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Man gets to keep rare WWII airplane
Pioneer Press ^ | 5-11-05 | DAVID HAWLEY

Posted on 05/11/2005 8:04:35 AM PDT by Rakkasan1

It's taken six years and a special act of Congress, but an aircraft mechanic from Princeton, Minn., is the undisputed owner of a rare World War II Corsair fighter plane that he salvaged 15 years ago from a North Carolina swamp.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis in Minneapolis approved a settlement that ends a lawsuit filed a year ago by the U.S. Justice Department against Lex Cralley. The lawsuit was the climax of an escalating battle of wills that had been going on since 1999 between the 50-year-old Northwest Airlines mechanic and the U.S. Navy.

"I've been under a cloud so long, it almost seems like a dream that it's over," Cralley said Tuesday.

In celebration, Cralley said he plans to exhibit the still-skeletal and disjointed remains of the Corsair at the annual Experimental Aircraft Association show next August in Oshkosh, Wis.

"It remains a piece of naval aviation history to be shared," said Cralley, whose dream is to restore the plane to flying condition — something that will take many years and millions of dollars, according to aviation history experts. It's estimated that fewer than 25 Corsairs still are flying.

In 1990, Cralley salvaged the remains of the fighter plane that had been buried in the muck of a North Carolina swamp for 46 years after it crashed there during a training flight in 1944. Shortly after the crash, a Navy report noted the death of the pilot, Marine Lt. Robin C. Pennington, and described the plane as "demolished."

Cralley transported the pieces of the shattered plane to a workshop behind his home in rural Princeton, registered it as a "non-airworthy model" with the Federal Aviation Administration and began the painstaking work of restoration.

Nearly a decade later, however, the Navy came calling.

(Excerpt) Read more at twincities.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Minnesota
KEYWORDS: corsair; mn; navy; plane; planecrash; souvenir; wwii
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what a waste of our money for the gubmint to fight this guy.
1 posted on 05/11/2005 8:04:37 AM PDT by Rakkasan1
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To: Rakkasan1

I love how they waited until he dug it out and restored the frame before inquiring. If he hadn't dug it out, it would have been there for the next century.


2 posted on 05/11/2005 8:07:17 AM PDT by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire, but I swear I didn't see it in my rearview mirror.)
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To: Rakkasan1

I visited this guy's hangar once when a friend of mine was doing computer work for him. Fantastic stuff! He and his friends work all day on restoring old WWII wrecks into showroom pieces that they fly to airshows all over the country.


3 posted on 05/11/2005 8:08:41 AM PDT by Zeroisanumber
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To: Rakkasan1

What the heck did the gubmint want with it anyway?


4 posted on 05/11/2005 8:08:51 AM PDT by squidly
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To: Rakkasan1
Arrrgh! I hate having to register to read the rest of the story.
5 posted on 05/11/2005 8:14:32 AM PDT by MrsEmmaPeel
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To: squidly

The gubmint wants things like a two-year-old wants things. They don't want them. Rather, they want to want them.


6 posted on 05/11/2005 8:14:48 AM PDT by rogue yam
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To: MrsEmmaPeel

www.bugmenot.com


7 posted on 05/11/2005 8:19:08 AM PDT by ruiner
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To: MrsEmmaPeel
"Arrrgh! I hate having to register to read the rest of the story."

I do too,and usually just drop it.
8 posted on 05/11/2005 8:21:35 AM PDT by neddah
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To: ruiner
Oh that is sooooooo cool! Thank you so very much!
9 posted on 05/11/2005 8:23:58 AM PDT by MrsEmmaPeel
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To: rogue yam
user: webreg@isuseless.edu password: nopassword

10 posted on 05/11/2005 8:26:42 AM PDT by evets (God bless President Bush and VP Cheney)
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To: Rakkasan1

Crap like this outweighs 100 favorable stories about the US Navy. What a shame.


