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View Full Version : where did the spitfire designer get the eleptical wing idea from?



stalkervision
11-16-2010, 06:47 AM
Did he see a He-70 or a he-111 and get it from there? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

Where exactly did he come up with the idea to use this type of wing?

http://warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/images/he70-1.jpg

stalkervision
11-16-2010, 06:47 AM
Did he see a He-70 or a he-111 and get it from there? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

Where exactly did he come up with the idea to use this type of wing?

http://warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/images/he70-1.jpg

BillSwagger
11-16-2010, 06:52 AM
He probably saw the A5M introduced in 1936 and thought he could base a faster fighter around that design.
http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/aircraft/Mitsubishi-Claude/IMAGES/A5M-Topview.jpg

Bill

M2morris
11-16-2010, 07:03 AM
Because he thought it looked cool and a pilot who flies a cool looking plane can bag more babes.

Or it could be this.
From a quick wiki:
"An elliptical wing is a wing planform shape that minimizes induced drag.[1] Elliptical taper shortens the chord near the wingtips in such a way that all parts of the wing experience equivalent downwash, and lift at the wing tips is essentially zero, improving aerodynamic efficiency due to a greater Oswald efficiency number in the induced drag equation."

thefruitbat
11-16-2010, 07:11 AM
God.

He told him, i want you to build the best looking plane of teh war, and this is how you shall do it...

M_Gunz
11-16-2010, 07:16 AM
According to the British made movie he got the idea from seagull wings. But actually there's some math and aero science by which the shape itself can be derived to achieve advantages in flight. It makes the wings harder to fabricate though.

The Supermarine S.4 first flew in 1927.
http://www.coopersmodels.com/i/Aerotech/tn_Aerotech_Supermarine_S4.jpg

Copied from the Zero or the other way around?

Xiolablu3
11-16-2010, 07:51 AM
It was the most efficient wing design at the time, he could also fit more guns in the wings that way.


The Elliptical design was a design choice, just as a radial or inline engine is a design choice. I'm sure there were many papers in Britain at the time confirming the advantages and disadvantages of an elliptical wing. Mitchell decided it would suit the aircraft he was designing.

The wing gave excellent stall and handling characteristics which were somewhat lost when the Spiteful used a laminar flow square wing.

It was a choice of quality over quantity, but as has been said it made it harder to manufacture. You could produce 3 Me109's in the time taken to produce a Spitfire.

The Germans tested a Spitfire IX in 1943 and rated the aerodynamics as excellent, but at the cost of being much harder to produce. They didnt like the very spread out weapons.

JG53Frankyboy
11-16-2010, 08:02 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by stalkervision:
Did he see a He-70 or a he-111 and get it from there? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

Where exactly did he come up with the idea to use this type of wing?

http://warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/images/he70-1.jpg </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

and ffrom where did Ernst Heinkel got this idea ?!?!?!

well, physics and aerodynamic rules are the same all over the world..................

Bremspropeller
11-16-2010, 09:06 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Where exactly did he come up with the idea to use this type of wing? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Because elliptical lift-distribution, which is generally aimed for is - gosh - best achieved by building an elliptical wing. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Kurfurst__
11-16-2010, 01:52 PM
I believe the choice of elliptical planform was simply an afterthought to deepen the wings. The original Spit had a trapezoid-like wing and carried four MGs (two in each wing), then the Air Ministry specified eight MGs to be carried. Two more MGs would not fit into the wings unless depth was increased, so they came up with this form in the end. And of course they most likely understood that if they have to use a relatively low aspect ratio wing, elliptic planform is better than trapezoid for that purpose..

On the sidenote however, this was not the same "elliptic" wing as what is regarded as optimum from the drag point of view; a true elliptic wing has equal lift distribution (and thus low drag), which makes it efficient, but horrible from the handling pov view - equal lift distribution means the whole wing stalls at once and you are left with no aileron control. So you have to ruin the perfect lift distribution by adding washout (decrease angle of attack and thus lift on outer portion of the wing) to maintain aileron effectiveness - and thus control - near the stall.

