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Old 16th April 2006, 00:37
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Re: Looking for good P-40 books

Since you're interested in experiences, I thought you might enjoy reading this... It's some miscellaneous comments on the differences in flight performance between the P-40 and P-51, as experienced by Capt. Rene Burtner of the 359th FG. He wrote this down after I asked him several related questions.

I don't recall anything very different about the noise, smell or gun recoil that was different in the P-51. The P-40 was a lot different to fly. The P-40 had quite a bit of torque and beat your left foot and ankle to death when applying power or in a dive. A P-40 could turn inside the P-51 but was much slower and did not operate very well at altitude. The landing gear did not function as fast and you couldn't use flaps to maneuver. A P-40 could perform a loop at level flight and at cruising speed but a P-51 could not. I mention the torque on a P-40. During flight training we lost some pilots while dive bombing and later I heard that the reason for the accidents was related to the torque. Unable to keep the airplane trim during a dive caused the canopy to cave in on the pilot. It was not too unusual to have a P40 overheat while on the ground. Never heard of any such problem with a 51. With the canopy closed I can't remember hearing any noise from the outside except the 50s when they fired. Visibility was wonderful in the 51D. Never had an unexpected stall or unexpected reaction from a P-51. While playing around with another pilot I saw him go into a flat spin and barely recover but I think he was not too familiar with the plane.

Flaps were employed a lot in air combat. Mostly used to make a sharp turn or to cause your adversary to misjudge your speed and fly past you. I did not use flaps during loops or any other maneuver and do not recall any other pilot using flaps. I am reminded of using flaps a few times at Goxhill. I received flight training in radial engine airplanes and in P-40s. In those planes when you joined a formation you could pull in, cut the throttle and you were in tight. First couple of flights in a 51 I would pull in, cut the throttle and sail right by. Used flaps a few times until I got the feel of the airplane. By the way, you could loop a P-40 while flying straight and level at cruising speed but it was not easy to loop a P-51 under those circumstances. Using flaps would probably make it harder if not impossible.
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