Aviation Historian 12
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M.Willis - From Swordfish to Firefly /Duncan Menzies/ (2)
A shimmering Charles E. Brown colour photograph of the prototype Firefly Trainer - the basis of the Firefly T.1 and T.2 dual-control training aircraft - in its initial B Conditions marking “F1”, which Menzies took on its maiden flight in July 1946. Subsequently registered G-AHYA for demonstrations, it became MB750 in early 1947.
63-я эскадрилья британских ВВС использовала Battle Mk I для подготовки летчиков экипажей Battle (авиабаза Бенсон, ноябрь 1939 года).
Although the Fairey Battle could deliver twice as many bombs twice as far as the types it replaced, the Hawker Hart and Hind biplane bombers, it was nevertheless easy prey for the new generation of monoplane fighters; a lesson learned the hard way during the early days of the Second World War.
When Menzies first joined Fairey he was put to work test-flying Swordfish for the company’s southern operation, flying the type regularly from the Great West Aerodrome near London during the first half of 1936. This Swordfish Mk I, K8871, operated with the RAF’s Torpedo Training Unit before joining the Royal Navy in 1941.
One of the superb photographs taken by Beken of Cowes of Swordfish K5662 during trials from Southampton Water - possibly with Menzies at the controls, as he was photographed flying it from the tidal estuary in March 1936. He had also flown it with a wheeled undercarriage from the Great West Aerodrome the previous month.
Unquestionably flawed and very unpopular with its crews (and indeed with Menzies), the Barracuda nevertheless achieved more than its many critics care to admit; it sank ships totalling some 40,000 tons in little more than ten months and heavily damaged the Tirpitz in April 1944. This Mk II, P9926, totes a torpedo complete with air-tail.
Owing its lineage to the Battle, the Fulmar two-seat naval fighter was an altogether better prospect; smaller, more agile and equipped with eight 0-303in-calibre wing-mounted machine-guns, the Fulmar acquitted itself rather better in war than its forerunner. The Mk II variant, as seen here, was fitted with a 1,300 h.p. Merlin 30 engine.
“Duncan’s Fulmar”, G-AIBE, the first production aircraft (originally N1854), which still survives and is currently on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton.
Fairey’s only foray into heavy bomber design, the Rolls-Royce Kestrel-engined Hendon was the first such cantilever monoplane to be built in Britain. The first production Hendon, K5085, seen here, was test-flown by Menzies in September 1936.
На фотографии прототип самолета Hendon. В крейсерском полете машина выглядела необычно - хвостовая часть находилась выше носовой.
The Hendon prototype, K1695, in its usual nose-down attitude during a photographic sortie with Fairey’s chief test pilot Chris Staniland at the controls. The type entered RAF service with No 38 Sqn at Mildenhall in November 1936, the Service’s 14 Hendons operating until late 1938, when they were replaced by Wellingtons.