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Power User

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Posts: 483
Location: Burlinton Ont
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 10:51 am
Post subject: "Spitfire"

"It's the sort of bloody silly name they would give it" R.J Mitchell the inventor of the Spitfire was not exactly impressed with the name some desk flying suit in Whitehall is said to have come up with for his prototype Supermarine Type 300 monoplane.The aircraft had in fact been named by Sir Robert McClean,chairman of Vickers,the company that that had bought the Supermarine Aviation Works,after his young daughter Anna,a right little 'spitfire' Now the question is what name would R.J Mitchell have given his plane had he had the chance? Confused Question two leads to a great story,what airplane was the inspiration for the thin elliptical wing that R.J.Mitchell gave the Spitfire?


eagles may soar but a weasel won't get sucked into a jet engine
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 6:37 pm
Post subject: Re: "Spitfire"

O.k. the answer to the first question is "The Shrew" kinda glad that never happened. The second question I think that I should step back from a bit, nevertheless the airplane that some think was the inspiration for the Spitfires famous wing was the Heinkel He70 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinkel_He_70 Beverly Shenstone the man largly responsible for the Spits elliptical wing also worked with Ernest Heinkel in Germany but denied the connection with the HE70.As it was Rolls-Royce was so enthusiastic about using the Heinkel He70 as a "test bed" for its prototype engines that it sent a team to Germany to buy one directly from Heinkel,the German government aproved the deal but only in return for a number of it's Kestral engines.Now for the good part,the first prototype of the Messerschmitt BF109 was to fly with one of these British engines under it's hood!


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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:16 pm
Post subject: Re: "Spitfire"

The Shrew?!?!?
And nobody thought of SpitSkwirrell?


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Location: Group W bench
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 8:08 pm
Post subject: Re: "Spitfire"

Huh! Well that's definitely two things about the Spit that I never knew before, thanks very much for the education Dan!

Reading the Wikipedia He70 webpage about the story re: the possible influence of wing design on the Spit, you can almost feel Ms. Shenstone bristling up at the suggestion... and to be fair, the Supermarine co. did have a very respectable background in the Schneider races and that particular racing series is maybe even more interesting than the Thompson trophy races we had going in the States here, even if the characters weren't quite as colorful.....another reason to appreciate the many different ways the prewar Golden Era of aviation had an immediate, direct and lasting influence on aircraft to come for decades afterwards, with even some of the records from that era standing many many years after the war, and more reason to study and enjoy the rich history of that period

And not to go too far out in the weeds on that sub-topic but Heinkel had some elegant and beautiful designs of their own too...those graceful wings made it to the He-111 as well and the He-100 fighter was a very interesting early competitor to the BF-109, and a dang site prettier looking too, albeit in its own unique and typically practical Teutonic way. Had an engaging look all it's own and I'd love to see a decent flight sim model of one.

Definitely enjoyed learning more of the true (and some alleged) background of the ol' Spit!

"Once your reputation is ruined, you can live quite freely."
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Posts: 483
Location: Burlinton Ont
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:56 pm
Post subject: Re: "Spitfire"

Thanks Stoopy,the Schneider sea plane races are really a great bite of history.the rip roaring in ine engines that were developed because of the race helped to shape the outcome of the battle of Britain and the outcome of the war.The story of 'Dame Lucy Houston',society hostess and former chorus girl who sponsored Supermarine in the Schneider cup to the tune of 100,000 pounds is a remarkable one filled with the stuff that could make a most exellent movie some of which I hope to share with you guys soon as I get around to it.


eagles may soar but a weasel won't get sucked into a jet engine
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