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View Diary: Spitfire MkXIVe - refining the breed (105 comments)

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  •  I carefully read all your diaries (9+ / 0-)

    My (unfortunately now deceased) father-in-law was a RAF pilot (flight sergeant) during WWII.  At the war's outset he was, at 17, an already licensed pilot, and a member of the Yorkshire Flying Club.  On his 18th birthday he was mustered into the RAF.  His flight training was taken in South Africa and Rhodesia, and as he put it, he "was qualified to fly every multi-engined aircraft in the RAF inventory".  For about two years he was a ferry pilot, shuttling aircraft around Africa and the Middle East, and then he received orders for a heavy bombing squadron (Lancaster).  As "luck" would have it, he contracted a serious illness, which resulted in his flight status being removed ("saved his life", is how he described it).  He spent much of the war leading a team which salvaged downed aircraft from the desert, but in the last months of the war he was deemed to again be "fit to fly", and he was assigned to a Bristol Beaufighter squadron on coastal patrol in the Mediterranean, and later the Aegean.  In typical British understatement, he described the Beaufighter as, "tricky on take-off, but a wonderful kite in the air".  Armed with rockets and cannon, he gave me the impression that the aircraft was a superb weapons platform.  He returned to civilian life in early 1946, received his degree in aeronautical engineering and moved his young family to the U.S. in the mid 1950's, working for General Dynamics and later, Solar Turbine.  He remained a pilot into his 60's, and was an avid glider enthusiast.  

    •  I am DELIGHTED that you told me this! (4+ / 0-)

      Obviously, as someone deeply involved with aircraft restoration, and someone who has spend most of his working life around aircraft, this is really interesting information.

      The Beaufighter was ideal for the Med...it had been first used over the Western Desert making LONG sweeps 'on the deck' and pouncing on Axis road convoys and targets behind enemy lines.

      The Aegean was a happy hunting ground, with shipping, transport aircraft and other targets being brutalised.

      I photographed the Beaufighter TF.X  at the RAF Museum this year, so I am planning a diary!

      http://peoplesmosquito.org.uk

      'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

      by shortfinals on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 07:02:12 PM PST

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    •  Off topic (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, ER Doc, shortfinals

      but the University of Calif. Irvine, where I just retired from has a Solar Turbine. I used to operate it. Very nice cogen unit.

    •  Cool, I've worked on Solar Turbine gen-sets (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc, shortfinals

      before, hard to believe so much power comes out of such a small package (the gas turbine itself about the size of a small microwave oven; of course the ancillary equip took up a lot of room, the exhaust pipe is about 18" dia. and hotter'n hades).

      "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans!!. . Willkommen im Vierten Reich! Sie haben keine Bedeutung mehr.

      by Bluefin on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 01:36:46 AM PST

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      •  Isn't waste heat a bummer? *smile* (0+ / 0-)

        ...Quick! Where's that heat exchanger!

        'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

        by shortfinals on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 06:12:41 AM PST

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        •  The asbestos insulation was also 6"" thick around (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shortfinals

          that 18" pipe, and it still got hotter'n hell in the engine rooms, an aircraft just dumps it aft.

          "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans!!. . Willkommen im Vierten Reich! Sie haben keine Bedeutung mehr.

          by Bluefin on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 06:35:54 AM PST

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      •  Super High RPM and Combustor Temperatures (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shortfinals

        The company named itself well when it chose "Solar" because high power output almost demands that those mini-gas turbines operate at outrageous RPM levels (like about 15000 RPM) with high combustor temperatures to achieve any sort of efficiency.  As anyone who has studied the Brayton cycle knows, the secret to fuel efficiency is to run the thing as hot, hot, hot as one can.  If they could have operated it at solar temperatures, they would have chosen to do so.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 07:16:19 AM PST

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        •  Little screamers, 15K-20K+ RPM, never heard (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shortfinals

          of one coming apart but I'm sure they did sometimes. The shrapnel would surely go right through the enclosure and right on through the engine room walls. The EGT gauges had some ridiculous high scale, think it was enough to melt aluminum at least.
          Solar began as an aircraft manufacturer in 1927 (a trimotor no less) in San Diego, hence the name.

          "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans!!. . Willkommen im Vierten Reich! Sie haben keine Bedeutung mehr.

          by Bluefin on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 04:00:12 PM PST

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          •  Even Big Steam Turbines Running 3000RPM Fail (0+ / 0-)

            Back when I was involved with steam turbine power generators, I heard the tale of a big Toshiba steam turbine which failed its run-up test at the factory.  This was a large steam turbine, with something like 50-inch last stage buckets, which means the exit diameter for the back end of the turbine would have measured something like 10 feet.  In the run-up tests, which were intended to make sure the turbine could reach its rated RPM level and maintain integrity, the turbine was placed inside a very large cowl which weighed something like 600 tons.  Well, that particular turbine failed, throwing turbine buckets every which way and lifting the protective cowl off the ground by a foot or two.  It just provides some idea of the energy contained in the rotational momentum of a large turbine.

            "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

            by PrahaPartizan on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 04:53:31 PM PST

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