1. #1
    Blutarski2004's Avatar Banned
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    For whatever it's worth, here is some data on the growth of fuel tankage of the Spitfire through its various Mks.

    Mk1 -
    85 gal internal capacity in two fuselage tanks, one above the other. Range described as "allowed for take-off, a climb to altitude, 1.65 hours cruising and 15 minutes combat at full bore".

    A later re-design of these internal tanks increased their capacity by 10 gals. It is not clear whether these re-designed tanks were retro-fitted to early production a/c.

    Installation of wing tanks added a total of 36 gals capacity.

    Additional internal fuel tanks were fitted behind the pilot cockpit in later Mks, adding 33 gals.

    Internal tankage capacity for the latest Mks was therefore 85 + 10 +36 + 33 = 164 gals. Although internal fuel capacity had been nearly doubled, range did not increase commensurately. Maximum engine horsepower had also nearly doubled as well, which considerably increased fuel consumption at full throttle setting.

    Photo-recon Spitfires were additionally fitted with leading-edge fuel tanks of 133 gal total capacity.

    - - -

    A variety of external fuel tanks were fitted to the Spitfire over its wartime career -

    30 gal c/l slipper tank

    90 gal c/l tank (used by Malta Spitfires: one-way transit range approx 800 miles)

    170 gal c/l tank

    45 gal streamlined c/l tank

    90 gal streamlined c/l tank

    - - -

    The absolute maximum operating range of a Spitfire occured in the case of the unarmed photo-recon types, which had a range of "well over 2,000 miles and a consumption ... of nine miles per gallon". Fuel stowage would have included 297 gals of internal fuel + 170 gal drop tank (by my arithmetic).
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  2. #2
    Posted in the 'other' thread but worth posting here to show some range figures for actual Spitfire VIIs, VIIIs and Mk XIVs on operational fighter sweeps in 1944.

    Wing Commander Pete Brothers
    Culmhead Wing
    April to October 1944

    "During deep penetration fighter sweeps over France in 1944 my three squadrons would spread out in pairs in a near line abreast formation, thus allowing us to cover a vast swathe of sky. This formation comprised of two squadrons equipped with Spitfire F VIIs and a solitary unit with Mk XIVs. Range was never a great problem.

    I remained at Culmhead with a wing comprising Spit VIIs and XIVs, both which boasted superb range that allowed us to sweep as far east over the continent as the Swiss border.

    We also flew daylight bomber escort missions in our long-range Spits, with three and a half hour sorties becoming quite common place."

    Spitfire - Flying Legend
    John Dibbs and Tony Holmes
    pgs 130 and 132
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  3. #3
    WOLFMondo's Avatar Senior Member
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    What does he know? He was only a Wing Commander. Kurfurst will set him right. Did you know he actually mean the Swiss boarder as in the town of Swiss in Scotland?
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  4. #4
    ploughman's Avatar Senior Member
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    No, the Swiss Boarder was the bloke who lived in the spare room round the back, very nice he was too though he was always sat on the fence.
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  5. #5
    horseback's Avatar Senior Member
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    Are those figures in Imperial gallons or US gallons (there's a significant difference, as anyone who's had an Imperial pint bottle of beer can confirm).

    I have a British reference that states that the Seafire L Mk IIc had a fuel capacity of 85 Imperial gallons (386 liters) plus provisions for an auxiliary tank of 30 Imp gallons (136 liters). What's that in American?

    cheers

    horseback
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  6. #6










    Spitfire V manual :



    Late Spitfire IX and XVI manual :



    Spitfire IX mileage :




    Spitfire XIV mileage :

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  7. #7
    Blutarski2004's Avatar Banned
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    Originally posted by horseback:
    Are those figures in Imperial gallons or US gallons (there's a significant difference, as anyone who's had an Imperial pint bottle of beer can confirm).

    I have a British reference that states that the Seafire L Mk IIc had a fuel capacity of 85 Imperial gallons (386 liters) plus provisions for an auxiliary tank of 30 Imp gallons (136 liters). What's that in American?

    cheers

    horseback

    ..... The information comes from the wartime chief designer of Supermarine, so I would imagine that the quantities must be given in imperial gallon. However, nowhere in the text does it explicitly say so.
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  8. #8
    hop2002's Avatar Senior Member
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    Yes, those are imperial gallons.

    Only the early rear fuselage tanks were 33 gallons. The later ones, fitted to all Spitfire XVIs and many late mark IXs and XIVs, were of up to 75 gallons (less for those aircraft with cut down rear fuselage)

    well over 2,000 miles and a consumption ... of nine miles per gallon"
    Do you have an exact quote? That fits very nicely with the Australian test of the Spitfire VIII with Merlin 66, which achieved 10 mpg at 20,000 ft.

    The reason I ask for the quote is that a certain person maintains the Spitfire couldn't do better than about 6.5 mpg...
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  9. #9
    Blutarski2004's Avatar Banned
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    Originally posted by Kurfurst__:










    Spitfire V manual :



    Late Spitfire IX and XVI manual :



    ..... Thanks for posting all the documents, even one from Mike Williams. Hmmm.

    Nothing in the documents which you posted contradicts what I posted, provided that they are read carefully. The data comes from a paper entitled "The Development of the Spitfire and Seafire", presented to the R.A.S. in 1946 by J Smith, chief designer for Supermarine from 1938 through the war. The tankage was decribed in terms of capacity when full.

    The enlarged internal forward tank, the wing tanks, and the rear internal tanks were all introduced into the production line over the course of the war. Then, of course, there is the question of which drop tank might be fitted. The various combinations of internal tanks and external tanks give the following spectrum of possible tankage capacities over the war career of the Spitfire series:
    - 85, 95, 105, 115, 121, 128, 131, 140, 151, 154, 158, 161, 164, 173, 175, 176, 184, 185, 194, 209, 211, 218, 221, 244, 254, 255, 265, 291, 298, 301, 324, and 344 gals.
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  10. #10
    Xiolablu3's Avatar Senior Member
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    SOme good info here, thanks!

    Some serious range in those Spit IX's with drop tanks, 1350 miles!

    Basically it would be quite obvious that the plane would be unstable when heavily loaded with fuel and drop tanks. You should always burn off the fuel in the drop tanks and rear tank first. Using them for take off and flight to target. P51 was the same when rear tank was full I believe?

    SPitfire VIII , 740 miles on internal tankge only....
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