Light Weight, pilot-only, Fulmar Thread?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by oldcrowcv63, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,923
    Likes Received:
    96
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Tired and Retired
    Location:
    Northeast North Carolina
    #1 oldcrowcv63, Nov 15, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
    Has there been a thread that explored the possibility of a single seat Fulmar development as a companion to the Fulmar? Alternatively, is there any documented history of such a development being considered? Seems like there would be more than just performance advantages to introducing such an aircraft. On the other hand, it is presumably just a lot easier to procure Sea Hurricanes and Spitfires and to buy US Martlets. My motivation? the Fulmar is IMHO the prettiest aircraft of the lot (Spit excepted). It's a naval fighter which makes it a LOT Prettier than anything built for land based use (beauty is after all in the eyes of the beholder). To clarify, I am not suggesting a replacement for the Venerated Fulmar but rather a companion fighter built primarily to provide better performance vs some of the axis aircraft noted in the memo on a link from RCAFson's website

    Fulmar: Development — Armoured Aircraft Carriers in World War II

    "NOTES BY FIFTH SEA LORD OF FLEET AIR ARM MEETING HELD ON 4 JANUARY 1940
    [ADM 1/ 10752] 22 JANUARY 1940
    "
     
  2. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,389
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    #2 RCAFson, Nov 15, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
    We've certainly discussed something like that in the past.

    some prior threads:

    Comparing the Fulmar to the F4F:

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/fulmar-ii-versus-f4f-4-10-000-ft-29212.html

    some other threads

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/powerful-engine-raf-faa-39450.html

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/av...fits-shortcomings-39264.html?highlight=fulmar

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/fulmar-1941-42-43-feasible-plausible-upgrades-37498.html

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/merlin-powered-carrier-fighter-seafire-39549.html

    OTOH, as the memo suggests, removing the observer and equipment would only save about 600lbs from a Fulmar.

    The earliest reports of the Fulmar (from 1940) implied that it would have a Merlin X:
    http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1940/1940 - 2509.html?search=Fulmar
    but I'm sure I've seen info from early 1940 where the Fulmar was stated, wrongly, to have a Merlin X

    I suspect that a Merlin X/XX installation would have been, overall, quite beneficial, in terms of higher altitude performance and time to 20K ft, and with either engine, performance would have been nearly identical to the Martlet II/IV.
     
  3. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,923
    Likes Received:
    96
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Tired and Retired
    Location:
    Northeast North Carolina
    #3 oldcrowcv63, Nov 15, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
    I believe 600 lbs to be pretty substantial reduction with the benefit of an improvement in both climb rate and speed of perhaps up to 5+% so the performance of F-Mark I approaches that of the Mark II. I would expect a similar improvement in the Mark II, although that was a still lighter airframe. Basing the performance improvement on the inverse of the F4F-3 to -4 'downgrade.' which corresponded to a reduction of something like 300-400 lbs. Add the more powerful engine and assuming the airframe can be cleaned up a bit to Provide a bit better marine environment service. Brown mentions performance reduction due to filter drag. I wonder if this wasn't to provide the FAA with a land-based operational capability? I don't imagine truncating the fuselage could have been easily managed without significant changes to the overall design layout. The resulting raising of the nose a bit is likely to reduce its reputedly good deck handling qualities by reducing the pilot's forward vision.

    I was thinking in terms of something that might have been available roughly contemporary with the F-I or F-II.
     
  4. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,389
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    It's interesting to speculate on a "lightweight" Fulmar. Sans observer, we might get the TO weight with full fuel and ammo down to 9000lb. This should give about 5 - 10mph improvement in speed and 10-20% better climb rate. If we also give it a Merlin X/XX we might have a nearly 300mph fighter at ~17000ft, and a time to 20K ft of 12-15min. This should make for a much better interception rate against high altitude recon or bomber aircraft and a better success rate against many targets. OTOH, the lack of a rearward facing observer would probably increase it's vulnerability against fighters and possibly reduce the chances of finding opponents in poor visibility situations.
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Messages:
    23,208
    Likes Received:
    791
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Aircraft Maintenance Manager/ Flight Instructor
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    A rear facing observer was nothing but ballast in day fighters unless that observer was working an airborne radar set.
     
  6. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,389
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    I disagree. There are accounts of Fulmars evading superior numbers of nominally superior SE fighters, due to the observer giving warning and advising which way to turn to evade attack. It defies logic that having an extra pair of eyes looking aft, would not aid the pilot in evading attack, given that most SE aircraft downed were attacked in their rear blind spot.
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    9,780
    Likes Received:
    802
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    retired Firefighter
    Location:
    Central Florida Highlands
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Messages:
    23,208
    Likes Received:
    791
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Aircraft Maintenance Manager/ Flight Instructor
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    So I guess the Spitfire, Hurricane, Me 109, P-38, P-47, P-51 FW 190, Zero, Corsair, Hellcat should have all been two seat fighters?!?!? :rolleyes:

    Have you ever flown in the rear of an aircraft when it starts doing aerobatic maneuvers? At that point those extra eyes are nothing more than tear buckets...
     
