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West Wings Hawker Tempest Mk V Wingleader Kit Number: WW504
Wing Span: 20.6"
Scale: 1:24

[IMAGE The Hawker Tempest was a British fighter aircraft primarily used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the Second World War. The Tempest was an improved derivative of the Hawker Typhoon, and one of the most powerful fighter aircraft used during the war. Although the Typhoon was basically a good design, Camm and his design team were disappointed with the wing which proved to be too thick in its cross section; this created problems with the airflow and inhibited the performance of the aircraft, especially at higher altitudes. The Typhoon's wing, using a NACA 4 digit series wing section, had a maximum thickness to chord ratio of 19.5% (root) to 12% (tip). In March 1940, engineers were assigned to investigate the new low drag laminar flow wing developed by NACA in the United States, which had been used in the new North American P-51 Mustang. A laminar flow wing adopted for the Tempest series had a maximum thickness to chord ratio of 14.5% at the root, tapering to 10% at the tip. The maximum thickness of the Tempest wing was set further back at 37.5% of the chord versus 30% for the Typhoon's wing. The wingspan was originally greater than that of the Typhoon at 43 ft (13.1 m), but the wingtips were later "clipped" and the wing became shorter; 41 ft (12.5 m) versus 41 ft 7 in (12.7 m). The wing planform was changed to an elliptical shape to accommodate the 800 rounds of ammunition for the four 20 mm (.79 in) Hispano cannons, which were moved back further into the wing. The new elliptical wing had greater area than the Typhoon's.[nb 1] However, the new wing design sacrificed the leading edge fuel tanks of the Typhoon; to make up for this loss in capacity, Hawker engineers added a new 21 in (53 cm) fuel bay in front of the

[IMAGE The redesigned main undercarriage legs were longer and had a wider track (16 ft/5 m) to improve stability at the high landing speed of 110 mph (180 km/h), and to allow tip clearance for a new de Havilland four-blade, 14 ft (4 m) diameter propeller. The main undercarriage units were designed to incorporate a system of trunnions which shortened the legs as they retracted. The main wheels also needed new thin tyres in order to fit within the wing. Finally, the retractable tailwheel was fully enclosed by small doors. The Tempest I HM599. When first flown it had the "car-door" canopy and small tail unit also used on the Tempest V prototype HM595. Camm and the Hawker design team placed a high priority on making their aircraft easily accessible to both air and ground crews; to this end the forward fuselage and cockpit areas of the earlier Hurricane and the Tempest and Typhoon families were covered by large removable panels providing access to as many components as possible, including flight controls and engine accessories. Both upper wingroots incorporated panels of non-slip coating. For the pilot a retractable foot stirrup under the starboard root trailing edge was linked to a pair of handholds which were covered by spring-loaded flaps. Through a system of linkages, when the canopy was open the stirrup was lowered and the flaps opened, providing easy access to the cockpit. As the canopy was closed the stirrup was raised into the fuselage and the flaps snapped shut.

[IMAGE Test pilots found the Tempest a great improvement over the Typhoon in performance; in February 1943 the pilots from the A&AEE at Boscombe Down reported that they were impressed by "a manoeuverable and pleasant aircraft to fly with no major handling faults". The Air Ministry had already ordered 400 Tempests in August but production of the new Sabre IV engine ran into protracted problems and delays. The second prototype, the "Tempest Mark I" with the Sabre IV did not fly until 24 February 1943. This prototype also had at first the older Typhoon cockpit structure and vertical tailplane. Elimination of the "chin" radiator did much to improve performance and the Tempest Mark I was the fastest aircraft Hawker had built to that time, attaining a speed of 466 mph (750 km/h).[9] Continual problems with the Sabre IV meant that only one Mark I (HM599) was built; consequently Hawker went into production with the Sabre II engined "Tempest V". The first rolled off the production line on 21 June 1943.[10] The first Tempest Vs delivered had the long-barrelled 20 mm (.79 in) Hispano Mk II cannon. Later production aircraft used the short-barrelled 20 mm (.79 in) Hispano Mk V cannon, eliminating the protruding barrels—though these had not been as prominent as on the Typhoon. The Mk V was a much different Tempest to the Mk I with many improvements over preceding variants. The Mk Vs received the initially problem-plagued Napier Sabre II series engines developing in excess of 2,000 hp (1,491 kW) with their H-24 cylinder configuration. Compared with the Mk I prototype, the wing root oil coolers were moved to a location directly behind the main "chin" radiator. The first production Tempest V, JN729 was first flown by test pilot Bill Humble on 21 June 1943.[11] Several of the early production aircraft underwent extensive service trials at Boscombe Down including clearances to be fitted with external stores, including 500 lb (227 kg) and 1,000 lb (454 kg) bombs and 3 in (76.2 mm) RP-3 rockets. Examination of captured Fw 190s brought about improvements in the windscreen/ side windows; by careful design and positioning of the frame structure blind spots were reduced to an absolute minimum. World War II, when the gyro-gunsight was introduced in Tempest IIs.