11 posted on 05/11/2005 8:28:17 AM PDT by pabianice
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To: Rakkasan1
As I understand it the Navy/Marines are the only services that claim all property, no matter how old and what condition, as still being on the books. I don't understand this view as it leads to the loss of their history. The Army and Air Farce, don't know about USCG, doesn't claim anything.
12 posted on 05/11/2005 8:31:00 AM PDT by lmailbvmbipfwedu
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To: Rakkasan1

The Navy's decision to fight for the aircraft might not have been based on the aircraft itself. The Navy has a compelling interest in keeping rights to all salvage that was once (still is) Navy property. If somebody lays claim to a US Navy ship sitting on the bottom of the ocean, the Navy will immediately assert their legitimate claim. If they let a few people keep small pieces of Navy property, including an old, demolished airplane, it might set precedent for such salvage.

I'm not up on maritime/salvage law, but their approach appears to be similar to patent copyright law; you must aggressively defend your patents and copyrights or risk losing them.

BTW; I'm glad the guy won. I'd hate to see the aircraft decaying in a swamp or the guy's hard work lost.


13 posted on 05/11/2005 8:31:47 AM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: Rakkasan1
The Chance/Vought Corsair kicked the Mitsubishi Zero's grass and took their flames!

Twenty years later some of those Chance/Vought employees watched a President murdered in a "crossfire--they were shooting at that [bleep]Kennedy from everywhere...!"

The folks who built a plane that almost won a war by itself, were dreaming up fantasies and telling fairy tales--because it was one kook on the sixth floor of a warehouse.

14 posted on 05/11/2005 8:32:17 AM PDT by Ff--150 (Now Unto Him That Is Able To Do Exceeding)
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To: evets

The Corsair, a grand old airplane. It could hold its own with the best of 'em. Including the Mustang. Check out the following link on the best fighter-bomber of WW2.

http://home.att.net/~historyzone/F4U-4.html


15 posted on 05/11/2005 8:37:29 AM PDT by sasportas
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To: Rakkasan1; evets

16 posted on 05/11/2005 8:42:30 AM PDT by Jaysun (The road to despotism is paved with "fairness")
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To: evets

Thanks for posting the photo. I had a gas powered plastic Cox model when I was a kid. Flew so fast I'd get dizzy and wreck it! Built a balsa and paper model from a kit once. Shellacked it and put on decals. Worked on it for weeks. It came out looking great but wouldn't fly for shit. Too much shellac, I guess. Beautiful plane.


17 posted on 05/11/2005 8:43:52 AM PDT by rogue yam
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To: Jaysun

Nice pic. What a thrill it must be to fly one of those.


18 posted on 05/11/2005 8:51:01 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (The theory of evolution is the great cosmogenic myth of the twentieth century - Michael Denton)
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To: Rakkasan1; ruiner
Ruiner: Thanks for that link. Here's how the story ends...

Deborah Sciascia, an attorney for the Naval Inventory Control Point in Philadelphia, referred calls to naval public affairs. In turn, they referred calls to the public affairs office of the Department of Justice, which could not be reached for comment. However, in a letter that accompanied the settlement, the Navy's assistant director, Helen D. Rosen, stated that the agreement "is in the best interests of the United States."

We've got womyn attorneys running the Navy now.
We've come a long way baby, eh?


19 posted on 05/11/2005 8:54:14 AM PDT by ppaul
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To: sasportas
The Corsair, a grand old airplane.

Thanks for the Corsair link. My father flew them in Korea and it remains one of his favorite fixed-winged aircraft.

One of his "Thought I had bought the farm stories" in that aircraft found him in a flat spin! He managed to break it by lowering the landing gear; and, as he puts it, "If that hadn't worked, your mother would have been a widow!"

He has several models of it in his den, and a copy of the orginal Navy POH!