  9. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Messages:
    5,906
    Likes Received:
    853
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Electrical Engineer, Aircraft Restoration
    Location:
    Rancho Cucamonga, California, U.S.A.
    #9 GregP, Nov 17, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
    To me, removing the observer says we could shorten the aircraft, allowing for a new-design, shorter set of wings and better streamliing with all the armament being forward-firing. It allows for considerable performance increase, but it wouldn't be a Fulmar ... as implied above.

    The USA tried just such a scheme. One TBF-1 weas modified to a single-seat configuration for conversion to a heavy fighter ... the "FTBF-1." The idea was that the reduced weight would improve performance, but the weight reduction was small and the performance gain unimpressive; the project was abandoned, though after the war a second Avenger was, for whatever reason, modified to a cleaner single-seat configuration. It wasn't a success, either.

    That doesn't bode well for a single-seat Fulmar without making it smaller and lighter ... and esentially not a Fulmar. If you eliminated the weight of the second seat entirely, you'd be out of CG forward and would at LEAST have to move the wings forward or shorten the engine mount to fly it ... maybe both.
     
  10. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Messages:
    4,185
    Likes Received:
    167
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Hobart Tasmania
    Ie the Seafire.

    Fairey was asked to navalise the Spitfire, but they didn't want to.
     
  11. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,389
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    And why would an aircraft be doing aerobatic manoeuvres if it didn't see the attacking aircraft? Are you saying that rear gunners in two seat aircraft cannot also warn the pilot of impending attack, as well as shooting back?

    I don't want to argue this endlessly, but having a rear facing observer obviously has benefits in combat, and those benefits have to be weighed against the increase in performance obtainable by omitting the observer. There were other benefits in terms of making the aircraft more suitable for recon and patrol work, especially in the absence of radar which led to the two seat spec, but it's obvious that the RN was not wedded to that concept, as per the document here:
    Fulmar: Development — Armoured Aircraft Carriers in World War II
    specifically ADM 1/7052.
     
  12. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,222
    Likes Received:
    2,050
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    Because rarely would any aircraft fly in a straight line when it's being attacked, whether it had an observer, a tail gunner or the entire L.A. Dodgers' team sitting in the back seat...
     
  13. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,389
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Source?

    We've already discussed the fact that Fairey could provide a folding wing Fulmar in early 1940 or a folding wing Spitfire sometime after that, but not both. As it turned out it was the RAF that balked at diverting Spitfire production to the FAA, especially given the general scarcity of the Spitfire in 1940 due to ongoing production difficulties. Of course we know that it simply wasn't possible to adequately navalize the Spitfire airframe while keeping weight low enough for the Merlin, and even much strengthened late/post war Seafire variants with the Griffon engine, were not quite as robust as hoped for.
     
  14. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,389
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Unfortunately most fighter aircraft were flying in straight lines when shot down, and never saw their attackers. Unless the pilot has warning, by sighting the attacker, or from a friendly aircraft, or from a rear facing observer or by "The Force" he cannot know when to stop flying in a straight line...
     
  15. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Messages:
    4,185
    Likes Received:
    167
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Hobart Tasmania
    Morgan and Shacklady.


    Supermarines submitted a proposal for a navalised Spitfire in 1938 with folding wings. The wings folded to sit parallel with the fuselage, similar to the Grumman F4F. These were to be built by Fairey, not modified versions of the Spitfire.


    We do?

    FWIW, the Fulmar weighed more empty than a Spitfire V's auw. Why could the Merlin cope with a fully laden Fulmar, but not a Seafire?

    Sure the Seafire would lose performance compared to the Spitfire, but it would still in a different league to a Fulmar - single seat or otherwise.
     
  16. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,389
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    #16 RCAFson, Nov 18, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
    Morgan and Shacklady state (page 505) that the Luftwaffe sank the Courageous...so I'm not sure how much to trust their account of the Seafire development!

    The folding wing Seafire III didn't enter production until mid/late 1943 and it turned out to be a less than robust design despite the fact that it was greatly strengthened over the Spitfire V and had access to ~1500hp engines to help compensate for the extra weight. What ever happened to the Supermarine backward folding wing? Everything we know about the Seafire tells us that it wouldn't have been a successful design in 1940 especially since Supermarine couldn't even build Spitfires in any quantity in the same time frame.

