Norwegian Spitfire Foundation to restore a historical Norwegian Spitfire
The Norwegian Spitfire Foundation (NSF) has for some time worked to bring an operative and flying Spitfire, with Norwegian wartime history, to Norway. Now, the restoration of Spitfire IX, PL258 will commence.
Prices are in NOK per 1st July 2020.
A Spitfire’s distinctly thin, elliptical wing shape is its most famous, and recognisable feature. Although difficult to engineer and build, the result was a beautifully aerodynamic and effective wing. The Spitfire’s elliptical wing design accounts for its iconic silhouette.
A Spitfire’s fuselage had to accommodate a powerful engine, fuel, radio equipment, gauges, the gunsight, etc. The fuselage was designed to make these accommodations, while eliminating unnecessary aerodynamic drag.
Cowlings and fillets:
Extras that ensured the Spitfire’s optimal aerodynamic shape.
Must be able to hold the weight and tremendous power of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine.
Designed to exit the engine cowlings via the shortest possible route. The exhaust system was also designed to reduce glare, as the pilot might be blinded by exhaust flames during night flying.
The «heart» of the Spitfire. The famous 27 litre, 1670 hp Rolls Royce Merlin 66 will power Spitfire PL258. The power and sound of this engine is almost mythical; an incredible piece of engineering from the 1930´s. The engine overhaul will require the surgical precision of seasoned field specialists.
Controls the power, propeller, and fuel. Proper relations between power output, and propeller RPM is vital for the engine’s health and effectiveness—and something the pilot must pay attention to when flying the Spitfire.
Lubricates the engine, and operates propeller pitch control. Oil capacity is 7.5 imperial gallons.
Propeller and Spinner:
The constant speed Rotol propeller have four wooden blades. Its wooden blades may have saved Ole Tilset when he collided mid air with Carl Jacob Stousland, as the blades on PL258 shattered upon hitting Tilset’s Spitfire. The collision forced Stousland to put PL258 down in a field, and Tilset had to bail out.
Spinners on Norwegian Spitfires in RAF service bore the colors of the Norwegian flag.
Fuel tanks and system:
The fuel tanks on a MK IX Spitfire holds only 85 imperial gallons. The Spitfire was limited to about 2 hours of flight time, much less in a high-powered fight. These limitations made the Spitfire the perfect scramble-fighter on the home front, during the Battle of Britain. As the war turned from defence to offence, its limitations became more a factor. Different versions of extra droppable fuel tanks were introduced.
Canopy and windscreen:
The windscreen has a thick centre piece to protect the pilot from small arms fire and shrapnel.The sliding canopy could be released to make it easier for the pilot to bail out. Carl Jacob Stousland was unable to release his canopy following the collision with Tilset. This forced him to have to make the landing in the field in Holland.
Fin tailplanes and fillets:
Provides stability and accommodates the elevator and rudder.
The rudder gives the pilot control of yaw and is also what steers the Spitfire on the ground, together with wheel brakes.
The elevator gives the pilot control of pitch. The elevator is particularly light and sensitive in a Spitfire, and contributes to its light and delicate handling, one of the main reasons the Spitfire is so legendary among pilots.
The rudder and elevators are covered with Irish linen. This makes them light and strong.
The tail wheel is free swivelling on the Spitfire as opposed to lockable and steerable variants on some other WWII fighters. With a very effective rudder, the Spitfire is still an easy machine to control on the ground.
The Spitfire’s flight control systems are conventional, with a combination of pushrods and cables.
Compressed air provides power to wheel brakes, flaps, radiator flaps, and guns.
The rudder and elevator have trim tabs controlled via wheels on the left cockpit wall.
The radiators, one under each wing, cool the glycol-cooled engine. The compartments for the radiators also holds the oil cooler and intercooler. Its capacity is limited on the ground, with low airflow. This makes the Spitfire overheat quite quickly with the engine running on the ground. On a hot day as little as 5 minutes from engine start to take off could be a challenge.
