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bob ward
11-15-2009, 03:33 AM
In nondescript sheds on a property on the rural outskirts of Brisbane, Queensland is a small business making Spitfires, and I was fortunate enough to visit there this morning. Its absolutely brilliant. The work is carried out by the owner and his wife, 6 or 7 employees and a few outside contractors. They have a CNC routing table that cuts the required skin shapes out aluminum sheet. They turn out 10 to 12 planes a year, most are sold as kits all around the world, and they are up to plane #80 at the moment. Prices range from AUD175k for a plane less engine and instruments to AUD500k for a turn key job. 1AUD buys about USD90c at the moment. For the full story look here www.supermarineaircraft.com.

http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff28/sirrobertthegood/IMG_0025.jpg

3 fuselages under construction
http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff28/sirrobertthegood/IMG_0101.jpg

chev V8 in its mounting cradle
http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff28/sirrobertthegood/IMG_0099.jpg

inside the cockpit of plane #1
http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff28/sirrobertthegood/IMG_0024.jpg

wierdscience
11-15-2009, 10:22 AM
So how many are you going to buy?

Looks nice,do they offer any other engine configs,say a 300hp Lycoming?

Tony Ennis
11-15-2009, 10:39 AM
nevermind

0

JoeFin
11-15-2009, 11:10 AM
Here is a replica P51 Mustang being built in 3/4 scale. The lightened up the aircraft by 5200 lbs and out fitted it with a 470hp V8. Cruising speed has only reduced by 50mph

http://www.legendaryaircraft.com/aircraft_comparison.html

http://www.legendaryaircraft.com/images/showcase/3.jpg

john hobdeclipe
11-15-2009, 11:27 AM
It's got to be good, with these tight tolerances, as described on the engine pages:

"This PSRU is a Supermarine Aircraft design for our engine packages with thousands of hours testing and flying in the field with no failures. Main housing is cast aluminium and all internal components are machined from billet aluminium with extremely close tolerances of 0.005."

And billet aluminium, no less.

Carld
11-15-2009, 11:42 AM
I looked at the engine specs and I suspect that is a typo. The Aussies are metric as far as I know and maybe it should be .005 mm. Since most their dimensions have metric and fractional and since that reference only lists one it's probably an error.

Charles P
11-15-2009, 12:59 PM
It can't be a Spitfire with a V8 Chevy in it can it?

c

John Stevenson
11-15-2009, 01:04 PM
Must be a Novafire ?

.

rantbot
11-15-2009, 01:48 PM
With the lumpy nose and wide cockpit, I have to wonder what people think a Spitfire actually looks like.

Aside from the elliptical wing plan and the ersatz pedigree of the purloined manufacturer name, just what is Spitfiresque about that thing?

gnm109
11-15-2009, 02:08 PM
It appears to be less than full size. Unless it has a Rolls Royce Merlin, it's no deal. I wonder what Sir Winston Churchill would say?

:)

radkins
11-15-2009, 03:11 PM
The problem is you can't downsize people so a 3/4 scale anything is going to be, well something else in spite of the similarities. That "Mustang" is a good example because even though it somewhat resembles a Mustang a person has to have a vivid imagination to actually call it that. The thing is fat and stubby looking along with the wrong engine and other than some similar, but distorted, lines it really looks very different than a real Mustang so why call it a replica when it is not? It may be similar in shape but it shares almost nothing with a Mustang, a Mustang it is not nor is it actually a replica.

HSS
11-15-2009, 03:21 PM
Must be a Novafire ?

.

Maybe a Corvair....

Carld
11-15-2009, 03:41 PM
If your a pilot and want to buy a real Spitfire or Mustang go look up the price and problems owning one. After that you quickly go to the replica site and contact them.

rantbot
11-15-2009, 03:48 PM
I wonder what Sir Winston Churchill would say?
Probably something like, "This is the sort of nonsense up with which I will not put!"

More to the point, what would Reg Mitchell say? Nothing good, we can be fairly certain.

Carld
11-15-2009, 03:53 PM
On the other hand, this replica may fly circles around the larger full size Spitfire, Mustang and German aircraft. Now, if they can just get guns in the wings :cool:

rantbot
11-15-2009, 03:55 PM
it really looks very different than a real Mustang so why call it a replica when it is not?
The concept of "standoff scale" was devised to deal with that little problem. It means that if you stand off at a great distance, the thing starts to look a little bit like the original; and if that doesn't work, you just have to stand off further.

Carld
11-15-2009, 03:59 PM
Is that the same as, "from a 100 yards on a galloping horse it will look just fine".

Mark Hockett
11-15-2009, 04:12 PM
Here's a replica ME-262 that is being produced just a few miles from my home, I have even seen them fly over the house,
http://www.stormbirds.com/project/index.html

If I remember right is is full size reproduction.

Forrest Addy
11-15-2009, 04:25 PM
Looking at the lines in the photo it looks like a Spit had a midnight affair with a P51 and the result was this runted child. Cool though. I'd buy one if I was rich, 40, and rich.

The Artful Bodger
11-15-2009, 04:52 PM
If you want to build your own single seater aircraft and you fancy the style of the era of WWII then build one, incorporate all the features and style that you admire in the old aircraft but do not make a 'replica' unless it really is a replica. Have the intestinal fortitude to build something unique and put your name on it!;)

A 'replica' is never the real thing...:(

lazlo
11-15-2009, 05:01 PM
It appears to be less than full size. Unless it has a Rolls Royce Merlin, it's no deal.

I agree -- the engine was half the marvel of the Spitfire. Are the Merlin engines that rare?

The 3/4 Mustangs are goofy looking. The Aussie Spitfires are 90% scale, and look a lot more realistic.

radkins
11-15-2009, 05:12 PM
If your a pilot and want to buy a real Spitfire or Mustang go look up the price and problems owning one. After that you quickly go to the replica site and contact them.



