Air Ministry Plane pixs

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So after a busy week with assignments, we are looking at post #43 and begin with Images 811 and 813 of a Halifax III. I can't identify it, but the aircraft in the background is Spitfire, ahem, Seafire III LR874, which was at Boscombe Down undergoing performance trials. Blurry image 812 is a different aircraft and '814 is different again, note the absence of the H2S dome under the rear fuselage in the aircraft in '811 and '813; in '814 is Halifax GR.III NR187. Built by English Electric, this one is clean as a whistle and looks like it's just rolled out of the factory. I can't say anything more about this airframe or the others. Note the white cowling gills on the aircraft in images '811, '812 and '813, but not '814, obvious on a night bomber.

Image 815 is a Short Stirling V transport, it is possible this is the prototype of that variant, LJ530. The prototype was converted on the production line at Rochester, but the production Mk.Vs were built by the Short factory in Belfast, down the road from the Harland and Wolff slipway where the Titanic was built. The Mk.V was designed in support of the Tiger Force, but when that went nowhere the production aircraft were used as general transports with RAF Transport Command and some were converted passenger aircraft, carrying 29 people in their capacious fuselage.

Image 817 and '818 ('816 has flown away?) show the second Stirling Mk.II prototype N3711, this aircraft was powered by Wright R2600 Cyclone engines and was at Boscombe Down in May 1942 with the Intensive Flying Flight, trials revealing that it was unsuitable for operation because of poor ceiling and manual mixture control, excessive noise and vibration plaguing the aircraft, and the engines overheated, which necessitated keeping the cowling gills open, which reduced their temperature but this reduced the aircraft's speed in the cruise.

Image 819 an often produced image of the third prototype Blackburn Roc L3059 being evaluated with floats. The photo was taken at the MA&AEE facility at Helensburgh, Scotland in November 1939. By the end of the next month it had been destroyed in a crash (I guess you were right, Azul!). Prior to this it was found that it suffered directional instability and didn't like being turned at low altitude, until an extra fin was added under the tail, not pictured here. This was not good for a fighter and altogether the floatplane Roc, of which only a few were converted was a bit of a disaster, with one that had crashed during trials, a second having as short a career as this one, being scrapped in March 1940 and the first, relegated to becoming an instructional airframe. Probably the best thing for them. Pilots in the FAA catapult fighter squadrons probably breathed a sigh of relief on hearing the type wasn't entering service...

Image 820 shows the prototype Roc, L3057, which was the first Roc converted as a floatplane, the work done at Blackburn's factory at Dumbarton, which was only a few miles along the Clyde from Helensburgh, which means the ferry pilots didn't really have time to realise the aircraft they were sending for evaluation was just rubbish and they should exit the aircraft mid ferry flight and save themselves... This aircraft underwent trials at Boscombe Down before the war in 1939, to evaluate the Boulton Paul turret installation and for performance trials, which not unsurprisingly revealed that the Roc was quite slow and its rate-of-climb was marginally improved by fitting a Skua's propeller, seen fitted in this image, also, an Armstrong Siddeley Tiger engine snaffled from a Whitley bomber was fitted to the second prototype (not this one), which boosted its maximum speed from 224 mph to 227 mph!

Images 821 through '825 (missing '822) show the prototype Daffy TT.I target tug DR863 in a rather snowy setting; note that instead of the photographer walking around the aircraft to get the standard recognition shots, they have done the opposite and moved the aircraft! This Defiant spent five weeks on the ground at Boscombe Down due to unserviceability and left in July 1942 having achieved nothing except being moved about in the snow for the photographer! When it left, it was devoid of its towing equipment. DR863 was the first of an order for 150 TT variants, which were based on the Mk.II airframe, hence the titling on the photos.

Image 826 shows Defiant II N1551 photographed in November 1940, this was the first Daffy fitted with a Merlin XX, which improved the type's performance, achieving 313 mph over the previous Merlin III engined Defiant I K8620's maximum speed of 312 mph, although Daffy I L6954 could only manage 303 mph.

Image 827 shows another Daffy TT.1, this time spouting a rather swollen air intake housing a new oil cooler; this is TT.III N3488, which was at Boscombe Down in late 1942, which was powered by a Merlin III as per the F.I variant rather than the Merlin XX of the F.II and TT.I model previously seen, which resulted in oil overheating hence the new cooler.

Image 828 shows the third prototype Beaufighter R2054 looking spotless, one of four that had arrived at Boscombe Down for trials by July 1940, but by the end of September all four had been returned to the manufacturer without a single trial having been finished owing to a large number of defects found whist the aircraft were there! Handling and stability were affected, which warranted them being returned to the manufacturer - this wasn't uncommon for prototypes being returned to the manufacturer before trials could continue because of manufacturing faults, they were, after all, built by hand and not on a production line; the Halifax prototype was the same.

