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RogerS

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Last weekend, enjoyed my Christmas/Birthday gift from LOML and took these pictures....









It's a Mark VB Spitfire from the Historical Aircraft Collection, pictures taken from a helicopter hovering and flying around the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, Kent.
 

wyldpuss

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Would tell your wife that my birthday is in September!

Roy.
 

RogerM

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Wow! What a fabulous experience, and what aviation junkie wouldn't drool over the chance to do that. I'm not jealous at all. :mrgreen: :---)
 

lanemaux

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Of all the machines man has created for war , by far the prettiest. Genius design, function ,elegance. The Spitfire was iconic as well as effective. It gave a lift to the heart to any who saw it. Mind you that does not include if you spotted it behind you and firing, matter of perspective there. Lovely photos , thanks for sharing.
 

woodbloke

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lanemaux":2uz30wm4 said:
Mind you that does not include if you spotted it behind you and firing, matter of perspective there..
Indeed, there's some argument to suggest that the Me109 was a better fighting aircraft at the BofB in some instances. It's open to debate, but for sure the Spitfire is the prettier. A little Googling will open a whole kettle of worms :lol: - Rob
 

Chrisnw

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OMG! Amazing photos and I am sure the experience must have been increddible. I've been lucky enough to fly in all manner of aircraft primarily to fall out of them, including a 1930's Tiger Moth, but a flight in a Spitfire would top it all I think.

I hope you've got at least one of those photos poster size somewhere (3rd one is my fave).

Chris
 

RogerM

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woodbloke":2b6ty699 said:
lanemaux":2b6ty699 said:
Mind you that does not include if you spotted it behind you and firing, matter of perspective there..
Indeed, there's some argument to suggest that the Me109 was a better fighting aircraft at the BofB in some instances. It's open to debate, but for sure the Spitfire is the prettier. A little Googling will open a whole kettle of worms :lol: - Rob
The real genius of the Spitfire was that it was so easy to fly. Guys could do 20 hours on Tiger Moths and then go straight on to the Spitfire and it wouldn't turn around and bite them . Pilots would say that you only had to think "turn" and it would go around as though on rails. I believe the ME109 was faster, but was a real handful to fly, and would definitely bite the pilot if mishandled. It was a 109 that killed Mark Hanna, son of Ray Hanna - one time Red Arrows leader - and he was a very fine and experienced pilot.
 

Harbo

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What a present lucky man!!
We used to see a Spitfire flying over our village very often until the Pilot Charles Church tragically got himself killed.
The sound of the Merlin engine is very memorable.

Rod
 

bugbear

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lanemaux":2t9g9oyv said:
Mind you that does not include if you spotted it behind you and firing, matter of perspective there. Lovely photos , thanks for sharing.
I'd quite like to see a German documentary (translated!) about the battle of Britain. From a German pilot's POV, it must have been hell, and taken tremendous courage to fly those missions.

BugBear
 

Jonzjob

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barkwindjammer":2ulb30j9 said:
Wood and fabric ?, incredible pics chrrrqqq:Roger:chrrrqqq : over :D
One of the only problems then was that is was almost all metal and more difficult to make and repair. But for all that a wonderful aircraft. The Hurricain was the last of the fabric jobbies really and did more damage to the Germans. Partly because there were more of them.

Another problem, mainly for todays flying, is the undercart is a bit delicate and it doesn't like side winds. No problem on a grass airfield because you just change takeoff/landing direction into wind, but with runways they can be difficult to turn :roll: :roll:

The Merlin was a cracker and the sound unique. The later Griffon was more powerful, but had a much harsher crackle by comparison. Murlin = music to my ears!!

Lucky man Roger =D> =D> =D>
 

RogerS

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bugbear":3q2m8td4 said:
lanemaux":3q2m8td4 said:
Mind you that does not include if you spotted it behind you and firing, matter of perspective there. Lovely photos , thanks for sharing.
I'd quite like to see a German documentary (translated!) about the battle of Britain. From a German pilot's POV, it must have been hell, and taken tremendous courage to fly those missions.

