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View Full Version : The Northrop 'Black Widow' A pilots opinion



SECUDUS
05-04-2004, 01:30 PM
http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

http://mysite.freeserve.com/Endodontics/sigs/WhirlySig03.jpg?0.8016962940949658

SECUDUS
05-04-2004, 01:30 PM
http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

http://mysite.freeserve.com/Endodontics/sigs/WhirlySig03.jpg?0.8016962940949658

SECUDUS
05-04-2004, 01:31 PM
I posted this over at GD...But I think it would be more appreciated over here.

Enjoy

Northrop Black Widow

http://img61.photobucket.com/albums/v187/Secudus/NorthropBlackWidow01.jpg
http://img61.photobucket.com/albums/v187/Secudus/NorthropBlackWidow02.jpg
http://img61.photobucket.com/albums/v187/Secudus/NorthropBlackWidow03.jpg

http://mysite.freeserve.com/Endodontics/sigs/WhirlySig03.jpg?0.8016962940949658

SECUDUS
05-04-2004, 01:36 PM
He also flew the Grumman Bearcat and the Hawker Sea Fury... Which should I post next?

http://mysite.freeserve.com/Endodontics/sigs/WhirlySig03.jpg?0.8016962940949658

sugaki
05-04-2004, 01:52 PM
Bearcat http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

olaleier
05-04-2004, 03:00 PM
"...was that the spoiler system could not overpower the torque effect
from the engines if they were opened up below 160mph.."

http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

The Black Widow din't have counter-rotating props?

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Marvin in hyperlobby

BlitzPig_DDT
05-04-2004, 03:35 PM
Both! (But the Bearcat first. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif )

==================================
The Blitz Pigs - Not a squad, a Movement!

Come and spam on our front porch.

http://www.blitzpigs.com

PlaneEater
05-04-2004, 05:35 PM
The plane he flew wasn't a P-61A... It was one of the YP-61s, one that was neutered pretty much the same way as the P-38s the Brits ordered. Non-contrarotating props, no gyro autopilot, unboosted elevator / rudder, and a whole slew of other pointless de-provements.

Ask any of the front line pilots in who rode back seat with John W. Meyers--Northrop's chief test pilot--during one of his demonstrations in a production example, and you'll get a VERY different story

SkyChimp
05-04-2004, 06:37 PM
http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif

I don't think the Brits ever tested an American plane that met their lofty standards. I don't think any American plane could ever rate as well with a Brit over their home-grown crop of planes. I think it has something to do with that whole 1776 thing.

Regards,
http://members.cox.net/us.fighters/wildsig.jpg

olaleier
05-04-2004, 07:06 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SkyChimp:
http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif

I don't think the Brits ever tested an American plane that met their lofty standards. I don't think any American plane could ever rate as well with a Brit over their home-grown crop of planes. I think it has something to do with that whole 1776 thing.

_Regards,_
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

It was nice of Tony Blair to apologize for that when adressing Congress. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

"Sorry..." http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

==================================
http://img2.photobucket.com/albums/v30/olaleier/cobrasig.jpg
==================================
Marvin in hyperlobby

fordfan25
05-04-2004, 07:09 PM
what was 1776?????????heh

Korolov
05-04-2004, 09:24 PM
Different air forces, different expectations, different requirements. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

http://www.mechmodels.com/images/newsig1.jpg

Fliger747
05-04-2004, 11:28 PM
Over in CFSII I tried out the 1% P61 and found it to be quite an interesting plane! As expected for the high preformance twins of the era, VMCA (single engine min control speed) was a high 140 knots! So don't loose one! What really surprised me was the high roll rate and manuverability. With good energy tactics even zero's could be mastered in a dogfight. A lot of firepower there!

Franzen
05-05-2004, 05:32 AM
Just a little treat for you guyz. This is about 5km from my home.

http://www.afwing.com/gallery/beijing.htm


Fritz Franzen

SECUDUS
05-05-2004, 11:29 AM
Gentlemen, Gentlemen... If he says it was a P-61A I don't have any doubt that it was exactly that! He was the Chief Naval Test Pilot and the Commanding Officer of the Aerodynamics Flight at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough. His job was to test aircraft and report in an unbiased way how they flew good or bad,to his superiors. That was his job. I don't think he would have lasted as long as he did if he had falsified his reports, do you!

http://mysite.freeserve.com/Endodontics/sigs/WhirlySig03.jpg?0.8016962940949658

SECUDUS
05-05-2004, 11:40 AM
Go over to GD and see what he thinks of the Meteor! If you think he's bias you should see what he thinks about my beloved Whirlwind... Believe what you want to believe, thats your choice, I'm only giving you anothers point of view.