Images 829 through '831 show Beaufighter NF.VI V8442, this aircraft was at Boscombe Down for engine trials, being fitted with Hercules XVI engines with engine cooling measurements being carried out. Note the Air Interception radar transmitter aerials on the leading edges and the receiver aerials the diagonal ones midway along the wing upper and lower surfaces of the right wing only, visible in image '831 and faintly in '829. In that first image, the four 20 mm Hispano cannon ports have been covered over with doped fabric patches. It's wet there, note the tyres are glistening.

And finally, a very special aeroplane, the first prototype de Havilland Mosquito E0234, its serial later changed to W4050, in its all-over yellow colour scheme, this side view emphasising its sleek lines. Arriving at Boscombe in February 1941, the aircraft had completed 8 and a half hours flying time before it was taxied over a bumpy patch of ground, which broke its fuselage at the wing, so it had surgery in the form of the second prototype's fuselage being rushed into replacing the broken one. During these trials the aircraft's excellent speeds became apparent, achieving 388 mph at 20,000 feet, which was quite quick in early 1941 for a twin engined machine, although its stalling speed was regarded as high for the time, 105 clean and 90 mph with flaps. The cockpit was considered small, but confortable. This picture was taken before the accident because after repairs that only took a few days, the engine nacelles were lengthened at their rear to protrude aft of the wing trailing edge as production Mosquitoes did. Note the trestle rash on the fuselage side and the absense of undercarriage doors, which leads me to suspect this picture was taken at Hatfield rather than Boscombe - the Tiger Moths in the background might confirm this, where it was taken by road after the major components had been built at Salisbury Hall; subsequently the following prototypes (except the second, devoid of a fuselage before completion) built at the mansion house were flown out of the grounds there to Hatfield, which included the fourth prototype W4053, which was fitted with a gun turret...

Next time, more Mossie Madness...
 
Right back into it... To post #48 and Images 833 to '835 showing Mosquito NF.II DD609, this was a Hatfield built night fighter, seen here with a full complement of Air Interception radar aerials, equipped with AI Mk.IV, the photo probably taken at Hatfield after rollout. Apparently this aircraft was sent to Boscombe Down but I don't have any information on why. It subsequently served with 151 Sqn and later 54 OTU at RAF Charterhall, known locally as Slaughter Hall because of the high rate of trainee pilots flying their night fighters into the ground after dark.

Images 836 to '839 show Mosquito NF.XVII DZ659, which was the first to be fitted with the AI Mk.X radar, the US SCR720 unit in the bulbous nose, the airframe was a Mk.II specially converted, DZ659 was the first of 100 done by Marshall's of Cambridge. The type was an effective night fighter and equipped six squadrons.

Image 840 shows Mosquito FB.XVIII PZ468 at North Coates whilst serving with 254 Sqn in 1945, the aircraft has the Molins quick Firing 6 pounder (57mm) gun under the nose, which had 25 rounds loaded with an automatic loader. A total of 18 of these aircraft were built, from converted Mk.VIs. Nothing more to add about official trials, this aircraft was not one tested, but the type was found to initially have difficulty in loading the gun, but this was resolved and it was found to be unsuitable for night operations because of the muzzle flash. An example was tested on the ground at Salisbury Plain, having been flown to a relief landing ground at Shrewton and taxied one and a half miles to the site.

Imge 842 and '843 (841 has disappeared) shows Mosquito T.29 KA117, one of the trainer variants built by De Havilland Canada at their Downsview factory. Powered by Packard Merlins, 37 T.29s were built. In the background of '843 there is a Tempest and C-47. It's interesting to note that parts of one of these, KA114 was used in a new build Mosquito in New Zealand, the aircraft adopting KA114's identity and the aircraft is now with Jerry Yagen's collection in the USA at the Viriginia Beach Air Museum.

51542697242_e7f9493ce5_c.jpg
Mosquito Day 221 sm

Images 845 and 846 show the Mosquito NF.38 prototype RL248, fitted with Merlin 114 engines and AI. Mk.IX radar, converted from the NF.36 version, of which this was the first carried out, with 101 NF.38s built. The NF.38 was the last variant of the Mosquito built before production ceased in 1950, with 7,781 built in the UK, Australia and Canada. Note the Vampires in the background of '845, early Mk.Is with the squared off fins and also the vertical aerials on the left hand wingtip, these are associated with blind landing equipment.

Image 847 shows Mosquito PR.32 NS589, one of five examples of the type, a lightened variant of the PR.XVI for very high altitude photographic reconnaissance, with Merlin RM 16SM engines and extended wing tips. Whilst undergoing trials at Boscombe Down, sadly the prototype, NS586 was lost whilst in a dive on 12 April 1945, the pilot lost control and crashed, with experts citing compressibility as a probable cause of the loss of control.

