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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / WWII Fighter Pilots and Wringing the Sponge

Contributing Member


Mar 21st, 2012 07:13 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I love watching the WWII documentaries on the History and Military channels. Got a question, though. On long missions what did fighter pilots do about accomodating Mother Nature? Did the pilots wear "special" underwear like NASA astronauts do now? Seems like it would really detract from a fighter pilot's concentration on the job at hand if all he could think about was having to pee. I've never seen this question addressed in the series on TV. Anyone?

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Celluloid Heroes Never Really Die
Mar 21st, 2012 07:29 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Good question. I am reading a book called Fighter Pilot about a guy who fought in WW2 and Vietnam and I don't think he mentions this.

He did mention in Vietnam they had an operation called Roger Dodger or something ordered by Macnamara who knew nothing about nothing putting their lives in danger. They built a coffin, held a mock funeral for Roger. And each pilot took turns peeing on the coffin.

Not the answer you were looking for LOL.

(This message was last edited by Corvairfan at 07:29 AM, Mar 21st, 2012)

Contributing Member

Connecticut USA

Nothing to do but feed all the kangaroos
Mar 21st, 2012 08:00 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It varied by aircraft. Some had means for accommodating pilots, while others didn’t.

For example, the P-51 had a device known as a “relief tube” — basically a funnel connected to a flexible hose which vented outside the aircraft. Pilots were required to note use of the tube in the aircraft log so that it could be disinfected by the ground crew after the mission.

As aircraft became more advanced — including pressurized cabins — the old system couldn’t be used anymore. For example, the B-29 had a slightly more advanced system involving a small holding tank. After use, the tank was purged outside the aircraft via an air pressure valve.

Contributing Member

Lago, CA

Kick the tires, Light the fires!
Mar 21st, 2012 09:13 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Garp is correct about the relief tube.

As for #2 though... well, I guess it was no worse than when you first came into the world. And, if you live long enough, the way you'll leave the world too. DEPENDS has made a fortune on this fact of life.

Fighter pilots fly on long overseas deployments all the time with multiple air-to-air refueling hookups. To help combat the #2 concern, they try and program what they eat for several days before the mission (no greasy food, etc.).

SR-71 and U-2 pilots had their food intake VERY closely controlled for this reason.

As for me, I LOVED the fact we had a nice toilet on the plane I flew (C-141 Starlifter)!


We Had a Nice Toilet!

(This message was last edited by 6L6 at 09:15 AM, Mar 21st, 2012)

Contributing Member

She loves my big 10"

record of her favorite blues.
Mar 21st, 2012 10:39 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Equally important, what do fighter pilots say to the other guys when they have lube the relief tube?

Contributing Member


Kansas- The breadbasket of the world.
Mar 21st, 2012 11:00 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Bombs away".

All the small airplane pilot/owners I know have a bottle on board for #1.

Contributing Member


It's A Dry Heat
Mar 21st, 2012 10:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I remember F-4's carried a relief bottle for long flights with multiple inflight refueling.

I also remember loadmasters on C-130's describing a "honey bucket" for anyone who needed to go #2.

The catch was the first one to use it had to clean it. I never saw one used. As a matter of fact, I don't remember actually seeing one.

I guess we all had tighter sphincters at that younger age. ;-)

Contributing Member

Grosse Pointe, Mich.

Say no to denial!
Mar 22nd, 2012 04:50 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"I remember F-4's carried a relief bottle for long flights with multiple inflight refueling."

Actually, we carried along a "piddle pack." This was a small, flexible, resealable plastic container with a sort of sponge in it. We'd carry it in a flight suit pocket until we needed to use it and then stowed it out of the way (and away from controls, etc.) after use.

With the brief sorties fighters fly, we didn't carry or use it much. I may have resorted to one only once, and then only on a cross-country.

FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / WWII Fighter Pilots and Wringing the Sponge

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