PDA

View Full Version : usefulness of stronger canopies in RL?



gorillasika
08-04-2004, 04:06 AM
Does anybody know, how the pilots during the war thought about the canopies being made more resistant to bullets, but at the same time losing visibility (before the bubble canopies)?
Did that development have clear effects, e.g less pilot kills, for example in the 109 series.

My impression of this game now is, that heavier canopies don't necessarily give more protection, but maybe that depends only on the way I fly and I'm probably wrong. Normally I get shot down some other way than pilot kill http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

gorillasika
08-04-2004, 04:06 AM
Does anybody know, how the pilots during the war thought about the canopies being made more resistant to bullets, but at the same time losing visibility (before the bubble canopies)?
Did that development have clear effects, e.g less pilot kills, for example in the 109 series.

My impression of this game now is, that heavier canopies don't necessarily give more protection, but maybe that depends only on the way I fly and I'm probably wrong. Normally I get shot down some other way than pilot kill http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Xnomad
08-04-2004, 04:53 AM
I agree, I don't think the framed canopies of the bf 109 protect the pilot anymore in the game than other canopies, although I have heard some people say that open cockpits such as the Rata I-16 are more likely to get a pilot killed. But I rarely, if ever, fly those planes.

http://www.xnomad.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/sig.jpg

munnst
08-04-2004, 04:57 AM
Most attacks come from behind (6 oclock) or in front, return fire, head on's etc (12 oclock). Most WW2 aircraft are equipped with armoured seats and a bullet proof front panel to protect against these sorts of attacks.
The problem with making a canopy totally bullet proof is loss of visibility and weight. The front panel on a Spitfire is 1, 1.5 inches thick. A heavy canopy is not something you want to wrestle with in a real life bail-out situation. Even if the canopy is released before bailout it runs the risk of striking or fouling the aircraft.

The best defence against any attack is not to let it happen in the first place :-)

munnst
08-04-2004, 05:02 AM
BTW
The UK Channel 4 programme `Spitfire` features Sqdrn Leader Paul Day of the BBMF flight comparing the Me109 (Black 6) canopy to the Spitfire. His comment is.

"This canopy (the 109) is heavy, not something I would care to wrestle with in a bailout situation. Visibility is also considerably worse than the Spitfire (because of the framework etc). Comming to rest inverted in the 109 is invariably fatal."

Black 6 unfortunately did come to rest inverted in a farmers field near Duxford. The pilot was trapped but fortunately the plane did not catch fire and the pilot was unharmed.

Xnomad
08-04-2004, 06:03 AM
I think flipping over in most planes is dangerous and a stronger canopy could be a plus point as it won't crush the pilot under the aircrafts weight. I imagine that even flipped over in a bubble top it is going to be difficult to escape.

Most pilots, axis and allied, would jettison the canopies if they were certain that they were going to have a dangerous landing. In one of my books there are two Bf 109's flipped over in a flooded field with their canopies under water but both pilots were pulled out uninjured.

I remember also a WWII RAF pilot being interviewed on a "Bf 109 vs Spitfire" show on Channel 5 in the UK saying that he didn't want to bail out of a 109 because the canopy opens up to a hinge on the side.

He however, didn't mention that the canopy release pops the hinges and that the airflow then rips it away.

Of course I dread to think what would happen in a stall without the airflow there to rip it off. I think Adolf Galland (or was it Heinz Knocke?) wrote that he was once standing in the cockpit trying to force the damn thing open with his back as it had jammed http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/blink.gif

As for jettisoning the canopy before ditching, I can't remember what hoods the Bf 109 pilots had when I read this in their autobiographies but I would imagine the heavy framed canopy could be lethal to the vertical stabiliser and other control surfaces if it hit it.

http://www.xnomad.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/sig.jpg

munnst
08-04-2004, 06:18 AM
Most Spitfire or Hurricane pilots locked their canopies in the open position before combat to prevent bullets damaging the runners and jamming the canopy shut. I've also heared of 109 canopies `popping` open in flight without much effect on the flying characteristics of the aircraft.

