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Bomber egress systems

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by harolds, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Is it just me, or did aircraft designers not put enough thought into how crewmen were going to get out in case of emergency? Examples: Brit tail gunners having to crawl back into the fuselage to retrieve their cutes, clip them on and then find a way out that wasn't blocked by fire. B-17 ball turrets. B-17 cockpit crewmen had to get throug a narrow twisting passage down to the nose hatch (I had trouble getting through it with summer clothes on). Having to roll down the window to get out of a P-38.

    These examples and others had to have caused extra deaths. What's your feeling on this issue??
     
  2. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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  3. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Quick answer is...no. What the original design could accmomodate (as it should be).
     
  4. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I believe that once the realities of modern air combat were learned, the designs could have been tweaked in order for crewmen to quickly get out of the aircraft. This would have undoubtedly increased crew morale to know that if hit and on fire they would have had a much better chance of surviving.
     
  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    I think CAC said it right, egress simply wasn't a design criterion. A lot of "secondary" characteristics like easy access for maintenance are fairly easy to design into an aircraft - if someone thinks about it and makes it a priority from the start.
     
  6. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I agree that easy egress wasn't a criterion when they were designed and I suspect that this was so because the designers and the USAAF (and their Brit counterparts) didn't forsee the horrific losses that were going to be incurred as well the increased firepower of fighters and flak. That being said, there were always design changes in these machines. There could have been improvements in egress as well as other things. The fact that emergency egress wasn't given much thought in the original design criteria doen't mean that improvements couldn't have been added later on. I think that if they took whoever it was that was in charge of design and manufacture of these aircraft, and put them in the tail positions or ball turret for about 5 missions over Germany there undoubtedly would have been changes for the good. Even the Germans made inprovements in this area in their fighters
     

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