Obviously owning the real thing would be difficult even for the wealthy given the numbers left in existence but calling a plane that has nothing in common with the original a replica is nonsense and gets the owner no closer to the real thing. As far as being a standoff replica a person would have to be a good distance from that "Mustang" to mistake it for the real the real thing.
Don't misunderstand I can appreciate the time and effort that goes into these things but personally I think calling them a replica, or even worse a reproduction, is just stretching things a bit too far and almost is an insult to the real thing. What if you were to build a 2/3 scale Cobra sports car powered by a 6 cylinder engine that was as badly out of proportions as those planes, can you just imagine the kind of reception that thing would get at a car show if it was claimed to be a replica?

flatlander
11-15-2009, 05:21 PM
I've been a member of the Experimental Aircraft Assoc. for about 30yrs., and have watched many 'replica' aircraft projects with interest for much longer than that. It isn't easy to come up with scaled-down fighter aircraft with the correct proportions, as has been mentioned, simply because the pilot can't be scaled down to match. For years, suitable powerplants were another headache, simply because there weren't that many all-aluminum automotive V8s available. The nicest scaled Mustang I've yet seen used a V12 engine originally designed for powerboat racing - and was very expensive. And yes, original Merlins - whether they be RR or Packard versions - are rare & extremely expensive. Every time an unlimited racer blows a Merlin at Reno, the remaining Merlins become rarer & more expensive.

You guys should cut those who've made the attempts at building an affordable Mustang or Spitfire a lot more slack - or try it yourself sometime, and see what you can come up with.

x39
11-15-2009, 05:37 PM
You guys should cut those who've made the attempts at building an affordable Mustang or Spitfire a lot more slack - or try it yourself sometime, and see what you can come up with.
I tend to agree. I tip my hat to anyone who can build a flying aircraft, let alone make a living producing them.

rantbot
11-15-2009, 06:09 PM
I agree -- the engine was half the marvel of the Spitfire. Are the Merlin engines that rare?.
Well, I've seen a lot more Merlins than I've seen Spitfires. (Packards, I'm sure, rather than R-Rs, but basically the same thing with fewer oil leaks.) But that doesn't make them common.

Many of the machines which we remember as high-performance items of their day - say, the Bugatti Type 35b, the Macchi-Castoldi MC 72, the Messerschmitt Bf 109, the Ferrari 250 GTO - were basically engines, with enough bodywork, wheels, and wings tacked on to make them go. Trying to make a "repro" with some other engine is like trying to make a "repro" of Marilyn Monroe out of paper mache and lipstick and thinking you have a reasonable simulacrum of the real thing. Without the "engine" it's just shadow, with no substance.

radkins
11-15-2009, 06:49 PM
You guys should cut those who've made the attempts at building an affordable Mustang or Spitfire a lot more slack - or try it yourself sometime, and see what you can come up with.



I too have been an EAA member for many years and I said I can appreciate the time and effort that goes into these things but that still does not change the fact that they are not even close to the real thing. Most times these things share nothing in common with even the shape being nothing more than an out of proportion, off sized and vague resemblance of the real thing so why call it by the same name? Why even call it a replica? Calling it a reproduction is just plain silly. These things are true works of art and the builders have every right to be very proud of them but call them what they are, a huge accomplishment inspired by a classic but please don't call them a classic replica when clearly they are not even close. Even if engines were readily available I think just the sheer physical size of something like a Mustang or spitefire would make building one impractical and cost of building a single example of either to specs would be horrendously expensive.

Willy
11-15-2009, 06:58 PM
Beautiful plane, and at that price a bargain, if that's what you're looking for.
At 90% the aircraft has a sense of scale that looks far more realistic than the 75% models. The 75% Mustangs just look wrong if you've ever seen them next to a full sized one.
But I too have to agree with flatlander, it's an extremely expensive undertaking to to attempt to build a full size plane that looks original with either a Rolls Royce or a Packard Merlin V-12. I'd figure on at least 2 million to get started.
Do a search and tell me how many Merlins are for sale. If you are lucky enough to find one, figure on spending about $250,000. to rebuild it, and 600hr. later you can do it all over, and that's just for the engine!
There aren't many left anymore as most were blown up or sank in unlimited hydroplanes. Even the ones that sank during the 50's, 60's and 70's are being retrieved in order that they may once again fly.

So yeah, I too take off my hat to those that can build a "copy" of an old warbird, and that still captures the essence of a time gone by.

john hobdeclipe
11-15-2009, 07:16 PM
I looked at the engine specs and I suspect that is a typo. The Aussies are metric as far as I know and maybe it should be .005 mm. Since most their dimensions have metric and fractional and since that reference only lists one it's probably an error.

OK, I can agree with that, and the tolerances now become realistic.

Carld
11-15-2009, 07:24 PM
radkins, it is way past time that the average wealth pilot can own a WWI or WWII war plane. A reasonable person buys what they can afford to own and maintain and if it is a "replica" that is a standoff scale then I see nothing wrong with it and it keeps the war birds in the air so to say.

There are many like you that would prefer they do not make them and fly them but in not to many years you won't see any real war birds flying because of cost, maintenance, insurance and no one qualified to fly them. Things from the past don't last forever and those planes were never meant to last as long as they have. In fact they were obsolete as the war ended.

You have to get over the fact that they are not the same size or have the exact lines. Since your a member of the EAA you should understand the problems involved. I think it is great that some so love the war birds that they go to extremes to produce them for us to enjoy.

Oh, BTW, I do like the replicas of the AC Cobra and the other race cars that hardly anyone can afford to own much less race.

john hobdeclipe
11-15-2009, 07:25 PM
And now, courtesy of our gubbiment, you can bid on a P-51 replica.

http://www.ustreas.gov/auctions/irs/skmo_airc_4102.htm

This is being referred to as an "S-51" and a bit of searching turned up these websites:

http://www.seas.ucla.edu/~osmith/s51/

http://www.scaledreplica.com/

edited to add this website, by the owner of the aircraft that the IRS is selling:

http://www.terryair51.com/

gnm109
11-15-2009, 08:19 PM
I too have been an EAA member for many years and I said I can appreciate the time and effort that goes into these things but that still does not change the fact that they are not even close to the real thing. Most times these things share nothing in common with even the shape being nothing more than an out of proportion, off sized and vague resemblance of the real thing so why call it by the same name? Why even call it a replica? Calling it a reproduction is just plain silly. These things are true works of art and the builders have every right to be very proud of them but call them what they are, a huge accomplishment inspired by a classic but please don't call them a classic replica when clearly they are not even close. Even if engines were readily available I think just the sheer physical size of something like a Mustang or spitefire would make building one impractical and cost of building a single example of either to specs would be horrendously expensive.


