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Supermarine Spitfire F.Mk.22/24
Supermarine Spitfire Images: This site also had an aircraft assembly hangar where many prototype and experimental Spitfires were assembled, but since it had no associated aerodrome no Spitfires ever flew from Hursley. Completed Spitfires were delivered to the airfields on large Commer " Queen Mary" low-loader articulated trucks, there to be fully assembled, tested, then passed on to the RAF. All production Spitfires were flight tested before delivery. During the Second World War, Jeffrey Quill was Vickers Supermarine's chief test pilot, in charge of flight-testing all aircraft types built by Vickers Supermarine; he also oversaw a group of 10 to 12 pilots responsible for testing all developmental and production Spitfires built by the company in the Southampton area.
Quill had also devised the standard testing procedures which, with variations for specific aircraft designs, operated from Alex Henshaw, chief test pilot at Castle Bromwich from , was placed in charge of testing all Spitfires built at that factory, coordinating a team of 25 pilots; he also assessed all Spitfire developments. After a thorough pre-flight check I would take off and, once at circuit height, I would trim the aircraft and try to get her to fly straight and level with hands off the stick Once the trim was satisfactory I would take the Spitfire up in a full-throttle climb at 2, rpm to the rated altitude of one or both supercharger blowers.
Airfix - No. A06101A - 1:48
Then I would make a careful check of the power output from the engine, calibrated for height and temperature If all appeared satisfactory I would then put her into a dive at full power and 3, rpm, and trim her to fly hands and feet off at mph IAS Indicated Air Speed. Personally, I never cleared a Spitfire unless I had carried out a few aerobatic tests to determine how good or bad she was. The production test was usually quite a brisk affair: the initial circuit lasted less than ten minutes and the main flight took between twenty and thirty minutes. Then the aircraft received a final once-over by our ground mechanics, any faults were rectified and the Spitfire was ready for collection.
I loved the Spitfire in all of her many versions. But I have to admit that the later marks, although they were faster than the earlier ones, were also much heavier and so did not handle so well. You did not have such positive control over them. One test of manoeuvrability was to throw her into a flick-roll and see how many times she rolled.
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With the later and still heavier versions, one got even less. The essence of aircraft design is compromise, and an improvement at one end of the performance envelope is rarely achieved without a deterioration somewhere else. When the last Spitfire rolled out in February , a total of 20, examples of all variants had been built, including two-seat trainers, with some Spitfires remaining in service well into the s.
The Spitfire was the only British fighter aircraft to be in continuous production before, during and after the Second World War. In the mids, aviation design teams worldwide started developing a new generation of all-metal, low-wing fighter aircraft. The French Dewoitine D. They also featured refinements such as retractable undercarriages, fully enclosed cockpits and low drag, all-metal wings all introduced on civil airliners years before but slow to be adopted by the military, who favoured the simplicity and manoeuvrability of the biplane.
Mitchell's design aims were to create a well-balanced, high-performance bomber interceptor and fighter aircraft capable of fully exploiting the power of the Merlin engine, while being relatively easy to fly. At the time, no enemy fighters were expected to appear over Great Britain; to carry out the mission of home defence, the design was intended to climb quickly to meet enemy bombers.
The Spitfire's airframe was complex: the streamlined, semi-monocoque duralumin fuselage featured a large number of compound curves built up from a skeleton of 19 formers, also known as frames, starting from frame number one, immediately behind the propeller unit, to the tail unit attachment frame. The first four frames supported the glycol header tank and engine cowlings. Frame 5, to which the engine bearers were secured, supported the weight of the engine and accessories, and the loads imposed by the engine: this was a strengthened double frame which also incorporated the fireproof bulkhead and, in later versions of the Spitfire, the oil tank.
This frame also tied the four main fuselage longerons to the rest of the airframe. Behind the bulkhead were five 'U' shaped half-frames which accommodated the fuel tanks and cockpit. The rear fuselage started at the eleventh frame, to which the pilot's seat and later armour plating was attached, and ended at the nineteenth, which was mounted at a slight forward angle just forward of the fin. Each of these nine frames were oval, reducing in size towards the tail, and incorporated several lightening holes to reduce their weight as much as possible without weakening them.
Supermarine Spitfire - 3D Vehicle - 3D Data
The U-shaped frame 20 was the last frame of the fuselage proper and the frame to which the tail unit was attached. Frames 21, 22 and 23 formed the fin; frame 22 incorporated the tailwheel opening and frame 23 was the rudder post. Before being attached to the main fuselage, the tail unit frames were held in a jig and the eight horizontal tail formers were riveted to them. A combination of 14 longitudinal stringers and four main longerons attached to the frames helped form a light but rigid structure to which sheets of alclad stressed skinning were attached.
