Spitfire Pilot Report

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PILOTS REPORT

March 22nd 2007. Watts Bridge Queensland Australia.

Pilot: Richard Lea. Weight 87 kgs plus 8kg parachute. Campbell Aero Classics Helmet worn. 80 litres fuel.

Weather: fine, 4/8 Cumulus. Base 3000, tops 5500. Wind 12 knots along dry (dusty) runway.

Start/Taxi/Cockpit Overview

Cockpit was noticeably larger with more head and shoulder room.View through front quarter panels much improved in front of wing and along fuselage for taxi. The higher seating position also gives a more natural lean from the waist to view along the left side of fuselage when taxiing. Brakes very good, distinct improvement in feel and braking.

Take Off

Aircraft acceleration rapid to 65 knots, tail lifted easily with no tendancy to swing. There was no need to pull to get airbourne and aircraft flown off at around 65 knots. Climb rate 2500 ft/min at 85 knots with 4300 rpm and prop full fine.

Cruise

Aircraft accelerated at 7500 ft with fully course pitch to 168 knots. All temps and pressures fine.

Stalling (Conducted with calibrated Instruments)

Aircraft stalled clean and with flaps and U/C down.

Nose dropped at 42 knots in landing configuration and 48 knots clean.

8 stalls completed all straight ahead. All easily recovered, max height loss 100-150 ft Good feel in all control axis throughout these stalls. We have found with further testing that the stalls are neutral but wing drops can be induced if controls not central. Even with a slight wing drop it is fully recoverable almost immediately.

Spins (Conducted with calibrated instruments)

Spins conducted, clean aircraft, one and a half turns each.  Entry, full rear stick, throttle closed, full in spin rudder, ailerons central. A/cs nose dropped after 1/2 rotation. Spin slightly faster to right and tending to increase rate when starting recovery. Yaw stopped instantly when opposite rudder applied. Aircraft normal safe recovery, speed builds quickly after roll and yaw stops.

Aeros

The Mk26b has excellent directional stability and steep 90 deg turns at 3G with full throttle at 135 knots were flown coinsecutively left and right. Barrel rolls, wing overs and loops were conducted using a maximum of 4G and 160 knots at entry. The Mk26b was delightful to fly, with excellent visibility all round.  The larger cockpit developement of the Mk26b does not detract from the earlier Mks feeling of 'oneness' with the aircraft.The bigger wider bubble canopy gives ample headroom for the taller pilots up to 6ft 4inches with hard helmet fitted. The Mk26b is as agile as its smaller sibling and gives the pilot a much more comfortable environment to fly in.

Early flights are showing the Mk26b to be as docile and as stable in the landing phase as the Mk26 with the improved visibility outwards and downwards making the 3 point roundout and landing even easier.

Circuit and Landing

Mk26 speeds flown, full flap used. Approach, 70 knots, 65knots over threshold. Very good visibility over nose on finals with excellent height assessment to point of round out. Aircraft has no tendancy to balloon up at roundout and settles easily in 3 point attitude. Distinct  improvement in vision compared to smaller Mk26.

Summing up

The Mk26b is a welcome improvement in space and grace to the Supermarine stable. The bigger aircraft has lost none of its agility or excitement in handling. Indeed it has demonstrated a more directionally stable tendancy with a more positive action with little overswing when centreing the ball in hard manouvers. The larger cockpit now easily accomodates two large adults making long distant flights even more comfortable and the improvement in visibility makes the Mk26b even easier to land and taxi.

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