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Defining the Breed - Fighters

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posted on Nov, 14 2005 @ 02:57 AM
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I also think its true to say that the Spitfire was the most 'developed' fighter of the war.

It was the only allied fighter to stay in production and service throughout the war ( it served the RAF from 1938 - 54, and overseas much longer)

between 1939 and 1945 it went from 1,000hp to 2,500hp. Its armament went up from 8 machine guns to four 20mm cannon and it is remarkable to think that both the P-51 and its ultimate replacement, the F-86, were BOTH more lightly armed than a Mk 1 Spitfire! Its max speed went up from 350mph to 450mph and all within the same basic airframe. It was once said by Jeffrey Quill that "a Spitfire F.24 weighed the same as a Mk.1 plus 36 passengers and all their luggage and was still 100mph faster".

The Germans kept such as the Bf 109 in production right to the end of the war because they were unable to introduce suitable replacements when they were needed because of allied attacks on their industry.

On the allied side every single one of the Spitfires contemporaries in service or production in 1939 was obsolete and had been replaced in production by 1945, yet the Spitfire was still going strong and was still one of the fastest and most agile fighters in the world.


The P-51 was a genuinely great fighter, I don't take anything away from it, and it had an important operational advantage over the Spitfire in its range, but bearing in mind that it came along a full five years after the Spitfire (in the days when fighters went from prototype to full service in about two), so it should be superior it at least ONE area. It would have been a waste of time if it was otherwise.

The remarkable thing about the Spitfire was that the P-51 WASN'T faster or more manouverable or better armed, for a plane that flew in 1936, that is amazing, remember too that the appalling P-40 was newer than the Spitfire as well and its weaknesses were what led NA to design the P-51 in the first place.
You don't get more definitive than that.





[edit on 14-11-2005 by waynos]




posted on Nov, 14 2005 @ 04:45 AM
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Originally posted by Harlequin
why is the F-15C number 2? The F-15E is a far FAR better aircraft in the series


I believe it was for it's combat record. It is not the ability or potential of an aircraft, but how it was used! Someone could have all the talent in the world, but if that person never utilizes it, one would and could never be considered to be great in said talent....

Now about my "mistakes". I actually have another one, but I'm sure European's wouldn't catch it... seeing it had nothing to to with the European side of WWII
And for my "oversight... well actually... I gave a quick example just enough to prove my point.

In fact, I can get into how flawed the airfoil design of the P-51 was... research what happens when you fly too fast in that plane... but anyways...

So children, let's not be so nit picky and stick with the point and question:

"how would you pick the ones that define the genre in any given period?"

The question is HOW?



posted on Nov, 14 2005 @ 06:09 AM
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Maybe I spotted them but decided to let them pass, like the air intake?


Actually, pointing out that the Spitfire was NOT better than the P-51 because it was air cooled, seeing as it actually used the same cooling system, is not nit pickings it? It seems fairly fundamental to the argument for me, and I am pro Spitfire in this which shows a degree of impartiality on my part if I may say so


Anyhow, you talk about rules. This is really an entirely subjective debate so there can be no hard and fast rules as different people find different example 'definitive'.

I can well understand why people might see the P-51 as definitive, thats why I don't say it is wrong. My only real argument is the apparent huge gulf the Discovery Channel sees between the two types whereas I think it a much more 'neck and neck' race for positions, be it 1&2 or 7&8 or whatever in the overall 'all-time' list. In that respect having the P-51 'way out in front' at No 1 while having the Spitfire trailing at No 6 is a nonsense. In my view of course.


Going back to that Discovery channel all time list, going on the stated critreria of past acheivements and operational records, how on earth does the Raptor make No 10? Clearly the list is rubbish.



posted on Nov, 14 2005 @ 06:36 AM
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The F-15C would be chosen as it defined what an AA fighter should be, the epitomy (spelling) of a fighter in that era.


I guess you are referring to control reversal on the P-51, that was common (I think) to all aircraft of the era (apart from the Me163 and maybe the 262). Indeed, the spitfire, with a thicker wing section, would probably have suffered more than the thinner winged Mustang, but anyways.


For defining what aircraft best represents the era, I'd guess you are looking for something with a long (for the time period), competitive lifespan in which the technology of the aircraft is comparable to any contemporaries.



posted on Nov, 14 2005 @ 12:44 PM
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On the allied side every single one of the Spitfires contemporaries in service or production in 1939 was obsolete and had been replaced in production by 1945, yet the Spitfire was still going strong and was still one of the fastest and most agile fighters in the world.


You're forgetting about the P-38, which first flew in 1936 I believe, and remained in front line service until the end of the war. Not to take anything away from the Spit, one of my favorite aircraft of all time.

