Flight, May 1937
The New Two-seater Tipsy Demonstrated: Flying the Latest Single-seater
BOTH as an inexpensive touring two-seater and as a possible training type the latest Tipsy, which made a temporary demonstration visit from Belgium last
week, is distinctly interesting. Those who have handled the single-seater model have only to be told that the flying and control characteristics of the new machine are similar to, but a trifle less light than, the former to know all they really need to know about it from the pilot's point of view. Structurally, too, the machines are largely identical, though there has been a considerable cleaning up in the matter of detail and the fuselage has naturally had to be modified to suit the new circumstances.
Though the machine might be classed generally as a side-by-side seater, the Tipsy's occupants are, in fact (I will not say "appropriately"!), staggered in relation to one another, with the result that each has a very reasonable amount of elbow room - which is difficult enough to provide in the widest of fuselages. There are dual rudder pedals just ahead of the main spar and a central stick. When used for instruction an extension will be fitted to this control and a second throttle arranged on the left side so that it can be held quite comfortably by the instructor whose arm, in any case, is behind the pupil's back. In all probability, the production machines will be optionally enclosed, but the prototype is fitted with a deep curved screen which satisfactorily shelters the pilot if not the passenger. Various changes, both in the matter of cockpit shape and furnishing, will be made in the production model and there is little point in either praising or criticizing the accommodation as it appears at present. The two-seater model only flew for the first time a week or two ago and such details can only be settled in actual flying tests.
The machine is at present fitted with a four-in-line 50 h.p. Walter Mikron engine - and a very neat little installation it makes - but it has not yet been decided whether this unit will be fitted to the production models. It is unlikely, in any case, that these will be coming through Aero Engines' shops before the end of this year, and by then there may be one or two suitable engines to be obtained in this country. The Mikron is a most delightful little engine to fly behind and all things considered, provides just the right sort of performance - with a take-off which is quite astounding, even in a flat calm such as prevailed during the demonstration. The maximum speed with this engine is as high as 124 m.p.h. and the price in the region of ^400.
Naturally enough such an exceptional performance can only be obtained by the strictest attention to exterior detail, and the machine is as clean as the proverbial whistle. So much so that the production type will assuredly be fitted with manually operated split flaps.
Although it was not possible last Friday, for insurance and other reasons, to make more than a passenger flight in the new machine, Mr. Wesson brought over the latest single-seater with the new dual-ignition Sprite engine, and I managed to borrow this for a quarter of an hour or so while London's smoke blew up from the north-east. My previous experience with the Tipsy had been confined to the original version with a rigid undercarriage, and the latest type is very different on the ground. Dual ignition, too, inspires one with confidence.
It is impossible to deny that the Tipsy is the most delightful of flying machines. Though the controls are light to the point of being without feel and are exceptionally powerful, there is no question of over-sensitivity. Full aileron, for instance, is necessary when entering and leaving vertical turns, and one can move both stick and rudder bar about quite roughly without coming to any harm. It would be hard to think of any machine in which the pilot feels more "part and parcel" of it. Care is required during the approach since speed is gathered very rapidly and the hold-off from an over-fast approach is almost indefinitely prolonged in a flat calm, but the view from the pilot's seat is so good that one is encouraged to loiter on the aerodrome boundary in a series of gentle gliding turns. Incidentally, too, the hold-off is prolonged only in time, and the distance covered is not very great. For small-field approaches it would probably be better to come in with a good deal of engine and as near to the stall - which is quite sudden - as one dares. That is a matter for practice and personal preference.
50 h.p. Walter Mikron engine.
Maximum all-up weight 992 lb.
Disposable load 496 lb.
Maximum speed 124 m.p.h.
Cruising speed 100 m.p.h.
Stalling speed 46 m.p.h.
Ceiling 19,600 ft.
Range 500 miles.
Flight, March 1938
British light aircraft
BY this time the first of the production Tipsy two-seaters, which are being built at Hanworth, should be nearly ready to take the air. Generally speaking, the British version of the machine will be similar to that originally made in Belgium and demonstrated for the first time over here early last year. The side-by-side cockpit has, however, been widened and to some extent rearranged, and considerable thought has been given to the design of the windscreen in order that it may be possible to fly the machine in comfort without helmet or goggles.
