British aircraft tailplane design

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by kration, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. kration

    kration Member

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    #1 kration, Aug 4, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011
    I appreciate that this is a very superficial issue, but this has been bugging me for a while. Basically, it's about the aesthetics of British tailplanes (and rudders) letting the rest of the aircraft down.

    The British made some of the most beautiful (or brutal) looking aircraft of WWII. But the tailplane/rudder always look like it's just an added appendage - designed by the office boy on a Friday afternoon. The 'Heath Robinson' approach...

    The Spitfire, Mosquito, Typhoon - all beautiful aircraft with but with tailplanes that look like an afterthought. The front 80% of the airframe looks amazing, but the bit tacked on the back to keep it stable looks like something from WW1.

    To back up my argument, this is a pic of a Tempest - cover the bit beyond the white stripe with your hand, then remove it and look again...

    381ce356b9667c8d5d6cafcea149dedf.jpg

    German and American tailplanes are functional in a brutal/engineering sort of way (though the P47 and P38 are on the cusp of being a bit naff). Russian tailplanes were smoother but still looked like they belonged to the aircraft pulling them along. Japanese tailplanes are superb - functional and simple (e.g. the Dinah)

    It wasn't until the jet age with the Hawker Hunter that the 'British' tailplane seems to actually be designed as part of the aircraft. It's a bit like the stereotype re. British teeth...

    So, to open this to discussion:
    1. Why do British WWII tailplanes/rudders look so naff? (or do they?)
    2. Prove me wrong with a good example
    3. Give examples from other nations re. bad tailplanes
     
  2. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder'...or to put it another way: 'One man's trash is another man's treasure...' :)

    Good and bad designs on all sides IMO.
     
  3. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Some of the manufactors used thre same general tail shapes for years.

    Hawkers clear back into the biplane era had the same tail shape, up until the later Furys. DeHavilland from the Gyspy Moth up to even the twin tails on the Goblin jets look similiar,scaled up, scaled down, porportions changed ,a fillet added sometimes, but still recognized as a DeHavilland. Same with Boeing, B17, B29, B50, C97. Either they stuck with what worked, or they wanted brand identity.

    But to suggest the Spitfire is less than the most perfectly beautiful aircraft that ever flew, wow. That may get you a personal visit from one of your own countryman.
     
  4. razor1uk

    razor1uk Well-Known Member

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    #4 razor1uk, Aug 4, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011
    As a fellow British person, I will not be persuing him for pointing out an occasionally true fact - certainly with reguarding brands/stylings - commonality of some structural parts/design ethos.
    We in the UK aren't always as "He's not a 'True' (aka Blind/Sheep..) Patriot, shoot burn the not-as-patriotic-as-ourselves heretics!" as people suggest from their own viewpoints cultural experiences. (...although some of our country is becoming very dangerous.)
     
  5. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I admit to never having thought about it before but the tail of the Tempest looks as if it came off the back of a Hurricane. All I will say is beauty is, as beauty does.

    Now about the additions to the tail of the P51
     
  6. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    The tail of the Tempest was the same as the Typhoon but with the addition of the curved fin fillet
     
  7. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    The tail of the Whirlwind always looked odd to me.
     
  8. Rivet

    Rivet Member

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    Check out the tailplanes on the Skua/Roc Blackburne construction.

    If one were to go to "Worst Looking" I'd state that the farther back in time, the worse things appear to be, nothing aerodynamically fined and screws and cables rampant.
     
  9. Rick65

    Rick65 Member

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    But what about the Mosquito, one of the most beautiful tail planes ever and also part of a visual continuity with other DH products.
    If you need to talk aesthetics and tail planes (always thought they were to keep the back of the plane at the back) the ones with excessive dihedral are the ones that have always visually concerned me e.g. Boston, Canberra, CAC 15.
     
  10. glennasher

    glennasher Member

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    They probably started out fine, but had to be altered after flying the a/c a bit, for more stability, more rudder, whatever. They weren't there for looks, but function.
    The Mustang D had to have a filet added, because it needed more rudder after cutting down the rear of the fuselage, I can't imagine them adding the filet for looks.
     
  11. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    You might have done better, if you hadn't used a photo of a Tempest prototype, which had a cobbled-together tail from a Typhoon, with an added scratchbuilt fin fillet. I think that you'll find that pilots are/were more concerned with whether the tail does its job, rather than look pretty, and there's always the consideration of the manufacturing process, and how easy (or otherwise) a particular shape will be.
    Edgar
     
  12. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    I have been worshipping gods wonderful Spitfire and Merlin at the IWM.
    A glorious day out.The Holocaust section was bleak but, educative.

    The Spitfire is perfect and any Briton who suggests anything else is either a jerry morse tapper or a subversive intent of the downfall of all we hold dear....:shock:

    Great Scott....I'm going to have to have a lie down after the shock of it all :D

    Cheers
    John
     
  13. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Always thought the later models of B 17 looked like they built a tail and then stuck an aircraft underneath it.

    Any thread on aircraft aesthetics should just have some 20s or 30s French aircraft pictures in it that stops all arguments in there tracks Amiot_143_5.jpg
     
  14. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Ah, 'French Aircraft' another great 20th century oxymoron :lol:
     
  15. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't be to hard on French a/c when the British had this:

    heyford.jpg
     
  16. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    you got it..

    Morane_D-3801_J-143.jpg

    one of the ugliest/useless fighters ever built
     
  17. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The vertical tail has two primary functions - one to maintain yaw control versus the combined applied forces from torque at both low and high speed... usually with low speed the over riding criteria for rudder area.

    To the reference re: Mustang. The dorsal was added to the D-10 as a production mod because it was first thought that removing the turtle deck was the issue for the Mustang tendency to hunt in yaw at >.75M, but they quickly added the dorsal kits to all the B/C's because NAA found this was neither the problem (removing turtledeck) or the solution (dorsal).

    The primary issue for the Mustang is that ALL tail design was to 1939 Army specs, for an engine that produced 1000+ Hp and a 10 foot prop.

    By the time the a/c was re-designed to the Merlin 1650-3, the Hp grew 30+% and the Prop weight and diameter increased (11'-2") which caused the 51 to exhibit yaw issues when throttle was increased.. The dive issues were releated but the Q loads were huge for a 51 because of its top speed and any sort of a rolling mauever which had to be counteracted with rudder put more stress on the airframe than originally designed for.

    The solution was redesigning to the H by adding 13 inches (longer moment arm to the Vertical stab) and a taller vertical stab with slightly more area. I have never flown an H but I was told that it was far easier to take off than in B/D models.

    Back to thread - Typhoon/Tempest eppenage looked awful - but NEVER the Spit... IMO the Spit is the best looking Piston engine airframe ever, with perhaps the F86 being my favorite jet.
     
  18. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Bite your tongue mongrel! It was a majestic beast... loved by their crews and vastly respected by its foes. Having said that, many of them were known by all as the "Big Ass Bird"
     
  19. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    'Majestic' may be pushing it a bit Tom. Workmanlike and strong as an ox for sure. File:B-17G Nose in Detail.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The early models were quite stylish for American aircraft.

    Cheers
    John
     
  20. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    The most powerful piston engined fighters, powered inevitably by British engines it has to be said, needed larger tails to counteract the immense torque generated by 5 blade props and superb superchargers.
    As you correctly say the Spitfire was the best, is the best and will always be the best. Not that I am biased of course but, facts are facts.
    Cheers
    John
     
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