Image 848 shows Mosquito PR.VIII DK324 with a white altitude calibration line on its fuselage side. Powered by Merlin 61s, the type was a converted B.IV, this particular one having a short testing life, arriving at Boscombe down in December 1942, but was lost in an accident at High Post in January 1943, having not fully completed trials, the only one being on weighing. note the Wellington possibly B.III DF627 and Anson behind.

Image 849 shows a PR variant fitted with high altitude Merlins, this could be a PR.XVI pressurised variant, note the intake ahead of the pilot's quarterlight, also note the unusual coverings over what I can only deduce are air data probes under the nose. If it is the PR.XVI, the aircraft reportedly performed well whilst under trials at Boscombe Down, with pressurisation and demisting giving no issues. Dives from height were performed with caveats surrounding overstressing the airframe, although nothing about compressibility, as what happened to poor NS586, the PR.32 prototype.

Image 850 shows Hornet F.I PX210, which arrived at Boscombe down for performance trials in February 1945, with three others for extensive testing, proving outstanding, one adverse comment being around their closely cowled engines proving awkward for maintenance.

Images 851 and 852 show Hornet PR.II PX216, of which seven others were converted from standard F.Is, with four cameras in the fuselage, this one being the first. The R marking represents its time with the Air Photographic Development Unit at RAF Benson, where these images were probably taken, the backgrounds being skillfully blanked out. These pictures clearly illustrate the beautiful lines of the type, its svelte appearance making even the elegant Mosquito look portly.

And lastly to something a little less of a thoroughbred, images 854 and 855 show Fulmar F.II X8641, which was at Boscombe Down in October 1941 for various trials, including range with a belly tank, which increased it to 1,100 miles, with an increased weight on 10,500 lbs. Note that it has a Universal carrier under the right-hand wing only. Note the aircraft in the background, a Dragon Rapide, Blenheim, DB-7 and Wellington.
 
Right back into it... To post #48 and Images 833 to '835 showing Mosquito NF.II DD609, this was a Hatfield built night fighter, seen here with a full complement of Air Interception radar aerials, equipped with AI Mk.IV, the photo probably taken at Hatfield after rollout. Apparently this aircraft was sent to Boscombe Down but I don't have any information on why. It subsequently served with 151 Sqn and later 54 OTU at RAF Charterhall, known locally as Slaughter Hall because of the high rate of trainee pilots flying their night fighters into the ground after dark.

Images 836 to '839 show Mosquito NF.XVII DZ659, which was the first to be fitted with the AI Mk.X radar, the US SCR720 unit in the bulbous nose, the airframe was a Mk.II specially converted, DZ659 was the first of 100 done by Marshall's of Cambridge. The type was an effective night fighter and equipped six squadrons.

Image 840 shows Mosquito FB.XVIII PZ468 at North Coates whilst serving with 254 Sqn in 1945, the aircraft has the Molins quick Firing 6 pounder (57mm) gun under the nose, which had 25 rounds loaded with an automatic loader. A total of 18 of these aircraft were built, from converted Mk.VIs. Nothing more to add about official trials, this aircraft was not one tested, but the type was found to initially have difficulty in loading the gun, but this was resolved and it was found to be unsuitable for night operations because of the muzzle flash. An example was tested on the ground at Salisbury Plain, having been flown to a relief landing ground at Shrewton and taxied one and a half miles to the site.

Imge 842 and '843 (841 has disappeared) shows Mosquito T.29 KA117, one of the trainer variants built by De Havilland Canada at their Downsview factory. Powered by Packard Merlins, 37 T.29s were built. In the background of '843 there is a Tempest and C-47. It's interesting to note that parts of one of these, KA114 was used in a new build Mosquito in New Zealand, the aircraft adopting KA114's identity and the aircraft is now with Jerry Yagen's collection in the USA at the Viriginia Beach Air Museum.

View attachment 643422Mosquito Day 221 sm

Images 845 and 846 show the Mosquito NF.38 prototype RL248, fitted with Merlin 114 engines and AI. Mk.IX radar, converted from the NF.36 version, of which this was the first carried out, with 101 NF.38s built. The NF.38 was the last variant of the Mosquito built before production ceased in 1950, with 7,781 built in the UK, Australia and Canada. Note the Vampires in the background of '845, early Mk.Is with the squared off fins and also the vertical aerials on the left hand wingtip, these are associated with blind landing equipment.

