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Aircraft Engineering THE MONTHLY SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL ORGAN OF THE AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERING PROFESSION VOL XX No 230 APRIL 1948 units in a steady ordered progress of evolution. In a sense, perhaps, the famous Supermarine Schneider Trophy seaplanes of 1929 and OLLOWING on the beating of the 100-kilometre 'closed 1931 seemed at the time to be almost belonging to the freak class, circuit' speed record, by the de Havilland Vampire and Meteor, but they now fall into place as the almost inevitable experiments Fthe Supermarine Attacker and now the D.H. 108 successively, leading to the development of a whole generation of British single- the aeroplane height record has now also come into the possession of seater fighters; with the Spitfire, of course, as the direct lineal Great Britain through a great flight by GROUP CAPTAIN JOHN descendant. In similar fashion, the de Havilland Comet, which won CUNNINGHAM in a Vampire to a height which only just fell short of the MacRobertson Trophy England-Australia race in 1934, was the 60,000 feet—a performance which has, we feel, hardly received the forerunner of the Mosquito. Again, the Vickers Wellesley—two publicity which is its due. of which set up what may well prove to be an all-time record in Practical Performance 1938 by flying i n company from Egypt to Australia when each mach ine handsomely beat the previously existing long-distance record— These, coupled with the absolute long-distance record—at present was the precursor of the Wellington and Warwick, after itself serving held by the U.S.A. with a remarkable non-stop flight from Australia for a time as an operational bomber. And one cannot conclude to America by the Lockheed Neptune 'Truculent Turtle'—are, we these musings on the history of this particular record without recalling have long felt, the most worth-while air records, as they represent the famous Fairey Long-Range Monoplane of 1929—to some of us beyond cavil the highest possible in the way of achievement in their still one of the loveliest aeroplanes ever built—which it is hardly too respective spheres, particularly in these days of high performance much to say first showed the world what a bomber could look like. in speed and range. The present regulations governing the absolute An interesting feature of the recent height-record flight was that, speed record, for example, are so out of touch with modern condi owing to its taking place in a machine normally equipped with a tions, particularly since the advent of jet propulsion, as to make the pressure cabin, the pilot was clothed merely in an ordinary suit record figure wholly artificial in view of the fact that the few extra covered with a flying overall. This was in striking contrast to the miles an hour needed to beat the previous record may easily be made specially produced pressure suit in which the pilot was encased in good by a few degrees variation in temperature—to say nothing of his Bristol aeroplane on the last occasion when the record was the ridiculously short length of the course and the dangerously low brought to this country. That machine was to some extent a varia height at which the flights have still to be made. In spite of the fact, tion from the British practice we have referred to in utilizing a more therefore, that a certain measure of the true speed of which the aero or less standard aeroplane for such feats, but at least it was not in the plane is capable is inevitably lost at the turns, we ourselves feel that same purely freak category as the Caproni which wrested the record the close-circuit record gives a far more practical and true picture of from it, to be surpassed in its turn by the Vampire. the aeroplane's performance than the other more spectacular result coming from a series of dashes backwards and forwards over a A Point for Buyers three-kilometre course. In the same way, when the long-distance record covers such a stupendous distance as 12,000 miles or more, Both the. records now held by Great Britain are of essentially it is obvious that there must be so many variations in the velocity and practical import and are therefore good not only for that elusive direction of the wind in the course of the flight that the performance quality prestige, but have a definite value in providing 'sales talk' becomes in effect that of the real capabilities of the aeroplane in still for the export market. As the heights at which air combats take place air; while so many corrections can be, and are made, to the instru continue to increase, as they show every sign of doing, a machine ment readings obtained on a height record flight that the figure which can with little modification attain 60,000 feet is clearly ex ultimately arrived at by calculation is beyond argument the true one. ceptionally suitable for operational use; while the achievement of such a speed as 565 miles an hour (by the Attacker) round a 100- It is therefore a matter for sincere satisfaction that this country kilometre closed-circuit course gives abundant evidence of outstand can claim to possess two out of the three outstanding air records. ing qualities of control and manoeuvrability. The British Way The above reflections were penned before the D.H. 108 came into Another sound reason for congratulation is that neither the the picture with its performance, on April 12th, of 605 m.p.h. round a Attacker nor the Vampire was a freak machine specially developed 100-kilometre course. This does not, however, affect the truth of our for the one occasion with no other practical purpose. The Attacker theme; since, though not itself an operational type, the D.H. 108 is was in all respects a standard fighter even to the point of carrying designed as part of a planned programme of research and is clearly armament and the only modification made from standard in the destined to be the forerunner of future fighters. There is nothing Vampire, save the removal of unnecessary equipment, was the freakish about it. fitting of slightly extended wing tips; otherwise the machine was The outstanding fact remains that Great Britain possesses at least identical with those in operational service with the British and other two fighters which in standard form have achieved speeds round a Nations' air forces. closed circuit not attainable by machines in the same class belonging Thinking back over the past it is gratifying to recall how con to any other nation; while one of them with only slight modification sistently Great Britain has made a practice of going out for aeroplane has climbed to a height which is, we believe, equally inaccessible to records not with impracticable ephemeral freak types but with other nations except with an aeroplane specially produced for this machines which, particularly in retrospect, can be seen to have been one purpose.
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 1, 1948
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