He Still Headed The Wrong Way

A German Wrong Way Corrigan?


I just finished watching a YouTube video on a comparison between the Focke-Wulf FW-190 and the P-51 Mustang.

Learned a lot of things.  I knew that the Mustang really came into its own when a Rolls Royce test pilot, Ronald Harker,  decided to substitute the Allison V12 for a Merlin. Didn’t realize that (A) the Merlin was still more powerful at 20,000 feet  than the Allison was at sea-level, and (B) fuel consumption was significantly improved. It was a win-win, and turned the Mustang from a good fighter to an icon. Actually it was a “win-win-win” as it gave the Mustang the high altitude performance that it lacked.

I felt that the narrator knew his stuff, including the fact that the Bf 109*, designed for grass strips with a narrow landing gear, killed a lot of fledgling pilots. Combine a narrow gear with a monster supercharged V12 that wants to flip you over because of P-Factor  and without a lot of rudder, you are in serious trouble.

The Vought F4-U Corsair, with a 2,000 HP engine and a prop that was over 13 feet (necessitating the “gull wings”), had that same reputation.

He was saying that the performance of the 190 was really hitting the British, and as luck would have it, a German Oberleutnant , Armin Faber, thought he was back in France but landed in South Wales in the UK.

Talk about special delivery.

I was astounded.

Surely all those Spitfires and Hurricanes with the roundels was a clue?

Oh, and “Wrong Way” Corrigan? Well, he became part of aviation lore when he filed a flight plan from New York to Long Beach, CA in 1938 but ended up in Ireland. Was it the Guinness? Surely seeing all that water had to have been a clue? Was his compass working? Sun? (Most assert he did this as a gag, but he never admitted to it).

Oh, the one thing the narrator said that I challenge was his assertion that Faber’s 190 was the only time the allies got their hands on an FW-190 to evaluate.

But I know for a fact that another aviation legend, Bob Hoover, escaped from a German prison camp by commandeering a FW-190 and flying it back to allied lines. Must have been fun trying to convince the Anti Aircraft gunners and Mustang pilots that “yes, my plane has a swastika but I’m a good guy”.

To me, those WW2 aviators were amazing. Imagine getting advanced instruction in a T6 or SNJ, then probably a little classroom instruction before being strapped into a single-seat F4U (that wants to flip you over on takeoff and kill you) or Mustang.

I thought it was a pretty informative video.



** Either Me 109 or Bf 109 is an acceptable nomenclature. Bf designates its birthplace, the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Bavarian Airplane Works), while the Me stands for its designer, Willy Messerschmidt. It remains, at 34,000, one of the most prolific planes ever produced, military or civilian.

1 Comment

Filed under Airplanes, History, Humor

One response to “He Still Headed The Wrong Way

  1. Mr pedantic

    They substituted the Merlin for the Allison.

    You need to research the meaning of prolific.

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