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Old 18th April 2005, 05:01
Six Nifty .50s Six Nifty .50s is offline
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Six Nifty .50s
Low altitude tests: P-47 vs. Fw 190

This might be old news to some of you, but I read this recently:

".....In addition to the testing of an Fw 190A in the UK, the USAAF carried out trials in Italy in December 1943 using a captured example against a Republic P-47D-4 Thunderbolt. Both carried a typical combat load and the tests were flown from sea level up to 10,000 ft. The Fw 190 was considered to be in exceptionally good condition for a captured machine and achieved 42 in of boost pressure on take-off, although it lacked the P-47D's water injection.

During acceleration tests the Fw 190 initially held an advantage at all heights and speeds, quickly gaining about 200 yards, but at 330 mph IAS (Indicated Air Speed) the P-47 began to overtake rapidly and quickly drew away. The story was very much the same in the climb with the Fw 190 being superior over the first 1,500 ft, but thereafter the P-47 achieved dominance and out-performed the Fw 190 by 500 ft/min. Dives of 65 degrees were carried out from 10,000 ft to 3,000 ft, starting at 250 mph IAS. Once again the Fw 190 held an initial advantage but was passed by the P-47 at 3,000 ft at a much greater speed.

At speeds in excess of 250 mph IAS, the two aircraft were turned on each other's tail as tight as possible and alternating the turns left and right. The P-47 easily out-turned the Fw 190 at 10,000 ft and had to throttle back to keep from overshooting, a level of superiority that increased with altitude. It was found that the Fw 190 was very heavy in terms of fore and aft control, vibrated excessively, and tended to black out its pilot. Below 250 mph IAS however, the ability of the Fw 190 to hang on its propeller and turn inside the P-47 was very evident. The Fw 190 was also able to accelerate suddenly and change to a more favourable position.

The concluding remarks of the USAAF report were as follows:

USAAF opinion
'The 190 performs nicely in all aerobatic manoeuvres with the exception of a very slight fore and aft control which makes low altitude manoeuvres dangerous. This aircraft has an extremely bad high speed stall in turns which is not so evident in high speed pullouts, 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 5 ft 11 in. Baling out would be difficult for any pilot. The aircraft is quite nose heavy which would make dead stick landings dangerous and high speed dives near the ground dangerous. The engine seems to run 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.'....."

The exact model of Fw 190A was not identified.The P-47D-4 was not built with a paddle-bladed propeller, and the author did not say that a new prop was fitted.

Peter Caygill, Focke Wulf 190, Airlife Publishing, 2002.
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