British Experimental Turbojet Aircraft


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As the Gloster Aircraft Company worked on an operational turbojet aircraft for combat, Whittle aided the Americans in their successful development of a jet prototype. Whittle retired from the RAF in with the rank of air commodore. That year, he was awarded , pounds by the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors and was knighted. His book Jet: The Story of a Pioneer was published in He died in Columbia, Maryland, in But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

However, fighting and skirmishes between England and France had been going on in North America for years. In the early s, French During an outdoor rally in Laurel, Maryland, George Wallace, the governor of Alabama and a presidential candidate, is shot by year-old Arthur Bremer. Three others were wounded, and Wallace was permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

The next day, while fighting for his life On this day in , Lieutenant Ronald Reagan, a cavalry officer, applies for reassignment to the Army Air Force, where he would eventually put his thespian background to use on World War II propaganda films. The transfer was approved on June 9, , and Reagan was given a job Sign up now to learn about This Day in History straight from your inbox.

After Congress adjourned its last meeting in Philadelphia on May 15, Adams told his cabinet to make sure Twenty-year-old Columbo had left her family home two years earlier to live with DeLuca, a year-old married man. The pair later killed Frank, Mary, and More than eight years after they intervened in Afghanistan to support the procommunist government, Soviet troops begin their withdrawal. The event marked the beginning of the end to a long, bloody, and fruitless Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Following the Festival's closure, the aircraft was presented to th Colleg of Aeronautics at ranfield in Bedfordshire. While the SR. In the United States, Convair produced their XF2Y-l Sea Dart delta-wing fighter with hydroski ,which fir t flew on 9 April , with as much genuine ambition as aunders-Roe had five year earli r. This project also ank without trace. Hawker Aircraft first flew their Hurricane monoplane fighter on 6 ovember and delivered the first production aircraft to the Royal Air Force in December Their great rivals, Supermarine, had their fir t monoplane fighter, the pitfire, airborne on 5 March and the RAF wok delivery of its first of the type in December It therefore seems rather surprising, considering how ydney amm, Hawker's Chief De igner, working in the company's Project Office at Kingston-upon-Thames, was so forward-th inking in the mids, that he did not approach the turbojet era until Specifications F.

These were the fastest singleengined fighters in service at that time, with the promise that later Sabr , Griff n and entaurus engin s would provide the aircraft with even greater performance. It wa on id red capable of bing develop d ro pr vi Ie a much greater output that would pia e it as the mo t powerful turbojet ngin in the world. It featur d th ubi -sided impell r of the Den-vent,. With an MAP contract covering the design and manufacture of prorotype engine firmly in hand, the company's Barnold wick section produced the BAO design, with an output of 4,b l,kg static thrust.

On 21 Ocrober a refined variant, the RBA1, was first bench-run, when it surpassed the company's ambitious hopes by giving an output of 5,b 2,kg thru t. The engine wa put into production in a the ene, ro power the upermarine Attacker, and ydney Camm saw it as being the ideal power plant around which to de ign Hawker's first turbojet fighter. But an agreement with the MAP and the Treasury determined that ene production would be on a limited scale, with around only 1, units being built, rhe eventual service installations of the engine being in the ttacker and the Hawker Sea Hawk, which grew out of the P programme.

The second rmstrong Whitworth AW. This was the sum rotal of rhe engine's applications in the United Kingdom. It was soon copied and put into production as the RDF, without any consideration of a licence agreement with Rolls-Royce, and a larer development by V. The P. I Airframe The first Hawker jet, the P. IOJ5 was initially a private venture. With so much of their design work in the Tempest and rhe Fury being centred around an elliptical wing with square tips, it was logical that Camm's initial thoughts for a turbojetpowered aircraft should involve a similar wing plan-form, and the P project was in essence a Fury with wing-root intakes, the cockpit positioned further forward and a long jet-pipe exhausting at the rear.

But it was already being appreciated that, with the long jet-pipe, there was a considerable loss of thrust and Hawker's drew up plans for a bifurcated jer-pipe with an outlet on each side of the fuselage, aft of the wingroot trailing edge. Camm may have entered the turbojet age behind Supermarine, but his designs were far more graceful and visually appealing. A refining of the P project brought about the P. The upper and lower centre-section surfaces of the. Wing-root intakes in either side of the leading edge centre-section supplied air to the Nene installed aft of the engine equipment bay behind rhe cockpit.

The bifurcated jet-pipes allowed the main fuel rank to be fitred between them, wirh a smaller slipper-tank situated between it and the engine's circle of combustion chambers. The rricycle undercarriage featured Hawker's familiar wide-rrack main wheels, which retracred inwards, with the nose-wheel retracting forwards into rhe nose-cone.

However, after metal had initially been cut at rhe end of , the Air Ministry opi ned that the brochure performance of the P. I did not show sufficient improvement over the Meteors in service. So far as they were concerned, the aircraft was a non-srarrer. However, the Admiralty's attitude was quite the opposire and they expressed enough enthusiasm for Specification N.

