back to article RAF Eurofighter gets a Battle of Britain makeover

The RAF is commemorating this year's 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain with a fetching makeover for one of its Eurofighter Typhoons, repainted with the markings of 249 Squadron's Flight Lieutenant James Brindley Nicolson VC DFC. Flight Lieutenant James Brindley Nicolson VC Flight Lieutenant James Brindley Nicolson VC …

  1. Vimes

    I wonder what Nicholson would make of the idea of having carriers without any planes to land on them?

    1. Vimes

      That should be 'Nicolson' of course, but unfortunately I don't seem to have the option of correcting it.

    2. Peddler

      As an Air Force guy, he would probably think it is some sort of Navy eccentricity dating from the days of Nelson.

    3. Potemkine Silver badge

      'F*ck the Fleet Air Arm, RAF rules' ?

  2. 0laf Silver badge

    Looks good.

    Much better than the nondescript grey that looks like primer. But then I don't suppose aesthetics come into it really.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      The colours are designed to make them more difficult to spot by the naked eye. But they are bland, you're right.

    2. Russell Hancock

      I agree

      I agree with you fully...

      Anyone know why they paint them boring grey now? Is it so they blend in with the sky over england?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I agree

        They'll be painting them purple and yellow before long and have them on border patrol duty.

        1. Jedit

          "They'll be painting them purple and yellow before long"

          I assume you mean the Hurricanes? UKIP will want to send the Eurofighters back where they came from.

          1. x 7

            Re: "They'll be painting them purple and yellow before long"

            "UKIP will want to send the Eurofighters back where they came from."

            you mean Preston?.......

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: "They'll be painting them purple and yellow before long"

              My father's house was just round the corner and we used to see the test fighters as they flew out over the bay. The sound used to mean that he didn't have to shovel the sand out of the eaves, the vibrations did that for him.

      2. BoldMan

        Re: I agree

        Aircraft camo is designed as much to hide them when they are on the ground as in the air, so boring grey is a suitable colour then they are parked on concrete.

        1. Benchops

          Re: I agree

          Soon the camo will be slightly red at the front and slightly blue at the back to compensate for the blue/red-shift when accelerating ;)

        2. Benchops

          > boring grey is a suitable colour then they are parked on concrete.

          Why don't they just paint a load of planes on the tarmac? Perfect camo!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: > boring grey is a suitable colour then they are parked on concrete.

            At some point they used to paint weird shadows on the ground in nevada in an attempt to confuse the soviets analysing IR satellite images

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: > boring grey is a suitable colour then they are parked on concrete.

              They *said* that the weird shadows in Nevada were made from paint...

              1. h4rm0ny
                Alien

                Re: > boring grey is a suitable colour then they are parked on concrete.

                And two weeks later, amanfrommars began posting on El Reg. forums...

      3. x 7

        Re: I agree

        " Is it so they blend in with the sky over england?"

        in a word......yes

        even a C-17 vanishes from view remarkably quickly after takeoff if painted matt grey

    3. Neil Hawkins

      Interesting that the leading edges / nose are left grey... #iwonderwhy

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        'Interesting that the leading edges / nose are left grey... #iwonderwhy'

        The nose cone at least needs to have a radar transparent paint on otherwise the returning wigglies might not got back to the antenna. Presumably they don't stock one in an appropriate colour so it stayed grey.

        The leading edges may also be coated in some sort of special paint that affects radar wigglies...

  3. Norphy

    Is there a high resolution version of that second photo anywhere?

    1. Archaon

      Yes - any chance of higher (desktop) quality pretty pretty please?

      1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Sorry chaps, that's the biggest version we could get.

        1. Benchops

          Call that an answer??? We expect you to get back up there with your LG G4 and take another snap!

    2. Atomic Duetto

      Five minutes of internets sleuthing..

      ... brings up the photographer as Mr Richard Paver, with a higher res version on PinInterest. I don't know how that works having never used it... So try this (all rights remain with copyright owner, your mileage may vary, never operate heavy machinery when drowsy, see a Dr if pain persists)

      https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/8a/1c/e3/8a1ce31be1aed1f6507dbf9a8359c019.jpg

      1. Clive Summerfield
        Thumb Up

        Re: Five minutes of internets sleuthing..

        Using Google to search for similar images turns up a 3500 x 2333 version of the image on the Aviation Week site at the following url:

        http://aviationweek.com/site-files/aviationweek.com/files/gallery_images/PAV_9849_30388v2.jpg?1432225418

        1. Arctic fox
          Thumb Up

          @Clive Summerfield Thank you Clive that is a fantastic picture.

          See title

          :)

          AF

        2. Steve Evans

          Re: Five minutes of internets sleuthing..

          Thank you Clive!