The Tipsy's basic value will be that for dual instruction at extremely low cost, but it will, nevertheless, be equally useful as an inexpensive tourer. Since no suitable English engine is at present available, at least the first series of the batch of fifty which are being laid down will be fitted with the 62 h.p. Walter Mikron engine, which is an inverted four-in-line of fairly conventional layout. Special attention is being paid to the finish of the machine, which, in the Belgian Tipsy monoplanes has been so noticeably good.
When the two-seater was first demonstrated no flaps were fitted, and the approach was, consequently, a little too flat. The production machine - and, for that matter, the demonstrator now in use - will be fitted with directly operated split flaps.
SPECIFICATION: Span, 31ft. 2in.; length, 22ft.; cruising speed, 105 m.p.h.; range, 400 miles; price, £313. Makers: The Tipsy Aircraft Co., Ltd., London Air Park, Hanworth, Middlesex.
Flight, August 1938
Flying the First of the Production Tipsy Two-seaters : A Really Useful Performance
IN the midst of all the hullabaloo about the shortage of suitable types for C.A.G. training and the suggestions that we shall have to turn to America for them, there are at least two or three firms which are getting ready to turn out the type of machine which is needed. Perhaps not immediately, indeed, in the quantities which are visualised by the more optimistic supporters of the new scheme, but at least in sufficient numbers to help to fill some of the gaps. For a long time the Tipsy Aircraft Company at Hanworth, for instance, have been working on the development of an improved version of the prototype two-seater, and in last week’s issue it was mentioned that the first production model had passed through Martlesham and obtained its C. of A. in the normal category. In due course the machine, which has been stressed for aerobatic work, will go before the powers-that-be for an aerobatic certificate. In the meantime production is being speeded up, and within a relatively short time these two-seaters should be coming out from Hanworth at the rate of one a week.
Since the original machine, which was designed by Mr. E. O. Tips, of Avions Fairey, in Belgium, and built at their factory, was demonstrated in this country, various minor changes have been made and the entire structure has been strengthened up for training and aerobatic work. The wing, for instance, now has increased dihedral and wash-out, and the ailerons have inset hinges and are statically balanced, with weights disposed and faired in along their leading edges.
It will be remembered that the Tipsy has side-by-side seats. Actually, these seats are slightly staggered in relation to one another to give each occupant the maximum of elbow room. The control column is arranged between the two seats, where it is operated directly by the pilot or pupil, while there is an extension in “tiller” style for the use of the passenger or the instructor. The latter is provided with a dual throttle control on the port side and so disposed that it can be comfortably held in his hand. The first machines will be of the open type, and the screen is so designed that there is practically no draught and goggles are absolutely unnecessary. Later machines may be fitted, when required, with a cabin top extension to this already voluminous screen.
In the course of the test flying, which has been carried out with a special eye to training simplicity and safety, it was decided to limit the elevator control. The effect of this is not only to remove the possibility of a really violent stall, but also to make it practically impossible to overdo the three-point effect while landing. In fact, this modification has taken most of the sting of the landing process. Provided that the hold-off speed is not in excess of 45 m.p.h. or so, even quite a sudden backward movement of the stick produces a fairly good landing with little or no ballooning. Needless to say, at higher approach speeds it is possible to balloon in the ordinary way, so that, even though the landing process is simplified, the need for accuracy in holding a correct approach speed is still there.
The production Tipsy is also fitted with split, flaps which are, to all intents and purposes, simple air brakes and do not possess much of the lift-increasing properties of the more usual type. They can within reason, therefore, be used for glide adjustment without the risk of any sudden loss of height, and it is worth mentioning here that the machine can also be flat-sideslipped sufficiently to give one a little additional variation in approach angle. The most effective slip is produced with full rudder and just enough aileron to prevent a turn.
To the pilot who has been accustomed to flying more recently produced machines with really powerful flaps, those on the Tipsy may appear to be somewhat limited in effect. An experimental approach with the flaps up, however, shows just how much these flaps do. They produce a manageable approach angle and kill the pre-landing float without any of that violent change of angle, or sudden deceleration at the moment ol flattening-out, which may get the pupil into considerable difficulties. Nor is it necessary with these flaps to stuff the nose hard down immediately the flap lever has been pulled. The change in gliding angle is relatively small and there should be little possibility of trouble.
