Corsair VS Spitfire

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Razgriz1, Aug 15, 2017.

  1. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    General response, Adler, not directed at anyone. No agenda and no statement.

    Most of the older Cessnas I've flown met book values, but they are cruise values, not absolute maximum with overpowered engines. I think I would expect a group of twenty wartime P-51D's to have a normally-distributed top speed centered around 435 mph or so, with a standard deviation of something like 4 knots.

    The would mean we might expect as low as 421 mph and as high as 449 mph in a batch of 50+ units, using ±3-Sigma. Not sure 6-Sigma applies here, because if it did, then some would not get delivered until they were "fixed" and met minimum specs.

    Some are "good planes," some are "average," and some are "dogs." Even the dogs are fun to fly.
     
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  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Yeap, I got that after I posted. As I said my apologies. My dinner was not agreeing with me, and I was battling a bout of heart burn that made me grumpy. Not your fault.
     
  3. XBe02Drvr

    XBe02Drvr Active Member

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    I've instructed a couple thousand hours (at least) in elderly 150s, 152s, 172s, and 182s, and not a one of them could match POH numbers in takeoff over an obstacle, climb rate at specified power settings, fuel burn to altitude or at specified cruise speed, full fuel range or endurance, or (who cares) top speed. These were almost all well-maintained planes in good condition. AGE MATTERS!
    We used to teach students to calculate ideal performance "by the book" and then give themselves a 10 to 25 percent margin for error depending on the age of the plane and proficiency level of the pilot. Private=25, Commercial/Instrument=15,
    ATP=10,(except engine-out multi work where you've got to be spot on). I've never seen a Piper Seneca (even a brand new one) match its POH single engine climb rate.
    Cheers,
    Wes
     
  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Hey Adler,

    Feel better. I HATE heartburn. Try Zantac 150! Works for me about 3 hours before bed, after a spicy lunch. Nothing much helps with a spicy supper.
     
  5. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    As a non German reader I can only assume the Bf109 performance figures are factory spec?

    I ask this as I note many of the aircraft the RAF test are service models drawn from squadrons, did the Luftwaffe also do this for their tests?

    I heard a comment on Bf Factory specs being "best attainable" due to the political competition with Kurt Tanks designs at the time, I also wonder if this discrepancy explains the often much lower figures obtained whilst testing captured aircraft?
     
  6. Razgriz1

    Razgriz1 New Member

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    Guys? Can we get back onto Corsair VS Spitfire & not onto BF-109s?
     
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  7. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Would like to ... but how much Corsair (Navy Fleet Defence Fighter) versus Spitfire (Air Force point defense fighter) is left to discuss?

    Their roles will not overlap, they were never, in real life, chosen to perform the other one's tasks, and they were almost never in the same area of sky. Either one would do as a short - medium range fighter, but the Spitfire wasn't suitable for carrier operations. The Spitfire was a bit better over land or near land but was completely unsuitable for open-ocean use. Neither one was ever envisioned as a long-range escort, and so no provisions were made for it.
     
  8. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Well, the 109 talk can still be left for 109 threads.

    Just because a thread is open, does not mean it has to be posted in.
     
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  9. Peter Gunn

    Peter Gunn Active Member

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    Greg - I'm not sure I'd go that far, reading a bit on the BPF that operated both, it seems the naval Spitfire (Fine, Seafire) was fairly well thought of. I see some pilots notes that they liked the Corsair, especially the cockpit layout but in reading some here: Home during Operation Iceberg I and II. It makes for some good reading, they operated side by side so I'll let you peruse that and make your own conclusions.
     
  10. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link! I'll do some reading.

    The Seafire was never completely invented and was quite fragile for carrier operations. That from many sources over many years. Yes, it got used, but no, it wasn't really suitable. The Spitfire airframe is MUCH lighter than a comparable Naval fighter airframe in all-metal and, while it COULD be operated from carriers, the structural repairs would take a toll since it was never stressed for carrier operations that require "dropping" it onto the deck to snag a landing wire from full stall above tailhook heights.

    Radials have good performance at high power (and corresponding high fuel consumption) but low cruising speeds (decent economy). Inlines generally cruise much faster. So, I would not expect Corsairs and Spitfires to operate alongside each other much and, if they did, one or both would be out of their normal flight operations.

    I'll bow out and watch with some interest since I cannot see how this makes much sense under any circumstances other than extreme need. If it gets to making any operational sense, I'll rejoin. Cheers.
     
  11. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    I've read the newspaper accounts regarding the Hurricane's 400mph flight across the UK and it was clearly stated that the aircraft had a tailwind assist.
     
  12. Robert Porter

    Robert Porter Well-Known Member

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    I had no idea they factored pilot flatulance into airspeed records?
     
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  13. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    The pilot John Gillan spent the rest of his career with the title "downwind Gillan"
     
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  14. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #194 parsifal, Sep 14, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
    The Seafire was never completely invented and was quite fragile for carrier operations.

