Aeroplane Monthly 1978-02
J.Sheehan - Austin Assortment
Austin-built S.E.5a C9051 is seen outside the factory building, which was only pulled down 18 months ago.
A glimpse of Austin’s S.E.5a production line in late 1918/1919. Most of the aircraft are from the batch E5637-E5936, but the foremost machine, F8014, is from a later batch and bears United States Air Service insignia, as does the wing panel in the middle distance. The low overwing Foster mounting on F8014 indicates that it had a direct-drive engine.
The Austin A.F.T.3 Osprey triplane was a private venture single-seat fighter designed by C. H. Brooks in 1918. Powered by a 230 h.p. Bentley B.R.2 rotary engine, the triplane layout was chosen in an attempt to combine high performance and manoeuvrability with a good fighting view. The picture shows the sole example, X15, shortly after completion.
The picture, sent in by Mr D. H. Boulcott of Renfrew, Scotland, shows the sole example, X15, later in life, with a more conventional, shorter, tail skid.
A head-on shot of the newly-completed Osprey. The large-diameter propeller demanded a tall undercarriage, which consequently gave the aircraft a considerable ground angle. Armament comprised two fixed synchronised 0-303in Vickers machine guns and a single movable 0-303in Lewis gun mounted on the rear spar of the centresection framework of the middle wing. The latter weapon is not fitted in the photographs on these pages, and its field of fire would have been very limited. First flights were made at Castle Bromwich in February 1918, and it was tested at Martlesham in March.
Another Kenworthy design was the Austin Greyhound two-seat fighter reconnaissance aircraft, designed as a Bristol Fighter replacement and powered by the troublesome 320 h.p. ABC Dragonfly I radial engine. Three were built, the first machine, H4317, being flown to Martlesham Heath for trials on May 15, 1919.
Built to compete in the small aeroplane class of the 1920 Air Ministry Competition, the Austin Kestrel was a side-by-side two-seater powered by a 160 h.p. Beardmore engine. The sole example, G-EATR, was registered to Austin on June 10, 1920, and, flown by M. D. Nares, took the £1,500 third prize in the competition.