Unfortunately, perhaps, the day on which I flew the machine was one with quite a strong and gusty surface wind. On the ground this was probably at times as high as 20 m.p.h., and up above may have been blowing at 40 m.p.h. Such a wind-speed nullifies any attempt to gauge the length of the still-air take-off run and makes the approach angle much less critical. The run was, in the circumstances, not more than ten yards, and a slightly overshot approach into a small aerodrome, or to an attempted spot landing, was a matter of small account. However, the conditions were valuable if only because they showed that the Tipsy could be used in all weathers. When taxi-ing either down, up, or across wind the machine was perfectly stable on the ground, and in most cases the little steerable tail skid provided adequate control. Once or twice, when the wind was blowing really hard, this skid was not sufficiently powerful in its corrective action to turn the machine down-wind against the natural weather-cocking forces, but the turn could always be made, in any case, by using bursts of engine and full rudder.
Another good result of the conditions was that they proved that the Tipsy could be used seriously as a means of cross-country conveyance. It is not very often that upper winds of 40 m.p.h. are experienced in this country, and even on the up wind leg of a triangular cross-country flight the ground speed still worked out at more than 60 m.p.h., which is useful enough in the circumstances The Tipsy, with the particular airscrew fitted, cruised at about 95 m.p.h. at 2,400 r.p.m. from the Mikron engine. This engine speed is lower than that normally used for cruising, and an examination of the contents of the tank showed that, during nearly two hours flying, only about six gallons had been used. The normal consumption figure given for the Mikron is about four gallons an hour.
In every way the Tipsy can be considered as a full-sized light aeroplane in spite of its comparatively low power. The take-off is good, the climb is 650 ft./min. at ground level, and the cruising speed ample.
Very little rain was met during this short cross-country, seem that, except in really heavy downpours, the screen would keep the pilot almost perfectly dry. Whether the instructor, seated as he is six inches farther aft, will be quite as comfortable remains to be seen. On my first few practice circuits I took goggles with me, but later left them behind. They are definitely not needed at any time, though a helmet is advisable in the interests of aural and general comfort. The fairly unusual position of the control column between the seats is simply not noticed, and appears to be neither strange nor awkward even to the average pilot who is so much more used to a conventional position for this control.
Almost Pusher View
Other than in a pusher design it would be impossible to imagine a better range of view, both on the ground and in the air. One is sitting fairly high in relation to the cowling, and the ground angle is in any case comparatively small. The result is that even while taxi-ing - usually an awkward matter in a side-by-side seater - it is never necessary to rubberneck. One can see everything required on either side. In level flight the nose lies a very long way below the horizon and one is looking immediately over the leading edge. Incidentally, as instructors have already discovered, this side-by-side seating can produce some queer results when a pupil is trying his hand at steep turns for the first time. When turning to the left the nose must apparently be on or above the horizon, and when turning to the right it must be quite a long way below. That provides good training.
In such manoeuvres the Tipsy's light and effective ailerons are shown at their best. One can swing effortlessly from left-hand to right-hand vertical turns, and in similar sharp practices my only criticism is that there ought to be, perhaps, a shade more rudder movement. The limitation is not, however, noticed in the ordinary way, even during the take-off, when a slight swing must be corrected, and is probably a good thing from the novice’s point of view. What rudder movement there is is light and virile.
Earlier, while speaking of the elevator limitation, I mentioned one of the reasons for this as being concerned with the prevention of a really violent stall. Here, too, the small area of the flaps is an important point. Though the arrival of the stall with the flaps either up or down is very prolonged, it is, when it does arrive, quite sudden. It is difficult always, during slow flying experiments, to be quite sure that the rudder is central, but it seemed that the Tipsy tended to drop its right wing rather than its left. The nose, too, dropped fairly quickly, though at a safe altitude it is difficult to judge the amount of height which is lost during this final spasm of the stall. Probably very little, and control is, in any case, regained immediately. Nevertheless, this characteristic provides the only possible source of danger with the machine for the early soloist. It may be impossible to imagine anyone stretching a glide to the point of reducing the air speed to 35 m.p.h. or less, but such things have been known. Up to the very point of the stall there is ample control in all axes, and the airflow silence, coupled with a somewhat lumpy tick-over of the engine, would tell anyone but a complete moron that the end was near.