    I don’t understand the first part of the comment. On that basis should we discount all corsair land based operations? I can accept the argument that the Seafire was not a spitfire. As time went by it became less and less a Spitfire, and more and more a new design. The post war development of the seafire bore only passing resemblance to the land based versions of the spitfire. To be fair, the early versions of the Seafire, introduced in 1942 are consistent with everything you are saying. I don’t consider them true versions of the seafire, really they were spitfires with a hook. They suffered from weak landing gear, endurance of just over an hour, no folding wings, outdated gunsights, limited drop tank capability. Operated mainly from escort carriers in still air conditions, operational techniques not worked out properly, inexperienced crews, results were predictably poor

    Seafire III was virtually a different aircraft. Redesigned wing, revised armament, three point wing folding, moved CG, strengthened landing gear, strengthened hook, onboard comms, revised and improved armouring. Revised armament, far superior to the corsairs, low blown for performance where it mattered. Increased fuel capacity, which increased endurance to well over 3.5hrs. still short of the corsair but not by much.

    Seafire went from probably the worst accident rate in 1942, with the I and II subtypes to easily the best, in both navies in 1945. They were universally recognized within the BPF as the best type with sufficient performance and firepower to deal with Kamikazes

    What part of the seafires development do you consider as “never completely invented”

    That from many sources over many years. Yes, it got used, but no, it wasn't really suitable.

    True for the desperate days of 1942-3, but not true for the sdubtypes fielded from 1945 and after the war.

    The Spitfire airframe is MUCH lighter than a comparable Naval fighter airframe in all-metal and, while it COULD be operated from carriers, the structural repairs would take a toll since it was never stressed for carrier operations that require "dropping" it onto the deck to snag a landing wire from full stall above tailhook heights.

    Seafire I and II were basically spitfires with hooks, and suffered some catastrophic structural failures in those early days, especially when operated in conditions of low wind and from small slow CVEs in the med. As a direct result of those experiences, and following extensive further testing, the redesigned LF MkIII incorporated a strengthened landing gear (also redesigned) arrester hook and “A” frame assembly from the production line, beginning in April 1944. Further testing revealed this to be a vast improvement in the structural adequacy, but it was still considered necessary for further modifications. Extra strengthening was added to counter the sideways load induced by the rolling of an aircraft carrier’s flight deck while at sea. The resulting aircraft deployed to the BPF bore little or no resemblance to the earlier lash up conversions. Sure, it still had land based legacies, but to say it was never stressed to undertake carrier operations is just plain wrong.

    changes to the CG in the Seafire III improved its landing characteristics.

    From the redesign resulting in the LF II , there were significant changes to performance, mostly at the critical low altitude. Spitfire/Seafire differences ended up concentrating the latters peak performance at low altitude compared to the emphasis of the spitfire being at higher altitudes. . The Merlin 32 was capable of putting out 1645hp at 1759ft, and 1640hp at 3000ft. At full emergency boost, the L Mk IIC could climb at 4600ft per minute to a height of 6000ft. This was 1500ft per minute better than the Hellcat and Corsair. The 'low-rated' LF IIC could even reach 20,000ft some two minutes ahead of the earlier F IIC, though its performance at height was lacking.

    Seafires fitted with the Merlin 32 produced a maximum sea-level speed of 316mph (506km/h, rising to 335mph (536km/h) at 6000ft (l850m). On the surface this may look worse than the F-IIC, but the heights quoted are not direct comparisons. What the data represents was a significant boost in low-level speed, acceleration and responsiveness.

    Such was the turnaround in performance experienced by the LF IIC that the decision was made in late 1942 to convert all Merlin 46 F Mk IIC's to the LF standard.

    Captain Brown was very impressed with this Seafire:

    With this engine change, the fighter became the Seafire L Mk IIC… the most exciting aircraft that I had flown to that time.

    Its initial climb rate and acceleration were little short of magnificent and at maximum boost it could maintain 4600ft/min up to 6000ft.

    Another result of the installation of the Merlin 32 was a quite dramatic reduction in take-off distance and, in fact, the L Mk IIC without flap could get airborne in a shorter distance than the standard Mk IIC using full flap!

    Later, some Seafire L IICs were to have their wingtips clipped to boost roll rate and incidentally, add another four knots to maximum speed, although these changes were to be obtained at some cost in take-off run and service ceiling.

    My enthusiasm for this new Seafire variant was such that, one afternoon, in sheer exhilaration, I looped it around both spans of the Forth Bridge in succession – court-martial stuff nowadays, but during a war nobody has the time to bother with such formalities.



    Radials have good performance at high power (and corresponding high fuel consumption) but low cruising speeds (decent economy). Inlines generally cruise much faster. So, I would not expect Corsairs and Spitfires to operate alongside each other much and, if they did, one or both would be out of their normal flight operations.


    The BPF used the corsair Hellcats and Seafire LF Mk IIIs simultaneously. They found ways to extract the best from each type. The relatively light armament of the corsair, combined with its relatively low performance (in areas like acceleration and rate of climb) made it more suitable for deep cover operations, whilst its extra range and better bomb carrying capabilities made it more suitable for offensive operations. But the two types actually worked well together, covering for each others weaknesses quite well.

