The what?  We are all used to calling it the "cockpit" or "flight deck," but the North American B-25J Flight Manual refers to it as "Pilots' Compartment" when designating the different areas in the fuselage arrangement.  All the diagrams in the manual are labeled that way, as well.  But if you read carefully, you'll find cockpit used in the text of the manual, so now that we have tipped our 50-mission crushed hat to official nomenclature, allow us to give you a tour of 'Briefing Time's' cockpit.


COCKPIT   Here are a couple overall pictures to get us oriented.  We are going to treat the Instrument Panels separately, so we'll just touch on them here.  Atop the glare shield in the center is a Radio (or RADAR) Altimeter.  Beneath the main instrument panel on the pilot's side is the Pilot's Switch Panel.  On the other side is the modern radio stack, tucked away so as not to disturb the authentic look of the panel.  Radio Equipment controls are mounted on the side walls.  In the center, mounted on the deck, is the Pilot's Control Pedestal.  Mounted horizontally at the front of the pedestal where it meets the panel is the Control Pedestal Switch Panel.  Aft of the pedestal, on the deck, is the hydraulic Flap, Landing Gear, and Cowl Flap Control unit.  The Aileron Trim knob, and the edge of the Rudder Trim knob can be seen, along with the tip of the red Auxiliary Hydraulic Pump lever and one of the yellow M-2 Machine Gun Charging Handles.
, PRIMARY FLIGHT CONTROLS Here are the control yokes with which the pilots control the pitch and roll of the aircraft.   Pushing and pulling the yoke, which is hinged where its pedestal meets the deck, alters pitch by means of cables attached to the elevators on the tail. Turning the yoke's wheel causes the plane to roll by means of cables attached to the ailerons on the wings.   Beneath the instrument panel are the rudder pedals.  These have a fore and aft sliding motion which controls yaw by cable connection to the twin rudders.  They also hinge at the heel area and pushing forward on the tops of the pedals activates the brakes on the main landing gear wheels.

 Click here to see a diagram from the MAAM-SIM B-25J Mitchell 'Briefing Time' flight simulator manual.  The flight-sim pedestal was produced from digital photos of and works exactly like the real one, so we'll use the diagram explain the various controls located on the pedestal.  The tinted rectangles show the "mouse click/drag areas" on the flight-sim controls.   Note: You can download a free copy of the MAAM-SIM 'Briefing Time' User's Manual in either html or PDF format from our Free Stuff Page.  The authenticity of the simulation means that much of the graphic-heavy manual will serve to explain the actual aircraft's operation.

This unit, mounted on the floor just aft of the control quadrant, houses the control levers to operate the hydraulic wing flaps, landing gear, and cowl flaps.  As with the Control Pedestal, we'll use the MAAM-SIM B-25 diagram to show the various controls on this unit.  Here is an enlarged depiction of the unit with the levers digitally removed so you can read the operating instruction label.

ARMORED PILOTS' SEATS  'Briefing Time' has real armor plate seats, rather than the more common (and more comfortable!) post-war tubular framed ones.  Here you see the hinged backs clipped to the rear to allow easier access to the cockpit.

Mounted on the overhead window frame on copilot's side is the gun camera aligned with the fixed nose guns.  On the glare shield is the Astro-Compass Mk II, used by the copilot who was also the navigator on the B-25.  This was a device that when pointed at a known star or the Sun will indicate true North.

'Briefing Time's' cockpit features all of the wartime radio controls, installed as they were originally.   She is no stripped-out, skin-deep glamour girl.  A WW II pilot would feel right at home here.

This diagram from the Pilot Training Manual for the B-25 identifies this equipment and other units, all of which are installed in 'Briefing Time's' Pilots' and Top Turret Gunner's Compartments.   Note: Would you like a virtual copy of this manual, along with several other genuine B-25 manuals, documents, videos, training film and more - all for just $10?  Check out our B-25J Mitchell 'Briefing Time' Multi-Media CD.

COPILOTS SIDE-WALL  The unit in the center is the Radio Compass Control.  On the right can be seen the edge of the fold-up navigator's table.

EMERGENCY ESCAPE HATCH  The pilot's escape hatch, for ground use only, has been removed in this shot and is sitting on the pilot's seat.  This hatch can be opened from inside by the crew, or from the outside by rescue personnel.  It's also handy for those 100+ degree cockpit photo-shoots!  In the lower photo we see the hatch secured in place.  The red release handle is at the aft end of the hatch.

FLOOR-MOUNTED CONTROLS   The black, knurled knobs control the trim tabs on the ailerons (forward knob) and twin rudders.  Immediately aft of these are auxiliary brake control levers.  The red lever operates the auxiliary hydraulic pump.

GUN CHARGING HANDLES  The yellow T-handles are connected via cables and pulleys to the charging mechanism of the M-2 machine guns. 

PILOT'S GUN SIGHTS AND FIRING CONTROLS  Speaking of those fixed, forward-firing guns; this unit is the combination gun and bomb sight used for sighting the guns and for minimum altitude bombing, when the Norden would be useless.  A reflector on the bombsight can be adjusted from gun sighting position, which gives a line-of-sight parallel to the flight path of the airplane, to a bombing position, which gives a line-of-sight below the flight path.  The gun sight rheostat on the left side of the panel turns on the gun sight lamp and regulates the light intensity of the reticle image on the reflector.  This very rare instrument was built in the MAAM shop.  An auxiliary ring-and-bead sight is mounted to its right.  Speaking of bombsights, the Pilot's Direction Indicator mentioned in the Norden Bombsight section is just below the ring sight in the top photo.  The pilot steered to keep the needle centered while on the bomb run.  Seen in the lower photo, clamped to the left side of the pilot's yoke is the gun trigger button, and below it a bomb/torpedo release button for use in low level attacks. 


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