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Author Topic: Hawker Hurricane: 75 years ago: November 6 1935  (Read 6119 times)
Koen
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« on: 7 November 2010, 18:37:40 »
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source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawker_Hurricane



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The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Although largely overshadowed by the Supermarine Spitfire, the aircraft became renowned during the Battle of Britain, accounting for 60% of the RAF's air victories in the battle, and served in all the major theatres of the Second World War.
The 1930s design evolved through several versions and adaptations, resulting in a series of aircraft which acted as interceptor-fighters, fighter-bombers (also called "Hurribombers"), and ground support aircraft. Further versions known as the Sea Hurricane had modifications which enabled operation from ships. Some were converted as catapult-launched convoy escorts, known as "Hurricats". More than 14,000 Hurricanes were built by the end of 1944 (including about 1,200 converted to Sea Hurricanes and some 1,400 built in Canada by the Canada Car and Foundry).


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The Hurricane was developed by Hawker in response to the Air Ministry specification F.36/34 (modified by F.5/34) for a fighter aircraft built around the new Rolls-Royce engine, then only known as the PV-12, later to become famous as the Merlin. At that time, RAF Fighter Command comprised just 13 squadrons, each equipped with either the Hawker Fury, Hawker Hart variant, or Bristol Bulldog – all biplanes with fixed-pitch wooden propellers and non-retractable undercarriages. The design, started in early 1934, was the work of Sydney Camm.
Sydney Camm's original plans submitted in response to the Air Ministry's specification were at first rejected (apparently "too orthodox," even for the Air Ministry). Camm tore up the proposal and set about designing a fighter as a Hawker private venture. With economy in mind, the Hurricane was designed using as many existing tools and jigs as possible (the aircraft was effectively a monoplane version of the successful Hawker Fury); and it was these factors that were major contributors to the aircraft's success.
Early design stages of the "Fury Monoplane" incorporated a Rolls-Royce Goshawk engine, but this was replaced shortly after by the Merlin, and featured a retractable undercarriage. The design came to be known as the "Interceptor Monoplane," and by May 1934, the plans had been completed in detail. To test the new design, a one-tenth scale model was made and sent to the National Physical Laboratory at Teddington. A series of wind tunnel tests confirmed the aerodynamic qualities of the design were in order, and by December that year, a full size wooden mock-up of the aircraft had been created.


