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Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

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Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby phylo_roadking on 29 Jun 2008 22:26

In the Summer of 1940, the RAF had 24 Miles Master I RR Kestrel-engined advanced trainers re-equiped as "fighters". The second seat was removed along with some of the excessive cockpit glazing, and three .303 Brownings installed in each gull wing - and the subsequent aircraft redesignated the M.24.

The Miles Master I two-seat advanced trainer was slower than a Gladiator...but faster than, say, a Fokker D.XXI, and was notably stable, well behaved, but also very manouverable and predictable. With a higher output motor than the Kestrel's 750 HP it would actually have made a pretty good late 1930s technology monoplane fighter - if better hadn't been available in the shape of the Hurricane and Spitfire...and if Miles had been a volume producer pre-war. The later Master II trainer with 820 hp Bristol Mercury engine gave it slightly better performance to the Gloster Gladiator - despite being over 1,000lbs heavier, empty or gross weight.

That was enough to equip two 12-plane scratch squadrons...but thankfully, along with many other similar emergency schemes that never went beyond the prototype stage, the Master Fighters were never used.

However, although I've got a lot of details on various converted and experimental aircraft being converted BACK to type...I can't turn up ANYTHING on the Master Fighters. Can anyone confirm if they were reconverted into trainers, or remained as armed aircraft, or possibly used as communications aircraft or something?
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Re: Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby Sitzkrieg on 30 Jun 2008 08:59

Hard to say. Even the excellent Putnam book on Miles aircraft has no mention of their subsequent fate, but it stands to reason that they were converted back to trainers.
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Re: Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby Michael Emrys on 30 Jun 2008 09:17

Any chance at all they might have been used as advanced trainers before sending pilots on to OCUs?

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Re: Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby phylo_roadking on 30 Jun 2008 11:43

Michael, that was the Master's job anyway. SK, usually there are indeed great details on what happened to RAF "conversion" types, down to details per serial number, which is what makes NO word of conversion back to trainers an untypical ommission in this case...
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Re: Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby Juha Tompuri on 30 Jun 2008 23:36

phylo_roadking wrote:The Miles Master I two-seat advanced trainer was slower than a Gladiator...but faster than, say, a Fokker D.XXI
At least according to the Finnish tests, Fokker D XXI was faster than the Gladiator.

Regards, Juha
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Re: Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby Markus Becker on 25 Apr 2009 14:28

I used Master fighters in an AH scenario and I´m a bit confused by the info regarding the speed of the various versions.

The first one had a 745hp Kestrel and was slightly slower than a Hurricane I, a later version had the much more powerful Mercury (870hp) but made a mere 260mph. How do a 17% increase in hp and a 35mph drop in speed go together?
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Re: Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby phylo_roadking on 26 Apr 2009 17:54

I used Master fighters in an AH scenario and I´m a bit confused by the info regarding the speed of the various versions.

The first one had a 745hp Kestrel and was slightly slower than a Hurricane I, a later version had the much more powerful Mercury (870hp) but made a mere 260mph. How do a 17% increase in hp and a 35mph drop in speed go together?


Heavier engine? Radial engine affecting the streamlining? Gearing of the prop?

I've since found another source that gives the Kestrel-engined version a speed of only 195mph. So there's your power boost - 195mph up to 260mph Unfortunately I can't check these against Jap Teeuwen's excellent site as it was caught out by the Lycos collapse.

However - where the confusion MIGHT have come from is that the original Master "M.9 Kestrel" prototype of July 1937, powered by the 745 hp (555 kW) Rolls-Royce Kestrel XVI V-12 engine, could reach 295 mph - making it only 20mph slower than a Hurricane I :wink: BUT in production the "M.9 Master I" and Ia aircraft used the lower-powered 715 hp (535 kW) Rolls-Royce Kestrel XXX engine, brining it down to 195mph. With the advent of the "M.19 Master II", with the Bristol Mercury, top speed went back up to 260mph.
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Re: Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby peeved on 26 Apr 2009 19:07

According to "Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918" by Owen Thetford Master I had a top speed of 226 mph at 15 000 ft and Master III with a 825 P&W Wasp Junior 232 mph at 7 200 ft. Thetford doesn't give performance figures for Master II but it stands to reason that a 870 hp Mercury XX would yield a better speed than the P&W. E.g. Finnish Fokker D.XXIs with a 830 hp Mercury performed much better than the ones with the heavier 825 hp Wasp Junior.
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Re: Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby phylo_roadking on 26 Apr 2009 20:09

According to "Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918" by Owen Thetford Master I had a top speed of 226 mph at 15 000 ft


I went back and checked; the 195mph figure is indeed at sea level - rising to 229 at 14,500ft for the M.24 Master fighter.
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Re: Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby Markus Becker on 27 Apr 2009 13:51

Thanks guys.

I guess altitude is the answer I was looking for. The 870hp Master makes 260 mph at just 5,000feet. At highter altitudes the air is thinner->less drag->more speed. Obviously the Master´s engine and supercharger were optimized for low altitudes.

I guess my "alternate" Master Fighter would have been possible. :)
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Re: Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby phylo_roadking on 27 Apr 2009 18:16

Markus - one thing you'd need to find out (there should be anecdotal accounts of training around) is how manouverable a Master really was :wink: It MAY have replicated the behaviour of RAF fighter types at that lower altitude and speed...but at full power and altitude it may have been a heavy brute!!! Looking at that VERY wide-cord wing makes me wonder...
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Re: Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby Markus Becker on 27 Apr 2009 19:35

phylo_roadking wrote:Markus - one thing you'd need to find out (there should be anecdotal accounts of training around) is how manouverable a Master really was :wink: It MAY have replicated the behaviour of RAF fighter types at that lower altitude and speed...but at full power and altitude it may have been a heavy brute!!! Looking at that VERY wide-cord wing makes me wonder...


Thanks for the info. Heavy brute means "not so manuoverable"? That would be tolerable.
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Re: Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby phylo_roadking on 27 Apr 2009 20:06

That would be tolerable


Not necessarily in a fighter that was already giving away a speed advantage to an Me109 or 110... 8O
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Re: Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby Markus Becker on 27 Apr 2009 23:08

phylo_roadking wrote:
That would be tolerable


Not necessarily in a fighter that was already giving away a speed advantage to an Me109 or 110...


You are too eurocentric. ;)
I used the modified Masters (and Gladiators) as a Ki-27 killers in the epic Malaya Campaign.
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Re: Miles M.24 Master Fighter...

Postby phylo_roadking on 27 Apr 2009 23:51

What you'd really need to know is how the Master behaved up at the top end of its performance envelope. If it was an overly-stable aircraft - not an unattractive quality in a trainer :wink: - or if it actually had the inbuilt degree of "controlled" instability that made aircraft like the Spitfire and Zero such good dogfighters. As a trainer it could be the reverse of what Eric brown found out for the Me110...overly-stable at cruising speed, and only truly manouverable right up in the last 20mph of its performance envelope 8O

It might match something like a Ki-27 for straight-line speed...but perhaps with its controls set in lead at that speed :lol:

There should be plenty of pilot's memoirs and recollections about to clear that up.
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