Merlin XX Whirlwinds and Packard produced Peregrines ?

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15 years 4 months

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Hi For discussion i present two clippings from the new westland whirlwind book by richard a franks 1) merlin XX project 2) whirlwind II project with packhard engines thoughts and suggestion welcome cheers jerry
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Original post

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10 years 10 months

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It understates the problems - the Merlin required greater cooling and more fuel. The Whirlwind was a very closely-packaged airframe, there simply wasn't room inside it for such extras. The extra weight forward (more so with chin intakes) would require a rebalancing of the aircraft, with a bigger fin/tailplane and/or longer fuselage. A larger wing would help. The Merlin would have required larger propellers, which would mean moving the engines outboard. You can see how some of these factors would work together but it still requires not a modified Whirlwind but a new airframe. Apart from the full increase in wingspan and pressurised cockpit, you are going to end up with a Welkin.

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The Whirlwind seemed a very optimised design with little scope for further development. Even so, in a wartime environment some options would be projected as a matter of contingency, even if people didn't pursue them very enthusiastically. As explained above, a Merlin Whirlwind would have needed to be a new design. It would only have happened if there was a pressing need for it.
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No doubt a Merlin Whirlwind would have shared many attributes with the later deHavilland Hornet.

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the merlin one has been dealt with on and off for quiet awhile,and whilst there is a paper trail from westlands saying it was possible,no one seems to believe it was(according to many people petter wanted the merlin to begin with) the Packard built motors seems very odd,makes me wonder if there is confusion between the MK11 peregrine powered one or the proposed Allison powered one? as pt boats used a Packard built development of the liberty V12.

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Possible, yes, for some given value of possible. Westland would still have to address the matters raised, and doing that whilst still remaining a Whirlwind appears to be the problem. It would also take a considerable amount of time, and would there be any value in it by the time it then could be placed in production against the Mosquito? Could the time and expense be justified against the other work that actually was carried out? Starting from scratch with Merlins would have given a different and larger aircraft, had there been enough spare Merlins, though no doubt with some (perhaps considerable) resemblance. The Whirlwind was a very small, tightly tailored aircraft, which is how it achieved the performance it had. That was its whole advantage, but because of that it just didn't have growth potential without redesign. You could certainly have had a Westland fighter looking rather like the Whirlwind's big brother, but it wouldn't have been a Whirlwind.

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At the time that a decision for a Merlin-engined Whirlwind would have been made, the Mosquito was not a clear-cut winner, and the Beaufighter was only a fighter – not yet redeveloped into the anti-shipping/anti-ground rocket/torpedo carrier. It’s only hindsight that tells us the Beaufighter development and the Mosquito design were so great and useful. That hindsight, if applied across the board, would also have cancelled the Blenheim V/Bolingbroke, the Buckingham/Buckmaster and the Brigand designs, turned the turret Defiant into a long-range single-seat fighter (maybe) and given the Martin-Baker designs a closer look at an earlier time. In all likelihood, I consider that the Beaufighter, Mosquito, Gloster G9/34 and Merlin-Whirlwinds probably could have existed together (at least initially), and those that couldn’t meet a developmental potential would have faded from sight as the Peregrine-Whirlwind eventually did (like any old soldier). I would think that: - Beaufighter would continue as a night-fighter and coastal long-range fighter, and continue to be developed into a torpedo-bomber (as a Beaufort replacement). - the Mosquito continues it’s marvellous path into legend as a jack-of-all-trades. - the Gloster – though perhaps useful as a night-fighter initially – didn’t have the size potential for development as the Beaufighter and didn’t have the bomber capacity as the Mosquito, and would have needed too much redesign to be a long-range twin (a la P-38, DH Hornet). - the Merlin-Whirlwind, I think could have appeared early 1942 as a contemporary to the Peregrine-Whirlwind. A refined longer range version (let’s call it a MkIII) would need significant redesign of systems, but perhaps not of the basic airframe. It may well have meant a fighter equivalent to the DH Hornet being available in 1944, perhaps? Regards, ...geoff

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As much as I love the Whirlwind which to my eye is a beautiful aircraft I must admit in the range of aircraft available to the RAF in the early and mid-war it just doesn't have a role that would be its and its alone. Plus of course with the need to keep up Merlin production both in Britain and elsewhere there isn't a real justification to support a smaller production run of a separate engine like the Peregrine. It didn't offer any improvement over the Merlin and it was also very type specific. As someone else has noted the Hornet is the ultimate single seater with twin Merlins and even it came rather too late. Another beautiful aircraft now sadly missing from a museum or the skies.
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No doubt a Merlin Whirlwind would have shared many attributes with the later deHavilland Hornet.
... and even more with the Westland Welkin :) ... maybe a Welkin LF.II?

