Bf109 - why no bubble canopy ?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by vinnye, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    Given the length of time that the Bf109 was in service and development, why did they not go to a bubble type canopy and lower rear fuselage?
    I have seen interviews where pilots often said that the visibility out of that cockpit was not good. If this is correct, why did the LW not make changes to rectify this?
     
  2. norab

    norab Well-Known Member

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    I don't think the Germans had the technology to mold a true bubble canopy until too late in the war to interrupt production
     
  3. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Fw 190 ?

    Steve
     
  4. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    FW190 canopy was made in two halves I believe, with a joint along the top running front to back?
     
  5. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The early flat sided versions, which I suppose makes them clear vision (no frames) rather than bubbles, had a hinge running back from the front edge about 1/3 the length. This was to allow the canopy to flex as it was opened and closed. It needed some movement as the width at the front changed from 66cm to about 53 cm.
    Later "blown" canopies were made in two halves for the same reason. These were actually easier to produce and improved pilot vision further.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  6. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i dont know how much you want to ( or even can ) lower the turtledeck..or area behind the canopy. the 109 has one of the slimmest fuses of ww2 ac. i fear a malcolm hood canopy would do the same as the bumps on the later 6 series. give you more drag as a trade off for a little better vision.
     
  7. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure i'll be corrected if i'm wrong. But I can remember reading the Malcolm hood actually increased the airspeed slightly on the Mustang Is when the RAF installed them.

    The airstream is already being moved outward by the windscreen returning it to parallel with the gentle curves of the Malcolm hood might cause less turbulence than the sudden change the airflow has to undergo when going from the windscreen to the flat side canopy, on the stock P-51B canopy.
    British pilots claimed the Malcolm hood gave them better overall vision than the bubble canopy on the P-51D.
     
  8. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Not a true bubble but the Me 309 was planning on a low back fuselage with a framed 360 degree view canopy.
     
  9. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    The later, Czech-built Avia '109' had what was probably the nearest to a 'bubble' canopy. To achieve a full 'bubble', for example similar to a Typhoon or P-51D, I think would require some major re-design of the fuselage, which was built in two halves. Lowering the rear fuselage of the Spitfire and Mustang was 'relatively' simple, in engineering terms, compared to the construction of the '109.
     
  10. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    The radial engined 109 had a better canopy. But the fuselage looks a lot fatter and wider.

    Might be a trick of the eye to fit the radial.
     
  11. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i think to get the full effect of a bubble canopy you would have to raise the height of the pilots seat in a standard 109.
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Heinkel He 112 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    he-112-s.gif

    Semantics of "true" vs "untrue" bubble canopy don't matter. Germany obviously had ability to make a canopy with excellent all around vision during 1936.
     
  13. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    The German clock industry were also moulding 'Perspex' domes in the 1930s, so presumably the technology and knowledge were there.
     
  14. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #14 GregP, Aug 19, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
    How about the all-round vision canopy on this Bf 109 with a radial engine?

    me109_Radial.jpg

    If they could do it for a prototype like this then why couldn't they do something similar for the production line? And the windscreen has been changed for the better, too. So here's a "fix" that was tried but never incorporated. Unbelievable.

    Not a true "bubble" but better than the stock Bf 109 canopy.

    Sorry to post this again so soon after last time, but it seems appropriate for the thread title.
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Focke Wulf and Heinkel fighter aircraft both had good canopy during late 1930s. I'm surprised RLM didn't insist Me-109F have something comparable when introduced during late 1940.
     
  16. Tante Ju

    Tante Ju Banned

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    I would like to have some of the stuff they were smoking...
     
  17. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Good one Tante Ju!
     
  18. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    The Malcolm hood bulged out 7 inches on each side, just like a lot of observation aircraft. That meant they could lean out and look behind and down, they may not have been able to look straight behind as well as a bubble canopy ( even with a bubble you can't see thru the armor plate) but with the Malcolm hood they could see down better, and around the nose better .

    There's more than one way to check your 6, it's called S turning.
     
  19. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you are right, but the bubble canopy DID give better all-round vision.
     
  20. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    #20 vinnye, Aug 19, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
    Thanks for posting that prototype up Greg, I had not caught it previously.
    Can not understand why that was not used more widely?
     
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