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Spinners last won the day on September 28

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  1. HV268 the first prototype Gloster Gale flies high above the Gloucestershire countryside
  2. Gloster Gale F.Mk.I - No.258 Squadron, Tiger Force, RAF Pacific Air Command, 1945 The Air Ministry Specification F.5/34 (which would eventually lead to the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire) was an ambitious request for a single-seat monoplane interceptor fighter with an enclosed cockpit and retractable main landing gear plus the then heavy armament of at least six and preferably eight .303 inch Browning machine guns with 300 rounds per gun. The response by the Gloster Aircraft Company was never officially named and was simply referred to as the Gloster F.5/34 but it was a modern monoplane of monocoque construction with a Duralumin stressed-skin fuselage, wings and tail and a fabric covered rudder, ailerons and elevators. The armament of eight Browning machine guns was mounted in the wings outside of the propeller disc and power for the F.5/34 was provided by a Bristol Mercury IX nine-cylinder radial engine rated at 840 hp neatly enclosed in a streamlined cowling and turning a three-bladed de Havilland controllable-pitch propellor. However, the design team at Gloster's were deeply involved with the development and production of the Gauntlet and Gladiator and progress was on the F.5/34 was so slow that the first prototype would not take to the air until December 1937 by which time the Hurricane was just entering service with the RAF and the Spitfire was in production too. The second prototype followed quickly enough and whilst the two F.5/34 prototypes displayed good all-round handling characteristics unfortunately no production order was received. The Air Ministry encouraged Gloster to respond to Specification F.18/37 for a fighter which would be able to achieve at least 400 mph at 15,000 feet with an even heavier armament of twelve Browning machine guns with 500 rounds per gun and a service ceiling of 35,000 feet. This was a tough requirement to meet but it was made even harder by the Air Ministry (perhaps already forecasting a shortage of Rolls-Royce Merlin engines) instructing Gloster to use the Bristol Hercules II supercharged radial engine with a projected power output of 1,375 hp that was significantly lower than the 1,760 hp of the Rolls-Royce Vulture 24 cylinder liquid-cooled piston engine planned for the Hawker Tornado. The Gloster design team realised that they were unlikely to meet the speed and armament requirements of Specification F.18/37 on the projected power output of the Hercules II engine so politely declined to tender but continued to refine their F.5/34 design as a private venture. Allocated the project number P.177 the Gloster design team became focused on accommodating the larger Hercules engine whilst retaining it's relatively small airframe and paid particular attention to keeping weight as low as possible. Armament was reduced to just four guns consisting of two fuselage-mounted, synchronized .50 inch AN/M2 Browning machine guns firing through the four-bladed Rotol propeller and two wing-mounted 20mm Hispano II cannon. The wing of the new P.177 was made slightly shorter when compared to the F.5/34 but Gloster were able to use an improved NACA 63-215 airfoil shape with a reduced thickness to chord ratio and also switched to a fully-enclosed inwards retracting main landing gear. Whilst the empty weight had increased considerably the actual power to mass ratio had increased from 0.20 hp/lb to 0.25 hp/lb and the beautifully cowled Hercules engine and longer airframe promised lower drag due to the improved fineness ratio. As part of the Hawker Aircraft Group, Gloster's were again bogged down with production of Hurricanes and Typhoons and were further side-tracked when a large part of the design team were split off to focus on the E.28/39 'Gloster-Whittle' jet and the F.9/40 jet fighter based on a far-sighted brochure submission dating back to August 1940. However, the small P.177 project team continued to make progress and on August 18th,1941 a contract was issued by the Air Ministry for "two P.177 prototypes with Hercules VI radial engines" a move motivated by combat reports from the Middle East and North Africa that clearly showed the performance degradation of the RAF's Hurricanes and Spitfires when fitted with the Vokes air filter. With the move from project to prototype, the Gloster board approved the name of Gloster Gale which fitted in with the naming convention of the parent company Hawker Aircraft Group (e.g. Hurricane, Tornado, Typhoon and Tempest). The prototype Gloster Gale (HV268) was powered by the Hercules VI which delivered 1,650 hp and made it's maiden flight from Hucclecote on May 2nd, 1942 flown by Michael Daunt who reported it to be "a pleasant and manoeuvrable aircraft with no major handling faults". The second prototype (HV269) was much more representative of an operational aircraft with various of items of service equipment including armament and the Type I Mk.III reflector gunsight. During the summer and Autumn of 1942 both prototypes were flown by test pilots from Gloster and RAF pilots and it was clear that the Gale was a thoroughly competent fighter aircraft but did not offer any real advantages over the RAF's frontline fighters in Europe. However, the Air Ministry believed that it could be of use overseas and awarded Gloster's a production contract for 300 Gloster Gale F.Mk.I's with tropical equipment for service with the RAF in the Far East. Entering service with No.258 Squadron based at Alipore, India in December 1943 the squadron began operations in January 1944. Initially flying fighter escort and ground-attack missions as part of the RAF's Third Tactical Air Force the squadron was withdrawn to Ceylon in June 1945 and then moved to Okinawa as part of the RAF's Tiger Force providing airfield defence until the Japanese surrender in the Spring of 1946. Skin Credit: Charles
  3. It must be a very old cat. Don't even try humour.
  4. Murphy's War Part 2: This Time It's Personal An uncowled Duck
  5. Also, there is an animal called Panther (who knew?) and an early jet fighter from the Bethpage Ironworks.
  6. Panavia Panther - MFG1, Deutsche Marine, 2009 Template Credit: Heberth (the template is with the 3D model)
  7. I did know - that's why I used it!! Everytime I put serial numbers on a RAF/RN 'what if' I check in on the UK Serial Numbers site to see where there are gaps and/or oddball one-off's like TS472. Mandatory Screenshot
  8. Sea Hawk templates

    Just the job! A good set of templates.
  9. Hawker Hawk F.Mk.I - No 74 Squadron, RAF Fighter Command, 1952
  10. Hawker Hawk F.Mk.I - No 56 Squadron, RAF Fighter Command, 1949
  11. September 23rd, 1947 - The prototype Hawker P.1040 departs Boscombe Down for Farnborough for further testing

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