Regards

Sec.

http://mysite.freeserve.com/Endodontics/sigs/WhirlySig03.jpg?0.8016962940949658

PlaneEater
05-05-2004, 01:22 PM
Franzen: why is that poor thing just sitting out there moldering away? And how the hell did Beijing get their hands on it?

That belongs in the Smithsonian, not sitting outside covered in grime where it is.

Grr.

SkyChimp
05-05-2004, 08:08 PM
Did someone mention flying a P-61 into a storm?

http://members.cox.net/us.fighters/thunder1.jpg
http://members.cox.net/us.fighters/thunder2.jpg
http://members.cox.net/us.fighters/thunder3.jpg

Regards,
http://members.cox.net/us.fighters/wildsig.jpg

Franzen
05-06-2004, 08:33 AM
Hi PlaneEater,

Really, I know nothing about this plane or it's history but I'm going to find out. I do know the Chinese are very proud of it. They seem to have a lot of foreign military equipment from planes, to guns, to tanks, to others. They even have a crashed U2 spyplane, I've seen it first hand. Today I visited 1 of 2 P-51's. They both appear to be near flyable conditions. I also looked at an La9 and an La11 today. I even had my hands in an IL-10, checking out the armor plates. Just to mention, I was inside a Tu-2 bomb bay also. By the way, while looking at an I-16 with my buddy this afternoon, he pointed out some modeling mistakes in FB.

Anyways, some of these planes have been donated by other countries while some are the victims of untold politics. If you're into jets, Beijing has a huge collection of Migs and other Russian planes.

I will look into the P-61 story for you guyz. From what I've read from a website posted, P-61 restorers think there are only 4 left in the world and they never mention Beijing. And from what I've seen, none of the compare to the condition of this one.

Fritz Franzen

PlaneEater
05-07-2004, 03:45 PM
Let's balance things out here.

These are direct quotes of John W. Myers, Northrop's chief test pilot, and P-61 pilots who sat back-seat with him during demonstration flights.

Myers: "It was natural that those kids would think that a 35,000-lb airplane (a monster in those days) was not manuverable. Also, there was a great concern about the loss of control in the event of an engine failure, so I had a little "show-off" flight that I had practiced. It took about three minutes. Very short take-off roll, back across the deck at red-line 420 mph, loop down to the deck again in an Immelmann. Coming out of this manuver, feather one engine ont he way down to the deck, two slow rolls off the deck into the dead engine, approach and land short..."

Capt. Mark Martin, 6th NFS: "...but most of all I want to repeat my thanks to you for the demonstration ride you gave me when our 6th squadron revieved our first P-61s at Kipapa Air Field on Oahu. I particularly recall when you spotted a flight of Navy fighters, dived to their level, feathered one engine, and passed the Grumman F4Fs while doing slow rolls!"

Lt. Robert D Thum, 549th NFS, Iwo Jima:
"the first flight demo we witnessed proved to us that Myers was noi ordinary pilot... he was superb! He had the airplane off the ground in an incredibly short roll, climbed abruptly, and as soon as the gear was tucked in he went into a steep climb. He was soon out of sight, but when next seen, he was on a steep approach with both props feathered! He landed in about 500 ft, rolled up to our astounded group and let off an ashen faced flight commander.

"When my turn came, he instruced me to be sure I was securely strapped in as we taxied out. Myers told me 'You chaps must remember this is a fighter. You have the safest, most modern airplane built to date. You also have the best engines in the world, two Pratt & Whitney R-2800s. Do not baby them! Use them to the utmost. They will not fail you. Keep full power on as long as you reasonably want to. It won't hurt the engines. Just fly the hell out of this airplane--it won't hurt you!'
"He then ran the engines up to full power, released the brakes, and when we hit 100mph, he rotated and kept full power on, retracted the gear and pointed the nose straight up (it seemed). We performed a maximum rated climb at, as I remember, about 130mph or so. Then he feathered the left engine in that maximum climb and did a full roll around that dead engine! He levelled off, still with the left engine dead, and proceeded to make the tightest turns I have ever experienced into that dead engine. The P-61 bucked and stalled and dropped its nose... and still he pulled back on the yoke as hard as he could. All the aiplane would do is complain and shudder and drop its nose automatically to pick up some more flying speed. Then he looped the airplane on one engine, shut down the right engine and in the quiet of that glider, he looped and rolled it. Lo and behold we were on the final, and he brought it in at 90 mph--both engines feathered--greased it on the runway and we were rolling off within 1000ft! We were all believers!"


So put that in your wooden Mosquito pipe and smoke it. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/59.gif

"To put it another way, a one second burst of fire from a single .50 cal M2 rigidly mounted aircraft gun shooting at you from 100 yards will put about 10 bullets through the computer screen you are looking at right now."
--Blutarski

[I]There aren't many of them left. They flew these things. They stepped off the earth, into the sky, in a pair of metal wings and a howling, living, fire-breathing beast of war, and they fought.

