Aviation Historian 34
R.Pegram - BOAC & the Brabazon committee
Although the deliberations and actions undertaken by the Brabazon Committee - and, importantly, the government - are often regarded as representing a loss of precious time and initiative, there was an undoubted success in Vickers’ development of the Viscount turboprop, the prototype of which, G-AHRF, is seen here in 1948.
While the production of brand-new types for BOAC would take time to gear up after the end of the war, the Corporation would need interim aircraft to maintain its services. This led to the conversion of military types, including 12 Handley Page Halifax C.VIIIs, the first of which, G-AHDU, named Falkirk, became BOAC’s first Halton.
Vickers ultimately sidestepped the Geosteel concept intended for the Warwick Continental and opted instead for the much more conventional VC1, which became the Viking, as seen here. It was initially fitted with fabric-clad wings and tail, but later production aircraft had metal wings and empennages. Some 168 were built.
The Warwick Continental was to have used Barnes Wallis’s “Geosteel” method of woven metal covering, as seen HERE in Wallis’s patent GB580574.
A previously unpublished original Vickers three-view illustration of the Warwick Continental, which, unsurprisingly, bears more than a passing resemblance to the company’s VC1, which became the Viking. The Warwick Continental was to have used Barnes Wallis’s “Geosteel” method of woven metal covering.
Taking the company’s experimental Windsor bomber for inspiration, Vickers submitted an unsolicited design for the Brabazon Committee’s Type III category for “Empire trunk routes”, designated the Windsor Empire, as per this previously unpublished three-view. Note the Windsor bomber’s distinctive elliptical wing planform.
Essentially a development of Short Bros’ tried-and-trusted pre-war Empire flying-boats, the company’s “Short-Medium Range Civil Flying Boat” was presented in a brochure in February 1945, to be fitted with a pair of Bristol Hercules engines. It was already becoming increasingly clear, however, that the flying-boat era was over.
One of the companies that sought to fulfil the potentially lucrative "DC-3 replacement” requirement was Miles Aircraft Ltd, which had been exploring “blended wing” designs for some time, and which in August 1944 fielded a brochure for its M.56 24-seat airliner.
A side elevation and plan view of the Miles M.56 24-seat high-wing airliner designed to replace the DC-3. The M.56 was to be powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce Merlin 24 engines with ducted low-drag radiators housed in the wing. A four-engined version was also proposed, but by the end of 1944 the MAP had shown no interest and the idea was shelved.
Another previously unpublished three-view from the Royal Aero Club Trust archive, this original Short Bros illustration shows the company’s proposed Brabazon Type III ‘‘Long Stage Empire Landplane”, a smaller 40-passenger version of the “Transatlantic Express” it had submitted to fulfil the Brabazon Type I specification.