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JRJacobs
01-30-2005, 01:52 PM
Part 2
A test pilot recalls
By the late Rear Adm. C.C. €œAndy€ Andrews, U.S.Navy (Ret)

Butcher Bird vs. Hellcat & Corsair

€ Stability and control. In dives in the Fw-190, these features were satisfactory, but at excessively high diving speeds, the vibrations were alarming. Diving restrictions posted on the Fw-190 airspeed indicator were comparable to the limitations on the F6F-3 Hellcat and the F4U-1 Corsair: 405 knots at below 10,000 feet; 370 knots from 10,000 feet to 16,500 feet; 313 knots from 16,000 feet to 25,000 feet. I foolishly exceeded them by as much as 50 knots, and although the vibration was disturbing and uncomfortable, it didn't apparently damage the plane or me.

The Fw-190's control forces were generally very light; they increased when speed increased but were never excessive. Slight trim changes were required with changes in speed, and they needed to be increased when speed increased but, again, were not excessive. In flight, the only controllable trim was a movable horizontal stabilizer. The only reversing control force exhibited by the Fw-190 was aileron control in a tight turn.

Angles of vision. Forward vision was obstructed by the cowl because the cockpit greenhouse was only six inches above the cowl contour; The F6F-3 and the F4U-1 allowed superior forward vision, and this was especially evident during mock gun-firing operations. In the Fw-190, the pilot sat relatively low with respect to the wing, but downward side vision was not excessively restricted because the wing was relatively small. The one-piece molded canopy went from the windshield frame over the pilot's head and back down to the fuselage contour, which was level with the cowl contour in front of the pilot. This afforded very good visibility aft and was superior to that enjoyed by F6F-3 and F4U-1 pilots.

The Fw-190 didn't have a rearview mirror. I missed it in simulated combat and think it should have had one. Perhaps that six-inch rise of the canopy over the cowl would have been obscured by such a mirror. With our taller windshields, we had enough latitude of head movement to look over or below a mirror.

General characteristics in mock combat. The Fw-190 was easy to fly in combat having been designed for pilot convenience. Its no-warning stall reduced its effectiveness in combat against planes that could force it to fly at near its stalling speed. But, after all, it was designed as an interceptor to attack bombers and was at a disadvantage in combat with a plane designed for aerial fights. In many situations, its best defense was to use its ability to climb at a relatively high speed and to break off the engagement. The Fw-190's inferior maneuvering prevented it from being a close-in dogfighter.

Armament. The Fw-190 we tested didn't have guns, but in combat, it had rather formidable firepower: four 20mm cannon and two .30-caliber guns. The F6F-3 and the F4U-1 had six, .50-caliber machine guns. If an Fw-190 pilot was successful in positioning his aircraft for a high-speed, one-pass attack, his formidable firepower could present a problem to his adversary. The guns were set to fire through the propeller. Some contended that having the guns closer to the aircraft's centerline gave a bore-sighting advantage. In theory, this was so, but although I was never an armament expert, I always contended that in combat, bore sighting just a few feet off the line of sight was not crucial when trying to assess the best point of convergence of line of gunsight, bullet trajectory, bullet dispersion and the proper gunsight lead with less than perfect directional control of the plane. I suspect that the Fw-190's guns fired through the propeller was more because the wing thickness could not accommodate the guns than to improve the bore sighting.

Salient features. One throttle lever controlled propeller pitch, manifold pressure, mixture, magneto timing and throttle setting, so their operation was comparatively simple. Propeller pitch could also be controlled independently by a button on the throttle lever. This was probably used to reduce fuel consumption when returning to base and not when under fighter attack. The air/fuel mixture automatically varied between lean and rich at 2,100rpm. Most of us would have preferred more control when we wanted minimum fuel consumption.

Stabilizer trim, flaps and landing gear were controlled electrically by conveniently positioned pushbuttons. Those of us who had experienced hydraulic-system damage during combat always believed that electrical systems would have had advantages and would probably have been lighter.

The landing gear were set relatively far apart and contributed to very good directional stability and control during landing and takeoff. This was particularly appreciated by an old F4F driver who had spent years gallantly avoiding ground loops with the F4F's narrow, mushy landing gear. We now know that a very high percentage of German Messerschmitt 109s were lost in landing and takeoff accidents. No doubt, the improved Fw-190 landing gear was the result of very costly lessons learned with the 109.

