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View Full Version : Nice description of P38 "cloverleaf" turn



Blutarski2004
03-10-2005, 01:10 PM
From the Jeff Ethell article at Flight Journal

Without much thought, I was entering his preferred combat maneuver; power up, I pictured a 109 on my tail and began an increasingly steep right-hand climbing turn. In turning and twisting with 109s and 190s, Dad never got a bullet hole in Tangerine, his P-38F. As the speed dropped below 150mph, I flipped the flap handle to the maneuver stop (which can be used up to 250mph) and steepened the turn. At this point, the 109 pilot, at full power with the right rudder all the way down, would have snap-rolled into a vicious stall if he had chosen to follow. I pulled the power back on the inside (right) engine, pushed the power up on the outside (left) engine, shoved right rudder pedal, and the Lightning smoothly swapped ends. Not only did it turn on a dime, but it actually rotated around its vertical axis as if spinning on a pole running through the top of the canopy and out the bottom of the cockpit. The maneuver was absolutely comfortable with no heavy G-loading. As the nose came through 180 degrees, I threw the flap lever back to full up, evened the throttles and headed downhill going through 300mph in less time than it takes to tell it. The 109 would have been a sitting duck.


Good low speed handling and near-stall behavior! Of course, being at 150mph in hostile skies is only healthy when there are not too many opponents buzzing around with a higher E state.

Korolov
03-10-2005, 01:57 PM
Uh, that's a completely different maneuver from the cloverleaf. In that maneuver, you pull into a steep climb and flip ends - a hammerhead if you will. The cloverleaf is much longer and differently executed.

Blutarski2004
03-10-2005, 02:14 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Korolov:
Uh, that's a completely different maneuver from the cloverleaf. In that maneuver, you pull into a steep climb and flip ends - a hammerhead if you will. The cloverleaf is much longer and differently executed. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


.... IIUC, and I have seen some performed live, a hammerhead involves a straight steep climb to a near stall condition at the top with the aircraft vertical, then finished with a rudder induced rotation about an axis which is horizontal to the ground. Ethell describes an increasingly steep climbing turn to a near stall condition, with the a/c rotated on an axis vertical to the ground by means of rudder and assymetrical power application.

They sound like different maneuvers to me.

Can you describe what you believe to be a cloverleaf maneuver?

Korolov
03-10-2005, 02:35 PM
Written example of the cloverleaf:

"The cloverleaf was a horizontal maneuver that took advantage of the P-38's
exceptionally gentle stall characteristics. It was a low-speed maneuver. The
pilot would tighten his turn until he actually stalled out, ease off and let
the plane unstall itself, then tighten back up into a stall, ease up....
Viewed from above, the pattern the airplane flew through the air looked
something like a cloverleaf, and this simile was used in teaching the maneuver."

Image:

http://pages.cthome.net/crzn22/Misc/cloverleaf.bmp

The maneuver Ethell describes, performed in the cloverleaf, would be far too dangerous (a spin would result for sure), so it's definately some form of a hammerhead.

Blutarski2004
03-10-2005, 02:49 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Korolov:
Written example of the cloverleaf:

_"The cloverleaf was a horizontal maneuver that took advantage of the P-38's
exceptionally gentle stall characteristics. It was a low-speed maneuver. The
pilot would tighten his turn until he actually stalled out, ease off and let
the plane unstall itself, then tighten back up into a stall, ease up....
Viewed from above, the pattern the airplane flew through the air looked
something like a cloverleaf, and this simile was used in teaching the maneuver."_

Image:

http://pages.cthome.net/crzn22/Misc/cloverleaf.bmp

The maneuver Ethell describes, performed in the cloverleaf, would be far too dangerous (a spin would result for sure), so it's definately some form of a hammerhead. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Thanks K,

What I think Ethell described was actually one quarter of the maneuver which you diagrammed. A hammerhead reversal is performed like one of those skateboard maneuvers climbing up the ramp until pointed vertically up, then reversing and coming back down in the opposite direction.
Ethell's description describes a flat rotation of the a/c at the top of a climbing turn when the a/c has reached "near-stall" condition. It was the gentle near-stall handling which made the cloverleaf maneuver uniquely possible for the P38. I don't think he was describing a flat rotation of the plane while it was hanging motionless in the air.

At least that's my thinking.

Korolov
03-10-2005, 02:53 PM
Actually, reading it again, his description describes a spiral climb very closely. At the apex of the climb it'd be pretty easy to make the plane spin around without having a spin condition.

Blackdog5555
03-10-2005, 04:36 PM
You are right Blutarski. That is one leaf of a cloverleaf. He added a "sliceback" maneuver in there too but that doesnt make it the famous WWI hammerhead. Those are done in the vertical. Excellant post!

Korolov
03-11-2005, 02:24 PM
Proof, Blackdog?

EDIT: Read this closely:

"increasingly steep right-hand climbing turn..."

That's a very close description of a spiral climb - which the P-38 should be able to execute very smoothly.

Werre_Fsck
03-11-2005, 07:42 PM
Korolov if you want the cloverleaf to be in plane you have to climb turn in the petals.

wayno7777
03-12-2005, 08:25 PM
IIRC this is the same way they did it against Zekes in the PTO. Climbing is one of the P-38's strenghths.

BSS_CUDA
03-14-2005, 01:56 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by wayno7777:
IIRC this is the same way they did it against Zekes in the PTO. Climbing is one of the P-38's strenghths. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

not in this game it isnt. all tho I did get 600 points in a 38J in 1 sorte' on GG yesterday. 2 IAR 81's 2 109's and 1 110 http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif and all without getting hit once http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif I feel pretty good about myself. but the climb rate seems VERY slow to me IMHO

Recon_609IAP
03-15-2005, 05:09 PM
excellent posts - glad to see a discussion on flying for a change around here http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif