Amazing work John!!
Thank you, John! I'm currently putting the finishing touches on the cockpit of the WWII example. It is the only example of an early production P-51D-20-NA for and flight simulation that has been done authentically as it would have been without any field-modifications. The N-9 reflector gunsight was used on the P-51D from the first production model all the way into P-51D-20-NA (and D-20-NT) production. On P-51D-15-NA production, the back-up ring a bead gunsight was deleted, and the N-9 gunsight bracket was re-designed since it no longer had to have the mounting extensions for the ring-sight, so although the N-9 sight is fitted to the wartime Twilight Tear, it does not have the back-up ring and bead sight like the P-51D-5-NA's from Little Friends II. It makes for a unique sight, to see the N-9 fitted to a cockpit configuration that is quite a bit late in production (though it does have the earlier switch-panel configurations - i.e. the pre-rocket controls and pre-tail warning radar configuration).
Another unique item on this aircraft, is a 100"-span type Manifold Pressure gauge, something that, until only last fall, I had no idea was actually used on Mustangs during WWII, and is actually authentic! Most people, including myself, have probably been quite used to seeing the 75"-span type Manifold Pressure gauge fitted within Mustangs, no matter the make or model. Every once in a while I would see a 100"-span type fitted within a restoration, but I had long thought that the 100"-type was only introduced after WWII on ANG and USAF examples, and seeing it fitted within a Mustang sporting WWII markings I had thought was not correct. However, within original North American Aviation and USAAF documents from 1944, I came to find that the gauge was switched from the 75"-span type to the 100"-span type during P-51D-15-NA production and on all later models. The reason for this, was that when the VIII Fighter Command in Europe, in the summer of '44, introduced 100/150 grade fuel for the first time, the WEP output for the Merlin engine, running this fuel, surpassed the limit of the 75"-span gauge (though the USAAF only cleared its Merlin Mustangs up to 72" on WEP, at first, and then 75" on WEP, where as the British cleared its Merlin Mustangs up to 81" on WEP, running 100/150 fuel). For the same reason, until the RAF got its hands on P-51D's (which were all of the later-type, already fitted with 100"-span gauges) they replaced the 75"-span MP gauges on their Mustang III's (P-51B's) with +25 lbs boost gauges (= 81" Hg).
Getting closer. The documentation and final testing will take another week or two in order to complete.
As mentioned earlier, this aircraft is an early production P-51D-20-NA, that came off the assembly line at Inglewood, CA in early December of 1944. From this point, and all the way to late-March 1945, when it was photographed with the third kill-marking on the canopy frame, the aircraft had an N-9 reflector gunsight installed, and did not have the tail warning radar set installed (which didn't arrive into P-51D production until very late D-20-NA's and D-25-NA's). The aircraft was also built before the introduction of the rocket control system and rocket launcher supported wings. I have chosen to depict the wartime aircraft as it was when photographed in late-March 1945. By the time its service with the USAAF was done, the aircraft had been updated in the field, following techinal orders for installing the K-14 gunsight and the tail warning radar, onto the earlier airframe which hadn't been built at the factory with those items yet in mind. The aircraft, in its restored state, retains those final updates, just as they were.
Looking around the cockpits of the two versions of the aircraft, you can see how the same basic core remained, though a number of features changed. For instance, not only was the N-9 sight removed, and the K-14 sight added, but due to the location of the K-14 gunsight control box, the landing light indicators also had to move, as did the compass correction card. The re-positioning of these items are actually illustrated and instructed through the technical order documents for the in-field installation of the K-14. With the change in gunsight, also came a change in throttle lever. With the installation of the AN/APS-13 tail warning radar set, the previous G-Band, radio audio, and radio detonation switch panel was replaced with the panel designed for use with the radar set, featuring the controls for activiating and using the tail warning radar, and the radio detonation and G-Band controls were deleted as a result. The indicator for the tail warning radar was mounted to the top left-side of the instrument panel shroud (standard position), and the warning bell was mounted to the radio fuse and circuit panel on the lower right-hand side of the cockpit.
Note that there is a circular cover plate on the lower right-hand side of the instument panel. The reason for this, is that the panel was initially designed for use with the manual primer pump, as seen in the P-51D-5-NA, but by the time of the P-51D-15-NA, the manual pump was deleted and an electrical primer was added, with a toggle switch added to the center electrical panel. Despite this, the panel was changed right away to support this, so the panel continued to be manufactured with the main hole and mounting holes manufactured into it, and as each P-51D-15-NA or early model P-51D-20-NA rolled of the assembly line, a cover plate was screwed into place covering this. Mid-way through P-51D-20-NA production, around the same time there was a large amount of changes introduced (including the rocket control system, K-14, etc.), the panel was re-designed and the oxygen flow gauge was re-positioned near to where the manual primer pump was once fitted.
Here's a direct comparison between the wartime depiction, in its early configuration, and the restored depiction, in its late-war and current configuration.
