Friday, 11 November 2011

Mitsubishi G4M "Betty"

One of the most famous cockpit photos of the Betty from a vintage publication, a very rare one taken at a time when the Army and Navy issued strict orders not to take photos of sensitive aircraft areas.
The lay-out of the instrument pannel indicates that this plane had a registration number of less than 222. The guy sitting on the foreground on the right is the plane commander, the one in front of him is the pilot. The one on the left side with the binoculars is the observer while the one sitting in front of him is the co-pilot.
A number of interesting details are visible in this photo. Notice that none of the crew members wears a parachute (at least I can't see one). The observer and the co-pilot wear a 1942 life vest which had a pocket on the right and lower side including a pencil and a small mirror in case of an emergency landing. Later type of this life vest didn't have that pocket. The vest was filled with cork for flotation.
The commander doesn't wear even the life vest but has a set of radio receivers on his helmet (if he wears one) produced by Toyo Tsushinki. The helmet of the observer is difficult to discern but is probably a winter version of the type produced early in the Pacific war. The lining was usually of rabbit fur. His gloves are probably Type 1940. The binoculars were produced by Tokyo Shibaura Denki but were commonly known as "Matsuda". 
Notice that none of the crew members wears the well known pilot uniforms but white summer clothes. The cords behind the commander's seat fastened the radio receiver; the box with the piece of paper on it's side.
Under the reading lamp in front of the observer, was the navigator's table. 
Finally notice the absolute lack of any form of armour protection giving the impression of a civilian passenger plane. Unless someone considers as protection the shades on the canopy...

No comments: