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Flack damaged P-51D Mustang pilots seat WW2

Started by P-59A , Jul 15 2017 12:32 PM

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#1 P-59A

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:32 PM

I had posted this seat with my pilots set up. This is what the seat looks like.P-51DSEAT 004.JPG



#2 P-59A

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:33 PM

side view

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#3 P-59A

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:33 PM

other side

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#4 P-59A

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:34 PM

back

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#5 P-59A

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:36 PM

The flak hit the inertia reel plate and deflected straight up.

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#6 P-59A

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:46 PM

I took this to the Sheriffs Academy and had two ballistics guys look at it. They confirmed it was a flak or shrapnel strike and that it came from below and to the front. The flak entered under the wing between the landing gear and fuselage at a rough 45 degree angle going up and back. The flak exited the top of the wing and entered the fuselage below the pilots right side and proceeded to travel above the seat pan, in front of the seat back and below the seat strut. The photo is a rough idea of point of strike on the inertia reel plae. After striking the inertia reel plate the flak deflected straight up the seat back causing the damage seen.

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Edited by P-59A, 15 July 2017 - 12:47 PM.


#7 P-59A

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:58 PM

On a side note if you save the photo and zoom in the the seat details you will notice the seat pan and back are welded to there frames, not riveted. It is my understanding that Warren McArthur made these seats for the P-51D. They also made the same type seat for the T-6. I have another seat like this and it has production differences different from this seat. It's back and pan are riveted to there frames, not welded and the seat mounts to the post have production differences. I think the welded seat is P-51 and the riveted seat is T-6. Anyone know for sure?


Edited by P-59A, 15 July 2017 - 01:00 PM.


#8 P-59A

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:59 PM

With the mannequin in place its clear the pilot was not injured. His straps, lap belt and back pad may have been damaged, but thats all.

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#9 gwb123

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 07:45 PM

With the mannequin in place its clear the pilot was not injured. His straps, lap belt and back pad may have been damaged, but thats all.

 

Not injured, but I am sure he was high on the pucker factor by the time he got home.



#10 P-59A

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 09:14 PM

 

Not injured, but I am sure he was high on the pucker factor by the time he got home.

No doubt about that!



#11 38Driver

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 12:47 PM

Amazing! Thanks for sharing this with us

#12 dustin

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 02:06 PM

I have a some questions from observation. First, cool seat and awesome for display for sure.  The seat must had been in a brand new plane becuase the seat is new with absolutely no wear to the paint. Almost no buffing marks that are typical on flat paint schemes. Flat paint when used will develop a smooth sheen, a glassy look. This seat pretty much has zero of that. It still has its rough flat texture. The parachute and harness coupled with maintenance crews and pilots crawling in and out would leave their mark on that seat. Now look at all the surface area, especially the surfaces that would take most of the wear, no chipped paint, no bare aluminum, no nothing, except around the damaged area. Look at the diagonal support arms, those would surely be bare, worn well considering their position but yet are almost like in new condition still. the top of the seat is another good example, when stepping into and getting out of the cockpit where does your left or right hand go? right to the top of the seat to support yourself while climbing, that top tube would be quite worn from that. If wearing your harness whether a seat type of back type and possibly with parachute raft, this is all squeezed in rubbing and scrapping all the exposed surfaces. The harness and parachute container have exposed metal parts, yet there are no discernable scraps in the paint and again no wear marks of any use.

Exactly how does one confirm "flak" damage from any other abuse that might occur in the last 70 years? there is a 100 different ways that type of damage could occur to that seat. In my opinion this goes along like many other things, buy the seat not the story. I'm looking at this seat just how people look at M1 helmets, like in our forum here. Again cool seat, just presenting an argument on an unsubstantiated claim of it being flak damaged, I think I've presented some valid questions.



#13 P-59A

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 04:07 PM

I have a some questions from observation. First, cool seat and awesome for display for sure.  The seat must had been in a brand new plane becuase the seat is new with absolutely no wear to the paint. Almost no buffing marks that are typical on flat paint schemes. Flat paint when used will develop a smooth sheen, a glassy look. This seat pretty much has zero of that. It still has its rough flat texture. The parachute and harness coupled with maintenance crews and pilots crawling in and out would leave their mark on that seat. Now look at all the surface area, especially the surfaces that would take most of the wear, no chipped paint, no bare aluminum, no nothing, except around the damaged area. Look at the diagonal support arms, those would surely be bare, worn well considering their position but yet are almost like in new condition still. the top of the seat is another good example, when stepping into and getting out of the cockpit where does your left or right hand go? right to the top of the seat to support yourself while climbing, that top tube would be quite worn from that. If wearing your harness whether a seat type of back type and possibly with parachute raft, this is all squeezed in rubbing and scrapping all the exposed surfaces. The harness and parachute container have exposed metal parts, yet there are no discernable scraps in the paint and again no wear marks of any use.