20 posted on 05/11/2005 9:08:15 AM PDT by GoldCountryRedneck (The Flogging Will Continue Until Morale Improves)
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To: Ff--150
I seemed to recall that the Zero was a superior aircraft, but our pilots were just much better. I particularly seem to recall Boyington training his pilots how to overcome the Corsair's weaknesses.
21 posted on 05/11/2005 9:10:14 AM PDT by sharktrager (The masses will trade liberty for a more quiet life.)
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To: sharktrager
The Zero was more maneuverable but the Corsair had a higher dive rate.
22 posted on 05/11/2005 9:21:46 AM PDT by reagandemo (The battle is near are you ready for the sacrifice?)
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To: sharktrager
I seemed to recall that the Zero was a superior aircraft

No. The Corsair was far faster and had a much greater rate of dive and climb. It was the first fighter in the Pacific to exceed 400mph in level flight, and the first to make use of water injection for power boosts. It could literally leave a Zero in a cloud (the Zero experianced very heavy aerolon resistance above 300mph, limiting its top speed and its ability to perform high speed manuevers).

Because of its speed and exceptional dive and acceleration performance, Corsair pilots always had the luxury of meeting the Zeros on terms most favorable to the Corsair.

The Japs hated the Corsair - the Japanese navy nickname for the plane was "whistling death"

The Corsair is alo the only WWII fighter to ever be the subject of a lyrical poem - "Ode to an F4U"

23 posted on 05/11/2005 9:27:53 AM PDT by jscd3
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To: reagandemo
The Zero was more maneuverable but the Corsair had a higher dive rate

Only at relatively low speed. The Corsair had much better high speed manueverability. It was also more durable and could take a higher stress loading on the wings and airframe.

It's not really surprising that the Marines were still using Corsairs for ground support in Korea. My dad (acting seargent, machine gun squad leader, 5th Marine, 1951-1952)absolutely loved the plane and told me many times when I was young how popular the Corsair was among the Marines...

24 posted on 05/11/2005 9:33:38 AM PDT by jscd3
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To: sharktrager

The Zero was a desperately overrated aircraft. The idea that it was some sort of superweapon has somehow made it into a lot of crappy History Channel documentaries.

The only occassions the Zero racked up high kill totals were against very badly trained Dutch, British, and Chinese pilots, flying things like Brewster Buffalos. The Japanese pilots at the beginning of the war were very, very, very, very, very good.

At no time in the entire war did Zeros have a positive kill ratio against US Navy pilots; even when they were flying F4F Wildcats; the F4F Wildcat killed more Zeros than Zeros killed Wildcats.

How tightly an aircraft can turn basically turned out to be irrelevant in World War II; Durability, Speed, ability to roll at high speeds, firepower were all more important.

Thing about the Zero was that there had been so much mythology about Japanese being nearsighted and unable to fly well, and unable to build decent machinery, that it was incredibly shocking when they turned out to have anything that was even remotely competitive.


25 posted on 05/11/2005 9:52:26 AM PDT by Strategerist
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To: sharktrager
FYI: Basically, the Zero could out turn all our fighters but the Mustang and the Hellcat which could hang very well with the Zero. The Zero could not out climb or out dive the P-51 Mustang, the F4U Corsair or the Hellcat, nor was the Zero's speed close to those US aircraft. The Navy F6F Hellcat has the WWII record for downed enemy aircraft in the Pacific. Japanese pilots were terrified of the Corsair because of its speed and durability.

http://www.aviation-central.com/1940-1945/aen60.htm

In production longer than any other U.S. fighter in World War II (1942-1952) with 12,582 built, the Vought F4U "Corsair" had several claims to fame. It was credited with an 11:1 ratio of kills to losses in action against Japanese aircraft and was the last piston-engine fighter in production for any of the U.S. services.

All in all, the "Hellcat" was credited with destroying 5,156 enemy aircraft in air-to-air combat (75% of all Navy aerial kills) with a kill ratio of 19:1. Combat stories of F6F encounters with enemy aircraft during World War II are legendary.

26 posted on 05/11/2005 9:54:09 AM PDT by RSmithOpt (Liberalism: Highway to Hell)
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To: sharktrager

There's a great show about Boyington running on the Military Channel right now. I saw it yesterday or the day before.

