Can anyone ID this plane?

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Can anyone ID this plane?

Postby mattrix10 » Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:08 pm

Few months ago I was browsing through the colossal, available on-line, resources of Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, FL. They have some rare photos there, and I have found this nice airplane interior in USCG service taken in 1943. Can anyone ID this plane?

<Edit:>
http://collections.naval.aviation.museu ... firn=25395

Is it a flying boat in the first place?
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Re: Can anyone ID this plane?

Postby TASSE » Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:22 pm

The inscription on one of the panels says X4Y1 -------. And is followed by what looks like CAT ----.

I dont think that its a Catalina though.

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Re: Can anyone ID this plane?

Postby mattrix10 » Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:39 pm

TASSE wrote:
The inscription on one of the panels says X4Y1 -------. And is followed by what looks like CAT ----.
I dont think that its a Catalina though.


Me neither, it is apparently something bigger, of say, Liberator size. And I think, the stencilling rather goes: "NAVIGATION".
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Re: Can anyone ID this plane?

Postby TASSE » Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:07 pm

Possibly. The USCG did have Liberators and also Fortresses.

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Re: Can anyone ID this plane?

Postby mattrix10 » Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:20 am

The USCG did have Liberators and also Fortresses.


Thank you TASSE. Yes, they operated them for ASW missions. And in this role, I guess, the airplane is shown in this picture. Now I tend to believe that it is a Liberator waist gunner position.
So it looks like, I would went off topic here, then sorry mods.

<edit>
On the other hand, when I take a closer look at the the rib outline (visible just behind this front bulkhead), which is neither oval as in Liberator, nor circular (Fortress), but rather bell-shaped and deep as in flying boat, then I guess it would be Hall Aluminum PH-3.
In the beginning of 1943, Coast Guard Air Station Brooklyn, NY operated two PH-3s in ASW missions, they were V174 and V177, so it might one of these.
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Re: Can anyone ID this plane?

Postby TASSE » Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:10 pm

The Hall did cross my mind but i could'nt find a close enough photo of it .

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Re: Can anyone ID this plane?

Postby mattrix10 » Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:48 pm

Also there is one question that keeps puzzling me, it is the gunner "unusual" position.
Hall PH-3 was armed only with one gun installed in the nose open turret and there were no other locations where any gun could be fired. So it is my hypothesis, that the guy who took this picture, had asked the gunner to move with his gun and simulate this aggressive combat posture in a more convenient and "photogenic" place. This was to be a publicity photo after all.
Note that the scene is poorly lit, but it would not be so, as the real defensive position would let a lot of light from the outside throught its window. Also, no details of how the gun is attached to the airframe, can be seen here.
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Re: Can anyone ID this plane?

Postby seawings » Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:28 am

I would agree; that cannot in anyway be called a 'gunners position' as he has absolutely no field of view nor it would appear and room to manouver around whilst tracking a target, it's too cramped.

No, I think the clue is in the photograhs title ie: a 'publicity' shot - and it is exactly that.

So, that leaves us with the type of f/b..................hmmmm. Hall, definately a possibility, it's certainly a faily big 'boat given that this chap must be well down the middle of the hull.

Can't recall ever seeing any interior shots but I'll have a look in my archive.

Incidentally, the Naval Archives is a ggod place to go for pics but I find that it is terribly slow, takes ages and ages for pages to change, if it dosn't freeze in the meantime.

Do you find that?
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Re: Can anyone ID this plane?

Postby MrWidgeon » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:34 am

I think it's a Hall PH-3.
My reason, it and the PBY were the only large airplanes they had in 1943 that were operated from USCG Brooklyn, they didn't start getting PB4Y-1s until 1944.
I've been in several PBYs and none had that small a hatch near the cockpit and they were all bigger and mounted higher in the bulkhead.
Plus, the PBY had a more curved sidewall than this airplanes does, this airplane seems to have flat sides that are angled inwards at the top - like the PH-3.
The Halls could be armed with up to 4 .30 cal. mgs.
Judging by the angle and amount of light in the compartment it looks like it was being aimed from the left side of the nav. compartment just behind the cockpit.
The flat ribbed panel above the gun is probably the Navs table folded up out of the way.
(Note the word "Navigator" on the storage compartment on the right side of the photo)
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Re: Can anyone ID this plane?

Postby mattrix10 » Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:27 pm

Quite and investigation here! Thanks guys for your input.

seawings wrote:
I would agree; that cannot in anyway be called a 'gunners position' as he has absolutely no field of view nor it would appear and room to manouver around whilst tracking a target, it's too cramped.


I am not an expert in the firearms, but I suspect, that prior to this shot, the gunner had to detach the barrel of his MG in order not to be pushed against the other wall and make his position more realistic. So I guess, he might stand there only with the gun breach aimed at a blind wall (there might even not be a smallest window there). Did the 0.30 Brownings have their barrels replacable when overheated?
Neither am I an expert in the flight gear, but did the gunners (e.g. at waist position in Catalinas) wear this type of thick and heavy weatherproof overalls, or did they only wear them only in the positions exposed to the elements (as in open turrets in rather obsolete at that time Halls)?

seawings wrote:
Naval Archives is a good place to go for pics but I find that it is terribly slow


Yes, I have also similar impression. To go through their entire archive would takes days if not a week. Certainly it helps if you live in the other hemisphere (e.g. Eastern Europe), when the traffic load in America is fairly low.

MrWidgeon wrote:
The Halls could be armed with up to 4 .30 cal. mgs.


I must admit that I have no book on the Hall flying boats, only some assorted digital pictures. A single gun in PH-3 they specify in the aerofiles.com and unfortunately, this is my only source of information on this elegant water bird.
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