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Daniel Cox

Rotol Equipment for Spitfire Mk VII, VIII, and IX plus (X, XI & XVI) Aircraft

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Rotol Equipment for Spitfire Mk VII, VIII and IX plus (X, XI & XVI) Aircraft

11813939525_1e2da589dd_o.jpg

Pictured above as photographed by Royal Air Force (RAF), Official Photographer, Flying Officer (F/O) L H Baker is an unidentified 241 Squadron (Sqn), RAF Merlin 63 powered Spitfire FIX (probably MH653, RZ-U*), being serviced by Aircraftman (AC1) Jim Birkett of B Flight and Leading Aircraftman (LAC) Wally Passmore of Maintenance Flight at Canne, Vesuvius, Italy during 27 January 1944. It Appears to be fitted with an R.3/4F5/4 type propeller featuring Hydulignum blades with Rotoloid coverings and an Armoured sheath (secured by screws and rivets) with a 4CM/4 Rotol type spinner and GRF/4A governor unit.

The following information drawn mostly from the 1950 "Publication No 504, Series 01, Repair & Service Manual, Rotol Equipment for Spitfire Mk VII, VIII & IX" details the various types of propellers and spinners that were fitted to Spitfire Mk VII, VIII, IX & XVI aircraft.

Of particular interest to the aviation artist, modeller and or kit maker is a list that describes various propeller and spinner assemblies with their respective aircraft and engine combinations. Information on paint finishes and identification markings are also revealed, as is more importantly the use of both the Rotol Limited and Constant Speed Airscrews (CSA) Limited spinners. The before mentioned spinner types account for previously observed differences such as length between some surviving Merlin 60 series family powered Spitfire spinners.

Please note that all of the text in green as shown below is quoted verbatim from the above mentioned Rotol Limited Repair & Service Manual.

Rotol Equipment List

Publication No 504

Series 01

Reference 7124

ROTOL EQUIPMENT

FOR

SPITFIRE MK VII, VIII & IX AIRCRAFT

LIST OF EQUIPMENT

The items of Rotol equipment used on the various Marks of Spit-

fire aircraft are shown in tabular form below.

Spitfire Mk. VII, VIII & IX.

Merlin 61 engine

PROPELLER SPINNER GOVERNOR UNIT

R.3/4F5/2 4CM/2 GRF/4A

R.3/4F5/3 4CM/2 GRF/4A

R.3/4F5/4 4CM/4 GRF/4A

Merlin 64 engine

PROPELLER SPINNER GOVERNOR UNIT

R.3/4F5/4 4CM/4 GRF/4A

Spitfire L.F. Mk. VIII & IX.

Merlin 66 engine

PROPELLER SPINNER GOVERNOR UNIT

R.3/4F5/4 4CM/4 CGR/1A x

x For details of the CGR/1A Governor Unit apply to Rotol Limited.

Propeller Descriptions

PART 2 02

Sect: 1 Description

Chap: 1 Detailed Description

Appendix R3/4F5/2

PROPELLER R3/4F5/2

This propeller is similar to that described in the preceding Chapter

The table below supplies additional particulars.

Pitch range 35°

Number of blades 4

Diameter 10’ 9”

Rotation R.H.

Weight 383 lb. approx.

Pin setting angle 48° 30’

Fine pitch angle 31° ± 5’

Balancing angle 50° 00’

Assembly diagram RA.11401-2

Installation diagram RA.11400-6

BEARING.

Taper roller.

BLADE.

Material Covering Sheath Diagram.

Dural – – RA.4014

Sheets 1 & 2

NOTE.

A limited number only of these propellers have been manufactured.

Fur [sic] further details of this type apply to Rotol Limited.

PART 2 02

Sect: 1 Description

Chap: 1 Detailed Description

Appendix R.3/4F5/3

PROPELLER R.3/4F5/3.

This propeller is similar to that described in the preceding Chapter

The table below supplies additional particulars.

Pitch range 35°

Number of blades 4

Diameter 10’ 9”

Rotation R.H.

Weight 393 lb. approx.

Pin setting angle 47° 30’

Fine pitch angle 30° ± 5’

Balancing angle 50° 00’

Assembly diagram RA.11401-3

Installation diagram RA.11400-3

BEARING.

Taper roller.

BLADE.

Material Covering Sheath Diagram.

Dural – – RA.10061

Sheets 1 & 2

NOTE.

A limited number only of these propellers have been manufactured.

For further details of this type apply to Rotol Limited.

