10 Worst British Aircraft

My Grandfather was in a Russian Convoy when a large wave ripped the flight deck off the front of their Escort Carrier, meaning they had no ability to put fighters up against the Luftwaffe.
That event was referenced in an Alistair Maclean book wasn't it? I forget which one now.

Edited to add....Just found it, HMS Ulysses, based on the author's own experience apparently. He may have been on the same convoy as your Grandad.
 
TBD - Torpedo Bomber, Douglas
SBD - Scout Bomber, Douglas
TBF - Torpedo Bomber, Grumman
F4H - Fighter, 4th to be built by McDonnell for the USN
F-4B - Fighter, 4th to be built by McDonnell for the USN, but first to be built after Robert S MacNamara demonstrated he couldn't understand how the USN aircraft designation system worked...
 
I understood that the FAW2 had much better ejection systems for the Observer. You're not wrong about flightdeck size, although I suspect it wasn't much of an issue on HMS Eagle (more so on HMS Victorious and definitely in HMS Hermes).

The General Public should address a long since neglected fact that that few people have heard of the Sea Vixen. It served as a front line Carrier Borne Fighter Aircraft with the Royal Navy from 1959/1972. It was a mean looking, noisy machine that filled onlookers with awe. There were 55 Major Accidents involving loss of airframe. Out of these, 30 were fatal and of these 21 were fatal to both operating aircrew. In other words 51 Royal Navy Aircrew were lost in the 12 years of Sea Vixen Operations.

  • 145 Sea Vixens were built. The loss rate was 37.93%. The fatality rate within those losses was 54.54%.
From: Homepage - SeaVixen

And....

This large aircraft was operated from small aircraft carriers by day and night. It was difficult to deckland because being an aerodynamically clean aircraft it had low profile drag. The consequence of this was that the throttles were retarded to about one third of their travel in order to command the low thrust required for a constant speed approach critical for deck landing. The engines were therefore operating in the lower rpm response time margins when fully configured on approach to land. Speed control was difficult and speed accuracy was essential to the safe conduct of a deck landing.

The Pilot sat slightly left of center with the Observer seated in a dark "Coal Hole" off center right. He was lower than the pilot and had a small gap where he could see the pilots right thigh. He had a small window on his right and he was covered by a metal hatch. This hatch was always slow to jettison in the event of an ejection. This caused delay in comparison to the pilots seat and many Observer deaths. In later years of service a frangeable hatch was fitted so the Observer could eject through it. With his limited vision he was hurled and thrown around the skies under high g forces in this multirole aircraft.


From: Sea Vixen Accidents. Public Page. - SeaVixen
 
Having read a lot on this subject, the Blackburn Botha must rate as one of the worst acquisitions ever inflicted on the RAF. It's brief operational service life revealed it's many incurable vices causing fatal crashes and even worse, they were then passed on to inexperienced crews as crew trainers where they continued to maintain their ghastly record! Someone should have been held responsible for that decision.
One of it's many vices was poor cockpit ergonomics.

ISTRC was that a fuel cut off cock was very near a flaps or undercarriage lever, which meant you could inadvertently cut the fuel to the engines while using flaps or undercarriage, actions normally carried out very near the ground!-a point in the flight profile where you don't want to shut down an engine suddenly...
 
TBD - Torpedo Bomber, Douglas
SBD - Scout Bomber, Douglas
TBF - Torpedo Bomber, Grumman
F4H - Fighter, 4th to be built by McDonnell for the USN
F-4B - Fighter, 4th to be built by McDonnell for the USN, but first to be built after Robert S MacNamara demonstrated he couldn't understand how the USN aircraft designation system worked...
TBM- Torpedo Bomber (Avenger) built by GM. More TBM built as Grumman was ordered to concentrate of the F6F Hellcat series

F4F- Wildcat / Martlet (Grumman)
F4U- Corsair (Chance Vought) FG (Goodyear) F3A (Brewster)
 
Martin Baker MB2




But if the Spitfire had failed, it's all the RAF may have had

Well, apart from the Hurricane which was already in production a year before the MB2 was flown, I'd also like to point out that the Spitfire entered service in August 1938, that's the same time as the MB2 was test flown.

You've really got no clue about weapon systems as has been repeatedly demonstrated on various arrse threads, have you ever considered reading a book or twenty on the subject?
 
TBM- Torpedo Bomber (Avenger) built by GM. More TBM built as Grumman was ordered to concentrate of the F6F Hellcat series

F4F- Wildcat / Martlet (Grumman)
F4U- Corsair (Chance Vought) FG (Goodyear) F3A (Brewster)
Indeed - as in FM for the GM built Wildcat (with the FM-2 held by some to be a slightly better Wildcat than the F4F-4, I believe).

Well, apart from the Hurricane which was already in production a year before the MB2 was flown, I'd also like to point out that the Spitfire entered service in August 1938, that's the same time as the MB2 was test flown.

You've really got no clue about weapon systems as has been repeatedly demonstrated on various arrse threads, have you ever considered reading a book or twenty on the subject?
And it's not clear that the MB2 deserves to be in a list of '10 worst British aircraft' anyway. While biased, a former RAF 'plumber' who was involved with the aircraft suggested that it was, in fact, pretty decent, as you can read here (and the following page).