The retraction and extension of the undercarriage is hydraulically operated. The early Spitfires had a hand pump operated by the pilot. Later versions, and PL258, had an engine-driven pump.
Internally a Spitfire was painted in a combination of silver paint and a colour called RAF Cockpit Green. Externally PL258 had Medium Sea Grey undersides with a variety of invasion stripes. Top surfaces had Dark Green and Ocean Gray. The Norwegian Spitfires, as part of the RAF, carried standard RAF roundels. The spinner and a band around the rear fuselage, as well as the squadron letters were painted in a colour called Sky. The only Norwegian markings were the flag colours painted around the Spinner.
When Norwegian fighter squadrons received new Spitfires in July ’44 (among them PL258) the gyro gunsight was one of the new features on this version of the Spitfire. It was designed to aid the pilots sighting when turning in a fight with an enemy aircraft.
The windscreen has an extra thick centrepiece to protect the pilot from small arms fire and shrapnel.
For the aileron control the control column is hinged above the level of the pilots legs because of the narrow cockpit in the Spitfire. The elevator control is conventionally hinged at floor level. The hand grip is of the characteristically «spade grip» type. The wheel brake control and gun firing button is featured on the control grip.
Controls engine power, and the propeller. The relation between power output and propeller RPM is vital for the engines health and effectiveness. And something the pilot must pay attention to when flying the Spitfire.
Magnetic compass of typically British «ship compass» design. While a slightly archetypical design for a fighter airplane, the instrument nevertheless performed precisely.
Primes the engine with fuel for starting. It takes about 6 strokes for a cold engine start and only 3 for a hot engine. If overdone, flames will come from the exhaust when the engine fires. Spectacular for the air show spectator, but not desirable for the engine.
Made from a combination of an aluminium frame and a compressed composite resin material in the seat itself. Aluminium was scarce during WWII. Anything that could be made from some other material would be.
Situated on the right hand cockpit wall. To retract the undercarriage, the pilot would have to change hands from right hand to the left hand on the control column to reach the undercarriage selector This, of course, happens just after take off. With an inexperienced Spitfire pilot flying an observant onlooker will see the airplane wobble slightly when the pilot changes hands on the controls. The sensitive elevator control makes it even more challenging.
The flaps valve lowers and raises the flaps. On a Spitfire flaps are operated with compressed air, and has only two positions – up or down. It is only used for landing, as it produces more drag than lift.
The airspeed indicator reads MPH-miles per hour. When Carl Jacob Stousland had to do his forced landing, he had to pay attention to recommended glide speed of 150MPH.
The artificial horizon helps the pilot to determine airplane attitude when flying in clouds, or poor conditions. The altimeter reads in ft.
The undercarriage indicator reads «DOWN» in green letters when the wheels are down. And «UP» in red letters when they are up.
The gyro compass will show correct heading in all airplane attitudes. The magnetic compass will only read correctly when in level flight.
The elevator trim indicator helps the pilot to set the trim correctly for take off.
A communication radio and radar transponder are required to operate in today’s airspaces. This is the only component in a Spitfire where original wartime units must be replaced to satisfy modern standards of airworthiness.
The oxygen control unit adjusts oxygen flow to the pilot for high altitude flying.
The instrument panel is made of a compressed composite resin material
The blind flying panel holds the instruments used for flying in clouds and poor visibility when no reference to the ground is possible.
The RPM gauge indicates engine speed. 3000 RPM is maximum, and is used for take off.
Vertical speed indicator reads feet per minute and indicates rate of climb, or descent.
The boost gauge reads in PSI with normal atmospheric pressure at 0. It indicates engine induction, manifold pressure, and indicates how much power the engine is producing.
Coolant temperature is very important in a Spitfire. On the ground, coolant temperature rises very fast, as the radiators need high airflow from flying to be efficient. In a fight, both air to air and air to ground, damage to the coolant system would very quickly lead to engine failure. One hit from a small arms fire from the ground could ruin the day.
The turn and slip indicator does exactly as it says. It indicates a turn and a slip.