Image 847 shows Mosquito PR.32 NS589, one of five examples of the type, a lightened variant of the PR.XVI for very high altitude photographic reconnaissance, with Merlin RM 16SM engines and extended wing tips. Whilst undergoing trials at Boscombe Down, sadly the prototype, NS586 was lost whilst in a dive on 12 April 1945, the pilot lost control and crashed, with experts citing compressibility as a probable cause of the loss of control.

Image 848 shows Mosquito PR.VIII DK324 with a white altitude calibration line on its fuselage side. Powered by Merlin 61s, the type was a converted B.IV, this particular one having a short testing life, arriving at Boscombe down in December 1942, but was lost in an accident at High Post in January 1943, having not fully completed trials, the only one being on weighing. note the Wellington possibly B.III DF627 and Anson behind.

Image 849 shows a PR variant fitted with high altitude Merlins, this could be a PR.XVI pressurised variant, note the intake ahead of the pilot's quarterlight, also note the unusual coverings over what I can only deduce are air data probes under the nose. If it is the PR.XVI, the aircraft reportedly performed well whilst under trials at Boscombe Down, with pressurisation and demisting giving no issues. Dives from height were performed with caveats surrounding overstressing the airframe, although nothing about compressibility, as what happened to poor NS586, the PR.32 prototype.

Image 850 shows Hornet F.I PX210, which arrived at Boscombe down for performance trials in February 1945, with three others for extensive testing, proving outstanding, one adverse comment being around their closely cowled engines proving awkward for maintenance.

Images 851 and 852 show Hornet PR.II PX216, of which seven others were converted from standard F.Is, with four cameras in the fuselage, this one being the first. The R marking represents its time with the Air Photographic Development Unit at RAF Benson, where these images were probably taken, the backgrounds being skillfully blanked out. These pictures clearly illustrate the beautiful lines of the type, its svelte appearance making even the elegant Mosquito look portly.

And lastly to something a little less of a thoroughbred, images 854 and 855 show Fulmar F.II X8641, which was at Boscombe Down in October 1941 for various trials, including range with a belly tank, which increased it to 1,100 miles, with an increased weight on 10,500 lbs. Note that it has a Universal carrier under the right-hand wing only. Note the aircraft in the background, a Dragon Rapide, Blenheim, DB-7 and Wellington.
Excellent! Please keep it coming, nuuumannn.
 
So, back into it, and we are looking at post #52 and start with Image 855 of an unidentified Fulmar II looking a little war weary. Its likely that its Fulmar II X8641 previously written about from Post #48. It is fitted with a drop tank below the fuselage, so that does tie in with the previous images.

Moving on to Image 856 and we are looking at Firebrand Mk.IV EK605 looking quite deadly from this angle. The aircraft was evaluated for handling trials at Boscombe down from July 1945 fitted with enlarged control surfaces and horn balanced rudder and powered with a Centaurus IX engine supported by vibration dampened engine mounts. Note the stores pylon between the fuselage undercarriage doors. Despite its impressive looks, the Firebrand TF.IV did not go to sea as, entering service with 813 Sqn FAA in September 1946, a year later the unit was disbanded without reaching a carrier deck. The TF.IV model was the first variant of this troubled fighter to enter production, with 170 built, although the original order was greater, with fifty of them being cancelled. It's worth noting that the Firebrand was intended on being the FAA's response to the Air Ministry not placing orders for single-seat fighters before the war, which in the interim led the admirals to seek out alternatives to the two-seat fighters on its decks, such as the Skua fighter/dive bomber and later the Fulmar. That it took five years to become production worthy yet fulfil an entirely different role to that for which it was designed was beyond the Admiralty's doing and caused it to look elsewhere in the almost desperate search for a suitable carrier fighter.

Image 857 shows Gloster F.9/37 second prototype L8002 powered by two Peregrine engines, the first prototype L7999 was powered by Bristol Tauruses. This photograph is possibly taken at Hucclecote, from where it made its first flight in February 1940. Sadly for some reason, the F.9/37 was not selected for production because it was a promising aircraft, it reached a speed of 330 mph at 15,000 ft, but with RR choosing to discontinue the Peregrine its fate was sealed and nothing became of it.

Image 858 shows Hotspur prototype K8309, the loser to turret fighter specification F.9/35 to which the Boulton Paul Defiant gained a production order. This picture was taken at Brooklands racing track; you can see the banked track in the background. Only one Hotspur was built and from this image its easy to see it was closely related to the Hawker Hurricane in structure. Little attention was paid to this project by the manufacturer, the prototype was begun in 1937 but was discontinued and took over a year to complete, by which time the Defiant prototype had already flown. The Hotspur was never fitted with a turret and with ballast in its place demonstrated better performance than the Defiant by virtue of its lighter weight. Hawker eventually lost interest in the aircraft and it was used for flap and dive brake trials aiding the design of the closely related Henley dive bomber by the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough.

