Flight Craft 3, Hawker Hurricane and Sea Hurricane

B2189

A deceptively thin A4 format book with colour, black & white photographs with full colour drawings. The Flight Craft series is an interesting family of publications. It is aimed primarily at the model makers and model engineers, but it is in two parts. The first part is a very well written history of the subject with some fine photographs in illustration. The second part of the book provides some outstanding full colour drawings and reviews of plastic kits, some of which are now out of general sale and have become collectors items. The amount of information packed into the book is surprising and of very high quality. The author and his illustrators have provided model makers with many options to enhance standard plastic kits of the subject and modify them to replicate some interesting variations of the subject. An excellent publication which will satisfy serious model makers, but a first class book for the novice of all ages and for those who are enthusiasts of a remarkable aeroplane.

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NAME: Flight Craft 3, Hawker Hurricane and Sea Hurricane
DATE: 180615
FILE: R2189
AUTHOR: Tony O’Toole, + Martin Derry, Neil Robinson
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back
PAGES: 97
PRICE: £16.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, Second World War, World War Two, shipboard aircraft, Hawker, Hurricane, Sea Hurricane, HurriBomber, Tank Killer, ground attack, point interceptor, monoplane, Merlin, RAF, FAA, PAF
ISBN: 1-47382-725-6
IMAGE: B2189.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ogfxe8k
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: A deceptively thin A4 format book with colour, black & white photographs with full colour drawings. The Flight Craft series is an interesting family of publications. It is aimed primarily at the model makers and model engineers, but it is in two parts. The first part is a very well written history of the subject with some fine photographs in illustration. The second part of the book provides some outstanding full colour drawings and reviews of plastic kits, some of which are now out of general sale and have become collectors items. The amount of information packed into the book is surprising and of very high quality. The author and his illustrators have provided model makers with many options to enhance standard plastic kits of the subject and modify them to replicate some interesting variations of the subject. An excellent publication which will satisfy serious model makers, but a first class book for the novice of all ages and for those who are enthusiasts of a remarkable aeroplane.

What is still not widely appreciated is just what made the Hurricane a vital new combat aircraft for a premier Air Force. At the time of its first flight, the standard RAF fighter aircraft were biplanes that were little different from those that flew during the later stages of WWI. They looked much the same, employed the same construction techniques and materials, and offered much the same performance. The Hawker Fury was one of the fastest fighters in service anywhere and achieved only 200 mph, little faster than the best machines of 1918. It carried the same two rifle calibre machine guns, had fixed undercarriage, open cockpit and wire braced wooden strutted biplanes. The only machine more advanced was the Gloster Gladiator which was a radial engined biplane of traditional structure with fixed undercarriage but included three innovations. The cockpit was enclosed by a sliding canopy, a radio-telephone was fitted to provide communication with other aircraft and fighter control rooms, and the traditional two rifle calibre machine guns mounted in the fuselage, where the pilot could reach the cocking mechanism to clear jams, set to fire through the propeller arc with an interrupter gear to safeguard the propeller, were now joined by two wing-mounted guns that fired outside the propeller arc. This latter innovation greatly increased the weight of fire striking a target, not just because there were two more guns, but because the wing-mounted guns could fire at the full rate of around 500 rounds per minute rather than the fuselage-mounted guns that were halted every time a propeller blade was about to pass in front of the gun muzzle. This interruption could half the rate of fire to around 250-300 rounds per minute. This meant that a typical 5 second burst of fire could land 75 rounds on the target aircraft instead of the traditional 25 rounds, greatly increasing the probability of achieving a ‘kill’.

When the first Hurricane flew, it was a revolution operationally. The thick monoplane wing was able to include eight rifle calibre machine guns, all firing outside the propeller arc to achieve a rate of fire during a 3 second burst of a staggering 1340 rounds. It also carried a new reflector gun sight that was a huge advance over earlier wire and simple optic gunsights in general use for fighters at that time. The significant reduction in drag, achieved by losing the upper wing of a biplane, together with the magnificent Rolls Royce Merlin engine delivering a terrific 1,000 hp, enabled the Hurricane to achieve more than 300 mph, a 50% increase over the speed of the fastest biplane fighters and faster even than the new monoplane metal bombers that were entering service in Britain, Germany and other countries. The radio telephone was of improved performance and the widely spaced retractable undercarriage provided reliable grass field operation. The streamlined nose with its pointed propeller spinner was clad with metal panels and the designers had already thought of providing the pilot with armour to protect him from enemy fire. The first pilots to fly this amazing new machine were thrilled by its performance, its excellent stability as a gun platform, but the spectacular tuning rate and light-handed aerobatics made it truly exciting.

However, the Hurricane was remarkably similar to the Hawker Fury biplane. The steel and wood framing aft of the pilot and the fabric covering of aft fuselage and wings meant that the Hurricane still depended on traditional aircraft design and construction of the biplane era. This had three consequences. The Hurricane was much easier to build, maintain and repair than her Spitfire stable-mate. This enabled the Hurricane to enter service faster and become operational quickly. It also meant that the Hurricane was an excellent bomber killer, able to absorb battle damage. The smaller number of Spitfires accounted for far fewer ‘kills’ during the Battle of Britain, but it was a team effort with the faster Spitfire keeping the enemy fighter escort occupied while the Hurricanes concentrated on the bombers. The third consequence was that the Hurricane more rapidly reached the end of its development cycle and started to be relegated to secondary and ground attack duties, whilst the Spitfire was able to soldier on well into the jet age and form the basis for development of jet fighters. Against that, the Hurricane was much easier to develop into a shipboard fighter, with the wide track undercarriage being much more suitable for the small flight deck of a carrier.

This book not only provides a good history section and a review of plastic model kits, but it also describes how kits can be modified into accurate Sea Hurricane models.

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