Exactly how does one confirm "flak" damage from any other abuse that might occur in the last 70 years? there is a 100 different ways that type of damage could occur to that seat. In my opinion this goes along like many other things, buy the seat not the story. I'm looking at this seat just how people look at M1 helmets, like in our forum here. Again cool seat, just presenting an argument on an unsubstantiated claim of it being flak damaged, I think I've presented some valid questions.

Hey Dustin, Great questions. For me it all adds up. What I didn't state before is that I have been to over 140 military crash sites in Calif. The majority are WW2 era, but also 1950'S to 80's era crash sites. The aluminum used during WW2 isn't the kind of alloy aluminum seen in later years. What is the same is the way it reacts to stress. The only way aircraft aluminum will curl like that is a high impact or a high energy strike. You can not bend it into this shape. If I were to attempt to bend it back it would just break apart.If you were to strike it with an axe you would not be able to generate the force needed to create this kind of damage. I see this type stress fracture at crash sites all the time. To confirm what I was seeing I took it to experts at the Sheriffs Training Center who were able look at the angle of trajectory to point of impact and deflection. Then compare what they were looking at with diagrams of a P-51 I brought with me. They were also able to rule out bullet strike do to the way the seat aluminum curled and the way the seat back split. If you look hard you will see the seat back was hit with a large (bigger than a bullet) flat chunk of metal. If you want to confirm for yourself copy the pics and be ready to pay some money for an expert opinion. As for the seat it self. It sat in a barn in up state New York for several decades. Exposure to the weather over time had rotted the shoulder harness and seat belt beyond salvage. The paint had long been gone and the exposed aluminum was oxidizing to a white powder. I had the seat taken apart and we found under the seat bracket mounts original paint in good condition. I had a computer paint match made. I then had the seat and all of the parts medium blasted with a talcum powder like abrasive to remove the oxidation. I then had painters at an auto body yard repaint everything. I thought about this long and hard before I did it. I talked to a number of people about how to best preserve this. The things I did were the best way of preserving this seat for decades to come. The shoulder harness you see on it is the same type that was on it. It took me a long time to find a factory in box  unissued 1944 dated shoulder harness. The lap belt had been issued, but was in good condition. The inertia reel and plate are original to the seat and were never repainted. In part because the flak strike bent the plate and in part the paint over all was in good condition. In short the restoration had the same goal in mind in comparison with the rationalization used by a guy restoring a WW2 jeep or a WW2 fighter.. To all of those who read this post Dustin did his due diligence and asked the right questions. When I first got this seat I had a ton of questions. To my way of thinking the only dumb question is the one never asked.


Edited by P-59A, 16 July 2017 - 04:18 PM.


#14 P-59A

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 04:54 PM

Dustin, In regards to the things you thought you might see on an original untouched seat...not always the case. Look at the other seats I have posted. The PB4Y-1 or 2 seat was Navy repainted after the war and looks nothing like you would think after all those years. For a brief moment I thought about restoring it to its original condition, but that guy that worked on fire fighting Privateers was able to set me straight on that seat. It is historically correct for post war Navy use. He sent a number of period photo's of that type seat in that paint. I waited years for a seat like that to come up for sale. It looks like if I want a seat like that out of a B-24 or B-29 with green paint I may have to wait a few more years. I'm ok with that. The T-6 wood seat looks new, the metal aged but the seat saw little to no use. Everything is relative to it's use, its surroundings and how it was stored. Some items need preservation and others do not.



#15 dustin

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 05:03 PM

That explains a lot, it has been repainted! In short I was saying the paint looked fresh and new but thought I would elaborate than just screaming... Fake! That was another thing gnawing at me was the flaking paint on the inertia reel box, but again you explained that. With what you had detailed it's a meal you can swallow now.
I understand it took force to create the damage, it was without question it is damaged. But I think you get my point of the appearance of a brand new item with "battle" damage makes one cringe.
Thanks for the clarification!

#16 P-59A

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 05:16 PM

That explains a lot, it has been repainted! In short I was saying the paint looked fresh and new but thought I would elaborate than just screaming... Fake! That was another thing gnawing at me was the flaking paint on the inertia reel box, but again you explained that. With what you had detailed it's a meal you can swallow now.
I understand it took force to create the damage, it was without question it is damaged. But I think you get my point of the appearance of a brand new item with "battle" damage makes one cringe.
Thanks for the clarification!