As for jettisoning canopies, I don't believe early Spitfires had this ability, believe it was added later. The 109 had this from the start (I believe).

munnst
08-04-2004, 06:23 AM
Interestingly some Spitfire pilots were killed flipping over not by the canopy but by the aerial mast. Due to an oversight the pilots harness ran beneath the aerial post. When this post was forced into the fuselage of the aircraft it snapped the pilot sharply into the seat causing fatal injuries. This flaw was designed out at some stage but not sure when.

JG53Frankyboy
08-04-2004, 06:25 AM
neverthelss , the main canopy glass of fighters was not bulletproof - so , if they were open ore closed , if a bullet was heading the pilot - it hit.

armour was at the front and the back - that doesnt care actually the canopies shape.

p1ngu666
08-04-2004, 06:25 AM
not sure
think the emil had a opening canopy, up and too the side
hard to open when u flying along

dont think u could jetison it but i could be wrong

http://www.pingu666.modded.me.uk/mysig3.jpg
<123_GWood_JG123> NO SPAM!

munnst
08-04-2004, 07:12 AM
I've seen a lot of pictures of 109's from the Battle of Britain forced down over England (there's an example at Duxford) minus it's jettisoned canopy. Looks like the entire, not just the hinged portion, could be jettisoned.
I've not seen similar for allied aircraft leading me to believe they could not jettison. Also read accounts of pilots fearing being trapped.
I wouls assume that after the Battle of Britain some sort of jettison mechanism was incorporated into the Spitfire.

THBF109
08-04-2004, 07:24 AM
In Bf109 it is not only the frame that is heavy - even the Erla-Haube canopy with way slimmer frame is very heavy - it felt like 35kg?. I needed two hands and some mucles to open one while standing on the outside (doing a photo session in a museum). So, also the glass is really heavy - not your basic window glass IMO.

Note that 109 pilots also have a glass head armour attached to the canopy (at least with the Erla-haube) behind their head. That and the windshield were "bullet proof".

Well, I don't know what calibre bullets they could stop but I've seen a photo of a windshield strikken by B17 rear gunner and the bulled did not penetrate. Is that gun the same all powerfull .50 BMG seen taking wings off ac with just a couple of hits in FB?

BTW, The hinged part was jettisonable only (the old style its the middle part and with E-H the whole back part), don't remember any reported problems by FAF pilots when ejecting 109 canopies. When you pull the handle it goes.

http://kotisivu.mtv3.fi/thilakari/Kuvat/sekal/MT460.jpg

munnst
08-04-2004, 07:39 AM
Looking at the 109 example at Duxford it appears the canopy was removed after the aircraft crash landed. Interestingly the canopy was not jettisoned as I originally thought.

http://duxford.iwm.org.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.1224/setPaginate/No#page1

horseback
08-04-2004, 08:03 AM
The reason for the heavier framing on the canopy and windscreens is simple: it was necessary to hold the glass/plexiglass in place during sudden changes in air pressure and airspeed. If you read some of the stories of about the development of the major types, you'll see that most of the prototypes had much more lightly framed canopies than the production models, due to lost pieces or canopies coming off completely during initial dive or high speed tests.

Barret Tillman's excellant histories of the Wildcat, Hellcat and Corsair all recount incidents of this, and I seem to recall similar incidents with the P-47 in it's early stages.

As aircraft were just entering the 400kmh range as the war began, most pilots already 'on the rolls' had been brought up in open cockpit aircraft, and were used to a certain openness and wind (many of them were suffering significant hearing loss at an early age from that wind). It was hard enough to convince them that giving up the extra wing & going to monoplanes was a good idea. The enclosed canopies were initially viewed with suspicion, and for good reason.

It took a while for the designers to come up with reliable ways to 'pop' the canopy in an emergency; they restricted head movement, and usually, the pilot's view, and after a few swipes with a dirty rag to 'clean' it, the soft plexiglass acquired scratches that further obscured the pilot's view. The early Soviet types used cellophane, which quickly yellowed, and while providing some extra protection from UV rays, made it all but impossible to see out.

