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  #1  
Old 30th June 2018, 18:20
PMoz99 PMoz99 is online now
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Questions for Hurricane I production experts

I'm trying to find out a bit more detail about Hurricane Production. The books I have don't say ..... I guess the basic question is - were all fabric wing Hurricanes built with a 2-bladed prop, and all metal wing versions built with a 3-bladed prop?

The detailed questions are -

In Block 1, up to L1976 were built with fabric wings. Was the entire block to L2146 built with 2 bladed Watts props? If not, at what serial did it change?
In Block 2 (N serials ranges from N2318-N2729) were they all built with metal wings? If not, can you tell me which were fabric? (The info I have says they were all built with 3 bladed props, so I would have thought metal wings.....)
In Block 1/G (ranges P2535-3264) serials up to P2681 were built with 2 bladed props. Were these all built with metal wings? Again, if not, can you provide serial details?
In Blocks 1/C (ranges P5170-5209) and 2/G (ranges R4074-4232) some were built with 2-, some with 3-bladed props. Can anyone tell me the serials for each? Were all Block 1/C built with metal wings? Serials?
In Block 4 (ranges V7200-7862), the first 25 were built with fabric wings. Did they have 2-bladed or 3-bladed props? Serials?

I'm not sure how difficult it is to get this info, so apologies if it's simply too much. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Peter
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Old 30th June 2018, 23:25
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Questions for Hurricane I production experts

I have seen a serial quoted for the first metal winged aircraft, but I don't recall more than that it was in the Nxxxx serial range. There was no direct link between the fitting of metal wings and the 3-bladed props.

I find some of your statements doubtful. In particular, to my knowledge no aircraft after early Nxxxx serials were built with the fabric wings. (There may have to be some exception for Canadian-built aircraft, but I've no information there.) I would very much doubt that any aircraft after that range was built with the 2-blade prop either. The 2-position variable pitch DH prop (Hamilton Licence) was available prewar so could this be confusing matters - it was 3-blade.

Around December 1939 - somewhere in the early Pxxxx range or late Nxxxx? - Rotol constant speed 3-blade props were fitted to Hurricanes in preference to Spitfires, this could be cause for another confusion. The spinners were all the wider version intended for the Spitfire. In July all DH variable-pitch propellers were modified to constant speed versions.

Yet another possibility for confusion is that some of the Vxxxx block were fitted with the more shapely Rotol spinner intended for Hurricane production and seen on all later production. But not fabric wings.
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Old 1st July 2018, 04:28
PMoz99 PMoz99 is online now
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Re: Questions for Hurricane I production experts

Thanks Graham.
The info I have has come mainly from this site (Production Summary page) -

http://www.k5083.mistral.co.uk/main2.htm

To me, it certainly looks well researched. If you look at it, what do you think?
Peter
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Old 1st July 2018, 13:28
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Questions for Hurricane I production experts

Well, from a quick look (and without comparing with any other Hurricane production source) I'd say that it answers your question about the last aircraft with fabric covered wings as N2422 in the 2nd batch, but also has 170 metal wings from L1977 - serial approximate but 430 on from start.

Looking at the delivery dates suggest very little overlap, so there's something very odd about these later 2-bladers, but it is certainly possible that the change-over wasn't quite immediate.

The suggestion that Hawkers then brought 25 sets of fabric wings back into production six months later is highly suspect. We can imagine some disruption in the delivery of metal wings, but where would the fabric wings come from? Old MU stores, taken from earlier aircraft? In that case why not raid those same stores for spare metal wings?

As for the propellers, a similar story. It is possible that Glosters would initially start with a batch of Watts props in 1939, but having switched to vp or cs props there's be no reversal. What isn't mentioned for Gloster Mk.Is is the Rotol prop, yet the factory was just up the road. I suspect that the mention of Watts or DH props for the second Gloster batch is an error for Rotol or DH.

Rotol props are seen on Gloster airframes in the Battle of Britain. It would be geographically sensible for Gloster to have priority in delivery of Rotols, and Hawkers for DH, but that may well be an unsafe assumption!

Note that any mention of DH props after June 1940 should say constant speed not variable pitch (which in this context implies only two positions.) All Mk.II and later production had Rotols.
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Old 1st July 2018, 15:41
PMoz99 PMoz99 is online now
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Re: Questions for Hurricane I production experts

Graham, thanks for the detailed response. I'll digest it slowly.
I must admit, I wondered why factories would be building old spec aircraft once modifications had been introduced, but thought it could just be that's what was still had on hand and used it up first. Still didn't make a lot of sense, though.
Cheers
Peter
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Old 1st July 2018, 18:32
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Questions for Hurricane I production experts

On one site there's be some degree of overlap, but the introduction of the new wing into production would have been matched by a run down of the old - a wing is not the kind of piece that could be knocked off by the score in a brief time to have built up a large stock. A cautious management might well have planned for some continued production of the old wing to allow for delays in the arrival of the new - it is less embarrassing to have a few spare wings no longer needed than a row of unfinished aircraft awaiting wings. But 80 seems excessive. At this stage any spare fabric-covered wings could well have been legitimately sent straight to MUs as spares.

Once you switch to two sites, there is an inevitable delay between one site and the other. Had the suggestion been that the first Gloster aircraft rolled off the line with the early wing, that would have been understandable. But apparently not.

However, this last batch of aircraft with fabric-covered wings were the first deliveries from a third site, Hawkers at Langley, so (inventing here) just maybe the old wing jigs were despatched to Langley as a quick way to get production rolling there. I don't think I believe it, partly because I don't know whether Langley actually built all the airframes from scratch or was just an assembly line, but mainly because that still seems rather late.
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Old 15th July 2018, 01:52
Larry Larry is offline
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Re: Questions for Hurricane I production experts

Peter,

I have an interest in early Hurricanes too, having written a fairly detailed history of L1592 now in the Science Museum, and I'm 99% certain that no fabric wing Hurricanes were built anywhere other than at Brooklands.

As for its two bladed prop that was changed in service for a DH Prop circa June 1940, so are you after production output only
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Old 15th July 2018, 15:58
PMoz99 PMoz99 is online now
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Re: Questions for Hurricane I production experts

Hello Larry. A nice story; sadly it didn't reveal itself in time...
Yes, I am after production information. I know many were later updated with metal wings and 3-bladed props, but how they came off the production line is something I'd like to try to pin down. Then I can try to trace when updates may have been made.
I fear the permutations of factory variances coupled with field maintenance and updates will be impossible to track.
Cheers
Peter
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