This number one production machine has parachute-type seats, and for that reason I was wearing a parachute. Upholstery, as such, was non-existent, and a somewhat solid pack is not always the most comfortable of cushions. Presumably the machine will be produced with the normal type of seat with a backrest which provides rather more natural support. As it was, a couple of hours of continuous flying was quite as much as one could comfortably endure.
Contrary to previous experience with the kind of instruments which are fitted to little aeroplanes, those in the Tipsy worked well. The vertical-reading dashboard-fitted compass of Czechoslovakian design produced results, but the majority of pilots in this country prefer the verge-ring pattern, and production machines will have the more normal compass mounted just below the board. The place in this board at present taken by the compass will, when necessary, be used for the fitting of a turn-indicator which now forms an essential item of equipment for modern flying training.
Although the company is not, apparently, particularly pleased with the finish of this first machine, and say that later models will be much better in this respect, this was, even so, a great deal better than that normally found on fight aeroplanes. This finish is obtained by using a series ol coats, with a rub-down between each, and a final surface of lacquer, but it is also helped considerably by the way in which the fabric is put on.
The structure is quite straightforward, with a particularly robust box-type main spar and ply leading edge, and with a conventional box fuselage, the top shape of which is obtained by means of half-hoops and stringers on which the fabric is laid. The undercarriage consists of two cantilever legs, with six inches of movement, which are firmly attached to the main spar.
H. A. T.
62 h.p. Walter Mikron II.
Span 31ft. 2in.
All-up weight 1,074 lb.
Weight empty 618 lb.
Maximum speed 110 m.p.h.
Cruising speed (2,000 r.p.m.) 100 m.p.h.
Stalling speed 37 m.p.h.
Rate of climb 650 ft./min.
Range at cruising speed (12-gall. tank) 350 miles
Flight, October 1938
British Sport and Training types
MANY years ago Mr. E. O. Tips, of the Belgian Fairey Company, designed, largely for his own amusement, a little single-seater which gave a remarkable performance for its power. More recently he has designed a side-by-side two-seater on somewhat similar lines, and the first of these, built in Belgium, was demonstrated over here some eighteen months ago. Since then the Tipsy Aircraft Company has been formed in this country and the original design has been modified by the British Fairey Company to suit our own normal and aerobatic C. of A. requirements.
Production two-seaters are now coming through from the Hanworth factory, and the type is intended to fill the gap which at present exists in the range of machines in the light-weight category of the C.A.G. Scheme.
In its construction, which is of stressed plywood, special attention has been paid both to ease and quickness of manufacture, and simplicity of maintenance. In order to make the machine rather more suitable lor ab initio work the modifications to the original design have included an increased dihedral with a pronounced wing-tip wash-out, while the elevator control has been limited so that it should be practically impossible for the novice to get the machine into any dangerous fore-and-aft attitude. This limitation has also simplified the process of landing, which may be considered as being almost automatic. The new Tipsy is fitted, too, with small-area split flaps which, while reducing the landing speed to a small extent, are primarily valuable as a means of steepening and adjusting the approach angle. The engine at present fitted to the production Tipsy is a Walter Mikron, and this Czechoslovakian engine may very shortly be in production under licence in this country.
The general layout in the slightly staggered side-by-side-seater cockpit has been designed with the idea of simplifying the process of flying so far as possible. Apart from the usual stick (centrally placed between the two seats), rudder pedals and throttle, the only other control of flying interest is the ingenious pull-on lever for operating the flaps. In addition, there is a tail-trimming lever, but this hardly needs to be touched in circuit flying, and is fitted only to make long cross-country trips more comfortable.
The Tipsy has a C. of A. in the normal category, but by this time it is possible that an aerobatic version of the certificate will have been obtained.
Tipsy data:- Span, 31ft. 2in.; length, 22ft.; all-up weight, 1,074 lb.; weight empty, 618 lb.; maximum speed, 110 m.p.h.; cruising speed (2,600 r.p.m.), 100 m.p.h.; stalling speed, 37 m.p.h.; rate of climb, 650 ft./min.; range at cruising speed, 350 miles; and price, ^675.
Makers:- Tipsy Aircraft Co., Ltd., London Air Park, Hanworth, Middlesex. (Feltham 2694.)