A fourth airframe was to be built for srructural testing. Hawker Aircraft were delighted, and component and sub-assembly manufacture went ahead at Kingston. From there they were to be transported to the company's large works at Langley in Buckinghamshire for final assembly. It was unpainted and minus the cockpit canopy when Hawker's Chief Test Pilot Bill Humble taxied the aircraft for the first time over the grass ailfield, seated on a Malcolm ejector seat. Systems checks were carried out but Langley only had a grass runway and the factory's future was too uncertain, due to the expansion of nearby Heathrow, for a concrete runway to be consrructed.

Therefore, with everything checked as far as possible, with the cockpit canopy installed, an overall silver finish with C-Type national markings, the obligatory yellow prototype 'P' between the. Sqn ldr Trevor 'Wimpy' Wade takes the aircraft for an early air-to-air photocall, but the jet-pipe heat shields had been modified to a 'pen-nib' shape.

First Flight VP arrived at Boscombe Down towards Ihe end of August and Bill Humble larried out more detailed raxiing rrials hdore taking the aircraft into the air for the first time on 2 September. Three days later, t he PI was transferred to Farnborough lor the continuation of test flying. Later in September, a modificarion was made to the windscreen, in that it was lhanged to a flat surface, to alleviate the distortion encountered during early flights. A bullet fairing was fitted at rhe tntersection of the fin and tailplane in order to raise rhe critical Mach number.

As the SBAC Display was held at Radlett, as in the previous year, the testing was not compromised by Farnborough heing taken over for the annual event and, in fact, it was in September , when the RAE's airfield was first used for the Display, that VP made its first public appearance. By that time the first PI was viewed principally as a research vehicle to esrablish the type as a suitable RN fighter.

The second and third prototypes, VP and VP, were fully 'navalized', with folding wings, cannon armament, arrester hook, plus a name, Sea Hawk. VP41J also undertook carrier landing trials on HMS Illustrious, bur rhe development of rhe Sea Hawk into an op rational aircraft falls outside the sphere of this narrative.

One month later, with its work in rhe N. It was disassembled for going by road to Boscombe Down where, after reassembly and taxiing trials, it was given its maiden flight in the hands of Trevor Wade on 19 November. The second PI, VX, followed five months later. It too went to Boscombe Down, from where Wade made the first flight on 13 April The statute miles km were flown in 21 minutes 27 seconds, giving an average speed of A Catalogue of Mishaps P.

I While P trials were proceeding through , Hawker began construction of their first aircraft for research into the aerodynamics of swept wings. As the PI design concept was firmly established, the new aircraft featured an identical fuselage and tail assembly. A new wing had a degree sweep on its leading edge and deeper, but shorter, air inrakes for the proposed Nene RN. The first. They found the aircraft pleasant to fly, with good acceleration at high altitude. Towards the end of September , VX suff red a failure of the fuel pUlTlp drive and the resultant forced landing.

It had fully folding wings and provision for an arrester hook, which was installed at a later date than this photograph. When it was initially flown, in , it was in an overall metal finish, with service roundels but no fin flashes; later it was pBinted in Fleet Air Arm colours. Test flying was re umed, but on 24 July a partial undercarriage failure during landing put the aircraft back into the works for another repair, which took over a year.

On its first flight following completion of the repair, a failure of the undercarriage retraction system resulted in VX having to be repaired for the third time. Tests on the tructural airframe had indicated that a trengthening of the wing spar and main spar fuselage frames should be implemented, This was applied to VX Also, it had been the intention for some time to. I, but this had been a rather protracted affair and it had not been introduced so far. The future career of VX is described und r 'P. I0 1', see p. The long-stroke undercarriage 01 os developed for production Sea Hawks were.

For the trial the aircraft acquired the thencurrent Royal avy colour scheme of ea Grey and Duck-egg Green. However, on completion of its association with the avy, a swept tailplane was at last in tailed and the aircraft went to RAE Farnborough for flight trials. These continued over a three-month period, until VX once again became the victim of a cra h landing and, although repairs were put in hand, the aircraft' u eful flying days had come to an end. On completion of the repairs, VX was given the Instructional Airframe number M, to spend a can iderable time at both Cardington and.

The manufacturcrs themselves had examined the rocket-rropelled idea and had dcsigned such an aircraft under the designation PI But again, the abscncc of a suitable rockct motor brought about the canccllation of thc project. Colerne in this capacity. Aftcr numerous revi ions to its paint finish, it reverted to its VX serial before being passed to Cosford's Aerospace Museum, as it was known in the s. I Hawk r erwinl got goo 1 mileage out of their original.

In whcr , the MAP had intimated an inter'st in having the Pl04 pow red hy a ro kct motor, although no su h row 'f plant xisted and the idea was. In , Armstrong iddeley began work on a rocket motor, with a de igned output of 2,lb 90 kg thrust. Designated the nader A n. The Snarler was viewed as an auxiliary powcr ource to increase an aircraft's rate of climb, and not as a prime mover. Three-view of P. Three-view olthe P. The first P. VP returned to Kingston in eptember for this work to be put in hand. The rocket motor was installed in the rear fuselage extrem ity, under the tail assembly.

