Designed to meet the specifications issued by the Civil Air Guard for a cheap and simple aircraft with which to train civilian reserve pilots, the cunningly named Chrislea LC.1 Airguard was completed in the late summer of 1938 and registered G-AFIN. Its foreign engine precluded its selection and only one was built.
Sporting its dapper undercarriage fairings, or “spats”, and its final dashing pale blue and white colour scheme, the sole Airguard awaits another flight from Heston. It appears that the aircraft was never evaluated by the Air Ministry for Civil Air Guard service, possibly owing to its foreign engine, but also perhaps because of the perception that its neutral stability may have limited its value as a military trainer.
The Airguard makes a low pass sans spats, which were found to clog up with mud and debris and were often removed. The undercarriage was of a simple half-fork type and employed eight rubber buffers under compression. The rebound was taken on one buffer with a split fibre bush bearing on a conical shoulder to serve as a check. Reportedly, the undercarriage legs could be replaced in less than 30min.
Test pilot Frank Dawson Paul (nearest camera) and Chrislea co-founder Richard Christoforides demonstrate the roomy cabin of the Airguard at Heston in September 1938. Presumably this may have been the closest the latter got to experiencing the aircraft in its element, as he suffered from a fear of flying. Note how in the construction of the cockpit the two top fuselage longerons were carried on and “broken” to drop several inches to enhance the view from the cockpit, a primary aim of the design.