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Forgotten (ignored) warbird #3


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#1 F7Ftigercatlover

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 03:15 AM

Over the last couple of months I've put together 2 posts on forgotten or ignored warbirds of WWII, the P-36 Hawk (Hawk 85), and both the P-39 aircobra and the P-63 Kingcobra. Today I would like to talk about the only U.S aircraft produced solely for night fighting...........the Northrop P-61 Black Widow. The P-61 can be placed under the forgotten and ignored category of warbirds, and unfortunately there are no flying examples today :( . The P-61 was designed in 1943 to be the U.S equivalent of the British De Havilland Mosquito, in other words it would be the USAAF's primary night fighter. Few P-61's served in the ETO because the British were the main night fighters for the Allies while the U.S was best during the day (Not that both sides didn't change roles occasionally). While the P-61's success was minimal in the ETO, it saw a relatively good amount of success in the Pacific theater where there were no other night fighters to compete with. The P-61 was a massive airplane with a wingspan of 66ft, and it was 14ft tall. The Black Widow's 2 engines were Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radials giving it a top speed of around 370 (correct me if I'm wrong). The Widow paced a serious punch with 4 20mm cannons and another 4 .50 cal browning machineguns in the nose. It was the most heavily armed fighter in the Pacific theater on both sides. Along with it's firepower came it's ability to see in the dark with radar equipped in the nose, a revolutionary advantage. The P-61, and really all other night fighting aircraft the U.S designed during and after the war never really took off (no pun intended).  It would be absolutely a dream come true to see a Black Widow take to the skies once more and buzz airfields once more. Please add any info on this bird that I left out, got wrong, or you feel is important or interesting to add.

 

-F7F



#2 Rick65

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 03:19 AM

not been updated for a while but...

http://www.maam.org/p61/p61_rest.htm


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#3 GregP

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 05:34 AM

The P-61 was fully fighter-maneuverable, unlike many larger twin-engine aircraft. All aerobatics and steep turns were prohibited when droppable tranks were installed and full, but the g-limit with two 165-gallon tanks was 5.06 g, and that was mostly due to the tank mount, not the aircraft. With no external stores, snaps and spins were prohibited (as in most WWII fighters), but the airplanes was strong enough for them. Vertical reversements were OK, and that is a 1/2 snap roll.

 

Altogether a very cool airplane and I'm seriously looking forward to seeing the one at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum flying. Progress to date looks great!

 

maamp61.jpg



#4 F7Ftigercatlover

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 05:41 AM

The P-61 was fully fighter-maneuverable, unlike many larger twin-engine aircraft. All aerobatics and steep turns were prohibited when droppable tranks were installed and full, but the g-limit with two 165-gallon tanks was 5.06 g, and that was mostly due to the tank mount, not the aircraft. With no external stores, snaps and spins were prohibited (as in most WWII fighters), but the airplanes was strong enough for them. Vertical reversements were OK, and that is a 1/2 snap roll.

 

Altogether a very cool airplane and I'm seriously looking forward to seeing the one at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum flying. Progress to date looks great!

 

maamp61.jpg

 

I had no idea there was a restoration project going on for a P-61 this is really exciting, this is up there with the p-59 air comet restoration!!



#5 Rick65

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 07:09 AM

A shame that the far more atttractive (when not fited with hopppers)  and better performing RF-61C (F-15) didn't survive it's time as a firefighter.

http://1000aircraftp...arkins/7718.htm

Fire fighting and air racing saved many planes but consumed others that would have been fascinating survivors notoably this one and the XP-40Q-2A



#6 GregP

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 08:08 AM

I don't know ... the F-15C WAS more attractive, but was never in the war.

 

Better to fly a real vereran for airshows, maybe. Still, it would marvelous to fly BOTH at an airshow.






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