    Seafire IIs had undergone various redesign changes such that the CG had moved considerably and the type's landing characteristics vastly improved. Whether it was this 'beneficial' drag or simply better trained and less fatigued pilots, Implacabe's Seafire accident rate was the best of any carrier in either navy.

    Principal source;

    Supermarine Seafire: Variants
     
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  15. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps' the Seafire's lasting epitaph comes not from a British pilot, such as Captain Eric 'Winkle" Brown, but instead an American one.

    US Navy test pilot 'Corky' Meyer got to fly a Seafire III at a Navy Fighter Conference in March, 1943, Florida.

    In his own words:

    Without argument, the Seafire configuration was probably the most beautiful fighter ever to emerge from a drawing board. Its elliptical wing and long, slim fuselage were visually most delightful, and its flight characteristics equalled its aerodynamic beauty. The Seafire had such delightful upright flying qualities that, knowing it had an inverted fuel and oil system, I decided to try inverted 'figure-8s'. They were as easy as pie, even when hanging by the complicated, but comfortable, British pilot restraint harness.I was surprised to hear myself laughing as if I were crazy. I have never enjoyed a flight in a fighter as much before or since, or felt so comfortable in an aeroplane at any flight attitude. It was clear to see how so few exhausted, hastily trained, Battle of Britain pilots were able to fight off Hitler's hordes for so long, and so successfully, with it. The Lend-Lease Royal Navy Wildcats, Hellcats and Corsair fighters were workhorses but not comparable. The Seafire III was a dashing stallion!
     
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  16. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Hi Parsifal,

    I say that because it was widely reported in books written from the 1940s through the 1960s, including William Greene's Famous Fighters of WWII series and others as well. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Spitfire was never designed for carrier landings, and that when fitted for carriers, the vast majority of the "fitting" was fitting a tail hook with minor restressing for other items. Their entire career can be described as "fragile," if you talk with the former pilots of Seafires and "hooked Spitfires."

    I've seen first-hand how easily they can get damaged. MUCH easier than a comparable U.S. plane, but that also weighs more. So, it's a tradeoff. The Spitfire, performing in its design task, more than compensates for being a less than ideal carrier aircraft. Just fine for normal grass-field operations, but not for very "rough field" operations. "Very rough" describes carrier ops and helps account for their universal greater weight than land-bound planes.

    I'm going by opinions of the day, not by any modern books, which almost always leave a heck of a lot out by virtue of being written without access to the guys who designed, built, and flew the planes in service.
     
  17. Peter Gunn

    Peter Gunn Active Member

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    Parsifal, not sure you saw it but here is a link to a pretty good site that talks a lot about Seafires and the American counterparts working together in the BPF.

    Home

    Lots of stuff to read there if you haven't seen it give it a look, it's quite good.
     
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  18. Timppa

    Timppa Active Member

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    An excerpt of an old article [End of a Long Line: Seafires Mark F.45, F.46 and FR.47] from Air International magazine by Dr Alfred Price:

    In January 1950 Lieutenant Tommy Handley joined 800 Squadron as a senior pilot (deputy commander).

    "Seafires were not easy to deck land. The Mark 47 was a much heavier aircraft than the previous Marks, and heavy landings often resulted in damaged oleo legs. Also the fuselage aft of the cockpit was not sufficiently strengthened to withstand anything but a near perfect deck landing. The long sting hook made catching a wire reasonably easy, but if the landing was much off-centre or made with any skid or slip on, then the wire would shake the aircraft rather like a terrier shakes a rat. The result could be a wrinkling of the after fuselage section."

    Aircraft found to have wrinkled after fuselages were sent below and kept in the hangar until they could be off-loaded for repair at a shore base.

    Once it began operational flying [in Korea], 800 Squadron needed every aircraft it could lay its hands on. The problem of the wrinkled fuselages was now quietly forgotten, as Handley explained: "The wrinkling was not really visible to the human eye, but if you ran a hand over the skin you could detect the trouble spots. The worry was that the structure was less strong than it should have been. The engineer officer said they were outside limits for peace-time flying - but he let them fly on operational sorties !"

    When she left the war zone HMS Triumph possessed nine flyable FR.47s, but then the peacetime operating rules were restored and six of them were declared unserviceable with wrinkled rear fuselages. At the end of 11 weeks of operations, out of total of 26 FR.47s originally on strength or received as replacements, only three remained flyable.
     
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  19. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    HMS Triumph, during her Seafire Korean tour, had a damaged prop shaft [she had twin prop shafts] and could not make full speed. Consequently aircraft were subjected to far more landing stress than would normally be encountered. This rather salient point is usually ignored but it is doubtful that any carrier fighter could have operated without suffering stress damage during the low speed arrested landings.
     
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  20. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    How did the Firefly compare to the FR47 for landing accidents.
     
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