Skip to main content

As a type, the Hawker Hurricane was probably the most important aircraft ever designed by the incomparable Sir Sidney Camm. Setting aside the supreme elegance of the Fury, and the technical tour de force of the P.1127 / Kestrel / Harrier line, the argument is simple. Without the Hurricane, the RAF does not win the Battle of Britain. Hitler dominates Europe, and the course of world history is changed.

The Hurricane (originally called the 'Fury Monoplane') was the RAF's first 300mph fighter, but was a half-generation older than it's stablemate, the superb Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire.  Built with proven fabric-covered steel-tube and wooden space-frame technology, rather than the stressed-skin aluminium alloys of the Spitfire, it was available for service with the RAF squadrons by 1938 (111 Sqn at Northolt were the first Hurricane unit). There were 32 Hurricane squadrons during the Battle of Britain and only 19 equipped with the Spitfire.

Here we can see the Historic Aircraft Company's Hurricane XIIa, a Canadian Car & Foundry produced example being hangared following a display at the historic Duxford Airfield of the Imperial War Museum. I was very fortunate this day, in that I was in the company of my good friend David Lee, former Deputy Director of IWM Duxford; that's rather like having John Arlott available to tell you about first-class cricket (or Joe Torre tell you about baseball)! The Mk XIIa, G-HURI, '5771' was built in 1942, and is powered by a U.S-built Packard Merlin 29 of 1,300hp, (Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlins during WW2) giving it a top speed of around 340mph. The aircraft is finished in the RAF's 'Temperate Land Scheme' from the early war years of Dark Earth/Dark Green on the upper surfaces and Sky on the undersurfaces. As you can see from the red-doped linen patches on the leading edge of the wings, this mark of Hurricane could carry 12 x .303 Browning machine guns, although, when used as a fighter bomber (2 x 250lbs, or 2 x 500lbs bombs) the outer pair of Brownings were usually removed, due to weight considerations. This aircraft was 'struck off charge' in 1947 by the RCAF, and was bought by a group of enthusiasts. Eventually, '5711' came into the possession of the Historic Aircraft Company, and a long-term restoration brought it back to close to its original state. It is shown in the colours of No. 126 Squadron (as a Hurricane IIb), which flew over Malta, during that island's long fight to resist invasion during WW2. It was the first Hurricane to revisit Malta in modern times, and also flew in an air display in Russia, to mark the service of the Hurricane there (both with No. 151 Wing Royal Air Force, and with the V-VS).

The Historic Aircraft Company have announced that this aircraft is now for sale. It is being advertised by Bonhams, the famous auction house, as being included in their December, 2012 sale at Brooklands, a site for ever associated with aviation. According to Tim Schofield, of Bonhams, it is expected to make somewhere in the region of 1.4 to 1.7 million Sterling. HAC say that they need the funds to support projects such as their Hawker Fury. I quite understand the need to support new aircraft restorations, but it is sad to see old favourites depart (the Hurricane  is likely to be sold abroad).

Hangar No 3 at Duxford - where G-HURI is headed to - is a very interesting object itself. Built in 1918, during the First World War, when Duxford was an RFC training base, the hangar is of the 'Belfast Truss' type, with two bays, and wooden concertina doors at either end. As well as being of note in architectural terms, the hangar admits a great deal more light than modern structures.

http://peoplesmosquito.org.uk

http://shortfinal.wordpress.com

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Hurricane XIIa (9+ / 0-)

    I know a former Battle of Britain pilot who flew one of these.  Makes one more than a little humble.

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:08:12 PM PST

    •  Thanks very much for this, OS! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe, PeterHug

      Great action shots, showing the deep radiator and wide-track undercarriage to advantage.

      'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

      by shortfinals on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:50:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I always disliked taildraggers with narrow gear. (6+ / 0-)

        Way too prone to ground loop.  I was standing right next to the runway once when a fellow ground looped a Sopwith Pup.  Dug one wingtip in and spun it around.  I never saw anyone shoot straight up out of a cockpit before!  He came out of there like somebody stuck a rocket up his behind.  He ran about twenty yards before he looked back.  Most sheepish look I ever saw on a grown man's face.

        The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

        by Otteray Scribe on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:04:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Narrow-track undercarriage.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Otteray Scribe, PeterHug

          ....I never liked them, either! Hawkers seem to have got it right, with the Hurricane (along with the Typhoon and Tempest) having superb, sturdy, wide-track undercarriages. This helped the Hurricane have a successful career as a night-fighter and intruder.

          'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

          by shortfinals on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:00:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The P-47 has great wide gear. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shortfinals, PeterHug, billmosby

            But sitting in the cockpit, the nose looks like trying to look over the boiler of a steam locomotive.  There is a P-47 that lives at an airport less than an hour drive from my house. It is a great beast of an airplane.

            The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

            by Otteray Scribe on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:05:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  All Republic aircraft have that wide stance (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shortfinals, Otteray Scribe, PeterHug

              It's almost their trademark. Look at P-47s, F-84s, F-105s, and the A-10—they look the same at the mains. You don't have to see any other notable feature of the aircraft than the main gear, and you know it's by Republic.

            •  I read that when the P-47 first (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shortfinals, Otteray Scribe

              showed up in Britain, it was jokingly suggested that a P-47 pilot could take evasive action during combat by dodging around inside the apparently capacious fuselage.

              I remember being in the parking area of an airshow in Idaho Falls about 25 years ago and being allowed to videotape a P-47 razorback as it taxied in to its parking space. I wasn't dangerously close to it, but close enough to hear every tap and clank the engine made coasting down to a stop, and the plane is quite enormous from 25 or 30 feet away.

              Crowd control became more stringent in succeeding years, I should add.

              Moderation in most things.

              by billmosby on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 10:25:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Quite true! (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Otteray Scribe, billmosby

                The Thunderbolt was a fairly rare machine in RAF service, and other than some test examples was never used in the U.K. The Operational Training Unit for the P-47 was in Egypt (No 73 OTU), and the RAF Squadrons which used it were in SEAC. The 'razorback' was called the Mk.I, and later, bubble-canopied aircraft, were called the Mk II

                'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

                by shortfinals on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:39:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  There are two types of tail dragger pilots (4+ / 0-)

          Those who have ground looped one and those who are going to.

          Incidentally, the difference in landing a tail dragger vs. a tricycle gear is that once the mains touch in a tricycle gear, your landing is completed. When the mains touch in a tail dragger, your landing has just begun.

  •  Here is a very brief clip of the "front office" (5+ / 0-)

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:10:03 PM PST

  •  And excellent book on flying Hurricanes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Otteray Scribe, ER Doc, shortfinals

    during the Battle of Britain, and all the geo-politics of that time is (Group Captain) Peter Townsend's "Duel of Eagles".  

    Although, interestingly, he always wrote about the Hurricanes being an eight gun fighter, the first I believe, not a twelve as described above.  

    "Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army" Edward Everett 1852

    by Alan Arizona on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:43:04 PM PST

    •  I thought the early model gun config was (3+ / 0-)

      x 6 .303's, although I know there were many subsequent varients. The earliest though had one big flaw -- the prop was only a twin blade as opposed to the one shown here. This lead to it underperforming during the first encounters with the Luftwaffe in France ( poor tactics and formations certainly didn't help.)

       Nonetheless the Hurri, certainly redeemed itself.

       Slightly off topic, but a number of crated RAF planes have been found in storage in Burma. They are, I believe Spits, but nonetheless, very cool, and we shall likely see a few more in the air in a few years.

      it tastes like burning...

      by eastvan on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:14:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mark I Hurricanes WERE equipped with.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe

      ....eight .303 Brownings ONLY, an attempt to fit 2 x 20mm under thw wings of selected wing-damaged Hurricanes was not really successful. Armament changes began with the higher-power Mk II. The IIa had 8 x .303, the IIb had 12 x .303 (but only 10 x .303 when 2 x 250lb or 2 x 500lb bombs were carried - the so-called 'Hurribomber') and 4 x 20mm Hispano cannon on the IIc.

      Other armament fits came with later versions, and other operators (V-VS, Belgian Air Force, etc) had different armament, also.

      'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

      by shortfinals on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:06:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have a copy of Duel of Eagles... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe

      ... and Peter Townsend was a fine fighter pilot. It was unfortunate that he was wounded in the foot at a critical time.

      'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

      by shortfinals on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:19:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Another early book on the Hurricane.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe

      ...is the classic by Paul Gallico, it is simply called 'The Hurricane Story'

      'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

      by shortfinals on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 09:10:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Speaking of "Duel of Eagles" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shortfinals, Alan Arizona

    I have an autographed and numbered print of Robert Taylor's painting with that title.  It is signed by Taylor, and also signed by Adolph Galland and Douglas Bader.  

    http://www.directart.co.uk/...