And I am still always disappointed to see the F6F Hellcat ignored in these threads, as I believe it holds the record as the fighter with the most combat kills, period.

[edit on 11/14/05 by xmotex]



posted on Nov, 14 2005 @ 01:02 PM
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I thought the P-38 was a contempory of the Beaufighter and Whirlwind? Two of those three were also absolute classics and the P-38 was the best of the lot.


The P-38 first flew in 1939 and entered service in late 1941, just before America entered the war so, although it had flown when the war started it seems I was right after all.

edit; I have looked up a reference which states that the P-38 was the only US fighter in production at the time of Pearl Harbour that was still in production at the wars end. Maybe this is where you confusion arises?

(insert old joke about how Americans think the war started with Pearl Harbour)


[edit on 14-11-2005 by waynos]



posted on Nov, 14 2005 @ 10:25 PM
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Going back to that Discovery channel all time list, going on the stated critreria of past acheivements and operational records, how on earth does the Raptor make No 10? Clearly the list is rubbish.


The Raptor is number ten because it defines the 21st century eara of fighters. And the “experts” that placed it there acknowledged that it has no real combat record, but it's innovations and capabilities in weapons, design, performance, and stealth deserved a place on the list.

Oh by the way, they did have two British men on the panel



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 05:04 AM
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Westy mate, if you look at my original list you will see that I have included the Raptor, and for the very reasons you state. BUT going back to the Discovery Channel list, I refer to this statement on it from from rtraem in response to a query from another poster;



It is not the ability or potential of an aircraft, but how it was used!


Now this might be his own interpretation rather than theirs, but that is what I was responding to. In those terms the Raptor has no place on the list.



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 06:32 AM
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well, as for the spitfire vs the p-51 debate I have to disagree with some of the things said about both planes.

the p-51 was not an evolution of the spitfire, it was an evolution of the bf-109. the same gentleman who originally designed the 109 designed the p-51. This is how the designers at NA were able to finish the aircraft so quickly. They basically took the very short range 109 and made it into a flying fuel tank with much improved aerodynamics.

the aerodynamic benefits of the p-51 were not so much related to the wing profile as it was the placement of the cooling intake duct. when supermarine made the spiteful it was fitted with a wing design very similar to the p-51 using the same airfoil, they found no improvements in top speed. It is also interesting to note that NA changed the airfoil on the p-51 starting with the H model. It is a much thinner foil

as far as I can tell the spitfire never had a FULL bubble canopy. 360 degree vision was first introduced on the p-51D.

I believe the aeronautical student was trying to show that the p-51 was the first plane to make use of that TYPE of duct to reduce drag. He wasn't trying to say that it was the same, just that in all acutality it is the same configuration. That was a HUGE step forward in aerodynamics.

I'm not totally positive but didn't the spitfire have a slow role rate? Narrow landing gear?

The P-51's laminar flow airfoil had low lift at slow speeds making large flaps necessary, many pilots were not used to this and early on it was thought to be a deadly plane.

as for the griffin powered spits, the only thing they ever fought against in WWII was V1 flying bombs. Even then only a handful made it into production before the end of the war.

the P-51 was in service in korea as a ground support aircraft. (F-82 actually scored the first air-to-air kill in korea)

the P-51 design was purchased and is still owned by piper aircraft. The design was redrawn with a turboprop and submitted as late as the early-mid eighties as a low cost ground support aircraft, known as the PA-18.

I'm not trying to argue one or the other as a "breed" aircraft, but as far as I am concerned the spitfire and the p-51 are two aircraft with totally different pedigrees. the spitfire's claim to fame is grace, and design. the stressed skin/all sheetmetal design was miles a. of other designs in the early 30's. The P-51's claim to fame would be its contributions to aerodynamics. Part of it's long range was directly attributed to it's low drag.


the F4-U should NOT be considered a breed aircraft, more pilots were killed by that aircraft itself than by other fighters. with it's unreliable blown flaps, it's horrible cowl flaps, oil leaks that caused the pilot to be blind half of the time and it's huge prop that would cause the plane to snap role the instant power was re-applied for a go-around. there is a reason the navy failed them for carrier trials while the bugs were worked out.

[edit on 15-11-2005 by revkev6]



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 08:05 AM
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I do have to make one concession to my previous post, the data on the p-51/bf-109 link is wrong. there were no obvious engineering links between the two planes, other than the fact that the president of NA visited meschersmitt and heinkel plants in 1938, and that the designer of the P-51 was german born.

another interesting fact was that, originally NA was just a holding company for fokker....



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 09:27 AM
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I was going to point out the mistake about the designers of the 109 (Willy Messerschmitt and Walter Rethel) and the P-51 (Raymond Rice and Edgar Schmued ). But you already did that.


