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Same engine for P51 and Spit- low alt speed difference?

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It's from the Technical Note No. Aero 1092, S.M.E. 96, 2nd Addendum, Issue 3. Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, August 1945. I'd post the whole thing, but I'm not sure about copyright. It should be available at the Kew archives.

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On 7/27/2019 at 1:46 PM, [DBS]Browning said:

The 51's performance is a result of all round good design choices, it's not down to any kind of 'magic bullet' like Meredith or laminar flow .

 

It's not a magic - the Meredith principle works better in the Mustang because she have sizeable diffusor and a boundary layer splitter for the radiator inlet. Other WW2 fighters hadn't them as big or long thus they gained less from it.

 

And that's funny because the P-51's big scoop is plain to see; the element which defined the plane's shape yet it was overlooked feature.

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Posted (edited)

What always amazed me when comparing these two mounts is the performance and the agility of Mustang considering the 50% higher empty weight compared to Spit! I know this doesn't affect max. speed much, but it does climb and maneuverability - and to say that Mustang is impressive in this regards is an understatement. Can't wait to see how it will fare in this sim.

Edited by CrazyDuck

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59 minutes ago, Ehret said:

 

It's not a magic - the Meredith principle works better in the Mustang because she have sizeable diffusor and a boundary layer splitter for the radiator inlet. Other WW2 fighters hadn't them as big or long thus they gained less from it.

 

And that's funny because the P-51's big scoop is plain to see; the element which defined the plane's shape yet it was overlooked feature.

Is it that big compared to the inlets on the Spitfire?

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1 hour ago, MiloMorai said:

Is it that big compared to the inlets on the Spitfire?

 

Its hYge.

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11 hours ago, Cpt_Siddy said:

 

Its hYge.

You measured the intakes?

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11 hours ago, Cpt_Siddy said:

 

Its hYge.

 

There is only one on the P-51: Spitfire has 2 (part of one being oil cooler). Should be easy enough to measure from scale plans if anyone has them, but to me the Spitfire's total  radiator vent area looks considerably bigger. Reusing nice diagram that someone posted in a P-51 radiator thread long ago...

 

1980579500_coolcomparison.jpg.aed2e369807126962b9e8cdeee0742f7.jpg

 

 

 

 

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uh oh, seems like another online discussion of Aeronautical Engineers... cmon people, slow it down.

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On 7/28/2019 at 1:02 AM, Fumes said:

one hopes the mustang is faster than that, or they tone down the K4. At 1.8ata the K4 is clocking in at 377mph, about 20mph faster than german estimates at sea level. Of course if we geta 150 octane pony it should be clocking in at 380-390 on the deck.

 

Well, the K4 we've got is the cutting edge of the 109 line, of piston-engined axis design in fact. it's normal that it outperforms the P-51, whose latest service model was getting a bit long in the tooth by the end of the war. This, of course, didn't matter as the P-51 was more than good enough to dominate what feeble remnants of the LW were left in '45... which of course did nothing to incentivize the allies to rush their top of the line models into service.

 

In short, the truly competing airframes we will be getting will have to be the Tempest, and hopefully eventually the Spit XIV (indeed, we can already see how the Spit IX does pretty well, and how it would certainly be more than sufficient, if we had the historical numerical superiority). That said, we'll hopefully also be getting the 150 octane juice, which will go a long way to redress the balance, given that the sim we play is a fantasy scenario in which both sides have a rough numerical parity and yet the LW has its top of the lines models (which themselves were rushed into service in desperate attempts to make up for losing air superiority).

On 7/28/2019 at 3:16 PM, 6./ZG26_Custard said:

I think the Spit, P-51 and the 109 are all fantastic aircraft in their own right but the Spit (for me)  wins the beauty contest (and I'm not even a Spitfire fanboi)

 

Well said. But we should never underestimate the ability of these boards to turn into a jingoistic contest of national pride. :P

 

That said, I was still surprised to see the topic make a turn into how one of the top fighters of the war was a horrible design. 🙂 

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On 7/28/2019 at 3:02 AM, Fumes said:

one hopes the mustang is faster than that, or they tone down the K4. At 1.8ata the K4 is clocking in at 377mph, about 20mph faster than german estimates at sea level. Of course if we geta 150 octane pony it should be clocking in at 380-390 on the deck.


