Early Spitfire Bracket for "Instrument"

Discussion in 'Technical Requests' started by Tony Hill, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. Tony Hill

    Tony Hill Well-Known Member

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    Guys, is there anyone who knows what this is/may be? The bracket holds a device of some sort and that device has a tube which goes back through a hole in the instrument panel. (that is present on most early Spitfire I instrument panels, both those with and without the bracket)

    The Bracket:
    [​IMG]

    And here, a blurry shot of the instrument on the prototype.
    [​IMG]

    It looks like some type of pressure instrument to me.

    Regards and thanks in advance

    Darryl
     
  2. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Scoured through my stuff and could not find an reference to that part Daryl. Too bad Edgar is not around any more. Maybe the guys over at Britmodeller?
     
  3. Tony Hill

    Tony Hill Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Andy!

    Yes, a great shame about Edgar, a huge loss.

    I will try Brit Modeller, I don't hold out much hope. It looks like a baro instrument with, maybe, a recording capability. If so, it won't be specific to the Spitfire.

    I have picked "my" Spitfire, K9817, and want to work out whether ALL the very early Spits had this bracket or just the ones sent for testing.

    Cheers

    Darryl
     
  4. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    The only thing that I saw in the Morgan and Sacklady book that might (pure conjecture on my part) was a reference to the deletion of a flap position indicator on the Mk I on March 20, 1940.
     
  5. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    That was top left (pilot's view) of the instrument panel.
    It was probably deleted because it was easy to ascertain whether the flaps were up or down (no other options available) by simply looking out at either wing and observing the flap actuator or its cover, if the cover was open then the flaps were down.

    I don't know what the object in question is either, but I can't see any type of connection to it, at least on the pilot's side of the instrument panel, which makes me wonder whether it is an instrument or something else altogether.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  6. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Steve. I was looking more through my stuff and found the attached file which I found somewhere on the net (don't remember from where). It's a German analysis of the Spitfire dating from 1942 that someone photographed from a book and posted on line. Figure 13 shows the part you are talking about with another tube in the loops but, frustratingly, the device is not called up on the legend. FWIW.....
     

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  7. Tony Hill

    Tony Hill Well-Known Member

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    Cheers Guys,

    There is a whole cut specifically into the early Spitfire I's instrument panel to accomodate a tube from the device passing rearward, along with 2 rivet holes/bolt holes under the Starting magneto which take a small fitting that attaches the bracket to the IP at that end.

    It would be interesting to know whether the serial number of the aircraft the German's used for that article is recorded. I had a much less clear copy of that so THANKS Andy!

    I am getting more and more to suspect that a lot of the very early aircraft had this bracket. As "my" aircraft is K9817, I suspect it had the fittings. But I can't get a shot that is definitely of that aircraft, let alone the cockpit.


    cheers
     
  8. MiTasol

    MiTasol Active Member

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    Hi Darryl

    Two lines of thought as I am reasonably positive it is not a pair of Borden tube instrument fittings

    Firstly I have a vague memory that the early Spitfire carried a crowbar to allow the pilot to break the canopy off the tracks in an emergency. I may be thinking of the Hurricane but I have a much stronger feeling it was the Spitfire. That requires a stowage where it is easy to retrieve so you may be looking at that stowage.

    Second - and this is only a very wild guess - did the early Spits have a clip in/out attachment like a small map table? Unlikely given the very short range but given that flying to and around the continent was part of the operational scope of the RAF at the time this may be a very remote possibility

    Mi
     
  9. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    #9 Capt. Vick, Dec 10, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
    I thought gear retraction

    undercariage control lever.jpg
     
  10. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    The crowbar for Spitfires wasn't 'fitted' until after the BoB, and was issued as a result of losses due to the earlier, flat-sided canopy jamming because of the pressure of air on the outside, even though a 'knock-out' panel was incorporated, on the port side of the canopy, designed to relieve, or equalise, the pressure.
    When the crowbar was carried, it was fitted to the inside of the entry hatch on the port side, mounted diagonally and held in place by two 'Terry' clips.
    Jim might be on to something - could this item be related to the early hand pump undercart retraction system ?
     
  11. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The handle for the manual undercarriage retraction system connects to the hydraulic system much lower than the item in question, on the sidewall but below the instrument panel. I don't think it is related to that.

