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From: Shilling)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: The Marauder with props from hell
Date: 30 Mar 1999 20:23:47 GMT Wrote:
Art Kramer wrote:

>> We had nothing but heartache from those Curtiss electric.
>>The Curtiss  electric were the propellers from hell!

Art, Lack of proper procedure concerning the operation of the
electric prop was the real culprit. Not the Propeller itself. I'll
explain later.

>Since we have Erik, Art, Harold, and others all commenting about
>the Curtiss Electric' props good or bad reliability and

Regardless of Harold's vast "experience" and hinted "credentials,"
I think we can eliminate his input, since his posts proves he
doesn't know a damn thing about electric props.

> here's what it has to say in an article on the B-26 that
>appeared in Air International back in January 1988.
>Speaking of initial problems with the early deliveries, it says:
>"Early difficulties included a series of nosewheel failures that
>were the result of heavy landings because the a/c were being
>operated minus much of the GFE (government-furnished equipment)
>and were difficult to trim. Numerous accidents were also
>attributed to the Curtiss Electric propellers, which had a
>tendency to go into fine pitch and cause engine overspeeding
>during takeoff, especially if the batteries were not fully
I was based at langley Field when deliveries of the B-26s first
started. Everyone on the Base was interested in the new Martin B-
26, and watched as each arrived.
One thing was quite evident as we watched. All of the pilots made
three point landings, and occasionally some even made nose wheel
first landings.

Prior to the arrival of tricycle geared aircraft on the scene, all
tail dragger pilots (called conventional geared aircraft at the
time) made three point landings. this ridiculous technic was
initinally carried over to the tricycle geared aircraft.

The nose wheel was not designed for such heavy landings, and did
occasionally folded after repeatedly using such an unorthodox way
of landing a tricycle geared airplane.

After pilots started making full stall landings, and easing the
nose wheel down at about 60 mph this eliminated the problem.
I'll speak on the Curtiss Electric Propeller later, but the answer
is also quite simple.

>Instructors on early B-26s at Patterson Field, Ohio, eventually
>worked out a sequence to demonstrate, for the edification of their
>students, that an engine could be safely cut on take-off, and that
>the a/c could be rolled and stalled with impunity."
This was the result of learning the importance of "V" speeds, which
had not been used before this.

Prior to this pilots, pulled the nose of the B-26 off at about 50
to 60 mph, and kept the airplane tail low until the airplane flew
itself off. These speeds were much below VMC and unfortunately much
below single engine climb speed.

This was a dangerous practice for two reason. The nose was lifted
before the airplane had single engine control speed, and when an
engine quit its rudder alone could not maintain directional
control. The airplane went off the runway, shearing the nose wheel
and sometimes the main gear. With the nose wheel still on the
runway, it alone was able to control direction and continue the
takeoff roll until V-2 had been reach, at which time the aircraft
was pulled off.

The lesson learned was that the nose wheel stayed on the ground
until VMC was reached, and the aircraft was not pulled off until
single engine climb speed was established.
It is important to know that the B-26 WOULD CLIMB on one engine if
single engine climb speed had been attained. IT WOULD NOT CLIMB

>[Note, these were almost certainly early B-26s, rather than later
>B-26s or B-26As.  The latter were considerably heavier, having had
>combat survivability features added (Self-sealing tanks, 555 lb.
>of armor plate).  The empty weight increased from 19,250 to
>21,375lb.  I'm also not sure if the prop problem disappeared on
>later a/c with the 24 volt electrical system (B-26A-1 on)].
What's missing in the report is that the B-26's wing span was
increased by 6 feet. Although it reduced stalled speed, its VMC
remained the same, but its cruise speed was increased. This was a
result of lower wingloading. (VMC is a result of rudder authority
and engine power, not stall speed.)

I'll address the prop problem in my next post. In closing,

You can't BLAME the airplane if it is not flown PROPERLY.



From: Shilling)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: B-26, In defence of.
Date: 5 Apr 1999 19:03:00 GMT


Come on fellows, stop and think. There has never been a twin engine
airplane that was ever built that could maintain direction control
on single engine, if the airspeed was below VMC. Therefore why do
you think the B-26 should be an exception?

I must correct a misconception held by many, including Corky's
recent post about the Martin B-26. The B-26 WAS NOT the dangerous
tricky airplane to fly. Nor did it flip over on its back in the
event of engine failure, if its airspeed was above VMC. At no time
even on take off, when flying a twin, there is absolutely no valid
reason to allow the airspeed to drop below VMC. As a matter of
fact, there was no reason for the airspeed to go below V-2 when
airborne at any time. Also when taking off in any twin, the
airplane SHOULD never be forced into the air below V-2.