Images 860 and 861 and '2, both of which show the same image is Hurricane Mk.V KZ193 at Boscombe Down for armament and performance trials. Fitted with a four-bladed propeller powered by a Merlin 27, the Mk.V demonstrated poor handling because of an aft CG with a large change of directional trim with power and it was thought that the larger armour plated radiator and four bladed prop were held responsible. The Mk.V was fitted with two 40mm anti-tank guns and was designed as a specialised ground attack variant, with added armour plating, but despite an intent to produce the aircraft, only three were built. It was believed that the modest improvement in performance did not justify putting a new variant of the type into production.

Images 863 and 864 show the Mk.V's predecessor the Mk.IV, of which this is LB774, a standard production variant of this ground attack focussed Hurricane. The attack variant had a 'universal' wing that enabled it to carry a range of stores including the 40mm cannon shown fitted to this one, but it could also carry rockets and bombs under the wings. Over 500 of these were delivered to the RAF which proved effective in service, particularly in the CBI theatre against the Japanese. It was Hurricane IV equipped 6 Sqn that was the last front line unit to operate the Hurricane in RAF service, retiring its Hurris in 1946 whilst based in Palestine.

Images 865 and '866 show Tempest F.VI NX116, which was a standard production variant of this aircraft, the VI differed from the previous V in being powered by the 2,340 hp Sabre IV engine, which was cooled by a larger radiator, with the oil cooler mounted in the starboard wing root, along with a carby intake at each wing root, visible in Image 865. The type was too late for wartime service but reached squadrons based in Germany after the war and remained in service until 1949. This particular aircraft did not see squadron service, being used for trials with the manufacturer; note the different colour to the nose and fuselage from the cockpit forward, which suggests panel modification.

Image 867 shows Tornado second prototype P5224, which was at Boscombe Down briefly in October 1941 where it undertook performance trials that demonstrated its performance was very close to stablemate Typhoon, with little variation, although the report states that with 1 lb extra boost it could reach 400 mph at altitude. Handling was indistinguishable from the Typhoon, but the type was not selected for production as the Vulture engine was discontinued and fitted with the Centaurus there was hope of production as results were encouraging, but this didn't help the type and the work that went into cowling the Centaurus was to aid with the Tempest II and Fury powered by that engine.

Images 868 through 871 show the same Typhoon Ib R8224 with an all-over white nose, trialed owing to losses of the type through friendly fire because of misidentification. Possibly photographed at Hawker's airfield at Langley, where this aircraft was built, it subsequently served with 56 and 609 Squadron, with whom is was overstressed during aerobatics in September 1943. Note that it doesn't have the strengthening plates on the rear fuselage join, where Typhoons suffered a rash of tail sections falling off.

Image 873 shows an unidentified Typhoon IB fitted with drop tanks and I can't find any information pertaining to this image. Needless to say, the Typhoon was extensively tested at Boscombe Down, not least because of the myriad issues it suffered. Carbon monoxide contamination of the cockpit was a serious issue, as was persistent vibration from its engine, not to mention tails inextricably falling off, aside from weapons trials for the low level role, at which it excelled.

Images 874 and '875 show the same Typhoon IB in March 1945, note the Albemarle in the background of '874. Again, I can't identify this particular machine, with a serial ending in 27, but its noteworthy in that it is armed with two 20mm cannon only, with the fairing stub of the inboard gun on the right had wing remaining, but not on the left hand wing, also note the individual letter S attributed to the aircraft. In 1945 it's hardly undergoing weapons or performance trials, and looking a bit worn out suggests it might be a squadron hack or CO's personal mount?

Finally for today the wee Miles M.20 stop-gap fighter U-0228, which went to Boscombe Down for assessment in April 1941, which it was found to have heavy but overbalanced controls, although the stall was unconventional. In a dive the aircraft managed 450 mph, impressive given its fixed undercarriage. This aircraft revisited for trials in mid 1941 serialled DR616 for evaluation as a naval fighter - the saga of the admiralty's attempts at getting single-seat fighters for its carriers had a long reach - which our forum regular Eric 'Winkle' Brown later flew and concluded that although it demonstrated good performance, better than that of the Martlet (F4F Wildcat), which he had flown in combat and rated as one of the best naval fighters, the M.20 was a terrible carrier aircraft and so further work was discontinued.

