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Other Forgotten (ignored) Warbird's


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#21 Wuzak

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 01:21 PM

The Russians by all accounts did like and have some degree of success with the P-39 and P-63. But the British that did have one operational squadron of P-39s early on in the war and got rid of them almost straight away. Obviously not impressed. But i think the car door type layout was not something that pilots felt comfortable with if having to bail out. This method was tried on the Hawker Typhoon Mk1 and was quickly replaced by the conventional teardrop/bubble canopy as the door design was greatly disliked/untrusted by allied airmen. I really dont think the P-39 was a dog. As there are some qualities for having a mid engine layout. I think maybe the Russians just had more trust/faith in the aircraft than anyone else. But then again Russian air combat kills are highly dubious i have found. And i think its rep vastly outweighed its ability. A sound enough design but probably just not quite good enough for the ETO's.

 

You have to look at where combat took place in each of the theatres.

 

In the ETO combat generally too place at altitudes where the P-39 (and P-40) were slightly breathless. On the Russian front, combat was at lower altitudes.



#22 CORSNING

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 08:12 PM

Notes on the P-39:

The P-400s and early P-39s were liked by the Russians because they were utilized to their best abilities.

They were stripped of many items the Russians declared unnecessary. The wing guns were the first to

go. This gave the Airacobra excellent acceleration into a roll. Couple that with the loss of about 500 lbs.

and they had a much tighter turning aircraft. The Airacobras acceleration and climb also increased quite

a bit. The P-39Ds maximum speed at medium altitude was now around 382 mph. Of course that figure

was reached by the Russians by also over boosting the Allison 1710s. 

     That meant that in 1942 the Russians finally had an aircraft that was as fast as the Bf.109F and could

out maneuver it on the horizontal plane. Of course they loved it.

     The later P-39s like the P-39N/Q were very good performers. They were superior to the early La-5 and

La-5Fs and a match for the La-5FN.

 

Notes on the P-63:

     The P-63 just came too late for the USAAF. By late 1943 they had there supply lines all set up for the

P-38, P-47 and P-51. The time and cost to set up another supply line for a fighter was just not warranted.

That coupled with the fact that the maximum range of the P-63 on internal fuel was under 700 mls. was

the reason(s) the USAAF was just not that interested. That also explains why most of the performance

testing of the P-63 was done by Bell and not the USAAF.


Edited by CORSNING, 12 January 2017 - 08:13 PM.

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#23 Armand

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 12:24 PM

...Wonder what the outcome would have been if they could have fitted the Merlin ,then perhaps opinions would have probably changed,and the Aircobra would have been up there with the likes of the P51 and P47.....

The problem is IMO too overexposed as 'If only it have had a Merlin Engine', wich clearly relates to the widespread succes of the Merlin in the hands of RAF - And the succesfull adaption at the P-51 (the late P-40 got a Merlin too, wich increased it's abilities, though without comparison with Spitfire and Mustang). However, the real 'what if' lies in the hands of American producers of aviation engines:
- What if American interwar car racing hadn't been restricted in a manner that kept supercharging out of the mindset of American automotive engineers? England and Germany raced with up to 650hp automotive engines at same time as the newly developed Allison V-1710 only(?) had 1000hp and as an aiviation engine undoubtly had challenges around decreasing power in the heights!
- What if American engineers had lurked at the development of European aviation engines?
- What if American aviation engineers had realised the advance in beating any possible enemy aircraft in ceiling?
- What if the Americans at an early point had taken notice of the RAF criticism of the american fighters lack of ceiling, instead of nationalistic(?) denial of the problems? It took until the american deployment of P-39's on North Africa to realise that, wich could have been fatal for USAAF and the Mediterranian campaign in all, if not it was possible to get a lot(!) of Spitfires almost instantly - And seemingly didn't the engine producers in the US increase research and development of supercharging after that smack in the face.

I mentioned the P-40: It did get a Merlin, however for some reason with reduced supercharging, wich clearly shows that it's all about supercharging and not just the British engine!

Edited by Armand, 14 January 2017 - 12:30 PM.

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#24 Kutscha

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 12:32 PM

Armand, did you forget the American turbochargers used on the P-38, P-47 and 4 engine bombers?



#25 Wuzak

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 12:21 AM

The problem is IMO too overexposed as 'If only it have had a Merlin Engine', wich clearly relates to the widespread succes of the Merlin in the hands of RAF - And the succesfull adaption at the P-51 (the late P-40 got a Merlin too, wich increased it's abilities, though without comparison with Spitfire and Mustang). However, the real 'what if' lies in the hands of American producers of aviation engines:
- What if American interwar car racing hadn't been restricted in a manner that kept supercharging out of the mindset of American automotive engineers? England and Germany raced with up to 650hp automotive engines at same time as the newly developed Allison V-1710 only(?) had 1000hp and as an aiviation engine undoubtly had challenges around decreasing power in the heights!
- What if American engineers had lurked at the development of European aviation engines?
- What if American aviation engineers had realised the advance in beating any possible enemy aircraft in ceiling?
- What if the Americans at an early point had taken notice of the RAF criticism of the american fighters lack of ceiling, instead of nationalistic(?) denial of the problems? It took until the american deployment of P-39's on North Africa to realise that, wich could have been fatal for USAAF and the Mediterranian campaign in all, if not it was possible to get a lot(!) of Spitfires almost instantly - And seemingly didn't the engine producers in the US increase research and development of supercharging after that smack in the face.