Daiichidoku
11-16-2010, 02:02 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by M_Gunz:
According to the British made movie he got the idea from seagull wings. But actually there's some math and aero science by which the shape itself can be derived to achieve advantages in flight. It makes the wings harder to fabricate though.

The Supermarine S.4 first flew in 1927.
http://www.coopersmodels.com/i/Aerotech/tn_Aerotech_Supermarine_S4.jpg

Copied from the Zero or the other way around? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

the Supermarine, Macchi et al racers had very little relation to and gave very little in terms of practical experience in building "high speed" military fighters

Yet another die-hard fallacy, likely due only to some resemblence to the Spit we know.

In fact, THIS is the true progenitor of the Spit

http://ww2drawings.jexiste.fr/Images/2-Airplanes/Allies/3-UK/01-Fighters/Supermarine-Type224/p1.jpg

Player_43
11-16-2010, 02:53 PM
The wing of the spit doesn't have anything to do with the wings of the planes you mention.

It's a pure copy of the wing of the A5M. It seems that Sir Robert MacLean is noyhing more than a thief.

WTE_Galway
11-16-2010, 03:05 PM
Stole it from the Kalinin K-7

http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/aircraft/Kalinin-K7/IMAGES/Kalinin-K-7-Pre-WWII-Russian-Giant-Bomber-Transport-Front.jpg

waffen-79
11-16-2010, 03:52 PM
a girl told him

M_Gunz
11-16-2010, 04:39 PM
Mitchell was onto that wing shape since about 1925. He used it in the racers and he used it in his fighters. The wing sweep of the 262 was no accident yet 262 prototypes did not have it -- well the elliptical wing of the Spitfire was taken from previous designs by the same man going all the way back before 1930 and he is said to have gotten it from the outer wings of sea gulls.

Didn't Lillienthal round the back ends of a glider wing or two? Weren't there other curved wings going back before WWI? Or the Taube design of WWI? Does that satisfy anyone's personal senses and politics?

WTE_Galway
11-17-2010, 08:49 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by M_Gunz:
Mitchell was onto that wing shape since about 1925. He used it in the racers and he used it in his fighters. The wing sweep of the 262 was no accident yet 262 prototypes did not have it -- well the elliptical wing of the Spitfire was taken from previous designs by the same man going all the way back before 1930 and he is said to have gotten it from the outer wings of sea gulls.

Didn't Lillienthal round the back ends of a glider wing or two? Weren't there other curved wings going back before WWI? Or the Taube design of WWI? Does that satisfy anyone's personal senses and politics? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

It seems pretty well established the slight wing sweep on the me262 was for CoG reasons not transonic flight characteristics. It was sheer good luck that it also helped reduce the problem of wave drag at transonic speeds.

Clearly the one major advantage of an elliptical wing is a reduction in induced drag (meaning no need for oddities like winglets). But whether that advantage was the inspiration for the Spitfire, or whether it ever translated to an advantage worth the extra build cost in the real world, I have no idea.

M_Gunz
11-17-2010, 09:05 PM
The advantage of sweep was known to Messerschmit at least in theory so maybe he wanted to try it out?

I don't know if Mitchell knew the elliptical wing would cut induced drag from his start of using that shape in the 20's. It worked for birds and LOL they have birds in Japan too. So as far as copying ideas, IMO that's a human thing.

Perhaps to check into what was known and how calculations were done at different times before assigning intentions? In the case of the 262 at least one team member later on stated the sweep was to address balance due to the new engines but was his the only input in that design?

TheCrux
11-17-2010, 09:38 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
I believe the choice of elliptical planform was simply an afterthought to deepen the wings. The original Spit had a trapezoid-like wing and carried four MGs (two in each wing), then the Air Ministry specified eight MGs to be carried. Two more MGs would not fit into the wings unless depth was increased, so they came up with this form in the end. And of course they most likely understood that if they have to use a relatively low aspect ratio wing, elliptic planform is better than trapezoid for that purpose..