It certainly would be expensive.

By the way, there was a real Spitfire hanging from the ceiling of the Museum of Science and industry in Chicago when I was a kid. It really looked large to me at the time. Hanging nearby, they also have a Stuka Dive Bomber that was captured on the ground with empty fuel tanks. It has 50 cal. machine gun holes across the wings. I presume that both of them are still there.

As far as I'm concerned, the Spitfire was the most beautiful airplane ever built. It had a look of elegance about it that few others had. JMO.


.

radkins
11-15-2009, 08:32 PM
radkins,There are many like you that would prefer they do not make them and fly them


Please pray tell, WHERE did I say anything that even remotely insinuated that I prefer these plane not be built or flown? :confused: I said they are a work of art that the builder has every right to be proud of and I never even hinted that they should not be built or flown, I admire these planes but I am just being realistic. What I said is that they should not be CALLED by they name of a classic that they only vaguely resemble and when the real warbirds are gone they will be GONE and these things will not replace them! A composite, or even metal, airplane that is only 2/3 the size, half the weight, less than half the HP and out of proportion to the true shape with nothing about it that is the same as the original is not a replica and certainly not a reproduction, that's all I said.

bob ward
11-15-2009, 08:41 PM
But I too have to agree with flatlander, it's an extremely expensive undertaking to to attempt to build a full size plane that looks original with either a Rolls Royce or a Packard Merlin V-12. I'd figure on at least 2 million to get started.


It was mentioned during our tour that yes, they could make a full size version, but they would need to charge 1 mil for something they can sell in the smaller size for 175k.

But I feel that even if the planes were full size, there would still be those who would find something else to sneer at (sneer, is that too strong a word?) in what is an absolutely outstanding achievement on the part of these people.

radkins
11-15-2009, 08:51 PM
But I feel that even if the planes were full size, there would still be those who would find something else to sneer at (sneer, is that too strong a word?) in what is an absolutely outstanding achievement on the part of these people.


Again no one here has sneered at or in any way belittled the accomplishments these people have made and I don't think you can point to where anyone has. I think most everyone here would admire the machines and the people who have the expertise to build them, the only thing being questioned is the correctness of calling them replicas or reproductions when they share so little in common with the planes that inspired them.

Carld
11-15-2009, 10:54 PM
Ok radkins, you win, have it your way.

Circlip
11-16-2009, 04:08 AM
Given that MOST private aircraft are expensive "Boys Toys" the Spitefewer is just a rung higher on the gloat ladder. Having said that, there is no doubt that to design and market a "safe" consumer product is a superb achievment DESPITE it having a POS car engine. :D

Regards Ian.

Mark Hockett
11-16-2009, 04:41 AM
Given that MOST private aircraft are expensive "Boys Toys" the Spitefewer is just a rung higher on the gloat ladder. Having said that, there is no doubt that to design and market a "safe" consumer product is a superb achievment DESPITE it having a POS car engine. :D

Regards Ian.

Ian,
How about one of these engines,
http://www.deltahawkengines.com/

Turbo diesel with no head gaskets to blow, no ignition to fail, no valves to burn, no cams to fail, cheap fuel costs, and liquid cooled.

boslab
11-16-2009, 06:40 AM
i know the merlin is good but the thing did have a couple of drawbacks, think there was a 2 speed super [germans were variable] and carbs [germans used fuel inj, common rail i beleive] i suppose that the merlin had not yet reached where it was going, i think there would have been a lot of upgrades and developments.
Im no plane expert but it does look nice to me even if its not the real thing, they did a good job.
anyone doing SR71 lookalikes!
mark

Circlip
11-16-2009, 07:59 AM
Sorry Mark, there ain't NO substitute for a Merlin, or Four flying in close formation (Lancaster) or the septuplet of Spitfires (Kin REAL ones) I saw "Scrambling" at an air display years ago.

Don't forget, that ME262 doesn't have ORIGINAL blowlamps fitted (Thankfully) an come on t'other Mark, what scale factor for Mach 3???

Regards Ian.

oldtiffie
11-16-2009, 08:04 AM
Originally Posted by Willy
But I too have to agree with flatlander, it's an extremely expensive undertaking to to attempt to build a full size plane that looks original with either a Rolls Royce or a Packard Merlin V-12. I'd figure on at least 2 million to get started.


It was mentioned during our tour that yes, they could make a full size version, but they would need to charge 1 mil for something they can sell in the smaller size for 175k.

But I feel that even if the planes were full size, there would still be those who would find something else to sneer at (sneer, is that too strong a word?) in what is an absolutely outstanding achievement on the part of these people.

Bob.

I agree that its a fine effort.

Perhaps you'd have got a more enthusiastic response if you said it was in the USA instead of anywhere else - OZ included.

saltmine
11-16-2009, 10:49 AM
Although it would be nice to have a Merlin or Packard V-12 in the replica, I'd prefer something a little more "cost effective" and reliable.

Years ago, a friend of mine built a replica of a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk.
It was a beautiful plane. He finished it up with a paintjob copied from an AVG "Flying Tigers" fighter complete with the "shark's mouth" aound the intake. For an engine, he installed an XJ-12 out of a Jaguar sedan. It sounded the part, but I had my doubts, Jaguar V-12's are not that reliable.
After several aborted flights, he was taking off from Long Beach Airport when the Jag sheared off it's oil pump drive (a common failure on the V-12).
He ended up getting himself killed after attempting to turn back toward the airport after the V-12 locked up. The aircraft was a total loss.

