ba97
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Merlin Engine Refit

Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:58 am

In many threads people refer to the RR Merlin as the greatest engine of its time. If it was a step above others, this got me thinking, was there any plan/idea of refitting planes with it if its capability was so good. For example, was the Lancaster a much better aircraft due to the Merlin? Would there have been benefit or capability to put them on a B17 or B24? I understand the redesign of air frames for single engine planes would not make it possible in cases but what about those with engines on wings.?
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Stealthz
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RE: Merlin Engine Refit

Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:47 pm

I do not have access to it at the moment but I have seen at least one picture of a B-17 with Merlin engines.
Having said that I am not sure they were, could have been Allisons, also do not recall if it was an "official" development exercise or something done at some farflung remote location by "bush mechanics"
If I ever find it again I will post it.

Cheers
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ebj1248650
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RE: Merlin Engine Refit

Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:27 pm

Quoting StealthZ (Reply 1):
I do not have access to it at the moment but I have seen at least one picture of a B-17 with Merlin engines.
Having said that I am not sure they were, could have been Allisons, also do not recall if it was an "official" development exercise or something done at some farflung remote location by "bush mechanics"
If I ever find it again I will post it.

Cheers

You might be thinking about the XB-38, an Allison engined B-17 that was built and test flown. As far as I can remember, there never was a B-17 fitted with Merlins.
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ptrjong
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RE: Merlin Engine Refit

Tue Jul 31, 2007 12:11 am

Quoting Ba97 (Thread starter):
was there any plan/idea of refitting planes with it if its capability was so good

Yep, the P-51 Mustang.

Peter Smile
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Stealthz
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RE: Merlin Engine Refit

Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:33 am

Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 2):
You might be thinking about the XB-38, an Allison engined B-17 that was built and test flown. As far as I can remember, there never was a B-17 fitted with Merlins.

You are most likely correct, after posting reply #1 I did some research and discovered a Canadian concept for a Merlin powered B-17(with twin tails!) but it appears to have existed only in concept & model form and is not the aircraft I recall.

Cheers

Chris
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MrChips
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RE: Merlin Engine Refit

Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:25 am

Quoting Ba97 (Thread starter):
If it was a step above others, this got me thinking, was there any plan/idea of refitting planes with it if its capability was so good.

Look no further than the Canadair C-4 North Star. What Canadair did was redesign the Douglas DC-4 to fit Merlins in lieu of the DC-4's Pratt and Whitney R-2000 radials. Although the Merlins greatly increased performance, the aircraft was very unpopular due to the unbelievable amount of cabin noise. It was so bad, in fact, that the sole C-5 variant of the North Star had Pratt & Whitney R2800 radial engines fitted instead.

North Star C-4, in service with BOAC as the Argonaut:


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Photo © Ralf Manteufel



North Star C-5, for comparison:


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Photo © Ian MacFarlane

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SEPilot
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RE: Merlin Engine Refit

Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:06 pm

All engines are a compromise of various factors. The Merlin was an outstanding engine for a fighter aircraft, but that does not mean it would have been as great for other applications. Certainly it would not have been suitable for transport aircraft; I believe its TBO was about 500 hours. It offered great power to weight ratio, great high-altitude performance, and being watercooled offered a low-drag profile. What its fuel consumption was in comparison to radial engines was I don't know; radial engines were capable of being operated lean of peak, which few inline engines were. It was probably pretty good, however; the Mustang certainly had range. One thing can be said with certainty; it beat the pants off the Allison, which was what the US had to offer. It was challenged by the Mercedes engine in the ME-109, however; if the Germans had not lost we might be looking at that one as the greatest engine. The Mercedes was fuel-injected, which allowed it to make a sudden dive that the Merlin could not match, as the fuel in the carburetor would cause it to lose power.
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ebj1248650
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RE: Merlin Engine Refit

Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:58 am

Quoting StealthZ (Reply 4):
You are most likely correct, after posting reply #1 I did some research and discovered a Canadian concept for a Merlin powered B-17(with twin tails!) but it appears to have existed only in concept & model form and is not the aircraft I recall.

Cheers

Chris

Didn't know about that one. Interesting. Have to wonder why they considered twin tails, unless the higher power from the engines required them to maintain directional stability. Still, the ol' B-17 had a pretty good sized vertical stab.
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