Misled about Sizes

For a very long time, I believed that the Bf-109 was smaller than the Fw-190. The 109 was a very slender design. You could tell at a glance that it was small.

The Fw-190 was powered by a radial engine that gave it a greater frontal area. It also carried heavier weapons, and was as much as 50% heavier. It was easy to think the 190 was larger.

The two fighters are actually more or less the same size, with nearly the same length and wingspan.

Another case was the Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki and the Mistubishi J2M Raiden. The Shoki had this enormous Ha-109 radial engine in front of it, giving it a “too much engine” look, as one model builder described it.

The Raiden is usually decribed as being short and stubby. It was easy for me to think that the Raiden was a small, fast and zippy plane.

Then I realized that the Raiden was powered by a large-diameter Kasei engine. It dawned on me that the Raiden may actually be just as big as the Shoki.

In fact, the Raiden was slightly bigger than the Shoki. It had a shorter tail section, but Mitsubishi tried to mitigate the drag from the huge frontal area by
putting the engine deep inside a very long tapered cowl with narrow opening, with a long
extension shaft from the engine to the propeller, making the plane longer. Its wings were described as stubby, but were actually bigger and had more surface area than the Shoki’s.

Raiden was a pretty big plane, that only looked small if you looked at the pictures without anything to compare it with, and forgot to look at the numbers.


K-44 Shoki

Specification  
 MODEL Ki-44-IIb
 CREW 1
 ENGINE 1 x Nakajima Ha-109, 1133kW
 WEIGHTS
    Take-off weight 2995 kg 6603 lb
    Empty weight 2105 kg 4641 lb
 DIMENSIONS
    Wingspan 9.45 m 31 ft 0 in
    Length 8.8 m 29 ft 10 in
    Height 3.25 m 11 ft 8 in
    Wing area 15 m2 161.46 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
    Max. speed 605 km/h 376 mph
    Ceiling 11200 m 36750 ft
    Range w/max.fuel 1700 km 1056 miles
 ARMAMENT 4 x 12.7mm machine-guns

Source: http://www.aviastar.org/air/japan/nakajima_ki-44.php


J2M Raiden, image probably not at the same scale as the Shoki.

Specification  
 MODEL J2M3
 CREW 1
 ENGINE 1 x Mitsubishi “Kasei-23a”, 1350kW
 WEIGHTS
    Take-off weight 3435 kg 7573 lb
    Empty weight 2460 kg 5423 lb
 DIMENSIONS
    Wingspan 10.8 m 35 ft 5 in
    Length 9.95 m 33 ft 8 in
    Height 3.95 m 13 ft 12 in
    Wing area 20.05 m2 215.82 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
    Max. speed 580 km/h 360 mph
    Ceiling 11700 m 38400 ft
    Range 1900 km 1181 miles
 ARMAMENT 4 x 20mm cannons, 120kg of bombs

Source: http://www.aviastar.org/air/japan/mitsubishi_j2m.php

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