“Cactus,” Carney Field, Guadalcanal
Lt. Graham (Class 133-C) of VJ-9, exec to Lt.Cmdr. Edwards (“The Bastard”) was down here in the hut yesterday afternoon. His squadron, equipped with PV-1s, is running the Zebra Search, in conjunction with the New Zealanders and their PBOs. They’re waiting for VB-138 to relieve them so they can return to their VJ duties at Button. They also filled the gap at Funafuti recently.
Graham likes the PVs very much. The PV-1, with which he is equipped, is very maneuverable, easy to take off and land, and very fast. Top speed, 270 knots. Cruising 175 knots. The PV-3 is the British version, and despite the “3” is the oldest PV model. The PV-2, the newest model, has six fixed guns firing forward plus the two fifties in the top turret (Martin Electric). The maximum range of the plane is 1,800 miles. Takeoff can be made in one engine, providing a speed of 120 knots has been reached. The plane is so maneuverable, that an F4U has difficulty staying on its tail. The Hudson type escape hatch is provided over the pilot. Graham, in a storm, accidentally got one up to a speed of 460 kts! The PV-1 however has only 2 fifties firing forward. I’d like to find a Betty with a PV-2. That’s the plane for me. I’m definitely through with these B-24s. Despite the added safety of four engines, they aren’t maneuverable enough and they give me claustrophobia. It’s just about impossible for either pilot to get out of them, in a jam.