And they died.

And the least we can do is remember they were heroes.

FI-Aflak
05-07-2004, 09:57 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by PlaneEater:
Let's balance things out here.

These are direct quotes of John W. Myers, Northrop's chief test pilot, and P-61 pilots who sat back-seat with him during demonstration flights.

Myers: "It was natural that those kids would think that a 35,000-lb airplane (a monster in those days) was not manuverable. Also, there was a great concern about the loss of control in the event of an engine failure, so I had a little "show-off" flight that I had practiced. It took about three minutes. Very short take-off roll, back across the deck at red-line 420 mph, loop down to the deck again in an Immelmann. Coming out of this manuver, feather one engine ont he way down to the deck, two slow rolls off the deck into the dead engine, approach and land short..." [I'd like to see the Mosquito do THAT.]

Capt. Mark Martin, 6th NFS: "...but most of all I want to repeat my thanks to you for the demonstration ride you gave me when our 6th squadron revieved our first P-61s at Kipapa Air Field on Oahu. I particularly recall when you spotted a flight of Navy fighters, dived to their level, feathered one engine, and passed the Grumman F4Fs while doing slow rolls!"

Lt. Robert D Thum, 549th NFS, Iwo Jima:
"the first flight demo we witnessed proved to us that Myers was noi ordinary pilot... he was superb! He had the airplane off the ground in an incredibly short roll, climbed abruptly, and as soon as the gear was tucked in he went into a steep climb. He was soon out of sight, but when next seen, he was on a steep approach with both props feathered! He landed in about 500 ft, rolled up to our astounded group and let off an ashen faced flight commander.

"When my turn came, he instruced me to be sure I was securely strapped in as we taxied out. Myers told me 'You chaps must remember this is a fighter. You have the safest, most modern airplane built to date. You also have the best engines in the world, two Pratt & Whitney R-2800s. Do not baby them! Use them to the utmost. They will not fail you. Keep full power on as long as you reasonably want to. It won't hurt the engines. Just fly the hell out of this airplane--it won't hurt you!'
"He then ran the engines up to full power, released the brakes, and when we hit 100mph, he rotated and kept full power on, retracted the gear and pointed the nose straight up (it seemed). We performed a maximum rated climb at, as I remember, about 130mph or so. Then he feathered the left engine in that maximum climb and did a full roll around that dead engine! He levelled off, still with the left engine dead, and proceeded to make the tightest turns I have ever experienced into that dead engine. The P-61 bucked and stalled and dropped its nose... and still he pulled back on the yoke as hard as he could. All the aiplane would do is complain and shudder and drop its nose automatically to pick up some more flying speed. Then he looped the airplane on one engine, shut down the right engine and in the quiet of that glider, he looped and rolled it. Lo and behold we were on the final, and he brought it in at 90 mph--both engines feathered--greased it on the runway and we were rolling off within 1000ft! We were all believers!"


So put that in your wooden Mosquito pipe and smoke it. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/59.gif

"To put it another way, a one second burst of fire from a single .50 cal M2 rigidly mounted aircraft gun shooting at you from 100 yards will put about 10 bullets through the computer screen you are looking at right now."
--Blutarski

_There aren't many of them left. They flew these things. They stepped off the earth, into the sky, in a pair of metal wings and a howling, living, fire-breathing beast of war, and they fought.

And they died.

And the least we can do is remember they were heroes._<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

wow.

But I really want the P-61 for night-fighter ops. I want some radarage going on! Imagine jumping a flight of Japanese AC who are completely oblivious to you, even as you begin shooting them down.

This means that PF will have to have AI without radar eyes . . . .

walterlzw
08-26-2005, 09:44 AM
Franzen,

Most probably the P-61 was sent there by us and shot down by you! No offense, Taiwanese are Chinese trapped on the other side of the Strait.

My mother came from a family of Air Force serviceman. My aunt's husband was a ground radarman. One uncle was shot down in an U2 over China (the one you saw could be his). Another was an ace who shot down 5 MiGs, one in a P-51! the others in F-86s with missiles (I know, cheating).

The uncle told me a story when he was sent in a mission to destroy a defected trainer plane ( I don't remember the designation, T-something) who carrier the new IFF device. The trainer landed on a beach. They made the first pass, met heavy AA fire, dropped tons of petroleum-air bombs. On the the second pass the AAs are quiet. Then they finish off the trainer with salvoes of rockets. When he told the story I saw a glimmer in his eyes.

