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Airplanes that got worse in later models?

riggerrob

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Which airplanes got worse in later models?

Did they get over-loaded, etc.

May I nominate the Czech-built Messerschmitt 109s that were sold to Israel immediately after World War 2?

The Avia factory was sub-contracted to build Messerschmitt airplanes during WW2. Immediately post-war, Avia assembled S-99 and S-199 fighters from remaining stock-piles of Messerchmitt 109 parts. When they exhausted the supply of original Daimler-Benz 605 engines, they replaced them with Junkers Jumo 211F engines "robbed" from grounded Heinkel 111 bombers.
Sluggish throttle response and wide-bladed propellers exacerbated the Me-109's already poor handling.
The Czech Air Force flew a bunch of S-99s until the mid-1950s.
Avia sold a bunch more to Israel. The Israeli Air Force only used their S-199s during the 1948 War of Independence. Faulty synchronization gear caused a few Israeli "Messers" (German and Yiddish for 'knife') to shoot off their own propellers! Landing accidents also destroyed many Israeli S-199s.
As soon as they could, Israel replaced their S-199s with Spitfires and Mustangs and French-made jets.

After WW2, the Czechs also assembled a few Messerschmitt 262 jet fighters from surplus parts. The Czech Air Force only flew their 262s for a few years before replacing them with Russian-designed jets.
 

CiTrus90

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The Breda Ba.88 Lince (Lynx).

With a first flight in October 1936, it set speed records on closed circuits of 100km and 1000km in 1937. It had a streamlined shape, was very rugged, had long range and high speed, but once it went into operational service with the addition of the weight of the armament, the aircraft became extremely underpowered.

The 7° Gruppo autonomo caccia terrestre, set to be sent to Libya, had its machines equipped with anti-sand filters that limited the engine output to such an amount that many Bredas were simply unable to take off or, once in flight, could not turn and had to fly in a straight line.
Five months after the start of the war, most Ba.88s had been phased out and stripped of useful equipment, with some scattered around operational airfields as decoys for attacking aircraft and the majority of them sent from the factories straight into dismantlment for the recovery of strategic materials.
 

Grey Havoc

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Bristol Beaufort would seem to be another classic example.
 

nuuumannn

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Bristol Beaufort would seem to be another classic example.
Why's that? In the Beaufort Mk.II at least the replacement of the boat anchors masquerading as engines meant that its performance and reliability improved. The Beaufort gets a bad rap, sometimes not necessarily. There were mechanical issues, like the lack of strengthening in the undercarriage that led to collapses and handling issues, but the RAF got what it wanted out of the machine - it performed the role of land based ship harrasser in the Med well, as well as disabling the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and the cruiser Lutzow in Coastal Command hands. In Australian service the Beaufort proved a useful and worthy attack aircraft and soldiered on against japan until the end of the war, although its single-engine performance was never good, but with the US engines and increased fin size, some of the stability issues the British Beauforts suffered were not present.
 

Archibald

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The Me-109
...
Are you kidding us, Archibald ?

Nope. The 109 basic airframe was designed around, first, the (weak and pretty small, 700 hp) Kestrel and Jumo 210. Once the 109 got the DB-601 the airframe limits started to be felt. The 109E and 109F were still pretty balanced, but the 109G and 109K really busted the airframe. Range was always a major issue and unlike the Spitfire, was never proprely solved.

By contrast the Spit got the "big" Merlin right from the beginning and switching to the Griffon was not too hard. now imagine if the Spitfire had been designed tightly around the Kestrel... oops, Me-109 and, more pertinent... Westland Whirlwind. Superb machine but dead-end, the flying wonder with Merlins was the Mosquito, not a revamped Whirlwind...

More generally "old" LW types like the 109, He-111, Do-17, Me-110, Stukas - because they stayed in service way too long yet the world kept turning. With the LW trying to keep pace with Wallies aircraft with those old airframes, they busted at the seams.

now for something completely different... 737-MAX, the fifth generation of 737 trying to keep pace with the A320 Neo being only the second generation of A320 ?
(runs for cover to try and escape the flame war).
 
