Monday 4 September 2023

IJAAF Bomber Cockpit(s)

"Patrick" and Kevin Bade noticed that my identification of the cockpit views in the latest video, here, was a bit fishy. Let's see...

Patrick noticed that the control columns, a.k.a. yokes, were "linked by a horizontal bar". 
Based on the position of the windows too close to the cockpit, I identified this cockpit as belonging to a Mitsubishi Ki-67 "Hiryu" (Peggy). Let's try to see if this is correct; all photos from "Japanese Aircraft Interiors" by Robert Mikesh. 

It's not a Mitsubishi G4M "Betty"

Definitely not a Kawasaki Ki-48 "Lily"

How about a Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally"
The control columns in the "Sally" were not connected with a horizontal bar. Such a bar would be in the way when the co-pilot moved to the nose to take his position as bombardier.

A "Peggy" perhaps?
Unlikely, since the yokes look quite different from the ones in the video and there is no tunnel on the starboard side. 

How about....a Tachikawa Ki-74 "Patsy"??!! That would be so cool!
Unfortunately, no. There is the tunnel on the starboard side but the co-pilot didn't sit next to the main pilot of the bomber; he sat behind him.

So. Could it be a Nakajima Ki-49 "Donryu" (Hellen)?
Mikesh has no photos or illustrations of a "Hellen" cockpit and no known Japanese publication features one either. But issue #9 of our magazine, Apr-June 2009, which was a short special on the "Hellen", included a rough illustration of the bomber cockpit based on a Koku Fan drawing.
You can see the control columns connected by a bar and you can also see how close to the cockpit the nose windows are depicted. 
I believe Patrick and Kevin are correct and the video in the beginning is featuring a "Hellen" cockpit indeed. There are no known photos of this bomber's cockpit, so, this makes it even more rare!
Good eye guys!

How about the rear of the cockpit?
As Kevin correctly noticed "looks like Helen fuselage by squarish framing, observation bubble offset to port. Both Ki-21 &Ki-67 are circular in shape."
I would add the dorsal gunner's position seen further in the back of the fuselage that confirms that it's neither a "Peggy" nor a "Sally".

But then the video, shows a different cockpit.
Kevin identified this as belonging to the "Peggy" and comparing it with the Mikesh photo above, I agree with him.

Thank you guys for the most satisfying challenge.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the f/u. Do you think there is enough information to make quality illustrations of the Helen cockpit/interior given the rarity of photographic information?

Kevin Bade said...

I have to mention how much MORE interesting that video clip would have been if the gentleman with the rare motion picture camera had at least moved the device for some panorama of his still subjects. ;)