          Needless to say, when you look at the gorgeous original shot, all the "evidence" of photoshop are revealed to be nothing more than Lester over compressing his JPEG...

          1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

            "Over compressing his JPEG"

            I know. The doctor's warned me about this. Last time I overdid it I was on tablets for a month.

        3. Dan 10

          Re: Five minutes of internets sleuthing..

          Clive-sleuth + retina display = jaw-dropping desktop

          Wow, thanks!

        4. Archaon

          Re: Five minutes of internets sleuthing..

          Thanks to both of you!

        5. ShadowDragon8685

          Re: Five minutes of internets sleuthing..

          Smegging beautiful, that is. Thank you.

  4. TRT Silver badge

    Absolutely brilliant!

    They look so much better in this colour scheme.

  5. Andrew Moore

    eh?

    Would a jet be allowed to pass that close to a prop aircraft?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: eh?

      It looks to me like the hurricane might have been Photoshopped in - there's a slight fringe and the distortion of the ground due to the exhaust behind the jet aircraft would be hard to fake convincingly. Although having looked at the other image linked to in a comment above, the two pictures must have been taken within a fraction of a second of each other, so... I have to conclude it's genuine. Must have been quite a close one.

      1. AndyS

        Re: eh?

        > It looks to me like the hurricane might have been Photoshopped in...

        I hate it when people jump to that conclusion. It massively devalues what you are looking at, and dismisses any interesting questions raised, or any amazement at the photo, simply because you personally don't know a great deal about photography or the subject matter.

        There is no reason to think this isn't a legit photo. It was taken with a telephoto lens, from another plane. Long lenses have the effect of appearing to "compress" subjects together, making it hard to tell how far apart they actually are.

        Very likely there's one or two wingspans between the aircraft, and the Eurofighter is also significantly behind the Hurricane.

        Note that I'm not saying it is, definitely, a real photo, but just that jumping to the conclusion it isn't, without any evidence, is premature and pointless.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: eh?

          I've then gone on to evaluate if it was or not, and concluded that it's genuine and plausible. It's also a heck of a photograph (or several!) and hats off to the photographer.

          1. wankeler

            Re: eh?

            Typhoon leading edge slats deployed and pitched up, suggests certainly pretty slow if in level flight (assumed for photo). Camera ship speed might be the limiting factor.

            1. 0laf Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: eh?

              Yup looks like the Typhoon is almost balancing on the thrust flaps down etc to keep pace with the old Hurricane.

              Good picture however they did it.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: eh?

      Stall speed of the Eurofighter is around 110 knots, the top speed of the Hurricane is a smidgeon under 300 knots, so they could fly alongside each other, with the prop engined plane slightly in front so as to avoid the wash of the jet.

      1. Clive Summerfield

        Re: eh?

        The Eurofighter Typhoon is 16 metres long, whereas the Hurricane is a bit over 9 metres. In that picture they look to be almost identical in length so I reckon that the Typhoon is almost as far behind the Hurricane as the distance between the photographer and the Hurricane. Probably a huge incorrect assumption there though, which I'm sure someone will pick up...

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: eh?

          *both* pilots looking at the camera as well...

          That's an impressive photograph...

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            '*both* pilots looking at the camera as well...'

            Probably both looking at the aircraft the camera is on so they can maintain formation with it...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: eh?

          The ratio of the distances between of 2 objects, that appear to be of the same size, to the photographer is the same as the ratio of the sizes of the objects (15,9m/9.8m). To calculate the actual distance, you have to take into consideration the focal length, which in this case is 85mm if the EXIF data on the image is correct (the one linked by another poster). The object size on sensor / focal length = real size of the object / distance. Plugging in a very rough 20.5mm for the object size (2000 pixels of 3500, assuming only a resize and no cropping here) the respective distances are 40m for the hurricane and 66m for the typhoon (given that both are at a different angle it is not easy to calculate the object size of image, hence the very rough 2000pixels). For instance, The same values plugged into a 500mm lens would result in distances of 239m and 388m respectively (and have no way in hell of getting the background as sharp as it is at f7.1).

      2. Afernie

        Re: eh?

        "Stall speed of the Eurofighter is around 110 knots, the top speed of the Hurricane is a smidgeon under 300 knots, so they could fly alongside each other, with the prop engined plane slightly in front so as to avoid the wash of the jet."

        And indeed I've watched them fly just such a formation at RAF Leuchars with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (including the Lancaster).

        1. james 68

          Re: eh?

          The slower it flys the higher the angle of attack must be to keep sufficient airflow over the wings as they are low camber/low drag type airfoils which aren't terribly suited to low speed flight so the high angle of attack on the Typhoon is also a giveaway that it is flying much slower than standard cruise, presumably to keep pace with the Hurricane. Something most photoshopers would not take into account.