The K-4 is a bit too fast at sea level, (considering the calculation showing 370 mph as reference) but at the same time it's slower by a similar margin at high altitude. Don't know which particular parameter could be causing it.

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4 hours ago, unreasonable said:

There is only one on the P-51: Spitfire has 2 (part of one being oil cooler). Should be easy enough to measure from scale plans if anyone has them, but to me the Spitfire's total  radiator vent area looks considerably bigger. Reusing nice diagram that someone posted in a P-51 radiator thread long ago...

 

I meant  the inlet, boundary splitter and the diffuser used for the radiator(s) assembly; specifically the length of them.

 

The diffusers in the Spit aren't nearly as long the one in the Mustang. The same goes for the nozzles and there is no boundary splitter at all. It's plain to see.

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The Spitfire was designed for an engine which would I'd assume originally produced a lot less heat (I doubt that thermal efficiency changed that much as gross HP increased), and the need to add more cooling within the constraints of the existing wing structure can't have helped. With a clean drawing board, I'm sure Supermarine could have done better, but they didn't really have the option until too late. 

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Posted (edited)

While we're on cooling drag, comparative performance between a 67" Mustang III and 2050 hp Griffon Spit XIV showed almost identical level speeds at all altitudes - the Spit needed at least 300 more hp to match the Mustang in top speed, in large part probably because of additional cooling drag from the larger under wing radiator system.

 

And if someone wants to get a better sense of late model 109 performance at sea level, consider that a spit IX and Mustang at 72", and a 109G/K at 1.8 ATA are all producing ~1775hp at sea level.    The 109, regardless of detail improvements or 'projected' performance, would be closer to a Spit than Mustang with it's drag profile.

 

Another interesting article on the Mustang wing:

http://wp1113056.server-he.de/ABL/20-forschung/laminarfluegel/laminarfluegel_en.htm

Edited by Barfly

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30 minutes ago, Ehret said:

 

I meant  the inlet, boundary splitter and the diffuser used for the radiator(s) assembly; specifically the length of them.

The diffusers in the Spit aren't nearly as long the one in the Mustang. The same goes for the nozzles and there is no boundary splitter at all. It's plain to see.

 

I agree - perhaps misread the later comment. Mustang a radically different and more effective design, whether you accept the theory that this was designed in from the beginning or just a side product of using an under belly unit so as not to disturb the airflow over the wings. 

 

1 hour ago, 71st_AH_Yankee_ said:

Well said. But we should never underestimate the ability of these boards to turn into a jingoistic contest of national pride. :P

 

That said, I was still surprised to see the topic make a turn into how one of the top fighters of the war was a horrible design. 🙂 

 

I was not surprised.  Apart from the relentless Spitfire bagging by now we would usually have had the picture of the 1916 J.2 with our Teutonic friends explaining that the so called "Meredith effect" was all invented by and implemented by Germans first, so nothing to get excited about in the P-51. ;) 

 

1955909067_JunkersJ2.jpg.31c3c465be72bfb816682bb204aa0b75.jpg 

 

But a little bit of jingoistic pride is entertaining.

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Does not the Spit [wing] hold the highest acknowledged Mach number of a piston-engined design? This suggests that the Spit could be very low drag when it came to sheer speed. Based on this, it might suggest that the Mustang combined a nice mixture of wing, fuselage and radiator design to give it the high cruise and combat speed that it had with a Merlin 66.

 

The D model really is a work of art: such an iconic and fantastic design. 

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22 minutes ago, EAF19_Marsh said:

Does not the Spit [wing] hold the highest acknowledged Mach number of a piston-engined design? This suggests that the Spit could be very low drag when it came to sheer speed.