PART 2 02

Sect: 1 Description

Chap: 1 Detailed Description

Appendix R5/4F5/4

PROPELLER R5/4F5/4

This propeller is similar to that described in the preceding

Chapter. The table below supplies additional particulars :–

Pitch range 35°

Number of blades 4

Diameter 10’ 9”

Rotation R.H.

Weight 283 lb.

Pin setting angle 46° 50’

Fine pitch angle 29° 20’ ± 5’

Balancing angle 50° 00’

Assembly diagram RA.11401-4

Installation diagram RA.11400-5

BEARING.

Taper roller.

BLADE.

Material Covering Sheath Diagram.

Hydulignum Rotoloid Brass RA.10046 HRS

or Sheets 1 & 2

Jablo

PART 2 02

Sect: 1 Description

Chap: 1 Detailed Description

Appendix R.12/4F5/4

PROPELLER R.12/4F5/4.

This propeller is similar to that described in the preceding

Chapter. The table below supplies additional details.

Pitch range 35°

Number of blades 4

Diameter 10’ 9”

Rotation R.H.

Weight 283 lb.

Pin setting angle 39° 50’

Fine pitch angle 22° 20’ ± 5’

Balancing angle 45° 00’

Assembly diagram RA.11401-4

Installation diagram RA.11400-7

BEARING.

Taper roller.

BLADE.

Material Covering Sheath Diagram.

Hydulignum Rotoloid Brass RA.10046 HRS

or (Sheets 1 & 2)

Jablo

Spinner Notes

11814187663_b20613bd2e_o.jpg

Rotol and Constant Speed Airscrews spinner types, please note this image cannot be trusted as a source of accurate dimensional information since it is sourced from a reduced JPG image file of a scanned photocopy of a photocopy of a ..........

Part 3 04

Sect: 1 Description

CHAPTER – 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION.

(Rotol and C.S.A. type Spinners)

GENERAL.

1. The spinner fitted on any Rotol propeller may be in one of

two main groups . These are the C.S.A. group of spinners and the

Rotol group, the names in each case denoting the manufacturer.

2. The C.S.A. spinner consists generally of a two-piece shell

shaped to fit over the blade roots, and attached to a circular back

plate mounted on the rear of the propeller hub. It is held on to

a back plate secured to the rear of the hub shell by a series of

locking nipples which engage corresponding pear-shaped slots in

a moveable lock ring. A special key inserted through a slot in the

spinner shell moves the lock ring and allows the nipples to engage

or disengage the pear-shaped slots, thus permitting the shell to be

locked in position or removed from the back plate.

3. The Rotol spinner, while consisting basically of assemblies

similar to the C.S.A. type, depends upon an entirely different

arrangement for locking the shell to the back plate. In this case

a series of forwardly projecting pegs are cush mounted on the back

plate and locate in housings fitted to the rear of the spinner shell.

A special locking device, accessible through a small hole in the

Shell, enables each peg to be locked in its housing, thus securing

the shell to the back plate.

4. The two basic groups of spinner noted above are commonly

known as "rear drive" types, the locking device in each case being

located on the back plate at the rear of the hub. A second

distinct type known as the "front drive" spinner is in existence for

both main groups, in which the locking device, or driving pegs, are

located on a driving plate or ring attached to the front of the hub.

Part 3 04

Sect: 1 Description

Chap: 1 Detailed Description

Appendix 4CM/2

SPINNER TYPE 4CM/2

This spinner is similar to the Rotol spinner type 4CM/-

described in the preceding Chapter. Additional information is

detailed below.

Weight...............................................22 lbs.

General Arrangement........................RA.7641.

Part 3 04

Sect: 1 Description

Chap: 1 Detailed Description

Appendix 4CM/4

SPINNER TYPE 4CM/4

This spinner is similar to the Rotol spinner type 4CM/-

described in the preceding Chapter. Additional information is

detailed below.

Weight...............................................24.3/4 lbs.

General Arrangement........................RA.7899.

Fitting the spinner shell.

29. With Rotol type spinners, one lock on the spinner shell is marked with

red paint and must align with a similarly marked pin on the backplate.

Locking is effected by turning the “D’ shaped locking pegs with a screwdriver

Through 180 deg, to the “LOCKED” position marked on the spinner shell.

30. With C.S.A. type spinners, the words “TO LOCK”, painted on the

spinner shell, must align with the key slot in the backplate by inserting

the special key (no other implement should be used) and moving it in the

direction shown by the arrow.