Hawker Hurricane

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Construction of the first prototype, K5083, began in August 1935 incorporating the PV-12 Merlin engine. The completed sections of the aircraft were taken to Brooklands, where Hawkers had an assembly shed, and re-assembled on 23 October 1935. Ground testing and taxi trials took place over the following two weeks, and on 6 November 1935, the prototype took to the air for the first time, at the hands of Hawker's chief test pilot, Flight Lieutenant (later Group Captain) P.W.S. Bulman. Flight Lieutenant Bulman was assisted by two other pilots in subsequent flight testing; Philip Lucas flew some of the experimental test flights, while John Hindmarsh conducted the firm's production flight trials.
Though faster and more advanced than the RAF's current front line biplane fighters, the Hurricane's design was already outdated when introduced. It employed traditional Hawker construction techniques from previous biplane aircraft, with mechanically fastened, rather than welded joints. It had a Warren girder-type fuselage of high-tensile steel tubes, over which sat frames and longerons that carried the doped linen covering. An advantage conferred by the steel-tube structure was that cannon shells could pass right through the wood and fabric covering without exploding. Even if one of the steel tubes were damaged the repair work required was relatively simple and could be done by the groundcrew at the airfield. An all metal structure, as with the Spitfire, damaged by an exploding cannon shell required more specialised equipment to repair. The old-fashioned structure also permitted the assembly of Hurricanes with relatively basic equipment under field conditions. Crated Hurricanes were assembled in West Africa and flown across the Sahara to the Middle East theatre, and to save space, some Royal Navy aircraft carriers carried their reserve Sea Hurricanes dismantled into their major assemblies, which were slung up on the hangar bulkheads and deckhead for reassembly when needed.
Initially, the wing structure consisted of two steel spars, and was also fabric-covered. Several fabric-wing Hurricanes were still in service during the Battle of Britain, although a good number had had their wings replaced during servicing or after repair. Changing the wings only required three hours' work per aircraft. An all-metal, stressed-skin wing of duraluminium (a DERD specification similar to AA2024) was introduced in April 1939 and was used for all of the later marks. "The metal skinned wings allowed a diving speed that was 80 mph (130 km/h) higher than the fabric-covered ones. They were very different in construction but were interchangeable with the fabric-covered wings, and one trials Hurricane, L1877, was even flown with a fabric-covered port wing and metal-covered starboard wing. The great advantage of the metal-covered wings over the fabric ones was that the metal ones could carry far greater stress loads without needing so much structure beneath."
One of Camm's priorities was to provide the pilot with good all round visibility. To this end, the cockpit was mounted reasonably high in the fuselage, creating a distinctive "hump-backed" silhouette. Pilot access to the cockpit was aided by a retractable "stirrup" mounted below the trailing edge of the port wing. This was linked to a spring-loaded hinged flap which covered a handhold on the fuselage, just behind the cockpit. When the flap was shut, the footstep retracted into the fuselage. In addition, both wingroots were coated with strips of non-slip material.
In contrast, the contemporary Spitfire used all-metal monocoque construction and was thus both lighter and stronger, though less tolerant to bullet damage. With its ease of maintenance, widely-set landing gear and benign flying characteristics, the Hurricane remained in use in theatres of operations where reliability, easy handling and a stable gun platform were more important than performance, typically in roles like ground attack. One of the design requirements of the original specification was that the Hurricane, as well as the Spitfire, was also to be used as a night-fighter. The Hurricane proved to be a relatively simple aircraft to fly at night and was to be instrumental in shooting down several German aircraft during the nocturnal hours. From early 1941, the Hurricane would also be used as an "intruder" aircraft, patrolling German airfields in France at night in an attempt to catch night bombers during takeoffs or landings.


read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawker_Hurricane
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Rattler
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« Reply #1 on: 7 November 2010, 20:37:22 »
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I dont want ot de-appreciate your investigation, but the propaganda vid has one thing totally wrong: there was no significant superiority of the Hurricane to the Me109, quite the reverse (though it is sure and not contested that the HH had the marks of 60% of the Brits air combat vicories on their colts during the BoB, but this mainly vs. bombers).

It is true that the (linen covered, not full metal) HH could outturn both the spit and the 109 at any time, but this only was important at the early stages of the war when Germans (and Finnish) pilots had not yet adapted (and after a few circles suddenly found themselves in the crosshairs of the HHs). After about one month into air combat en masse the rididulous (compared to Spit and 109) climb rate and end speed began to take its toll, versus 109s HHs were doomed in general.

Douglas Bader compared the performance of the Spitfire, Hurricane and the Messerschmitt Bf109 in his autobiography, Fight for the Sky (1974, highlighting by yours truly):

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The advantage of the Spitfire and the Hurricane in individual combat with the Me 109 was that both British aeroplanes could out-turn the German one which was why, when surprised from behind, the enemy's defensive manoeuvre was to push the stick forward into a dive which, in 1940, we could not follow. If we were surprised, our defence was to turn quickly and keep turning because the Me 109's radius of turn was bigger than that of a Spitfire or Hurricane and thus he could not keep you in his sights.  


After being involved in a dogfight with a German pilot Alan Deere wrote a report on the relative merits of the Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane, and Messerschmitt Bf109, also:

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In my written report on the combat I stated that in my opinion the Spitfire was superior overall to the Me 109, except in the initial climb and dive; however this was an opinion contrary to the belief of the so-called experts. Their judgement was of course based on intelligence assessments and the performance of the 109 in combat with the Hurricane in France. In fact, the Hurricane, though vastly more manoeuvrable than either the Spitfire or the Me 109, was so sadly lacking in speed and rate of climb, that its too-short combat experience against the 109 was not a valid yardstick for comparison. The Spitfire, however, possessed these two attributes to such a degree that, coupled with a better rate of turn than the Me 109, it had the edge overall in combat. There may have been scepticism by some about my claim for the Spitfire, but I had no doubts on the score; nor did my fellow pilots in 54 Squadron. Later events, particularly in the Battle of Britain, were to prove me right.