I found it sad that fellow Chinese had to treat each other that way; no fellow human being should, for that matter. The only lesson I've learned from war stories is not how noble, patriotic or courageous the killing of another is; but that it should never be fought, however noble a cause one claims to have.

walterlzw
08-26-2005, 09:53 AM
About the U-2. Taiwan lost more than one over mainland China and they don't even belong to us. Our pilots flew them for the CIA who owns any information the U-2 gathers.

WOLFMondo
08-26-2005, 10:03 AM
That wooden pipe was chuffing away doing things people couldn't belive before the P61 was even a twinkle in its designers eyehttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by SkyChimp:
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif

I don't think the Brits ever tested an American plane that met their lofty standards. I don't think any American plane could ever rate as well with a Brit over their home-grown crop of planes. I think it has something to do with that whole 1776 thing.

Regards,
http://members.cox.net/us.fighters/wildsig.jpg </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well they tested the P38 and the US removed the turbosuperchargers, the P51 came with an allison which was no good for the high alt stuff, the P47C was tested and even the US found it utterly unreliable but on the other hand the Royal Navy loved US naval aircraft as well as plenty of others.

Just cause someone doesn't like a US plane for good reason isn't a reason to get hot under the collar.

IL2-chuter
08-26-2005, 11:25 AM
There are definately mixed reviews (contemporary) of the P-61. After an Eighth Air Force flyoff between a Black Widow and a Mosquito there was an argument between the American pilots about which one won (more went with the Mossie). However, it is impossible to say with a straight face that the P-61 was unsuccessful. Flown within its limitations and exploiting its strengths it acquired a very good combat record.

So there. HA. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Aaron_GT
08-26-2005, 12:21 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I don't think the Brits ever tested an American plane that met their lofty standards. I don't think any American plane could ever rate as well with a Brit over their home-grown crop of planes. I think it has something to do with that whole 1776 thing. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


In actuality the RAF and FAA used a lot of US planes and found them very good. Likewise the USA also used a number of British aircraft (Spitfire, Beaufighter, Mosquito particularly) and liked them.

Aaron_GT
08-26-2005, 12:22 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Flown within its limitations and exploiting its strengths it acquired a very good combat record. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

It was certainly an absolutely fantastic night intruder with a better ordnance load than the Mosquito in the same role.

Waldo.Pepper
08-26-2005, 01:10 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by IL2-chuter:
There are definately mixed reviews (contemporary) of the P-61. After an Eighth Air Force flyoff between a Black Widow and a Mosquito there was an argument between the American pilots about which one won (more went with the Mossie). However, it is impossible to say with a straight face that the P-61 was unsuccessful. Flown within its limitations and exploiting its strengths it acquired a very good combat record.

So there. HA. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I have much to say and little time.

During the war the RAF and the USAAF had a fly off between the Mossie and the P-61 and another plane (**** I can't remember it and will have to look it up.) Anyway the point it that the US was trying to get more Mossies into their service in Europe, but production was limited. The RAF needed all they could get, so (the story goes) they (the Brits) tanked the test so that the P-61 would win (crafty Brits). Because they needed all they could make/beg borrow/steal. So that test that you seem to be refering to may not be all that valid.

Also that P-61 that is in China was operating in the theatre... and left behin in China. The speculation is that the plane was a lame duck and left behind at a base during a repositioning.

This is all from memory as I am not at my books but will look later.

MLudner
08-26-2005, 01:35 PM
Actually, as good of a night fighter as it was I think it would have made quite probably the best attack aircraft of the war had it been employed that way. Its awe inspring fire power backed-up by the ability to carry a considerable quantity of ordinance would have made it a fearsome thing to see diving down on you, that's for sure. The fact that it was also a tough-nut would have been most useful in that role as well.

Waldo.Pepper
08-26-2005, 02:48 PM
Mostly taken from;
Queen of the Midnight Skies.
Also see America€s Hundred Thousand. (aka the Bible).

-----

Firstly the plane evaluated by Brown was a P61A1 delivered to the RAF for evaluation on March 21/44 they kept it until Feb 22/45.

€œThe P61A1 series, as this one was, was powered by the R-2800-10 engine. These power plants are of a lower rating that that of the R-2800-65 which powered the P-61A5 and subsequent aircraft.€

€œThis was quite understandable the British had initially contacted Northrop prior to the AAF€s interest had been sparked. As a matter of fact, after Northrop night fighter became an AAF project, the RAF was to share in the initial production quantity in which it was to have received 50 of the first 57 aircraft under lend lease.€

On comparison between Mossie and Black Widow.

from pages 204-205.

