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estorilm
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Thu Oct 17, 2019 7:00 pm

Revelation wrote:
estorilm wrote:
smithbs wrote:
WW2 aircraft were not entirely safe in the first place - they were hastily designed, tested and then produced as fast as possible, often with marginal parameters and it was largely understood that there would be a consequence because of that, but in such a large war, it's going to be bad anyway.

Kinda agree, BUT they were also "hastily designed" to be shot at with .303 API, 20mm cannon, etc. as well as being ditched, belly landings, flown routinely with dead or missing engines (ie control authority/stability considerations) etc etc. Structure limits on modern airliners and GA aircraft are ONLY considering 100% intact planes, there's no "well will it hold if there's a 2' hole going through the rear fuselage?"

Bringing crews back was actually very important to the USAAF, they were punching out planes far quicker than they were able to train (experienced) flight crews.

Also keep in mind that Boeing bet the farm building the Model 299 i.e. B-17 prototype and it crashed, nearly bankrupting the company.

Luckily for Boeing, USAAF found a way to place an order despite the fact it could not fully participate in the evaluation.

After that, Boeing put everything it had into that aircraft from prototype on to producing them by the thousands.

The crash and recovery was many years before USA entered WWII, so the notion that they were hastily designed really does not stand up.

Ref: https://mynorthwest.com/1166154/flying- ... -17-crash/?

Yup, they could eventually be considered "hastily built" - but that's about it, and has no bearing on build quality - it's all to a specific spec.
 
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smithbs
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Thu Oct 17, 2019 8:49 pm

Revelation wrote:
The crash and recovery was many years before USA entered WWII, so the notion that they were hastily designed really does not stand up.


Ok. How long was the design cycle on the P-51 again? Measured in days, wasn't it? From sketch to first flight, P-47 and B-24 were less than a year, and P-39 was slightly over one year. My argument stands. ;)

Edit - I guess I'm talking in general while you are talking about B-17 specifically. Yes, B-17 had some more time up front.
Last edited by smithbs on Thu Oct 17, 2019 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Thu Oct 17, 2019 8:56 pm

No, actually it doesn’t. The average design cycle then was far shorter than today. There wasn’t any reason then to have years long design periods, they weren’t that complicated. The B-52 design was done very quickly, too.

GF
 
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smithbs
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Thu Oct 17, 2019 9:14 pm

estorilm wrote:
Revelation wrote:
estorilm wrote:

Kinda agree, BUT they were also "hastily designed" to be shot at with .303 API, 20mm cannon, etc. as well as being ditched, belly landings, flown routinely with dead or missing engines (ie control authority/stability considerations) etc etc. Structure limits on modern airliners and GA aircraft are ONLY considering 100% intact planes, there's no "well will it hold if there's a 2' hole going through the rear fuselage?"

Bringing crews back was actually very important to the USAAF, they were punching out planes far quicker than they were able to train (experienced) flight crews.

Also keep in mind that Boeing bet the farm building the Model 299 i.e. B-17 prototype and it crashed, nearly bankrupting the company.

Luckily for Boeing, USAAF found a way to place an order despite the fact it could not fully participate in the evaluation.

After that, Boeing put everything it had into that aircraft from prototype on to producing them by the thousands.

The crash and recovery was many years before USA entered WWII, so the notion that they were hastily designed really does not stand up.

Ref: https://mynorthwest.com/1166154/flying- ... -17-crash/?

Yup, they could eventually be considered "hastily built" - but that's about it, and has no bearing on build quality - it's all to a specific spec.


I meant hastily designed, as my reply to Revelation indicates. For my "marginal performance" comment, that was about handling properties. Many of these aircraft were not docile by any means, but were very lethal to inexperienced pilots. A lot of it was because of a hasty and unrefined design, and also a lot from being loaded up to CoG/weight limits where they could often be very squirrely.

