Fw 190 ver­sus Thun­der­bolt

Aviation Classics - - AVIATION -

A cap­tured Fw 190 was used by the US Army Air Force for com­par­a­tive tri­als against a P-47D Thun­der­bolt in Italy dur­ing De­cem­ber 1943. Rather than at­tempt­ing to de­ter­mine the Fw 190’s all round ca­pa­bil­i­ties how­ever, the USAAF par­tic­u­larly wanted to know how the Fw 190 per­formed against the P-47D at low level.there­fore the tests were car­ried out at be­tween sea level and 10,000ft. It was found that the Fw 190 ini­tially ac­cel­er­ated faster than the P-47D at all al­ti­tudes but above 5000ft the P-47D quickly clawed back the ad­van­tage be­fore over­tak­ing above 330mph.there was a sim­i­lar per­for­mance dur­ing climb – the Fw 190 ini­tially climbed faster but was then over­taken by the P-47D.THE P-47D used over­heated dur­ing this test how­ever. The same thing hap­pened again dur­ing dive tri­als but when turn­ing above 250mph, the P-47D con­sis­tently out­per­formed the Fw 190.The re­port states: “The P-47 eas­ily out-turned the Fw 190 at 10,000ft and had to throt­tle back in or­der to keep from over-run­ning the Fw 190.The su­pe­ri­or­ity of the P-47 in turn­ing in­creased with altitude.the Fw 190 was very heavy in fore and aft con­trol, vi­brated ex­ces­sively, and tended to black out the pi­lot.” Be­low 250mph it was a dif­fer­ent story, how­ever, with the Fw 190 able to “hang in its pro­pel­ler and turn in­side the P-47”.the Fw 190 was also found to be able to “ac­cel­er­ate sud­denly and change to a more favourable po­si­tion”. Un­der ‘re­marks’ the re­port states:“the Fw 190 per­forms nicely in all ac­ro­batic ma­noeu­vres with the ex­cep­tion of a very slight fore and aft con­trol which makes low altitude ma­noeu­vres danger­ous.this air­plane has an ex­tremely bad high speed stall in turns which is not so ev­i­dent in high speed pull outs, but if trimmed and pulled hard enough it will spin vi­o­lently straight down with­out warn­ing. “Aileron con­trol is very good at all speeds and rud­der con­trol is nor­mally good. For­ward and side visibility are very good while rear visibility is very poor. The cock­pit is un­com­fort­ably small for a pi­lot taller than 5ft 11in. Bail­ing out of this air­plane would be dif­fi­cult for any pi­lot. The air­plane is quite nose heavy which would make dead stick land­ings danger­ous and high speed dives near the ground danger­ous. “The en­gine seems to run very rough at all times and the vi­bra­tion trans­mit­ted through the con­trol col­umn al­most com­pletely de­stroys any feel of the fly­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics.this char­ac­ter­is­tic is partly re­spon­si­ble for the lack of warn­ing in high speed stalls.” In its ‘con­clu­sions’ the re­port notes: “The P-47 with its tremen­dous fire power is at least as good as the Fw 190 at low al­ti­tudes.there should be no ques­tion about en­gag­ing the Fw 190 in a dog fight at low altitude, but it should be re­mem­bered that the Fw 190 is a good air­plane and its ad­van­tages are gained at slow speeds.”

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