I can't see how the placing of the air intake on the P-51 was so beneficial as you claim or such a huge leap? It is, after all, in exactly the same place as all Hawker fighters from the 1929 Hornet through to the 1942 Tempest I (on which type it was moved to under the nose or in the wing roots from the Mk 2 onwards). I think there there must be more to it than that, though I admit I don't exactly know how.

The first fighter with a 360 degree view canopy to enter service was actually the Westland Whirlwind I believe, not the P-51. In any case a 360 degree canopy had previously flown on the 1936 Bristol 146 and Gloster F.5/34 prototypes. There may have been others but these I know for certain.

The whirlwind was also the first twin engine single seat fighter and the first with all cannon armament and it was in RAF service by 1939.


The first bubble canopy to be fitted to the Mustang was the Malcolm sliding hood which was the same as the early spitfires, earlier Mustang canopies were heavily framed like the Hurricane. If we are talking about the one piece sliding perspex bubble type of the P-51D, that type didn't appear until late 1943, by which time it was also in use on several allied types including the P-47, Typhoon, Tempest AND Spitfire, if you don't think the Spitfire had such a canopy, here is another picture;



There was nothing sluggish about the rate of roll of the Spitfire, it is described by every single one of its pilots ever quoted as a fabulous fighter to fly and fight in, I think any such defect would merit a mention somewhere. In the RAE report on the Spitfiree prototype the rate of roll is described as 'startling' and this was further enhanced on the low level clipped wing versions.

You are right about the narrow track undercarriage, this made it a little tricky on the ground for inexperienced pilots, but nowhere near as dangerous as the Bf-109 whose undercarriage was both narrow and set at an angle.

Your assertion about the Griffon Spitfires only flying against V-1's reads like a criticism. Was it the RAF or the Spitfires fault that the opposition was largely crushed by the time it appeared in service? Just because most allied fighters were unopposed by this stage of the war (except for those flying long range bomber escort missions) does not change the fact that the re-engined Spitfire was one of the highest performance fighters in the world.

I largely agree with your other points except that I would add 'performance' to the 'claims to fame' for both the Spitfire AND P-51



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 09:43 AM
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Originally posted by revkev6


the aerodynamic benefits of the p-51 were not so much related to the wing profile as it was the placement of the cooling intake duct. when supermarine made the spiteful it was fitted with a wing design very similar to the p-51 using the same airfoil, they found no improvements in top speed. It is also interesting to note that NA changed the airfoil on the p-51 starting with the H model. It is a much thinner foil

as far as I can tell the spitfire never had a FULL bubble canopy. 360 degree vision was first introduced on the p-51D.

I believe the aeronautical student was trying to show that the p-51 was the first plane to make use of that TYPE of duct to reduce drag. He wasn't trying to say that it was the same, just that in all acutality it is the same configuration. That was a HUGE step forward in aerodynamics.

the P-51 was in service in korea as a ground support aircraft. (F-82 actually scored the first air-to-air kill in korea)


the F4-U should NOT be considered a breed aircraft, more pilots were killed by that aircraft itself than by other fighters. with it's unreliable blown flaps, it's horrible cowl flaps, oil leaks that caused the pilot to be blind half of the time and it's huge prop that would cause the plane to snap role the instant power was re-applied for a go-around. there is a reason the navy failed them for carrier trials while the bugs were worked out.

[edit on 15-11-2005 by revkev6]


Well said, I was actually just pointing out an example. There was no reason to go into detail to make my point, but some people...


About the F4-U. That is the plane I was referring to, but I called it a f4f or something.

Anyways, it is true it had those problems, but it was successful on the pacific front. And a lot of problems were dealt with after Lindburghs help


You certainly have done your research! --- Cheers



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 09:56 AM
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Originally posted by waynos
Westy mate, if you look at my original list you will see that I have included the Raptor, and for the very reasons you state. BUT going back to the Discovery Channel list, I refer to this statement on it from from rtraem in response to a query from another poster;



It is not the ability or potential of an aircraft, but how it was used!


Now this might be his own interpretation rather than theirs, but that is what I was responding to. In those terms the Raptor has no place on the list.


I was referring to the two F-15s...

Westpoint23 is exactly right. No beef there.

And there seems to be no hope reasoning with you.

Therefore, because it is your thread, I will remove myself from it...

it has turned into a pointless circular discussion

See you in a new thread



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 10:05 AM
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What so the rule applies to the F-15 but not the F-22


Don't quit so easily, you're not defeated yet


'there's no reasoning with you'. Well, I do go on a bit, thats true but where have you proved me wrong, I may have missed it? I have replied to every point I disagree with and accepted the ones I don't, whats wrong with that? For example look at my replies on the 'P-51 was the first with bubble canopy' claim above and tell me where I am wrong in anything I have said there?