The fin area was increased but the rudder was actually reduced. An external rear-view mirror placed above the windscreen enabled the pilot to monitor the rocket motor's activity. A Revised Fuel System New internal fuel tanks were installed. Together, the new tanks reduced the aircraft's kerosene capacity by about 50 per cent. I was replaced by an RN. The plumbing for the Snarler was routed in an external under-fuselage pipe, covered by a fairing that gave the appearance of the aircraft having a ventral keel. The rocket motor's endurance was 2. As such, the ai rcraft had it maiden flight on 16 ovember on the power of the ene alone, to be ferried to Armstrong iddeley's test facility at Bitteswell in Leicestershire.

On 2 ovember, the Snarler was fired in flight for the first time, giving the aircraft a dramatic increase in climbing speed. Hawker's CTP, 'Wimpy' Wade and his assistant, Sqn Ldr Nevi lie Duke, both flew the aircraft three times before, on 19 January , when Duke was relighting the narler the unit exploded, setting the tail unit on fire.

The pilot immediately shut the rocket motor down and made an emergency landing at Bitteswell on the power of the ene. Inspection of the damage howed it not to be as severe as feared and a repair was completed in just over a month. But during this time, official policy on rocket motors had changed.

The reheat abilities of turbojet engines had been developed to a point where they were a much more viable proposition, and no further finance was forthcoming for the PI 72 project. Consequently, the narler was never used again and VP4 1 had three years of unproductive flying on Nene power, together with being a rather pointless static exhibit at the BAC Display, before being scrapped in the autumn of The principal improvement over the latter was the Tay's reheat facility, which was foreseen as providing 20 per cent more power.

Furthermore, its construction made much more usc of magnesium alloys, in order to reduce the all-upweight. With the Tay having reheat, Hawker's bifurcated jet exhausts had to go, so a new layout for VXZ79 involved a completely new fuselage aft of revised wing fairings,.

The whole revision was accomplished in six months and, as this was well in advance of Rolls-Royce's progress with the Tay, VX retained its Nene R. The former second prototype P 2 now became the Hawker P and it followed the well-worn path to Boscombe Down, resplendent in an overall glossy pale green colour scheme.

Trevor Wade gave the aircraft its first flight on 19 June and development test flying proceeded at a concentrated pace, with just a week's break to have a daily flying slot at that year's BAC Display. However, with their Australian aspirations ended, Ilawker was forced to terminate the Pl programme and VX was handcd over to R E Farnborough in January , to further the Establishment's highMach-number trials. Hawker were only five months away from having the first prototype PI completed; therefore VX could not contribute anything to that programme - the PlO67 became the Ilumer, so the company was not exactly on the bread-line when the Australian cancellation was announced.

Hawker's first aircraft with all its flying surfaces swept was VX, the P. On 3 April , the aircraft crashed and Trevor Wade was killed in the accident. He had ejected, but. Improving the Performance Although the installed ene's thrust was well below the design output of 6,b 2,kg envisaged for the Tay, VX was attaining Mach 0. This was an improvement of 40 per cent over the leteor F.

British Experimental Turbojet Aircraft

It wa considered that this would be sufficient to keep Australian intere t alive. Flight testing indicated that directional tability could benefit from an increase in fin area, and a modification was made that faired the fin trailing edge into the fuselage rear end, above the jet-pipe outlet. Large wing fence were fitted to the wing top surface at approximately 6 per cent span, to cure airflow turbulence over the outer wing. Thr d, ys earlier, it had landed at Heathrow for a fuel 'top-up' as seen here, prior to flying to Mael bru k, th n Antwerp.

The reason for VX's loss ha never been per cent e tablished. Observers heard a sonic boom just before the aircraft came into view, so it is believed that a transonic dive was being flown. Following Wade's ejection, with the weight of the pilot, seat and canopy gone, the drag generated by the open. So ended Hawker's preliminary steps in the era of the turbojet. That the Hunter was the eventual resounding success that it was is due in no small measure to the data obtained from the earlier aircraft.

But like too many other aviation project over the year, it had a human cost. In its final configuration with wing fences. VX is flown by 'Wimpy' Wade. One aircraft built as private venture. Span 31 ft 6in 9. I Ill' company ir W. In the company became member of the newly formed Hawker I klc1cy Aircraft Co. Ltd wgether with Il. With the Gloster Aircraft ' Factory space was built and with thi, additional facility the company was ,hlc to produce larger aircraft in larger numbers. Smalll'r aircraft such as the Siskin and Atlas wcre supplied in quanti ty to the R F.

Then, when Specification B.

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AWA's next indigenous design was the AWAI Albermarle, whose production was affected by a shortage of materials, but was nevertheless the fir t Briti h operational aircraft to be equipped with a tricycle undercarriage. Laminar Flow The company had established a r putation for being prepared to tackle the unorthodox aspects of aviation, fostered by their pioneering work in the development of all-metal aircraft, involving the use of high-ten ile steel.

It was this reputation that brought AWA, in the early s, into the research being conducted by the Royal Aircraft Establishm nt concerning airflow over the wings of high-speed monoplanes. The term 'laminar flow' was coined, meaning the design of wing sections that had a larg percentage of their urface free from turbulence. To further this, it was found that the wing section was only as good as it sUlface finish.

AWNs Chief Designer, John Lloyd, expressed his desire to de ign and construct a full-size wing portion and in ovember , the Directorate of cientific Research 0 R department at the MAP awarded a ontraet to the company to cover this work. The wing portion would be passed to the National Physi al Laboratory NPL for wind-tunnel te ts and when these were made, the re ult proved to be very promising.