    My WAG might be something to do with the control lock, as I can't see the lug on the longeron to which this would more usually attach (as on later versions). It seems a bit over elaborate though :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  12. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Here's a pic with the control lock attached. The mount in question is not used for the lock.

    spifire_cockpit_photo1.jpg
     
  13. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    So the lug for the control lock obviously was there :)
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  14. MiTasol

    MiTasol Active Member

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    Thanks Airframes
     
  15. Tony Hill

    Tony Hill Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Guys,

    All interesting stuff. Terry, Jim, I don't think it is part of the U/C system, I have full drawings and operating instructions for that and it doesn't seem to fit anywhere. Also, the later aircraft fitted with hand pump U/C don't have that fitting.

    Mike got onto me today to let me know that the aircraft in the German assessment is K9964.

    IT has the fitting but nothing mounted in it. That is interesting for a very good reason...it was the 179th production aircraft and never went NEAR a test establishment as far as I can tell. However it WAS one of the last aircraft fitted with a Merlin II and obviously still had the fitting but no instrument/device when crashed in August 1940, we know that P9374 and N3200 (Spitfire I, hand pump U/C but no fitting when crashed in May 1940) had Merlin III and NO fitting. Interestingly, BOTH have certain features (but not the same as each other!!) of the aircraft that are obviously designed to acomodate this bracket (drill holes in stiffeners etc etc...)

    So, as the Prototype is the only cockpit photo with "something" fitted there and the early Merlin II's had the bracket , I am thinking now that it is actually some sort of "master cylinder" or similar, if not a pressure instrument with a diaphragm. Maybe an oil flow "sight" glass, or something was included. We KNOW that there were systems early on where visual indicators were duplicated... landing gear down/up, flaps down/up... perhaps this was another case like the flap gauge, of something that could be told already by other indicators (Oil pressure and temp gauge?)

    Whatever it was, it was important enough for the attachment points and pipe hole to be included on the drawings of the early Spitfire I instrument panel and to have the bracket attached to all early aircraft (?? looks like it anyway) but NOT important enough to keep fitted for the whole (any??) service life.

    So still a mystery and even more potential candidates now...but from my point of view at least the bracket seems like it would have been in K9817, So i get to make one, even if I don't know what it damned well does!
     
  16. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Hmm. An interesting, if somewhat frustrating, 'mystery' fitting !
    Have you got access to, and / or looked in the Shacklady 'bible' ?
    Perhaps there's something buried in that mighty tome which may give a clue to the purpose and use of the bracket, and whatever was attached to it.
    My wrists are so painful at the moment, that I doubt I could lift my copy off the bookshelf, but I'll see if I can have a look when I've had some rest, when, hopefully, the swelling will have subsided.
     
  17. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Terry, I took a quick scan through my copy and did not find anything, though I must admit it was not an exhaustive search. It's where I got the info on the flap indicator being deleted on early models.

    Not sure I agree with that. Take a close look at the picture of the pit, screen piccy below. Though faint, it looks as though there is a second tube inserted into the clips.

    Capture.JPG
     
  18. Tony Hill

    Tony Hill Well-Known Member

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    #18 Tony Hill, Dec 13, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
    upload_2016-12-13_14-36-37.png upload_2016-12-13_14-36-16.png G'day Andy,

    I see the bit you are talking about (i think) but I'd respectfully suggest that you might be looking next to the bracket on the wall side. The shadow there does look like a pipe but it is just shadow for mine?

    If you put the photo to "negative" (a favourite old trick of mine) the shadows etc show a bit better. Have a look at teh two pictures below..interested to hear you thoughts?

    No. 60 is tempting to associate with the "flying saucer" on the top of the "instrument" in the prototype photo,..but it is, in fact, the oxygen bayonet (which looks closer because of the elevated angle in the "capture" photo).

    upload_2016-12-13_14-36-16.png

    upload_2016-12-13_14-36-37.png


    1. front clip
    2. rear clip
    3 vertical surface of main longeron.
    4 horizontal (top) surface of main longeron
    5 vertical "tongue" (top) of main longeron for riveting on the skin, with shadows

    See below for "positive" image thumbnailed.


    The one between 4 and 5 is the one you think is an extra pipe? It looks to me, if that is it, that it is the main pipe of the bracket and that the dark just to the right of the arrow point of 4 is a highlight shining off the middle of the top surface of the main longeron.....

    All very confusing,


    cheers


    Darryl
     

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  19. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Oh this is getting good!
     
  20. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Just woke up and I'm not seeing it yet Darryl. Will check back later.
     
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