BugBear
It's worth reading patrick Robinson's 'Battle of Britain' where he does cover this to some extent. Reading this book really brings it home to you just how close it all was. None of the Gung-Ho as epitomised by the film Battle of Britain and Reach For The Sky.
 

woodbloke

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RogerM":1pao79r8 said:
The real genius of the Spitfire was that it was so easy to fly. Guys could do 20 hours on Tiger Moths and then go straight on to the Spitfire and it wouldn't turn around and bite them . Pilots would say that you only had to think "turn" and it would go around as though on rails. I believe the ME109 was faster, but was a real handful to fly, and would definitely bite the pilot if mishandled. It was a 109 that killed Mark Hanna, son of Ray Hanna - one time Red Arrows leader - and he was a very fine and experienced pilot.
At the time of the BofB, the Merlin was equipped with a carb which meant that in a dive (I think) it could loose power though later on this was cured I believe by the addition of Mrs Shilling's Orrifice (sp) As the Me109 had a relatively sophisticated fuel injection system it didn't suffer from this effect. Also at the time of the BofB, Spitfires were armed with 8 Browning .303's which were (apparantly) like pea shooters when compared to the Me109's cannon. The aicraft in Rog's pic ( which he's not flying if you read it correctly...though he might be?) isn't a BofB vintage machine as the sticky things poking out the wings are canons which later variants were fitted with to replace the Browinings. There was a very recent programme on the telly where the presenter was definitely of the opinion that the Me109 at the time of the BofB was a better fighting aircraft and was superior to the Spitfire, though as with all these things it's very much a question of debate and opinion - Rob
 

Jonzjob

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This one had a long history and was indeed built after the Battle pf Britain. This is from this site and there are some lovely photos on it too! http://www.touchdown-aviation.com/flyin ... g-mkvb.php

"Built at Castle Bromwich and delivered to 37 Maintenance Unit on May 26, 1942. Initially she was allocated to 315 (Polish) Sqn in May 1942 but after just 4 months of service she was transferred to fellow Polish 317 Sqn where she carried the code JH-C.

She was involved in a landing accident and declared Cat. B on February 13, 1943 and required extensive repair at De Havillands and modifications at Vickers-Armstrong before passing through 33, 39, and 222 Maintenance Units and issued to 58 Operational Training Unit in April 1945. In October 1945 she was converted to an instructional airframe at RAF St Athan and issued with the serial 5718M.

Relegated to display duties it was paired with AR614 at RAF Hednesford where she was gate guardian from 1952-54, then to RAF Bridgenorth before transfer to RAF Church Fenton. She was recalled to service for the 'Battle of Britain' film in 1967 it provided the master model for the fibre glass replicas. Back at Church Fenton in 1969 for a further 20 years where she was gate guardian.

With 4 more years at Linton on Ouse as gate guardian from 1975-79, she was sold by the MoD to Historic Flying Ltd. Moving firstly to Braintree then onto the new facility at Audley End. In the meantime she was sold on to the Historic Aircraft Collection in October 1993. Work continued at Audley End culminating in a first flight on July 20, 1997, with the registration G-MKVB. She was temporarily in new paint scheme in 2000 for Pearl Harbor film with markings AR352 (RF-C).

She flew to Malta along with Hurricane 'Z5140' as part of the project "Merlins over Malta" it was for the first time since 1952 that she and the Historic Aircraft Collection's Hurricane flew in the Maltese skies.

The Spitfire was painted with code U-2 that was to join 603 Squadron. When the aircraft were put aboard the USS Wasp they were wearing standard camouflage schemes but on the deck of an aircraft carrier sailing through the Mediterranean these camouflage patterns offered no protection. The solution was to paint the top surfaces of the aircraft blue. Paint was taken from the stores and applied to the aircraft.

She is currently painted in the colours of 317 (Polish) Squadron, wearing the code JH-C.
 

RogerM

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woodbloke":2swqm61w said:
RogerM":2swqm61w said:
The real genius of the Spitfire was that it was so easy to fly. Guys could do 20 hours on Tiger Moths and then go straight on to the Spitfire and it wouldn't turn around and bite them . Pilots would say that you only had to think "turn" and it would go around as though on rails. I believe the ME109 was faster, but was a real handful to fly, and would definitely bite the pilot if mishandled. It was a 109 that killed Mark Hanna, son of Ray Hanna - one time Red Arrows leader - and he was a very fine and experienced pilot.
At the time of the BofB, the Merlin was equipped with a carb which meant that in a dive (I think) it could loose power though later on this was cured I believe by the addition of Mrs Shilling's Orrifice (sp) As the Me109 had a relatively sophisticated fuel injection system it didn't suffer from this effect. Also at the time of the BofB, Spitfires were armed with 8 Browning .303's which were (apparantly) like pea shooters when compared to the Me109's cannon. The aicraft in Rog's pic ( which he's not flying if you read it correctly...though he might be?) isn't a BofB vintage machine as the sticky things poking out the wings are canons which later variants were fitted with to replace the Browinings. There was a very recent programme on the telly where the presenter was definitely of the opinion that the Me109 at the time of the BofB was a better fighting aircraft and was superior to the Spitfire, though as with all these things it's very much a question of debate and opinion - Rob
I wouldn't disagree with any of that Rob. What I really meant was that from a handling perspective the Spitfire was an absolute joy. It may well have been that an Me109 in all it's variants in the hands of a highly experienced pilot, with many hundreds of hours "on type", would be at least a match for a Spitfire, and maybe a better fighting machine. However, during the Battle of Britain, the average age of the pilots was just 19, so by definition they were not highly experienced. I understand the average age of the German pilots was not much greater. In either case, someone with 200 hours on type was "highly experienced". 18 year old RAF pilots were going in to battle in Spitfires with just 50 hours flying experience, of which as few as 20 hours were "on type" gained in just a few weeks. Frequently it was the benign handling of the Spitfire that looked after them - with little tendency to unprovoked "tip stall" or spin.