The pilot sat with his legs extended forward and high; this probably helped to delay pilot blackout by reducing the flow of blood to the legs during high-G maneuvers. We didn't test this quantitatively, but I was much involved in the development and testing of anti-blackout systems, and I think that having the legs elevated was probably helpful. The cockpit was rather cramped in comparison with the F4U-l's and the F6F-3's. Apart from that, its layout was extremely simple and convenient.

The blower changed automatically at 10,000 feet. If you weren't expecting it, this could be a little alarming at times, but it was probably the correct altitude for full-power operations in both climb and high-speed level flight.

When a pilot ejected, the Fw-190's molded cockpit cover€"one unobstructed piece from the windshield aft to the low contour of the fuselage€"would have allowed an easy exit.

€ Pilot opinions of the Fw-190, F4U-1 and F6F-3. The opinion of the pilots who made the test comparisons was that the Fw-190 was extremely easy to fly in combat and that it was designed for pilot convenience; but it was not the F4U-l's and the F6F-3's equal in fighter-to-fighter combat.

In contrast with the cockpits of the F4U-1 and the F6F-3, the simplicity of the Fw-190's cockpit was notable; although the Fw-190 had more automatic features, pilots had less direct control over variable settings and less actual control over engine performance. All the pilots agreed that they'd prefer to fly the F4U-1 and F6F-3 in combat.

€ Tactics to use against the Fw-190. Because the Fw-190 could outrun the F4U-1 and the F6F-3 in a 165-knot climb (or faster), their best offense was to get close to it and take advantage of their superior maneuverability€"as long as they didn't sacrifice any initial advantage merely for the sake of closing. When attacked from astern, the Fw-190 could be expected to roll and dive to keep his adversary off his tail. If attacked by the Fw-190, the F4U-1 and the F6F-3 would often evade it by flying a tight loop. If the Fw-190 attempted to follow in a tight loop, it would probably stall.

In general, whenever the F4U-1 and the F6F-3 could not use the hit-and-run technique, it was best for them to close with the Fw-190 in offense and defense to prevent it from getting in a position to make a high-speed, one-pass attack that would allow its pilot to take advantage of his fire power.

€ Extenuating facts to be considered. On three attempts with the Fw-190 to reach its service ceiling, it abruptly lost all power at 33,000 feet. At the time, we didn't know what caused this, but we now know that it was probably the result of its not having a pressured ignition harness. Our plane developers experienced this with certain U.S. planes.

The 190 ran roughly on occasion apparently because of spark plugs that were fouled when it was run at low rpm. A good German Luftwaffe mechanic might have been able to eliminate this problem.

I can't say that our maintenance of the Fw-190 adversely affected it, but there is a possibility that we didn't get the Fw-190's true peak performance because we weren't as familiar with it as we were with the F6F-3 and the F4U-1. This raises a number of "What its?" What if our assignment had been to make an interceptor comparison? What if we had tested it with German pilots who were as well trained in it as we were in our planes?

€ Final thoughts. We took delivery of the plane in the middle of a heated debate about whether it was better for the pilot to have individual control of manifold pressure, propeller pitch, blower, mixture, etc., or to have a uni-lever control of the type used in the Fw-190. We might have had an inflated estimate of our ability, but we supported the pilots' having individual control. Those who were responsible for training thousands of new pilots for new planes favored the uni-lever control. I remember its being discussed at a fighter meet. The pilots all felt that they were experts and wanted individual control. Some of the company engineers, who were being pressured by customers to make things simple for the pilot, seemed prepared to overlook our expertise and pushed for uni-lever control. Looking back, we know that the Germans faced many circumstances that favored the simpler control. They had reached the bottom of the barrel for pilot replacements, and they were so short of fuel that they didn't have enough to train pilots adequately. We now know of German pilots going into combat against the bombers having only minimal checkout time in the Fw-190 and no operational training. They clearly had every incentive to simplify.

The Fw-190 had an interesting canopy-ejection system: a "gun-barrel" fastened to the canopy fore and aft and a breach with a shotgun-like shell shot the canopy aft very surely and very fast. On an earlier captured Fw-190, this resulted in an interesting event. A desk-bound explosives expert was sent out to inspect it for booby traps; his approach was to move everything that would move. While in the cockpit, he moved the red handle that fired the shell. The canopy was ejected and took the vertical fin with it. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the booby-trap expert had to be helped out of the plane. His pants were sent to the cleaners and he was sent back to his desk.

There was much about the Fw-190 to respect, but I ended my test experience with my confidence in our fighters reinforced and feeling that if I had to meet an adversary in a fighter-to-fighter engagement, I would be able to cope with an Fw-190. Later, after extensively flying the Japanese Zero and nearly every WW II U.S. Army fighter and the RAF's Spitfire, I still felt that way.

