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Miss Shilling's Orifice

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"It is around [March of 1940] that certain complaints by RAF pilots are addressed. It has been determined that when making a dive, negative g-forces cause fuel to flood the carburetors of Hurricane and Spitfire fighters, causing the engine to stall. German fighters, with fuel injection, do not suffer this problem. British fighters are having to do a half-roll before diving to alleviate the stall, but this still slows reaction time if evading under fire or chasing an enemy plane. Rolls Royce produced an improved carburetor but it failed testing. Beatrice Shilling, an engineer with the Royal Aircraft Establishment, calculates and devises a thimble shaped fuel flow restrictor out of brass that limits flow under g-forces while still enabling maximum power. It has the benefit of being easily installed in the fuel system without taking the aircraft out of service, and will be in regular use by the time the Battle of Britain approaches its peak this summer. Officially designated the R.A.E. Restrictor, RAF personnel will call it “Miss Shilling’s Orifice”.

- The restrictors will remain standard in Merlin engines until Rolls Royce introduces the pressure carburetor in 1943. She will become known as “the woman who saved the Spitfire”, awarded the OBE, and is commemorated by a pub in Farnborough where R.A.E. was sited, called the “Tilly Shilling”. Miss Shilling was also an accomplished motorcycle racer."




Edited by cardboard_killer
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