58 votes
Accepted

Why choose to ditch in the sea over bailing out?

Bailing out the cockpit during that era was neither an easy nor always a successful task. The pilot had to either roll the plane, open the canopy, and release themselves to the void, or if rolling ...
Stelios Adamantidis's user avatar
34 votes

Why choose to ditch in the sea over bailing out?

In case of Spitfire, ditching in sea is not safer than bailing out. Spitfire XIV & XIX pilot's notes specifically states: 71 Ditching (i) Whenever possible, the aircraft should be abandoned by ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
31 votes
Accepted

How can I tell the difference between Spitfires and Hurricanes in photos?

There are quite a lot of differences, some more subtle than others, but I tend to find this is the best angle for identification: the side view. Although as we'll see later in this answer, the top/...
Jon Story's user avatar
  • 10.4k
28 votes

Why choose to ditch in the sea over bailing out?

Airplanes tend to float after ditching due to the air trapped in fuel tanks, wings and fuselage spaces, acting as a life raft which is very valuable. A ditched plane is also much more visible than a ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 53.7k
27 votes
Accepted

Why was the Spitfire's elliptical wing almost uncopied by other aircraft of World War 2?

Interestingly, I couldn't find an answer to this question on the website, but I've found an answer of Peter Kämpf on Quora. He brings forth the same arguments I wanted to mention, so I'll repeat them ...
ROIMaison's user avatar
  • 7,157
24 votes
Accepted

What is this cutout in the Spitfire cockpit glass?

What? According to flight manuals, it's the direct vision panel. The panel would have been punched out to make an opening and maintain a view on the outside in case the windscreen had been obscured ...
mins's user avatar
  • 71.9k
23 votes

What is the physical explanation for the pre-stall judder in a Spitfire?

It's because aircraft don't stall all at once. A stall occurs when the airflow over the upper surface of the wing separates from the entire upper surface, causing loss of lift. This airflow ...
Vikki's user avatar
  • 28.3k
20 votes

Why was the Spitfire's elliptical wing almost uncopied by other aircraft of World War 2?

Well the short answer is the elliptical wing was used on a lot more aircraft than this article lets on. The following all used an elliptical wing and there are others too: German Heinkel 112 fighter ...
HB Bates's user avatar
  • 201
19 votes

Why choose to ditch in the sea over bailing out?

For baling out, height is the main criteria. If at a low height above the water there is a chance you will strike the water without the parachute being fully open, depending on the trajectory of the ...
Philip Johnson's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

What is the physical explanation for the pre-stall judder in a Spitfire?

The Spitfire wing had this behaviour designed in. Mitchell's aerodynamicist Beverley Shenstone had a good deal to do with it. I can't remember who was the main design lead on the wing, but it was not ...
Guy Inchbald's user avatar
  • 7,042
14 votes

Did the Germans ever use captured Allied aircraft against the Allies?

Not sure about the Germans, but the Italians used a P-38 (from the site 12 O'Clock High): The piece about the P-38 captured by the Regia Aeronautica is extremely correct (at last, I was sick of ...
Eugene Styer's user avatar
  • 3,519
14 votes
Accepted

How is Spitfire landing gear powered?

Early models of Supermarine Spitfire (prior to the 175th production aircraft) had no hydraulic gear extension system, according to Wikipedia: At the same time the manual hand-pump for operating the ...
mins's user avatar
  • 71.9k
10 votes

Why was the Spitfire's elliptical wing almost uncopied by other aircraft of World War 2?

Short answer: Elliptical wings are too expensive to manufacture. A trapezoid wing with a defined geometric or aerodynamic twist can get very close to an elliptical lift distribution (optimal lift ...
Jens U. Moeller's user avatar
8 votes

What is the physical explanation for the pre-stall judder in a Spitfire?

The reason for this is a phenomenon called buffeting. The initial separation of the boundary layer induces vibrations in the wing (which at certain speeds can cause flutter). In most aircraft the ...
stevederekson555's user avatar
7 votes

How can I tell the difference between Spitfires and Hurricanes in photos?