If you don't have any success with an effect, let me know.
here. They are great but there are some issues - the trigger is the carb heat switch, and they must be removed if you want to use the aircraft with FS Recorder. Here are my settings in the [Lights] section (mine's the Me262 version but the numbers are the same whichever you use):-
Types: 1=beacon, 2=strobe, 3=navigation, 4=cockpit
light.0 = 4, 1.00, 0.00, 1.80, fx_ws_vclight
light.1= 1, 3.7, 7.5, -1.75, Me262Cannon
light.2= 1, 3.8, -8.1, -1.7, Me262Cannon
light.3= 1, 3.7, -7.3, -1.75, Me262Cannon
light.4= 1, 3.9, 6.7, -1.8, Me262Cannon
light.5= 1, 3.9, -6.5, -1.8, Me262Cannon
light.6= 1, 3.8, 8.3, -1.7, Me262Cannon
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
Thank you, Dave! I didn't know that anyone had already tied such effects to any of the Warbirdsim Mustangs - I was going to try and be helpful by providing all of the location-points for the effects, but there you have them! Thank you!
Simply stunning work!
Question.... Why were/are the rudders never polished as per the rest of the aircraft and tail?
I think the rudder almost spoils the overall image, but there is no doubt a technical reason for this?
Dougal, thank you very much for your post and question! The rudders were fabric covered, so they were always painted with dull-silver dope. Early on in P-51D production the elevators were also covered in fabric too. The wings were also never bare-metal from the factory, but also painted in dull-silver dope/paint. The reason for that, is that North American wanted to increase the efficiency of the wing as much as possible, by making the wings as smooth as possible. So the wings were filled with putty (that varied in thickness over various defined regions of the wing), sanded smooth, and then painted dull-silver to match the bare metal finish that was the standard in USAAF aircraft production at the time (interestingly, when the switch came from producing aircraft with OD paint schemes, to producing them in bare-finish, Curtiss elected to paint their P-40's silver, instead of leaving them in natural metal). The ailerons, flaps, gear doors, and wing fuel tank panels did not receive this wing treatment, and were left in natural aluminum. Because of the filled and sanded wings, there was next to no trace of rivets remaining on the wings, and even the majority of the panel lines completely disappeared. Keeping this finish on the wings intact, was so important to North American Aviation, that they actually had specific and detailed instructions as to what could be done to repair the finish, in the field, should it start to chip/come off. All of this combines into what is the authentic look that the aircract had during WWII.
After discussing and showing some screenshots of the cockpit on the wartime "Twilight Tear" with some guys that know more than I do, both privately and on a forum dedicated to P-51 research, I was able to get the cockpit confirmed as being accurate to the early model P-51D-20-NA, with only a couple of minor exceptions which have now been addressed. One of these items is related to the landing gear lever. I was once under the impression that most were painted interior green and red, as most all of the authentic restorations have them finished this way, and one of the original gear lever engineering drawings has this exact paint finish specified, plus I have also seen the IG and Red gear levers in preserved un-touched examples such as at the Netherlands Military Aviation Museum and at the Crawford Aviation Museum (but these are both very early models). However, checking over all of the WWII-era and immediate post-WWII era cockpit photos I have of P-51D-20-NA variants, every last one of them clearly shows the landing gear lever painted all-black. The wonderfully preserved P-51D-30-NA at the NASM (which has remained internally un-restored and un-modified since production, with only 200 flight hrs on it), also has an all-black gear lever. As a result, and from the discussions I had, it was decided to change the gear lever on the WWII variant of 'Tear to being all-black, which seems 99.9% certain that that is how it was on the aircraft (and also how it is portrayed on the restored aircraft today). Another item brought up was the positioning of the signal light in the cockpit, but this was confirmed to be accurate as is for the production model depicted. The only other item brought up, was whether or not the Schick Johnson manufactured seat should be painted dark dull green, or left as interior green. Evidence shows that both finishes were used on these seats during WWII, and efter experimenting with a DDG finish on the seat, I decided to revert back to the IG finish for a better balance (and to also not prevent the idea that the IG seat in the restored 'Tear is not authentic - the seat could be painted either way, and be correct).
I was doing some more high-altitude flying again recently. At 36" MP (throttle has to be almost to the stop at this point) and 2400 RPM, at 35,000 FT, with high blower running, I was indicating an average of about 285-kts ground speed, or nearly 330 mph - so not bad!
(Note above, the correct for the P-51D-20-NA canopy roller for the aerial antenna - there were a few different designs of these rollers used during P-51D production)
These photos are some of the most amazing insights into the look of a WWII era P-51D cockpit (all of the variants shown in these photos are P-51D-20-NA's). These photos were taken in the immediate post-war years, after the aircraft had been bought by the Swiss AF. There are only a few differences within the cockpits from that of how they were within USAAF hands, and that just includes some of the placards and the guards that were fabricated and installed by the manual drop tank levers. Although the signal light and floor-mounted receivers have been removed in these aircraft, you can still make out where they once were (including the fact that a two of those pictured, also still retain the mounting bracket for the signal light). The cockpit on the wartime "Twilight Tear" falls sort of in-between those seen in these photos, for historical-related reasons, but is closest to the one in the first two photos (though the examples in all of the photos have had K-14 gunsights and related throttles and controls installed). Note the black gear levers in all of these D-20's.
As a result of the beta testing, I got some good feedback about the metal finish. It was felt that I had it too shiny or too reflective, so I went back and revised the alpha channels and spec maps to try and come to a more correct look that those testing the aircraft would feel is closer to how the aircraft looks in the period photographs.
Lovely comparison photos John! It's just fantasitc that we can literally put ourselves in a functioning cockpit of a war-time mustang, and fly it!
To think, these young chaps getting the throne of this wild pony, with comparably little hours in respect to today's standards. Must have been some experience.
Thank-you for preserving the feeling John!
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