    The Seafire's airframe/LG simply wasn't strong enough for carrier operations and adequately strengthening it meant increasing the weight to the point that carrier TO and landings would become problematic for the small wing area, not to mention it's other problems. The 3 FAA pilots interviewed regarding Sea Hurricane Z7015 all agreed that the Seafire wasn't robust enough for carrier operations, unlike the Sea Hurricane and the Fulmar.

    You're really beating a dead horse here, as there's no way that a better Seafire would miraculously emerge in 1940, given the intensive work on it even years later, that failed to make it into a sufficiently robust carrier fighter. In 1944/45 the FAA could afford to right off Seafires with little thought of where the next one would come from as the aircraft was in volume production, but that wasn't the case in 1940 when even the RAF didn't have enough.

    A 1940 folding wing Seafire project has all the earmarks of a complete disaster waiting to happen, and thankfully someone pulled the plug on it.
     
  17. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Messages:
    5,906
    Likes Received:
    853
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Electrical Engineer, Aircraft Restoration
    Location:
    Rancho Cucamonga, California, U.S.A.
    The Merlin could cope with a Fulmar, but not at anywhere NEAR Siptfire performance levels, except maybe in instantaneous turn rate, but it would RAPIDLY run out of excess energy, if it had any to start with.
     
  18. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Messages:
    4,185
    Likes Received:
    167
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Hobart Tasmania
    Even with the extra weight it was substantially lighter than a Fulmar.


    The Seafire was to be built by Fairey, and it was to be Fairey who developed it for service use.

    It got dumped due to war priorities, I guess. And when they finally got around to the wing folding version it was done as simply as possible.


    The Spitfire V had a lower wing loading than the Fulmar. Surely that's more important than wing area?

    Also, in May 1942 during the reinforcement of Malta a Spitfire's long range fuel tank feed failed. After all the other aircraft had left the deck the pilot landed the Spitfire on teh deck. Granted, it was the larger USS Wasp, but it was also done without arrestor gear.


    Yet, they did operate successfully later in the war at higher weights.

    What the FAA wanted was performance - and they didn't get it with the Sea Hurricane or the Fulmar. Not even a single set Fulmar would have been in the same class.


    Because the people who would have been charged with making the Seafire were stuffing around with the Fulmar.

    Dead horses = Fulmar and Hurricane.
     
  19. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,923
    Likes Received:
    96
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Tired and Retired
    Location:
    Northeast North Carolina
    #19 oldcrowcv63, Nov 18, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
    keep in mind, that all I was suggesting is that the single seat Fulmar be lighter with improved performance to provide a better single seat CAP aircraft for CV air defense. The recon fulmar would remain the same and also be embarked. Removing the 600 lbs from the observers section is a good start. It brings the weight (9,000 lbs) down to almost that of a max load F4F-4 (8,763 lbs) with about 100+ extra hp in the F-II. Also there were apparently some additional streamlining and weight savings (~300 lbs) planned that may have not made it past the drawing board. The finished Fulmar II product was only designed to be a multirole aircraft and filled the role well until the advent of the Firefly. But it also possessed folding wings. A lighter higher performing, point-defense weapon might have had some utility. Just wondering 'aloud' as it were. With 4 x .50HMGs on the F-II with 370 rpg, some additional weight savings mightt be gains by reducing the fuel load, and ammo load from 370 rpg to perhaps 250 rpg (slightly more than the F4F-4.). You also get back some of the operational ceiling loss that hampered both marks.

    Did both the Fulmar I II have the filter system that created significant drag?

    I don't think much fuselage redesign is reasonable in this scenario. Taking a length-section out of the fuselage with the same landing gear would raise the nose, losing some of the good forward visibility the type enjoyed. With that wide landing gear, the Fulmar looks to me to be a very suitable naval aircraft.

    Not looking for the performance of a Spitfire or a Hurricane but just a real folding wing, single seat naval fighter available to the FAA in approximately 1940 time frame to augment fleet defense.
     
  20. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Messages:
    23,208
    Likes Received:
    791
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Aircraft Maintenance Manager/ Flight Instructor
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #20 FLYBOYJ, Nov 18, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
    They can if they could see the attacker and many times they did warn the pilots of a pending attack, I give you that but that slight advantage is outweighed by the technical and operational disadvantage of a rear facing observer. You're trying to embrace an aerial combat concept that eventually got left behind due to aircraft development.
    I read the document - Now you're changing the role; "recon and patrol work," OK, I could agree with that if you want to change the role of this aircraft, especially if the observer is doing part of the navigation work (which also could easily be done by the pilot). You're the one that keeps bringing up this concept that obviously was left behind, even by the folks who came up with it begin with!!!
     
Loading...

Share This Page