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-   -   Chipmunk Cockpit Interior (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/496751-chipmunk-cockpit-interior.html)

WIWOC 29th Sep 2012 14:37

Chipmunk Cockpit Interior
I'm refurbishing a Chipmunk cockpit for display in the RAF Halton Trenchard Museum. Thinking ahead to the re-paint, I've been told that some earlier Chippies were finished inside in cockpit green rather than all black. If true, that finish might make for a better background for Joe Public to see the various bits and pieces around the cockpit.

Can any of the Old and Bold out there verify that cockpit green was ever used in Chippies? If so, can anyone point me towards photos that show an interior painted that way? All thoughts will be welcome.

kenparry 29th Sep 2012 14:40

I can't speak for the early years; from 1958, when I first encountered the Chipmunk, they were black inside. You need someone older than I am!!

si. 29th Sep 2012 14:59

I can vaguely remember seeing evidence of green paint under the black, where the top coat had worn through. For example where palms rubbed operating main switches, or throttle / mixtures.

However, I couldn't be sure this wasn't merely any undercoat.

NutLoose 29th Sep 2012 15:04

Go register on the flypast forums too and ask, lots involved with them there

Historic Aviation - Key Publishing Ltd Aviation Forums

maxred 29th Sep 2012 15:14

Never seen a green cockpit inside. Mines was 1951, cockpit interior all black.

Unless in some distant past it had a full interior refurb, which I doubt, it has always been black.

RAF Turnhouse, and St Andrews, was where it lived for most of its life.

I also have some fifties, and sixties external photographs of mine, in various guises, and interior looks black.

Maybe some one off's were green inside.

Geehovah 29th Sep 2012 15:58

I only go back to the early 70s but all the ones in which I had air experience flights were black.

sisemen 29th Sep 2012 16:42

Primer was green. Top coat was black.

Courtney Mil 29th Sep 2012 16:44

RAF Turnhouse, and St Andrews, was where it lived for most of its life.
The green you saw showing through was from the original Black Watch tartan interior. That's the scheme you should be refurbishing you display in. It's authentic, honest.

rlsbutler 29th Sep 2012 16:49

Me too - black. Come to that, I can only visualise black in any of the RAF cockpits I have sat in.

If you found a witness to justify green, it would seem perverse to choose it.

Courtney Mil 29th Sep 2012 17:02

Seriously, the one I flew in sometime around 1974 was black. I guess it depends what era you want to depict. One point, though; if you found that there were green cockpits and went with that scheme, you might find that hundreds of visitors to the display would end up asking why the exibit is painted the wrong colour - even if it isn't.

CoffmanStarter 29th Sep 2012 17:38


Can I suggest you drop Rod Brown an eMail, he and Bill Fisher, amassed over the years a wealth of information and pictures of the dear old Chipmunk.

I can only recall the Matt Black cockpits ... but do remember some we're "chipped" (pun intended) showing a green'ish colour underneath ... But this may have been a primer paint.

He's ex RAF and I'm sure he'd love to be of some assistance if he can

[email protected]

Best regards ...


hval 29th Sep 2012 17:39

In the 1970's at Abingdon I seem to remember them having black cockpit coamings and panels with yucky green sides to the internal fuselage.

t7a 29th Sep 2012 18:10

1963 - Yorkshire Flying Club - Yeadon - Flying Scholarship - GAOSK/GAOSU definately black! 17 years old, I spent lots of hours staring at the instrument panel wondering what the f** was going on!!

Courtney Mil 29th Sep 2012 18:13

I spent lots of hours staring at the instrument panel wondering what the f** was going on!!
Didn't we all!

CoffmanStarter 29th Sep 2012 18:36

Black ... early 70's ... good old WZ845 :ok:



PS Yes I know it's only a B&W pic :)

Robert Cooper 30th Sep 2012 02:56

I only go back to 1959, but the cockpit was black. Maybe the color changed later, but the last time I flew in one in 1970 it was still black..

Bob C

Oldlae 30th Sep 2012 08:52

I go back to 1958, Station Flight Chipmunk at RAF Cottesmore, definitely matt black, makes sense to prevent confusing reflections. Until I retired in 1999 all things I have seen painted first had a coat of green primer.

aviate1138 30th Sep 2012 11:20

Been in one that looked a lot like this.....


diginagain 30th Sep 2012 11:29

Army Chippies were black, although if you glanced into the rear cockpit when clambering in, you could see traces of Duck Egg Blue primer where the Instructors had been holding on...

Melchett01 30th Sep 2012 12:07

Don't forget to capture that unique aroma of AVGAS, sweat and vomit for a truly authentic restoration!

Incidentally, and apoligies for the slight tangent - the duck egg paint underneath the black. From what has been said here, we used it as a primer, but many Soviet ac used it as a topcoat - they may even still do. Can anyone shed light, it has always left me wondering? I did wonder if they had a job lot of paint at one time (like our uniforms!) but I was talking to a chap a while back who suggested that the duck egg blue/green paint might have been more relaxing to look at thus a very basic 'Human Factors' solution.

mike-wsm 30th Sep 2012 12:41

Awww - lovely pics of one of the nicest places I have ever been. The Chipmunk is lovely to fly in, lovely to fly, and lovely to watch, whether live or on youtube, some of the best aerobatic displays are careful energy management in Chippies, and that engine sound is a glorious reminder of hot summer days on grassy airfields.

My recollection of interior cockpit colour is all black in RAF aircraft of the 1957-61 era. I guess this might be linked with daytime night-flying practice, using orange cockpit panels combined with blue goggles.

