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From: (CDB100620)
Subject: Re: Pilots' Favorite Fighter
Date: 22 Apr 1998

>From conversations with men who serviced and flew aircraft in WWII, it seems
>they believe that more crews were lost to mechanical failure than to enemy
>action ... this was particularly true of the men who served in the Southeast
>Asia , India (with the flights over the Himalaya Mts.), and the Pacific ...

U.S. aircraft losses in the Pacific Theater totaled some 27,000 planes.  Of
these, 8,700 were lost due to combat-related causes  (60 percent of these to
AAA).  The rest were victims of pilot-error accidents, fuel exhaustion,
mechanical failure, weather, getting lost....

As far as a favorite fighter, you flew whatever they told you to fly, and you
generally learned to like whatever you flew.  Transitioning from one fighter to
another, usually you hated the new airplane at first, and longed for the old
plane, which you understood so well and could fly so unconsciously.  But then
you got used to the new fighter and liked it just as well, if not better than
the old one.

The P-38 was generally considered the queen of fighters in the Pacific.  But it
was a complex  aircraft and required a great deal of time to learn to fly well.
 Once mastered, however, it was a wonder, plus providing what was perceived to
be twin-engined reliability.
Fighter pilots in the southwest Pacific area (and probably elsewhere) tended to
describe fighters as types of women.  The P-39 was a sexy slut, lazy and
bad-tempered. The P-40 was a bold and brassy, a tom boy.  The P-47 was heavy
and dull, a big farm girl.  The P-51 was honest and hardworking, a good wife.
The P-38 was lean and coltish, a rich debutante who, once you broke down her
defenses, proved to be a tiger who would leave claw marks down you

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