Конкурс среди машин легкой авиации, проводимый британской газетой "Дейли Мейл" в 1923 году, стал толчком к созданию ведущими производителями авиатехники ряда необычных маленьких самолетов. Целью было создание дешевого легкого самолета, простого в обслуживании
и полете и доступного любому "человеку с улицы". Gloster Gannet был одностоечным бипланом со складным крылом, имевшим деревянную конструкцию с полотняной обшивкой. Шасси было неубирающимся, с хвостовым костылем, а открытая кабина размещалась под верхним крылом, заднюю секцию центроплана которого пришлось сделать складывающейся, чтобы пилот мог занять свое место. В силовой установке использовался специально созданный двухтактный двигатель Carden, из-за перегрева которого пришлось отказаться от участия в конкурсе. В 1924 году Carden заменили двигателем Blackburn Tomtit мощностью 7 л. с. (5,2 кВт), с которым самолет пролетал до списания в 1929 году.
Тип: сверхлегкий биплан
Силовая установка: один 2-цилиндровый двигатель Carden объемом 750 см1
Летные характеристики: максимальная скорость 105 км/ч у земли; посадочная скорость 56 км/ч; дальность полета 225 км
Масса: пустого 128 кг; максимальная взлетная 186 кг
Размеры: размах крыла 5,49 м; длина 5,03 м; высота 1,83 м; площадь крыла 9,57 м'
Flight, October 1923
THE GLOUCESTERSHIRE "GANNET" LIGHT 'PLANE.
750 c.c. Two-Cylinder Two-Stroke Engine.
THE light 'plane designed by Mr. H. P. Folland, chief engineer and designer to the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company, Ltd., for the competitions at Lympne, is a very neat little biplane with folding wings and two-cylinder two-stroke air-cooled engine, specially designed and built for this machine. The machine is well shown in the accompanying scale drawings and photographs, from which it will be seen that the design follows along orthodox lines.
The fuselage is of the ply-wood covered type, with fiat sides, but a fairly deep deck fairing, consisting of spruce stringers on light formers and covered with fabric, is employed, as well as a shallower fairing underneath the bottom of the fuselage. Attached to the lower longerons of the fuselage is a bottom centre section, which remains in place when the wings are folded. A top centre section is carried on four streamline tubular struts, of which the rear pair is vertical in side view, although raked outward, as seen from in front.
The wings are of standard construction, and of fairly thick section. The spars are I-section, spruce beams, and the ribs have spruce flanges and struts, with cut-out three-ply webs. The drag bracing is in the form of solid, circular-section wire and the bays are kept very short, so that, although the distance between the spars is not great, the angle of the wires is very good. Streamline steel tube struts separate the upper and lower wings, and the bracing, which is arranged in the usual way, is in the form of streamline wires.
As already mentioned, the wings are designed to fold back, the rear spars being hinged to the rear spars of the top and bottom centre sections, with quick release locking-pin arrangements on the front spars. In order to fold the wings, the trailing edge of the top centre section is folded upwards and that of the bottom centre section downwards, when the wings are free to fold back along the fuselage, as shown in one of the illustrations. The whole operation can be performed very quickly. The tail is of usual form, consisting of a wire-braced fixed tail plane with divided elevator, and of a triangular fin, to which is hinged the rudder. Both rudder and elevators are of the unbalanced type.
The pilot's cockpit is immediately under the top centre section, and access to it is facilitated by folding up the trailing edge, which is pulled down and locked in position once the pilot is on board. The controls are of usual type.
The engine, as already stated, is a two-cylinder, vertical, two-stroke, air-cooled engine of 750 c.c. capacity, specially designed. It is mounted on an engine plate carried on tubular struts, bolted to a fireproof bulkhead. As the engine is not run at extremely high revs., direct drive is employed, and it will be seen from the photographs that the nose of the machine is extremely neat, and should offer a minimum of resistance. For smoothness of running the two-cylinder two-stroke should be very good, as it is equivalent to a four-cylinder four-stroke, and it may be presumed that the cooling will be quite sufficient, as a good draught of air is constantly being blown across the cylinders when the engine is running. The petrol tank is mounted in the top centre section, and there is thus a very good head of petrol, so that direct gravity feed can easily be employed.
The undercarriage is of usual V-type, and has spruce struts carrying rubber shock-absorbers for the axle. The wheels are Palmer wheels.
The following are the main characteristics of the Gloucestershire "Gannet" light 'plane: Length, o.a., 16 ft. 8 ins.; height, 5 ft. 9 ins.; span, 18 ft. open and 6 ft. 6 ins. folded; chord, 3 ft. 1 1/2 ins.; wing area, 103 sq. ft.; weight empty, 283 lbs.; weight loaded, 460 lbs.; wing loading, 4-46 lbs. per sq. ft.
Flight, June 1929
BRITISH AIRCRAFT AT OLYMPIA
GLOSTER AIRCRAFT CO., LTD.
FOUR complete aircraft will be exhibited on this stand, and in addition, there will be on view a large series of metal wings showing the development of Gloster all-metal aircraft construction dating back to 1917, and illustrating in the most convincing manner possible, the progress made during a period of more than ten years.
The four complete aircraft to be exhibited are: A twin-engined air survey machine (to be shown in skeleton), a "Gnatsnapper" single-seater shipplane, another Gloster single-seater fighter, and the little "Gannet" single-seater light 'plane designed for the Lympne competition of 1923.
The Gloster " Gannet " was originally entered for the 1923 Lympne light 'plane meeting fitted with a Carden two-cylinder two-stroke engine. This was later replaced by a Blackburne engine of 649 c.c, and it will be with the latter engine that the "Gannet" will be shown at Olympia. The "Gannet" is a very diminutive equal-span biplane single-seater, and of entirely orthodox construction. The fuselage is of the semi-monocoque type, with light framework covered with three-ply wood. The wings are normal two-spar structures designed for one-man folding. Behind the pilot's cockpit is a locker for luggage. A fireproof bulkhead separates the engine from the cockpit. The petrol tank (capacity 2 galls.) is housed in the centre section of the top plane, and gives direct gravity feed to the engine. The undercarriage is of simple vee type with rubber cord shock absorbers. When the wings are folded, the machine has an overall width of 6 ft. 8 in. only, so that it can be housed in an ordinary garage.
The main dimensions of the "Gannet" are: Length, o.a. 16 ft. 6 in.; wing span, 18 ft.; wing chord, 3 ft. 1 1/2 in.; wing area, 103 sq. ft. The tare weight is 292 lbs., and the load 168 lbs., giving a gross weight of 460 lbs. The power loading is 18-4 lb./h.p., and the wing loading 4-5 lb./sq. ft. With this loading the performance is: Full speed at ground level, 72 m.p.h.; cruising speed, 64 m.p.h.; landing speed, 35 m.p.h. Although the "Gannet" is not a new machine, the revival of the small single-seater makes it interesting again.