Spotter's Quiz No 3
Sharp-Nosed Fighters

17 MiG-3

Reds regard any warplane as a proper secret; news and views of crack ships that have been beating up on Messerschmitts and Heinkels are rare. Known improperly as the I-18, more officially as the MiG-3, this single-engine fighter has 1,200-hp AM-35 liquid-cooled engine which develops top speed of 360 mph. Plane has wing span of 37' 6", is 31' 2" long, measures 10' 6" in height.

Wing is low cantilever type, inverted gull design, slight sweep-back, marked taper, elliptical tips.

Engine is liquid-cooled, thick profile, propeller hub set low, exposed exhaust stacks, long top-line.

Fuselage is wide, stubby, with small canopy far back, radiator under fuselage aft of trailing edge.

Tail is monoplane type with narrow triangular fin, elliptical rudder, swept-back, rounded tailplane.

Inverted Gull Wing

18 Bell P-39

Rated the most graceful plane in the air, the Bell Airacobra is also one of the best performers below 16,000 feet. Powered by one 1,150-hp direct-drive Allison liquid-cooled engine, it has speed of about 400 mph. Equipped with 37-mm cannon firing through the nose, it has proved brilliant as anti-tank weapon, while wing guns have been effective against ground forces on the Russian front. It has 34' span, is 29' 9" long.

Wing is low cantilever type mounted almost at center of fuselage, sweep-back, marked taper.

Engine is mounted aft of cockpit, driven by shaft in long fuselage nose. Cannon projects from nose.

Fuselage is long, slightly tapered. Cockpit over wing has side doors, transparent canopy.

Tail has semi-wasp rudder, tapered fin. Stabilizer swept-back, elevators almost straight, round tips.

Wing Far Back

19 Curtiss P-40F

This is the latest version of the Army's most criticized fighter. Not the best plane in service, it has done everything from bombing to bomber interception with more than average success. Now powered by one 1,260-hp Rolls-Royce engine, liquid-cooled, it has speed of 380 mph, 450% greater firepower than the original P-40. It has wing span of 37', 4", is 31' 8" long, and is 10' 7" high.

Wing is low cantilever type, straight leading edge, tapered trailing edge, round tips, Curtiss fillets.

Engine is liquid-cooled, with top line lower than fuselage aft section. Prop now at top line.

Fuselage tapers slightly to tail, large radiator beneath engine cowling, canopy line extends to tail.

Tail is monoplane type, triangular fin, wasp rudder, swept-back stabilizer, elliptical elevators.

Big Radiator

20 Heinkel 113

No longer active on the European front, this Nazi workhorse is used in large numbers in Russia. Outwardly a good plane, it ranks along with its 112 progenitor as a pilot-killer. Allied pilots need only hit exposed, vulnerable wing radiators to put the plane out of commission. It has span of 30' 10", is 26' 10" long, is 8' 3" high. Powered by 1,200-hp liquid-cooled engine, it has speed of 382 mph.

Wing is low cantilever type, slight dihedral, sweep-back on leading edge, semi-raked trailing edge.

Engine is liquid-cooled, with prop in exact center, sharp top-line taper aft of cockpit, long cowling.

Fuselage is extremely clean and is the smallest in fighter class. Viewed head-on it seems round.

Tail is monoplane type with straight rudder, triangular fin. Equal tailplane sweep-back and taper.

Tailplane Taper, Sweep-Back

21 Hawker Hurricane

Old dog of the RAF, the Hurricane is one of the greatest combat planes of World War II. Powered by 1,260-hp Rolls-Royce Merlin liquid-cooled engine, it has top speed of 335 mph, carries four 20-mm cannon. It has wing span of 40', is 31' 5" long, and measures 13' 3" in height. Earlier models were used exclusively for high-altitude interception but Hurricane II frequently appears as low-level bomber.

Wing is low cantilever type, straight center section, dihedral, taper, and sweep-back outboard.

Engine is liquid-cooled, extremely thick, sloping to radiator beneath wing trailing edge.

Fuselage tapers sharply aft of cockpit, radiator beneath trailing edge prominent in profile view.

Tail is large, low, almost circular. Slight sweep-back and taper, cut in at rudder.

Circular Tail

22 Supermarine Spitfire

The best fighter in the air in 1940, with 1,000-hp engine developing speed of 367 mph, the Spitfire has been continually improved; now carries Merlin liquid-cooled engine developing 1,260. With speed of nearly 400 mph, eight assorted guns, it has bested every German plane at its altitude. It has wing span of 36' 10", is 29' 11" long, 11' 5" high. It weighs 5,750 pounds fully loaded.

Wing is low cantilever type with marked dihedral, elliptical shape with almost pointed wing tips.

Fuselage is long, slender, straight in lines. Canopy aft of wing trailing edge, tapers slightly to tail.

Engine is liquid-cooled with long, straight top cowl, extremely narrow, radiator under wing.

Tail is monoplane type with elliptical rudder, narrow triangular fin, elliptical tailplane forward.

Elliptical Wing

23 North American P-51

Officially known as the Apache in US, the Mustang in Britain, the P-51 promises to be the darkhorse among fighters. The first plane in production to utilize the laminar-flow wing, the Mustang travels at blazing speeds at low altitudes, devastating ground forces and bases with its myriad guns. It has wing span of about 37', is 32' 2" long, measures only 8' 8" in overall height. Speed exceeds 400 mph.

Wing is low cantilever type of laminar-flow construction, equal sweep-back, taper, square tips.

Engine is liquid-cooled, straight cowling top-line, long curve on bottom to radiator aft of wing.

Fuselage is equally tapered top and bottom, has visible indentation aft of radiator, small canopy.

Tail is monoplane type, high rectangular tailplane forward from triangular fin, square rudder.

Squared Tailplane

24 Messerschmitt 109F

Latest version of the most famous Axis warplane, the Messerschmitt 109-F differs primarily from its immediate predecessor in the absence of tail struts, the round, rather than square, wing tips. Powered by 1,175-hp liquid-cooled Daimler-Benz engine, it has a top speed of about 400 mph. It has one 20-mm Mauser cannon firing through the propeller hub, two machine guns in cowling. Span is 32' 9", length is 29' 8".

Wing is low cantilever type, equal sweep-back and taper, round tips, marked dihedral.

Engine is liquid-cooled, equally curved top and bottom, small square radiator forward of wing.

Fuselage is long, slender, top and bottom lines curved. Canopy directly above trailing edge.

Tail is monoplane type with semi-elliptical3 rudder overhanging triangular fin. Tailplane far forward.

Square Radiator

This "Spotter's Quiz" column was originally published in the December, 1942, "Complete Spotter's Guide" issue of Air News magazine, vol 3, no 8, pp 30, 34-35.
The original Quiz includes 16 photos and 8 three-view silhouettes, 2 photos and 1 three-view for each type listed.
Photos credited to Sovfoto, Rudy Arnold, European, British Combine, North American, Acme, US Army Air Corps.