I built models of each of these aircraft as a kid. And also saw them repeatedly in the Commando comics I read. From the standpoint of a child who knew very little about aviation but had built them as ...
timbo's user avatar
  • 562
7 votes

Why choose to ditch in the sea over bailing out?

In this very specific case, he was close enough to safe shores that the glide path provided significant benefit. Ditching would allow him to get significantly closer to safety than jumping. So ...
Adam Davis's user avatar
  • 2,383
6 votes

What is this cutout in the Spitfire cockpit glass?

Mins is right, but it's a more general thing: Glider planes have them too, or at least those built in the 80s that I flew in the 90s. One of their effects is that they whistle in the (self-made) wind....
user3445853's user avatar
6 votes

Did the Germans ever use captured Allied aircraft against the Allies?

Yes they did. Kampfgeschwader 200 flew recon and supply missions in captured bombers. Here's a good few more captured examples: German Warplanes 1939-1945, Captured Allied Aircraft in Luftwaffe ...
Guy Inchbald's user avatar
  • 7,042
6 votes

What is the battery voltage for a Supermarine Spitfire?

This aircraft museum says that the "Trolley Acc" (Trolley Accumulator) used for Spitfires and other aircraft supplied 12 volts. Lots of sources state that Spitfires had 12 volt electrical systems, ...
Michael Harvey's user avatar
6 votes

use the KiGass to reduce the heat of engine

His wingman reported later (quote) "I saw black regular streams of boost smoke coming from the aeroplane, indiciating he was priming his way". The point is that the engine was apparently ...
quiet flyer's user avatar
  • 22.3k
4 votes
Accepted

Why did some Spitfire variants have their wings clipped?

It would increase the roll rate, and it would increase the maximum possible airspeed at lower altitudes. Generally speaking, decreasing the wing loading doesn't help to maximize the achievable ...
quiet flyer's user avatar
  • 22.3k
4 votes

Why was the Spitfire's elliptical wing almost uncopied by other aircraft of World War 2?

A lot of planes still use elliptical wings - sort of. What the maths tell us is that the most efficient wing configuration for a given wing span should have an elliptical lift distribution*. The most ...
slebetman's user avatar
  • 2,446
4 votes
Accepted

Is the maximum power the Merlin 61 reciprocating engine occuring at its maximum RPM?

Power output of a reciprocating engine goes up with speed, and yes, maximum power is reached at maximum RPM. Considering the size and age of the Merlin 61 (27 liters displacement) it had a rather high ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
4 votes

What is this cutout in the Spitfire cockpit glass?

The ORIGINAL Spitfire I Pilot's Notes (as opposed to the concocted and suspect "1940 Spitfire Manual", whatever THAT means, quoted above) clearly state that the panel is for "Emergency use" and on the ...
Darryl H's user avatar
4 votes

use the KiGass to reduce the heat of engine

To your specific questions: First, dumping fuel into an engine by priming to cool it by evaporation does not work. In an operating engine a rich mixture runs cooler than a lean mixture, but this is ...
Pilothead's user avatar
  • 20k
3 votes

Was there ever a fuel-injected Spitfire?

I couldn't find one but did it ever exist? I do not think so (at least not off the assembly line) the RR Merlin Engines were Carb'ed. The Griffon powered planes were also carb'ed however they used an ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
3 votes
Accepted

BHP increases with Altitude

As noted in Airplane Aerodynamics by Dommasch, Sherby, and Connolly, 1967, Pitman Publishing Corporation, New York... It is a relatively simple matter to fit to an engine a large supercharger that is ...
Thomas Perry's user avatar
  • 1,192
2 votes

How can I tell the difference between Spitfires and Hurricanes in photos?

This is a Spitfire from its most distinctive viewpoint. Note the elliptical wing. Some later models had the tips of the wing clipped. This is a Hurricane. This problem is complicated by the fact ...
user3344003's user avatar
  • 1,224
2 votes

Why did some Spitfire variants have their wings clipped?

As Pierre Henri Clostermann says in his "Grand Cirque": Spitfire V: nickname:clipped,cropped,clapped Clipped = tip of clipped wings Advantage:increased speed and lateral maneuverability. wings ...
L'aviateur's user avatar

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