft were particulary notorious for bad visibility and what aircraft were considered by the standards of the day to have good visibility.

    I know the Corsair had a repuation for poor visibility but 2 others that seem to me to be poor are the FW190 and the DeWoitine D520

    Two that seem to have good visibility to me are the Wildcat and the Nakajima Ki 43 Oscar
     
  2. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    All tail-dragging aircraft have relatively poor forward visibility over the nose when on the ground, simply because the pilot is facing upwards. Having said that, all aircraft have a relatively large blind spot forward due to the fact that the pilot is generally a good distance above the ground and has some kind of protrusion (a nose or engine) in front of them.
     
  3. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    Would visibility be more determined by the aircraft's stance on the ground that it's engine configuration? P51, F4U, P47, all known to have poor visibility on the ground. P-38 front view was adequate, but side view was not the greatest due to the twin booms. Tail draggers by design are prone to poor forward visibility on the ground.
     
  4. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    visability would be more of a factor of cockpit construction. how high the pilot sat in relation to the firewall, how much room he has to move to look back or down, and the type of windscreen around him. the bubbles on a 51 D , 47s, and later spits gave pretty good views. the cages of a 109 left a little to be desired from what i understand.
     
  5. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Visibility over the nose is usually quite poor for tail draggers while on the ground however visibility over the nose is important for another reason and most WW2 fighters had the same problem. For full deflection shooting, the target aircraft needs to be visible over the nose when the attacker begins to shoot. At full deflection the attacker is at 90 degrees to the target's line of flight but is also in a banked turn. The attacker's nose is pointed ahead of the target but the attacking pliot need to be able to see the target airplane also.

    For that to happen, the attacker's airplane's nose needs to be sloping at least 6 degrees away from the cockpit. Both the F4F and the F6F had very good visibility in that area. The FW190 and the P47 were poor in that respect. The F4U was adequate.
     
  6. robwkamm

    robwkamm Member

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    as HP went up on the engine, the props got bigger to absorb and use the new found power. thats why most planes sat so high in the front. another reason jets became favorable.
     
  7. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Yes, tricycle landing gear ala P-38, P-39, B-24, B-25, et.al. offers much better ground handling visibility.

    Side visibility during ground operations is not that critical. The P-38 would have no problems. Once airborne, gear configuration has no impact. Navy aircraft, excluding the F4U, typically stressed good downward visibility for carrier landings.

    The evolution of pilot visibility has been toward greater and greater visibility. You can see this by comparing the 1939 Bf-109 or Spitfire to a 1945 P-51D, Me-262, or Typhoon. Modern fighters such as the F-15 and F-16 generally have high pilot positions for excellent all around visibility, including downward, since jets have wings mounted aft of the crew station.
     
  8. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    #8 Colin1, Aug 24, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
    One of the earliest twins of the war, the Whirlwind, boasted an alleged superb view from the office. I have a pic somewhere

    Here it is:
     

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  9. tail end charlie

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    The F4U was designed with the biggest engine and prop available which was great until trying to land on a carrier, eventually they solved the lack of forward visibility by flying in a curve
     
  10. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    It amaze me that pilot visibility was so poor from certain aircraft.

    Surely that would top of the list.

    Though I would feel too exposed in the Wirlwind cockpit...especially with 20mm shells flying about.
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Cockpit armor was typically only proof against .30 cal bullets. If the bad guys are firing 20mm mine shells the only solution is to not get hit.
     
  12. looney

    looney Member

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    if the game Il-2 is any accurate the visibilty in the Corsair during dogfighting is best and FW190 is worst.
     
  13. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    All WW2 Navy and Marine pilots were taught to land with the fullstall to approach. The short final was standard and the Corsair landing pattern was no different than the Wildcat's or Hellcat's. If one looks at the profile of a Corsair, one can see that the slope of the fuselage from the cockpit forward is there. The simplest way to imagine how forward visibilty played a role in high deflection shooting is to picture an attacker diving directly down on a target airplane in what is called an overhead run or attack. The attacker is diving at about a 60 degree angle and the nose of his fighter must be pointing ahead of the target in order that his bullets strike home. The pilot must also be able to see the target air plane. The attacker opens fire and continues firing as long as he can pull the correct lead.

