Metal ailerons,,

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12 years 8 months

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I was wondering,, with the vast improvement in the Spitfire's handling when changing from canvas to metal ailerons, would the Hurricane have benefited from the same modification or was the wing design of the hurricane not conducive to this change? And was it ever tried? Seems the hurricane got shortchanged in the "mod" dept. sometimes, wonder how it would have done with a Griffon up front too.

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Profile picture for user QldSpitty

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15 years 8 months

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I doubt the turning circle would have been an issue with the Hurricane being able to out turn both machines..;)

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16 years 1 month

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I was wondering,, with the vast improvement in the Spitfire's handling when changing from canvas to metal ailerons, would the Hurricane have benefited from the same modification or was the wing design of the hurricane not conducive to this change? And was it ever tried? Seems the hurricane got shortchanged in the "mod" dept. sometimes, wonder how it would have done with a Griffon up front too.

The Hurricane airframe was was from an earlier generation in both structural design and aerodynamic form, at the speeds it operated at its fabric ailerons were eminenently suitable. So metal skinning would introduced a component that was more difficalt to repair/manufacture as well as a weight increase for no gain.
Spitfire rudders and elevators remained fabric covered for good reason.

Richard

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Two sets were made up and tested, and the behaviour wasn't liked; Camm seems to have been disinterested, and Farnborough didn't want to spend any time making them acceptable, so the whole idea was quietly dropped, with the Typhoon taking precedence.
Camm wanted to fit the Griffon into the Hurricane, and prepared some drawings, but it required the centre-section spars to be raked forward, to bring the wings forward, to get an acceptable CoG. Camm was told to forget it, and concentrate on the Typhoon.

Profile picture for user JDK

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Some excellent posts.

Seems the hurricane got shortchanged in the "mod" dept. ...

It's worth noting that the critical 'mod' for the Hurricane was getting enough into service with the interim fabric-covered wing so the RAF pilots got experience with a 300mph+ retractable undercarriage, flap-equipped (et al) fighter, and then Hawker switching production to the all-metal stressed skin wing and arranging for the fabric-covered wings to be exchanged for metal at squadron level while the aircraft were in service - a vital into-Battle of Britain period upgrading of the type.

Had Hawker's not got the Hurricane to the RAF when they did with the early wing type, and had they not upgraded it, all could well have been moot, and Spitfires never developed past the Mk.I.

Regards,

Profile picture for user stuart gowans

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Did they really need to move the wings forward to fit the larger engine because of CoG issues? the early Griffons were apparently shorter than the 2 stage Merlins; was there ever a proposal to fit the 60 series Merlin into the Hurricane?

As an aside I was quite alarmed to see the amount of lead carried in the tail of MH434 a few years ago!

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I was wondering,, with the vast improvement in the Spitfire's handling when changing from canvas to metal ailerons, would the Hurricane have benefited from the same modification or was the wing design of the hurricane not conducive to this change? And was it ever tried? Seems the hurricane got shortchanged in the "mod" dept. sometimes, wonder how it would have done with a Griffon up front too.
Good as the Hurricane was it must have been the only aircraft ever introduced into service when just about at the end of its development life. How it was when it came into service was about as far as it could have been developed.

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I was wondering,, with the vast improvement in the Spitfire's handling when changing from canvas to metal ailerons, would the Hurricane have benefited from the same modification or was the wing design of the hurricane not conducive to this change? And was it ever tried? Seems the hurricane got shortchanged in the "mod" dept. sometimes, wonder how it would have done with a Griffon up front too.

1. The metal ailerons were an improvement, but not a 'vast' one. It wasn't until the much later wing with the metal-covered, piano-hinged ailerons that the issue was really sort at high speed.

2. There was a development path for the Hurricane, it was called the Typhoon. By the outbreak of war this was well advanced. By the time the Griffon was realistically available, the Hurricane was no longer a serious front-line fighter and Hawkers were already focussed on the Tempest et al.