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nuuumannn

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The 109E and 109F were still pretty balanced
Yeah, although I'd go further and say that the Emil and Friedrich were the best fighters in the European theatre in late 1940/early 1941. The Gustav certainly offered field modifications, but additions of Beule to the cannon mounts on the nose, canoe fairings under the wings carrying cannon and bulges housing bigger wheels on the wings made it uglier and more draggy, aside from being heavier, which required engine power augmentation in the form of GM1 and MW50... The 'K was certainly a drastic improvement in performance, but you're right Archibald, the Bf 109's zenith as a pure fighter was the Friedrich, despite its weak armament of only three guns.

The 109 basic airframe was designed around, first, a "weak and pretty small) Kestrel and then, around a Jumo 210.
Although the prototype was fitted with a Kestrel, it wasn't designed around it. It received the British engine because the Junkers powerplant was not ready.

What's with the laughing about the Beaufort? The Mk.II was a considerable improvement over the Mk.I because of its engines, so doesn't really qualify being here.
 

yellowaster

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Mosquito NF Mk 38. Apparently heavier and slower than the NF Mk 36 - deemed not fit for purpose
 

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F-16.

The late models are cry-worthy.
 

Dan Fahey

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Which airplanes got worse in later models?

Did they get over-loaded, etc.

May I nominate the Czech-built Messerschmitt 109s that were sold to Israel immediately after World War 2?

The Avia factory was sub-contracted to build Messerschmitt airplanes during WW2. Immediately post-war, Avia assembled S-99 and S-199 fighters from remaining stock-piles of Messerchmitt 109 parts. When they exhausted the supply of original Daimler-Benz 605 engines, they replaced them with Junkers Jumo 211F engines "robbed" from grounded Heinkel 111 bombers.
Sluggish throttle response and wide-bladed propellers exacerbated the Me-109's already poor handling.
The Czech Air Force flew a bunch of S-99s until the mid-1950s.
Avia sold a bunch more to Israel. The Israeli Air Force only used their S-199s during the 1948 War of Independence. Faulty synchronization gear caused a few Israeli "Messers" (German and Yiddish for 'knife') to shoot off their own propellers! Landing accidents also destroyed many Israeli S-199s.
As soon as they could, Israel replaced their S-199s with Spitfires and Mustangs and French-made jets.

After WW2, the Czechs also assembled a few Messerschmitt 262 jet fighters from surplus parts. The Czech Air Force only flew their 262s for a few years before replacing them with Russian-designed jets.
What made the Czech built Me109 have poor handling?
The Merlin Spanish Versions did not seem to have that issue.
Always thought the Me109 was a good handler.
 

riggerrob

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No.
Messerschmitt 109 always had a reputation for requiring more pilot skill than later Allied fighters. Remember that Me-109 was the first of its class, with brand new: retractable gear, motor-kanon, cantilever wings, all-metal construction, enclosed cockpit, etc.

Messerschmitt Me-109 always had a poor reputation for poor ground-handling.
It copied the vertical landing gear legs from the 108, but forgot that the 108 fuselage was much wider .. wide enough for two pilots to sit side-by-side. Me-109 main wheels were so close to together that it lacked roll stability on the ground. All later Me-109 models got splayed main gear legs. Main gear legs were still bolted to fuselage frames, reducing both weight and parts count, but all Me-109s had poor ground handling. More were lost during landing accidents or ground-loops than enemy AAA.
Even the Spitfire's vertical landing gear legs were bolted to a wider centre-section, making it dskittish for carrier landings. but only half as difficult as Me-109. Note that most other WW2 airplanes had much wider main gear tracks and much more docile ground-handling.

Me-109 had a small rudder mounted on a long tail moment arm. That combination gave it marginal directional (yaw) stability in cruise, but made it a better gun platform. German aces (e.g. Eric Hartmann) bragged that they could dance on rudder pedals to spray bullets across their targets.

