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THE HAWKER Hurricane had old fashioned design elements even when introduced in 1935. And, yes, it was technically outshone by the Supermarine Spitfire coming along several years later. But the Hurricane, even with its outdated engineering, accounted for 60 percent of the RAF victories in the Battle of Britain.
Sydney Camm, its chief designer, preferred mechanically fabricated joints to welded structures, and the Hurricane’s fuselage exemplified this with a classic Warren girder design. High-tensile steel tubes joined at each bay; wooden stringers and formers defined the shape, which was then covered with Irish linen and finished in nitrocellulose dope. A plywood structure (known as “the dog kennel”) housed the pilot, instrumentation, windscreen and canopy mechanism.
All this tried and true engineering made for an extremely robust airframe, one capable of withstanding an enemy cannon hit. Field refurbishing could be carried out with hand tools; this, in marked contrast to repairing the complex monocoque Spitfire.
In fact, Hurricanes could be shipped in crated form and assembled near their theaters of wartime activity. Royal Navy Sea Hurricanes were stored efficiently aboard carriers in knocked-down form, to be reassembled when needed.
This splendid illustration is the work of Bill Gunston, from his beautiful book, Classic World War II Aircraft Cutaways, Osprey Aerospace, 1995. Both Amazon and abebooks.com show it and a later reprint at varying prices. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2012