The evaluation demonstration of the two aircraft took place on July 5. 1944 at RAF Station Hume. The 422nd's Unit History relates it this way:

On the 5th. the long awaited test with a Mosquito (Mark XVII) was laid on at 1600. Squadron Leader Barnwell of 125 Squadron and his R/O vs 1st Lt. Donald.J. Doyle-F/O Naeman N. Williams- The P-61 more than exceeded even our wildest hopes, being faster at 5,000- 10000- 15,000- and 20.000 feet; out turned the Mossie at every altitude and by a big margin and far surpassed the Mossie in rate of climb. We could go faster and slower up or down. Faster than the pride of the British. A most enjoyable afternoon.

A memo to Lt.Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Commanding Officer of the Ninth Air Force, from Fighter and Air Defense Branch. OC&R; subject: Report of Operational Test of the P-61. July 7. 1944 in the ETO. stated. "Mosquito and P-61 were approximately equal in performance with the P-61 being slightly faster." In their follow-up report, Kratz and Viccellio reported that the P-61 had proven itself adequate to cope with Ju 88s. Do 217s, and He 177s. It also stated that the Widow was slightly faster that€ the Mosquilo Mk XVII at all altitudes tested, which was up to 20,000 feet, and that it could out climb the Mosquito and was able to turn inside it in aerial combat.

There always seemed to be some doubts within the War Department as to the suitability of the Widow and they seemed to be driven in their attempts to get Mosquito night fighters. Col. Kratz who had just learned first hand the feelings of the Ninth's night fighters and witnessed the P-61€s performance pitted against that of the Mosquito, recalled an earlier similar experience:

€œ I was in General (Carl) Spaatz€s office along with Mr. Robert A. Lovett , then Assistant Secretary of War for Air. We wanted to know whether or not the P-61 should be produced in quantity. Mr. Lovett was very much in favor of it. General Spaatz was not. He said he had the performance troops (at Eglin Field , Florida) in the P-61 and the Mosquito, and they found the Mosquito to be better and he had arranged for the AAF to get 200 Mosquitos.

€œI asked General Spaatz if he couldn€t have a competition. I had an informal competition. I flew the P-61 and someone else flew the Mosquito. And we tried climbs etc. I was very elated at the results and sent back this report to General Spaatz. The P-61 was then mass produced. A couple months later a more formal test was held using test pilots. I€m sure that they could get a great deal more out of the €61 that I could and probably a test pilot could get more out of the Mosquito. The same thing happened.€

€œI€m absolutely sure to this day that the British were lying like trooper. I honestly believe that the P-61 was not as fast as the Mosquito. Which the British needed because at the time it was the one airplane that could get to Berlin and back without getting shot down. I doubt very seriously that the others knew better. But come what may the €61 was a good night fighter. In the combat game you€ve got to be pretty realistic about these things. The P-61 was not a superior night fighter. It was not a poor night fighter. It was a good night fighter. It did not have quite enough speed.€


-----


For what its worth.

EmKen
08-26-2005, 06:09 PM
With regards to firepower, most P-61's had the 4x.50 m\c guns removed due to adverse flying characteristics. This reduced the forward firepower to the level of a Hurricane IIc, which whilst pretty useful isn't awesome.

Emken

|CoB|_Spectre
08-26-2005, 06:51 PM
I didn't even know "sinisterly" was a word. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

Jungmann
08-26-2005, 08:33 PM
Many n/f pilots in the PTO preferred a theater-modified P-38, with a radar pod lashed under the wing and an operator crammed in the radio section behind the pilot. Better performance than the P-61, and with drop tanks, equal endurance. Reports got back to Lockheed, and they produced the P-38M, the same idea, a pod under the nose, a radar op in back. Several squadrons trained on them at Fresno's Hammer Field in mid-1945, and were deployed west, but reached the theater too late to see action.

Cheers,

Waldo.Pepper
08-26-2005, 08:59 PM
From Northrop P-61 Black Widow: The Complete History and Combat Record.

Page 128-129.

The third Widow, a P-61A, is on display at the Beijing Institute of Aeronautical Engineering in Beijing, China. A professor at that institute has explained: "Several P-61s of the US Air Force were stationed at air bases in Szechwan Province during the war. When the war ended, one of these P-61s was turned over to the Chendu Institute of Aeronautical Engineering in 1947. When the Institute moved to its new location, they did not take the plane with them. Instead, it was shipped to the Air Museum at the Beijing Institute of Aeronautical Engineering in 1954."

It has been reported by some of the former members of the 427th Night Fighter Squadron, one of two night fighter squadrons to serve in China during World War II, that there is a little more to the story. It seems that at the end of hostilities, the squadron was in the process of bringing their various detachments back to a central airfield for disposition of the aircraft and to start processing home. At one of the satellite fields there were a number of squadron members plus three P-61s, two in need of maintenance. Reportedly, some Chinese communist troops came onto the field and ordered the Americans to leave€"but leave their aircraft behind. There are at least two groups here in the States that are trying to negotiate to bring back the Beijing Black Widow. In their negotiations with Chinese officials, there has also been the hint that this was one of the three confiscated, and that there might be others (or remains of others).