It has a high Mach number because it is a very thin profile. That does have little drag, that is why they chose it. But I doubt that in 1938 Mitchel envisioned Mach .92 max speed for his new design.

 

Looking at Spitfires from close up, they have a very imperfect surface (especially original historic ones and the ones that are flown often). There is tons of parasitic drag opportunities on these kites. Only recent restorations (in practice: new builds) have near perfect skins. The Mustangs I have seen from close up have much nicer overall finish coming closer to what you‘d expect in your new Cessna. It‘s a loss of a couple of mph here, there... It adds up. Not having boundary layer separation required larger intakes for the same cooling, so you lose even more. If it had the aerodynamic refinement of the Mustang, the Spit would be faster, having about half the wetted area of the Mustang. Thus, it is worth noticing that the Spit has an aerodynamic head start over the Mustang, by being smaller. (Same as the 109 and the 190.)

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Posted (edited)

 

58 minutes ago, EAF19_Marsh said:

Does not the Spit [wing] hold the highest acknowledged Mach number of a piston-engined design? This suggests that the Spit could be very low drag when it came to sheer speed. Based on this, it might suggest that the Mustang combined a nice mixture of wing, fuselage and radiator design to give it the high cruise and combat speed that it had with a Merlin 66.

 

The D model really is a work of art: such an iconic and fantastic design. 

 

Drag associated with increasing fractions of mach is usually only a factor at high altitudes for these types of aircraft; probably somewhere above the 20k plus altitude range.    It can have an effect on high altitude cruise and maneuvering efficiency, and certainly has an effect at the start of a high altitude dive.  However, I think the limiting factor in a prolonged dive or dive from lower altitudes is total drag associated with high indicated airspeeds.   So a more slippery, perhaps dense aircraft will be faster there than one with a slightly higher mach crit. e.g. A Mustang or T-Bolt will be faster in a prolonged dive than a Spit or 109, assuming no mach problems.

 

Certainly speeds at lower altitudes in ww2 props aren't affected by mach issues.   

Edited by Barfly

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On 7/28/2019 at 1:02 AM, Fumes said:

one hopes the mustang is faster than that, or they tone down the K4. At 1.8ata the K4 is clocking in at 377mph, about 20mph faster than german estimates at sea level. Of course if we geta 150 octane pony it should be clocking in at 380-390 on the deck.

 

I wouldn't get my hopes up for speed even though the air frame was built for speed combined with the packard-merlin. Every recent WWII flight sim likes to believe American fighters were sluggish, only high alt potatoes.



 

P-51D_15342_Level.jpg

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24 minutes ago, Y-29.Silky said:

 

 Every recent WWII flight sim likes to believe American fighters were sluggish, only high alt potatoes.

 

 

I have to agree with you sir.  I'm not holding out any hope that the P 51 will be worth the wait.

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3 hours ago, Y-29.Silky said:

 

I wouldn't get my hopes up for speed even though the air frame was built for speed combined with the packard-merlin. Every recent WWII flight sim likes to believe American fighters were sluggish, only high alt potatoes.



 

P-51D_15342_Level.jpg

Its a shame. The P-51exceptional performance characteristic outside its range was its speed. Compared to any contemporary it as was rocket ship, at all altitudes.

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P-51 will turn out ok, only things faster then it on axis side on most alt would be 1.98K4 and 262, and you wont see thouse online on missions, so vs normal oponents it should do realy good if you avoid using full combat time and fly on spitfire 9 combat settings.

To bad it dosent come earlyer and its grouped with great Tempest and fun looking P-38 that will steal its thunder :)

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18 hours ago, Barfly said:

Certainly speeds at lower altitudes in ww2 props aren't affected by mach issues. 

 

Granted. My point was merely that a Spitfire is not a draggy old cow and could achieve higher speeds than a P-51 if using both power and a dose of Newton. Therefore, the P-51 with the same power as a Spitfire was not a produce of one particular attribute, but rather the whole of the design.