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The metal ailerons made a key difference in combat with the Fw190, which previously could roll and turn away from the Spitfire in a fight and be out of range before the Spitfire could respond. I guess it depends upon your meaning of "vast". The metal ailerons solved the problems linked to the aileron itself, but could do nothing for the problems stemming from the lack of wing strength in torsion. When diving at high speed the wing would twist under aerodynamic load so that the effect of the aileron was progressively reduced to zero and then the opposite of that required. This is known as aileron reversal. When high g was applied for the pull out the wing would fail - known as divergence. The problem of wing failures had appeared on the earlier Spitfires, and the introduction of the universal or C wing saw modifications to the wing root aimed at solving this - but dive speeds continued to get faster. The new Spitfire wing was used as the example in lectures on aeroelasticity at Hatfield college as late as the 70s, to my personal experience.

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Good as the Hurricane was it must have been the only aircraft ever introduced into service when just about at the end of its development life. How it was when it came into service was about as far as it could have been developed.

Not at all, Mike. The mid-1940 Hurricane with constant speed prop, all-metal wing etc. was the right aircraft at the right time, and a major step ahead of the 1937 early fabric-covered wing version with Watts wooden prop and earlier Merlin and lower-rated fuel, etc. etc.

The Hurricane regularly gets underestimated, here, where it shouldn't, partly because of the subsequent glamour and remarkable development of the Spitfire. However, as Tonk pointed out, the Hawker fighter development wasn't versions of the Hurricane, but an iterative process going back to the Hawker Fury (biplane) and up to the Sea Fury; and you can legitimately extend that line further from Tabloid to Harrier.

The Spitfire was an incredible development achievement, but only one type compared to Hawker's 1910s to 1970s in service linage. If that seems unfair, that's exactly what people do by regarding the Hurricane as some kind of 'flash in the pan' rather than one step in a design evolution and the right aircraft at the right time.

As to lacking development, that overlooks the vast array of things the Hurricane was able to do without changing the airframe significantly (like the Mosquito). Show me the night-fighter Spitfire (it was part of the spec) or the 40mm cannon-equipped tank buster Spitfire. It's a lazy cliche to have the two as complimentary types, but it's true their strengths lay in different arenas.

Regards,

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"Good as the Hurricane was it must have been the only aircraft ever introduced into service when just about at the end of its development life. How it was when it came into service was about as far as it could have been developed."  

This is absoultely correct Mike, as the Hurricane was refered to as the Fury Monoplane.  By the time the 109F was introduced in late 1940, the Hurricane was obsolete as a fighter.  Even in the BoB it was not really a contender for the I09E with an experienced pilot.  Sadly, due to a lack of other options, the Hurri was still used in other theatres and was outclassed, especially when it had no air cover from front line fighters.  It went on to be used as a fighter bomber, ground attack aircraft (Mk. IID) and night intruder (not a fighter), but had reached it's design limit as a day fighter. 

The Tiffy and Tempest were completely new designs, with severe mistakes made in the Typhoon design.  The Tempest was finally a sucess as Camm went with a thin, elliptical wing and an exhaust & engine cooling system borrowed from the FW 190. 

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In considering the wings and ailerons as a ‘system’ it is worth observing that the aileron hinges on WW1 Sopwiths were the same as 1930’s Hawker biplanes. That is, a ‘fixed’ hinge where the aileron was actuated and ‘sloppy’ hinges at both extremities. When the wings bent, the sloppy hinges allowed the aileron to continue to function, rather than cause binding. Following this, the aileron spar would ideally bend in the same way as the wing spar, to prevent binding. So a more rigid metal aileron might cause binding as a more flexible wing did its thing. I am not up with new fangled monoplanes, but I figure more rigid wings for high speed performance would allow more rigid ailerons. The timber Mosquito wing had metal ailerons and hinges which did not have slop. There were issues with recovery from high speed dives for Mosquitos with spar failures outboard of the engines being a characteristic and operational limitations placed on this as a response. I do suspect Hawkers had a lot of wisdom in their design choices. I do note Cessna 152s have piano hinges and metal ailerons which I guess flex but theres always a lot of metal powder that seems to leak out of them and the thin wire inside the hinge seems to be sacrificial, like student pilots.