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 10:15 AM
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waynos, by referring to the placement of the cooling duct I meant that it was placed AWAY from the plane about 1.5" so it would not ingest boundary air from the fuselage. this made airflow into the inlet faster because it was not disturbed by the fuse (it furthermore, didn't disturb the laminar flow of air over the fuse). faster air meant the inlet could be smaller. another feature of the P-51's cooling inlet was it's most important. It featured a cooling design dicovered by a dr. meredith. This design determined the inlet/outlet size and length based on the heating of air as it entered the duct. by sizing the ductwork correctly, as the air expanded you could actually create thrust instead of drag. this design was referred to as the meredith effect by Vice president of NA. The duct work alone gained 15-25mph according to designer (Ed Schmued)

as for the griffon powered spits, during the war there really wasn't a performance increase as far as fighter practicallity. the griffon weighed a lot more, used more gas, and was not as readily available. It really wasn't anyone fault, just common sense. The RAF couldn't produce enough regular spitfires to meet their needs so they couldn't really spare the time or material to experiment extensively. There were many stop gap versions of spits in between major renovations...

also regarding the roll rate, for the time (1936) she had an EXCELLANT roll rate, but as the war neared and the spit got into dog fights the bf-109 had a much faster roll rate. It wasn't that it was bad, it was just outclassed in that area.


you are right about the bubble canopy, I really meant that the spit didn't have the first bubble canopy. Someone had previously said it did. As for the bubble canopy on the spit, that never really saw much action did it? I didn't think many of that model spit were produced by wars end. Britain really had a problem getting later, more advanced spitfires produced.

rmatrem

I really haven't done much research, obviously most of this is just off the top of my . or I wouldn't have messed up a couple things.


[edit on 15-11-2005 by revkev6]



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 10:38 AM
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P-51 Intake - Yes that makes perfect sense, thank you. When you compare pictures of the intake on the P-51 and the Hurricane (for example) you can see the P-51 intake looks about half as deep. I hadn't considered that before, good point


Griffon Spits - basically agree with all of that except there was a real improvement in performance with the engine, though it was I believe less than was expected when the conveersion was proposed on paper. I think we are too close here to argue though.

Rate of Roll - There was a comparison between the various fighters published in a Janes book I have, here it states that the Spitfire ran into trouble when the Fw-190 was introduced and this was remedied with the introduction of the Mk.IX and that against the Bf.109 the only problem for the Spitfire was its use of a carburettor against the Bf 109's fuel injection system which meant the Bf had better performance at higher altitudes and when inverted. However in a turning fight the Spitfire was clearly the better of the two. This information is taken from a RAE evaluation of both types side by side and is also reported in Putnams history of Supermarine Aircraft. I cannot prove this either way but I mention it only so that you know the sources I was working from. If it is wrong, then so am I.


Bubble canopy - OK fair enough
There were several versions of Spitfire with a bubble canopy, the earliest were the Mk.16e and these were deployed in quite large numbers from 1941 onwards. It seems odd to me that, unlike America with the P-51, Britain coninued to build versions of the Spitfire with BOTH styles of canopy right through to the end of production in 1948. For instance while the F.24 had a bubble type, the F.21 had the same malcolm hood as the Mk.1.

[edit on 15-11-2005 by waynos]

[edit on 15-11-2005 by waynos]



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 10:41 AM
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Originally posted by revkev6
also regarding the roll rate, for the time (1936) she had an EXCELLANT roll rate, but as the war neared and the spit got into dog fights the bf-109 had a much faster roll rate. It wasn't that it was bad, it was just outclassed in that area.

[edit on 15-11-2005 by revkev6]


I thought it was the introduction of the FW-190 with its shorter wingspan and resultant quicker roll rates that forced the introduction of the clipped wing spitfires.


Could well be wrong though...



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 10:44 AM
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rmatrem, it isn't a case of right and wrong here and looking down on someone, its a learning experience - certainly broadening my knowledge being here anyway!


Don't take it so bad if your shown not to have all the information, no-one here knows everything, indeed, I'm pretty sure everyone of us would admit we know very little. The field is that big its impossible for one person to know it all, or even a tenth of it!

[edit on 15-11-2005 by kilcoo316]



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 10:48 AM
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the fw190 did just about everything better than the the earlier spitfires. they weren't called butcher birds for nothing..... the allies were totally unprepared for the 190. One of the only things that the 109 did better than the spit was roll, where as the the 190 did everything better.



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 10:49 AM
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Originally posted by revkev6
the fw190 did just about everything better than the the earlier spitfires. they weren't called butcher birds for nothing..... the allies were totally unprepared for the 190. One of the only things that the 109 did better than the spit was roll, where as the the 190 did everything better.


Ahh right, fair enough. Would I be right in say the 190's short wingspan did drive later spitfire designs?



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