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Author Topic: What would be the external differences between a Mk.VII and a Mk.VIII ?  (Read 4509 times)
Saeta
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Posts: 3


« on: August 26, 2012, 09:24:19 PM »

Hello

Would anybody be able to tell me what external differences would one find between a Spitfire Mk.VII and a Mk.VIII, if they both had the same wing ?
I understood that the Mk.VII was designed for hight altitude, and appart from the improved airframe with respect to the preceeding Marks, it also had the larger, pointed wingstips, retractible rear wheel and presurized cockpit.

Later in the war, when it became obvious that the Germans posed no major high-altitude threat, it was decided to replace the pointed wingtip by the standard one so Mk.VII units could operate more confortably at lower altitudes.

If the standard Mk.VIII is normally described as a Mk.VII deprived of its high-altitude features ( no presurized cockpit and no larger wings ), would there be any other major EXTERNAL differences ( ie. visually identifiable from the outside ) to tell one from the other at a glance ? If a Mk.VII had its pointed wingtips replaced by the extandard ones, would one be able to tell both Marks apart just by looking at them ? ( I assume that the fact that one had presurized cockpit  and the other not is not distinguishable from the outside ).

Best regards !
Saeta
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NZTyphoon
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Posts: 68


« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2012, 04:33:12 AM »

Hi Saeta, Okay major differences between VII and VIII:

Mk VII: Had the intake and associated fairing for the cockpit compressor below the starboard exhaust stubs. On the port side no cockpit entry door.

The 'Lobelle' cockpit canopy had framing at the rear - this was a rubber sealing strip - and thicker slide rails. The rear vision panel behind the canopy was deeper:



(both drawings from Malcolm Laird  & Wojtek Matusiak: Classic Warbirds No 11 - Merlin PR Spitfires in Detail. Ventura Publications 2009.)

Although the drawings relate to the P.R Mk X they are also applicable to the Mk VII. The photo below shows the air intake and the different canopy, while the deeper rear glazing can just be made out. EN474, an early production Mk VII, was first flown in March 1943, was sent to the USA and tested by NACA at Langley - this Spitfire is still on display at NASM.  http://airandspace.si.edu/collections/artifact.cfm?id=A19600331000 Also note the smaller rudder used on some early  Mk VIIs





These are the main external differences between the Mk VII and Mk VIII.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 04:58:35 AM by NZTyphoon » Logged
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