Take the case of the Bf 109. Let's take the E model specifically:
- No forward visibility during TO nor landing.
- Combined weak landing gear with a steep approach angle.
- Prone to aileron snatch at landing speeds.
- Very heavy stick forces depending on how trim was set. If set for level flight, could not hold a dive. If set for hands-off dive, you may never pull out.
- Loss of aileron response at high speed.
- No rudder trim at all.
- Very marginal structural strength (due to lightweight design). You could snap the plane in a hard turn.
- Fuel tank doubled as pilot seat support. :hot:

Also note, the production philosophy at the time was to get into production ASAP and rely on rolling batch improvements. That meant Batch 1 was near absolute minimum to get a production contract, and could be so practically useless as to not be worth sending into theater. Later Batches would ideally get improvements and hopefully be less dangerous to their pilots. This philosophy persisted for a long time, and was also bureaucratically palatable because you could reduce the initial development contract and bank on the batch improvements to flesh out the capabilities. To put in 100% at the beginning results in an enormous initial price tag that causes political problems.
 
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Revelation
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Thu Oct 17, 2019 9:34 pm

smithbs wrote:
Revelation wrote:
The crash and recovery was many years before USA entered WWII, so the notion that they were hastily designed really does not stand up.


Ok. How long was the design cycle on the P-51 again? Measured in days, wasn't it? From sketch to first flight, P-47 and B-24 were less than a year, and P-39 was slightly over one year. My argument stands. ;)

Edit - I guess I'm talking in general while you are talking about B-17 specifically. Yes, B-17 had some more time up front.

Fair enough, I was quite focused on B-17, missed the context of your post.

B-17, B-24 and P-38 were in essence pre-war designs (from US point of view) and P-51 was an "edge of war" design made in haste to capture a British contract.

The main development deadline pressure IMO was for their manufacturers to make money as quickly as possible rather than deal with actual war time shortages and expediencies.

Boeing literally would have gone bankrupt if they could not transition from Model 299 to B-17 being a profitable enterprise.

Wiki says B-24 came about because Douglas preferred to go forward with its own design rather than build B-17 under license.

That to me suggests there was a capitalist underpinning to Douglas's motivations.

Your Bf 109 post is quite interesting, BTW.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Thu Oct 17, 2019 10:28 pm

Design then wasn’t exactly as it is today—they were stretching the technology- but they didn’t design them to be purposefully dangerous. It’s all they knew and they weren’t waiting for Part 25, CFD and laptop computers.
 
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airkas1
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:35 am

estorilm wrote:
[...]

Thanks for the context/informative post!
 
crownvic
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:27 am

Glad to see B-17 N5017N took to the skies this week from Montgomery NY to NE Philadelphia..
 
nycbjr
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:04 pm

Revelation wrote:

Wiki says B-24 came about because Douglas preferred to go forward with its own design rather than build B-17 under license.

That to me suggests there was a capitalist underpinning to Douglas's motivations.

.


I think you mean Consolidated.
 
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Revelation
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:25 pm

nycbjr wrote:
Revelation wrote:

Wiki says B-24 came about because Douglas preferred to go forward with its own design rather than build B-17 under license.

That to me suggests there was a capitalist underpinning to Douglas's motivations.
.

I think you mean Consolidated.

Yes, thanks for the correction.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
 
Stickpusher
Posts: 93
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:27 pm

smithbs wrote:
... lethal to inexperienced pilots...

Take the case of the Bf 109. Let's take the E model specifically:
- No forward visibility during TO nor landing.
- Combined weak landing gear with a steep approach angle.
- Prone to aileron snatch at landing speeds.
- Very heavy stick forces depending on how trim was set. If set for level flight, could not hold a dive. If set for hands-off dive, you may never pull out.
- Loss of aileron response at high speed.
- No rudder trim at all.
- Very marginal structural strength (due to lightweight design). You could snap the plane in a hard turn.


