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How to Fly the P-47: Pilot Familiarization (1943) Online

How to Fly the P-47: Pilot Familiarization (1943) Online
Original Title :
How to Fly the P-47: Pilot Familiarization
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Movie / Documentary / Short
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How to Fly the P-47: Pilot Familiarization (1943) Online

An Air Force P-47 Thunderbolt pilot takes a group of new pilots through a course of familiarization with the workings of the P-47. The structure and placement of the engine, supercharger, and pilot compartment are explained, and then basic flight characteristics are explored.

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Friendly, functional, training film produced by Republic Aviation to familiarize new graduates with the P-47 Thunderbolt, a massive juggernaut among World War II fighters. It was huge. RAF pilots used to joke that the pilot of a P-47 could dodge enemy bullets by running around inside the fuselage.

In fact, it was an advanced fighter, very fast, heavily armed and armored, unexcelled in a power dive, and lacking only in range. After North American's P-51 Merlinized Mustang was introduced as fighter escort for Allied bombers, the P-47 was mostly relegated to ground attack, which was dangerous and unglamorous work. Somewhere in the ether there floats around a two-hour documentary by Ken Aanenson, "Fighter Pilot," which documents his career. It's not readily available but it ranks among the best war-time documentaries I've ever seen.

This film has a different purpose, of course, and for that reason is often a little dull unless you're intent on learning the rudiments of flying a rare example of a seventy-year-old airplane, if any are left in flying condition.

Part I familiarizes you with the general structure of the airplane, the instructor being a friendly Texas type, like all military flight instructors. I learned the fundamentals of supercharger structure, kind of interesting. It's all shot inside a classroom with half a dozen novice pilots listening to the lecture.

Part II deals with ground handling and take off. By this time I idolized the instructor's transparent reassurances. The student is sitting in the cockpit of a P-47 and the instructor is telling him about the instruments. What? The radio looks complicated to you? Well, I wouldn't worry about it. You'll learn more about it later. That's my kind of teacher You say you're going down in flames, your canopy is jammed, your parachute has puffed open and blinded you, and you're rubber life raft is inflating? Well, don't worry about that right now. I'd have followed him into the jaws of hell.

Part III is more interesting as we see the P-47 in flight and doing some moves, first simple, then a little more edgy. I used to enjoy aerobatics when I was a kid but then there was an unfortunate adventitious meeting between my light airplane and the Atlantic Ocean and I don't think I'd enjoy doing the same stunts anymore.

Basically, a historical curiosity that deeply committed buffs may find interesting.