Those Magnificent Men 5 – Supermarine Spitfire/Seafire

It’s time I posted another in my ‘Those Magnificent Men’ series.

I was looking at the blog of Simon Bowler today, where he had posted a rather nice photo of a Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXb.  This reminded me, that I hadn’t posted a Spitfire picture image here, so I had a look in the archives.  I now realise why.  It is simply because I don’t have any to post.  Still, having got this far, I thought that I might as well post some of a Supermarine Seafire, spotted at RNAS Yeovilton Airday in 2009.  This aircraft is a Seafire Mk XVII and although the appearance is very similar to a Spitfire, it is heavily modified for shipborne operations.  I think it is fair to say that it was not as successful in this role as the Spitfire was in the land based role.  It’s still a beautiful sight though.

There are many better images of this aircraft to be seen online.  These are the best that I had available.

Earlier images in my ‘Those Magnificent Men’ series can be found by using the ‘search’ facility.

Those Magnificent Men 5 – Thank goodness for the BERP tip.

Thank goodness for the BERP rotor blade tip on this Merlin Mk 3.  The extra bit of chord at the tip was just enough to obscure the evening sun, and prevent lens flare in this photo taken at the Merryfield Open Evening in June 2010.

Merlin Mk3

A close up of the blade tip can be seen  in an earlier post here, together with a link to a little about the BERP programme.

Sea King Sunset

I was fiddling around last night, trying (not very effectively) to take portraits with flash lighting on Ham Hill, when I had a few seconds notice of this photo as I heard the helicopter.  I knew that I had to try to grab a shot as it crossed the sunset.  Sadly though, I had no time, or my brain didn’t work fast enough, to think about shutter speed for the shot, and being in portrait mode at the time, I had the aperture wide open.  All I managed was to expose for the sky to get the silhouette that I wanted.  The result is that the shutter speed was much too high, so there is no blurring of the rotors. normally essential for helicopter shots.  The shutter speed should have been 1/125 sec or less for a Sea King and in fact it was 1/4000 sec.

Because the Sea King is in the distance, I might just have got away with it.

Sea King Sunset

Those Magnificent Men 3 – Fast Run

This shot of the Hawker Siddeley Sea Vixen was taken at Yeovilton Air Day in 2009.  The weather that day was pretty poor and the flying display was severely curtailed.  The Sea Vixen did manage to display, and this shot is of a Fast Run, evident due to the condensation cloud starting to appear around the wing and fuselage.

Fast Run

This one really takes me back as it was one of the first aircraft that I can remember seeing fly at supersonic speeds when I was a boy.  The Sea Vixen was originally the de Havilland DH110, until de Havilland became part of the Hawker Siddeley group.

Sadly, at the Farnborough Airshow in 1952, the prototype DH110 had been demonstrating its ability to break the Sound Barrier, when it disintegrated, with parts of the aircraft crashing into the spectator crowd.  31 people died, including the crew of 2.  A design fault was established, and after redesign and development, the aircraft eventually entered service with the Royal Navy as a carrier borne, all weather fighter.    It saw service with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm from 1959 until 1972.

After that crash, there was a major overhaul of the rules for airshow display flying, aimed at keeping spectators safe.

Much more detail about this aircraft can be found using Wikipedia.

The previous post in my ‘Those Magnificent Men’ series can be found here.

Those Magnificent Men 2 – Shall We Dance?

Back from a short break, I thought I would continue the ‘Those Magnificent Men’ series.  This time with a couple of shots of the Royal Navy ‘Black Cats’ Lynx display team showing their flying skills at Yeovilton Air Day in 2009.  It’s easy to pick holes in the quality of the photos, but not with the quality of the flying. Continue reading

Those Magnificent Men 1

It’s the airshow season, but for a variety of reasons, I haven’t been to one so far this year.  Since I was a boy, I have always been completely captivated by aircraft.  My Dad used to take me to Farnborough Airshow back in the 1950s, aeromodelling was my main hobby as a youngster and I ended up working in the industry for 44 years.  I have, therefore, retained my interest, though perhaps not with quite the enthusiasm that I had when I was younger.  It’s not quite the same when it is work! Continue reading