Coming up, more from the M.20 and Spitfires! A lot of 'em!
 
mages 874 and '875 show the same Typhoon IB in March 1945, note the Albemarle in the background of '874. Again, I can't identify this particular machine, with a serial ending in 27, but its noteworthy in that it is armed with two 20mm cannon only, with the fairing stub of the inboard gun on the right had wing remaining, but not on the left hand wing, also note the individual letter S attributed to the aircraft. In 1945 it's hardly undergoing weapons or performance trials, and looking a bit worn out suggests it might be a squadron hack or CO's personal mount?
Hawker Typhoon FR.1b EK427 S, ex-No.268 Squadron RAF July to November 1944, then No.IV(AC) Squadron RAF December 1944 to February 1945, then 84GSU for disposal. Part of a standard set of ATP photos for the type taken March 1945 whilst waiting for disposal. So this is one of the relatively rare Fighter Reconnaissance (FR) variants of the Typhoon converted from standard Hawker Typhoon Mk.1b - all three bladed propellor, all small tailplanes, bubble canopy. Around 50 in total modified, fitted with one 14-inch and two 5- inch cameras installed in the wing bay normally occupied by the inner port 20mm cannon. The two smaller cameras were mounted in a split-oblique arrangement and the long-focus, high-speed 14-inch camera faced to port and downwards at an angle of 20 degrees. Apertures for all three cameras were set into the underside of the port wing, and had small fairings to deflect air and rain away from the camera lenses. Because of the camera replacing the inner port 20mm, originally left cannon stub on wing leading edge, later often removed and plated over. Also because of unbalanced recoil, starboard inner 20mm cannon also removed and either cannon fairing stub or plated over. Some used empty position of starboard cannon to fit a forward facing cine camera to complement the cameras in the port wing - used on getting strike photographs, following in attacking Typhoons using rockets or bombs. At time this photo taken, the underwing panel on the port wing with camera apertures had been removed (likely along with the internal camera mounts and fittings) and the resulting gap plated over - in some of the other photos in the series the rough patch panel is evident. Other photos in series of this aircraft held in IWM and RAFM Collections.
 
Hawker Typhoon FR.1b EK427 S, ex-No.268 Squadron RAF July to November 1944, then No.IV(AC) Squadron RAF December 1944 to February 1945, then 84GSU for disposal. Part of a standard set of ATP photos for the type taken March 1945 whilst waiting for disposal. So this is one of the relatively rare Fighter Reconnaissance (FR) variants of the Typhoon converted from standard Hawker Typhoon Mk.1b - all three bladed propellor, all small tailplanes, bubble canopy. Around 50 in total modified, fitted with one 14-inch and two 5- inch cameras installed in the wing bay normally occupied by the inner port 20mm cannon. The two smaller cameras were mounted in a split-oblique arrangement and the long-focus, high-speed 14-inch camera faced to port and downwards at an angle of 20 degrees. Apertures for all three cameras were set into the underside of the port wing, and had small fairings to deflect air and rain away from the camera lenses. Because of the camera replacing the inner port 20mm, originally left cannon stub on wing leading edge, later often removed and plated over. Also because of unbalanced recoil, starboard inner 20mm cannon also removed and either cannon fairing stub or plated over. Some used empty position of starboard cannon to fit a forward facing cine camera to complement the cameras in the port wing - used on getting strike photographs, following in attacking Typhoons using rockets or bombs. At time this photo taken, the underwing panel on the port wing with camera apertures had been removed (likely along with the internal camera mounts and fittings) and the resulting gap plated over - in some of the other photos in the series the rough patch panel is evident. Other photos in series of this aircraft held in IWM and RAFM Collections.

Excellent. Nice work.
 
Last batch. Hope you all liked. I know Nuuumannn will miss the homework .
 

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Continuing with Post #54 and the Miles M.20 that we saw in the previous set in Image 878, in a common image found in many references on the type; note its completely shrouded exhaust. This was the second prototype that 'Winkle' Brown test flew at Farnborough to compare it with the Martlet and Hurricane as a potential naval fighter in January 1942, mock combat with a Hurricane revealed that the Hurri could out turn the M.20 and could change direction quicker, although Brown did state that the M.20 accelerated well, but did not offer a significant speed advantage over the Martlet and Hurricane to warrant production, not to mention its landing characteristics, which, after six landings convinced Brown it would not make a good carrier aircraft. The second prototype underwent brief official trials with the A&AEE with 17 comments on construction and minor issues, such as excellent visibility from the cockpit but its operation was poor and its controls were slightly overbalanced.

Image 879 shows the first prototype M.20 showing minor detail differences between it and the second example. Remarkably, this aircraft was built in the astonishing time of 65 days, which has to be some sort of record, although it used Miles Master trainer parts and it was powered by a Merlin XX in a "power egg" adopted from a Bristol Beaufighter II. Presumably taken at Woodley Aerodrome, Miles' home airfield this image is also commonly reproduced, with its blown Perspex bubble canopy a first in a British fighter. Later serialled AX834, a few months later during icy conditions, whilst coming into land the pilot touched the brakes to slow it down on rollout, but the thing locked up and it skidded some distance and went through a fence and ended up in a creek on the edge of the aerodrome.

