Paper drop tanks?
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  1. #1

    Paper drop tanks?

    I ran across this, while looking for related information on drop tanks. I'm sure you WW2 afficianados already knew this, but I find it fascinating! NC

    https://warbirdsnews.com/warbird-art...anks-wwii.html

  2. #2
    I wish Mythbuster's would have tackled the Ice Cream story. It sounds like it would have been possible.

  3. #3
    Senior Administrator PRB's Avatar
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    I've been reading books about WW-II since I could read, and I've run across references to these paper tanks countless times, but only "in passing". Things like "...they sighted the enemy, dropped their paper tanks and...". So I knew about paper drop tanks, but I don't remember reading much about the tanks themselves. Interesting article. The ice cream story does have a bit of a "sea story" about it...
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    Senior Administrator huub vink's Avatar
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    The P 51 was one of the aircraft which flew with the 108 Gallons paper drop tanks.



    and they even exist in FSX as the Warbirdsim model has them!



    Cheers,
    Huub

  5. #5
    During the years I worked on the Mustangs for Warbirdsim, I read quite a lot on these tanks. One of the stories I remember reading came out of England, where these "paper" tanks were produced, and it supposedly gave the main reason why so few exist today. It mentioned that, immediately after the war, there were a great many of these tanks just sitting around with no use in England, and some children found that they could easily be converted into rudimentary boats/canoes by cutting them in half. The story went that, as the tanks were exposed to water for a prolonged period, they would eventually begin to de-laminate, and supposedly there were a few drownings as a result. The article mentioned that this led to an effort to scrap/get rid of all of the remaining tanks. Original, surviving examples today are extremely rare. In operational use, I believe it was said that the tanks couldn't hold fuel for more than seven hours before they would dissolve.

    Bob Baker, who used to own two P-51D's ("Sweet and Lovely" and "Little Rebel"), was able to acquire one original 108 gallon paper tank back in the early 2000's. Jack Roush's company was then able to make several exact replicas of that tank, by making a mold of the one original. The replicas were made of carbon fiber and are fully serviceable and reusable fuel tanks. At Oshkosh in 2004, Bob Baker debuted his P-51D "Sweet and Lovely" with the tanks - one original and one a replica - and it was next to impossible to identify which was the original and which wasn't. Examples of the reproduction 108-gal paper tanks made by Roush have been fitted to the restored P-51D "Happy Jack's Go Buggy", P-51B "Old Crow", and P-51D "Swamp Fox". The owner of the P-51D "Happy Jack's Go Buggy", Bruce Winter, has routinely used the reproduction tanks for non-stop cross-country flights from his home in Texas, up to Illinois and out to Florida and California.

  6. #6
    Senior Administrator huub vink's Avatar
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    I must confess, I only knew about them as John told me all about them .

    The Imperial War Museum still has one: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30000176

    Cheers,
    Huub

  7. #7
    I remember reading about them back in the 1970's and initially not understanding how they were made. It's a pretty ingenious thing which saved weight and freed aluminum for use in structural components.
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