    The high deflection attacks were very effective against bombers because the bomber's defensive gunners had an almost impossible job figuring lead on the attacking fighter. On the other hand a low deflection or no deflection run by a fighter gave the defensive gunners a simple job.
     
  14. tail end charlie

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    from wiki
    The Corsair was welcomed as a much more robust and versatile alternative.[61]

    In Royal Navy service, because of the limited hangar deck height in several classes of British carrier, many Corsairs had their outer wings "clipped" by 8 in (200 mm) to clear the deckhead.[62] The change in span brought about the added benefit of improving the sink rate, reducing the F4U's propensity of "floating" in the final stages of landing.[62] Despite the clipped wings and the shorter decks of British carriers, Royal Navy aviators found landing accidents less of a problem than they had been to U.S. Navy aviators due to the curved approach used. British units solved the landing visibility problem by approaching the carrier in a medium left-hand turn, which allowed the pilot to keep the carrier's deck in view over the dip in the port wing, allowing safe carrier operations.[63]
     
  15. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I think its worth remembering that the RN were used to a curved approach with the Seafire so modifying that experience for the Corsair would have been pretty straightforward
     
  16. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    I bet the Ta-152 had real visibility issues with that nose.

    There is a Blackburn torpedo bomber called the Firebrand which was a naval machine.

    Huge nose on it. Seeing round that was an accident waiting to happen.
     
  17. tail end charlie

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    I had the impression that the US navy used the same landing approach since they faced the same problem.
     
  18. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Not entirely sure about this but my understanding was that the FAA first used the Corsair on a regular basis from carriers, even the first version whch was given a modified canopy. In the US, the Marines first received the Corsair to be used from land bases but believe that one unit did land and operate from a carrier as a short term measure. The USN then used the experience of the FAA in their own training.

    I have little doubt there are people better qualified than me to confirm or correct this statement and welcome any input from anyone.
     
  19. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Great visibility everywhere but down, which is a problem with most WWII fighters.
     
  20. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Firstly, the float or bounce of the Corsair on landings was caused by the landing gear oleos being too stiff. This stiffness was alleviated by field modifications and later at the factory. The clipped wings used by some FAA Corsairs increased roll rate slightly and raised the stalling speed.

    Let us examine the story about the RN "developing" the "curved" landing approach of the Corsair.

    On Zeno's Warbird films there is a training film on the Corsair which shows the "curved" approach in a field carrier landing.
    The Corsair in the film is a "birdcage" canopy early Corsair F4U1.
    The national insignia on the Corsair in the film is the single white star with no side bars.
    According to the USN Aircraft Markings, Dept. of the Navy, that marking was used only until June, 1943, when the bars were added.
    Therefore the film must have been made prior to June, 1943.
    Therefore the "curved" landing approach must have been used by the USN before June, 1943.

    According to Dean, "America's Hundred Thousand," the following chronology pertains:

    The first RN FAA squadron received their first Corsair Is and began training on them at Quonset Point RI, ( not on a carrier) in June 1943.

    USN squadron VF17 boarded USS Bunker Hill in July, 1943 with Corsairs and was operational and headed for the SW Pacific by September 28, 1943.

    November 11, 1943, VF 17, which had been operating, landbased, in the Solomons, installed tailhooks and landed, refueled and took off from Essex and Bunker Hill during a battle.

    In December, 1943, seven FAA squadrons are training on Corsair Is and IIs..

    Therefore, it seems to me that the story that the FAA "invented" the curved landing approach and "taught" the USN how to successfully and safely operate the Corsair off of carriers is a myth and is happily perpetuated by our esteemed British friends.

    Wkipedia is often full of it!
     
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