The Supermarine Spitfire is one of the truly legendary aircraft, not just of World War II, but of all time. A brilliant design, the basic Spitfire wing and fuselage were able to be refined and improved over and over again into many different configurations during the course of World War II, and each excelled in its own right.
The Spitfire was designed by R. J. Mitchell, an aeronautical engineer of stellar talent who had previously designed such aircraft as the Supermarine S6B, which won the Schneider Trophy in 1931. Borrowing from the developments of others, including the low-wing, monocoque design which came from the United States, Mitchell crafted a superb basic design which stands to this day as one of the greatest piston fighters in aviation history. Mitchell envisioned a light, maneuverable craft with low drag, elliptical wings, and a broad performance envelope. The result was the Spitfire, a capable, lethal, yet forgiving aircraft that ultimately proved more than equal to anything the Germans could throw at it, including the vaunted Focke-Wulf 190.
The Spitfire had a number of design characteristics which set it apart from other contemporary fighter aircraft. The Merlin engine, the elliptical wing, the well-harmonized controls, and the versatile wing platform all worked together to create a package that was perhaps unmatched in terms of its immediate effectiveness and its potential to be developed further. Unlike the Japanese Zero, which was obsolete by 1943, the Spitfire was just coming to its prime. Chief among the features that set the Spit apart from other aircraft was its wing, which served multiple purposes. The elliptical planform and relatively broad root chord allowed a thinner airfoil section, reducing drag while preserving lift, which led to a very low wing loading. This increased top speed, preserved a low stalling speed, increased the service ceiling, and provided excellent low-speed agility. But the broad wing chord also allowed the convenient fitting of formidable armament such as multiple 20mm cannon and heavy machine guns.
The Spitfire last saw combat in 1948 during the Arab-Israeli war, where Spitfires from both sides were pitted against one another. But the honor which will always distinguish this singular aircraft is its superb service during the Battle of Britain, where it — along with the Hawker Hurricane — helped to fend off German designs for invasion of Great Britain. For that, it will always be remembered.
What is the philosophy behind Accu-Sim?
Pilots will tell you that no two aircraft are the same. Even taking the same aircraft up from the same airport to the same location will result in a different experience. For example, you may notice one day your engine is running a bit hotter than usual and you might just open your cowl flaps a bit more and be on your way, or maybe this is a sign of something more serious developing under the hood. Regardless, you expect these things to occur in a simulation just as they do in life. This is Accu-Sim, where no two flights are ever the same.
Realism does not mean having a difficult time with your flying. While Accu-Sim is created by pilots, it is built for everyone. This means everything from having a professional crew there to help you manage the systems, to an intuitive layout, or just the ability to turn the system on or off with a single switch. However, if Accu-Sim is enabled and the needles are in the red, there will be consequences. It is no longer just an aircraft, it’s a simulation.
Actions Lead to Consequences
Your A2A Simulations Spitfire is a complete aircraft with full system modeling. However, flying an aircraft as large and complex as the A2A Spitfire requires constant attention to the systems. The infinite changing conditions around you and your aircraft have impact on these systems. As systems operate both inside and outside their limitations, they behave differently. For example, the temperature of the air that enters your carburetor has a direct impact on the power your engine can produce. Pushing an engine too hard may produce just slight damage that you, as a pilot, may see as it just not running quite as good as it was on a previous flight. You may run an engine so hot, that it catches fire. However, it may not catch fire; it may just quit, or may not run smoothly. This is Accu-Sim – it’s both the realism of all of these systems working in harmony, and all the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, unpredictability of it all. The end result is when flying in an Accu-Sim powered aircraft, it just feels real enough that you can almost smell the avgas.
Your Aircraft Talks
We have gone to great lengths to bring the internal physics of the airframe, engine, and systems to life. Now, when the engine coughs, you can hear it and see a puff of smoke. If you push the engine too hard, you can also hear signs that this is happening. Just like an actual pilot, you will get to know the sounds of your aircraft, from the tires scrubbing on landing to the stresses of the airframe to the canopy that is cracked opened.
Be Prepared – Stay Out of Trouble
The key to successfully operating your Spitfire, or any high performance aircraft for that matter, is to stay ahead of the curve and on top of things. Aircraft are not like automobiles, in the sense that weight plays a key role in the creation of every component. So, almost every system on your aircraft is created to be just strong enough to give you, the pilot, enough margin of error to operate safely, but these margins are smaller than those you find in an automobile. So, piloting an aircraft requires both precision and respect of the machine you are managing.
It is important that you always keep an eye on your oil pressure and engine temperature gauges. On cold engine starts, the oil is thick and until it reaches a proper operating temperature, this thick oil results in much higher than normal oil temperatures. In extreme cold, once the engine is started, watch that oil pressure gauge and idle the engine as low as possible, keeping the oil pressure under 120psi.
The oil and coolant temperature gauges are critical throughout your flight. Idling too long on the pavement will overheat this Spitfire because it’s cooling radiator is inadequate. Plan to be off the ground in under ten minutes. Don’t let your engine exceed 100 degrees Celsius before your takeoff roll.
Once airborne, you will want to avoid steep climbs, especially in hot weather, to keep good airflow to your radiator. You will also want to keep your radiator opened at all times during flight, adjusting it to maintain temperatures around 100 degrees if possible, never more than 120 degrees. High engine power increases both water and oil temperatures, but oil is also heated up quite a bit by engine friction (RPM). So if you are running hot oil temperatures, you may wish to also decrease your engine RPM.