Profile drag was reduced to 50 per cent of normal value, with laminar flow being maintained over nearly 60 per cent of the chord. A Flying-Wing Bomber The company wanted to put the principle into practice. This would be a flying-wing of ft 6. On the approach. With the crew compartment, weapons bay and engines designed to be buried within th wing, it was considered prudent to evaluate the handling of such a profile by building a one-third scale glider, allocated type number AW. During the bomber' design development, the wing pan was reduced to ll2ft However, the end of World War Two brought about a vast rash of cancellations throughout the aircraft industry and Armstrong Whitworth's flying-wing bomber was included, mainly becau e it was considered too radical a design.

These use a system of ducts in the wing and va uum pumps to improve the airflow. A test wing was fitted on Meteor F. Reluctantly it was decided that the wing did not totally fulfil Professor Griffith's expectations. A small windmill was attached to the leading edg of each mainwheel leg fairing, to drive the pumps thar would generate boundary-layer suction, through a serie of slots in the wing's upper surface, just ahead of the elevons.

The wing it elf had an area of sq ft 4l. The serial RG was only carried on the port side of the wing's upper lurface. The apparatus behind the port trailing edge recorded data on airflow over the wing at various I. BonoM: The first AW. Flying Trials However, the evaluation of laminar-flow wing sections was considered an ongoing piece of research and, although the PL tests had given encouragement, it was thought necessary to confirm them in practice. The company designed and manufactured a set of test wings, which were fitted as replacements for the aircraft's standard outboard ones.

The very comprehensive flight-te t programme that he and hi a istant, F. Midgley, flew was augmented by several RAE test pilot, to confirm that in practice the findings of the PL wind-tunnel tests were not entirely dependalle. Each slight undulation in the wing's surface had to be filled and carefully rubbed down. The everyday adhesion of insects and the dirt that prevailed in the industrial Midlands, which had never before been considered, now took on a far greater importance, for they were found to reduce the wing's laminar-flow characteristics by a con ideralle margin.

A satisfactory answer to the e problems had to be sought, if the tests were to be continued. Griffiths had designed a. The two small windmills supplied the drive to pumps that generated boundary-layer suction through slots in the wing upper surface. The AW. Financing the project was a big issue 0, in the interests of economy, the glider wa con tructed mainly of plywood and spruce. The wing kinning material was a bonding of 22 WG dural sheeting to plywood, called 'Plymax'. The in-tandem two-seater cockpit for the pilot and observer had a raised, well-glazed canopy.

The vertical. The whole aircraft was finished with a glossy grey top surface and yellow underside. C-Type military and prototype markings were carried, with the erial number RG pOSitioned on the port wing' upper sUlface only, adjacent to the canopy. The company u ed the base for the assembly and test flying of licence-built Lancaster bombers.

The completed AW. I' ng. A maiden release was 1l. In fact, durIIlg its whole eight-year life, the only modIIGuion required was a reduction of the Ievon control-ratio gearing. Test flying of RG was carried out lorn both Bitteswell and Baginton. Test llights of this duration were able to supply I large amount of data. Exposure to the elements wa far from perfect for the glider and its wooden structure was sorely affected. Three-view of the second AW. Three-view of the AW. Although the glider made a very valuable contribution to the low-speed characteristics of the flying-wing concept, it was obvious that a larger, powered aircraft would be required to enlarge the test-flying envelope.

While still hanging onto the civil airliner as a viable design, AWA would be unable to finance such a project and Treasury backing was not available. An aircraft with a wingspan of at least ft SOm would be required, because it was only at this size that the wing could be deep enough to enclose the passenger accommodation. However, officialdom's interest in the design was not completely dead. The Ministry of Supply issued Specification E.

AWA considered that they stood a better chance of the whole project going through. Aeroplane BElOW:. Il',lCquainted with terra firma. I ,ur days later, the aircraft had its sect tllght and this nearly ended in disasI. Whitehall smiled broadly! The design, given the company number W. As the two research aircraft were to be only about half the ize of the proposed airliner, it could not be a pure flying-wing.

The two-man crew would have to be situated in a central nacelle, with the centrifugalflow engine in bulged housings, whereas in the airliner design everything and everybody was carried in the wing. Therefore, to the purists, the AW. The wing's construction followed the pattern e tablished with the PL test section, in being built from the outside inwards. The engineers on the shop floor took time to get used to drawings showing the spar booms decreasing in hord but increasing in thickness, as they progressed towards the tips.

British Experimental Turbojet Aircraft Revised edition

But construction proceeded at a creditable pace, considering the unorthodox design. A large constant-chord Fowler flap extended the full length of the centre-section, with two semi-circular ducts to accommodate the engine jet-pipes. Generously sized elevons that could operate in unison or differentially, were fitted, and each wing tip blended upwards into an elliptical fin, carrying a rudder that was bia ed to operate over a range of 1 degrees inwards and 3 degrees outward.