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The Welkin seems very bulky - even with a shorter wing version for medium-high (as opposed to ultra-high) altitudes. I can't imagine it mixing it with Bf109s, Fw190s and Zeros in the same manner as the P-38 or the way a DH Hornet was supposed to. There's an idea - at the risk of a major thread drift: the RAF takes delivery of 200 Lockheen 322s. Keeps 100 with Allison engines for low-level work, grafts on a Whirlwind nose with 4x 20mm cannon, and puts long range tanks where the turbocharger/supercharger unit sits in the P-38 - low level winner? Uses the other 100 Lockheed 322s in a parallel Merlin engine development. grafting on Merlin power-eggs (aka Beaufighter II) and Whirlwind nose armament, and similar long-range tanks in the supercharger space - long range fighter winner (3 years before the Merlin-engine P-38K idea/prototype)? Regards, ...geoff

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What would have seriously focussed minds on this project would have been if the Typhoon had been cancelled along with the Tornado in mid-1941. Even then, I can only see it happening with Peregrines producing their original design output of 1000hp instead of de-rated to 885hp - which is pretty much what Petter proposed in mid-1940 - and some other 'easy' wins, vis. High-efficiency radiators - they were available and would have fitted the existing space with minimal modification (And arguably should have been done, anyway!) Chattellerault cannon feed - available for the last few Mk I Whirlwinds but not fitted Internal strengthening of the wing to mount 500lb bombs or, potentially, drop-tanks (The Whirlibomber was first proposed in September 41 by S/Ldr Pugh, but only implemented nearly a year later) More problematic but probably necessary works would have been reversion of the Exactors to mechanical controls. Like so much of the Whirly, a great idea in theory that never quite worked out that way. And then there's the heavily design- and production-intensive stuff; Redesigned blowers - this is an interesting one because the original intention would have been to improve altitude performance, whereas it turned out that the envisaged ever-greated combat heights never really eventuated. Also, they would probably be restricted by not lengthening the engine overall Rotol props - although this would have required a unique hub design (Or a redesigned output shaft from the reduction gear?) The uprated Peregrine was very likely possible - but only after the redesign of the 3-way oil union to the supercharger and camshaft bearings in late Feb 42. I have it in mind that at some point after this a test engine was uprated and run at full noise without issues although it was decided that there was no benefit it modifying the few remaining airframes, but I can't remember where I saw this (have I imagined it?!). It would almost certainly require the new rads, so yet more effort required. The question always comes back to resource, even for the 'easy' parts. Rolls didn't have it. Even Westlands didn't really have it, as by 1940 it was raining Spitfires and Lysanders. The Yanks *may* have had it (hence the suggestion of Packard-built Peregrines?) but considering the time required to transfer the design, jigs, and production, then test, manufacture, and ship an American-built engine, when would it actually have arrived? All for a relatively small number of aircraft which would then require a logistics train to support it and dedicated maintenance facilities and fitters/riggers... (Also veering wildly off-topic; to go back to my opening sentance, had Rolls invested sufficient development time into the Peregrine, would we now be talking about the awesome striking power of the Tornado on the march across Europe rather than the small footnote in history that was the Typhoon?!)
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Jeff (Reckless) - first of all, apologies for disappearing in Yeovil the other day - can you pm me your number, I think I have lost it (phone memory issues)? Hope you enjoyed the day anyway - and a bit of a result re P7056.. we'll pin that letter down, I'm sure. Re your post - you mentioned Rotols as a logical next step for the Whirlwind II - of course, the second prototype had Rotols, with no real changes necessary to the aircraft except a narrower nacelle front due to a smaller diameter spinner (Once again, thanks Gunnar). However, for me the next step would just as likely be featherable DH Hydromatics.. Merlins.. Tightly-designed it might have been, but it turns out that the parabola that Petter drew for the nacelles allows a lot of spare space around a Peregrine (The space is, in fact, Merlin-sized) The souped-up Peregrine - well, there was an aircraft flown with modified engines after adaption by RR, which according to one pilot who flew it went like the clappers. There is a photo somewhere... the only obvious difference is a new intake on top of the nacelle.