On the sidenote however, this was not the same "elliptic" wing as what is regarded as optimum from the drag point of view; a true elliptic wing has equal lift distribution (and thus low drag), which makes it efficient, but horrible from the handling pov view - equal lift distribution means the whole wing stalls at once and you are left with no aileron control. So you have to ruin the perfect lift distribution by adding washout (decrease angle of attack and thus lift on outer portion of the wing) to maintain aileron effectiveness - and thus control - near the stall. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is what I've understood it as too.

In the broader sense, I've always chafed at the notion of this or that aircraft or design theme therein was "copied" from this or that. Whether from the notion the A6M Zero was a copy of a US pre-war A/C sold to Japan up to the Russian 'Buran' being a "copy" of the US space shuttle. I don't go along with that for the most part. An aircraft designer(s) had specific goals in mind performance/mission-wise: In deference to the laws of physics governing flight, certain features and design cues MUST be present to fullfill said mission. Ergo, many aircraft of the same performance envelope will share a lot of design cues, even if designed by different people/nation-states.

Alexei_Kolchin
11-19-2010, 05:29 PM
R.J. Mitchell was actually capable of original thought and the inferences that he copied the elliptical wing from somewhere else seem a bit off the beam to me, especially when a lot of those aircraft mentioned were either in development at the same time or, more probably, unknown to him.

The elliptical wing became more elliptical as production changed over first from stretched fabric like the S.6B, to metal skinning, like the Type 224 and then to monocoque construction so the development of the Spitfire wing was a long time coming.

The stall characteristics of the elliptical wing were less than forgiving and there doesn't seem to have been a lot of washout between the root and the tip.

What the elliptical planform does have is excellent induced drag properties. It's a bit like Boeing's current tip vortex solution but not nearly as sophisticated.

VW-IceFire
11-19-2010, 07:20 PM
I've seen this argument come up over and over and over again. Wherever there is a highly competitive area where design is a fundamental part of the process and there are requirements that have to be followed, you will inevitably come up with a bunch of truly gifted individuals that will arrive at roughly the same place at the same time.

If you look at it... all of the aviation designs in the 1920s through to the 1940s are part of the same general iterative process. The elliptical wings were part aerodynamics and part practical consideration. From what I've read on the subject... the biggest considerations were having the thinnest wing that could still cover up all eight of the machine guns. Aerodynamics and practical considerations had more to do with this than if Mitchell "stole" the idea from someone else.

If we're going down that route then all of the great composers of the Baroque through Classical and up to the Modern era should be be labeled as thieves as well.

When everyone has to play by the same rules (technology vs aerodynamics vs practical considerations) you end up with a bunch of same looking creations.

Alexei_Kolchin
11-19-2010, 08:10 PM
Excellent post. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Kurfurst__
11-20-2010, 05:50 AM
Absolutely... requirements define the components that need to be used (guns, fuel capacity, engine power requirements..), and the components will define or at least considerably narrow down the shape and most optimum construction of the airframe..

M_Gunz
11-20-2010, 07:35 AM
Yes, the tight ones grow disfigurements.

I should add, when they grow and parts inside get bigger like light MG's to heavy. &lt;cough, 109G, cough&gt;

Xnomad
11-20-2010, 04:22 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">
It was a choice of quality over quantity, but as has been said it made it harder to manufacture. You could produce 3 Me109's in the time taken to produce a Spitfire.

The Germans tested a Spitfire IX in 1943 and rated the aerodynamics as excellent, but at the cost of being much harder to produce. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I wonder if Messerschmitt ever considered that pilots took longer to train than it took to build aircraft.

There were a lot of flaws that were intentionally ignored in the design of the 109 because changing the production process would be too time consuming and expensive.

I can't help but think that a lot of pilots were lost because of these decisions. You can replace the plane quickly but not the pilot.

Production statistics show that there was never a real shortage of aircraft, but there was one of skilled pilots.

M_Gunz
11-20-2010, 06:04 PM
Losing a plane does not always mean losing a pilot. Especially over friendly territory. Count the planes that some pilots lost and they still flew again, 4+! And you got your ground-kills to provide for, lot of planes lost on the ground. You also have your write-offs, those hey made it back okay too bad for the plane though, sorry for the runway scratches and prop divots.. now where's my replacement plane?