In a tailless aircraft, the change of trim required when the flaps are lowered has to be counteracted. On the glider and the. The nose-down pitching moment that occurred when the flap was lowered was automatically corrected by the 'corrector' moving upwards. These movements were approximately 4 degrees upwards, when the flap was down at the 2 degrees required for take-off and a further 2 degrees was required when the flar was lowered for landing.

The 'correctors' were also able to be operated independently over a range of 6 degrees for longitudinal trim when the flap was not in use. Eight fuel tanks, two in each centreection outboard of the engines and two in each outer wing section, holding a total of 1,gal 2,Itr , gave a de igned operating range of2, I00 miles 3,km. The pressurized crew compartment, with its long, glazed canopy, was off-set to port of the centreline. T was rolled out from the Baginton assembly shop on I April and initial taxiing was conducted on the airfield's grass runway.

Then, as if to nullify all the care taken during its manufacture, the aircraft was dismantled and taken by road for static display at that year' BAC Di play, being held at Radlett. It was reassembled for the event, then on 12 eptember, with the display over, TS was again dismantled for transportation to Boscombe Down. During these, it became noticeable that the aircraft was very ensitive in pitch. In spite of these problematphenomena, a considerable number of hour, were flown by the aircraft and it is.

A Pair, for a While T was joined by the second aircraft, T , at that event. It had made its maiden flight from Baginton on 1 September, but because it had not completed the ten hours in the air that was required before an aircraft could be included in the flying programme, it flew down to Farnborough to appear as a static exhibit. The two aircraft had the same overall glossy white finish, and apart from the serial number, the only way to tell them apart was the more oval shape of the Derwent's air intakes on TS The two aircraft were subjected to a concentrated test flight programme for eight months after their Farnborough outings.

He quickly descended to 3,ft m without there being any. The second prototype, TS, was fully painled when il had ils roil-oul photo session in September although the external markings were restricted to the serial and prototype circle, as it was thought thaI roundels on the wings might affect their laminar-flow properties. AUlhor's collection.

First Flight The Finish Both the Hurricane and the glider had illustrated that a satisfactory laminar flow could only be achieved if the outer skin surface was unmarked. Every precaution was taken during the construction of the two AW. During the building of the aircraft, thi fabric was partly lifted where drilling wa required and was not fully removed until each prototype had been fully assembled. To maintain this smoothne s, both AW. S2s were painted overall one colour white and national markings were omitted, as it was considered that these could affect the airflow.

Just the serial number.


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A couple of short hops were accidentally made during the taxiing when the nose had not been lowered in time. It was a twitchy aircraft and adjustment had to be made to the control settings, as cutting the engines had been the only means of getting the nose down after uncontrollable lifting occurred. The e were sati factorily completed during the second week of ovember, so that on the 13th, the company's new CTP, Eric Franklin, gave T a maiden flight that lasted twenty minutes.

Large all-wing aircraft showed a reluctance. The principal damage to the aircraft was generated by the two enes being torn from their mounting. These trials were conducted at a very leisurely pace for over three years, before the whole programme was discontinued. The Curtain is Lowered TS36 remained at Farnborough until March and was occasionally flown, but not for any specific trial.

The stability and control of taille s aircraft were not fully improved until the advent of the artificial stabilizer that is now commonplace. Limitations By this time, the whole flying-wing airliner project had be n discarded and, as TS was still airworthy to continue general research into the handling of flying wing, TS was scrapped. AWA continued trials with the aircraft until October , when it was as igned to RAE Farnborough, to assist in their laminar flow research.

During these trials, airflow plotting was monitored by praying a thin film of chemical over various portions of the wings. To assi t in this programme, designated portion were paint d black, so that the chemical stain showing its flow and therefore the airflow over that. Specification F. Tooling-up also began for the IIltity production of the RAF's fir t turt Il't fighter, as the company wa conIllled that the prototypes would confirm II potential of their design. Gloster's project offi e had drawn III' a single-engined fighter design, based Oil the assumption that turbojet thrust Olltput were bound to improve.

One aircrah built initially as a private venture, but operated as part of Specification E. TS 9,b 8,kg empty, 34, lb 5,kg loaded; nS 1 9, b 8,kgl empty, 33,b 15,1 04kg loaded. TS 45,h 13,ml; maximum range 2, miles 3,km. The Contingency Design Because of the engine situation, the comI'any approached the MAP early in , lsking if their new design could be con idered as a contingency plan again t the engine manufacturer's further lapse in supplying power plants for their F. The Ministry welcomed the uggestion and Specification E. The fact that th peclfication had an 'E' prefix empha ized the MAP's consideration that the design was dn experimental aircraft, but it was a start, which had official approval.

As things turned out, both engine manufacturers delivered fl ight engines, as did M tropolitan Vickers, and the F. Nevertheless, Gloster's de ign team forged ahead, refining their single-engined project and de Havilland's H. With the Meteor having been put into large-scale production in the summer of , the MAP started having reservations as to whether the E. They put forward the suggestion that Armstrong Whitworth, being a fellow Hawker Siddeley Group member, could be better placed to handle detailed design work.

Thi did not go down at all well at Gloster Aircraft: as they were quick to point out, they had more turbojet aircraft experience than the rest of the industry put together. Refinements Galore The Group was fortunate in having the Iynamic Sir Frank priggs as it Chairman and he left the Ministry in no doubt that it was a Gloster project and that company should see it through.