JRJacobs
01-30-2005, 01:52 PM
Part 2
A test pilot recalls
By the late Rear Adm. C.C. €œAndy€ Andrews, U.S.Navy (Ret)

Butcher Bird vs. Hellcat & Corsair

€ Stability and control. In dives in the Fw-190, these features were satisfactory, but at excessively high diving speeds, the vibrations were alarming. Diving restrictions posted on the Fw-190 airspeed indicator were comparable to the limitations on the F6F-3 Hellcat and the F4U-1 Corsair: 405 knots at below 10,000 feet; 370 knots from 10,000 feet to 16,500 feet; 313 knots from 16,000 feet to 25,000 feet. I foolishly exceeded them by as much as 50 knots, and although the vibration was disturbing and uncomfortable, it didn't apparently damage the plane or me.

The Fw-190's control forces were generally very light; they increased when speed increased but were never excessive. Slight trim changes were required with changes in speed, and they needed to be increased when speed increased but, again, were not excessive. In flight, the only controllable trim was a movable horizontal stabilizer. The only reversing control force exhibited by the Fw-190 was aileron control in a tight turn.

Angles of vision. Forward vision was obstructed by the cowl because the cockpit greenhouse was only six inches above the cowl contour; The F6F-3 and the F4U-1 allowed superior forward vision, and this was especially evident during mock gun-firing operations. In the Fw-190, the pilot sat relatively low with respect to the wing, but downward side vision was not excessively restricted because the wing was relatively small. The one-piece molded canopy went from the windshield frame over the pilot's head and back down to the fuselage contour, which was level with the cowl contour in front of the pilot. This afforded very good visibility aft and was superior to that enjoyed by F6F-3 and F4U-1 pilots.

The Fw-190 didn't have a rearview mirror. I missed it in simulated combat and think it should have had one. Perhaps that six-inch rise of the canopy over the cowl would have been obscured by such a mirror. With our taller windshields, we had enough latitude of head movement to look over or below a mirror.

General characteristics in mock combat. The Fw-190 was easy to fly in combat having been designed for pilot convenience. Its no-warning stall reduced its effectiveness in combat against planes that could force it to fly at near its stalling speed. But, after all, it was designed as an interceptor to attack bombers and was at a disadvantage in combat with a plane designed for aerial fights. In many situations, its best defense was to use its ability to climb at a relatively high speed and to break off the engagement. The Fw-190's inferior maneuvering prevented it from being a close-in dogfighter.

Armament. The Fw-190 we tested didn't have guns, but in combat, it had rather formidable firepower: four 20mm cannon and two .30-caliber guns. The F6F-3 and the F4U-1 had six, .50-caliber machine guns. If an Fw-190 pilot was successful in positioning his aircraft for a high-speed, one-pass attack, his formidable firepower could present a problem to his adversary. The guns were set to fire through the propeller. Some contended that having the guns closer to the aircraft's centerline gave a bore-sighting advantage. In theory, this was so, but although I was never an armament expert, I always contended that in combat, bore sighting just a few feet off the line of sight was not crucial when trying to assess the best point of convergence of line of gunsight, bullet trajectory, bullet dispersion and the proper gunsight lead with less than perfect directional control of the plane. I suspect that the Fw-190's guns fired through the propeller was more because the wing thickness could not accommodate the guns than to improve the bore sighting.

Salient features. One throttle lever controlled propeller pitch, manifold pressure, mixture, magneto timing and throttle setting, so their operation was comparatively simple. Propeller pitch could also be controlled independently by a button on the throttle lever. This was probably used to reduce fuel consumption when returning to base and not when under fighter attack. The air/fuel mixture automatically varied between lean and rich at 2,100rpm. Most of us would have preferred more control when we wanted minimum fuel consumption.

Stabilizer trim, flaps and landing gear were controlled electrically by conveniently positioned pushbuttons. Those of us who had experienced hydraulic-system damage during combat always believed that electrical systems would have had advantages and would probably have been lighter.

The landing gear were set relatively far apart and contributed to very good directional stability and control during landing and takeoff. This was particularly appreciated by an old F4F driver who had spent years gallantly avoiding ground loops with the F4F's narrow, mushy landing gear. We now know that a very high percentage of German Messerschmitt 109s were lost in landing and takeoff accidents. No doubt, the improved Fw-190 landing gear was the result of very costly lessons learned with the 109.