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:59:34 PM PST

    •  I respected Galland...I'm sorry to say that I ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe

      ...did NOT afford Bader the same respect (it was a personal thing, as our paths crossed on a couple of ocassions)

      'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

      by shortfinals on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:21:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I had heard he was kind of prickly. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shortfinals

        The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

        by Otteray Scribe on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:25:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A lot of former (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shortfinals, Otteray Scribe

          RAF types have a similarly negative view of him.  and his time in Colditz didn't apparently endear him to his fellow prisoners either

          Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

          by ceebs on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:43:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  In my job, I met him a couple of times... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Otteray Scribe

            ...that was approximately twice as much as I would have prefered!

            The 'title' of the NICEST ace I ever met is a close run thing between John Cunningham (a great expert on the Beaufighter at night and test pilot on the Comet) and Neville Duke (ace of the Western Desert & Italy on Tomahawks and Kittyhawks, later test pilot and holder of the World Speed Record in a Hunter)

            Both of these were gentlemen, charming, and a delight to talk to!

            'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

            by shortfinals on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 12:05:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I have had the honor of riding in a Hurricane (4+ / 0-)

    I'm guessing it was a IIc.

    Ok, it was a couple of taxi runs to check out the new prop I had helped to assemble and mount. But I got to listen to that sweet, sweet, Merlin from the front seat. That's by far, the best day I EVER had at the Rockford, IL airport. Even though the airplane wasn't yet airworthy, I got to sit inside that gorgeous beast while my master mechanic friend forced himself to keep the wheels on the runway during the higher-speed runs.

    I was a visitor to that hangar because a friend had been working on getting his glider rating. The glider club had been busy recovering  and refurbishing the glider in that hangar. I was present during the weekend that the new prop blades for the Hurricane arrived. Those blades were 9 feet long. That's a 19 foot diameter prop! Mounting one of those blades took 6 men with steady nerves and a whole lot of patience.

    Later that week, we showed up at the right moment. The prop had been through an initial static balance procedure and they were ready to start the first dynamic shakedown test. My friend graciously suggested that I might enjoy riding along. Maybe he noticed that I was drooling. I don't remember climbing into the airplane. Really, I don't. I think I floated up there.

    That day was followed a few weeks later by one of the worst days for the Hawker Hurricane and other airplanes in and near that hangar.

    Some crazy idiot rich guy torched the hangar when the investors refused to sell it to him.

    The fire was so intense that the only identifiable pieces were the steel landing gear components. Everything else, including the aluminum/magnesium structures had reached the flash point and burned completely. Even that shiny mass of raw power wrapped in a tangle of brass tubing that sounded so very, very sweet that special day.

    The glider work had ended a few days earlier and it had been flown back to the club's field. Another restored antique had been moved to a different hangar for some avionics work. But the glider club's tow plane was hangared a few doors away and was destroyed.

    My friend got his glider rating and moved back to his home town. We visited him a few times over the years. Sadly, he passed away a few years ago.

    I lost track of the news and I don't know if the arsonist was ever caught. I sure hope so. That Hurricane was one of the last ones made, iirc.

    "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

    by GrumpyOldGeek on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:39:42 PM PST

  •  Thanks again for another great diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shortfinals

    I have never seen a Hurricane in the fabric, not even in a museum if I remember correctly. Perhaps some day...

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 10:31:07 PM PST

  •  There was always one plane that was the workhorse (4+ / 0-)

    and never got the publicity of its more glamorous sibling.

    Hurricane to the Spitfire
    B-24 to the B-17
    P-47 to the P-51
    F-84 to the F-86

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 01:43:43 AM PST

    •  That is a very good point... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billmosby, Otteray Scribe

      ...and you know that the pilots of the 'workhorse' are always passionate about THEIR aircraft!

      'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

      by shortfinals on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:42:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A-10 to the F-16 (3+ / 0-)

      At least among the fighter mafia post-Gulf War I.  It's bad when they have to manufacture a narrative for the media that any decent analyst can shred in a second.  Why would anyone think that merely noting the number of losses suffered by a particular plane type without taking into account the number of sorties that plane type actually flew would pass muster?  That's what they tried to justify the F-16 ground attack version's superiority over the A-10.  Those in the know rapidly destroyed the narrative.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:53:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site