I've worked with the "POS car engine" that circlip mentioned. The powerplant in the Spitfire is an all aluminum, Chevrolet LSX series engine, originally produced for the Corvette and Camaro. It has a very high power-to-weight ratio, and it's very light. Reliability is unmatched for a "car engine".

Truth be known, it's more like an aircraft engine they put in a car.

Glenn Wegman
11-16-2009, 12:36 PM
i know the merlin is good but the thing did have a couple of drawbacks, think there was a 2 speed super [germans were variable] and carbs [germans used fuel inj, common rail i beleive] mark

How were they drawbacks?

radkins
11-16-2009, 12:54 PM
Ok radkins, you win, have it your way.


Have it my way? :confused: I just pointed out that you said I was of the opinion these planes should never be built and asked what gave you that idea because I never said anything to that effect that I know of. I in fact said I admired the expertise and effort that it takes to build something like this.

rantbot
11-16-2009, 12:57 PM
But I feel that even if the planes were full size, there would still be those who would find something else to sneer at (sneer, is that too strong a word?) in what is an absolutely outstanding achievement on the part of these people.
Absurd.

Painting an excellent portrait of someone is an achievement.

Calling that portrait the Mona Lisa is not an achievement, it's either a crime (if one intends to pass off the new portrait as the old one) or mere childishness (if intentions are more innocent.)

Calling a new airplane by the name of another airplane which it resembles in only the most superficial way just cheapens the whole endeavor. If an airplane is worth building, owning, or flying, then it's worth its own name.

radkins
11-16-2009, 01:15 PM
The usual argument for using car engines is their proven reliability and the usual example given for this is that it is extremely rare to see a new well maintained engine broken down along side the road in spite of the numbers of them out there. This was the reasoning a friend of mine used when he was considering a Chevy engine for use in a Vans RV kit but there is a major flaw to this kind of thinking. In order to produce the kind of power necessary for flight, not how much power but for how long, the engine needs to be reved to near it's upper RPM limit and maintained at this speed. Sure these engines are reliable at their designed speed and application but when subjected to the speeds required for flight for extended periods this reliability gets to be quite scary! The thing that changed his mind about this was when one of the local guys suggested he go out on the highway and, using a lower gear, run his engine up to the 5500 RPM that would be required and THEN imagine it staying at that setting for hours! Just hearing that engine screaming at that speed for a few seconds was enough to convince him to forget the Chevy and buy a Lycoming. Even with the modifications that would be necessary to even use the Chevy engine the reliability is going to be questionable and added to that is going to be liability of the PSRU that will be required to reduce prop speed to a usable range. Then when all this is factored in the design of the plane using these engines is almost always going to be a high performance, high wing loading and high stall speed airframe that will be a very risky proposition in an engine out situation.

radkins
11-16-2009, 01:16 PM
Absurd.

Painting an excellent portrait of someone is an achievement.

Calling that portrait the Mona Lisa is not an achievement, it's either a crime (if one intends to pass off the new portrait as the old one) or mere childishness (if intentions are more innocent.)

Calling a new airplane by the name of another airplane which it resembles in only the most superficial way just cheapens the whole endeavor. If an airplane is worth building, owning, or flying, then it's worth its own name.



You said what I have been trying to say and did so in a much better way than I ever could!

DICKEYBIRD
11-16-2009, 01:43 PM
...when the Jag sheared off it's oil pump drive (a common failure on the V-12)Wow, that's something I've never seen in way too many yrs. working for the local Jag dealer. It's a direct-drive epicyclic pump turned by a dog type drive on the crank itself, just forward of the front main journal.

It'd take something pretty stout to kill that drive system. Maybe a stray chunk of metal getting wedged in the pump gears? Either that or the aircraft conversion used a completely different oil pump setup for a dry sump and something failed there. Not saying V-12's were bulletproof but the engine itself was a pretty reliable ol' underpowered lump. Can't say much about the ancillaries though.:(

Mark Hockett
11-16-2009, 01:53 PM
The usual argument for using car engines is their proven reliability and the usual example given for this is that it is extremely rare to see a new well maintained engine broken down along side the road in spite of the numbers of them out there. This was the reasoning a friend of mine used when he was considering a Chevy engine for use in a Vans RV kit but there is a major flaw to this kind of thinking. In order to produce the kind of power necessary for flight, not how much power but for how long, the engine needs to be reved to near it's upper RPM limit and maintained at this speed. Sure these engines are reliable at their designed speed and application but when subjected to the speeds required for flight for extended periods this reliability gets to be quite scary! The thing that changed his mind about this was when one of the local guys suggested he go out on the highway and, using a lower gear, run his engine up to the 5500 RPM that would be required and THEN imagine it staying at that setting for hours! Just hearing that engine screaming at that speed for a few seconds was enough to convince him to forget the Chevy and buy a Lycoming. Even with the modifications that would be necessary to even use the Chevy engine the reliability is going to be questionable and added to that is going to be liability of the PSRU that will be required to reduce prop speed to a usable range. Then when all this is factored in the design of the plane using these engines is almost always going to be a high performance, high wing loading and high stall speed airframe that will be a very risky proposition in an engine out situation.

radkins,
You pretty much nailed it. The crankshaft in an aviation engine is much more substantial than an automotive engine to support the prop or PSRU. Chevy crankshafts have always been a weak link, might explain why there are so many aftermarket cranks available for them. With a Chevy you might get a crap cast crank or maybe a forged crank who knows. It also might explain why chevy engines are not FAA approved. I would not want to risk my life on one.

Thruthefence
11-16-2009, 02:30 PM
Less well known, but new production is ( or was available) :

http://www.ctrl-c.liu.se/misc/ram/yak-3.html

boslab
11-16-2009, 02:53 PM
How were they drawbacks?
All i'm recounting not being any kind of expert was what i was told at an aeronautical museum [Hendon] by a spitty pilot, in his words, somtimes she needed a bit more shove [from the supercharger i assume] and the old bucket diddnt like being upside down for too long as the bloody float chambers emptied, icing of the carbs was also a bit of a problem.
I suppose that there are members here who know a hell of a lot more than me who can either confirm or deny what i was told, it seems the ME109 had adressed these problems differently.
regards
mark

Davek0974
11-16-2009, 03:39 PM
Unless it has a Rolls Royce Merlin, it's no deal. :)

Damn straight. The sound from a spit with that engine at full whack makes the hairs on my neck stand up! Its one of those sounds thats just got to be heard, another is a large steam loco going flat out, sheer perfection.