The green colour mentioned would be zinc chromate primer which protected the aluminium airframe from corrosion. This is nominally a pale green but was often modified by additives, as here:
Everything You Need To Know About Zinc Chromate
There is quite a lot of information about zinc chromate colour on model-makers' sites.

Courtney Mil 30th Sep 2012 12:43

Is that the 8-track stereo bottom/left of the main instrument panel?

Fareastdriver 30th Sep 2012 12:51

When I used to take our ground crew for air experience flights the rear cockpit was black with patches of white, green and yellow.

Courtney Mil 30th Sep 2012 12:53

...and blobs of dried-on diced carrot and tomato skins.

Melchett01 30th Sep 2012 12:57

Is that the 8-track stereo bottom/left of the main instrument panel?
My God man ... 8-track ... just how old are you? Next you'll be telling us about the fantastic new Betamax VCR you bought last week!

Courtney Mil 30th Sep 2012 12:59

Originally Posted by Melchett
Next you'll be telling us about the fantastic new Betamax VCR you bought last week!

And your point is?

Melchett01 30th Sep 2012 13:14


Nothing but banter, but as they say, if you have to explain then it didn't work.

Chipmunk Janie 30th Sep 2012 13:45

Hello WIWOC. My top tips:

1) Find the person who originally told you there was a possibility they were green and ask them if they can show an example.

2) As your concern is visibility, ensure the lighting is sufficient in/on the cockpit.

All the Chipmunks I've seen have been black. The colours the engine casings are painted have been both black and green. Maybe that's where the memory is from.

Lima Juliet 30th Sep 2012 17:25


Try this link WWW for black and white pictures for an original cockpit - in these the dial rings look a different colour but look at the colour picture and you'll see why the black and white looks different but actually isn't. So from this I expect the T10s to come straight from DHC with black cockpits.

All of the Chippies I've ever been in have black cockpits. If you want to see some of the finest preserved ones there are no less than 4 on Halton's airfield (1 being a Supermunk) - give the Airfield Manager a call to come and have a look. He can also contact their owners if you want to take detailed photographs.

All the best


CoffmanStarter 30th Sep 2012 17:47

Hi aviate1138 ...

Interesting picture you have there ... A Mk22 Chipmunk whose airframe number is, I believe, C1/0902 which never served with the RAF. Note the Turn-and-Slip is reversed with the VSI compared to the RAF instrument configuration seen in my pic and yes ... modern accouterments have been added. I believe this example still lives in Denmark :ok:

I'll get my anorak ...

Best regards ...


Chugalug2 30th Sep 2012 18:07

And your point is?
I think his point is that it is obviously the CD player, with a pull out (released by red button) cup holder to its LHS. 8 track stereo is so very 70's...
I agree with everyone else that Chippies' cockpits (well in the early 60's) were finished in matt black. The OP's use of the phrase cockpit green is beguiling though. Were not Tiger Moth cockpits so finished, with any necessary signage in white on a black background? Would that green have been merely primer or a finish coat?

iRaven 30th Sep 2012 19:54

Nerd alert...:8

It's a Bendix-King KY-96a...


Chugalug2 30th Sep 2012 20:52

Ah, well done Wilson. I wondered who'd be first to spot that!
WIWOC, please check your PMs

Dan Winterland 1st Oct 2012 04:54

The green was the zinc-chromate primer. Black on top of that.

As for the authenrtic comms fit, the original aircraft had a basket for carrier pigeons.

Dan Winterland 1st Oct 2012 04:58

And it's a nice picture aviate, but not the original AH or DI. Coffman's pic has the authenic instruments. The AH shopuld be a Mk1B or Mk1E (Cof's pic in the latter). Although I can see the benfits of fitting a caging gyro. The Mk1s toppled quickly and then required 15 minutes to re-errect - which invariably meant a letdown on the T and S and the DI if aerobatting above cloud.

aviate1138 1st Oct 2012 05:42

"And it's a nice picture aviate, but not the original AH or DI. Coffman's pic has the authenic instruments."

Agreed about the pic - I sent it as it was in colour - [ for Coff] the Danish Reg is visible and I looked for ages for an RAF version [in colour] and drew a blank. :)

Dora-9 1st Oct 2012 06:40

Dan Winterland is correct (as usual) on both counts. All UK-built Chipmunks had black cockpits (the "coal hole" black was painted over zinc-chromate green primer) plus, apart from the oil temp gauge and the taco, all the instruments in Aviate1138's cockpit are distinctly non-standard, whereas Coffman Starter's cockpit is close to bog-standard.

As an aside, I'm told that the MoD supplied DH with the instruments to be fitted in the Chipmunk.

There, MB in Hong Kong, will that do?

CoffmanStarter 1st Oct 2012 07:44

Dora-9 ...

Yep "Bog Standard" VHF Front Seat RAF config ... Without the clutter of the boxes associated with the UHF variant ... :ok:

Best ...


gpugh 1st Oct 2012 08:13

Hi just spoken to father he only ever remembers black and his first Chipmunk flight in his log book dates from 1950 last Chipmunk flight 1994

Shaggy Sheep Driver 1st Oct 2012 18:06

Ours (G-BCSL which I flew for well over 30 years) dates from 1951 and is black (it's black outside these days, too).

Most engines we've had in SL over the years have been black, but we've had green, and even a red one once (that didn't last long as one of our members - not me! - taxied her into a hangar and shock-loaded the engine).

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