Author Topic: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration  (Read 10807 times)

Online jcf

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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2014, 03:27:36 AM »
The 37mm cannon is a 20mm and the only real heavy gun nose concept was for a pair of 40mm.
The bulged nose shown was a redesign for the four 20mm with larger ammo supply.
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And we, till now unmatched in ill,
Must leave successors more corrupted still."
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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #31 on: July 26, 2014, 06:12:07 AM »
Random idea:  Whirlwind in this scheme:

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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #32 on: July 26, 2014, 09:23:57 PM »
I can't help wondering if the Pegasus, if developed to its full potential (I remember reading somewhere that the RR design team thought they just about had the bugs ironed out), would have been a good engine for a series of smaller, light-weight fighters & bombers for primary use in SEAC?

Or if a small, short-stroke multi-row radial may have made the Whirlwind more suitable for SEAC operations?
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #33 on: July 27, 2014, 03:02:18 AM »
It depends.  What would you believe are the critical features for aero engines in SEAC operations?
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Online jcf

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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #34 on: July 27, 2014, 03:59:35 AM »
If you mean the Peregrine (Pegasus was a Bristol radial) it had it's bugs worked out, which one
would hope being as it was the ultimate development of the F/Kestrel which had been around
since the 1920s. It also used the early experience with the Merlin design.

The Peregrine had smaller displacement, and thus lower power, but really wasn't much smaller
than the single-stage series Merlins, indeed it was actually longer, and only slightly narrower
and lower in height. The lower output canceled any advantage from the lower weight.

The problem is that it was only required for a single aircraft, the Whirlwind, and keeping it
in production would impact production capacity for the Merlin, which was in high demand
for multiple types.

Going lightweight against the Japanese would be playing their game, and they had already
proven they were the masters in that realm. The heavier aircraft used by the Allies were to
the Allies advantage once the tactics were developed to counter the Japanese machines.
Flying faster, hitting harder and being able to engage or break-off at will were far more
important than being able to turn with a Ki 43.
"Evil our grandsires were, our fathers worse;
And we, till now unmatched in ill,
Must leave successors more corrupted still."
Horace, 65BC - 8BC. Marsh translation.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2014, 09:34:33 PM »
@ jcf

Yes, I did mean Peregrine - bird of prey, flying horse, what's the difference? ???

The Rolls Royce Pegasus is a turbofan used to power the Harrier family of aircraft.

Maybe I'm way off but just because it was old doesn't mean that there wasn't still development potential in the design, just maybe not as much as the Merlin. Maybe by finding a way to lighten it some more to give it better power to weight.

You also seem to be falling into the trap of "it worked this way, so this is the only way it will work" mentality.

Yes, the Japanese were masters at light-weight, agile air combat but the small, light aircraft pitted against them at the beginning of the war were underpowered for what weight they had. If similarly light designs had been available with more powerful engines Allied pilots may well have become the masters of light-weight, agile air combat & the whole history of the Pacific air war may have been totally different.

@ Greg

No idea, really, although ease of maintenance comes to mind - which is why I suggested a radial option.

I was kind of thinking loosely along the lines of the last paragraph in my answer to jcf re: the possible scenario.
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Online jcf

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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #36 on: July 28, 2014, 12:53:27 AM »
@ Old Wombat, don't presume to tell me what my mentality is, you don't know me.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 01:47:54 AM by jcf »
"Evil our grandsires were, our fathers worse;
And we, till now unmatched in ill,
Must leave successors more corrupted still."
Horace, 65BC - 8BC. Marsh translation.

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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #37 on: July 28, 2014, 02:24:43 AM »
Yes, the Japanese were masters at light-weight, agile air combat but the small, light aircraft pitted against them at the beginning of the war were underpowered for what weight they had. If similarly light designs had been available with more powerful engines Allied pilots may well have become the masters of light-weight, agile air combat & the whole history of the Pacific air war may have been totally different.

True, history would be different which does make for an interesting scenario.  Though, to inject a does of reality into here (sorry - ignore if need be), one does not win by adopting the tactics and strategies of ones opponents but by using one's own - in other words, you play to your own strengths, not that of the opponent.  In this case, around the time we are considering, the Japanese were arguably the world masters at dogfighting in the traditional sense and they hard the equipment to match.  To try to go up against this was fraught with danger.

Anyway, enough of that.  Let's get back to our 'verse where all this reality doesn't confine us.  A slightly different scenario whereby the Whirlwind is kept in service with its Peregrine engines, would be to have it given a second seat and a radar.  That way it could operate as a night fighter.

Alternatively - and this is more fun - what about we turn the Whirlwind into an un-armed racer.  Maybe the war is somehow avoided and the aircraft is developed as a followup contender to the de Havilland DH.88 series?
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Offline perttime

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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #38 on: July 28, 2014, 02:49:47 AM »
Second crew member and radar for the Whirlwind?
The Whirlwind was pretty small for a twin.
First, you'd have to find a place to put the additional items. Radar probably shouldn't go in the nose, because the concentrated firepower was one of its main assets.
Then you'd have to cope with increased landing speeds, in an aircraft that landed pretty hot as it was. More weight = higher stall speed.