On the other hand the Me109s (particularly the G variant) would "tip stall" for a pass time and many pilots were killed during training. It also had a very narrow track undercarriage which made both take off and landings tricky. In favour of the 109 was the roll rate, as the guns were contained in the fuselage near the roll axis, whereas on the Spitfire they were outboard in the wings to fire around the prop rather than through it as in the 109. This meant that inertia took its toll and the spitfire was slower in roll than the 109. The luftwaffe squandered the speed advantage of the Me109 in the Battle of Britain by making the fighter pilots fly with the much slower bombers allowing the Spitfires the advantage of speed and height.

Mark Hanna was an ex RAF pilot with over 4500 hours experience gained over a 23 year flying career. However, his Me109G tip stalled on him when he attempted to land back on the runway along which he had just done a low pass. There being no "black box" the exact cause can only be conjecture, but from expert eyewitness accounts he took the right recovery action by instinct but too late. In a Spitfire he would probably have got away with it.

I guess the point I'm making is that it takes more than just speed and manoeuverability to make a great fighter aircraft. The Spit was the right aircraft with the right flying characteristices at the right time, for which we should all be grateful.
 

RogerS

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Many thanks for all the comments and glad you enjoyed the photo's.

woodbloke":1srfbnpb said:
.....
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The aicraft in Rog's pic ( which he's not flying if you read it correctly...though he might be? )
I wish! Oh, how I wish!
woodbloke":1srfbnpb said:
isn't a BofB vintage machine as the sticky things poking out the wings are canons which later variants were fitted with to replace the Browinings.
It's a VB and was flown as part of one of the Polish squadron's. Inside the cockpit door are some signatures from pilots of the squadron including one from a pilot who's aircraft this was. This aircraft was used as a pattern for the glass-fibre replicas used in the BoB film. More information on this aircraft can be found here.

woodbloke":1srfbnpb said:
There was a very recent programme on the telly where the presenter was definitely of the opinion that the Me109 at the time of the BofB was a better fighting aircraft and was superior to the Spitfire, though as with all these things it's very much a question of debate and opinion - Rob
A highly contentious opinion - that presenter. Wouldn't have been Bungay by any chance?

If anyone would like more details of the day then details can be found here. The flying dates are also listed and so if you're in the vicinity of Capel-Le-Ferne then you can get a free view!
 

woodbloke

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RogerS":10wcw3ch said:
A highly contentious opinion - that presenter. Wouldn't have been Bungay by any chance?
I don't know who he was Rog, but he was highly opinionated and I can't remember the exact jist of his delivery but the content of the programme cerainly provided 'food for thought' in the seemingly interminable debate about which was best...the Spitfire or Me109. I do agree though, it was the right aircraft at the right time and even the sight of one today makes the hairs rise on the back of me neck :lol: In fact, where I work at the moment was the old RAF Andover base (long since transferred to the Army) and in the corridor outside is a pic of much later Spitfire (one with a bubble canopy) that was parked at the main gate...alas, it was shifted some time ago when the base closed (probably 'cos the crabs didn't want to leave the greens anything to play with :p :lol:) - Rob
 

bugbear

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The Spitfire/Hurricane thing is related to the German Tiger Tank thing.

There's not much debate that a "Tiger II" was the best tank of WWII. But was it the best tank to build, given finite production resources?

What's wanted in "total war" is the design that gives you the most battlefield power for the production resource you have, not the most battlefield power per item.

BugBear
 

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