But the fact was, at high speeds and altitudes, that canopy had to stay closed, or the plane would not be as fast, the wind noise made radio communication next to impossible and the pilot, no matter how warmly dressed, would quickly be subject to frostbite. Canopies could be rolled back for low altitude, lower speed dogfighting, but as a newer generation of pilots entered the scene, the necessity of radio communications, the proper care and maintenance of the plexiglass drilled into the groundcrew, the relative comfort of being shot at in a warm quiet(er) enclosed cockpit, the greater reliability of canopy release, made the whole concept that much more palatable.

Bulged, and then 'teardrop' canopies completed the job, although some kind of visible proof that the pilot would not be decapitated or crushed in a rollover was necessary. Most modern pilots feel almost naked without an enclosed cockpit, but they now have the same field of vision that they would have had with an open 'pit.

cheers

horseback

"Here's your new Mustangs, boys. You can learn to fly'em on the way to the target. Cheers!" -LTCOL Don Blakeslee, 4th FG CO, February 27th, 1944

Red_Russian13
08-04-2004, 12:04 PM
I was flying the 163 and got hit by some B-17s defensive guns. The canopy (armored glass?) made some interesting spidering, meaning the rounds did not fully penetrate the glass (had a screen shot...lost it, sorry). I thought that was very nice. I would like to see that modeled in the future...by this I mean effects of canopy armor.

Some canopies are obviously better armored than others, and should offer some measure of better protection.

Pretty much no matter what, in the 109, you get holes right through the glass (and the instrument panel, and the gun sight...but frequently never you?...strange) no matter what caliber round hits the canopy.

Now, I'm sure this is a long way off due to the undoubtedly complex code involved in this sort of this. So I'm not demanding that it be included NOW or any time soon. I'm not demanding at all, really. I'm merely stating that it would be interesting to see this some day modeled.

Red Russian

Fennec_P
08-04-2004, 12:43 PM
The cockpit damage models are preset, and are made to the liking of the modeller.

Whoever made the 109 cockpit must have liked lots and lots of bullet holes everywhere. Probably he had a default bullet hole texture given to him, and he used only that.

Kudos to Gibbage for making an accurate-looking smashed window.

Maybe in BoB the canopy damage will be more progressive. Maybe 2 or 3 damage levels, starting will small chips and going up to big holes (or even a totally smashed window, that would be really cool).

As far as usefullness, I've read about the bf-190 forward canopy being resistant to even 50cal rounds.

I forget the name, but a prominenet German ace was attacking American bombers, when a .50 bullet went through the window and stuck in his head. The bullet was depleted enough that it did not injure him.

Which is usually what happens to me if I decide to head-on against a P-47, but times 10.

LilHorse
08-04-2004, 01:05 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by THBF109:
Well, I don't know what calibre bullets they could stop but I've seen a photo of a windshield strikken by B17 rear gunner and the bulled did not penetrate. Is that gun the same all powerfull .50 BMG seen taking wings off ac with just a couple of hits in FB?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Wow! You've seen a picture and I've seen guncam footage of .50s slicing wings off planes! What a coincidence that we've both seen photographic evidence of things! What an amazing world!

civildog
08-04-2004, 01:40 PM
The front windscreen being slanted could be even more resistant to weapons for the same reasons sloped tank armor was. But the thicker the slanted glass, the less visibility there was.

MiG-21 pilots in Vietnam often complained about how the thick armored glass on the windscreen reduced visibility by as much as 50% and made gun kills even harder than they needed to be.

I'd rather trust the seat and fuselage armor (and I don't trust it very much either against anything more than .30 cal) than the canopy glass. The best defense is to just try to avoid the bullets in the first place and hope the armor stops the strays.

http://img78.photobucket.com/albums/v304/civildog/CivilDogsignatureMASTER2.jpg

58th AVG "WannaBees" ...We fly where the angels fear to tread!

A fast connect speed and the Internet means never having to say you're wrong.

While the lead is still flying there's always hope.