Image 880 shows the first of a number of Seafires in this lot of images, this one being Seafire I BL676 powered by a Merlin 45 that underwent handling trials in April 1942 prior to performance trials, which revealed its similarity to the Spitfire V from which it was derived, the only major comment being the push force required during dives to 450 mph. Note the flap position indicator in board of the wing trailing edge, also the undercarriage position indicator further forward. Note the aircraft has the name BONDOWOSO on the forward fuselage and also note the tube aft of the exhaust ports directing exhaust gases to heat the gun bays. In the distance can be seen two Wellingtons, one of which looks like the pressurised Mk.VI, a Stirling and a Boston.

Image 881 shows a Seafire IIC powered by a Merlin 48, ahem, Merlin 46 and four bladed prop, Vokes filter and belly tank. Note that it displays its octane rating and note the prominent dents on the left hand front of the tank and the right hand edge of the radiator under the right wing. The aircraft is also fitted with catapult spools just visible on either side of the drop tank, indicating that it had been strengthened for catapult trials but did not have folding wings. It looks like this could be Seafire IIC MB138, but the only image I have seen of this aircraft it doesn't have the Vokes filter, although the entire lower chin panel was easily removable.

Images 882 and 883 show the same Seafire III with a serial ending in __765 looking relatively new, it's possible this is LR765 the first production F.III, which underwent handling trials at Boscombe Down which wee abandoned in August due to poor longitudinal characteristics. Note in '882 the rounded off forward edge of the main undercarriage doors to prevent them fouling arrestor cables on landing, the covered gun muzzle, simply done with a piece of fabric tied on with string and the sling point on the forward fuselage. In 883 the arrestor hook can be seen retracted under the rear fuselage with the hinge point for the hook plainly visible forward of it on the fuselage side. Extra structural strengthening in the form of a longitudinal can be seen below the cockpit on the fuselage side, as well as the gun heater tube behind the exhaust ports. Note also the aerial on the right hand wing underside, presumably range finding radio equipment.

Images 884, '885 and '886 show the same Seafire LF.III fitted with a four bladed propeller and six ported ejector exhausts and powered by a Merlin 55, although the engine mark is not noted in the images. This could be Seafire NF545, which underwent trials whilst fitted with metal skinned elevators visible in '886, revealing that handling had improved with an aft set CG. Following trials this aircraft was sent to 899 Sqn at Peterhead in Scotland, formerly Royal Naval Airship Station Longside during the Great War.

Images 887 through '891 show Seafire XV prototype NS487 fitted with a Griffon VI engine, which impressed the team at Boscombe owing to its flush riveting, filled joints and polished surfaces. This caused a mild warning in that it proved very slippery during landing and care had to be taken on approach not to exceed the relevant approach speeds. Note the extra longitudinal strengthening on the fuselage side and panel work around the hook pivot point. The aircraft's high sheen finish is evident in the photographs. This aircraft was later used for weapons trials and arrestor hook trials at Farnborough, living a life of testing.

Image 892 shows another Griffon engined Seafire XV giving away little information about itself, with the exception of stores racks under the wings, it also has a vertically mounted guard ahead of the tail wheel, which indicates that it has the sting type arrestor hook that took the lower part of the rudder with it when it extended. This proved more effective than the previous 'A' Type that extended below the rear fuselage. In the background can be seen an example of the notoriously camera shy Westland Welkin, possibly DX327 which underwent high altitude handling trials in 1945, which corresponds with the time period of this image.

Images 893 through '897 are of the same Seafire F.46 LA541 with '894 and 895 being the same picture, note the contra-rotating propellers, the front view accentuating the amount of prop visible in this version. Its interesting to note that 24 of this mark were built but none of them entered navy service, all of them serving in a trials capacity for the Seafire 47, the last mass produced variant of the Spitfire line, of which there was no official prototype, the '46s incorporating the mods required of the type in service. Interestingly enough, the 24 aircraft's lineage goes back to an order for Spitfire VCs in March 1942 for 300 airframes, but this was cancelled in 1943 and reestablished as an order for 120 Spitfire F.21s, which was extended to incorporate 92 Seafire 45s and 46s. This example was the first production Seafire 46 and its sheen and smart finish is obvious, which indicates its recent completion. It underwent diving trials with the A&AEE before being unceremoniously disposed of, a sad end for a shark-like warrior. Note the sting type arrestor hook and tail wheel guard mentioned earlier and the notched rudder trim tab, its distinctive profile clearly visible in '897.

That's it for this lot, more Spitfires to come.
 
