The beauty of the Spitfire lies not only in its ellipsoidal wings. As wonderfully illustrated by our featured image, it is amplified by the sinuous curves of the wing fillets. In a touch of brilliance these mould the wings gently into the wing roots and onto the fuselage. Those wide, sweeping fillets saved huge amounts of interference drag at these critical intersections.
It would be remiss of us not to capture some of this in our design. Simply having a cigar-like structure does not sufficiently evoke the true magic of this aircraft. We are therefore proud to unveil the full shape of our design. If you were wondering how the fuselage was going to be supported, postulate no more. The fuselage sits in a cradle which captures some of the beauty of the wing roots and fillets.
The design accurately follows the original wing roots and fillets, providing a walkway access from the wing into the cockpit, just as if you were climbing into the real aircraft.
Not only does the design provide space for replicating the ailerons with full force feedback installed in the wing roots, it functions as a removable base. This allows the fuselage to be moved through doorways and set down in the cradle before fitment of the fillets.
As pointed out in our previous article, aileron forces in the Spitfire are extremely high, with only half the normal motion available at speeds over 180mph. This, together with the very light elevator forces provided a unique piloting experience which we wish to replicate.
It is intended to leave the rear of the simulator cockpit open so as to allow visitors to gain a unique view into the interior.
The support box will form a solid base for the simulator. It will also serve as the mounting point for a motion simulator should that be employed. Alternatively, placing on a castored pallet will provide mobility where required, for example on museum floors.
A very worthwhile read on how the elegant wing and empennage designs for the Spitfire were developed can be found here. I was previously unaware of the important role played by the Canadian, Beverley Strahan Shenstone, in its formulation and design. Truly, a remarkable man and one of a most talented team to be working with Mitchell on this icon at Supermarine.