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JANUARY 8 T H ,

Twentieth

FLIGHT

1942

of the Second

Series

FRIEND or FOE?
A British and Italian Contrast : Miles
Master II and Fiat G.50

H E Miles Master I I , which is a


standard advanced trainer for
R . A . F . fighter pilots, is, in its
general appearance, n o t unlike t h e
F i a t G.50, which is one of t h e s t a n d a r d
fighters of t h e Regia
Aeronautica.
The resemblance, such as it is, lies
chiefly in their radial engines a n d their
cranked wings, b u t there could hardly
be a n y chance of confusing their respective tail assemblies, a n d on this
the spotter will mainly depend for
identification.
In t h e first place, t h e vertical surfaces belong t o t w o distinct t y p e s .
Those of t h e Master adhere t o t h e
typically British principle in which the
rudder is a t t a c h e d t o b o t h the fin and
the extremity of t h e fuselage ; its lower
edge lines u p w i t h t h e b o t t o m line of
the fuselage, a n d it projects well clear
of t h e trailing-edge of t h e elevators.
The rudder of t h e G.50, however, is
attached solely t o t h e fin a n d is t h u s
set wholly above t h e fuselage tail, t h e
pointed e x t r e m i t y of which projects
slightly beyond its trailing-edge. This
layout also finds considerable favour
with American designers (especially on
larger, multi-engined types), b u t it is,
as a rule, only adopted b y British
designers when a single tail is combined with a rear g u n - t u r r e t ; t h e Wellington is a good example of t h i s .
There are also exceptions, of course,
such as t h e Skua a n d Roc.
So far as outline goes, t h e chief
characteristic of t h e Master's fin a n d
rudder is its low aspect ratio. There
is a generous slope t o b o t h leading- a n d
trailing-edges, a n d t h e rounded apex is
distinctly broad, as will be seen b y the
accompanying illustrations.
The tailplane of the Miles Master,
however, has a fairly high aspect ratio.
Its leading- and trailing-edges are b o t h
straight and parallel, a n d t h e tips are
rounded with a varying radius t h a t
sharpens t o w a r d s t h e front. T h e tailplane is m o u n t e d level with t h e base
of the fin a n d t h e elevators d o not
encroach upon t h e arc swept b y t h e

The Miles Master II differs


from its predecessor by having a Bristol radial in place
of the vee Rolls-Royce engine. The disappearance of
the radiator has made a big
difference in the outline.

r u d d e r ; nevertheless, the inner edges


of t h e elevators are sloped off
slightly.
T u r n i n g now to the tail unit of the
Italian machine, t h e vertical surfaces
are of fairly high aspect ratio. T h e r e
is a m o d e r a t e slope t o t h e straight
leading-edge of t h e fin a n d , on t h e
latest editions t o go into service, t h e
trailing-edge of the rudder is, t o all
intents a n d purposes, vertical. Some
earlier editions of t h e G.50, however,
show a slight inclination of t h e trailingedge, though it is very doubtful if it
is sufficient to be detected under
normal spotting conditions. T h e apex
of fin and rudder is evenly rounded
a n d small compared with t h a t of the
Master.
T h e tailplane is elliptical in plan and
is well back so t h a t t h e trailing-edge
is faired into t h e pointed e x t r e m i t y of
the fuselage a t t h e roots. B y virtue
of t h e r u d d e r design a n d t h e setting
of t h e tailplane below t h e base-line of
t h e vertical surfaces, there is n o need
to c u t a w a y the inner corners of t h e
elevators, and so no " b i t e " appears
in the centre of the tailplane's trailingedge when seen in plan.
Netft week:

A standard Italian fighter,


the Fiat G.50, is in service
in Italy, Libya and on the
southern Russian front.
It also appeared over the
English Channel for a very
brief while. In this view
the elliptical tailplane
emphasised.

Ensign

and

Liberator.