Most Beautiful Aircraft

487 different types (Guinness Book of Records). From every country involved in WW2 and post war.
Extraordinary in the extreme, especially with captured aircraft that had no trainer or manual to refer to, I imagine most even very skilled pilots would struggle or not survive. I wonder how many individual aircraft he flew in his time, it must have been an insane number.
 
Some years ago when I was young, slim(mer) and agile, I had the opportunity to get in both Spitfire and Bf109 cockpits. Whilst the Spit was reasonably comfortable, if cosy, I had to be helped out of the 109 because my arms were stuck by my sides.

Just for a laugh the bloke who was showing the aircraft tried to close the side hinged 109 cockpit. My head was at 45° to my shoulders by the time the cockpit was fully down. I'm just over 5'10" and even allowing that there was probably another 1.5" downward adjustment on the seat, I would have found it extremely tight in full flying kit.

The Spit's sliding and bulged cockpit was ok.

Two vids featuring Sqn Ldr Paul Day of the BBMF. I posted them somewhere on ARRSE about 18 months ago but can't find them now. Apols if you've already seen them!

Spitfire:



ME109:

 
The 109 aces tried to keep the older canopy of the E-1 to E-3, when they moved onto E-4, as it offered a much better view out than the heavily framed E-4, but the early canopy had no head armour so they cobbled together a fit up of the early canopy and a steel plate behind the pilot's head. The early canopy was made from square steel tube of about 15mm size, to which various fixed and sliding Perspex panels were fitted. The later ones had the same 15mm square tube to which sheet metal of about 60mm width had been fitted, to which the individual window panes were fitted. From the E-4 on, the head armour was fitted to the hinged canopy and those new style canopies were retrofitted to existing E-3s, both in the field and during overhauls or rebuild. Incidentally, pilots were expected to be able to squeeze out through the sliding window if they crashed and the aircraft became inverted. Galland, when challenged about this by his pilots, told them to practise getting out via the sliding window but this was virtually impossible when dressed in full flying clothing. There were instances of pilots having to wriggle out of their jackets to be able to get out of the window. Sensible pilots who had to force-land a 109 usually jettisoned the canopy before touch down, as it also jettisoned the fixed aft portion of the canopy and this would give them a better chance of escape if it went inverted. British pilots were instructed to lock open their sliding canopies and they had the benefit of hinged doors on the Spitfire and Hurricane.
 
Luftwaffe trials suggested it was considerably superior to the bf109G-6 and that it was the best Axis fighter then available. They even considered producing it for themselves. However, I suspect they'd have insisted on a 'normal' throttle rather than the Italian 'inverted throttle' design where pulling back increased power!!!! That design accounted for several German pilots!

Meanwhile, the late, great 'Winkle' Brown stated this of the Veltro:

One of the finest aircraft I ever flew was the Macchi MC. 205. Oh, beautiful. And here you had the perfect combination of Italian styling and German engineering. I believe it was powered by a Daimler Benz DB 605. It was really a delight to fly, and up to anything on the Allied programme. But again, it came just before the Italians capitulated so it was never used extensively. And we did tests on it and were most impressed. The cockpit was smallish but not as bad as the Bf 109.”​

Regards,
MM
The Germans took any Italian aircraft that was fit to fly and equipped JG 77 with 205s, 202s and anything else that would fly and shoot, such as Fiat G55s and Reggiane 2005s. They did modify the Italian engines for "normal" throttle operation, as well as fitting German oxygen systems, signage, gunsights and so on. Ironically, the Italians who joined with the Allies flew 202s and 205s fitted with engines salvaged from ME 109Gs. Postwar, Macchi supplied Egypt with 205s until Jewish agents intervened and made it clear to the Italains that it was a bad idea.
 
I read somewhere that the Russian bombers with downward ejection seats would push down an undercarriage door or some kind of blast shield in front of the ejectees as they came out of the aircraft.
 
I don't know if it was an urban myth , just crap or what, but I remember from the annals of time hearing the Luftwaffe had a lot of F104G pilots killed due to a downward ejection seat , that was fitted to the planes they had the rocket assist launch system on , and when the engines flamed out , the pilot wasn't high enough and had the choice of burying himself in the ground , or attempting to land an fuel laden brick..... probably total bollox, but I was very young and very gullible, (still am I suppose)
 
I don't know if it was an urban myth , just crap or what, but I remember from the annals of time hearing the Luftwaffe had a lot of F104G pilots killed due to a downward ejection seat , that was fitted to the planes they had the rocket assist launch system on , and when the engines flamed out , the pilot wasn't high enough and had the choice of burying himself in the ground , or attempting to land an fuel laden brick..... probably total bollox, but I was very young and very gullible, (still am I suppose)
Did the -G have an downward-firing seat? I thought they were earlier.

The Germans' problem was trying to use a high-performance jet fighter as a fighter-bomber.

Or am I thinking of the Me 262? :-D
 
Did the -G have an downward-firing seat? I thought they were earlier.

The Germans' problem was trying to use a high-performance jet fighter as a fighter-bomber.

Or am I thinking of the Me 262? :-D
No, that changed early on....even before they were bribed to take them :)
 
It’s a weird looking thing, inboard engines have 4 bladed props, outboard have 3. What was the thinking behind that. The tail looks a bit “French”

RP.
Apparently, there was an issue with an occasional vibration of sufficient strength to be felt in the cabin. The inner engines were fitted with four blade props to overcome this, and the plan was to fit four bladed props to the outer engines in due course.
 
Some of their bombers left something to be desired....
...some of their flying boats were pleasant on the eye though, such as this Can’t Z.511.


The 109 aces tried to keep the older canopy of the E-1 to E-3, when they moved onto E-4, as it offered a much better view out than the heavily framed E-4, but the early canopy had no head armour so they cobbled together a fit up of the early canopy and a steel plate behind the pilot's head. The early canopy was made from square steel tube of about 15mm size, to which various fixed and sliding Perspex panels were fitted. The later ones had the same 15mm square tube to which sheet metal of about 60mm width had been fitted, to which the individual window panes were fitted. From the E-4 on, the head armour was fitted to the hinged canopy and those new style canopies were retrofitted to existing E-3s, both in the field and during overhauls or rebuild. Incidentally, pilots were expected to be able to squeeze out through the sliding window if they crashed and the aircraft became inverted. Galland, when challenged about this by his pilots, told them to practise getting out via the sliding window but this was virtually impossible when dressed in full flying clothing. There were instances of pilots having to wriggle out of their jackets to be able to get out of the window. Sensible pilots who had to force-land a 109 usually jettisoned the canopy before touch down, as it also jettisoned the fixed aft portion of the canopy and this would give them a better chance of escape if it went inverted. British pilots were instructed to lock open their sliding canopies and they had the benefit of hinged doors on the Spitfire and Hurricane.
Plus of curse the late-war Erla hood had no such option!


Regards,
MM
 
The Japanese got in on the act as well, designing the Kawasaki Ki-61 around a license built DB-601 engine.

View attachment 384741
The Japanese never seemed to get the hang of making the DB601 work properly. Aichi couldn't even get the crankshaft right Aichi Atsuta - Wikipedia

But I have a feeling that Kawasaki had problems with the heat treatment of the reduction gearing or even missed a critical oil pathway in the block Kawasaki Ha40 - Wikipedia

Anyone know the real story?
 
Seeing as we’re on the subject of Italian racing aeroplanes, I give you the Bugatti 100...

Difficult to believe this is a pre-war design!

Regards,
MM
 

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