The pilot sat with his legs extended forward and high; this probably helped to delay pilot blackout by reducing the flow of blood to the legs during high-G maneuvers. We didn't test this quantitatively, but I was much involved in the development and testing of anti-blackout systems, and I think that having the legs elevated was probably helpful. The cockpit was rather cramped in comparison with the F4U-l's and the F6F-3's. Apart from that, its layout was extremely simple and convenient.

The blower changed automatically at 10,000 feet. If you weren't expecting it, this could be a little alarming at times, but it was probably the correct altitude for full-power operations in both climb and high-speed level flight.

When a pilot ejected, the Fw-190's molded cockpit cover€"one unobstructed piece from the windshield aft to the low contour of the fuselage€"would have allowed an easy exit.

€ Pilot opinions of the Fw-190, F4U-1 and F6F-3. The opinion of the pilots who made the test comparisons was that the Fw-190 was extremely easy to fly in combat and that it was designed for pilot convenience; but it was not the F4U-l's and the F6F-3's equal in fighter-to-fighter combat.

In contrast with the cockpits of the F4U-1 and the F6F-3, the simplicity of the Fw-190's cockpit was notable; although the Fw-190 had more automatic features, pilots had less direct control over variable settings and less actual control over engine performance. All the pilots agreed that they'd prefer to fly the F4U-1 and F6F-3 in combat.

€ Tactics to use against the Fw-190. Because the Fw-190 could outrun the F4U-1 and the F6F-3 in a 165-knot climb (or faster), their best offense was to get close to it and take advantage of their superior maneuverability€"as long as they didn't sacrifice any initial advantage merely for the sake of closing. When attacked from astern, the Fw-190 could be expected to roll and dive to keep his adversary off his tail. If attacked by the Fw-190, the F4U-1 and the F6F-3 would often evade it by flying a tight loop. If the Fw-190 attempted to follow in a tight loop, it would probably stall.

In general, whenever the F4U-1 and the F6F-3 could not use the hit-and-run technique, it was best for them to close with the Fw-190 in offense and defense to prevent it from getting in a position to make a high-speed, one-pass attack that would allow its pilot to take advantage of his fire power.

€ Extenuating facts to be considered. On three attempts with the Fw-190 to reach its service ceiling, it abruptly lost all power at 33,000 feet. At the time, we didn't know what caused this, but we now know that it was probably the result of its not having a pressured ignition harness. Our plane developers experienced this with certain U.S. planes.

The 190 ran roughly on occasion apparently because of spark plugs that were fouled when it was run at low rpm. A good German Luftwaffe mechanic might have been able to eliminate this problem.

I can't say that our maintenance of the Fw-190 adversely affected it, but there is a possibility that we didn't get the Fw-190's true peak performance because we weren't as familiar with it as we were with the F6F-3 and the F4U-1. This raises a number of "What its?" What if our assignment had been to make an interceptor comparison? What if we had tested it with German pilots who were as well trained in it as we were in our planes?

€ Final thoughts. We took delivery of the plane in the middle of a heated debate about whether it was better for the pilot to have individual control of manifold pressure, propeller pitch, blower, mixture, etc., or to have a uni-lever control of the type used in the Fw-190. We might have had an inflated estimate of our ability, but we supported the pilots' having individual control. Those who were responsible for training thousands of new pilots for new planes favored the uni-lever control. I remember its being discussed at a fighter meet. The pilots all felt that they were experts and wanted individual control. Some of the company engineers, who were being pressured by customers to make things simple for the pilot, seemed prepared to overlook our expertise and pushed for uni-lever control. Looking back, we know that the Germans faced many circumstances that favored the simpler control. They had reached the bottom of the barrel for pilot replacements, and they were so short of fuel that they didn't have enough to train pilots adequately. We now know of German pilots going into combat against the bombers having only minimal checkout time in the Fw-190 and no operational training. They clearly had every incentive to simplify.

The Fw-190 had an interesting canopy-ejection system: a "gun-barrel" fastened to the canopy fore and aft and a breach with a shotgun-like shell shot the canopy aft very surely and very fast. On an earlier captured Fw-190, this resulted in an interesting event. A desk-bound explosives expert was sent out to inspect it for booby traps; his approach was to move everything that would move. While in the cockpit, he moved the red handle that fired the shell. The canopy was ejected and took the vertical fin with it. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the booby-trap expert had to be helped out of the plane. His pants were sent to the cleaners and he was sent back to his desk.