Racer? Sounds like fun!
(I think there's a civilian GB going on...)
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 02:52:08 AM by perttime »

Online jcf

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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #39 on: July 28, 2014, 04:45:57 AM »
Dump the Peregrines and give it a single two-stage Merlin, then a developed version with
a Griffon.

"Evil our grandsires were, our fathers worse;
And we, till now unmatched in ill,
Must leave successors more corrupted still."
Horace, 65BC - 8BC. Marsh translation.

Offline kitnut617

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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #40 on: July 28, 2014, 06:37:38 AM »
Alternatively - and this is more fun - what about we turn the Whirlwind into an un-armed racer.  Maybe the war is somehow avoided and the aircraft is developed as a followup contender to the de Havilland DH.88 series?

IIRC, the Whirlwind that Westland used as a company hack, was entered in a couple of races -- just need to find where I read that  ---

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #41 on: July 28, 2014, 09:12:19 AM »
Second crew member and radar for the Whirlwind?
The Whirlwind was pretty small for a twin.
First, you'd have to find a place to put the additional items. Radar probably shouldn't go in the nose, because the concentrated firepower was one of its main assets.
Then you'd have to cope with increased landing speeds, in an aircraft that landed pretty hot as it was. More weight = higher stall speed.

Racer? Sounds like fun!
(I think there's a civilian GB going on...)

The biggest problem would be where do you put the radar operator?  The fuselage is pretty small and there isn't much room in it behind the pilot.  It's where the existing radio and oxygen tanks are.   The radar set would have be put somewhere but the aerials would be on the wings not nose.

Essentially you'd have to redesign the aircraft to accommodate the radar operator, the radar set, batteries, etc.  You'd end up with something the size of the Wellkin, without the wingspan.   

The Wellkin was a bit of a problem child for Westland's.  It's major problem was that it's cruising speed was close to it's critical Mach number and so any time it tried to dive or increase it's speed at altitude, it'd suffer compressibility problems.   Shortening the wing would have helped somewhat but not much, reducing it's operating altitude would also help but as it had been designed from the outset as a high-altitude fighter, that would have been rather pointless.   

Using the Wellkin fuselage on wings (although larger) of the type used on the Whirlwind and keeping it a low-medium night fighter would have worked.  It would have overcome most of the criticisms and produced most of the improvements people here are suggesting - larger fuselage, second crewman, radar, Merlin engines, etc.   It wouldn't be a Whirlwind though, and it would have been 2-3 years later into service, IMHO.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 01:36:43 PM by Rickshaw »

Offline Flyer

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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #42 on: July 28, 2014, 11:48:08 AM »
Alternatively - and this is more fun - what about we turn the Whirlwind into an un-armed racer.  Maybe the war is somehow avoided and the aircraft is developed as a followup contender to the de Havilland DH.88 series?
That is a great idea :D

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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #43 on: July 28, 2014, 06:01:17 PM »
I wonder...would a torpedo be too much?
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Offline kitnut617

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Re: Westland Whirlwind Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #44 on: July 28, 2014, 09:59:49 PM »
Second crew member and radar for the Whirlwind?
The Whirlwind was pretty small for a twin.
First, you'd have to find a place to put the additional items. Radar probably shouldn't go in the nose, because the concentrated firepower was one of its main assets.
Then you'd have to cope with increased landing speeds, in an aircraft that landed pretty hot as it was. More weight = higher stall speed.

Racer? Sounds like fun!
(I think there's a civilian GB going on...)

The biggest problem would be where do you put the radar operator?  The fuselage is pretty small and there isn't much room in it behind the pilot.  It's where the existing radio and oxygen tanks are.   The radar set would have be put somewhere but the aerials would be on the wings not nose.

Essentially you'd have to redesign the aircraft to accommodate the radar operator, the radar set, batteries, etc.  You'd end up with something the size of the Wellkin, without the wingspan.   

The Wellkin was a bit of a problem child for Westland's.  It's major problem was that it's cruising speed was close to it's critical Mach number and so any time it tried to dive or increase it's speed at altitude, it'd suffer compressibility problems.   Shortening the wing would have helped somewhat but not much, reducing it's operating altitude would also help but as it had been designed from the outset as a high-altitude fighter, that would have been rather pointless.   

Using the Wellkin fuselage on wings (although larger) of the type used on the Whirlwind and keeping it a low-medium night fighter would have worked.  It would have overcome most of the criticisms and produced most of the improvements people here are suggesting - larger fuselage, second crewman, radar, Merlin engines, etc.   It wouldn't be a Whirlwind though, and it would have been 2-3 years later into service, IMHO.

Before the Welkin got it's name, it was referred to as the 'Whirlwind Development Fighter'.  It's wing was it's downfall but Westland had a solution for it, which was to increase the chord length by 20%.  And initially it wasn't a high altitude fighter, the parameters got changed so it became that.