BEAUFIGHTER Mark VI W/Hercules engines GPH fuel info

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by theramin, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. theramin

    theramin New Member

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    #1 theramin, Mar 3, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2010
    Hello, would anyone know what the average air speed and cruising speed and altitude for a BEAUFIGHTER MVI being ferried without fighter escort flying in formation from Heliopolis (near Cairo) to Tak Ali Malta would have been?

    In particular I would like to know the GALLONS PER HOUR RATING of that aircraft. I have some basic info from the internet regarding fuel tank capacity and range however I can't find gas mileage.

    Once this information is made available is there a fuel/trip calculation too that would allow me to factor in known wind variables?

    I'm doing some research on my great uncle's flight path for May 8th, 1943. there were heavy winds which may have burned down his fuel. Any help is appreciated. I have detailed information regarding my research to share if you wish.

    Sincerely yours, Jamie aka Theramin
     

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  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Do you have the pilot's notes for the aircraft? There should be a chart that would give you best fuel burn at a given altitude, you could probably make your calculation from there.
     
  3. theramin

    theramin New Member

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    Thank you for your reply. I do have the original flight log book but it does not include his final flight. I don't believe there are any notes regarding fuel consumption in it. I have attached all know specs I have found on said aircraft. any help is appreciated. it to factor in the known weather variables and account for the shortfall. I am an amateur researcher and have know flight knowledge so pardon me if my questions seem vague in any way.

    Regards, Theramin aka Jamie

    DEPARTURE: FROM: HELIOPOLIS AIRPORT (CAIRO, EGYPT) MAY 8th, 1943
    LATITUDE: 30° 5'38.58"N
    LONGITUDE: 31°21'24.11"E

    DESTINATION: TAKALI AIRPORT -
    LATITUDE: 35°55'17.92"N
    LONGITUDE: 14°29'18.91"E

    Distance: 1698km
    Initial bearing: 296°51′34″
    Final bearing: 287°36′42″
    Midpoint: 33°17′34″N, 023°12′13″E

    DINGHY WRECKAGE SEEN: latitude: 35°47'39.43"N, longitude: 14°42'59.57"E

    STRONG WIND WARNING WAS IN EFFECT OFF MALTA THAT DAY: STRONG WINDS 25 to 30 m.p.h
    gusts to 40-45 m.p.h. W.N.W.

    Distance: 1674km
    Initial bearing: 296°36′30″
    Final bearing: 287°30′10″
    Midpoint: 33°13′16″N, 023°18′25″E

    HS 128 SEARCH BOAT STARTING POINT 63 miles covered:
    LATITUDE: 35°49'2.62"N
    LONGITUDE: 14°42'19.95"E

    SHORTFALL OF 24 KM FROM DEBRIS AREA AND
    TAK ALI AIRPORT.

    24 km = 14.912908613688 miles
     

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  4. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #4 FLYBOYJ, Mar 4, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
    Here's some data I found along with some calculations...

    The MK VI Beau had a max range of 1,750 miles ~

    The engines had a specific fuel consumption of about 91 gallons per hour per engine (calculated based on data on the Bristol Hercules attainted from Wikipedia); it was burning about 182 gallons per hour at full power, both engines. It had a fuel load of 550 gallons. It cruised at 249 mph and I would guess its fuel burn at that point would be half of what it would be at full power, about 91 gallons per hour (45.5 GPH per engine). If they were flying at low level, the fuel burn would be higher, probably 100 ~ GPH (50 GPH per engine).

    The mission was flown from HELIOPOLIS AIRPORT to TAKALI AIRPORT - 1698 Km = 1055 miles.
    The Winds WNW doesn't tell me much, but I'll try a "wag."

    According to your data he was flying at a heading of 296 ~
    Winds out of the N/NW 25 to 35 with Gusts 40-45 ~
    Cruise at 249 mph, burning 100 GPH
    550 gallons on board

    I've calculated that they were flying into almost direct headwinds.

    This is what I came up with

    Wind direction (est) 287 @ 45
    Heading 296
    Airspeed 249
    Groundspeed 204
    Fuel Burn 100 GHP
    Flight time - 5.16 hours
    FUEL BURN - 516 gallons

    34 gallons remaining.

    BTW you want to arrive at your destination with about a 30 minute reserve which should have been about 46 gallons.

    Based on all this they "should have" made it HOWEVER throw in fuel used at take off and climb and joining up in formation (which would easily be 182 GPH).

    Factor that in and assuming they burned that for say 20 minutes into the flight, they did not have enough fuel for this trip based on the winds and "assumed" information.

    550 gallons (TOTAL FUEL) - 60 gallons (FUEL USED DURING TAKE OFF AND CLIMB) - 516 gallons (FUEL USED DURING CRUISE FLIGHT) = NEGATIVE 26 GALLONS



    I calculate they needed an extra ~ 30 gallons to make it to Malta. That would have given them about 20 more minutes in the air.

    And this is all assuming that they flew conservative at lower speeds and adjusted fuel mixtures accordingly.

    Based on where the wreckage was found I think my "guesstimates" might be pretty close.

    Hope all this makes sense
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #5 FLYBOYJ, Mar 4, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
    I was finally able to open up the first PDF. With goose bumps all I could say is WOW! I hope I was able to help your research!

    PS - I think my calcualtions might be pretty accurate as I see one aircraft did reach the shoreline of Malta. There will be slight variances in situations like this when several aircraft are involved (one aircraft could have burned slight more fuel based on mixture settings, one aircraft might have taken off first, etc.).
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Great work Joe.
     