Two months later, officialdom reluctantly conceded and the E. At the altitude forecast, a pressurized cockpit was es ential and it wa considered that the H. Despite the 20mm cannon installation indicated in the design pelforman e figure, which would be ited under the front fuselage, no E.

A Gloster received a contract for the manufacture of three prototypes, given the serial numbers N , N and N Of these, NN would be purely an aerodynamic test airframe, with no inbuilt provision for further development. The company's experimental works were based at Bentham, some 3 miles east of the main Hucclecote site. It was here that the majority of F. However, modifications and refinement to the deSign kept pouring out from the design office to uch an extent that by the pring of , the aircraft was a va tly different one from that originally projected.

It was considered that the aircraft now had Iittle resemblance to the requirement laid down in pecification E. The New Aircraft During the two years of E.

British Experimental Turbojet Aircraft by Barry Jones | Book

This was due to be ben h-run for the first time in ctobel' , but even before that, all indicators pointed to the Nene being potentially the most powerful turbojet in the world at that time. This prophecy was substantiated in November , when the engine was type-tested at 5,b 2,kg. The H. Also by this time, rhe BAC had issued a standardization of numb ring throughout rhe industry.

The e weI' prefixed with a lerreI' denoting the company, which in the case of Glo tel' was 'G', and each company would designate an alphabetical character. Development of an original design would be indicated by a number, starting with 'I' so that, under the new system, the E. Victims of Development With all the revisions, the ene as the engine plus a stream of specifi ation modification that seemed to change almost very week, the two airframes already on Bentham's shop floor, SM and M OS, got to a stage where it was impossible to in orporate all th desired alterations.

Consequently, all work on these aircraft was suspended and the third aiIframe, M 09, became the first prototype E. The construction of this aircraft commenced in the autumn of All were to be powered by a ingle RollsRoy e Nene R. A year later, two pr -production contracts were i ued to the company, each covering the building of tw nty additional aircraft. These preproduction aircraft would receive the company de ignation GA.

To i1lu trate the vacillations of the Ministries of that era, barely a we k after receiving the second pre-production contract, Gloster was informed that it had been canc Iled. Serials VRl64 to VR died with the cancellation, never to reappear. Then fate took a hand. Besides the destru linn of the two Sup rmarine B.

When the second prototype was completed it showed that, compared with SM, the rudder had been modified by the removal of the horn balance. One wonders what a Dutch Harvard was doing at Moreton Valence! RIGHT: This close-up view of the second prototype's rear end shows the modified rudder and the anti-spin parachute housing between it and the Nene's jet-pipe. The secnnJ airframe, TX, now became the offilial first prototype and work on it uJIlstruction was accelerated so that only eight months later, at the beginning of March , it was ready to follow it predecessor's road to Boscombe Down - with the aim of making the whole journey intact this time.

The official photographs were taken before its departure, with the aircraft resplendent in an overall silver fini h, with I he. M 09's construction was afforded very little priority and it was three years later, in July , before it was rolled out from the a sembly shop. However, the GA2 as a production aircraft under the. The all-metal fu lage consisted offive sub-assemblies and the wings, with a single high-tensile-steel main spar, were designed in four sections.

C-Type service markings and the obligatory prototype 'P'. Its physical appearance was identical to M 09's, apart from the absence of the rudder horn balance carried on the first aircraft, and the erial. Both wings and tailplane, each with straight, tapered edges, were mid-set on the fuselage. The main wheels retraced inwards into housings within each wing and the nose-wheel retracted rearwards into the nose.

An internal fuel capacity of gal l,Itr was carried in fuselage tanks. A 'Bill' Waterman. He had joined the company nvo years previously for development test flying, and thi was hi first prototype sortie. He expressed general ati faction wirh the aircraft's handling, and in ubsequent flight TX confirmed the company's design performance figures.

New Tail However, as the trials envelope was extended, the handling started to generate criticism and close att ntion to the problem seemed to indicate that the tailplane was. A model of a newly de igned tail assembly was tested in a Farnborough wind tunnel and the results confirmed rhat the new configuration would cure the handling problem. A bullet fairing at the inter ection smoothed the airflow around the area. The aircraft, which wa the second prototype but the third ailframe, was completed by January and, with company confidence restored, was taken by road to the A EE's airfield to make a successful maiden flight.

Besides the new tail unit, TX differed from TXI45 by having slightly larger air intakes and a braking parachute housing that extended well aft of the jet tailpipe. The external finish wa the same a it predecessor's apart from the national markings, which had reverted to the pre-war evenrhicknes red, white and blue roundels, together with even-thickness tail markings.

The n w tail made a huge difference. The handling was found to be 0 uperior and the new assembly 0 succe ful, right from the first take-off, that it was decided to introduce it into the Meteor production line. The M teor T. Ts fuselage was 30in 76cm longer than earlier mark " whi h enhan ed longitudinal stability compared with the FA. The F. But, n e the fuel in this tank had been used and th ammunition bay emptied, pitch ontrol. TX undergoing ground-running trials, with the parachute on the tarmac possibly indicating a forthcoming flight.

