Last week, we imagined a superior racing aircraft designed by Spitfire creator R.J. Mitchell. Illustrator Edward Ward thinks he can do even better.
Love what you’ve come up with here. Good looking aircraft! Whilst I think what you propose is perfectly possible I do wonder about a couple of aspects (though of course this is massive speculation so I freely admit there are no right or wrong answers). With regard to the airframe I find everything you say to be highly likely though I do wonder about the wings.
However, to my mind the Schneider trophy was won or lost not by a seaplane’s airframe but by its engine. The Gloster VI was in some respects more aerodynamically advanced than the S.6, it certainly had a finer fuselage form, and there is, so far as I can tell, no reason to suppose that Gloster would not have won the Trophy in 1931 or set the world speed record, with their own floatplane had it been fitted with the Rolls-Royce R rather than the notably long-in-the-tooth Napier Lion.
With regard to the Rolls-Royce R, I am not entirely sure that it was actually at the limit of its development. For the S.6s the engine was not flown at full power, and operated on an overly rich fuel mixture which also sapped power but increased reliability. Further development work was discussed, though not undertaken, by the RAE in 1932 advocating testing four engines to destruction. Not only that but the R was still a very young engine, having first run in 1929. By contrast the Napier Lion first ran in 1917 and developed 450hp, twelve years later it was delivering 1200hp, and before it managed that output it had powered the S.5 to win the Schneider in Venice. If one looks at the later Rolls-Royce Merlin (which owed a lot to the R) the power increase from an initial 750hp to 2000hp was mostly delivered through a process of aggressive supercharging and much higher octane rating of the fuel.
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The suggestion that the R might be developed into a V-16 is the most fanciful aspect you present though. Rolls-Royce has never built a V-16. Indeed, historically Rolls-Royce was far more likely to bolt two V-12s or V-8s onto a common crankcase in an X formation. Rolls-Royce’s solitary 16 cylinder engine was the Eagle XVI, an X-16. Later when the war was on and the need for increasing the power of the Merlin was at its most urgent (and money was no object) Rolls-Royce still didn’t go down the extra cylinders route but improved supercharging (notably Stanley Hooker gained a 30% increase in power in one fell swoop by improving the internal streamlining of the supercharger) and ultimately running on 130 octane fuel, though this of course was not available in 1931. Talking of things that were not available in 1931, I am unsure if ethylene glycol was available as a coolant but if it was it would have improved the radiator situation, likewise Rolls-Royce were tinkering with evaporative (or steam) cooling during this period for high performance applications and it is possible they might have managed to shoehorn it onto the S.7. Mitchell was not averse to the idea as his (unsuccessful) Type 224 employed this novel cooling system.
So, I propose a cantilever winged version with an X-24 engine formed from two Rolls-Royce Rs on a common crankcase (call it the Rolls-Royce RR) with an indeterminate calling system, a VP airscrew and cleaned up fuselage and float struts (though I suspect these might have been under too great stress-loading to be viable, ah well…).
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