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Fastest piston fighter

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posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 05:24 PM
I have been reading about the history of Supermarine and in order to replace the Spitfire they developed a new fighter called the Spiteful. Apparently it was an excellent performer but wasn't bought for the RAF because of the end of the war and the advent of the Meteor and Vampire jets.

The Supermarine Spiteful was claimed to have a top speed of 485mph but on one test Jeffrey Quill, the famous Spitfire test pilot, had it up to 494mph on a level run!

I reckon this must make it the fastest ever piston fighter unless anyone knows any different?

Incidentally, a carrier version of the Spiteful had the brilliant name 'Sea Fang'

[edit on 12-1-2005 by waynos]

[edit on 12-1-2005 by waynos]

posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 07:15 PM
Nope. See Grummen "Bearcat".

posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 09:35 PM
A P-51 posted an above 500 run at the races 2 years ago. Believe it was like 525. But before that the Bearcat was the fastest hands down. In a dive the P-38 would get shockwave formation and crash, so that would be the fastest in a dive.

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 10:28 AM
A bit of info about it would have been nice, instead of just 'see Grumman Bearcat'

I suppose I'll just have to find my own.

Edit; I have found several pages on the Bearcat and the max speed varies from page to page but the lowest quoted is 421mph and the highest is 455mph, that makes the Spiteful easily faster at 494mph.

Also I'm not talking about modified reno racers but actual fighter planes with guns. Can anyone come up with a verifyable piston fighter capable of more than 494mph?

[edit on 13-1-2005 by waynos]

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 11:03 AM

Originally posted by waynos
Can anyone come up with a verifyable piston fighter capable of more than 494mph?

- Bet the answer is no Waynos.

I'm sure I recall something just over 470mph for the Focke Wulf Ta 152 and the Sea Fury but I have never seen a verified 490+mph for anything other than......

..... a hand re-built, tuned to the max (ie a very short-life motor), specially fueled, stripped down, specially coated/painted/polished and aerodynamically messed with racer.

In other words in no way a comparable 'fighter' plane at all.

BTW top pics again mate!

[edit on 13-1-2005 by sminkeypinkey]

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 11:14 AM
Well I previously believed the fastest piston fighter to be the DH Hornet at 485mph, I'm sure it was the fastest to see service, but after reading of the speed of the Spiteful I posted this topic to see if anyone knew of a fighter that could beat it, or more interestingly beat the magic 500mph mark.

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 11:29 AM
According to the official highest speed record (piston Poswered) is held by a Grumman F8F Bearcat 528.33 mph Record was set on 21 August 1989.

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 11:32 AM

Originally posted by shots
According to the official highest speed record (piston Poswered) is held by a Grumman F8F Bearcat 528.33 mph Record was set on 21 August 1989.

You see? Its a big deal that it has the record but its not really what I'm after.

This bearcat is stripped , tuned, glossed and pampered with modern day equipment to look after it and make sure it does the biz. Its not really representative of the type but a unique machine in its own right. I meant REAL fighters, of the time.

[edit on 13-1-2005 by waynos]

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 11:39 AM
Seems the Aussies had a faster one!

On the afternoon of May 25 1948 a silver aircraft flew over Melbourne at an unprecedented 502mph. This aircraft carried a number of innovative design features, performed very well, and was considered by many people to be the ultimate piston engined fighter. The brainchild of Lawrence Wackett, head of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (C.A.C) it was totally Australian in design and manufacture. It was the CA-15.

Of course like many others in the era after WWII it was not put into prodution.

The fastest production piston engined aircraft I could find was the Dornier DO-335.

The Do-335 was one of a small group of aircraft marking the pinnacle of international piston-engined development. It was the fastest production piston-engined fighter ever built, attaining 846 kilometers per hour (474 mph) in level flight at a time when the official world speed record was 755 kph (469 mph). Powered by two 1800-hp engines in a unique low-drag configuration and weighing 9600 kg (21,000 lb) loaded, it was an exceptional heavy fighter. This very innovative design also featured an ejection seat, for pilot safety, and a jettisoning fin


Interestingly enough a passenger plane ends up being the fastest propeller driven aircraft.

TU-114 first flown in 1956,

After setting a number of records, including a speed record for fastest turboprop-powered aircraft that still stands today, the first of 31 Tu-114s entered service with Aeroflot. The enorous plane was used on long-range domestic and international routes. Among the cities served by the Tu-114 were Delhi, Havana, Montreal, Paris, and Copenhagen. Additional flights were made to Tokyo in operated jointly with Japan Air Lines and flown by mixed Soviet-Japanese crews.

Max Level Speed at altitude: 540 mph (870 km/h) at 26,250 ft (8,000 m), Mach 0.78

Its a civilianized TU-95


[edit on 13-1-2005 by Phoenix]

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 11:57 AM
Cheers Phoenix Thats what I was after
I know of the CA-15 (witness the quiz thread) but strangely never thought to check up on its performance before.

I knew of the Tu-114 too, but it is a turb-prop, not piston powered.