Wood Blade Description

The various wooden blades that were manufactured for the Merlin 60 series family powered Spitfire propellers were divided into hard and soft wood varieties. With the Rotol Jablo Wood Blade and Hydulignum Wood Blade types being hard wood versions. While the Weybridge Blade type was a soft wood version. These blades featured either Acetate, Cristofin, Jablo, Rayoid, Rotoloid, Schwarz or Venus protective coverings. It should also be noted that many albeit not all of these blades featured either a a "Simple" or "Armoured" Leading Edge Sheath. The "Simple" sheath was made from non-ferrous metal while the "Armoured" sheath was made from ferrous metal.

Part 6 01

Sect: 1 Description

Chap: 1 Detailed Description

8. HARD WOOD BLADE.

(i) Jablo Wood Blade. This blade is shaped from a block-

consisting of a number of compressed wood boards, see Fig.1.

Each board is composed of a pack of veneers of Canadian

Birch which have been interleaved with thin resin-impreg-

nated paper and subjected, during processing, to a com-

bination of pressure and heat. The pack of veneers is

thus compressed into a homogeneous board about two-thirds

the thickness of the original pack. Towards the root

end of each board the density is increased by the incorp-

oration of extra veneers of graduated length. The com-

pressed boards are cemented together to form the block

from which the blade is shaped.

The root end of the blade is threaded to screw into the

steel adapter, and the remainder of the blade is protected

with Jablo covering or Rotoloid. The leading edge of the

blade may be protected by a metal sheath.

(ii) Hydulignum Wood Blade. The block from which this type

blade is shaped consists of a number of compressed boards

produced from Canadian Birch veneers, see Fig.2. Each

veneer is coated with a pigmented thermoplastic resin

and the required number assembled into a pack. The pack

is then heated and compressed, so producing a board of

constant density. A second heating and pressing operation

is carried out to obtain the higher density required at

the root end. Top and bottom pressure is re-imposed and

at the same time the board is subjected, at one end, to a

graduated side pressure which reduces its width and

corrugates the veneers; thus imparting greater shear

strength as well as increasing density. The pro-

cessed boards are then cemented to form a block from

which the blade is shaped.

The root end is threaded to screw into the steel adapter,

and the blade protected with Cristofin or Rotoloid

covering. The leading edge may be protected by a metal

sheath.

9. SOFT WOOD BLADE.

(i) Weybridge Blade. This blade is shaped from Sitka Spruce

or Douglas Fir boards of natural density, except for the

root and portion which is made from boards of a high-

density improved timber known as Jigwood, see Fig.3.

Jigwood boards are produced from packs of Canadian Birch

veneers which, after being coated with a synthetic resin

are heated and compressed to the required thickness and

density. The spruce or fir boards are scarfed and cemented

to short lengths of Jigwood material and the composite

boards so formed are cemented together to form a block.

The root end is threaded to receive the steel adapter and

the block is shaped to the required contour. The blade

is protected with one of the following coverings: –

Rayoid, Schwarz or Acetate. The leading edge of the

blade may be protected by a metal sheath.

10. Protective Covering.

(i) Jablo. This covering consists of an envelope of phosphor-

bronze gauze completely enclosing the timber of the blade.

Successive coats of synthetic resin are brushed on, thus

embedding the bronze gauze and effecting its attachment to

the blade. With this type of covering the leading edge of

the blade is protected by a metal sheath, which is secured

to the blade with screws and rivets, or alternatively the

sheath may be soldered to a brass under-strip.

This covering is applied only to blades manufactured from

Jablo wood.

(ii) Rotoloid. This is a skin of cellulose nitrate, approximately

0.040 in. thick which completely covers the timber of the

blade. The leading edge of the blade may be protected by

a metal sheath.

(iii) Cristofin. A thermo-plastic synthetic resin which sets hard

on drying. The resin is applied in successive brush coats

until the required thickness is built up. The leading

edge of the blade may be protected by a metal sheath.

(iv) Rayoid. A cellulose nitrate skin approximately 0.040 in.

thick. Blades using this covering may have the leading

edge protected by a metal sheath.

(v) Schwarz. This covering consists of a cellulose acetate

skin, approximately 0.040 in. thick, reinforced with linen

fabric. With this type of covering the leading edge of

the blade is protected by a continuous brass sheath.

This covering is applied only to blades manufactured from

Sitka Spruce or Douglas Fir.

(vi) Acetate. This is a cellulose acetate skin approximately

0.040 in. thick. The leading edge of the blade may be

protected by a metal sheath.

(vii) Venus. A synthetic resin which sets hard on drying. The

resin is applied in successive brush coats, with a suitable

drying time between application, until the required thick-

ness is built up. The leading edge of the blade may be

protected by a metal sheath.

Note: – Rotoloid Covering 0.040 in. thick has now superseded Jablo

Covering, Cristofin Covering and Venus Covering for all new

production wood blades of “Rotol” design.