There was much about the Fw-190 to respect, but I ended my test experience with my confidence in our fighters reinforced and feeling that if I had to meet an adversary in a fighter-to-fighter engagement, I would be able to cope with an Fw-190. Later, after extensively flying the Japanese Zero and nearly every WW II U.S. Army fighter and the RAF's Spitfire, I still felt that way.

Athosd
01-30-2005, 06:40 PM
A fascinating read - thanks for sharing.

Cheers

Athos

EnGaurde
01-30-2005, 07:40 PM
brow furrowing, chin resting on hand excerpt, the kind where you suddenly realised youve leant closer to the screen and cant remember blinking thru any of it.

good post.

JRJacobs
01-30-2005, 09:07 PM
i started the article and realized i had to buy the mag - thought it fit in with the what ifs people here like to participate in

actionhank1786
01-30-2005, 10:07 PM
I took on some FW-190 A4's in the Corsair, and my god did i destroy them.
haha if pilots as bad of me, could do as good as i did in that beast, they should have had those all over Europe! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

hawkmeister
01-31-2005, 11:38 AM
That was an outstanding article! The kind of material that's in far too short a supply.

Thanks a bunch for sharing (and all that work typing!)

-Bill

JRJacobs
02-01-2005, 05:54 PM
bump - and a note here. the man who wrote this was an actual American combat pilot, his job was to pick apart the enemy, figuratively and literally, so expect a little bias - but also remember his critiques were designed so that other American pilots could get the feel for their American planes strengths - expect bias, but not fiction nor incompetence - he did after all retire a rear admiral

ZG77_Lignite
02-01-2005, 09:21 PM
"Extenuating facts to be considered. On three attempts with the Fw-190 to reach its service ceiling, it abruptly lost all power at 33,000 feet. At the time, we didn't know what caused this, but we now know that it was probably the result of its not having a pressured ignition harness. Our plane developers experienced this with certain U.S. planes."

This statement may have also been explained in a (I believe Navy) test of the Kommandergerat system. In that test it noted that the hydraulic oil pump that supplied the Kommandergerat (uni-lever system as stated in the above article) could no longer produce enough oil pressure to maintain operation above 30000 feet, thus the engine would 'fail' above that altitude.

Obviously the alitude varied, depending upon FW190 models, the Ta152 obviously exceeded 30000ft. I believe this problem was improved on each FW190, as better equipment (pumps, oil, valves) became available.

VFA195-MaxPower
02-02-2005, 06:18 PM
Another thing to consider in converging evidence. I see a lot of people on the forums dismissing subjective accounts from the get go. Even in the behavioural sciences, subjective accounts or case studies are not necessarily dismissed as heresay or inadequately explanatory. They are a good place to start, they are useful for making prima facie comparisons, and they are good tools to use in order to identify the issues. One must conceide that the relevence or strength of an argument of a subjective account increases with every corroboration, dependent on how close to the experience the observer is. And then to have the data agree, strengthens it some more. I am not saying that this produces anything close to gospel truth, but it adds credence to the claims of individuals.

I've seen a lot of subjective pilot accounts (both contemporary and by war veterans) that the early me109s may have turned as tightly as the early spitfires- but many LW pilots would not risk it. Another source (on this history channel) corroborated this, and gave reason that the spit's wings began to vibrate when it was about to stall, giving the pilot ample warning; but he bf109 gave no such warning.

I've also read and heard that the early fw190s nearly totally outmaneovered the early spitfires, and that it had a high stall speed but high performance. This, I am prepared to beleive as true. The present study also points to the fact that the fw190 had an adequate climb rate and high speed. This has also been corroborated in books that I have read. I am also prepared to believe these claims.

What is important in this reading is the facts and to a certain extent, the recommendations. I believe that there is a lot of subjectivity in both the pilot's appraisal and our appraisal of what he is saying. What I got out of the combat recommendations is that the American heavy fighters should not press an engagement if the FW190 has an advantage, and to be wary of an FW190 that has no advantage (but does not have a disadvantage), since it can create one in due course. I also took it to say that if there is no reasonable chance that the fw190 could create an advantage by slipping by, that the either of the American fighters would be all over it like white on rice. These recommendations are supported by the hard data that he collected, but are subject to my personal point of reference.

As for monkeying the fw190's in the simulation, the il2 AI always tries to enter a turning fight, nomatter what it is flying. Since the simulated fw190s dump energy like it was going out of style in sustained turns, one can only surmise that such behaviour would be deemed suicidal if the simulation specs were real, and the pilots were also real.