The new E. The preceding aircraft, rolled out with F. Adapting the unit for the Meteor made such an improvement ro that type that the GA. Furthermore, it was considered that the Meteor had a far greater development potential than the GA. The first GA. Therefore, with the typ , future a a Service fighter now virtually non-exi tent, TX was transferred ro the RAE in mid-December Two months later, on 14 February , TX joined it at Farnborough, where the two aircraft were used by the Esrabli hment for a variety of trials programmes, which included flying control systems res ar h and the testing of numerous braking parachutes.

SuperDlarine E. Philip Jarrett. It was taken by road to the ollege, in th sectional state that existed after the structural test programme, and remained in this condition for several year. By th n, the College had no further in tructional u e for the ections and TX wa eventually crapped. Rolls-Royce had starting developing it first axial-flow turbojet, the AJ.

The MAP suggested ro Gloster in the same year that the new engine might be used as the power plant for the E. However, the redesign work necessary co produce an Avon-powered E. Designated the GA. But in ovember , before TX d parted ro Farnborough, work on TX was terminated and the airframe, in an advanced state of construction, was used for structural testing. The Final Ignominy On 2 ovember , TX had a fla meout while being flown by an RAE pilot who brought it down for a crash-landing, from which it sustained slight damage, which was repaired within two month.

Then on 10 January , the aircraft suffered a powerful shimmy of the nose-wheel as embly and this more or less proved the end so far as the RAE' use for the two aircraft was concerned. There they joined several other distingui h d airfram s that rogether representd tens of thousands of hours of technical endeavour, CO become targets, proving the efficiency of armaments of the tim. Mitchell on 1 L June , he I ccame responsible for developing the But before this, mith had turned his attention ro the new source of power that had been born in Britain through the endeavours of Frank Whittle.

Supermarine were asked to design a new fighter around the engine co Specification E. They obliged and the RBAl, later named the Nene, came inro existence. Supermarine's fight 1', built ro revised pecification E.

L, in june By the end of , the British Air taff started to realize that the K was lagging behind in experience with high-speed turbojet aircraft, at an ever-increasing and alarming rate. They saw the adaptation of. Span 36ft TX14B 12ft 1in 36Bm. Three aircraft partially built to Specification E. NN and NN The volumes of research data gleaned from the defeated German aircraft industry in were eagerly grasped by both the United tates and the US R. The principle of swept-wing flying surfaces was seized upon by the two power so enthu iastically that the oviet Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau - taking advantage of Britain's gift of a quantity of ene engines - had a prototype MiG-IS airborne by 2 July ,.

When rolled out a the first prototype Type VV had a sharply pointed nosecone. It showed. Together with a lip-stall tendency at low specds, it conIlrIned that thc aircraft was in nccd of a tully powcred control systcm. On 16 March L, Lithgow made a wheels-up forced landing at Boscombe I own and the trials programmc was tcmporarily suspended until 10 May, when the repairs had been completed. Also early in I he programme, the cockpit canopy became llctached in flight and modifications were made to the hood jettison mechanism.

These involved the fitting of an Attacker's front engine mounting, plus a redesigning of the boundary layer bleed louvres above and below the intakes, while the cockpit ventilation system was removed just in case thi too affected the intake airflow. Boscombe Down pilors also disliked the tail-wheel undercarriage and voiced their opinion that the aircraft needed a tricycle undercarriage, a well as improved elevator control. Deck-landing Trials During the late summer of , VV was modified for deck-landing trial and evaluation reque ted by the Admiralty, to assess swept-wing aircraft as potential Fleet Air Arm FAA fighters.

A tandard A-frame arrester hook was installed, the undercarriage main-wheel doors were removed and provision made for four Rocket Assisted Take-Off RAT units at the wing-root trailing edge, one above and below on each side. The increase of lb 27 kg in all-up-weight wa not considered enough to affect the take-off performance. The cockpit hood was a Iso changed from the Attacker-type blown canopy to a heavily-framed unit, and the pointed nose-conc was removcd. Colquhoun delivered it to RAE Farnborough ix day later to begin a three-month trial programme. Thi included simulated.

Aeroplane RIGHr. The early horn-balanced tailplane is visible. The E. Both companies received contracts to cover the building of two prototype of their respective swept-wing design, with upermarine's offerings being all cated serial numbers VV and VV1 J 9. The Start Hursley Park, outside Winche tel', wa the company's experimental establishment and the foundations of both prototypes had been laid down there by the end of Type number wa given to the project but, although half the design was in existence as the Attackcr, work already.

On 29 December , Lithgow made his first prototyp maiden flight when he lifted VV off Boscombe Down's vast runway. In appearance, the Type 51 was an Attacker with all the flying surfaces swept back. Only the main wheel ' oleo pivot angle was altered to compcnsate for the wing sweep. An anti-spin parachute was carried in a blister fairin o on the upper rear fuselage, aft of the rudder. The fini h was overall natural metal and only the national markings produced any comment, as the fuselage carried the wartim C-Type roundels and fin flash, while on the wings post-war D-Type roundel , reintr duced around , were applied.