Dave

mlucek
11-16-2009, 03:44 PM
And yes, original Merlins - whether they be RR or Packard versions - are rare & extremely expensive. Every time an unlimited racer blows a Merlin at Reno, the remaining Merlins become rarer & more expensive.

A while back, I read an article or was it a TV blurb about one of the very few guys rebuilding Merlins. It takes some serious know-how and skills to do that. Forgot most of what was said, but apparently there was a waiting line for his specialized skills. Mostly from the unlimited racing categories with blown engines and/or wanting serious horsepower upgrades.

Ironic how those engines were designed & built in the 1930's & 1940's and there isn't an equivalent today given all the change in technology over the past 70+ years.

lazlo
11-16-2009, 04:34 PM
I read an article ... about one of the very few guys rebuilding Merlins. It takes some serious know-how and skills to do that.

apparently there was a waiting line for his specialized skills.

Wow, I can imagine! A guy that talented and in that much demand probably doesn't have time to post here ;)

Willy
11-16-2009, 04:48 PM
That would be Jack Roush, a very successful drag racer from the sixties who now owns 5 Nascar teams, as well Roush Industries manufacturing, Roush Aerospace, Roush Aviation, etc., etc.

http://www.cebudanderson.com/jroush.htm

A real interesting pdf, but it may take a minute or two to load, well worth the wait.
http://www.enginehistory.org/Convention/2009/Presentations/MerlinNext65.pdf

radkins
11-16-2009, 04:53 PM
Ironic how those engines were designed & built in the 1930's & 1940's and there isn't an equivalent today given all the change in technology over the past 70+ years.


Probably because there is no real market for them, the few that are still in existence demand a serious price but the market is extremely small. For nostalgic use and piston racing the market may seem to be there but honestly how many would be sold, certainly not enough to justify mass production and building them one at a time from scratch would have astronomical costs! For commercial use they have long since been replaced by turbines which can produce the huge HP with a fraction of the weight and service life is much longer. Same goes for the old warhorses, they might be nice but how much market would there be for a 1200 HP airplane that burns 90 GPH and was designed only to shoot down other airplanes and carry one passenger?

gnm109
11-16-2009, 04:56 PM
A while back, I read an article or was it a TV blurb about one of the very few guys rebuilding Merlins. It takes some serious know-how and skills to do that. Forgot most of what was said, but apparently there was a waiting line for his specialized skills. Mostly from the unlimited racing categories with blown engines and/or wanting serious horsepower upgrades.

Ironic how those engines were designed & built in the 1930's & 1940's and there isn't an equivalent today given all the change in technology over the past 70+ years.


Well, nice as they were, obviously they have been supplanted by the modern jet engine. Nonetheless, there's nothng that quite sounds like a RR Merlin in a P-51 Mustang at takeoff.

I saw a show several years back on the History Channel about a lady who owns a Spitfire that has been modified to have two seats for training purposes. They mentioned that the engine was nearly timed out and she needed something like $250,000 for a rebuild in order to keep it flying. That's a lot of money and it explains why most of the remaining ones are in museums.

Even if there were an expert doing the work, I would think that original parts of some sort would be in short supply. I can imagine that it's pretty costly and failure is not an option when flying an airplane with one of those engines.

When I worked at the Rocketdyne Field Lab, they used an ex Army Air Force Allison engine as a stationary engine to pump water for the flame deflector on a rocket engine stand. It drove a gigantic water pump.

Of course, it was totally worn out and used considerable oil for each run even though some of the runs only required water for two or three minutes. I recall that it blew a tremendous cloud of smoke each time it was started and you could hear the pistons rattle in the bores when it idled. Nonetheless, it suited the purpose. It's probably long since been melted down.

topct
11-16-2009, 05:17 PM
I think I remember this right, but if I am wrong I will gladly stand corrected.

One of the weak points in the Merlin engine when it was used as a hydroplane powerplant was what was called the "quill" shaft". It is what drives the blower.

Because the boats prop shaft left the water at times it would introduce a shock to that shaft and it would break. It never encountered this in an aircraft so it was not a problem.

The first fixes were done in a Seattle based machine shop with the name Western Gear. They would remake this part out of something that could withstand the shock and the problem went away.

I believe they also were the first ones to make a steel crankshaft that cured the other problem getting these engines to be dependable for use in the boat situation.

The final decision as to what metal to use was discussed and decided in the living room of my house.

The above event was not singular, it was a needed fix and it is now common practice for all of the original engines that are still running.

I don't know if they still do, but it did at one time involve complete recasting of the block and heads also.

If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it.

John Stevenson
11-16-2009, 05:26 PM
That would be Jack Roush, a very successful drag racer from the sixties who now owns 5 Nascar teams, as well Roush Industries manufacturing, Roush Aerospace, Roush Aviation, etc., etc.

http://www.cebudanderson.com/jroush.htm

A real interesting pdf, but it may take a minute or two to load, well worth the wait.
http://www.enginehistory.org/Convention/2009/Presentations/MerlinNext65.pdf

That pdf is a rave from the grave, I served my time working on these engines.
Those slipper followers bring a shudder back, they were a nightmare in the machine shop.

They used to come in all scuffed up and were ground down in three operations, main radius and two fillet radii, then they went for copper plate then hard nickel, regrind all 3 radii again then second nickel plate, another regrind thenhard chrome for the top surface which again needed a grind.

So 12 grinding operations, all by hand on converted tool and cutter grinders and 48 of these buggers to an engine.

.

