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Thread: Replacing a Spitfire engine.

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    Default Replacing a Spitfire engine.

    I am trying to determine an approximation of how long it would have taken wartime RAF ground crew to remove an existing Merlin engine from a Spitfire and fit a new one, assuming all materials required were readily available and on site. Any help or guidance will be most welcome.

    Kind Regards
    Roy Wilcock
    Aircrew Remembered

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    Roy,
    Cannot give any actual time for this operation, and assuming that a replacement engine (as apposed to a spare power plant, which was minus many standard items, such as exhaust stubs, magnetos and the like, which I imagine would take longer) is available, that it might take anything from 5 to 8 hours, maybe more, maybe less. I have read in some ORB's of a small maintenance crew changing the engine of, say, a Kittyhawk in the Western desert (particularly if they thought they had broken a record!) in so many hours, so it is conceivable that some scribe recorded the time required for a Spitfire somewhere. I have seen a car engine changed by 1 or 2 mechanics in perhaps half a day or less, although there is often a lot of mucking about if a certain item manages to get lost, or something does not seem to quite fit for some reason! An engine such as a Merlin would be roughly equivalent to a car engine, although having more spark plugs and quite a few more controls to link up and adjust, as well as a somewhat larger and more elaborate cooling system. So just a wild guess at this stage! Also a crew more experienced in changing such engines would have an edge over an inexperienced one. Probably the most lengthy part would be ensuring ALL the main bolts were tightened up to the correct torque, and all controls and connections tightened up to spec, and every control adjusted to correct limits. Then would follow a test run (and looking out for oil, or fuel leaks, strange noises, etc), then the test flight. Only then (and after any more minor rectifications) would it be certified fit for service.
    David D

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    Very many thanks David and apologies for my tardy reply, I had given this topic up as a lost cause. Your input is much appreciated and noted.

    Kind Regards
    Roy
    Aircrew Remembered

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