  7. Snautzer01

    Snautzer01 Well-Known Member

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    some contemporary pictures of the powerhouse
     

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  8. theramin

    theramin New Member

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    #8 theramin, Mar 4, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
    Dear Joe thank you for your in depth response. It really has assisted me greatly in confirming some of the scenarios of what may have happened to my great uncle and his observer. What we are still puzzled about is why he didn't survive in the water, what with 8 spitfires searching and a rescue boat HS128 on the way. Our best guess after the information that has surfaced is the seas were rough (? - yes it was windy but was it choppy? I'm working on a contact from Malta to access historical weather records if they exist) and/or they had difficulty removing their parachutes or were dragged down by the gear. It appears the first wave of Spitfires saw them jump in the water but they disappeared shortly thereafter. It was about 6 pm as well, getting to be late dusk and dark. thank you for shedding some light. It is very, very much appreciated.

    I will pm you the ftp site with username and password if you wish to download the large pdf of the archive.
    Cheers Jamie
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Hi Jamie;

    Glad I could help. I think your great uncle and his observer were placed in a situation where survival was almost impossible. Not only did they face strong headwinds that caused them to run out of fuel, but I would guess that the seas were quite rough based on the surface winds they faced. Rough seas, high winds and coming down in a chute at dusk was probably the worse situation they could be in. I would believe more than likely not being able to get their chutes off probably ended their lives.

    This has been most fascinating and I appreciate you posting all this information!!!
     
  10. theramin

    theramin New Member

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    Thanks again Joe - I tend to agree with your assessment. I'm not sure how much training was given in the RAF for removing chutes, getting into a dinghy in the water, etc. but that's neither here nor there. It seems in hindsight quite frustrating how close they got. In fact the flight commander G.B.S. Coleman and his observer SGT Lyne Hale DID make the island and only just - apparently they ran completely dry of fuel and couldn't get their gear down in time (or something) and crashed upon lavnding though they were not seriously harmed. they must have flown first. He was held responsible in some way and indeed left the island of Malta (or was pushed) May 12th, 1943. Ironically he perished over the English channel through lack of fuel in 1947. I firmly believe that no one person can be held accountable for my uncle's accident. There was a war on, after all. All this information has only just come to light in this research I have been undertaking. It had started with a persistent need to shed a bit of light on a family story that had changed a bit over the years and I wanted to know as much as possible about it. Your technical expertise has allowed me to take a step back and run through the scenarios. However with more information comes more questions! lol

    I am continuing my research and wish to thank you once again for your great assistance. Cheers, Jamie
     
  11. Tzaw1

    Tzaw1 Member

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    Pages 26-31.
     

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  12. theramin

    theramin New Member

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    Dear Tzaw 1,

    Thank you very much for this this rare document. I had been looking for such a beast for half a year or so with no luck.
    I should think it is certain that my great uncle read a copy of this very manual before his return trip back to Malta.

    Your help is another fine example of the friendly and enthusiastic members of this excellent newsgroup. Kudos ;) Jamie
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #13 FLYBOYJ, Mar 5, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
    Tzaw 1;

    Thanks for posting!

    Jamie;

    As you can see towards the rear of the manual are several charts - these are the performance charts I was talking about. In the scenario I built for you, it would reflect a cruise at 240 mph. Note the cruise chart on page 31 - that figure is given at the higher end of the "low altitude" cruise curve. If you use that number (240 mph) at 2.1 air gallons per mile and divide the distance on the trip (1055) you'll come up with 502.38 gallons (my wag was 515) needed for this trip, and this doesn't include fuel used on take off and climb. If you factor a climb of up to 5000' that's another 26 gallons. With no winds that would leave only 21.62 gallons left, about 10.2 "air miles" or 5 minutes of flying time left - and this is all with no winds!

    With all this in mind it seems their winds were one half to one quarter of my original calculations, but more than likely they encountered varying head winds during this trip. When I get to work I'll look for a take off time and the time they ditched, and that will give us a better picture of what airspeed they were cruising at.
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Jamie - is there anything indicating what time he took off at? I show a time of 18:05 local as the earliest reporting time of this incident. If we knew what time he took off at we could determine what his ground was and possibly determine crusing speed and fuel burn.
     
  15. theramin

    theramin New Member

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    there is no indication of take off time that I can find. No flight plan has surfaced. I'm guessing 12:00 pm? I understand it was about a 5.5 hour flight or so? thank you for really going to the wall on this one. Your expertise is opening up a lot of new avenues of research.

    Regards, Jamie
     
  16. theramin

    theramin New Member

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    Based on the only weather advisory I've found so far (I'm working on more) from that date:

    'Strong wind warning 25-30 m.p.h. gusts to 40-45 m.p.h. W.N.W.'

    Seems variable to me. The question is/was where did the wind 'zone' start? Close to Malta or several hundred miles going out to sea directly in line of the flight path?

    By the way I have just head back from the RAF research dept and they are very happy with the progress thus far.

    cheers, Jamie


     
  17. theramin

    theramin New Member

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    Another factor I've started to look into is once they got un the water they would have had to contend with very choppy seas. Roughly 7 metre high waves?!


    Oceanography: waves
     

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  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Hi Jamie;

    Where and when the winds started to pick up will remain a mystery, I really don't think we could figure that out based on the information we have, BUT I could tell you the weather advisory was for surface winds which would mean that winds at altitude would be faster.

    I think that wave chart could give you an idea of how rough the seas could be with those winds.

    Any info on the reported take off time?

    Joe
     
  19. theramin

    theramin New Member

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    hi gentlemen attached are the form 540 and form 541 logs of my great uncle's squadron interspersed with scans from his logbook. i've only just started to read the reports - some interesting stuff in here. maybe of some help in trip/fuel calculation?

    Cheers Jamie

    ps pt 6 of 6 in next post.
     

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  20. theramin

    theramin New Member

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    part 6 of 6.
     

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