by Tommy H. Thomason

Thursday, April 18, 2013

AJ-2 Savage Cockpit

When I was working with Anigrand to provide the data for their excellent resin 1/72 AJ-2 Savage kit, I didn't have much on the cockpit. This is my crude sketch from memory and notes from when I was in the cockpit of the Lycoming AJ-2 at Stratford.

It turns out that it actually looks more like this:

Since then, I've had the opportunity to photograph the cockpit of the same AJ-2 now at the National Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensacola. It was a former civil fire bomber used by Lycoming to test a jet engine suspended from the bomb bay so the AN/ASB-1 equipment had been removed, but otherwise I would guess that it was stock although the seat headrests have been removed. My drawing was pretty close except I had three indented steps leading up to the flight deck instead of two...

Note that the cockpit changed notably between the AJ-1 and the AJ-2. The pilot's control stick was replaced by a control wheel and the engine controls being moved from the left console to the center console. The crew chief was moved up from the lower compartment to the flight deck and the big circuit breaker panel was moved from the pilot's left back to the crew chief station. This is a picture of a North American flight test AJ-1 that is also missing the AN/ASB-1 and probably some other stuff. However, it shows the control stick and the throttle quadrant on the left console:

On to the tour of the NMNA AJ-2.

Most of the cabin door could be jettisoned for bailout with a small section remaining on the hinges as a wind break.
The ladder to the cabin folded so it could be stowed in the airplane.
The view from the cabin door directly into the area under the flight deck.

The view from the cabin door up to the flight deck. Note that there is a passageway under the flight deck on the left side of airplane for maintenance access.
The steps up to the flight deck also functioned as a slide down to the cabin door. (The pilot and bombardier seat backs could be collapsed aft for less impeded access to the slide.)
The pilot's instrument panel and center console:

For a description of the bombardier's position, see

The left console (yes, that is an ash tray painted red on the left):
The crew chief's panel. On the other side of that bulkhead is a fuel tank with a V-shape bottom in cross section:
The view aft, down, and to the left from the flight deck (the door to the bomb bay is open). Note that the flight deck angles to the left side of the airplane at the crew chief's station:
The door to the bomb bay when closed:


  1. Hi Tommy, the back of this photo says it's an AJ-2, but in fact it may be an AJ-1 ? How can we know if it's AJ-1 or AJ-2 ? Thanks

    1. This AJ (the last one in existence), is located at the National Naval Air Museum and is outside on the flight line. Currently in bad shape. It is an AJ-2--BET on it !!

  2. Good question. Close examination shows that it is a short canopy AJ: no rearward-facing seat behind the pilot and the number of canopy frames aft of the pilot's escape hatch. However, the first 17 AJ-2Ps (BuNos 128043-54 and 129185-89) also had the short canopy; the remainder had the long canopy. Unfortunately, I don't see anything else in the picture that I can use to narrow it down beyond that.

  3. Thanks for consulting on the Anigrand kit. I wish they had offered more cockpit and wheel well detail. But, but.... it puts the Mach 2 kit to bed.


  4. I was a crew member AJ-2 from 1958 to 1959 in VAH 15 when it was a inflight refueller I have north American service news supplement hydraulic in-flight emergency procedures if anyone is interested.

  5. Might have been my blog, as I was a 3rd Crewman, in VAH-15 during that period.