Lots of training of his pilots on how to conduct air combat. A true leader. They shot down something like 126 Japanese planes in 12 weeks immediately after moving to Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.


27 posted on 05/11/2005 9:57:03 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Official Ruling Class Oligarch Oppressor)
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To: SJSAMPLE

No, whether as to salvage or patent or copyright law, although failure to assert a claim as to a particular thing can cause a lapse of the claim as to that thing, that does weaken potential claims as to other things.

In other stories, the Navy admitted that they wanted the aircraft for its value as a museum holding.


28 posted on 05/11/2005 9:59:57 AM PDT by Rockingham
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To: Zeroisanumber
He and his friends work all day on restoring old WWII wrecks into showroom pieces that they fly to airshows all over the country.

If I were a rich man, that is what I would like to do. My dream is to restore a P-47. There are only 23 or so left in the world.

29 posted on 05/11/2005 10:03:06 AM PDT by Skooz (Jesus Christ Set Me Free of Drug Addiction in 1985. Thank You, Lord.)
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To: squidly
What the heck did the gubmint want with it anyway?

According to the article, it's because this particular plane is one of a kind. Most of the Corsairs that fought in WWII were Chance Vought Corsairs, but there were a small number built by other manufacturers. This plane is a Brewster Corsair, and is believed to be the last one in existance. While the Navy does assert rights over all of their former property, I'm sure the uniqueness of this particular plane contributed to their zeal in filing suit.
30 posted on 05/11/2005 10:04:17 AM PDT by Arthalion
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To: neddah
Here is the whole article

Man gets to keep rare WWII airplane

Navy had fought him for crash wreckage

BY DAVID HAWLEY

Pioneer Press

It's taken six years and a special act of Congress, but an aircraft mechanic from Princeton, Minn., is the undisputed owner of a rare World War II Corsair fighter plane that he salvaged 15 years ago from a North Carolina swamp.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis in Minneapolis approved a settlement that ends a lawsuit filed a year ago by the U.S. Justice Department against Lex Cralley. The lawsuit was the climax of an escalating battle of wills that had been going on since 1999 between the 50-year-old Northwest Airlines mechanic and the U.S. Navy.

"I've been under a cloud so long, it almost seems like a dream that it's over," Cralley said Tuesday.

In celebration, Cralley said he plans to exhibit the still-skeletal and disjointed remains of the Corsair at the annual Experimental Aircraft Association show next August in Oshkosh, Wis.

"It remains a piece of naval aviation history to be shared," said Cralley, whose dream is to restore the plane to flying condition — something that will take many years and millions of dollars, according to aviation history experts. It's estimated that fewer than 25 Corsairs still are flying.

In 1990, Cralley salvaged the remains of the fighter plane that had been buried in the muck of a North Carolina swamp for 46 years after it crashed there during a training flight in 1944. Shortly after the crash, a Navy report noted the death of the pilot, Marine Lt. Robin C. Pennington, and described the plane as "demolished."

Cralley transported the pieces of the shattered plane to a workshop behind his home in rural Princeton, registered it as a "non-airworthy model" with the Federal Aviation Administration and began the painstaking work of restoration.

Nearly a decade later, however, the Navy came calling. Though the world is littered with the abandoned artifacts of war, the official policy of the Navy is that its property is always its property — forever.

And the Navy was particularly interested in the remnants of the plane in Cralley's shed. Military aviation enthusiasts say it's the only Corsair of its kind known to exist.

Specifically, it's a Corsair that was manufactured by the Brewster Aeronautical Corp. of Long Island, N.Y., after the original manufacturer, the Chance Vought Aircraft Corp. of Stratford, Conn., became overwhelmed by the wartime demand for new planes.

Brewster, which no longer exists, built 735 Corsairs — Cralley's was the 119th — compared to more than 12,000 F4U Corsairs built by Vought, which is now headquartered in Dallas.

