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PB4Y-2 Privateer — best long-range patrol aircraft of WW II?

8 September 2014

PB4Y-2 Privateer — best long-range patrol aircraft of WW II?

Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer — Sand Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Convair PB4Y-2 Privateer on patrol (the powered nose and side turrets are plainly in sight) — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

The Convair PB4Y-2 Privateer was a significantly improved Consolidated B-24 Liberator model built for long-range patrol requirements from the U.S. Navy. Notably the dual tail fins disappeared in favor of a tall single vertical fin. Less obvious but no less significant are round (instead of oval engine nacelles) since the super and turbo chargers were eliminated (patrolling was flown below 10,000 feet), the addition of powered side turrets as well as a top turret (for a total of two) and a seven-foot plug fuselage extension between the cockpit and wing.

The Navy had a powerful long-range patrol aircraft possessing long legs, extremely heavy defensive armament as well as state-of-the-art search technology. The single vertical fin improved the flying qualities to a great degree and the powered turrets could slew from one side to the other in about one second. Privateers were as heavily armed as the unsuccessful YB-40 (heavily defensive arms) but enjoyed much more success — likely due to the lower mission ceilings placing less power drain on the engines.

The Davis high lift wing, long-range, presence of lengthy airstrips after 1943, heavy defensive fire capability and a complete search suite all made the Privateer what many argue the best patrol aircraft of World War II — and also ushered the end of the flying boat age.

Next Wednesday a review of what is probably the authoritative book on the Privateer is scheduled for publishing.

Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer — Sand Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Convair PB4Y-2 Privateer cockpit — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer — Sand Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Convair PB4Y-2 Privateer awaiting a patrol mission (note the engine nacelles are round which is one of the differences regarding the Liberator with the elliptical engine nacelles) — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer — Sand Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Convair PB4Y-2 Privateers during WW II (observe the open bomb bay doors which was the practice when on the ground) — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer — Sand Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Convair PB4Y-2 Privateer hulk after a fire — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer — Sand Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Convair PB4Y-2 Privateer in flight — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

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