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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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#51 Maj. McRoy

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 06:24 PM

As for the T-6 Seat, we had a similar aircraft in Canada called the North American T-6 'Harvard'. I've flown several and each of them had metal seats and as I recall no bungee cords but very close in appearance to your P-51 seat, so not 100% sure on why the US ones were plywood.  Awesome desk chair though, wish I had it.



#52 P-59A

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 06:34 PM

As for the T-6 Seat, we had a similar aircraft in Canada called the North American T-6 'Harvard'. I've flown several and each of them had metal seats and as I recall no bungee cords but very close in appearance to your P-51 seat, so not 100% sure on why the US ones were plywood.  Awesome desk chair though, wish I had it.

During WW2 aluminum was a priority metal used for war production on front line aircraft. Trainers made during the war used plywood seats to conserve metal. In as far as the construction of this seat, it is what was used in the P-51D as seen in the break apart diagram. The only difference is mine has the inertia reel and not the spring shoulder harness retractor.

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#53 P-59A

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 06:43 PM

Agree, it is what it is. I am curious though wasn't the pilot's seat armoured in the P-51? And it seems to me there's an awful lot of stuff in the belly of the P-51 preventing a piece of flak from penetrating into the pilot's seat...  As I said earlier, it's a cool seat and a great story. But as in law enforcement, if you haven't proof it isn't fact. I would never purchase an item with this lack of proof and provenance unless the price was based only on it being a P-51 seat. You've done your homework and I'm no expert on P-51 seats, outside of having sat in them. I'll give you that it is likely a seat for a P-51, but active war service, salvage, or what, no one can say without documentation. If say you had the original in theatre damage and repair documents saying it was removed or repaired from S/N so and so. I'd accept the story, if you don't it is and will always remain a subject of debate. The reality is no one knows exactly where the seat originally came from, and what actually caused the damage. Without evidence as in the academy training  you have no case. It is merely supposition and hearsay. In any case you're not trying to sell it to me so my input is done. And I maintain regardless, it is a cool Item and a great story. I'd stick to it. I've heard far more fanciful tales in many, many years in aviation, usually those begin with "No S#@t, There I was..."     

The armor plate on all P-51's is behind the seat. The spring posts at the top have a bracket that connects it to the armor plate.

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#54 P-59A

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 06:51 PM

One other detail on this seat is the split seat post mount. I have no idea what caused this. My guess is a hard landing split it in two.

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#55 P-59A

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 07:03 PM

Agree, it is what it is. I am curious though wasn't the pilot's seat armoured in the P-51? And it seems to me there's an awful lot of stuff in the belly of the P-51 preventing a piece of flak from penetrating into the pilot's seat...  As I said earlier, it's a cool seat and a great story. But as in law enforcement, if you haven't proof it isn't fact. I would never purchase an item with this lack of proof and provenance unless the price was based only on it being a P-51 seat. You've done your homework and I'm no expert on P-51 seats, outside of having sat in them. I'll give you that it is likely a seat for a P-51, but active war service, salvage, or what, no one can say without documentation. If say you had the original in theatre damage and repair documents saying it was removed or repaired from S/N so and so. I'd accept the story, if you don't it is and will always remain a subject of debate. The reality is no one knows exactly where the seat originally came from, and what actually caused the damage. Without evidence as in the academy training  you have no case. It is merely supposition and hearsay. In any case you're not trying to sell it to me so my input is done. And I maintain regardless, it is a cool Item and a great story. I'd stick to it. I've heard far more fanciful tales in many, many years in aviation, usually those begin with "No S#@t, There I was..."     

As they explained it to me the thick black line is the rough path of travel of the shrapnel. The area of the wing strike misses all the heavy metal on its way up and in the side of the fuselage. This is thin skinned with no real obstructions in its path. The point of entry is above the flight deck and below mid thigh to the pilots right. Nothing is in that area of the cockpit. IT does not come up through the belly. The wing spar would have stopped it.

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#56 Maj. McRoy

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 07:11 PM

I don't doubt you've got yourself a P-51 seat. Obviously you've done your homework and have the manuals. There were likely production changes which would easily explain the inertia reel.  I'd personally put the seat post split to a 70+ year old item carelessly handled and stored in a barn over the undocumented hard landing theory, as again there is no fact or provenance to support it. For anything to be proven there needs to be a clear chain of evidence and facts, not imagination and supposition.  Just because someone told someone something is arguably not fact. I used to hear a lot of BS from WW2 vets, including one nice old gentleman saying he was a commando at the normandy D-Day landings, when in actual fact he'd been a cook, and never even went overseas. I guess he just wanted his military service to look more exciting than it really was. Most mysteries and myths have mundane explanations. Enjoy the seat and believe what you want. Some you will convince, others not. Such is the way of life.     



#57 P-59A

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 07:15 PM

On the far right and low is the number 11. That is about the point of entry. It then travels up into the area shown in the photo posted. Its all sheet metal with no obstructions in the fuselage.  . 

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#58 P-59A

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 07:18 PM

The wing spar is clear of the point of entry from below and exit to the top.

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#59 P-59A

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 07:21 PM

I don't doubt you've got yourself a P-51 seat. Obviously you've done your homework and have the manuals. There were likely production changes which would easily explain the inertia reel.  I'd personally put the seat post split to a 70+ year old item carelessly handled and stored in a barn over the undocumented hard landing theory, as again there is no fact or provenance to support it. For anything to be proven there needs to be a clear chain of evidence and facts, not imagination and supposition.  Just because someone told someone something is arguably not fact. I used to hear a lot of BS from WW2 vets, including one nice old gentleman saying he was a commando at the normandy D-Day landings, when in actual fact he'd been a cook, and never even went overseas. I guess he just wanted his military service to look more exciting than it really was. Most mysteries and myths have mundane explanations. Enjoy the seat and believe what you want. Some you will convince, others not. Such is the way of life.     

Like I said I have no idea what caused the bracket to split. I can only guess and your guess is as good as mine.



#60 P-59A

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 07:29 PM

Like I said I have no idea what caused the bracket to split. I can only guess and your guess is as good as mine.

Back in the day when I went to bars I would always come across guys who claimed to be Vietnam vets. I would ask what their MOS was and get a disjointed story about deeds done in the field. I got tired of buying beers for guys who may or may not have been combat veterans so I bought a very big book on the Army Order of battle in Vietnam. I would take it into the bars with me and it quickly separated the real deal from the B.S. story tellers. I had every real deal guy autograph his unit section in the book.



#61 P-59A

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 07:40 PM

I originally bought the book to help identify what I was looking at when I went to P-51 crash sites. Almost everything has a prefix number on it used to assemble the aircraft and the book will tell you what part it is and its location in the aircraft.



#62 P-59A

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 05:47 PM

Notice how many times the aluminum at the top of the strike spun in on itself. 

one last thing I neglected to say about the curled metal. Notice the width of the metal curled. The object that deflected up was that wide. Same as the metal that curled. Picture a wood planer being run up a board. The only wood removed is what the blade on the planer males contact with. If you ran a Buller up the seat the curvature of the bullet would only cut the metal. It would not have the surface area to curl a strip of metal. The object that struck the seat had at least one side that was flat and about 1/2 inch wide.


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