Cralley said he was inundated with phone calls and messages after word of the lawsuit became public last year. Most of them came from people who wanted to express anger or outrage, he said.

One came from U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., whose district includes the original crash site near Cherry Point Marine Corps Training Station.

Jones, who called the dispute a "laughable poster child" for big government run amok, introduced a measure called a "private bill" in the House that specifically directed the Navy to convey ownership of the plane to Cralley. The Senate version was introduced by Minnesota's Norm Coleman.

"Here was a good solid American citizen who wants to preserve naval air history at his own expense and the Big Brother Navy comes down and says, 'No you can't,' " Jones said Tuesday. "To me, it was just ridiculous."

The measure was attached to the Ronald Reagan Defense Bill that was enacted in October. But it took another six months for attorneys representing the government and Cralley to agree to the terms of the gift.

"I'm not going to speak negatively about the donative's efforts, but the gift seemed to come awfully hard," said Boyd Ratchye, the Minneapolis attorney who represents Cralley.

In the end, Ratchye said Cralley got the deal he wanted, but he added that the agreement does not set a precedent for the resolution of disputes between the Navy and other private collectors of salvaged military hardware.

Deborah Sciascia, an attorney for the Naval Inventory Control Point in Philadelphia, referred calls to naval public affairs. In turn, they referred calls to the public affairs office of the Department of Justice, which could not be reached for comment.

However, in a letter that accompanied the settlement, the Navy's assistant director, Helen D. Rosen, stated that the agreement "is in the best interests of the United States."

31 posted on 05/11/2005 10:05:07 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Ff--150
Saying that the Corsair almost won the war by itself. . . . is a little bit of an overstatement. Not that I'm a P-38 fanboy or anything . . . 8P Totally awesome that the guy won. Too bad he had to fight the Navy to keep the plane, though. It's gonna look saaaweeeeet once it's restored.
32 posted on 05/11/2005 10:05:20 AM PDT by Ecthelion
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To: Strategerist
The Zero was a desperately overrated aircraft.

Don't quite agree. The Zero was very good - when it came out. It had a range of over 1000 miles with drop tanks, 300mph performance, and outstanding low to medium speed manueverability. When it first appeared (1939) it was one of the premier fighters in the world. It's performance was so good for the time that when the US military was informed of the planes existance in early 1940 - and provided with photos and movies - it refused to accept that a plane with the reported performance could exist (documented in Martin Caiden's "Ragged Rugged Warriors")

US pilots always had better luck against the Zero than European and Asian pilots. Hell, the AVG was beating the crap out of Zeros with P-40B Tomahawks, a plane that in almost every regard was inferior to the Zero. Yet the British in Malasia, with pilots that had experianced the Battle of Britain and flying Hawker Huricanes, were literally cut to shreds by Zero pilots.

The Jap pilots were very very good (at least in 41 and 42), but so were a lot of the US pilots, and the Marine and Navy pilots in particular were extremely creative in figuring out how to get the best performance out of their aircraft. They were simply more creative than the average Jap pilot - although guys like Suboro Sakai (sp?) would have been top notch no matter what they flew.

33 posted on 05/11/2005 10:06:07 AM PDT by jscd3
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To: Strategerist
The Zero completely outclassed anything the USA could put into the sky at the beginning of the war. That the F4F had a positive kill ration is due to tactics, such as the Thatch Weave, that were implemented to negate the Zero's superior speed an maneuverability.

Once the F6F and the F4U came along, Zeros were outclassed, but were still far more manueverable.

Even at the end of the war, pilots in the Pacific were told "Never dogfight a Zero."

34 posted on 05/11/2005 10:08:13 AM PDT by Skooz (Jesus Christ Set Me Free of Drug Addiction in 1985. Thank You, Lord.)
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To: jscd3
Hell, the AVG was beating the crap out of Zeros with P-40B Tomahawks

The AVG never actually saw a Zero in combat, actually. The Japanese Navy did deploy Zeros to combat in China for a few months, but this was not at the same time or location the AVG was operating.