I am not quoting from books I have read, that have been written by
inexperienced pilots who were fearful of the B-26, and tell horror
stories about the airplane. Some of these horror stories were
initiated or exaggerated by pilots on an ego trip, in an attempt to
impress their listeners of their macho image. The intimating being,
that only a highly skilled pilot could fly such a tricky difficult

I have thousands of hours in aircraft powered by the R-2800, which
was one of the most dependable engine built during the war. Also I
personally preferred the "The Curtiss Electric Prop" over the
Hydramatic, so what I am saying is a result of "hands on flying
experience" with this so called dangerous propeller. Although I
never flew a Martin B-26 in combat, I did fly them before going to
China. I found it to be a very nice airplane to fly, and easy to

Corky, It was impossible for the Curtiss Electric Prop to go into
flat pitch. Mechanical stops prevented this from happening, and due
to these mechanical stops, it can't go beyond minimum flight pitch.
This is a fail safe design built into every constant speed
propeller. Unlike a failed engine, the prop in minimum pitch is
capable of producing thrust without exceeding maximum RPM limits,
and with reduced MP it helped to climb. This can be proven on any
airplane with a constant speed propeller. By pulling power, the
wind-milling rpm, will in every case, be below its max RPM limits.

It is a proven and well known fact, that all twin engine military
or civilian aircraft, be it a B-26, B-25, C-46, or C-47 or Beach
Baron, CAN NOT maintain directional control below its VMC speed,
yet there were all to many who have attempted to do just that, and
as a result were killed.

Conversely, ALL twin engine aircraft CAN be controlled, and fly
without falling out of the sky, if they have attained VMC. But they
can not climb until they have attained V-2. Also ALL twin engine
aircraft can climb, if they are below their single engine ceiling.
In other words all twin engine aircraft when taking off from a S/L
airport, can climb if they have attained V-2 before trying to

Therefore the B-26 as with all twins, the pilot DOES NOT lift the
Nose wheel off the runway until VMC is attained, and you do not
rotate in an attempt to climb until V-2 is attained. Therefore when
flown properly the B-26 did not fit the cliche of, "one a day in
Tampa Bay," as some like to claim.

When the B-26s were first being delivered to the Army Air Corps,
the students were face with some instructors who barely knew how to
fly twin engine aircraft themselves, much less teach students how
to fly it. This was by no means the fault of the airplane, but DUE
to the inexperience of the instructors, and their faulted lay in
the fact that they weren't given proper engine out take off
procedure for twin engine aircraft.

Every airplane that was ferry across the South Atlantic flew out of
Miami and Morrison Air Base. Therefore if Aromatic fuels was a
problem, why was the B-26 the only airplane effected?


Erik Shilling

From: (ArtKramr)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: B-26, In defence of.
Date: 5 Apr 1999 20:46:54 GMT

>Subject: B-26, In defence of.
>From: Shilling)

>It is a proven and well known fact, that all twin engine military
>or civilian aircraft, be it a B-26, B-25, C-46, or C-47 or Beach
>Baron, CAN NOT maintain directional control below its VMC speed,
>yet there were all to many who have attempted to do just that, and
>as a result were killed.


As a bombardier I certainly wouldn't argue with you. a pilot over flying.  But
I would just like to add to the picture the  fact that in both Pontoise and
Florennes we took off from rather short steel matting runways, often slippery
and rarely absolutely level. And  the fully loaded B-26 was jerked into the air
as soon as it could be. And no B-26 ever to lose and engine on takeoff ever
survived the experience at either of these two bases..I say that with horrible
memories and reliving the feeling of dread that we had at the time. But I am
sure you  know whereof you speak. (s)

Arthur Kramer
344th Bomb Group 9th Air Force
England France Belgium Holland Germany

From: Shilling)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: B-26, In defence of.
Date: 5 Apr 1999 22:31:22 GMT

In <>
(ArtKramr) writes:
>>Therefore the B-26 as with all twins, the pilot DOES NOT lift the
>>Nose wheel off the runway until VMC is attained, and you do not
>>rotate in an attempt to climb until
>I guess we never attained V-2. But then again we never had much runway left
>when we lifted off. I guess war is hell (sigh)

Art you are undoubtely correct. But the runways at tampa bay were long

But the Prop Problem still could be overcome by throttling back on the
overspeeding engine and it would still give thrust, better than a
feathered engine.