[IMAGE Externally the Tempest V bore a strong resemblance to the Typhoon: the longer nose, thinner wings and larger tail unit, with a gracefully curved dorsal fin, enhanced the looks of the fighter, and were the most noticeable differences. SN345 with experimental 47 mm class P guns. Two Tempest Vs, EJ518 and NV768, were fitted with Napier Sabre Vs and experimented with several different Napier made annular radiators, with which they resembled Tempest IIs. This configuration proved to generate less drag than the standard "chin" radiator, contributing to an improvement in the maximum speed of some 11 to 14 mph. NV768 was later fitted with a ducted spinner, similar to that fitted to the Fw 190 V1.[9] The decision to drop the Hawker Tornado allowed Sydney Camm and his design team to transfer the alternative engine proposals for the Tornado to the more advanced Typhoon II (later to be renamed "Tempest"). As a result the Tempest was designed from the outset to use the Bristol Centaurus 18 cylinder radial engine as an alternative to the liquid cooled engines which were also proposed.

[IMAGE The radial engine installation owed much to examinations of a captured Focke-Wulf Fw 190, and was unprecedentedly clean and effective. One adopted feature was the use of individual exhaust stubs, laid out in a row down either side of the fuselage, rather than the front collector and large single exhaust used by the Centaurus powered Tornado. In spite of the promise of a more reliable powerplant than the Sabre, there were frustrating problems, including overheating, unreliable and leaking exhausts, insufficient crankshaft lubrication and propeller reduction gear seizures. There were also problems with vibration, but they were fixed by replacing the original "rigid" eight-point engine mounts with six-point rubber-packed shock mounts. In a further attempt to alleviate engine vibration, the four blade propeller was replaced with a five blade unit; eventually, a finely balanced four bladed unit was settled on. The Centaurus was generally regarded as superior to the Sabre, particularly in terms of reliability, and the engine and Tempest airframe proved an excellent match. The combination looked so promising that a contract for 500 of the type was placed as far back as September 1942, but Gloster was overloaded with production of the Typhoon and development of the Gloster Meteor, and the company could not handle the additional load. Various engineering refinements that had gone into the Tempest II were incorporated into the last Tempest variant, the "Tempest VI", which was fitted with a Napier Sabre V engine with 2,340 hp (1,700 kW). The more powerful Sabre V required a bigger radiator which displaced the oil cooler and carburettor air intake from the radiator's centre. Air for the carburettor was drawn through intakes on the leading edge of the inner wings, with the oil cooler being fitted behind the radiator. Most Tempest VIs were tropicalised with an air filter fitted in a fairing on the lower

[IMAGE In September 1944 Tempest units, based at forward airfields in England, supported Operation Market Garden, the Airborne attempt to seize a bridgehead over the Rhine. On 21 September 1944, as the V1 threat had receded, the Tempest squadrons were redeployed to the 2nd TAF, effectively trading places with the Mustang III squadrons of 122 Wing, which became part of the ADGB units deployed on bomber escort duties. 122 Wing now consisted of 3 Sqn., 56 Sqn., 80 Sqn., 274 Sqn. (to March 1945), and 486(NZ)Sqn. From 1 October 1944 122 Wing was based at B.80 Volkel Air Base near Uden, in the Netherlands. In February 1945 33 and 222 Sqns. of 135 Wing converted from Spitfire Mk IXs and, in March, were joined by 274 Sqn. 135 Wing was based at B.77 Gilze-Rijen airfield in Holland. The Tempest's primary role was to carry out "armed reconnaissance" operations deep behind enemy front lines. The Tempest was particularly well suited to the role because of its high speed at low to medium altitudes, its long range when equipped with two 45 gallon drop tanks, the good firepower of the four 20mm cannon and the good pilot visibility.[27] Armed reconnaissance missions were usually flown by two sections (eight aircraft), flying in Finger-four formations, which would cross the front-lines at altitudes of 7,000 to 8,000 feet: once the Tempests reached their allocated target area the lead section dropped to 4,000 feet or lower to search for targets to strafe, while the other section flew cover 1,000 feet higher and down-sun. After the first section had carried out several attacks it would swap places with the second section and the attacks would continue until ammunition had been exhausted, after which the Tempests would return to base at 8,000 feet.[28] Because the most profitable targets were usually some 250 miles from base the Tempests usually carried two 45 gallon drop tanks which were turned on soon after take-off. Although there were fears that the empty tanks would explode if hit by flak the threat never eventuated and, because they could be difficult to jettison, they were routinely carried throughout an operation with little effect on performance, reducing maximum speed by 5 to 10 mph and range by 2%.[28][29] In December 1944 52 German fighters were downed and 89 trains destroyed, for the loss of 20 Tempests. Following the Luftwaffe's Operation Bodenplatte of 1 January 1945, 122 Wing bore the brunt of low to medium altitude fighter operations for the Second Tactical Air Force. Spitfire XIVs of 125 and 126 Wings often provided medium to high altitude cover for the Tempests. The Wing came under intense pressure, losing 47 pilots in January.

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