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I'll start off this thread where you can list unusual or little known aviation facts.

 

Did you know there was a Spitfire floatplane?

 

The concept of a Spitfire floatplane was formulated after Norway was invaded by Germany in April 1940. The idea was that the aircraft would operate from fjords in Norway. Spitfire Mk I (R6722) was the aircraft chosen for conversion and fitted with floats which were used on the Blackburn Roc and a ventral fin added.

 

Spitfire_VB_Floatplane_W3760.jpg.415080489b9381c548f456ed58551109.jpg  1223251840_Spitfire_VB_Floatplaneairborne.jpg.c1889602b88519c77da7895a0ce9876e.jpg

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Did you know that Supermarine started out as a boat manufacturer, who moved into float planes before the Spitfire.
The Spitfire was actually their first aircraft that was designed as a land based aircraft.

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Did you know that erroneously most people think the spitfire was the first landplane built by Supermarine?

 

Most people forget the 1924 Lympne ultralight trials and the Supermarine Sparrow I that was built and flew in that competition 12 yrs before the spitfire.
😛

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Did you know that a major feature of the much hyped U.S. Combat Edge System introduced in 1996 was developed by the Soviets and has been in use with Russian fighter jets since 1956. It took the Americans 40 years to copy the Russian occipital bladder helmet/mask tensioning system. Better late than never. 😮

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I think that is is drawing a long bow to say that the Spitfire was descended from the Supermarine SB-6 racer.

 

 image.thumb.png.0e1bd72a3b0d18c4d3cb6e14168a86ea.png Are You a Good Spotter? The Answers Are… – Lest We Forget

 

Following the Schneider Trophy win in 1931, Mitchell and Supermarine stopped playing with racers to concentrate on meeting Ministry of Air specifications for a monoplane replacement for the Gloster Gauntlet biplane. Their entry into the military competition was the Type 224, an inverted gull-wing design with open cockpit and fixed U/C, powered by a Rolls Royce Goshawk engine In the competition it proved to be slower than expected; had cooling problems and climbed slowly.

 

Supermarine Type 224

 

However, Mitchell was already in discussions about a number of improvements - these included a new wing, tailplane, and engine arrangements - which would give it a top speed of 265 mph (426 km/h). The Ministry felt that, as eight rather than four guns would be needed, a wholly new aircraft, rather than a modification of the Type 224, was called for. In 1933, Supermarine had asked the Air Ministry for the name "Spitfire" to be reserved for it. So, although Mitchell and Supermarine learned a lot from the aircraft designed for the Schneider Trophy, in actual fact it was the failed Type 224 that was the ancestor of the Spitfire.

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If It was a wholly NEW aircraft the "failed" type 224 would hopefully have very little to do with it. . Certainly no "obvious" feature derives from it, appearance wise. The first Spitfires has wooden fixed pitch props.. Supercharger development by the Germans for their Schneider Trophy planes saw them ahead of the Brits during the war.  Nev

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Did you know that poor piloting by a Nazi officer, resulting in the unnecessary crash and destruction of his Messerschmitt Bf-108 Taifun, saw the secret Nazi war plans for the invasion of Belgium and Holland, end up in the Belgians hands?

 

But the the Nazi officer involved actually tried two attempts at burning the plans - both of which partially failed. Some of the paperwork was burnt, but enough was left to give the Belgians and the Dutch a good gist of the Nazi plans.

 

However, when Hitler found out the plans had possibly fallen into Allied hands, he decided to change the plans - thus the original plans became virtually worthless. But other factors such as bad weather also impacted the plans.

 

The whole story is like a Keystone Cops episode, because of the bumbling and basic errors on both Nazi and Allied sides. The event was called the "Mechelen Incident", and it happened on 10th January 1940.

 

In the long run, it's hard to define what effect the Mechelen incident had on the course of WW2. Many other factors intervened to reduce the impact of the finding of the plans, including the fact that Hitlers support for the original invasion plan was weak.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechelen_incident

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Did you know? 75 years ago on December 22, 1945 test pilot Vern Louis Carstens made the first flight of Beech Aircraft Corporation’s new Beechcraft Model 35 Bonanza? Five prototypes were built, the first two were used as static test articles. The third prototype, NX80150, s/n 3, was the first to fly.

 

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

 

(P.S.: I was 14 months old on that day)

 

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Considering the Spitfires excellent flight performance. In the late 30’s an Aerodynamicist, Canadian Beverly Shenstone, worked for Supermarine. He had spent a few years in Germany, working at Heinkel, doing a study of the aerodynamic properties of the elliptical wing shape. How ironic! These are a very even distribution of lift generated over the wing span, resulting in a reduction of span wise wing trailing edge and wing tip flow, leading to reduced vortex formation and thus very low lift induced drag. Problem is, this wing shape is complex, each wing rib, for example, is different. It is therefore difficult to mass produce. I believe Shenstone played a big part in the Spitfire having a double elliptic wing, possibly more so than Mitchell. Mitchell’s gift was that he wasn’t ego driven, anyone who had a good sounding idea, was listened to. The leading edge elipse, differs from the trailing edge elliptical shape, hence a double elipse. The saying Mitchell is reported to have said that the wing was “only that shape, to cover the guns”, was I think, a cover to divert from the real advantages of the wing shape. Apart from the planform shape, the other unique feature, was the wings remarkable thin frontal area. For it’s day it was a very thin wing, it was pretty unique. The Spitfire came within a hairs breadth of being cancelled, because the wing was so difficult to mass produce. Fortunately they didn’t!  79AFEC42-E97B-485C-8323-6B15ABF6BB7A.thumb.jpeg.3491378db88f8bb3de38400ecd6ec51e.jpeg

Edited by F10
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Many "improved" ones are and where does that put the "Super" Elliptical wing planform ? One story says the whole thing was misinterpreted and the ellipse was a pressure pattern, not a wing planform. Not only was it expensive to produce it was time and cost intensive to repair (damage) in service compared to the more numerous by far, Hurricane. Nev

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From an engineering point of view, the easier to repair Hurricane was interesting. Early Hurricanes had a cloth covered wing too. The cloth aerodynamic covering over the load bearing frame, was a carry over from the start of flying. Even the metal winged Hurricane was still a metal covering over the load carrying internal frame. This “easy repair and back in the air” was an important plus in the BoB. The Spitfire was a stressed skin machine, stress loads being taken up by both internal structure and the metal skinning. This made repair difficult, especially in those early war days. The wing had four spars, two each side joined by a web. The spars were like leaf springs, metal box tubes, one inside the other, forming a laminate. Attached to the spars and web, was pretty thick gauge, elliptical shaped one piece leading edge skins, a top and bottom, riveted together along the leading edge. This formed a “D” box structure, forming the whole leading edge. This made for an extremely strong wing. There are no g limits in the Spitfire flight manual. The human limit is exceeded before the structural limit. In extreme situations, Spitfires returned with visible signs of airframe over stress. But no structural failure in combat is known or was ever reported. Alfred Price’s book, the Spitfire Story area is a good read!6F43DEDA-D07C-4ABC-8059-42755232E49A.thumb.jpeg.38006ea3a6eb400c2a68886cc75b215c.jpeg58186371-347D-4937-A919-1E3FBABCC33A.thumb.jpeg.b810a924bb333f28ceb748b98d2c6c15.jpeg

Edited by F10
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