The AVG was up against the Japanese ARMY, which had no Zeros and never had any Zeros the entire war, and actually most of their kills were of Japanese Army Bombers and somewhat primitive Japanese Army Fighters that didn't have retractable landing gear. However like German "88s" in Europe (all German artillery was called 88s by American troops even when there were no 88s anywhere near them) for whatever reason all Japanese fighters tended to be called "Zeros" in World War II.

Yet the British in Malasia, with pilots that had experianced the Battle of Britain and flying Hawker Huricanes, were literally cut to shreds by Zero pilots.

The initial British pilots in Malaya had no BoB experience whatsoever; they were the worst trained pilots in the RAF.

35 posted on 05/11/2005 10:10:30 AM PDT by Strategerist
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To: jscd3
Yet the British in Malasia, with pilots that had experianced the Battle of Britain and flying Hawker Huricanes, were literally cut to shreds by Zero pilots.>

Fighter tactics were completely different in the Pacific than the ETO. The Brits were used to dogfighting ME-109s, but doing so against Zeros was suicide. The Brits did not adjust their tactics to the situation.

36 posted on 05/11/2005 10:12:53 AM PDT by Skooz (Jesus Christ Set Me Free of Drug Addiction in 1985. Thank You, Lord.)
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To: evets

Ahhhh...the Vought F4U Corsair. One of my favorite aircraft. Beautiful.


37 posted on 05/11/2005 10:13:11 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (This tagline will be destoyed to make way for a new Hyperspace bypass.)
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To: Ecthelion

I stand by my Corsair remark--but, yeah, that P-38 is "saaaweeeeet" 2 =-)


38 posted on 05/11/2005 10:13:41 AM PDT by Ff--150 (Now Unto Him That Is Able To Do Exceeding)
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To: Rakkasan1
Pioneer Press is not on the Excerption list

Reference For Excerpting Articles - Please Read And Bookmark.

39 posted on 05/11/2005 10:14:38 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Skooz
The Zero completely outclassed anything the USA could put into the sky at the beginning of the war.

No it didn't. It was seriously deficient in durability, roll rate at high speeds, dive speed, compared to the F4F, P-40, etc.

Turn radius is a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, almost irrelevant component of air combat.

That the F4F had a positive kill ration is due to tactics

If it had a positive kill ratio then it wasn't "outclassed"...end of story. It means the F4F was a better aircraft when its advantages over the Zero were used properly.

Even at the end of the war, pilots in the Pacific were told "Never dogfight a Zero."

Actually it's generally true to avoid dogfights at all costs, in almost any aircraft. Almost nobody became an ace in World War II by dogfighting; 90%+ of kills were of aircraft that never saw their attacker.

What World War II revealed was that buzzing around in tight turns in dogfights was a loser strategy, and the Zero was a loser aircraft designed for that losing strategy. "Boom and Zoom" (diving from above, attack, climb, rinse, repeat) reigned supreme.

40 posted on 05/11/2005 10:15:34 AM PDT by Strategerist
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To: Skooz

Exactly my point


41 posted on 05/11/2005 10:15:44 AM PDT by jscd3
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To: Rakkasan1
Shortly after the crash, a Navy report noted the death of the pilot, Marine Lt. Robin C. Pennington, and described the plane as "demolished."

Maybe the fact that the pilot died in the crash had something to do with it?

42 posted on 05/11/2005 10:16:17 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Rakkasan1

It is this simple, the Government hates the individual and loves the collective. That is basically a characteristic of government and is the reason why so many of the early Americans feared a strong central government.


43 posted on 05/11/2005 10:17:36 AM PDT by yarddog
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To: SJSAMPLE

Didn't think of that. Imagine if somebody wanted to salvage the Lexington or Yorktown. The German Prinz Eugen survived an atomic test to capsize on a reef and it might still be accessable.