DICKEYBIRD
11-16-2009, 05:46 PM
Damn straight. The sound from a spit with that engine at full whack makes the hairs on my neck stand up! You guys need to take a look at Alain de Cadenet's little encounter with a Spit on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvDDDKnNhuE

Possibly a bit more than hairs standing up. Possibly some liquid leakage involved.;)

38_Cal
11-16-2009, 06:10 PM
After I got out of gunsmithing school, I worked for about a year for a friend of mine, among other things helping to rebuild Merlins for the air racers. At the time, he was getting parts from a firm in the Channel Islands where there were quite a few engines and parts in storage...as he told me, the Brits had used the Merlin in a version of the DC-4, and when it went out of service, many of the spares ended up on Jersey.

x39
11-16-2009, 06:11 PM
The sound from a spit with that engine at full whack makes the hairs on my neck stand up! Its one of those sounds thats just got to be heard,
Some years back the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Maine had a Spitfire on loan. I'm told when it came time for it to move on, a gentleman from Canada arrived to fly it away. A good friend of mine was present and told me the guy took her off gently, did a few lazy passes over the field, then disappeared over the horizon. Shortly thereafter here comes the Spit, WFO at treetop level. He said his first instinct was to run for his life, and that he would never forget the sound of that engine.

radkins
11-16-2009, 06:30 PM
Since I live nearby I have seen (and heard!) the P38 "Glacier Girl" take off and do flybys several times including it's maiden flight. That thing just has to be seen and heard to appreciate!

IMO (just my opinion, I am NOT trying to start an argument!) that plane is actually a reproduction for real and not a rebuilt original. It is supposed to be a rebuilt plane that was dug out of the ice but there is so little of the original aircraft there that it takes a bit of imagination to call it a rebuilt original, but then I guess that is a matter of perception and the people behind it put so much work and money into it they can call it anything they want to because it is the REAL thing regardless! They took the remains of the original and used the parts for templates plus they had an original set of blueprints to make every piece needed to exact detail and of the right material. They worked on site and farmed out some of the work to local machine shops and even vocational schools but the result is a real P38 right down to the last rivet using as many original and original donor parts as possible so it is real in every detail.

Lew Hartswick
11-16-2009, 06:46 PM
Since I live nearby I have seen (and heard!) the P38 "Glacier Girl" take off and do flybys several times including it's maiden flight. That thing just has to be seen and heard to appreciate!
I have been waiting for 7 pages of this thread for some one to
mention the P38. That has got to be my favorite WWII plane.
I built a balsa/paper model in 1948 and took it to high school for
talk in english class. wingspan was about 2 1/2 or 3 ft.
Of course of modern planes the SR71 has got to be tops.
...lew...

lazlo
11-16-2009, 06:51 PM
Of course of modern planes the SR71 has got to be tops.

SR-71 is hardly modern: first flight in 1996 -- the year I was born :) Only ~ 20 years after the P-51. The Aurora aircraft is probably the coolest modern plane, but like the SR-71, we won't find out how cool it was until its retired -- probably 20 - 30 years from now.

Willy
11-16-2009, 07:02 PM
Lazlo, there is no way the wool you are pulling over our eyes!:D

oldtiffie
11-16-2009, 07:16 PM
The only "Spitfires" that were "birds" with lottsa spitting and lottsa fire that I had anything to do with anything (and I mean anything - with anybody) that had do with reproduction were female - well, I sincerely hope so!!!.

boslab
11-16-2009, 07:38 PM
SR-71 is hardly modern: first flight in 1996 -- the year I was born :) Only ~ 20 years after the P-51. The Aurora aircraft is probably the coolest modern plane, but like the SR-71, we won't find out how cool it was until its retired -- probably 20 - 30 years from now.
thought the first variant the A12 retired in 1968..... whoa they must have been at it a long time methinks.
http://www.sr-71.org/blackbird/a-12/#timeline
however getting back to spittys n mustangs n other stuff, truth is we all love them, it dosent even have to be an old warbird to make you look up in awe
anything with wings does it for me, i was once lucky enough to see 'Habu' close up [ish], sent a shiver down my spine
There was once a car in the UK, a Roller i belive, fitted with a merlin, it was called the 'Beast'[naturally], caught fire and was wrecked.
The old English electric lightenings ballistic take off was fairly spectacular too.
Planes, you either love them or your dead from the neck up.
mark

wierdscience
11-16-2009, 07:45 PM
Since I live nearby I have seen (and heard!) the P38 "Glacier Girl" take off and do flybys several times including it's maiden flight. That thing just has to be seen and heard to appreciate!

IMO (just my opinion, I am NOT trying to start an argument!) that plane is actually a reproduction for real and not a rebuilt original. It is supposed to be a rebuilt plane that was dug out of the ice but there is so little of the original aircraft there that it takes a bit of imagination to call it a rebuilt original, but then I guess that is a matter of perception and the people behind it put so much work and money into it they can call it anything they want to because it is the REAL thing regardless! They took the remains of the original and used the parts for templates plus they had an original set of blueprints to make every piece needed to exact detail and of the right material. They worked on site and farmed out some of the work to local machine shops and even vocational schools but the result is a real P38 right down to the last rivet using as many original and original donor parts as possible so it is real in every detail.

Heh,I know a guy who worked on an A6M zero.Those guys started with a nameplate and a pallet of parts.10 years later they had a plane to expensive to fly.

lazlo
11-16-2009, 08:04 PM
Lazlo, there is no way the wool you are pulling over our eyes!:D

Yeah, that was a hell of a typo -- I was born in 1966, not 1996. The young lady at the bar last night noticed that too :)

oldtiffie
11-16-2009, 08:14 PM
Were you in Court last night Lazlo?

Was her name "Wendy"?

You can be our Peter Pan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Pan,_or_The_Boy_Who_Wouldn%27t_Grow_Up

So don't worry - you will live forever.

40 is the new 30, 50 is the new 40, 60 is the new 50 etc.

