A-26 Invader Ditching Procedure

A-26 ditching procedure, from: Pilot’s Handbook for Army Models A-26B and A-26C Airplanes, AN 01-40AJ-1, August 1945, revised January 1946.



P-61 Escape Hatches

Location of escape hatches on the P-61 Black Widow night fighter from the Pilot Training Manual for the Black Widow, P-61, Office of Assistant Chief of Air Staff Training, Headquarters AAF.

Escape Hatches on the P-61 Black Widow Night FighterEscape Hatches

There are three escape hatches in the P-61. The top of the pilot’s compartment opens to the left when the latch above his right shoulder is released. Normally, he opens this hatch to climb over the back of his seat every time he enters and leaves the plane.

The right side of the gunner’s compartment may be unlatched and pushed out completely. This hatch should never be used except in an emergency. Neither should the RO’s escape hatch. In the early A models, the plexiglas panel over the RO’s head opens in the middle and folds outward to left and right. In later A’s and in the B model, only the port half of this panel opens. It opens out and down.

The chapter on Emergency Operations, Pages 96-105, tells you and your crew when and how to use the escape hatches. It also tells you when to resort to the entrance hatches in bailing out, and how to leave the plane through them when that becomes necessary.


B-25 Mitchell Emergency Exits

Emergency Exits and Movement of Flight Personnel for the B-25 Mitchell.

Source: B-25 Mitchell Pilot’s Manual.

PV Ventura One-Wheel Landing

A safe one-wheel landing by a PV Ventura on a Pacific Island during WW2 from Naval Aviation News, March 15, 1945.


A PV piloted by a Lieutenant Commander made a successful one-wheel landing on a Pacific island airstrip without injuring the crew or dislodging a 100-lb. bomb no one knew was stuck in the bomb bay. The pilot’s report follows:

While over an enemy target the plane received one hit in the left engine nacelle which severed the hydraulic line and broke the engine mount near the fire wall. The hydraulic system lost all pressure. On return to the field the hand pump would not extend the landing gear.

PV Ventura Bomber in U.S. Navy WW2


Using the emergency extension system only extended the left main mount; the right wheel could not be released from the mechanical uplocks as the cable broke. The tail wheel extended but would not lock. I dropped both external gas tanks and released the escape hatch. My approach was higher than normal and at 110 knots indicated. Keeping the left wing low, I slipped the plane to hold it straight and lose my additional altitude without picking up excessive speed.

As the plane touched the ground on the left wheel, the radioman cut the master electrical switch, I put both engines in idle cut-off and cut the ignition switches. All other electrical gear was cut off in the final approach. The landing was full stalled without flap. Aileron and rudder control was excellent and no trouble was experienced holding up the right wing.

At 58 knots IAS, aileron control was lost, causing the right wing to drop onto the runway. The plane swerved and turned about 150° over an embankment and stopped. The tail wheel being unlocked prevented damage to the empennage. Over-all damage to the plane was surprisingly small and the left main gear was not damaged. Neither engine suffered sudden stoppage and no personnel received any injury, having taken ditching stations before the forced landing was made.

PV Ventura U.S. Navy Patrol Bomber



Emergency Vest

From Bombardiers’ Information File, U.S. War Department, March 1945:

Vest Type Emergency Kit

Vest Type Emergency Kit

The following items of equipment are carried in the packets of the vest:
  1 hat (yellow on one side, OD on the other)
  1 pair polaroid sun goggles
  1 signal mirror, with lanyard
  1 sharpening stone
  1 fishing-sewing kit, in plastic container
  1 collapsible spit and gaff
  1 plastic water canteen (3-pint capacity)
  1 Boy Scout knife
  1 large knife (with 5-inch saw and blade)
  1 package toilet tissue
10 yds bandage (with sulfa powder)
  1 waterproof match-box with compass
20 matches
14 fire starting tabs
  1 burning glass
  1 signal whistle
  1 oil container
  1 waterproof cover for .45 cal. pistol
20 .45 cal. shot cartridges
  1 First Aid Kit
  1 Survival manual
  2 vest-kit rations in tin containers
  2 five-minute signal flares
  1 mosquito headnet
  1 collapsible container for boiling water
  1 pair woolen insert gloves
  1 pair leather outer gloves
Vest, Emergency Sustenance, Type C-1 was developed for the use of each crew member of an airplane forced down in isolated regions. It consists of an adjustable vest-like garment, fitted with pockets into which the items of the kit are conveniently stowed. The vest is to be worn under the life preserver vest and parachute.

PROTECT YOURSELF: Before taking off on a flight over inaccessible or mountainous country, the Arctic, jungle, desert, or ocean, check your vest and be sure it contains all the necessary equipment. If it does not, check with your Personal Equipment Officer.