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Hi Matt - no worries, time was marching on and the light was fading. Hopefully the other matters were a success and we'll hear more about them in due course. It was really good to finally meet some people and put faces to names - all we need to do now (all?!?!?) is turn it into an aircraft! Regarding P7056 it is a best guess - I'm sure Bob's log book would have cleared it all up immediately, but that almost certainly went the way of all the others in the 1960s. I don't suppose George Wood still has his log book? Regarding the propellers, I was going by Niall's book, which mentions proposed use of Rotol props with a wider pitch range - if they could make them fit the Peregrine's output shaft. The part of me raised on #8 wire and 'she'll be right' wonders if they could have machined a collar or sleeve to make up the difference!

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10 years 6 months

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In all of these innovative ideas on how (mechanically speaking) production could have continued, nobody thinks to mention two of the main reasons why the Whirlwind was cancelled. At a production rate of only one or two per week, Westland could not build enough to keep up with anticipated "wastage," and Dowding could see little point in using a twin-engine aircraft to carry the same armament as a single -engine Hurricane.

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beacause of the limited number of air frames available the Whirlwinds where kept back during the Battle of Britain as there was so much fear at the time of us being invaded the fire power of the aircraft was felt better used against invasion barges.This is fact as we have copies of correspondence at the time between the major parties involved at the Air ministry etc.. Also a lot of discussion overlooks the fact of how early and advanced the Whirlwind was and how much of a complicated beast to manufacture it was.It first flew in 1936 and using engines of a power that was very competitive for the time as the very early days of the Merlin with the Schneider trophy having not long been won by Britain and the Spitfire very much still on the drawing board. As has been said already we have some documents and reports from later testing undertaken by RR on one of the prototypes with uprated engines but the main problem was the demand on Merlin production was so great that RR had to draw the line on the production of different types of engine as at that time the decision was taken no agreement was in place yet with Packards to license build engines. Also we have fairly firm evidence that the space under the cowls on the Whirlwind was more than adequate for the early Merlin engines with the single stage supercharger.The later 61 series etc would have meant the major redesign work to fit in but I would surmise that just over 1,000 hp would with single stage supercharging have created an evil little fighter in the hands of RAF pilots. Mike E

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The Pilots loved the aircraft but the fitters thought it was a little sod to work on in some respects as Petter used some very advanced ideas for controls.One being the method of pitch change by throttling up and down to acheive the settings as no direct selection was in place. The rather risky idea on the early aircraft to direct the exhaust through a duct passing vis the wing fuel tanks ( abandoned after some rather nasty accidents) One very time consuming construction method we understand from information passed down from production line workers was the method of forming the rear fuselage.It is constructed from magnesium alloy planks,these planks being it is understood hand formed over a large section of steam pipe using hot sand bags.This method of production to make the 116 airframes built was amazing but also perhaps answers the problems with production time for each aircraft. Mike E

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From what I've read this type was hardly appreciated by the other side. By all accounts it was a hot ship for its time and very agile at low level. Based on that it hardly seems that it needed any improving, OK maybe a little bit more power would have come in handy.
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This Packard deal to produce Peregrines under licence to Rolls-Royce to upgrade them to produce 985 hp Just about everything in the new Whirly Book by Mr Franks about Petters Mark II Whirlwind, shown in the part Jerry has highlighted are just a fabrication, based on day-dreams and an uneventful hour waiting for paint to dry back in 2008 by your truly... The damming evidence is here: http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?87105-Mk-II-Westland-Whirlwind-%91What-if%92&highlight=Packard+Peregrines How it got where it is now in plain black & white, is beyond me and the Chinese Whisperers... Perhaps I should have taken a career change and become a politician, as it seems everyone, or nearly everyone would believe every word I said...

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10 years 6 months

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I did wonder why I'd never seen any mention of those "orders" in the files in the National Archives.
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13 years 8 months

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Ha!... Funny thing is, if I'd wanted that to happen, the whole thing would have crashed and burned by the third post... :rolleyes:

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Ah that's the trouble you see. Rumours and lies can get round the world before the truth even gets its shoes on.