Spitfire, the legend, the facts and its opponent (3 of 5)
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Uploaded on Jan 13, 2008
Paul Day examines a BF109G, the most numerous of all the Messerschmitts. He finds the cockpit incredible small with very little workingspace - about 25% less than in a Spitfire. The very heavy and cramped canopy might have been designed with "the Kaisers" helmet in mind. On the plus-side he is very satisfied with the elevator trim wheel to the left, and the throttle grip. The undercarriage control are well positioned nicely to hand just in front of the trim wheel - the best cockpit feature - coparative to the Spitfire. The panel is very fine, and he especially likes the artificial horizon which can be locked during heavy maneouvers. Its a much more businesslike instrument than that of the Spitfires. The engine gauges and the fuel gauge are well positioned and easy to read. The bridge of the cannon, which fires through the spinner, takes up an enormous space of the cockpit. Other than that he returns to his first impression of a very small and cramped cockpit and the good details cannot change the end verdict of the cockpit: "It's Terrible!"
Tony Bianchi examines the "Gustav" from the outside. He is impressed by the well built airframe. He calls the plane a second monocoque aircraft, that is much esier to manufacture than the Spitfire.
With the cowling opened he looks at some beautiful engineering and very good craftmanship as well, when he examines the Daimler Benz engine. Here all service points are very easy to access - in contrast to the Merlin.
Nevertheless the BF109 was not an easy aircraft to fly. Its landingcharateristic was malicious. In the first two years of war more than fifteen hundred student pilots were killed in landing and take off accidents. Testpilot Reg Halland points out, that the geometry of the undercarriage and the to-in of the wheels was to blame.
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