A-35B Vengeance Instrument Panel
AeroAntique is pleased to share this instrument panel owned by one of our good friends. We welcome inquiries and are happy to put you in contact with the owner of this artifact. Please email us with the name of the artifact at firstname.lastname@example.org .
A note from the owner of this panel:
"The Vengeance was one of the most effective dive-bombers ever built – right up there with the Stuka. Initially, the wings had zero incidence to the line of flight, a key feature of its design which meant it could dive straight down. It was, to my mind, killed-off by conceited, egotistical Allied generals who had for years recited their group mantra that dive bombers could never be as accurate as level bombers and thus were useless. When the earliest production Vengeances looked like proving them wrong they claimed that zero-incidence wings would never be acceptable to air force units and ordered that this feature be “corrected”, which Vultee had to do if they were ever to sell the aircraft to the customer. After that modification, the Vengeance couldn’t dive straight down, thus allowing the generals to say “We told you so: it can’t dive straight down so it’s no use”.
It was left to the Indian Air Force to prove that the Vengeance was still a b***** good dive bomber --- but their demonstrated evidence was ignored by the generals, partly no doubt because Indians were “colonials” and partly because their operations were in distant places with strange names such as Assam and Myitkina, not against Hitler’s Fortress Europe or in MacArthur’s South West Pacific Area.
This panel came from 41-31439 which was Lease-Lent to the RAAF as A27-522, where it was allocated to Station Headquarters Laverton, a research-oriented air base on the outskirts of Melbourne. In 1963 I found the right half of the panel in a dump area of the former B-24 base at Tocumwal, but not until 2019 did I consider rebuilding it. The plan was to weld-in a replacement left half-panel made from standard 2024-T3 alloy, and a few coats of paint would cover the join and the proverbial multitude of other sins in the corroded panel. But Steve at Aviation Welding Services (Archerfield) didn’t want to risk welding the two halves together when he discovered that the original was made of high-grade magnesium alloy, and thus likely to explode in flames or morph into a heap of hot ash. That was a complete surprise as no-one I know had heard of a large operational aircraft having a magnesium instrument panel, so the right half has been left unpainted to show this major difference from typical panels. Note also the brass-coloured anodising on the magnesium panel. (And yes, I know the left half is still a work in progress)."