I mentioned the P-40: It did get a Merlin, however for some reason with reduced supercharging, wich clearly shows that it's all about supercharging and not just the British engine!

 

The USAAC had invested heavily in the turbocharger, and that restricted funds for 2 speed or 2 stage engine development for Allison.

 

The radial manufacturers, meanwhile, had more involvement with the Navy, which wanted little or nothing to do with the turbocharger, so had funding to develop 2 speed and 2 stage engines.

 

The P-39 was originally, as the XP-39, designed to use a turbocharger. The installation was, however, less than stellar.

 

The forerunner of the P-40, the P-37, was also fitted with the turbo. In an unusual arrangement, the intercooler and coolant radiator were fitted between the engine and the pilot, requiring the pilot to sit far back in the fuselage. Issues with the reliability of the turbo, and the impracticality of the layout led Don Berlin to request a non-turbo altitude rated V-1710 for the P-40.

 

The P-40 got the Merlin primarily because the initial Packard contract was for 6,000 Merlins for the British and 3,000 for the USAAF, the only suitable aircraft for the Merlin being the P-40.

 

The P-40 received a 20-series Merlin (the V-1650-1/Merlin 28) which was a two speed, single stage engine. The -1 was the first American Merlin produced. It would be 1943 by the time the 2 stage V-1650-3 (60 series Merlin) would become available in the required numbers, and by then the Mustang X had been tested with the Merlin 65 and the XP-51B was undergoing flight testing as well. The P-40 was not going to get the good engine with that competition - it had already been seen as obsolete as a fighter.

 

George Mead, of Pratt and Whitney, toured UK engine manufacturers in 1936 or 1937. When he returned to the US he designed the Pratt And Whitney X-1800 - a sleeve valve H-24 of 2240 cubic inch capacity. That kinda sounds familiar....

 

As for the Merlin in the P-39, a 20-series may have fitted, and certainly would have increased altitude performance, as it did the P-40F and L. A Merlin 45/46/47 would also have fitted, giving high altitude performance at the cost of low down performance. The Merlin 60-series 2 stage engines, however, would have been too long to fit in the P-39's engine bay. And the extra 200-300lb weight may have caused problems for the CoG.


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#26 Armand

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 12:53 AM

Armand, did you forget the American turbochargers used on the P-38, P-47 and 4 engine bombers?


No. But that was a new thing wich was dared to try, however not catched from automotive racing as my primarely angle was.
Yet turbo had been the more likely addition to any Allison implementing when (if) realizing the ceiling trouble, and that step was seemingly not taken either!

#27 GregP

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 04:12 AM

Allison proposed a multi-stage supercharged at least twice to the USAAF and was turned down on both occasions. The USAAF was the customer, and the customer decides whetyher or not to fund a development for a smaller cvompany. Smaller com[anies usually don;t have tyhe independent funding at do it alone, aplus they would themn require the USAAF's approval to sell it.

 

Botom line, the USAAF got exactly what they ordered from Allison, all along the way, inclduing initial production when all the issues hadn't been worked out yet. Could they have been better? Probably, with some funding and decent appreciation of near-future requirements.



#28 Kutscha

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 01:12 PM

No. But that was a new thing wich was dared to try, however not catched from automotive racing as my primarely angle was.
Yet turbo had been the more likely addition to any Allison implementing when (if) realizing the ceiling trouble, and that step was seemingly not taken either!

 

Not that new Armand as turbocharging had some success during WW1 by the French.



#29 Armand

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 06:28 PM

Not that new Armand as turbocharging had some success during WW1 by the French.


I ment: Compared to Supercharging!
I would like to know wich engine the French tried turbocharging before 1918: It surely wasn't the Gnome-Rhone ;-)

#30 Armand

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 06:35 PM

Allison proposed a multi-stage supercharged at least twice to the USAAF and was turned down on both occasions. The USAAF was the customer, and the customer decides whetyher or not to fund a development for a smaller cvompany. Smaller com[anies usually don;t have tyhe independent funding at do it alone, aplus they would themn require the USAAF's approval to sell it.
 
Botom line, the USAAF got exactly what they ordered from Allison, all along the way, inclduing initial production when all the issues hadn't been worked out yet. Could they have been better? Probably, with some funding and decent appreciation of near-future requirements.


Strange decisions among US Governmentship and USAAF, when considered that the turbocharging of the P-38 and P-47 somehow came through :-o




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