“I kept on reminding my pilots to keep their speed above 300 m.p.h., for ‘109’s’ could turn better than we could at low speed… The best technique was to do a spiral dive, work up to a speed of 450 m.p.h., do a straight climb and then start all over again. The ‘109’s’ on the other hand, knowing that we dived faster than they did, tried to get us up to 16,000 feet, where our Tempests were heavy and our engines sluggish.”
— Pierre Clostermann, Wing Commander, No. 122 Wing RAF
Speed – Capable of more than 400 mph on the deck the Tempest was one of the few planes fast enough to catch the German V-1 flying bombs.
Firepower – The four 20mm Hispano cannons come with an ample supply of ammunition and pack are equally effective against planes and tanks.
Energy Retention – Despite the large chin radiator, the Tempest retains energy quite well.
Climb Rate – The powerful Napier engine gives the Tempest an excellent climb rate up to 18,000 feet.
Handling – The Tempest shares similar low-speed handling problems with its sister plane, the Typhoon.
High Level Performance – Above 20,000 feet, the Tempest is totally outclassed by most of its contemporaries.
During testing of the Typhoon, it was found that the large, thick wing it used was susceptible to compressibility as speeds started to approach 500 mph. To compensate for this problem a thinner wing was designed.
Being so thin the new wing could no longer hold fuel tanks as the thicker wing could. So a new fuel compartment was designed into the fuselage, which resulted in it being extended by twenty-one inches in length. To compensate for changes in lateral stability, the horizontal stabilizer and fin were also increased in size.
Originally designated the Typhoon II, the name of the plane was soon changed to the Tempest V, the Tempest II being a version powered by an eighteen-cylinder Bristol Centaurus engine. The Tempest V Series I was fitted with Hispano Mk.II cannon, which protruded slightly from the wing. But the Series II was fitted with the shorter Hispano Mk.V cannon, which fit entirely within the wings.
Being the fastest plane in the RAF inventory at low altitudes, the Tempest was drafted into service to help defend England from the V-1 flying bombs. By war’s end, Tempests had destroyed over 800 “doodle-bugs” with about fifty-five pilots being able to claim to be “Diver” aces.