 

I was certainly not suggesting that the Spitfire was as efficient as a Mustang, merely that it was not as bad as others have suggested. Case in point being that - if given 2,000hp - it was on terms with the 2,000hp 109s and 190s. The power to weight gave it an advantage in sustained climb while the greater efficiency and density of the Mustang was superior in acceleration, dive and overall speed.

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Both the 109 and 190 produced less parasitic drag than a Spitfire, mostly owing to their smaller size. Unless you're comparing a clean Spitfire frame with a rack equipped and otherwise aerodynamically mutilated 109/190 frame. So if with "on terms", you mean that, I disagree.

 

If, however, you mean that a Spitfire was generally competetive, well, hard to argue that, with history and all that supporting that claim.

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14 hours ago, Y-29.Silky said:

 

I wouldn't get my hopes up for speed even though the air frame was built for speed combined with the packard-merlin. Every recent WWII flight sim likes to believe American fighters were sluggish, only high alt potatoes.

 

I'm hopeful, personally. The data on the mustang is out there, in great details. And that's what the devs use, consistently. Given the Pony is going to be their best sales booster this release, it behooves them to heed the data.

 

But it doens't matter. The Mustang is imbued with the Power of Freedom. The fascists hordes will scatter like chaff before it! :P

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Posted (edited)
On 7/30/2019 at 4:26 PM, 71st_AH_Yankee_ said:

Well, the K4 we've got is the cutting edge of the 109 line, of piston-engined axis design in fact. it's normal that it outperforms the P-51, whose latest service model was getting a bit long in the tooth by the end of the war. This, of course, didn't matter as the P-51 was more than good enough to dominate what feeble remnants of the LW were left in '45... which of course did nothing to incentivize the allies to rush their top of the line models into service.

 

LoL wut?

The P-51 is a much larger airframe on a weaker engine, flying as fast (or faster) than the K-4 and going twice as far (at least) on internal gas and three times as far as the 109K on external gas with two 108gal gas-bags.

 

On 81'', the Mustang will out-race any 109 - on a smaller engine.

And it will go farther and higher (unless comparing to a hi-alt 109, which is junk at low altitude).

 

The 109 is a piece of crap against the Mustang - even more so when compared to the lightweight P-51H, which is closer to the 109's design-priciples.

The 109K also held no cards over the late fast Doras, about to ramp up in production when the war ended. So much for "cutting edge of german piston fighter design".

 

Edited by Bremspropeller
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On 7/30/2019 at 5:26 PM, 71st_AH_Yankee_ said:

 

 

Well, the K4 we've got is the cutting edge of the 109 line, of piston-engined axis design in fact. 

 

 

 

The most advanced piston on axis side in operational service goes to Dora series. 

 

109 was aging 30's design that exhausted everything that the frame could reasonably offer. 

There is reason why F4 is universally liked 109 in online MP scene in IL2, it hits the sweet spot of weight and power. Later models get more power, yes, but also weight goes up and aerodynamics go to the toilet. 

 

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14 minutes ago, Cpt_Siddy said:

 

The most advanced piston on axis side in operational service goes to Dora series. 

 

109 was aging 30's design that exhausted everything that the frame could reasonably offer. 

There is reason why F4 is universally liked 109 in online MP scene in IL2, it hits the sweet spot of weight and power. Later models get more power, yes, but also weight goes up and aerodynamics go to the toilet. 

 

 

I stand corrected... but it's still the top in the 109. Or you saying that the F4 is faster and climbs better than the K4?

 

Regardless, you still have the Dora as the top of the line, so my point stands. :)

1 hour ago, Bremspropeller said:

 

LoL wut?

The P-51 is a much larger airframe on a weaker engine, flying as fast (or faster) than the K-4 and going twice as far (at least) on internal gas and three times as far as the 109K on external gas with two 108gal gas-bags.

 

On 81'', the Mustang will out-race any 109 - on a smaller engine.

And it will go farther and higher (unless comparing to a hi-alt 109, which is junk at low altitude).

 

The 109 is a piece of crap against the Mustang - even more so when compared to the lightweight P-51H, which is closer to the 109's design-priciples.