A po ible explanation could b that the fu elag , tog ther with the tail unit, cam straight off the Attacker line and had already received its markings, whereas the wing were specially constructed items. For the deck-landing trials on HMS Illustrious in November , VV had its undercarriage doors removed and an A-frame arrester hook installed, as well as provision for a Rocket Assisted Take-Off unillo b filled on each side, aft of the wing root. The aircraft was cleared for operations using the four rocket units and on November, Lt J. Elliott RN approached HM Illustrious to make the world's first landing of an aircraft with swept-back flying surfaces onto a carrier.

Take-offs were achieved using only two rockets and the following day the naval trials were completed with drama, as Lt Cdr Parker encountered asymmetric thrust when the R TO unit on one side failed to provide full power and VV I 6 swung violently, so that a wingtip struck the top of one of the vessel's gun turrets. The flying skills that had gained the pilot admission into the ranks of A EE aircrew enabled the take-off to be satisfactorily completed. In anticipation of an afterburner being installed though this never came to fruition - the tail-cone outer skin was cut back by over 12in 30cm , which had the Nene's jet-pipe protruding aft more noticeably than on the first aircraft.

It went by road to Boscombe Down for Lithgow to take it into the air for the first time, on 27 March, but within six weeks it was back at Hursley Park to start a. Supermarine stood their ground, however, and a retractable twin-tailwheel unit was retained, to act as a bumper during high-angle-of-attack take-offs and landing. When thi was eventually installed, it created an unacceptable weight penalty and proved to be unreliable, so it was soon discarded. The cannon installation was not, however, carried forward to the production fighter.

While upplementary perforated airbrakes were mounted on the wing's upper surfaces for evaluation, the scheme was abandoned as it wa found that the new wing flap. Having first been flown on 27 March as the second Type , three months later Wl19 was converted into the prototype Type , complete with a tricycle undercarriage and provision for reheat to be installed at a later date.

The heavily framed cockpit hood as fitted on VVI06 was applied to the Type and in thi form, with a natural-metal finish, VV made its second maiden flight from Boscombe Down on 23 August Thirteen days later, it was flown to Farnborough to participate in the SBAC Display flying programme, alongside Hawker's all-swept flying surfaces representative, the P. For the film The Sound Barrier, in which Dave Morgan did the flying, Wl19 assumed the fictitious n8me 'Prometheus'; by this time it had acquired a dorsal extension to its fin. AuthOr's collection. Further Development and Stardom Post-Farnborough, VV flew for a period with wing fences, to investigate their effect during speed checks conducted at various altitudes up to 35, OOft II, OOm , but they were removed following the completion of the trials.

In October , upermarine production test pi lot qn Ldr David Morgan took over responsibility for VVl19's further development. A long dorsal fairing that increased its effective area wa fitted to run from the fin leading edge. VVl06, loaded 12,b 5. Two aircraft built to Specification E. Flying was undertaken by Morgan, together with other company pilots, in the airborne sequences of the film, which was a seriou attempt to portray flight at transonic speed before fully powered controls and variabl -incidence tailplanes became standard. However, the film's advocated pushing forward of the controls in order to pull out of a transonic dive did extend 'artistic licenc 'to its limits!

While being unorthodox, the arrangem nt worked successfully and was appr v d by 1I the pilot. With thi modiJi ati n, W became the Supermarine Type , to remain as such for the next eighteen months until, on 17 January , it wa grounded and, as In tru tional Airfram M, it went to RAF Halton as an engineering apprentice's airframe.

The orth American F had featured a variable incidence VI tailplane from the outset and upermarine's design office were of th opinion that the Type 's general handling could be improved by such a unit. Furthermore, it would be another step along the road to developing the wift as a Service aircraft. In July WI06 was returned to upermarin , who had evolved an unconventional way of providing a VI installation on the existing airframe.

A new hinged rear fuselage, capable of arcing through 4 degrees above and below the datum line, was installed, with the tailplane attached to the moveabl tail-cone. The hing point was on a line with the rudder hinge and, as the jet-pipe also moved with the rear end, a. Enter the Fireflash Following its film debut, VV uffered a crash landing early in , while engaged on airbrake trials. Being a robust airframe, repairs only took a few week and by midMarch it was back in the air.

As already stated, upper wing-surface brakes originally incorporated in the Type conversion were discarded in favour of reinforced main flap, to operate in a dual capacity a airbrakes. This was a reasonable compromi e for test-flying purposes but was not acceptable for an operational fighter. The age of the air-to-air missile dawned in the early and on 2 May , W l19 started trials to evaluate th aerodynamic effects of carrying the Fairey Fireflash. Devel ped under the codename Blue Sky, this was the first British air-to-air missile, but it was a rather cumbersome-looking weapon by today' tandard and did.

The warhead carrier was situated between a pair of solid-fuel booster motors situated abov and below its body. These were jettisoned on burning out, to leave the missile to ride on a pencil-thin radar beam projected by the carrying aircraft towards its target; thi was considered uperior to anything el that came into service for several years. Various combinations of the dummy missile were tried, to obtain data on the aircraft's general handling and mano uvrability whil carrying them on hort underwing pylons.

Flight tests were carried out up to Mach 0. The actual evaluation of the Fireflash as an operational weapon and the Swift as its carrier was made by the fir t production prototype WJ, which made a great contribution to the Swift programme a a whole. This aircraft, however, was built to pecification F.

Test flying with VV ended in

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