Leading Edge Sheath.

11. The metal sheath, fitted to the leading edge, protects the

propeller blade from possible damage caused by stones etc., being picked

up when the aircraft engines are run over a loose surface.

12. There are two types of sheath in use, the “Simple” sheath

manufactured from non-ferrous metal and the “Armored” sheath which is

made from ferrous metal. The method of attachment to the blade is

dependent upon the blade design and the type of protective covering

used.

13. Jablo wood blades using Jablo covering have a segmented non-

ferrous or ferrous metal sheath attached to the leading edge. The

metal sheath may be soldered to a brass under-strip which is secured

to the blade by screws where the timber is of sufficient thickness,

i.e. near the root, and by copper rivets as the tip of the blade is approached.

14. When a leading edge sheath is fitted to a Jablo wood blade using

Rotoloid covering, each segment of the sheath is attached to the blade

by screws at the root and those sections where the wood is of sufficient

thickness and by rivets at the tip sections.

15. Hydulignum wood blades using Cristofin or Rotoloid covering will

have the leading edge sheath attached in a manner similar to that

described in para.14.

16. With the soft wood – Weybridge – blade, using Schwarz covering,

a non-ferrous metal sheath formed in a continuous length is soldered to

a strip of phosphor-bronze gauze. The bronze gauze, which exceeds the

width of the metal sheath, is secured to the blade leading edge by a

number of special steel staples.

17. Those soft wood – Weybridge – blades, using Rotoloid or Acetate

covering will have the leading edge sheath, when fitted, attached in a

manner similar to that described in para.14.

Wood Blade Identification and Markings

RESERVED

Aluminium Alloy Blade Description

RESERVED

Aluminium Alloy Blade Identification and Markings

RESERVED

Propeller Paint

7. All wood blades are spray-finished with matt black paint and

the outer four inches of the blade are painted yellow to ensure a

visible disc when the propeller is rotating.

Part 6 01

Sect: 7 Repair and Salvage

Chap: 1 Repairs

PAINTING.

38. After repair of covering, except Emergency Repairs, the repaired

parts shall be painted.

(i) Spray or paint with Grey Surfacer and allow to dry.

(ii) Spray or paint two or three coats of Matt Night, DTD.751/4.

(iii) The four-inch yellow tip should be given two or three coats

of Identification, Yellow DTD.751/5

(iv) Paint a White line, 1/32 in. wide at 0.70 of the original

radius, across the thrust face of the blade.

This line indicates the blade pitch angle checking station

and should be at right angles to the longitudinal axis.

(v) Blade identification markings should be made good.

Note. New Weybridge blades are painted with Glossy Black Primer and Air Drying

Matt Black, DTD.63A, and these may be used as alternatives on Weybridge blades.

Pictures and more text will follow later.........

Cheers,

Daniel.

Notes

* This aircraft is likely to be the much photographed by RAF, Official Photographer, Flying Officer L H Baker, Spitfire FIX; MH653,RZ-U of 241 Sqn, this aircraft is not Spitfire FVIII JF756 which at the time did not belong to 241 Sqn. shown below is a list of all known 241 Sqn aircraft during January of 1944.

List of known 241 Sqn RAF aircraft during January of 1944

Hawker Hurricane IIC, Merlin XX, KW968

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FIX, Merlin 61, EN244

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FVIII, Merlin 63, JF427

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FVIII, Merlin 63, JF510

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FVIII, Merlin 63, JF512

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FVIII, Merlin 63, JF521

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FVIII, Merlin 63, JF558

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FVIII, Merlin 63, JF560

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FVIII, Merlin 63, JF592

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FVIII, Merlin 63, JF702

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FIX, Merlin 63, LZ831

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FIX, Merlin 63, MA425 - RZ-R

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FIX, Merlin 63, MA580

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FIX, Merlin 63, MA767

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FIX, Merlin 63, MA800

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FIX, Merlin 63, MA854

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FIX, Merlin 63, MH320

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FIX, Merlin 63, MH329

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire LFIX, Merlin 66, MH508

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire LFIX, Merlin 66, MH599

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FIX, Merlin 63, MH651

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FIX, Merlin 63, MH652

Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire FIX, Merlin 63, MH653 - RZ-U

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Amazing reference so far.

many thanks for taking time and sharing this with us.

olivier

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Hi Olivier,

You're welcome, I'm glad it is of some interest, I have now added two pictures with captions, some more will follow later.

Cheers,

Daniel.

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Daniel,

Thanks for posting that info, much appreciated. You know my interest in Spitfires.

Magpie22

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Standing by for the full revelation, but looking very interesting so far!

bob

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