44 posted on 05/11/2005 10:21:22 AM PDT by Little Ray (I'm a reactionary, hirsute, gun-owning, knuckle dragging, Christian Neanderthal and proud of it!)
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To: Strategerist
Well, almost.

American pilots who had transferred from the ETO had to learn how to fight basically from scratch because they were used to duking it out one-on-one against ME-109s and FW-190s. Dogfighting was the name of the game and American and Brit pilots did it well against the Germans.

To do so against Zeros was suicide. Japanese planes were far too maneuverable. To dogfight was to play into the strengths of the enemy. In Europe, it was almost the only way to kill an opposing fighter.

In terms of durability, there is no comparison. Zeros paid for their incredible maneuverability and speed by being fragile, compared to US planes.

And the tactics which gave the F4F a positive kill ratio did not make the F4F a better plane than the Zero. It just hid the chronic weaknesses of the F4F, which was obsolete at the beginning of the war.

45 posted on 05/11/2005 10:23:51 AM PDT by Skooz (Jesus Christ Set Me Free of Drug Addiction in 1985. Thank You, Lord.)
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To: sasportas
Oops. There is something wrong with that link. :0)

Here is the best fighter-bomber of the war (glad to help):

http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/research/p47.htm

46 posted on 05/11/2005 10:32:36 AM PDT by Skooz (Jesus Christ Set Me Free of Drug Addiction in 1985. Thank You, Lord.)
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To: reagan_fanatic
What a thrill it must be to fly one of those.

You can say that again. But from what I've heard, they area royal beeyatch to land...being a tail dragger with that huge front end sticking out makes it very hard to impossible to see the tarmac.

47 posted on 05/11/2005 10:37:32 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (This tagline will be destoyed to make way for a new Hyperspace bypass.)
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To: Skooz

P-38 could carry twice as much of a bombload . . . 8P


48 posted on 05/11/2005 10:42:44 AM PDT by Ecthelion
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To: Strategerist
Sorry, there was really nothing wrong with Allied training at the time. Allied pilots were overconfident, flying inferior aircraft, and/or using the wrong tactics. First we developed the tactics to deal with the Zero - guys in Wildcats and P-40s developed these tactics but paid a heavy price in the process. When they got Hellcats and P-38s, it became a route.

Nor Zero was not overrated. The Zero was a superb aircraft within its limitations. It was faster, could out-climb, and outmaneuver any fighter in the world at the time it was introduced.
The trade for this was a relatively flimsy airframe, unprotected fuel tanks, and a lousy armament (the 20mm's were low velocity and slow firing - not very good in a dogfight...). It also had a poor rate of roll at higher speeds.
The issue really came down to the engine - the Zero did what it did on about 900 HP (and some say it was a copy of the P&W twin Wasp!). The Japanese could never produce in large quantities a really powerful and reliable engine. Without that, they never had a chance of producing a fighter to rival or beat allied fighters. The prototype Japanese A6M Reisen (Zero) went to the airfield in an ox cart - in the US we would call this a "clue."
49 posted on 05/11/2005 10:48:12 AM PDT by Little Ray (I'm a reactionary, hirsute, gun-owning, knuckle dragging, Christian Neanderthal and proud of it!)
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts
"...from what I've heard, they area royal beeyatch to land...being a tail dragger with that huge front end sticking out makes it very hard to impossible to see the tarmac."

Yes, particularly when that tarmac is attached to a rolling, pitching carrier deck! The Corsair was slow to be implemented as a carried-based aircraft because of that problem.

Also, had the war dragged on a bit longer, the F2G-2 "Super Corsair" would've gone beyond limited production. That variant was designed with fleet defense in mind - it was a fast-climbing answer to the Kamikaze threat. With ten additional cylinders of Pratt & Whitney power up front (and an even *longer* snoot) and a Mustang-like bubble canopy, the Super Corsair would've been an impressive warplane.

50 posted on 05/11/2005 10:55:11 AM PDT by Charles Martel
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