Martin-Baker M.B.5       R2496


                                    The M.B.5, in my opinion, was one of the most beautiful fighter designs ever built.   It unfortunately
                                    appeared in the wrong place at the wrong time, and too late on the scene to make an impact in
                                    WW II.   Originally developed from the M.B.3, which in turn had been built in response to Air
                                    Ministry Spec F18/39, the M.B.5 had a maximum speed well in excess of 400 m.p.h.   Not only
                                    was it considered outstanding by those pilots who flew it, but also ground crews who maintained it
                                    reckoned it was much easier to work on than contemporary types thanks to the many accessibility
                                    panels provided (I knew a fitter who had worked at the A. & A.E.E. Establishment at the time)
                                    Power was supplied by a massive Rolls-Royce Griffon 83 V-12 engine developing some 2,340 h.p.
                                    The Griffon was not the most reliable of engines and the story goes that the M.B.5 was not put into
                                    production since, during a demo to Sir Winston Churchill, the Griffon failed and the old fogey (who
                                    must've been past the decision making phase by then anyway) turned his thumbs down.  More likely
                                    it was because the RAF at the time (and this was 1945 with the end of the war in sight) saw the
                                    writing on the wall for piston engined fighters and knew that 'ere long they would be an all jet force.