The 109K also held no cards over the late fast Doras, about to ramp up in production when the war ended. So much for "cutting edge of german piston fighter design".

 

 

If we get 81" on the mustang, I'll be a happy camper.

 

But be it the K4 or the Dora, you're still getting the latest production models of each line, while the P-51D we're getting IS getting long in the tooth (not that we should be getting the H, since it never really made it before the war ended), and so's the Spit IX of course. My points still stand, just substitute "Dora" for "K4", though the K4 still has a significant edge over the airframes we currently have (whether or not that remains the case once we get the P-51/P-38 and Tempest, that's another matter).

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Well, I can't help but see an analogy between a 109 K4 and an I-16 type 24/28. Why? Because they both seem to be an obsolete design at the dusk of their time, but were pushed to face much more modern opponents due to challenging times where not (enough) successors were available. This was done through a desperate measure of mounting an absurdly powerful engine to obsolete airframe in order to compensate for inherent drawbacks of airframe design.

 

Would Germany be producing 109s in 1945 have they had enough 190Ds, Ta152s and/or Me309s? Would Soviet Union be producing I-16s in 1941 have they had enough Yaks, Migs and Laggs? Who knows, I for one think not.

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The P-51D isn't "older" than mid '44.

It's competitiveness with the late-war Krautfighters stands and falls with the boost-setting modelled.

1 minute ago, CrazyDuck said:

Would Germany be producing 109s in 1945 have they had enough 190Ds, Ta152s and/or Me309s? Would Soviet Union be producing I-16s in 1941 have they had enough Yaks, Migs and Laggs? Who knows, I for one think not.

 

109-production was supposed to ramp down in mid '45 at the favor of the fast Doras (D-12, D-13 and the eventually cancelled D-14 and D-15). The Doras in turn were supposed to slowly ramp down, once the Ta 152C production was in full swing, which would have been about fall/late '45.

That was the plan put into action just before the war ended.

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On 7/30/2019 at 7:26 AM, 71st_AH_Yankee_ said:

 

 

Well, the K4 we've got is the cutting edge of the 109 line, of piston-engined axis design in fact. it's normal that it outperforms the P-51, whose latest service model was getting a bit long in the tooth by the end of the war.


The 109 was nowhere near cutting edge for the axis fighters at the end. At best it was an acceptable engine mated to an ancient (in relative terms) sourced air frame.  Had the Doras been able to get up to production speed fast enough it's almost certain that the 109 would have stopped production all together, as Adolf Galland advised.  

The P-51D was only fielded in the spring of 1944, and the P-51B's and C's only about six months before that (December 1943 at the earliest). 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/30/2019 at 8:03 PM, ZachariasX said:

Thus, it is worth noticing that the Spit has an aerodynamic head start over the Mustang, by being smaller. (Same as the 109 and the 190.)

 

Spitfire Mk IX

Length: 31 ft 5 in

Wingspan: 36 ft 10 in

Loaded Weight: 7,500 lb

 

P51D

Length: 32 ft 3 in

Wingspan: 37 ft

Loaded Weight: 9,200 lb

 

Bf109G

Length: 8.95 m (29 ft 4 in)

Wingspan: 9.925 m (32 ft 7 in)

Loaded Weight 6,940 lb

 

As you can see from the specs above the Spitfire Mk IX was very similar in size to a P51D.  So unfortunately the Spitfire does not have an aerodynamic head start over the P51D because they are pretty much the same size.

 

I added the Bf109 size for comparison and it was quite a bit smaller than both the Spitfire Mk IX and the P51D.  I remember reading that when designing the P51H, North American had visited Supermarine to find out how a similar sized aircraft was substantially lighter.  I think it basically came down to the fact that they needed to make it less robust. 😎

 

http://www.mustangsmustangs.net/p-51/variants/p51h

Edited by ICDP

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The advantage the Spitfire has is it's lighter...but then again, the P-51 has a bit more internal fuel

ya know, a few gallons 

 

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6 hours ago, 71st_AH_Yankee_ said:

 

I stand corrected... but it's still the top in the 109. Or you saying that the F4 is faster and climbs better than the K4?