Post-war Avia S-99 and S-199 also suffered from the wrong engine. Those Junkers 211F engines were built for bombers where slow throttle response was less of an issue. Paddle-bladed propellers exacerbated torque reaction when Israeli pilots slammed throttles. It was a rushed conversion that suffered problems like shooting off its own propeller blades!

A final problem was that few Jewish pilots had flown Me109 before they arrived in Israel and precious little time for familiarization flights. With proper training, Czech Air Force pilots flew Avia S-99 and S-199 well into the 1950s with comparatively few accidents. The Czech Air Force eventually replaced their German-pattern prop planes with Russian-designed jets.

Few modern display pilots have complained about CASA Buchon handling with their RR Merlin engines, so that was a decent conversion.
 
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kaiserd

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While not necessarily getting worse a common aspect that can be often be seen (but which often be obscured via stated ferry ranges etc.) in certain designs is the gradual loss of range as weight goes up and engine power goes up to compensate, often corresponding additional fuel (or fuel efficiency re: the engines - difficult to combine with more power) don’t keep up.
As an example the later US Navy Corsair IIs significantly lost payload/ range versus the initial A-7A.
These later versions pick up incremental or big leaps in many other aspects so not fair to say they are overall “worse” but a common enough issue in aircraft design (and use).
 

Aubi

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The S-99/S-199 thing was an act of necessity. In 1946, the Czechoslovak Air Force had only the equipment it brough with from Britain and Russia. And while the Spitfires were good, there wasn't enough of them to replace the wooden wonders, the Lavochkins La-5FN and La-7 (and Mosquitoes) that started rotting away. There was hovewere a lot of German airplanes in various stages of completion or dis-completion on the Czech airfields and in the factories. Sadly only training and passenger aircraft were built under the German rule, outside few Me 262s. So the army started bringing all the German stuff togeher and refurbishing it. S-99 was at first designated C-10 and was to be used for fighter training. It was basically a Bf 109 G/K hybrid built from all those refurbished aircraft, parts and scraps availlable. Because there wasn't a big chance to acquire new figher planes, C-10s were renamed to fighters, S-99... And then the engine depot in Krásné Břežany blew up. No one really knows why, but German sabotage was suspected and it led to one of the worst massacres in our recent history, when in the nearby Ústí nad Labem hundreds of German civilians were lynched. Sadly, even soldiers participated.
Anyway, without the Daimlers the only powerful engine available was the Jumo. it was as a good match as Catterpillar tracks to a Ferrari, but there wasn't any other option. So the S-199 was born, unwanted, unloved but necessary. It was crap, but it was a crap that we had plenty of, so it became a standard fighter aircraft of the Czechoslovak Air Force. It was called Mezek, which is short for Messerschmitt, but also literally a mule. We sold many of them to the Izraelis, but also all our surviving Spitfires.
The S-92 is another story. As mentioned, there was a tiny factory that produced Me 262 in Southern Bohemia. The Russians took most of the stuff from it, but several near-completed machines were left there, and others were found in Prague and Cheb airfields. The S-92s were never meant to be a front line fighters, it was too few of them (sever one-seaters, three two-seaters) and were used only for familiarization with the jet technology, evaluation and training.
 

Foo Fighter

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From memory the 109 had a tailfin angled slightly off centre to allow for torque from the prop but when the engines in the cjech versions were changed for Jumo, the tailfin was left with its original orientation which affected stability more than a little bit. Something to do with left versus right rotation of the engine.
 

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It was called Mezek, which is short for Messerschmitt, but also literally a mule. We sold many of them to the Izraelis, but also all our surviving Spitfires.
Both Mezeks and Spits did make a big difference in the survival of the fledgling state, which did not have too many friends then. Each counted and is remembered.
 

riggerrob

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F-16.