        2. kazdav

          Re: eh?

          From following the subject on Twitter there's been quite a bit of formation practice going on for the upcoming airshow season. Mainly this Typhoon and BBMF Spitfires, but they also managed to get a Hurri shot in too.

          Just hope they come up to Prestwick in September, didn't look like it last time I checked tho...

  6. Fredrick Smith

    Secret Technology

    What devious weapon requires a tank full of gravity?

    1. Malcolm 1

      Re: Secret Technology

      It's required to prevent the aeroplane floating off into space, obviously.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Secret Technology

        As seen in Dr Who, of course...

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Secret Technology

      I balked at that as well.

      A gravity tank ? Why is this included in planes at all ?

      Wouldn't the absence of a gravity tank make a plane a lot easier to lift from the ground and propel through the air ?

      And could someone please give the name of the genius who managed to put gravity in a tank ?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Secret Technology

        I thought gravity was one of a tank's main weapons.

      2. Brian Morrison

        Re: Secret Technology

        The Hurricane fuel system consists of two main tanks in the wing roots and a "gravity" tank or header tank between the engine and cockpit. The latter was neither armoured nor self-sealing which made it very easy to rupture and ignite. It did have the ability to continue to feed fuel to the engine in the event that the fuel pumps failed i.e. fed by means of gravity.

        Many of Archie McIndoe's "guinea pigs" for post-burn plastic surgery were Hurricane pilots, it wasn't an ideal design feature.

        1. fishbone
          Pint

          Re: Secret Technology

          And I believe that aircraft had no firewall between engine and cockpit to buffer flames from reaching the pilot. And hoping not to be a pest as the photos are nice but maybe a few kind words for the gentleman who inspired them, and all the others too. We'll never see their equals.

    3. Paul Kinsler

      Re: What devious weapon requires a tank full of gravity?

      If you think that's bad, wait til it points its Entorpy Ray at you :-)

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: What devious weapon requires a tank full of gravity?

        Well if you reverse the polarity of the neutron flow...

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Secret Technology

      Shhh It's a typo for gravy tank.

  7. PhilipN Silver badge

    Hats off to Flt. Luey Nicolson

    Well done, son

    1. emmanuel goldstein

      Re: Hats off to Flt. Luey Nicolson

      yes, and worth noting that he was just 24 years old at the time. maximum respect.

    2. fishbone

      Re: Hats off to Flt. Luey Nicolson

      Eloquent words

  8. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    What is so unique about this paint job?

    Shirly it would have been the same for Flight Lieutenant James Brindley Nicolson VC DFC asfor the rest of the planes?

    1. John 110

      Re: What is so unique about this paint job?

      It is, of course the GN A callsign painted on the side which is unique to the Flight Lieutenant. As seen here http://www.abpic.co.uk/photo/1146229/

      1. R Callan
        Boffin

        Re: What is so unique about this paint job?

        Um no, it was unique to the aircraft, until it was replaced by another aircraft. The first 2 letters in this case GN are the squadron code, and the third letter is the aircraft code. Pilots frequently used different aircraft for different flights.

        It is a pity that the replacement for the Hurricane could not have been in the same picture. Are the any Typhoons in existence?

        1. CH in CT20

          Re: What is so unique about this paint job?

          Re surviving Typhoons - sadly apparently not (in flying condition at any rate): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawker_Typhoon#Survivors

  9. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Coat

    Very nice

    Hope they remembered to paint the pilot before gluing him into his seat.

    Mine's the one with a tube of polystyrene glue in the pocket.

    1. jonathan keith

      Re: Very nice

      They also managed to avoid getting any thumb prints on the canopy too.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    VC

    Did fighter command really only get one VC in WWII?

  12. Z80

    What ho Squiffy!

    Bunch of monkeys on the ceiling, sir! Grab your egg and fours and let's get the bacon delivered!

  13. Lindsay T

    Looks Great

    I understand all the techie stuff (I think) but doesn't it look great? How is it that a paint job designed to be purely functional looks so good? Or is it just our historical memory that makes it seem right? Answers from a psychologist please.

  14. The last doughnut
    Happy

    Indeed a lovely shot - he's even managed to leave the propellor a little blurred.

  15. JJKing Silver badge

    Interesting part of the photo is the slight bit of applied left rudder on the jet. Doesn't look like a sideslip but possibly done to give a better view of it for the photo. I have an excellent example of an F-16 in a massive crossed controls so as to make a better view for the photo.

    That racist bigot twit Churchill was quite correct when he said, "that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour." However I would hope it will be the whole world that shall remember this very special generation between 1939 and 1945 and in a 1,000 years, This was our finest time and people.

    I do not believe we shall ever see a whole generation like that again. Individuals, even many individuals yes but never a whole generation.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019