The fuselage plating was 24, 20 and 18 gauge in order of thickness towards the tail, while the fin structure was completed using short longerons from frames 20 to 23, before being covered in 22 gauge plating. There was ample room for the camera equipment and additional fuel tanks which were to be fitted during the Spitfire's operational service life.
The skins of the fuselage, wings and tailplane were secured by rivets and in critical areas such as the wing forward of the main spar where an uninterrupted airflow was required, with flush rivets; the fuselage used standard dome-headed riveting. From February flush riveting was used on the fuselage, affecting all Spitfire variants. In some areas, such as at the rear of the wing, and the lower tailplane skins the top was riveted and the bottom fixed by brass screws which tapped into strips of spruce bolted to the lower ribs.
The removable wing tips were made up of duralumin skinned spruce formers. At first the ailerons, elevators and rudder were fabric-covered. When combat experience showed that fabric-covered ailerons were impossible to use at high speeds, fabric was replaced with a light alloy, enhancing control throughout the speed range. In , Mitchell and the design staff decided to use a semi-elliptical wing shape to solve two conflicting requirements; the wing needed to be thin, to avoid creating too much drag, while still able to house a retractable undercarriage, plus armament and ammunition.
Mitchell has sometimes been accused of copying the wing shape of the Heinkel He 70, which first flew in ; but as Beverly Shenstone, the aerodynamicist on Mitchell's team, explained "Our wing was much thinner and had quite a different section to that of the Heinkel. In any case it would have been simply asking for trouble to have copied a wing shape from an aircraft designed for an entirely different purpose. The elliptical wing was decided upon quite early on.
Aerodynamically it was the best for our purpose because the induced drag, that caused in producing lift, was lowest when this shape was used: the ellipse was To reduce drag we wanted the lowest possible thickness-to- chord, consistent with the necessary strength. But near the root the wing had to be thick enough to accommodate the retracted undercarriages and the guns Mitchell was an intensely practical man The ellipse was simply the shape that allowed us the thinnest possible wing with room inside to carry the necessary structure and the things we wanted to cram in.
And it looked nice. A dihedral of six degrees was adopted to give increased lateral stability. A feature of the wing which contributed greatly to its success was an innovative spar boom design, made up of five square tubes which fitted into each other. As the wing thinned out along its span the tubes were progressively cut away in a similar fashion to a leaf spring; two of these booms were linked together by an alloy web, creating a lightweight and very strong main spar.
The undercarriage legs were attached to pivot points built into the inner, rear section of the main spar and retracted outwards and slightly backwards into wells in the non-load-carrying wing structure. The resultant narrow undercarriage track was considered to be an acceptable compromise as this reduced the bending loads on the main-spar during landing. Ahead of the spar, the thick-skinned leading edge of the wing formed a strong and rigid D-shaped box, which took most of the wing loads.
At the time the wing was designed, this D-shaped leading edge was intended to house steam condensers for the evaporative cooling system intended for the PV-XII. The radiators were housed in a new radiator-duct designed by Fredrick Meredith of the RAE at Farnborough; this used the cooling air to generate thrust, greatly reducing the net drag produced by the radiators. In turn, the leading-edge structure lost its function as a condenser, but it was later adapted to house integral fuel tanks of various sizes.
Another feature of the wing was its washout. This caused the wing roots to stall before the tips, reducing tip-stall that could otherwise have resulted in a spin. As the wing roots started to stall, the aircraft vibrated, warning the pilot, and hence allowing even relatively inexperienced pilots to fly the aircraft to the limits of its performance. This washout was first featured in the wing of the Type and became a consistent feature in subsequent designs leading to the Spitfire.
The complexity of the wing design, especially the precision required to manufacture the vital spar and leading-edge structures, at first caused some major hold-ups in the production of the Spitfire. The problems increased when the work was put out to subcontractors, most of whom had never dealt with metal-structured, high-speed aircraft. By June , most of these problems had been resolved, and production was no longer held up by a lack of wings.
All of the main flight controls were originally metal structures with fabric covering. Designers and pilots felt that having ailerons which were too heavy to move at high speed would avoid possible aileron reversal, stopping pilots throwing the aircraft around and pulling the wings off. It was also felt that air combat would take place at relatively low speed and that high-speed manoeuvring would be physically impossible.
During the Battle of Britain, pilots found the ailerons of the Spitfire were far too heavy at high speeds, severely restricting lateral manoeuvres such as rolls and high-speed turns, which were still a feature of air-to-air combat. Flight tests showed the fabric covering of the ailerons "ballooned" at high speeds, adversely affecting the aerodynamics.
Replacing the fabric covering with light alloy dramatically improved the ailerons at high speed. German Battle Ship Scharnhorst BfG Based on BfG MiGbis Profipack Plastic mo Blackburn Buccaneer S.
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