As impressive as the D0335 was however I still maintain that this was the fastest production piston fighter

The demonstration led to an order for two prototypes in June 1943 under Specification "12/43". The first prototype performed its initial flight on 28 July 1944, with Geoffrey de Havilland JR at the controls. The prototype was in the air only 13 months after the beginning of the detailed design effort. Performance exceeded predictions, with a top speed of 780 KPH (485 MPH) and a blazing climb rate of 1,370 meters (4,500 feet) per minute. A production order followed.

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 01:09 PM
Waynos, check out the Republic P47J,

The Fastest Piston Engine Fighter Of The War


The P-47M was, essentially, developed collaterally with the XP-47J. The "J" was fitted with a high output version of the P&W R-2800. Specifically, the R-2800-57. This engine made 2,800 hp @ 2,800 rpm at 35,000 feet. This is in War Emergency Power. The aircraft actually attained 507 mph at an altitude of 34,300 feet.

The J model seems to qualify as the fastest although the utility of its speed is questionable in relation to its usual opponents operations at lower altitudes. Maybe it was a good counter to the Fockewulf TA-152 which also operated at high altitude.

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 01:24 PM
Cheers again, thats fascinting, I'd never heard of this version of the 'Jug'

So If we are doing a table (now we have a few) it would seem to go thus;

1, Repuplic XP-47J
2, Commonwealth CA-15
3, Supermarine Spiteful
4, DH 103 Hornet (fastest in service)
5, Dornier Do 334 (2nd fastest in service).

Now is that a definitive top 5, or not?

Hmmm, could look deeper into this.

edit; following on from this I googled 'fastest piston fighters' and the num,ber of pages all claiming the title of THE fastest for one type or another is quite bewildering
Also, following on from the varying 'top speeds' quoted for the Grumman Bearcat earlier I wonder if there is a definitive accurate source for such information?

[edit on 13-1-2005 by waynos]

posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 05:02 AM
Here's a little more information that is relevant to this thread and also the 'first to break the sound barrier' thread.

I was reading the book 'The British Fighter Since 1912' by F K Mason and chanced upon the following two quotes;

On 12 December 1942 Philip Lucas reached 575 mph (mach 0.76)at 20,000 feet in a full throttle dive from 27,000 feet in the prototype Tempest V. Thereafter tests were flown on production aircraft, often firring their guns in dives at around 550mph to see if the wings came off

That sounds like an exciting job doesen't it

then there was this startling account;

....diving trials with spitfire PR.XI's in the late summer of 1943.......sqn leader James Tobin recorded Mach 0.92 between 25,000 and 30,000 feet (a figure later amended to Mach 0.90, but still a speed of around 650mph TAS); of course no spitfire would have retained its wings had it fired its guns at this speed.

This is a much higher speed than I thought any Spifire would have recorded and is probably as close to the speed of sound as any piston fighter of the time managed to get.

posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 08:06 AM
The World War 2. P-51C Mustang.Fitted with Rolls Royce Merlin V12 engine 1490 H.P had a top speedof 505mph.

posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 08:55 AM
No it didn't, the P-51C was just the P-51B fitted with a Malcolm sliding hood, as used on the Spitfire, to increase pilot visibility, the RAF called both the P-51B and P-51C the 'Mustang III' as they were the same plane, the P-51D with its distinctive bubble canopy then being the 'Mustang IV'. The top speed of all these variants with the Merlin installed was around 430mph. The only P-51's capable of anything like 500 mph are the post war racer modifications that compete with similarly modified Bearcats and Sea Furies.

posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 11:51 AM
First post so sorry about any errors in style.

The fastest mustang was the P-51H.
With the 2218 h.p Packard-Merlin 2218 h.p V-1650-9 V-12 it reached a maximum speed of of 487 MPH.
Not the fastest fighter but much faster than your stated 430 MPH top speed for any Mustang. And this was a production fighter.


[edit on 16-1-2005 by Veltro]

posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 11:55 AM
I know it might not be the fastest but recently, at an air show in Cleveland, a P-51 performing there absoloutely amazed me at how fast it could climb. I don't know if it had been modified because it looked as if the owner wanted to keep everything original (at least the exterior) but man that thing climbed like it was a jet. Very impressive. It actually raced a modern jet (an F-14, I believe) and beat it to the finish line. Of course it had a pretty good head start and was coming out of a dive but man, it was still pretty awesome

posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 12:22 PM
Veltro, I take your point about the P-51H, 487mph is well up there and I think just shades the DH Hornet.

The figure of 430 mph I quoted earlier was however just an approximate figure for the P-51B, C and D that I had been talking about ( I believe the P-51D was nearer to 440 mph).

posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 07:41 PM
I see, I just knew the old NA horse had more in her than that lol. The Spiteful pics are a nice find btw. I have always loved the late model Griffon-engined Spitfires with the Bubble canopys so that is sure thing. Anything with a 5 or 6 blade prop is strangely beautiful to me. The Hornet was a performer as well. To bad some of these planes didn't come out a year or two earlier.

posted on Jan, 17 2005 @ 11:21 AM
too bad for all of them that Frank Whittle and Hans Von Ohain were around

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