Waldo.Pepper
08-26-2005, 11:38 PM
Still more...

Jungmann with respect, I dispute this statement of yours.

€œMany n/f pilots in the PTO preferred a theater-modified P-38, with a radar pod lashed under the wing and an operator crammed in the radio section behind the pilot.€

There were only 2, I think theatre modified P-38 Night Fighters to be had, for them to prefer it to. Furthermore the theatre modified P-38€s did not have a pod, but the radar antenna extended from the nose.

I think it was P-70€s they found lacking which you may be describing (which were A-20 modified for Night Fighting) rather than the P-61.

Even modifying the P-70 quite heavily did not help.

From Queen of the Midnight Sky. Page 73.

€œThe New Guinea detachment came up against the same problems as had plagued the Guadalcanal detachment, poor GCI coverage and poor P-70 performance. The Owen Stanley mountain range behind Port Moresby created a constant ground echo. The GCI operators proficiency was quite good when the detachment started their operations, but replacement personnel who arrived later proved to be unsatisfactory. The performance of the P-70€s in general and that of its communications and radar equipment was found, once again, to be lacking. It took the P-70 45 minutes to reach an altitude of 25.000 feet, and even this was not always obtainable.
In an attempt to increase their airplane's performance, the 6th's New Guinea detachment set about to modify their quite inadequate P-70s. All armor plating was removed, along with the rear guns, B-17F propellers were installed, as were P-38 fuel booster pumps. Capt. Robert W. McLeod. who was a member of this unit, reports that "These changes were helpful and did improve the performance capabilities of the ship," though by their lack of success and further experimentation attempted, it would seem that the P-70 never did meet the requirements of an acceptable night fighter aircraft in any way.€

And from later in the same page.

€œLike their fellow detachment on Guadalcanal, the New Guinea detachment was separated from the 6lh Night Fighter Squadron and designated Detachment "A" Night Fighter Squadron.

By October 1943, out of frustration, the unit began experimenting with the idea of converting a P-38 into a night tighter. A P-38G was appropriated and Lt. Melvin Richardson, one of the pilots and the squadron's engineering officer, went to work on it. An SCR-540 AI radar set, probably removed from one of the P-70s, along with HF and VHP radios were installed in a belly tank. A second seat was added behind the pilot and the radio sets were wired to the pilot's and R/O's location as well as a scope for the R/O. It was found that even with the additional weight that the P-38 could climb to the same altitude as (he P-70 in about 10 minutes vs 45 for the P-70. It was also capable of greater altitudes than the P-70. A second P-38G Lightning was also modified. For this gallant effort. Richardson and a radar mechanic who assisted received the Legion of Merit award.

Testing of these new night fighter aircraft had only just begun when an advanced element of the newly arrived 418lh Night Fighter Squadron arrived at Dobodura on November 15, 1943. Detachment "A" Night Fighter Squadron was attached to the 418th shortly after their arrival. By the end of November Detachment "A" Night Fighter Squadron was disbanded. Some personnel were sent back to the States while the remainder were scattered among the other organizations within Fifth Air Force.€

According to your statement the crews who preferred theatre modified P38 to the P-61 were disbanded in 1943 before the P-61 saw service in the Pacific. They were also scattered among other units before the first detachment of P-61€s reached the Pacific.

The 418th was scheduled to receive P-61€s next but instead went on to receive B-25€s for Night Intruder Missions. It wasn€t until August 18th 1944 that they started to receive and transition to their P-61€s (America€s Hundred Thousand page 385).

Transition to a new plane in combat on the fly is tricky to be sure. And often it was necessary to do a sell job to the crews who had to receive the P-61 It was kind of different and BIG for a fighter. The only unit to transition from the P-38 P-70€s directly into the P-61€s was the 419th TFS in June 1944 (AHT page 385 again). This transition and the impressions of the crews is described in Queen of the Midnight Skies on page 133.

€œWithin a month he had taken each of the 419th€s pilots up for orientation/instructional flights. As with the 6th NFS the €61 had to be €˜sold€ to the crews. Overall they felt it was a very good aircraft, and the only criticisms were its relatively short endurance (about three hours) and its performance above 20,000 feet seemed to be somewhat lacking.€

I think that the management and procurers of the AAF preferred the P38 as a Night Fighter over the P-61, maybe not because of any performance advantage, but because it was cheaper to make on an individual plane per plane basis, and also because only a single production line would be needed.

