april asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 4 months ago

Why did WWII pilots fly with the cockpit open?


BTW One of my family was RAF and did not come home. Some of you got this so wrong! Just look at photos and film and one often sees them flying with an open cockpit.

15 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    - cooler when open

    - easier egress in a crash

    - suck the smell out gasoline and oil out

    - cleaner breathing when open.

    - better visibility when open

  • david
    Lv 4
    1 month ago

    Too hot otherwise. Windows close at 10000ft and above. 

  • Anonymous
    4 months ago

    You Mean, the Canopy. The Cockpit, properly is the cabin where where pilot sat, including firewall, instruments, seat, etc. It does not "slide".

    Canopy is Not open while  actually on patrol, dogfighting, You Only see it open in Movies--notice how the background looks "funny"? It is a Matte Image, the actor isn't "flying" at all.

    William: only a very few planes in WWII had a sliding canopy and yet Could get above 26K feet or so and required  pressurization The  the Supermarine Spitfire was one of those few. The hi altitude bombers that could (B-29, etc.)  had no sliding canopy, some had a sliding window.

  • Anonymous
    4 months ago


    at the speeds they flew during WWII the canopy would be ether blown back and forth or completely ripped off.

    There is no genuine War office  Air ministry or RAF film of any aircraft being flown with the canopy left open.

    Till the pilot need to bale out.

    Reason is the simple fact apart from an open canopy being in danger of being ripped off the aircraft it would also obscured the pilots sight preventing him from seeing in his rear view mirror.

    I believe you get you misguided ideas from war films which are pure Hollywood and pinewood bunk ham.

    And I also disbelieve your RAF relation claim as it sounds so false.

    Plus it comes across as something you have just made up to cover your self.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • fuzzy
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    Mostly they didn't. would you like sitting for hours in a 250+ mph/hr wind?

  • F
    Lv 6
    4 months ago

    I can imagine they did while taxiing but at 300-400 mph ? I would have thought the turbulence would make it unstable and it would create drag , reducing top speed. I can’t think any pilot would want to sacrifice any speed in a dog fight. 

  • 4 months ago

    its like asking in indians to serve people in service in australia.Our indian are  good folk not rubbish

  • Anonymous
    4 months ago

    An open canopy made egress faster in the case of a crash landing or ditching. This was especially true for carrier aircraft that had no ejection seats. 

    An open canopy kept the aircraft cool on the ground. 

    Open canopies sometimes allowed for better visibility either in good weather for enemies or in poor weather if ice and rain obscured the windscreen. 

    An open canopy could also give more headroom. WWII fighters were very tiny. 

  • Joseph
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    They only kept the canopy open while taking off and landing so that they could get out of the plane faster in case of a crash.  They kept it closed while airborne.   

  • Geo
    Lv 6
    4 months ago

    They didn't. It's called a Canopy and they kept them open while taxiing on the runway and closed them before takeoff. In WW1 I don't know if any plane had a Canopy, that's an Open Cockpit. A Cockpit is where you sit, with the Controls and Gauges.

  • 4 months ago

    Because most of the time they were flying below the altitude that required them to be closed.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.