Another problem that the 109 had (and which it shared with the Spitfire) was the narrow undercarriage track, something the P51 resolved by having the gear retract inward. The Spitfire had better rudder authority at low speeds that compensated somewhat, although the forward view was every bit as bad as the 109, which was the reason for the Spitfire's characteristic descending turn onto "final" to the numbers. They didn't motor in from a distance, instead it was a "run & break" and a very tight circuit to touchdown. With the sorts of engines up front, view was a luxury. From experience with Tiger Moths and Stampes I've no doubt that they lined up from a turn, picked a landmark to one side of the nose and tried to keep it there as power was applied and the nose came up (both gyroscopic events that would turn the a/c). With all that power on tap their problems would have been even greater because everything happens more quickly.

Inexperienced pilots put straight into 109s were apparently as likely to trash the aircraft in ground loops as they were to damage the aircraft in other ways. Putting such pilots into any high performance machine is asking for trouble, and any unforgiving tendencies are amplified, but if that machine is built lightly it just adds to the problem. The RAF guys were helped by grass airfields that allowed them just to turn into the wind and go, anybody confined to a runway would have their hands extra-full in crosswinds.

The 109's lightweight design must have had consequences for everything else. Control surfaces create stresses through their hinges (it's possible on a Stampe to overstress the rudder post if for example you sideslip in one direction and quickly switch to the opposite direction of slip - and they're built for aeros), so larger more authoritative surfaces can be limited by the structures they are attached to. The 109s had tailplane bracing for strengthening and flutter. In combat, the 109s were at a great disadvantage in dogfights against the Spitfire and needed to adopt swoops and climbs away rather than get into a turning situation. Fuel injection helped 109s against the early Spitfire, which couldn't even go inverted without a twitch to slosh fuel into a small auxiliary tank - a dead giveaway in combat; the 109s could zoom climb away using their attack speed.

All of these beasts were optimised for the airborne mission, and interacting with the planet was where the compromises, if any, were made (such as visibility in fighter aircraft that pilots worked around). This ties in to Galaxyflyer's post somewhat. I guess the GeeBee racer would be an extreme case in point of the same ethos - break a record and we'll worry about getting down safely later! Pilots tended to compensate for the inherent problems with particular aircraft, and it is only things like modern requirements for spacing and such that force crews to deviate from what works for the aircraft (granted the B17 crew in this instance were given discretion to do whatever they thought best).

In the Tiger Moths I flew as a younger guy (in the 70s, and Stampes in the 80s) the reliability of Gypsy Majors etc was not taken for granted and in those aircraft we always approached the airfield at altitude until we could make the glide if we had to, especially since those old biplanes don't really have a glide ratio worthy of the name. If traffic considerations don't give you room for manoeuvre you have a problem, and you resolve it by telling ATC what your intentions are before you execute them, "like it or not".
 
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smithbs
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:21 pm

Stickpusher wrote:
...


Thank you for your post!

Could you imagine being offered to fly a Bf 109 after being given a briefing like that? My initial excitement would give way to: "Sorry, I'm not dying today." And to think so many pilots flew aircraft like that....
 
freakyrat
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Sat Oct 19, 2019 3:35 pm

There is an EAA video about the B17 that talks of the ineffectiveness of the rudder at low speeds. In reference to this accident it would appear they were in a hurry to get back on the ground they ended up flying to low and slow and couldn't get the aircraft straightened out on final after hitting one of the approach light towers.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:00 pm

Based on the reported altitude on downwind, they didn’t have enough power to get any higher, rudder or not.
 
freakyrat
Posts: 2032
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:04 pm

Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:39 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Based on the reported altitude on downwind, they didn’t have enough power to get any higher, rudder or not.


Just wonder if they had enough power to fly an extended final maybe then they could have got the aircraft straightened out and landed safely.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: B17 Crash at BDL October 2nd, 2019

Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:47 pm

freakyrat wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Based on the reported altitude on downwind, they didn’t have enough power to get any higher, rudder or not.


Just wonder if they had enough power to fly an extended final maybe then they could have got the aircraft straightened out and landed safely.


Can’t say, but if you’re in constant descent because you don’t have enough power or thrust to maintain level, you do anything to shorten the distance to runway. Been there.

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