Both from the first thing on googeling relative performance of the planes, at: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/GERbf109.htm

Of course, the 8x 20mil cannons did their thingy, but the weight the 109 had sacrificed for carrying only 2 (+MGs) made it much superior at the hights the BoB was fought (30k feet), after which the HH (e.glö in Africa) did not play a major role anymore, the Spit was the fighter to counter the 109.

FWIW,

Rattler
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« Reply #2 on: 8 November 2010, 21:22:21 »
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I too was amazed by the comparison with the BF-109.

I'm not an airplane expert but I read alot of superlatives-stuff on the 109... especially that the British needed the SuperSpitfire to win the war....
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In conclusion, the Hurricane was a fighting plane that pilots agreed would be having a great future. At the time when the first prototype took to the skies, it had performance not yet seen in combat aircraft. Many were, even in the mid-thirties, were looking towards the Spitfire which was already in prototype stages and being based on earlier designs that had won the Schnieder Trophy race and it looked as if it was a race to see what aircraft would be first in production.
But the Spitfire was taking longer to produce in the early stages, and it was the Hurricane that entered service first.
Whether it was slow to respond to pilots controls or the rate of climb, but all of the Hurricanes were no match for the Messerschmitt Bf109's which outclassed them.


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As a Hurricane pilot I had a certain fear and respect for the Me 109. For one thing, it could dive faster. If an Me 109 pilot saw you, it would drop down taking a shot at you, go past, pull the stick back and start climbing very fast. You just couldn't keep up with him. The only way to overcome this was to roll over inverted and dive after him in positive g. When the 109 pulled up to level out or climb, we'd aileron-turn to right way up and see his plan view and get in a perfect shot.
The Hurricanes visibility was pretty good, except above and below to the rear. The mirror was useful, but not as effective as it might have been. I replaced mine with a curved rear view mirror, and actually felt it gave me a touch extra speed besides giving a better view.
I once looked in my mirror and saw the biggest, fattest Me 109 ever, or so it seemed. All at once his front lit up as he fired at me. The 109 went over the top, to be followed by my No.2, who was firing at me! When we got down I put him on gun practice for two days and told him "Don't shoot at your friends.....and if you shoot at anything, make sure you hit it!"
Air Commodore Peter Brothers CBE, DSO, DFC. formally Fl/Lt P. M.Brothers 32 and 257 Squadrons.


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In the hands of a skilled pilot, the Hurricane could achieve great success. In fact during the Battle of Britain between July and October 1940, 1.720 of them took part and had the honour of claiming 80% of enemy aircraft shot down by Fighter Command.
The Hurricane's performance was increasing all the time. It was believed that if the Battle of Britain had continued longer, the performance difference between the Mk IIA and the Bf109 was constantly being reduced. Had the Mk II's been powered by the Merlin 32's during the Battle of Britain, then many feel sure that it would have been a certain match for the Bf109.



another promovideo from the 'other' side:

WW2 - Luftwaffe BF109 vs. Hurricanes & P40 (Africa 1941)
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MontyB
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« Reply #3 on: 10 November 2010, 02:21:31 »
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That was a pretty bad video even for propaganda, I don't think any of the Hurricanes did anything more than fly in a dead straight line.

Personally I think that both the Hurricane and the BF-109 were almost obsolete by the time the war broke out and it just goes to show the quality of the pilots that flew them.
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We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation. ~Francois De La Rochefoucauld
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« Reply #4 on: 10 November 2010, 22:13:39 »
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I agree with you Rattler, the Hurri was inferior to the Bf109 which is why it was sent after the bombers (the higher percentage of victories is then clear).I do believe in reality the 109 had a tighter circle than both the Hurri and the Spit. I also read somewhere that one of the test a/c had it's wings ripped off during some high 'G' so I'm not surprised that the average pilot wouldn't fly it to 10/10ths
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