The late models are cry-worthy.
No idea what you are referring to....
Both F-15 and F-16 were developed when the "Fighter Mafia" dominated USAF dogma. They were optimized for visual dog-fighting. Especially the F-16 was meant to be an agile dog-fighter. The Fighter Mafia were a response to the poor performance of air-to-air missiles during the the Viet Nam War when even the latest versions of AIM-9 Sidewinders struggled to shoot now nimble NVN Migs. The USAF even retro-fitted guns to F-4 Phathoms!
Later on, more avionics were added along with more precise bombs and missiles and the gun-fighting role faded into the background.
Consider that the latest Israeli F-16s have an entirely new dorsal fairing filled with exotic avionics. They hang a bewildering array of smart bombs, missiles and drop tanks under the wings. Nowadays, the Israeli Air Force use their F-16s as bomb-trucks, with F-15s flying top cover. Even after they drop all their ordinance and burn off most of their fuel, they are still heavier than F-16A and cannot turn as tight.
Some Arab F-16s even have conformal fuel tanks on top of wings. F
Fortunately, USAF disappointment with "dumb" iron bombs during VNW encouraged the development of laser and GPS guided bombs that are infinitely more accurate. IOW a few modern smart bombs can hit targets more accurately than thousands of tons of simple iron bombs, so all those fancy bomb-aiming avionics help fewer airplanes actually destroy the target.
In conclusion,modern F-15s and F-16s are worse visual dog-fighters, but better bombers than A models.
 

galgot

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I remember reading an article in Air Enthusiat (i miss this mag...) from a British pilot who flew for Israel in 1948.
Edit, found him : Gordon Levett
Very enjoyable read.
Anyway he had the opportunity to fly the first 3 Heyl HA'Avir fighter types, S-199, Spit MkIX and their first Mustangs.
From memory he had a RAF training , first on fighter (he mentioned he first soloed on a Spit MkI that is display in a museum in England nawadays), then went to transport or bomber I think...
Basically, what he said is that if you forget takeoff and landing, the S-199 was ok, and that he even liked it.
He ranked these 3 how he liked them, once in the air of course , as 1st : the Spit ,for him it was just perfect, it fitted like a glove.
Perfectly balanced, and with just the power required.
2nd : the S-199 , again once airborne, he found a quite well balanced airplane, not as manoeuvrable as the Spit of course , and obviously lacking power, but pleasant to fly (again and again, try not to think about that takeoff and landing...), and Ok for the kind of combat he had there.
Cockpit cramped, but after some time he liked the way you are seated with the feet a bit higher than on the other types.
And 3rd only : the Pony... He found it ... boring. Easy, but not as pleasant to fly as the other two. Not as manoeuvrable. Surely faster, but that's it.
He compared the cockpit as a cadillac interior, huge.

That was a very subjective ranking of course, based on how he liked flying these machines.
Remember he also mentioned that appart from the takeoff and landing problems with the S-199, the big thing was technical failures.
These planes were assembled from Luftwaffes wrecks and surplus pieces. Some pieces had maintenances markings showing use on 3 or 4 previous airframes... And this was a thing with German planes of the time, not specific only to the S-199. Lot of late war "made" 109s, were airframes re-assembled from wrecks , with teams picking up useable (more or less) pieces and sending it back to factories. Late war 109s were as much failure prone as the Mezek .

About the 109 being the first with a motor-cannon. First were the MS-406 and even before that the Dewoitine D.501/510 (so that is long before the 109), these had Hispano motor-cannons that worked.
Messerschmitt motor-cannon installation was unreliable on the 109 up to the E-3 version I think, to a point that the thing wasn't installed.
It's after the fall of France , when they could have their hand on how to make the thing work, that it was finally cleared for use.
 
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TomcatViP

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Plenty of early flying narratives of Spit & 109 missions in this (rather excellent IMOHO) book. Included are the Spit VsSpit dogfights over Palestine that were narrated in the Fana serie mentioned above:
 

kaiserd

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F-16.