Aaron_GT
08-27-2005, 01:35 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">There always seemed to be some doubts within the War Department as to the suitability of the Widow and they seemed to be driven in their attempts to get Mosquito night fighters. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

It might have been that unless the P61 was seen as distinctly superior the WD didn't feel it was worth having another aircraft type on inventory which would have required crew training etc. with the Mosquito there was a ready supply of trained mechanics and pilots. Also the NF versions coming on stream at the time had the edge in speed over the P61A at the typical RAF bomber stream altitude and the requirement was for NFs to go with the bomber stream, combating the likes of Ju88 and Me110 nightfighters. If the version on offer had been the P61C it might have been different, or if the RAF had been looking for a new night intruder.

Aaron_GT
08-27-2005, 01:37 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">With regards to firepower, most P-61's had the 4x.50 m\c guns removed due to adverse flying characteristics. This reduced the forward firepower to the level of a Hurricane IIc, which whilst pretty useful isn't awesome. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

It's the same level as the Mosquito NFs (apart from the NFII which had long been withdrawn from service by the time the P61 arrived).

walterlzw
08-27-2005, 05:52 AM
OT. More about U2s.

I just talked to my mother and she told me a story about a guy who used to date her. She never liked air force guys though, thought they are shallow and show-offy. This guy, let's call him SSL, was sent to Arizona in the 60s to train as a U2 pilot. He understood the danger involved (U2 incursions into the mainland were pretty much suicide) and didn't like it. So he bailed out and reported to have 'mechanical problems'. He did that TWICE and was promptedly sent back to Taiwan where he was sent to fly F-104.

Don't take it personally but the F-104 isn't exactly a model of perfection, though it was given high expectations as the next generation air supreriority fighter. In less than 5 years SSL crashed. He didn't survive this time. That was some 30 years ago.

walterlzw
08-27-2005, 06:04 AM
I did some research. The Taiwanese air force had a few P-61s and Mosquitos in the 50s. It is apparent that they prefer Mosquitos for most of the P-61s were phased out early on. But the Mosquitos served late into late 60s. Now one can't accuse the Taiwanese air force of not liking US designs...

MLudner
09-02-2005, 04:29 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by walterlzw:
OT. More about U2s.

I just talked to my mother and she told me a story about a guy who used to date her. She never liked air force guys though, thought they are shallow and show-offy. This guy, let's call him SSL, was sent to Arizona in the 60s to train as a U2 pilot. He understood the danger involved (U2 incursions into the mainland were pretty much suicide) and didn't like it. So he bailed out and reported to have 'mechanical problems'. He did that TWICE and was promptedly sent back to Taiwan where he was sent to fly F-104.

Don't take it personally but the F-104 isn't exactly a model of perfection, though it was given high expectations as the next generation air supreriority fighter. In less than 5 years SSL crashed. He didn't survive this time. That was some 30 years ago. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Uhm, no offense, but the Air Force did not operate the U2; it was CIA. All U2 Pilots were carefully selected and volunteers who first had to resign their Air Force commisions. There was no one flying those things that did not want to fly them.
The CIA did not fly F-104's. I think the guy might have been fibbing.

berg417448
09-02-2005, 04:51 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by MLudner:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by walterlzw:
OT. More about U2s.

I just talked to my mother and she told me a story about a guy who used to date her. She never liked air force guys though, thought they are shallow and show-offy. This guy, let's call him SSL, was sent to Arizona in the 60s to train as a U2 pilot. He understood the danger involved (U2 incursions into the mainland were pretty much suicide) and didn't like it. So he bailed out and reported to have 'mechanical problems'. He did that TWICE and was promptedly sent back to Taiwan where he was sent to fly F-104.

Don't take it personally but the F-104 isn't exactly a model of perfection, though it was given high expectations as the next generation air supreriority fighter. In less than 5 years SSL crashed. He didn't survive this time. That was some 30 years ago. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Uhm, no offense, but the Air Force did not operate the U2; it was CIA. All U2 Pilots were carefully selected and volunteers who first had to resign their Air Force commisions. There was no one flying those things that did not want to fly them.
The CIA did not fly F-104's. I think the guy might have been fibbing. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Maybe he was in the Taiwanese Air force...they operated both types!

IL2-chuter
09-02-2005, 10:25 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Uhm, no offense, but the Air Force did not operate the U2; it was CIA. All U2 Pilots were carefully selected and volunteers who first had to resign their Air Force commisions. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Odd. It seems I recall it was Major Heyser of the 4080th SRW who was the one who photographed the missiles in Cuba during Oct, 1962 which caused some sort of international brewhaha. He, and the unit, were definately USAF. I don't know if USAF pilots flew the U2 operationally before 1960, however. The first operational U2 unit was USAF run and maintained but CIA piloted (hey, Gary Powers) and operated.