Right back into it... To post #48 and Images 833 to '835 showing Mosquito NF.II DD609, this was a Hatfield built night fighter, seen here with a full complement of Air Interception radar aerials, equipped with AI Mk.IV, the photo probably taken at Hatfield after rollout. Apparently this aircraft was sent to Boscombe Down but I don't have any information on why. It subsequently served with 151 Sqn and later 54 OTU at RAF Charterhall, known locally as Slaughter Hall because of the high rate of trainee pilots flying their night fighters into the ground after dark.

Images 836 to '839 show Mosquito NF.XVII DZ659, which was the first to be fitted with the AI Mk.X radar, the US SCR720 unit in the bulbous nose, the airframe was a Mk.II specially converted, DZ659 was the first of 100 done by Marshall's of Cambridge. The type was an effective night fighter and equipped six squadrons.

Image 840 shows Mosquito FB.XVIII PZ468 at North Coates whilst serving with 254 Sqn in 1945, the aircraft has the Molins quick Firing 6 pounder (57mm) gun under the nose, which had 25 rounds loaded with an automatic loader. A total of 18 of these aircraft were built, from converted Mk.VIs. Nothing more to add about official trials, this aircraft was not one tested, but the type was found to initially have difficulty in loading the gun, but this was resolved and it was found to be unsuitable for night operations because of the muzzle flash. An example was tested on the ground at Salisbury Plain, having been flown to a relief landing ground at Shrewton and taxied one and a half miles to the site.

Imge 842 and '843 (841 has disappeared) shows Mosquito T.29 KA117, one of the trainer variants built by De Havilland Canada at their Downsview factory. Powered by Packard Merlins, 37 T.29s were built. In the background of '843 there is a Tempest and C-47. It's interesting to note that parts of one of these, KA114 was used in a new build Mosquito in New Zealand, the aircraft adopting KA114's identity and the aircraft is now with Jerry Yagen's collection in the USA at the Viriginia Beach Air Museum.

View attachment 643422Mosquito Day 221 sm

Images 845 and 846 show the Mosquito NF.38 prototype RL248, fitted with Merlin 114 engines and AI. Mk.IX radar, converted from the NF.36 version, of which this was the first carried out, with 101 NF.38s built. The NF.38 was the last variant of the Mosquito built before production ceased in 1950, with 7,781 built in the UK, Australia and Canada. Note the Vampires in the background of '845, early Mk.Is with the squared off fins and also the vertical aerials on the left hand wingtip, these are associated with blind landing equipment.

Image 847 shows Mosquito PR.32 NS589, one of five examples of the type, a lightened variant of the PR.XVI for very high altitude photographic reconnaissance, with Merlin RM 16SM engines and extended wing tips. Whilst undergoing trials at Boscombe Down, sadly the prototype, NS586 was lost whilst in a dive on 12 April 1945, the pilot lost control and crashed, with experts citing compressibility as a probable cause of the loss of control.

Image 848 shows Mosquito PR.VIII DK324 with a white altitude calibration line on its fuselage side. Powered by Merlin 61s, the type was a converted B.IV, this particular one having a short testing life, arriving at Boscombe down in December 1942, but was lost in an accident at High Post in January 1943, having not fully completed trials, the only one being on weighing. note the Wellington possibly B.III DF627 and Anson behind.

Image 849 shows a PR variant fitted with high altitude Merlins, this could be a PR.XVI pressurised variant, note the intake ahead of the pilot's quarterlight, also note the unusual coverings over what I can only deduce are air data probes under the nose. If it is the PR.XVI, the aircraft reportedly performed well whilst under trials at Boscombe Down, with pressurisation and demisting giving no issues. Dives from height were performed with caveats surrounding overstressing the airframe, although nothing about compressibility, as what happened to poor NS586, the PR.32 prototype.

Image 850 shows Hornet F.I PX210, which arrived at Boscombe down for performance trials in February 1945, with three others for extensive testing, proving outstanding, one adverse comment being around their closely cowled engines proving awkward for maintenance.

Images 851 and 852 show Hornet PR.II PX216, of which seven others were converted from standard F.Is, with four cameras in the fuselage, this one being the first. The R marking represents its time with the Air Photographic Development Unit at RAF Benson, where these images were probably taken, the backgrounds being skillfully blanked out. These pictures clearly illustrate the beautiful lines of the type, its svelte appearance making even the elegant Mosquito look portly.

And lastly to something a little less of a thoroughbred, images 854 and 855 show Fulmar F.II X8641, which was at Boscombe Down in October 1941 for various trials, including range with a belly tank, which increased it to 1,100 miles, with an increased weight on 10,500 lbs. Note that it has a Universal carrier under the right-hand wing only. Note the aircraft in the background, a Dragon Rapide, Blenheim, DB-7 and Wellington.
Too bad those seem to be the only Hornet pics from the batch, though this thread has proven to be a gold mine overall.
 

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