 

 

If it had K4's engine? Yes. That model had lighter construction than G or K series. 

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6 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

The P-51D isn't "older" than mid '44.

It's competitiveness with the late-war Krautfighters stands and falls with the boost-setting modelled.

 

109-production was supposed to ramp down in mid '45 at the favor of the fast Doras (D-12, D-13 and the eventually cancelled D-14 and D-15). The Doras in turn were supposed to slowly ramp down, once the Ta 152C production was in full swing, which would have been about fall/late '45.

That was the plan put into action just before the war ended.

 

Fair enough.

 

As for 109 production, it is interesting how far ahead they were planning. Lots of wishful thinking going on. :)

 

 

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They were still designing battleships late in the war, even though they barely had the resources to keep the Heer supplied.

 

It wasn't wishful thinking, it was madness.

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1 hour ago, BlitzPig_EL said:

They were still designing battleships late in the war, even though they barely had the resources to keep the Heer supplied.

 

It wasn't wishful thinking, it was madness.

 

I guess the point is some genuinely believed the superweapons would change the war and allow them to keep going. Or maybe not believed... but hoped, and prepared for that hope.

 

Of course, turns out there was only 1 war-ending superweapon... and they weren't the ones working on it. Ultimately it's for the best that Germany didn't manage to drag the war on past, say, early August. :)

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I have a suspicion that what German superweapon designers believed most of all was that sitting at a drawing board was preferable to lying in a trench trying to stop a platoon of T-34s with a Panzerfaust. If the lunatics in charge want to dream, keep up the pretence and stay safe...

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There were many factors that influenced the difference in speed.

  • The P-51's more efficient radiator design when compared to the Spitfire Mk IX.
  • Although the P-51 had more guns than the Spitfire, the barrels of the Hispano cannons protruded quite prominently from the wings and the breech/feed of the cannons required blisters on the wings.
  • The P-51 had a retractable tailwheel. The Spitfire Mk IX did not.
  • The P-51 had doors for the main gear, which fully enclosed the it from the airstream. The Spitfire Mk IX did not.
  • The P-51 had a lower drag intake for the engine/supercharger (the Spitfire's intake juts out from the fuselage/cowling, while the P-51's is tucked snugly below the engine).
  • The P-51 had a slightly smaller wing area to begin with (22.5 m² for the Spitfire with the non-clipped wing, 21.8 m² for the P-51).
  • Canopy design(?)
  • Airfoil section(?)
  • And doubtless more that I missed!

It was a combination of many factors, but for the comparison between the Spitfire and the P-51, I'd opine that the radiator design was the biggest single difference (as others here have already stated).

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3 minutes ago, Silavite said:

There were many factors that influenced the difference in speed.

  • The P-51's more efficient radiator design when compared to the Spitfire Mk IX.
  • Although the P-51 had more guns than the Spitfire, the barrels of the Hispano cannons protruded quite prominently from the wings and the breech/feed of the cannons required blisters on the wings.
  • The P-51 had a retractable tailwheel. The Spitfire Mk IX did not.
  • The P-51 had doors for the main gear, which fully enclosed the it from the airstream. The Spitfire Mk IX did not.
  • The P-51 had a lower drag intake for the engine/supercharger (the Spitfire's intake juts out from the fuselage/cowling, while the P-51's is tucked snugly below the engine).
  • The P-51 had a slightly smaller wing area to begin with (22.5 m² for the Spitfire with the non-clipped wing, 21.8 m² for the P-51).
  • Canopy design(?)
  • Airfoil section(?)
  • And doubtless more that I missed!

It was a combination of many factors, but for the comparison between the Spitfire and the P-51, I'd opine that the radiator design was the biggest single difference (as others here have already stated).

 

Well said, but it misses the obvious: it was animated by the unquenchable power of Freedom!!!

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