IL2-chuter
09-02-2005, 10:29 PM
PS. The USAF is currently looking to fill 54 AFSC's (jobs) including 2A3X2-A10/F15/U2 Avionics Systems Specialist. That's right, the Air Force still has U2's (R model and TR1's).

Aaron_GT
09-03-2005, 07:32 AM
Another misconception is that after Powers and the subsequent ban on overflights of the USSR the RAF flew U2s over the USSR instead. In fact they flew special Meteor photo recon planes which amazingly had a higher ceiling than the U2.

horseback
09-03-2005, 02:00 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by MLudner:
Uhm, no offense, but the Air Force did not operate the U2; it was CIA. All U2 Pilots were carefully selected and volunteers who first had to resign their Air Force commisions. There was no one flying those things that did not want to fly them.
The CIA did not fly F-104's. I think the guy might have been fibbing. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Taiwan/Nationalist China may well have been 'sold' a few U-2s sans some of the latest and greatest electronics and optics for their own recon version of the kamikaze mission. We saw a disproportionate number of Chinese at bases where U-2s could be seen (Davis-Monthan, for instance) while I was a young USAF brat back in the sixties...

As for the CIA, well, they were never the OFFICIAL operators of, well, anything during the Cold War (can you say "plausible deniability", boys and girls?). I have a couple of reference books that say that the Air Force, Navy and NASA were the primary operators of the TR-1 and U-2, and more than one set of decal sheets for the U-2 that have 'USAF' as part of the serial number marking...

cheers

horseback

luftluuver
09-03-2005, 02:22 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Waldo.Pepper:
Mostly taken from;
Queen of the Midnight Skies.
Also see America€s Hundred Thousand. (aka the Bible).

-----

Firstly the plane evaluated by Brown was a P61A1 delivered to the RAF for evaluation on March 21/44 they kept it until Feb 22/45.

€œThe P61A1 series, as this one was, was powered by the R-2800-10 engine. These power plants are of a lower rating that that of the R-2800-65 which powered the P-61A5 and subsequent aircraft.€

On the 5th. the long awaited test with a Mosquito (Mark XVII)

many snips

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The Mossie NFXVII was not the Mossie that was coming into service at the same time the P-61 was. The Mossie NF 30 was and this a/c was hands over feet better than the P-61A-5/A-10.

EmKen
09-03-2005, 02:29 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Aaron_GT:
Another misconception is that after Powers and the subsequent ban on overflights of the USSR the RAF flew U2s over the USSR instead. In fact they flew special Meteor photo recon planes which amazingly had a higher ceiling than the U2. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Are you sure it was a Meteor? The highest flying British jet of that time was the Canberra (licence built in USA as B-57, and heavily modified by General Dynamics to produce the RB-57D).

Emken

berg417448
09-03-2005, 03:04 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by EmKen:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Aaron_GT:
Another misconception is that after Powers and the subsequent ban on overflights of the USSR the RAF flew U2s over the USSR instead. In fact they flew special Meteor photo recon planes which amazingly had a higher ceiling than the U2. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Are you sure it was a Meteor? The highest flying British jet of that time was the Canberra (licence built in USA as B-57, and heavily modified by General Dynamics to produce the RB-57D).

Emken </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


It was the Meteor.

"A list of very high priority targets was drawn up, and during the summer of 1960 the PR19s flew the last of their overflight missions. The Soviets attempted to bring them down using the "shotgun" approach that resulted in the Powers€ U-2 disaster, but the Meteors were 5000ft higher, and flew on with impunity. Obviously, this could not be carried on indefinitely, and 13 Sqn finally ceased the overflights in August after gathering much important data."

http://www.avhub.net/MI_u2meteorpr19incirlik.htm

charlielima
09-03-2005, 04:44 PM
WOW! Interesting thread. I'm glad I don't have any personel knowledge about this subject or I would have to swollow the black capsule.cl

DIRTY-MAC
09-05-2005, 02:54 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by SECUDUS:
Go over to GD and see what he thinks of the Meteor! If you think he's bias you should see what he thinks about my beloved Whirlwind... Believe what you want to believe, thats your choice, I'm only giving you anothers point of view.

Regards

What is "GD" and were can I read about this
especially the lovely Whirlwind! I really want to hear what he said about it!

MLudner
09-08-2005, 02:20 PM
Well, I interpreted that as USAF. But, my understanding is that the U2 was CIA, at least when it entered service. The USAF may be operating them now, or the the CIA might be flying ops for the USAF from time to time.
But, then, I am not an expert on this subject, so...
It could be that Americans fly for the Taiwanese AF, though.