Tom S
11-16-2009, 08:28 PM
I have to agree with the statements that the Merlin Engine has a unique sound and personality. My last year of college I volunteered at The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (http://www.warplane.com/), and was exposed to the Merlin up close and personal. The Lancaster has four Merlins, and hearing it start up makes the hairs on the back of you neck stand up. Not to say that the other aircraft didn't sound nice, but the Lancaster makes everyone stop and watch. See it flying quite a bit during the summer, and it's well known throughout Hamilton area. My shop class teacher even worked in a machine shop that rebuilt parts for the Lancaster. They have a cut-away Merlin engine on the floor of the museum, and I could stare at it for hours tracing all the various linkages and marveling at the engineering that created it. Between that and meeting one of the men who designed the Iroquois engines that powered the Arrow the museum made for a good education in how little I really know.

Well worth a stop in if you are ever in the area.

-Tom

Thruthefence
11-16-2009, 09:08 PM
Can you imagine what it would cost to build a mMerlin today? or maybe a Napier 'Sabre' ? 24 cylinder sleeve valve "H" configuration.
http://www.khulsey.com/makoto_ouchi_napier_sabre.html

or the P&W R-4360, 28 cylinder radial "corncob" engine, here:
http://www.enginehistory.org/NASM/P&W%20R-4360%20Cutaway.jpg


or how about this?:
http://www.enginehistory.org/NASM/Lycoming%20XR-7755.jpg

7755 cubic inch displacement water cooled radial multi row.

sadly, their development cut short by the turbo jet.

Think how many machinists we could keep working if these things were still in service.

gnm109
11-16-2009, 09:31 PM
Yes, the corncob engine....




http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r188/gnm109/040_17P.jpg

radkins
11-16-2009, 10:06 PM
To me one of the most interesting engines is also one of the most primitive, the WW1 rotary radial such as the LeRhone and Gnome. These were radial engines with a stationary crankshaft and the cylinders revolved around the crank, basically the entire engine was spinning around the stationary crank.

x39
11-16-2009, 10:18 PM
40 is the new 30, 50 is the new 40, 60 is the new 50 etc.
... beer is the new water... :)

oldtiffie
11-16-2009, 10:24 PM
Which will turn water into whine.

radkins
11-16-2009, 10:24 PM
Beer, ah yes, not just for breakfast anymore! :D

saltmine
11-16-2009, 10:35 PM
Ah, yes, Radkins. Rotary engines like the LeRhone 9 cylinder.

Crankshaft bolted to the firewall, and the prop bolted to the crankcase cover.
Fuel and air fed through the hollow crank from a carburator between the pilot's knees. Each piston had a spring loaded valve in it's center...with a leather seal. When the pistons went down on their intake stroke, the valves opened, allowing fresh fuel/air mix into the cylinders. The valves snapped closed when the piston started it's compression stroke. At the top of each cylider was an exhaust valve that was opened by a rocker arm driven by a camshaft.
Castor oil had to be mixed with the gasoline to lubricate them, and one magneto, similar to a Ford Model "T" supplied a continious spark, which fired each sparkplug as they passed the mag's contacter (which was on the RH side of the engine) They only ran about 1700rpm's, but they produced 80 horsepower (which was a lot in those days.) Unfortunately, the carburator only had one speed...wide open. But the engine could be throttled somewhat by shorting out every other cylinder...In fact, that's the way the pilot alerted the ground crew he was wounded. The kill switch had four positions... Off, run, 50% power and a position that shorted an odd number of cylinders. The LeRhone made a distinctive sound when the switch was placed in this position. They were probably more reliable than most aircraft engines of the day, but they did spray castor oil all over the plane and the pilot. This is why you see some pilots wearing a long scarf. It wasn't a fashion statement, it was to wipe the oil out of their eyes and clean their goggles.
Both sides used the rotary during the war. The Germans used it to power the Folker DR-1 Triplane. These engines were manufactured by the swedish company of Thulin (sp). In the second world war, six LeRohne rotaries were pressed into service by the Germans to power the Gigant cargo plane, which started life as a troop transport glider. I guess they didn't learn their lesson.

wierdscience
11-16-2009, 10:49 PM
Yes, the corncob engine....




http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r188/gnm109/040_17P.jpg


Cut away in motion-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpmOb46bvCs


Also a R-1830-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2DJZx08CYg

gwilson
11-16-2009, 11:26 PM
I am glad to see these "Spitfires " being made,and they are certainly a great accomplishment.

However, I know that for the movie"The Battle of Britain",some original Spitfires were fitted with Jaguar engines,and could just manage to take off.This from an Englishman who actually worked in the movie behind the scenes. So,I can't help wondering how well the new Spits fly with a V8?

As for the name,what else could they call them?

Greg Q
11-16-2009, 11:35 PM
A fella* from my home town bought one of those spitfires from the movie. It was ex-Irish Air Force, a two seater. It had so many coats of paint from the movie that it barely flew with the Merlin!

He had it converted back to a single seater and fully restored. I have a picture somewhere here of me sitting in it. There's no way I could have ever squeezed into anything smaller than 100% scale.

*oil money, and that was back in the early 70's. He had many warbirds by the time he got smote by a thunderstorm while flying a P-51

gnm109
11-16-2009, 11:37 PM
Ah, yes, Radkins. Rotary engines like the LeRhone 9 cylinder.

Crankshaft bolted to the firewall, and the prop bolted to the crankcase cover.
Fuel and air fed through the hollow crank from a carburator between the pilot's knees. Each piston had a spring loaded valve in it's center...with a leather seal. When the pistons went down on their intake stroke, the valves opened, allowing fresh fuel/air mix into the cylinders. The valves snapped closed when the piston started it's compression stroke. At the top of each cylider was an exhaust valve that was opened by a rocker arm driven by a camshaft.
Castor oil had to be mixed with the gasoline to lubricate them, and one magneto, similar to a Ford Model "T" supplied a continious spark, which fired each sparkplug as they passed the mag's contacter (which was on the RH side of the engine) They only ran about 1700rpm's, but they produced 80 horsepower (which was a lot in those days.) Unfortunately, the carburator only had one speed...wide open. But the engine could be throttled somewhat by shorting out every other cylinder...In fact, that's the way the pilot alerted the ground crew he was wounded. The kill switch had four positions... Off, run, 50% power and a position that shorted an odd number of cylinders. The LeRhone made a distinctive sound when the switch was placed in this position. They were probably more reliable than most aircraft engines of the day, but they did spray castor oil all over the plane and the pilot. This is why you see some pilots wearing a long scarf. It wasn't a fashion statement, it was to wipe the oil out of their eyes and clean their goggles.
Both sides used the rotary during the war. The Germans used it to power the Folker DR-1 Triplane. These engines were manufactured by the swedish company of Thulin (sp). In the second world war, six LeRohne rotaries were pressed into service by the Germans to power the Gigant cargo plane, which started life as a troop transport glider. I guess they didn't learn their lesson.

