Pilots found P-47’s cockpit shockingly roomy

While the size of the average man stayed about the same, the size of the average fighter plane, and its cockpit, increased during World War II. This image shows the spacious working space in the Flying Heritage Collection’s P-47 Thunderbolt.

It’s not surprising that the interior of America’s biggest single engine fighter of the war would have the largest cockpit too. It was so commodious, in fact, that it caused pilots of all nations to take notice. Pilots who transitioned from flying Spitfires in RAF Eagle Squadrons were shocked by the size of the plane. Compared to flying in the cozy cockpit of the Supermarine’s bantam defensive fighter, the inside of the Jug seemed disturbingly roomy.

British observers wryly observed that one might slip off the seat, fall to the cockpit floor, and really hurt themselves. When a P-47 was captured, the Germans were equally puzzled by the Thunderbolt’s interior. Luftwaffe General Adolf Galland wrote that the cockpit was big enough to walk around in. Other German pilots, used to the comfy if-not-cramped cockpit of the Bf 109, felt that everything was out of reach. Another speculated that a pilot might be able to dodge bullets simply by loosening his shoulder straps and leaning to one side or the other as he flew.

More in Life

Did you know? Bats edition

Worthwhile Everett library reading and viewing about bats of the animal, sport and hero varieties.

The pros’ snow: Lake Tahoe a big draw for skiers of all stripes

North Lake Tahoe is home to one of the largest concentrations of ski resorts in North America.

How birds stay alive in winter and what you can do to help

When the weather turns chilly, columnist Sharon Wootton’s thoughts turn to birds coping with cold.

Sweden’s Glass Country sparkles like a hand-blown bauble

You can blame my Norwegian heritage, but I’m not so hot on… Continue reading

Don’t get scammed: Think before you click on email links

An email that was supposedly from iTunes is a scam that targeted busy parents.

Teen idol David Cassidy remains in Florida hospital

The former pop star is dealing with multiple organ failure.

Don’t forbid friendship with back-talking neighbor kid

Q: Our 8-year-old has suddenly developed a very sassy mouth. She picked… Continue reading

How to maintain your life’s balance amid change

Columnist Paul Schoenfeld shares some techniques for working toward a sense of stability.

Most Read