There is a view (a rather fantasy 'what if...? one) that had Jimmy Martin been given some sort of Inspector General type task of ensuring that prospective RAF fighter types had cockpits were ergonomic (before the word was invented) and armament bays laid out in the same manner as on his aeroplanes (speeding rearming considerably), the RAF wouldn't have gone far wrong.
 
And it's not clear that the MB2 deserves to be in a list of '10 worst British aircraft' anyway. While biased, a former RAF 'plumber' who was involved with the aircraft suggested that it was, in fact, pretty decent
I would agree. MB's next plane, the MB3 can make a good claim as one of the pretties aircraft of it's time - pity about the Sabre installation killing Valentine Baker, but MB were not the only ones to have trouble installing that engine. Look at all those cannons!

martin-baker-mb3-denham-guns.jpg




And you can make a case that the MB5 was the best aircraft the RAF never had.
martin-baker-mb5-dh-front.jpg


And both were much easier to make than the Spitfire, which was never really revised for mass production - hence the excessive delays getting it into service.
 
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IIRC, Martin partly blamed the Ministry of Supply and/or the Air Ministry for Baker's death; RAF Wing was not the most obvious place to test a high-performance fighter aircraft because of its being surrounded by numerous small fields and trees, which made force-landing a tricky proposition. Martin had objected to the decision to base it there, but was over-ruled. He also felt that the engine had been foisted on him, since the MB3 was meant to use the Griffon rather than the Sabre, and the latter was - at the time of the MB3's crash - particularly unreliable.

Val Baker's crash is held to have been the point that Martin decided that some effective means of getting out of the aircraft even at low level and low speed would be a good idea, so he started to look at how one might go about this...
 
Sigh, if the Mossie is a MILF, the Hornet is a trim 19 yo with a varied wardrobe and an enthusiastic glint in her eye.
1519642725058.png
 
And, indeed, 1/3 of the Op CORPORATE Sea Harrier kills. Don't tell them that though, or they'll get EVER so flouncy...........!!!
Sharky knows where you live......
 
I would agree. MB's next plane, the MB3 can make a good claim as one of the pretties aircraft of it's time - pity about the Sabre installation killing Valentine Baker, but MB were not the only ones to have trouble installing that engine. Look at all those cannons!

View attachment 323750

And you can make a case that the MB5 was the best aircraft the RAF never had.
View attachment 323751

And both were much easier to make than the Spitfire, which was never really revised for mass production - hence the excessive delays getting it into service.
You only have to park a 109/190 next to a Spitfire to see the difference in manufacturing. Thousands of rivets and finicky stuff on the spit, wartime assembly and speedy large scale production tolerances on the German types. The MB appears to have been designed with fast assembly by low skilled workers in mind, much like German production.
 
I would agree. MB's next plane, the MB3 can make a good claim as one of the pretties aircraft of it's time - pity about the Sabre installation killing Valentine Baker, but MB were not the only ones to have trouble installing that engine. Look at all those cannons!

View attachment 323750

And you can make a case that the MB5 was the best aircraft the RAF never had.
View attachment 323751

And both were much easier to make than the Spitfire, which was never really revised for mass production - hence the excessive delays getting it into service.
Unfortunately the MB5 didn't fly until May 1944 and required modifications after that so wasn't handed over for trials until February 1946. By then of course it was already obsolete. If it had been ready in 1943 it would have been a world beater .

History of the Martin-Baker MB5 Airplane

Edited to add - I just saw here that in October 1944 Martin was told that the MB5 would not be procured :

Martin-Baker MB5 Fighter

Which you can't really blame the RAF for , since the Meteor, Tempest and Griffin-engined Spitfire were already in service, and the Vampire coming along too.
 
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That's what happens when you give the RN a perfectly good looking aeroplane!

Regards,
MM
There's always one sister with a big noise that ruins her looks..........Butterface
 
A lot of the later piston fighters copied the layout of the 190's cockpit but it wasn't the first to use side panels for switches. What it did have was a fully functioning near-all-electric cockpit, which was brilliant for the time but depended critically on having the main battery in perfect condition. For example, when the pilot started up and was ready to take off, he had to arm the guns in sequence as arming them all at once could overload the battery. The best thing about the 190 were single-lever engine operation and perfect trim, in that the pilot didn't have to constantly retrim, like other fighters did. It was a revelation when it came into service, especially when compared to the 109.
 
And it's not clear that the MB2 deserves to be in a list of '10 worst British aircraft' anyway. While biased, a former RAF 'plumber' who was involved with the aircraft suggested that it was, in fact, pretty decent, as you can read here (and the following page).
It wasn’t. I posted the list in the fugly aircraft thread. Here it is:

In order of cackness they are:
  1. Blackburn Twin Blackburn
  2. Blackburn Roc
  3. Blackburn Botha
  4. Saro Lerwick
  5. DH Sea Vixen
  6. Blackburn Firebrand
  7. Gloster Javelin
  8. Tornado
  9. Supermarine Scimitar
  10. Blackburn Beverley
Blackburn didn’t do very well, did they.
 
My nomination for today
Bae’s finest the Another Technical Problem (atp)
Supossedly jig built but when you (frequently) need to replace the main undercarriage bracket on the main spar ( due to the undercarriage Oleo’s having 3 inch of travel, )you had better order at plain forging and mark the bolt holes up on site because the pre drilled ones from Woodford are usually about a cm out.
The men and women who built Lancaster’s must shudder when they see what Manchester made in the end.
 

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