Spitfire, Power the Growler

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Readie, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    I have been flicking through a recent purchase inbetween looking at the Lend Lease thread...as you do :shock:

    I came across this...

    'Once you've flown a Spitfire,it spoils you for all other fighters. Every other aircraft seems imperfect in one way or another'

    Lt colonel William R Dunn. USAAF, ex-no 71 )Eagle) Squadron, Royal Air Force.

    I have intrigued by the differences betwen the Merlin Griffon and why RR developed them together.

    I surmise this:

    That RR considered 27 L in the Merlin to be insufficient to make the power RR thought that a modern fighter would need. Hence the 37 L Griffon which first appeared in 1934. The development of the supercharger meant that the Merlin was as powerful as was needed.
    The Griffon, with its different firing sequence and bigger capacity was a rougher engine and nicknamed the Growler.
    Although the Griffon went on to produce huge power and still in service powering Shackleton's till 1991 was it the better engine?
    Cheers
    John
     
  2. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    The Griffon was started later than the Merlin, and incorporated lessons learned from its little brother.
     
  3. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    I thought the Griffon was a development of the pre war racing R type schneider engine?
     
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I could be wrong but I think there were two "Griffons". The first "iffy" one, may have been a development of the racing R type schneider which was in turn, a development of the Buzzard, sort of (?). The project was shelved for several years while the Merlin was worked on. When the project started up again (or started new?) some criteria changed. Like trying to make the engines fit as well as possible into Merlin installations. By the time they were done the only things the Griffon had in common with the "R" type was the bore and stroke and the general configuration.

    It is wiki but I have a few of the sources listed and it goes along very well with them.

    Rolls-Royce R - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  5. Mustang nut

    Mustang nut Banned

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    I read somewhere (not on wiki I dont think) that the reason the Griffon rotated the other way to a Merlin was a FAA requirement so the torque reaction took the plane away from the tower not into it.

    In the early days power was seen as being directly linked to the swept volume which it is in a way. However it is really the ability of an engine to burn fuel which is important advances in superchargers and fuels meant the actual difference wasnt so great and the bigger engine is heavier with a larger frontal area.
     
  6. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    I'm pretty sure your right there as the original R type was a very short lived engine, one race and rebuild time, so I suppose the Griffon was a "development" if not a close cousin?
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Read the wiki article, it is actually pretty good.

    There are several other aircraft engines that have similar "histories". One is the Wright R-3350 that powered the B-29. Work was started on the engine and then stopped for several years, when work was restarted so much had been learned while working on the other engines that just about every single part was changed form the original drawings/design keeping only the bore and stroke dimensions. Is it the same engine?
     
  8. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    The production Griffon was an entirely new engine which shared nothing other than the bore, stroke, general layout and name with the Griffon that was a development of the R, which itself was a development of the Buzzard.

    The Buzzard, initially known as Type H, was essentially a 6/5 scale Kestrel, orignally known as Type F.

    Design work for the Griffon, according to Rolls-Royce Griffon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, started in 1938, and was testing in late 1939. When the idea came to putting the Griffon in the Spitfire the design was modified to reduce the frontal area and overall size. The revised version ran about 6 months after the original. Also, during 1940 progress of the Griffon was delayed on orders from the MAP, so RR could concentrate on the Merlin.

    The first Griffon Spitfire, the IV, flew 18 months after that, and the was in production in 1942. The first XIV with the two stage Griffon flew in Januuary 1943.
     
  9. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    You are right about the rotation.It was the Air Ministry that imposed the rotation rule for all new aero engines.
    The Griffon had a small frontal area which combined with a large capacity made it a 'natural' for development.
    The Griffon 101 had a 3 speed supercharger...
    Was this a first?
    Cheers
    John
     
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