Trust me when I say I AGONIZED about how best to address the issues with this seat. I spent allot of time and money on this. I feel this was the best way to go and I stand by my decision on how this was done. Like I said before I talked to allot of people about this and what to do. I had been a volunteer at an air museum and helped out on restorations on military aircraft. They would have done the same thing. If you look at the seat pan you will see allot of pitting. In time that would have eaten all the way through. The total repaint had to be done to stop that. On another thought the wood the seat was mounted on is the left over paint from the seat. That should have been a clue too.


Edited by P-59A, 16 July 2017 - 05:29 PM.


#17 Teamski

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 06:31 AM

 Exactly how does one confirm "flak" damage from any other abuse that might occur in the last 70 years? there is a 100 different ways that type of damage could occur to that seat. In my opinion this goes along like many other things, buy the seat not the story. I'm looking at this seat just how people look at M1 helmets, like in our forum here. Again cool seat, just presenting an argument on an unsubstantiated claim of it being flak damaged, I think I've presented some valid questions.

 

 

This.  Unless it is documented, there can be no assumption that this was flak.  Damage like that would have most likely killed the pilot and the seat would have been nothing but twisted steel from the impact of the aircraft hitting the ground.  I look at the damage as a case of the seat being demilled.

 

-Ski



#18 63 RECON

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 08:12 AM

 

 

This.  Unless it is documented, there can be no assumption that this was flak.  Damage like that would have most likely killed the pilot and the seat would have been nothing but twisted steel from the impact of the aircraft hitting the ground.  I look at the damage as a case of the seat being demilled.

 

-Ski

 

 

Isn't it more than an assumption?

 

He said he had ballistic guys look at it whom determined it to be a shrapnel strike. Also hes saying it hit the inertia plate and deflected up not into to the pilot.

 

Plus as mentioned the pilot would of had his back pad in place as per post #8. So he may not have taken a hit from the shrapnel as the back pad may have offered a small amount of protection.

 

Also where is it mentioned that he (the pilot) crashed the aircraft?



#19 P-59A

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 12:10 PM

 

 

This.  Unless it is documented, there can be no assumption that this was flak.  Damage like that would have most likely killed the pilot and the seat would have been nothing but twisted steel from the impact of the aircraft hitting the ground.  I look at the damage as a case of the seat being demilled.

 

-Ski

That is why I had ballistic's experts from the Sheriffs Department look at the seat. They are called experts because they have formal training in this. They are recognized by the State of California as experts and they give sworn testimony in courts as to their expert opinion on related matters. Upon examination of the seat they ruled out bullet strike and any other possible cause for the damage. It was a flak hit. If you have formal training in ballistics please state your case. If you do not have formal training in ballistics how is your statement anything more than uninformed opinion? Feel free to copy the photo's and pony up some money and have another expert examine it. Let me know if the findings are any different.


Edited by P-59A, 27 July 2017 - 12:24 PM.


#20 fstop61

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 12:55 PM

Awesome seat!



#21 pararaftanr2

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 01:23 PM

There is another factor to figure in that no one has considered. After looking at 1000s of vintage images over the years, I think it is safe to say that the majority of P-51D pilots in the ETO used the B-8 back parachute with this type of seat. This configuration, with its multiple layers of folded parachute canopy material, would have provided the pilot some additional ballistic protection from a low-velocity flak fragment that came through the seat back. This may have played a role in saving a life and this seat being found in a barn decades after the war, rather than becoming "nothing but twisted steel from the impact of the aircraft hitting the ground".

Regards, Paul

 

 

 

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#22 P-59A

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 01:53 PM

Paul, You are well within the realm of possibility. I do not have a B-8 parachute. I used what I have for the display. Good point!



#23 P-59A

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 11:05 PM

That explains a lot, it has been repainted! In short I was saying the paint looked fresh and new but thought I would elaborate than just screaming... Fake! That was another thing gnawing at me was the flaking paint on the inertia reel box, but again you explained that. With what you had detailed it's a meal you can swallow now.
I understand it took force to create the damage, it was without question it is damaged. But I think you get my point of the appearance of a brand new item with "battle" damage makes one cringe.
Thanks for the clarification!

This is how it looked when I got it. The paint was all but gone and the weather did a number on the exposed aluminum.P-51D seat 015.jpg



#24 P-59A

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 11:07 PM

The back of it. The shoulder harness strap was rotted out.P-51D seat 018.jpg



#25 Cobrahistorian

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 09:03 AM

Great seat and great discussion!  I do have one question though. It's somewhat hard to tell from the photos, but it looks like the damage peels aft towards the back of the aircraft.  If it were a hit from behind, I would expect it to peel forward with the shrapnel's direction of travel.  Is this just an optical illusion from the 2d photos?  It may well be a ballistic hit, but without the seat aluminum peeling forward, toward the pilot, it calls the story into question.

 

Again, this is a beautiful seat and I thank you sir for sharing it!

Jon




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