Interesting information. I also understand that the rotary engines caused some terrible torque problems when run wide open. The smaller aircraft like the Sopwiths and Nieuports were badly affected unless the engines were throttled frequently. It must have been interestng, all that oil in the pilot's face, incredible noise and an engine that was trying to cause your aircraft to roll, all of this while you were being shot at with no armor.

I understand that there was a very high mortality.

radkins
11-16-2009, 11:41 PM
In the second world war, six LeRohne rotaries were pressed into service by the Germans to power the Gigant cargo plane, which started life as a troop transport glider. I guess they didn't learn their lesson.



Wow, I knew the Gigant was powered by 4 engines and then eventually by 6 but I would never have thought they were old rotarys! Don't know what they were thinking with that big beast anyway because as big and slow as it was it was nothing more than the classic "sitting duck" and by the time it became self powered the allies were prowling the skies with fighters.

Greg Q
11-16-2009, 11:56 PM
Interesting information. I also understand that the rotary engines caused some terrible torque problems when run wide open. The smaller aircraft like the Sopwiths and Nieuports were badly affected unless the engines were throttled frequently. It must have been interestng, all that oil in the pilot's face, incredible noise and an engine that was trying to cause your aircraft to roll, all of this while you were being shot at with no armor.

I understand that there was a very high mortality.

Add to that the chronic effects of swallowing that much castor oil, the lack of parachutes and the (non-armoured) fuel tank somewhere close to the pilot. Still, I guess it beat the trenches.

john hobdeclipe
11-17-2009, 08:09 AM
As for the name,what else could they call them?

Dribblefire?

rantbot
11-17-2009, 08:22 AM
Less well known, but new production is ( or was available) :

http://www.ctrl-c.liu.se/misc/ram/yak-3.html

Just came across this while looking into something unrelated -

http://www.warbirdalley.com/yak3.htm

Russian built, but with Allison engines. Doesn't say which Allisons.

saltmine
11-17-2009, 11:16 AM
As mentioned, the LeRhone engines did have a problem with gyroscopic precession, under power (which was all of the time) Planes like the Nieuport and Camel actually had their wings rigged to counteract the torque, at speed. Pilots discovered that a light plane could turn one way with ease, and the opposite was almost impossible. The Sopwith Camel had quite a few dangerous quirks including gyroscopic precession. They also suffered from severe adverse yaw, tip stalling, and unpredictable snaps caused by the wing bracing flexing under high G loads. Of course, the Camel only weighed 930lbs empty. In the hands of a skilled pilot, the Camel was a dangerous opponent, but few pilots lived long enough to become really proficient. Most died taking off, pulling the Camel up too soon caused the massive torque of the rotary engine to roll them into the ground. And then there was the carburator. Many pilots were killed trying to adjust the fuel and air mixture as the aircraft was climbing out. Incorrect mixture adjustments were usually met with silence.
Strangely enough, the Germans didn't have some of these problems since the Thulin built LeRhone's had a superior carburator and could actually be throttled. Yes, the cockpit of a WWI fighter was a scary, miserable place, but it was worlds better than living and fighting in the trenches.

radkins
11-17-2009, 12:12 PM
After thinking a bit on using rotary engines in the WW2 Gigant I remembered that the best of them only produced about 80 HP so 80 HPX6 only equates to 480 HP for all 6 engines which would barely be enough to taxi something that big. I did a quick search on the Me 323 and found that it actually did use French engines pressed into service because of a shortage of German built models but they were Gnome engines instead of LeRhone, these were conventional radial engines of 990 HP each and were huge compared to the WW1 rotary radials. I intended to do a quick search and wound up spending over two hours reading about that gigantic converted glider, very interesting indeed! I was surprised to find that they built, and actually used in service, over 200 of the powered model 323 in addition to about the same number of gliders. Even the 5 engine tow plane for the glider version was a story in itself being 2 twin engine fighters joined at the wing tips and a 5th engine added at the junction of the 2 wings, a very interesting approach to a difficult problem. As for it being a sitting duck well that turns out to be very true, at one point a formation of 27 Gigants were intercepted by a flight of Spitfires and P40s resulting in 21 of the 27 being shot down in spite of being escorted by Me 109s. The Glider version still maintains the record of being the largest non-powered aircraft (heavier than air) to ever take to the skies.

Charles P
11-17-2009, 02:02 PM
Probably something like, "This is the sort of nonsense up with which I will not put!"



Nice one - Apart from the fact that Churchill only said that to complain about the "rule" that a sentence shouldn't be ended in a preposition. Since it wasn't a rule that he liked he chose to ignore it!

Charles

mlucek
11-17-2009, 03:59 PM
Yes, the corncob engine....

http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r188/gnm109/040_17P.jpg
IIRC, these engines powered the B-29 ??

There's a cutaway version on display at the Planes of Fame Museum (http://www.planesoffame.org) in Chino, CA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_&_Whitney_R-4360

I too was in awe of the engineering, let alone the machining involved in these engines. I've become more and more appreciative of those engineers/designers/machinists/etc. on whose shoulders we stand !!

Mike

DICKEYBIRD
11-17-2009, 04:05 PM
IIRC, these engines powered the B-29 ??Nope, they had 3350's. 4360's on B-50's, B-36's and other's.