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Achtung Spitfire!

Discussion in 'off topic' started by MikeMA, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    Just watching "Spitfire" on BBC4, the story of the Supermarine Spitfire. Apparently the wing shape and profile was developed in Germany and details obtained by a bit of pre-war industrial espionage.
    Rack Kit and divedeepdog like this.
  2. andrew d

    andrew d pfm Member

    I occasionally see Spitfires leaving Biggin Hill for a trip to the White Cliffs of Dover. For about £6k you can hire a seat in the Spitfire whilst friends and family video you from a Cessna.
    The Cessna flies ahead of the Spitfire at top speed. The Spitfire travels behind at just enough kph above stall speed!
    Rack Kit and Tarzan like this.
  3. eternumviti

    eternumviti Bloviating Brexiter


  4. eternumviti

    eternumviti Bloviating Brexiter

    I caught the tail end of the programme. Some beautiful photography, and very moving reflections from the handful of pilots left alive at the time of filming. Amongst them a lady who delivered 1000 aircraft, who was reintroduced to a Spitfire upon which her signature, applied in 1944, could still be discerned. She said that she had done so in the romantic hope that it would attract the attentions of a glamorous RAF pilot, but one never came. She re-signed it, and the expression on her face as she watched it gracefully perform aerobatic manoeuvres was very moving.

    The presence of the late Geoffrey Wellum amongst the interviewees dates it to more than 2 years old.
    stephen bennett, Weekender and Tarzan like this.
  5. PsB

    PsB Citizen of Nowhere™

    My reference book on the Spitfire (The Soitfire Story by Alfred Price) debunks that theory, based on a comprehensive interview with Beverley Shenstone, the aerodynamicist who designed the wing.

    The Heinkel 70 was a pre-war transport plane, so built for very different priorities. It was not the only aircraft to use a vaguely elliptical wing shape. The elliptical shape has aerodynamical properties that were already well known and implemented in the 30s.

    The main design objective for the Spitfire was to minimize drag and weight while leaving enough room for the undercarriage and lots of machine guns/ammo boxes. Drag was minimized by using a thin NACA2200 profile, and the elliptical shape helped by giving longer chord sections close to the fuselage and shorter/lighter chord sections further out. A key innovation was the clever way the main spar was designed: concentric tubular profiles.

    The Heinkel 70 was influential in another way: at the Paris Air Show the Supermarine engineers had been impressed by the very smooth finish of all surfaces: not a rivet to be seen, to the point they thought the material might be wood. So the aerodynamicist wrote to Ernst Heinkel after the show, asking him how they did it. The Heinkel people sent a courteous letter back, explaining the painstaking process of countersinking all rivets, filling them in before applying several layers of paint. So not exactly industrial espionage, but it did set the target for the Spitfire’s surfaces.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
    Weekender and eternumviti like this.
  6. Nero

    Nero Wiped Clean

    Out sailing at Dell Quay the other evening, G-ILDA put on a stunning display - two consecutive loops without rolling out at the top. I didn't know they were allowed to do that below 4,000 feet, but maybe over water.... A glorious noise, and I hope the paying passenger took a sick bag
  7. Seeker_UK

    Seeker_UK I had amnesia once or twice...

    The Supermarine S4 (a very early step on the way to the Spitfire) was probably one of the first to use an elliptical wing in 1925, predating the Heinkel 70 by several years.

    cctaylor and Sue Pertwee-Tyr like this.
  8. k90tour

    k90tour pfm Member

    3000ft is the lower ceiling for single pilot aircraft. And not over people or properties.
  9. calorgas

    calorgas Ratty bumpkin

    Sounds about right, I'd seen this before and it was probably a couple of years ago or more.
  10. Chops54

    Chops54 pfm Member

    My step dad worked for various aircraft companies after the war and he told me that building Spits using all flush rivets was expensive and time consuming so they used split peas stuck on top of the flush rivets in various places to work out where they could use ordinary proud rivets. I’ve no idea if this is true or not but it makes a good story nonetheless.
  11. Weekender

    Weekender pfm Member

    Except for the NHS Spitfire which flew over Trafford General the other week.
  12. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    I have heard similar stories about only using flush rivets where there was an areodynamic advantage.
  13. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    It’s a while since I studied all that, but it's ‘single engine’ not ‘single pilot’ that defines the rule, and the rule varies for different circumstances. I can’t recall any law that states 3000 feet as a minimum, but I know plenty of club rules would prohibit aerobatics below that sort of altitude. The general rule would be that all aerobatic manoeuvres had to be completed not below 3000 feet, ie recovery to level flight.
    Overflight, not aerobatics, is a different matter. Minimum altitude is typically 1500’ over any built up area, with a minimum of 500’ separation from any person, vehicle, vessel or structure, and (in the case of single engined types) an ability to alight clear of any settlement in the event of an engine failure. And you can get dispensations for display purposes or events, and such.
    cctaylor and Weekender like this.
  14. eternumviti

    eternumviti Bloviating Brexiter

    My place of work is very close to the former RAF North Weald, upon which reside several warbirds, including the Hangar 11 cache which includes a Spitfire, a Hurricane, and a P51 Mustang, with a second Spitfire under restoration and about to take to the skies for the first time since she was lost on the Russian tundra in 1945. Aero Legends, which runs commercial flights in a Spitfire and a Harvard has also just taken up part-time residence. The sound of RR Merlins is pretty familiar, but I still rush out of the door every time I hear one take off from the runway.
  15. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    It’s the most wonderful sound, isn’t it? There are a few wartime engines that make a beautiful noise, the Centaurus in the Sea Fury is another, but the Merlin is a bit special.
    Musicman19, Rack Kit and eternumviti like this.
  16. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    When I was flying, we were never allowed above 2000 ft and the rather built up terrain below was up to 500 ft ASL. Training for stalls was "interesting".
  17. boneman

    boneman pfm Member

    Would love to hear them all but would espicially like to hear the P51 as my father flew one. He always described the power as it was taking off as just immense.
    eternumviti likes this.
  18. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    Your training airfield was presumably under one of the big TMAs, then (think they may be called something else nowadays - my Air Law is about 10 years out of date). I’m surprised you didn’t transit out to open FIA for the upper air work, most sites are within 10-15 mins of some clear airspace, IME.
  19. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    I'm in Malaysia, the DCA does not like civil light aircraft much.
    I gave up flying when a few people I knew died in accidents - oil palm and jungle is not single engine friendly. The UK is full of open fields where you stand a good chance of walking away from a landing
    Sue Pertwee-Tyr likes this.
  20. 2ManyBoxes

    2ManyBoxes pfm Member

    Can anyone tell me if this story is true? The story goes that at the Goodwood Revival, Goodwood also being an ex-RAF base, they got a WW2 Spitfire pilot to fly down the main straight as part of the opening parade. He got a bit carried away and flew at about 80ft doing 150-200 Mph, thus scattering everyone to all points.

    I've seen some gun camera footage on YouTube of a Spitfire strafing a farm and he's actually lower than the roof of the barn in the farmyard :eek: Unbelievable what those guys did.

    The OP has made a slight mistake in the title in missing out the 'AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!' from the end.
    MikeMA likes this.

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