Erik Shilling

From: Shilling)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: B-26, In defence of.
Date: 8 Apr 1999 19:01:41 GMT

Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: The Marauder with the nosewheel from hell (ArtKramr) wrote:

>We can't really  discuss the B-26 and its problems without talking
>about that nosewheel. It was just too dangerous with  a chance of
>nosewheel collapse.
In which I am in complete agreement.

>And it had to do with the way the B-26 was flown. On
>final, the B-26 was aimed down at the runway. When the  column
>was pulled back, the nose came up but the plane still continued
>toward the ground just mushing down. To achieve  flare, almost
>full power had to be applied to the R-2800's to pull the B-26 out
>of its descent.
Art, I also agree with your first sentence."The way it was flown."
This WAS the result of faulted technic. Again going back to war
time flight training, power off approaches were the norm. This was
Okay in light single engine training planes, but should not have
been carried over when flying heavy twins. Unfortunately, almost
all landing were made without power. This resulted in a very steep
approach, And any heavy airplane, making such an approach at
minimum speed would mush, hitting like a ton of bricks. A proper
approach angle is not more than a 3 degrees. To do this, power has
to be used throughout the approach to maintain a proper and safe
glide slope. If flown properly the flair would not have been a

The maximum approach angle can not be more than 3 degrees, and
without power can be more than double this. Any approach steeper
than 3 degrees will naturally run into trouble.

>At that time, this was a very counter intuitive move, and  it
>took a very skilled pilot to execute this move and keep the
>nosehweel from hitting first, in which case there was a good
>chance that it would collapse.
Again I agree, but would not have been necessary if flown properly.

Art I'm not faulting you, or questioning your experiences, since I
know that what you write is correct. But many times faulted
procedure were the result of an egotistical commander who wanted
things done his way, which was not always the best way.

Erik Shilling

From: Shilling)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: B-26, In defence of.
Date: 8 Apr 1999 19:05:56 GMT

In <> Bob Caissie <> writes:
>  Maybe uniquely dangerous below VMC might fit better.
Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 07:23:08 -0400
df <> Wrote:

>Art, they're saying that every plane took off under like
>conditions, and that every plane was equally likely to flip over
>on its back.
Dan this is crazy, who the hell are "THEY?" Not every plane took
of under the conditions Art describes, and they were not likely to
flip on its back, unless their speed was less than VMC. What Art is
saying, and apparently you miss the point, is that not ALL
planes fliped over on their backs, because it is not true. But
Art's illustrations apply to the worst case senarios.

And I say again, NO B-26 ever flipped over on its back if it had
attained VMC, unless the pilot had his finger where it didn't
belong. EVERY pilot who has flown twins will agree.

>You flew in it, and you think the B-26 was uniquely
>dangerous in this respect, and the written record bears you out.
All twin's were dangerous in this respect. Quote your source where
it applies to B-26's only.

>The planes did flip in training early on, on a regular basis, and
>there is no reason to think that the 26 aircrews were any less
>able than those who were sent to B-25 units, for example.
The P-38s were were even more dangerous in the event of an engine
failure below VMC (Velocity of Minimum Control), becasue of their
higher HP/weight ratio. But all twin's did, there were no

>The problem was so bad that an investigating committee headed by
>the vice-president recommended that the B-26 be discontinued.
The vice-president wasn't a pilot. What good would his
recomendation have been, unless made under the advice of a
knowledgeable pilot?

>That couldn't happen, and better training and perhaps the longer
>wing and perhaps other evolving changes in the 26 seem to have
>eliminated the problem.
Better training, YES. But longer wings NO.
You don't know what you are saying. Longer wings only decreased
stall speed, IT DID not decrease the speed for VMC. The only think
that would decrease VMC would be less powerful engines or an
increase in Rudder area to make it more effective.

>Possibly the 26 by 1944/45 was no more dangerous than the 25, and
>its bad reputation was only the result of the one a day in Tampa
>Bay experience of 1942.
Grossly exagerated.

>But if Art Kramer says it was uniquely dangerous, and Corky Scott
>says it was uniquely dangerous, then I would bear that in mind
>and spend my $250 (whatever) for a joy ride in a B-25 instead.
Although a pilot, I don't Corky has flown the B-26, and I have. One
thing among others that Art says that makes sense is that some of
the co-pilots made their first flight in a B-26 coinsided with
their first mission. This was an invitation for disaster in
anyone's book.

I REPEAT this is not the fault of the B-26, but technic.

Erik Shilling

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