The late models are cry-worthy.
No idea what you are referring to....
Both F-15 and F-16 were developed when the "Fighter Mafia" dominated USAF dogma. They were optimized for visual dog-fighting. Especially the F-16 was meant to be an agile dog-fighter. The Fighter Mafia were a response to the poor performance of air-to-air missiles during the the Viet Nam War when even the latest versions of AIM-9 Sidewinders struggled to shoot now nimble NVN Migs. The USAF even retro-fitted guns to F-4 Phathoms!
Later on, more avionics were added along with more precise bombs and missiles and the gun-fighting role faded into the background.
Consider that the latest Israeli F-16s have an entirely new dorsal fairing filled with exotic avionics. They hang a bewildering array of smart bombs, missiles and drop tanks under the wings. Nowadays, the Israeli Air Force use their F-16s as bomb-trucks, with F-15s flying top cover. Even after they drop all their ordinance and burn off most of their fuel, they are still heavier than F-16A and cannot turn as tight.
Some Arab F-16s even have conformal fuel tanks on top of wings. F
Fortunately, USAF disappointment with "dumb" iron bombs during VNW encouraged the development of laser and GPS guided bombs that are infinitely more accurate. IOW a few modern smart bombs can hit targets more accurately than thousands of tons of simple iron bombs, so all those fancy bomb-aiming avionics help fewer airplanes actually destroy the target.
In conclusion,modern F-15s and F-16s are worse visual dog-fighters, but better bombers than A models.
The F-16A (including subsequent updates of that airframe - MLU etc.) were marginal more manoeuvrable (the Cs and onwards had additional fuel and weight closer to their CoG).
But the later F-16s have additional power which at low weight air combat configurations will more than compensate for additional structural weight and give them higher acceleration and climb. And these later F-16s have substantialy better systems and weapons, including close in combat weapons (e.g. helmet mounted sights and the AIM-9X, etc) - so probably in the round the better dogfighters than early F16s with significantly earlier AIM-9 variants. And the later F-16s are significantly better at what most customers want them to do and what the F-16 has overwhelmingly actually done in its combat service - the fighter-bomber and strike role.
A similar story for the F-15.
 

Archibald

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A good case could be make that the F-16 started a little too extreme (superb agility but only one gun and two Sidewinders ? ugh)
After all the basic concept was for a US Mig-21 counterpart, because of course Vietnam Phantoms vs MiG-21s.

It matured with better avionics, Sparrows and AMRAAM, and more and more A2G.

In both case it was not a bad aircraft, otherwise 4500 of them would not have been build.

I'm a little more skeptical about the F-35, mind you. Time will tell if it will prevail by sheer numbers plus data networking with other platforms.

-----------------------

Blackburn Firebrand and Martin Mauler are more pertinent exemples. Essentially failed Skyraiders. Very failed ones. Le fana de l'aviation famously said of the firebrand

"Errare humanum est" but "perseverare diabolicum"
 

Justo Miranda

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Plenty of early flying narratives of Spit & 109 missions in this (rather excellent IMOHO) book. Included are the Spit VsSpit dogfights over Palestine that were narrated in the Fana serie mentioned above:

Some bibliography

-“L´épopée des Spitfire israéliens”, Le Fanatique de l’Aviation Nº508-509, Mars-Avril 2012.

-“Spitfire contre Spitfire, 1948 la Palestine en ébullition”, Roi de chasseurs, le Spitfire, Le Fanatique de l’Aviation Nº126.

-“Greek Interlude”, Air Enthusiast November/December 2001.

-“Spitfires for Israel”, Air Enthusiast May/June 1996.

“Spitfire, Star of Israel”, Ventura Publications 1996.
 

Justo Miranda

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Avia S.199 bibliography
-"les 109 de L'Est" le Fanatique de L'Aviation Nº 166,
-"Mezek israélien" le Fanatique de L'Aviation Nº 548-549.
-"More Mules", Air Enthusiast September/October 1995.
-"Year of the Mule , Air Enthusiast Spring 1995.
-"Mule Musings", Air Enthusiast May/June 1996.
 
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