New Release: Big Radials P40-B Tomahawk

Right, which was perfect for taking it to 15,000 ft. It needed more to get it to 30,000 or higher.

Right - the B-24 had the R2800’s

You earlier implied it didn’t have a supercharger, viz, “…they didn’t include a supercharger (or turbo-supercharger) as in the P-47, P-51 and P-38.”

The B-24 had Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasps. The B-26 and A-26 both had P&W R-2800’s however.

Yes, I could have been more explicit. They didn’t include a supercharger capable of handling the requirements of going above 15,000 ft is what I should have said.

1 Like

I had been aware of the fact that the P40-B wasn’t performing well at altitude due to the simple supercharger. Until now it just hadn’t clicked yet that this also means that it has trouble even getting upto altitude economically.

What would be a reasonable altitude to fly at if range is the main goal? I’ve tried understanding the original handbook linked above but to me it seems like the range is not affected by the altitude - only the MAP and RPM settings to reach that range are different, as well as the resulting speed. The maximum possible altitude also differs according to the setting, but what confuses me is that for the longest ranges given in the last column on page 6, any altitude from sea level to 24000 feet seems to work.

Aside from trying to make heads or tails of this I’ve had an awesome flight today. Two hours of flight time in two hops, mostly at treetop level but at a comfy speed of about 200 mph. I flew in the early morning hours with the sun only just rising and partially hidden behind some scattered clouds. Really beautiful and thoroughly enjoyable.

The P40-B has quickly become one of my absolute favourites, running just slightly behind my Tiger Moth. In hindsight it’s sad I had the Tomahawk sitting in my hangar for so long, but now it gets its air time for sure.

Sorry, what I was really trying to say was the design altitude for the P-40B per specification was between 10,000 and 15,000 ft for combat performance. Also, it was originally designed as an interceptor, so range was not an issue. It was not meant as an escort fighter, but more to protect home base, so climb performance was important, IOW time to height, not fuel used to height.

It may well be that it has longer range at 24,000 ft, I’m not expert on this plane in that regard.

Be that as it may, no plane climbs “economically”, at least not in a reasonable amount of time. I imagine best climb rate will also be most economical performance-wise, as that’ll get you to altitude in the least amount of time, but that’s not necessarily a given.

And, given that, with combined climb and cruise accounted for, a lower altitude than most economical cruise altitude may give better overall distance traveled per tank. Or perhaps climbing to 15,000 ft (for example) and then reducing climb rate significantly to best cruise altitude may be better. I don’t know.

Love this aircraft however I fall out of the sky after 20 minutes even with assists on, any ideas?

1 Like

Gonna need more info than that…

Are you tearing your wings off? How are we supposed to know what your problem is?

Forgot to switch fuel tanks?

Or is the engine still running?

I just lose airspeed and have to emergency land, still have fuel, I’m guessing the engine cut out for some reason.

EDIT: Fuel Switch Pump was off by default taking off warm.

What are the engine instruments telling you when it cuts out? Are you blowing out the engine by running at too high RPM and manifold pressure for too long?

2 Likes

Is there a reason you’re making us guess what was going on?

What do you mean there was still fuel? How much fuel? There is an amount of fuel that is inaccessible to the plane, and, if the proper tank isn’t selected, it won’t get fuel. Did you check that and try to restart the engine?
What do you mean you guess the engine cut out? Is it still running? Does this happen every time? What altitude were you at? Did you try to apply carb heat, maybe the carburetor was iced?

There are soooooo many reasons this could happen, you’ve really got to help us out. Personally, I’m going to guess at @LameLefty’s comment at this point.

Finally completed my Big Radials collection. The P40-B is a real charmer. Fun to takeoff and land. Beautiful to fly. Wonderful job!

Kudos.

1 Like

Agreed! I believe it’s not particularly widely known despite its age. The newer P-40F seems to have more publicity, but I’ll say that I’m very happy with the BR P-40. Between the Corsair and the P-40 I end up flying the P-40 way more often.

It has its idiosynchracies and in some small details it shows its age. But it’s far better than most seem to think it is.

2 Likes

I own all 3 P-40s and the Big Radials is by far my favorite to fly hands down. They got the feel right imo. It feels heavy when taking off and landing and the modeling is superb. I would recommend their P-40 over the others.

3 Likes

How soon? It’s almost three years later and this is what the Tuskegee Tribute aircraft still looks like. :wink:

Just omitting a black pilot isn’t fitting either, I think.

5 Likes