WWII Fighter Weights

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by GregP, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #1 GregP, Aug 26, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
    Sorry! WWII Fighter Weights!

    Looked at several US fighter manuals (unfortunately didn’t get to the foreign manuals).

    So far, in US manual, the empty weight is the flyable airframe with the necessary instruments for VFR flight, minus all fuel and oil. No guns or optional instruments.

    Basic weight includes guns and optional instruments, including undrainable oil and unusable fuel, but no ammunition or ordnance.

    Normal weight includes basic weight, plus oil, plus internal fuel, plus ammunition for the guns, plus crew.

    Overload includes Normal weight plus ordnance other than ammunition plus any external fuel tanks or other optional payload.
     
  2. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    It has been a dream of mine to construct a proven WW1 design with modern materials. Just to see if it flies better.
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  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, we just have to watch for changes in phrasing, like "empty equipped".
     
  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #4 GregP, Aug 26, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
    Yeah, the wording makes all the difference.

    Anyway, the important weights for fighters are basic weight and normal weight.

    They takeoff at overload, expend fuel until combnat is imminent, and drop external tanks and usually fight at normal weight or less. Typicall combat weigt seems to have been normal minus 1/3 fuel if on the way hokme or full fuel if on the way there, and minus whatever ammunition was expended.
     
  5. Ivan1GFP

    Ivan1GFP Member

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    Hello GregP,

    I don't believe there was always the consistency in terminology that you are suggesting.

    One interesting thing is that at least for a couple USN fighters, the full ammunition load for MG was carried only on "Fighter-Overload".
    Otherwise it was "Fighter-Normal" with only partial ammunition.

    With aircraft such as the P-51D with a fuselage tank, the directions for expending fuel were even less intuitive:
    Use most of the Fuselage Tank before switching to Drop Tanks.

    - Ivan.
     
  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Actually the instructions for the P-51 were specific. Take off on internal fuel, switch to the fuselage, then to drops.

    That ios becasue the fuselage tank moved the CD slightly past the rear limit and the plane was a bit unstable with any more than 20 gallons or so in the fuselage tank. The pilot could FEEL the unstability and was only too happy to help himself bf burining fuel from the correct tank!
     
  7. Ivan1GFP

    Ivan1GFP Member

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    What is the non intuitive part is that the drop tanks help counteract the aft CoG of the Fuselage tank, so the aircraft becomes dangerously unstable if the drop tanks are released while there is substantial fuel left in the Fuselage tank.

    Also, how often were Fuselage tanks filled to capacity? My understanding is that the capacity is 85 gallons, but typically they were never filled with more than about 65 gallons.

    - Ivan.
     
  8. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    my understanding was they were always filled to capacity...when based in the UK anyways. the maneuvers you could perform with a full fuse tank was limited. how planes were fueled when based in france and belgium where they didnt need the range...i have no idea. i suspect ( and could be 100% wrong ) that the fuse tank wasnt filled completely when based there. the 51s that took off from Y-29 during bodenplatte were able to go up and dogfight immediately. I dont know if they could have been able to do that with a full fuse tank.
     
  9. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Yes they can.
     
  10. pattle

    pattle Member

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    How do they know how much the crew will weigh? In certain fast food eating countries peoples weights can vary from the cadaverously skeletal up to the morbidly obese and even beyond.
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    during WW2 I believe the AAF would average a pilot weight of 180 pounds for maintenance w&b calculations. The pilot also computes a w&b before flight considering his own real weight.
     
  12. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Pilots were required to be of a certain size to be selected as fighter pilots. Not too tough when you PICK them by size.
     
  13. pattle

    pattle Member

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    Wasn't there once a plane where the pilot was lowered into his cockpit by crane?
     
  14. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #14 GregP, Sep 1, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
    I know of one where the pilot was RAISED into the cockpit by a crane.

    Craig-Hoskings-Upside-Down-Landing-and-Takeoff.jpg

    We have this aircraft in our kids center at the Planes of Fame.
     
  15. pattle

    pattle Member

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    I think it was a Mcdonalds Douglas.
     
  16. Mangrove

    Mangrove Member

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    Weighted Finnish pilot wearing equivalent of combat gear weighted often around 95-100 kg (210-220 lbs), according to the copies of Finnish test reports I have. For comparison, a 200 round belt of 12.7 mm (.50, with ammunition boxes included) to the Berezin UB weighted 36 kg or 80 lbs.
     
  17. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    A 180-pound pilot in flying gear is a 200 pound payload, maybe as much as 210 as you say. Depends on the gear.

    But the flight suit, underwear, heavy coat, boots, gloves, survival gear, handgun, maps, etc. aren't exactly weightless.
     
  18. Ivan1GFP

    Ivan1GFP Member

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    US Aircraft typically listed the weight of each crew member as 200 pounds. You can often find this number stenciled on the sides of aircraft.
    Some US fighters only showed the weight allowance as 180 pounds.
    German "Benutzung" / crew members weighed a bit more at 100 Kilograms or 220 pounds each.
    (I guess Germans were just bigger!)
    Japanese crew members were often listed as 75 Kilograms.

    I am guessing that your 100 Kilogram Finnish pilot was specified at that weight because all the (German) documentation for the Messerschmitt 109 they were flying had that particular number.

    - Ivan.
     
  19. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Are those weights as the pilot flys ?
    All his flight gear including parachute?
    A parachute isn't a light piece of equipment, I've picked up the a T-10 parachute before, it's about 25-30 lbs.
    You subtrack that and all the other weight of the rest of what every pilot was expected to carry when in a war zone, and those guys may not seem so porky.
     
  20. Ivan1GFP

    Ivan1GFP Member

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    Those are the numbers in the manuals for the aircraft.

    Each particular aircraft will vary slightly in exact weight from the book specification, but the only place I have seen the weight of the particular aircraft written is on the fins of Macchi fighters.

    Perhaps others have seen this elsewhere?

    - Ivan.
     
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