Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation
Armstrong Whitworth A.W.52 (UK)
First flown on 13 November 1947, the A.W.52 was a tail-less research aircraft designed to obtain data to determine the final shape and detailed design of a six-jet tail-less transport aircraft.
The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.52 jet-powered flying wing was designed to achieve a high degree of laminar flow, although predictions were not realised.
The first A.W.52, TS363 performing at the 1943 SBAC display, Farnborough
The 450 m.p.h., 90ft wing span, Derwent-powered A.W.52 flying wing TS368 in white colour scheme was demonstrated at the 1948 show in company with its Nene-powered sister aircraft.
Armstrong Whitworth A.W.52 TS368, flown by Franklin and powered by two Rolls-Royce Nenes. The Derwent-powered A.W.52, TS363, did not fly at the show.
Armstrong Whitworth A.W.52
Armstrong Whitworth's AW 52 started as a twinkle in Chief Designer, John Lloyd's eye towards the end of 1943. Following flight testing with the AW 52G glider, the Ministry of Supply sanctioned the construction of two AW 52 to serve as 3/4-scale flight test machines for a proposed tailless airliner. The first of the pair, TG 363, seen here, took off for its maiden flight on 13 November 1947, followed by TG 368 on 1 September 1948. Incorporating a laminar airfoiled wing and powered by twin 5.000lb s.t. Rolls-Royce Nenes. These expensive machines proved a bitter disappointment, their laminar wings becoming instantly far less efficient the moment a fly struck their leading edges. To compound matters, the lack of adequate tail moment arm damping produced pitch axis control problems at high speed, leading to the imposition of a 288mph indicated limitation.
Panoramic view of the participants of the 1948 SBAC Farnborough show, headed by one of the two A.W.52s present. The aircraft are assembled on the north side of the airfield and 50 took part in the flying programme.
A front view showing the canopy offset to port and the partially buried nacelles.
Photographs of the second A.W.52, TS368, seem to be rare. It differed from TS363 only by having Derwent engines instead of Nenes.
The white overall Armstrong Whitworth A W.52 was a huge and elegant aircraft. Tests revealed an extreme sensitivity in pitch. It was rough pitch oscillations which obliged Joe Lancaster to use his Martin Baker ejection seat on May 30, 1949.
An unusual early photograph of TS363 before markings were applied
The first A.W.52, TS363. The large centre-section Fowler flap is well portrayed.
The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.52 Tail-less Monoplane (two Rolls-Royce Nene engines).
The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.52G Experimental Flying-Wing Glider.
Photo of the Armstrong-Whitworth A.W.52G glider
The Armstrong Whitworth A W.52G was a third-scale glider built to test the handling qualities of the forthcoming full-size A W.52. The structure was made of spruce and plywood and covered with Duralumin sheets.
A sequence showing the A.W.52G under tow from Coventry on April 26, 1946. The bifurcated cable was attached below and behind the leading edge. When these pictures were taken, the glider had completed 22 1/4 hr towed flight and 12 3/4 hr free flight. It was usually released at 20,000ft.
A plan view of the A.W.52G under tow, showing the straight trailing edge between the main undercarriage legs.
The A.W.52G makes a landing approach with its large trailing edge Fowler flap fully lowered, April 1946.
The A.W.52G comes in to land. The wind-driven pumps in the main legs provided power to draw air into the slots in front of the elevons.
Left to right, F. R. Midgley, chief test pilot in 1946, E. G. Franklin, glider pilot, and W. W. Barratt, the observer.
The A.W.52G under construction at Baginton on September 20, 1944.
The unfinished A.W.52G cockpit, with minimal instrumentation.
Armstrong Whitworth AW 52G
Armstrong Whitworth AW 52