2 Versions Available
|Scale 1/7||Scale 1/5|
|Length 60"||Length 83"|
|Wing Span 82"||Wing Span 108"|
|Wing Area 1100 sq. in.||Wing Area|
|Weight 16 - 20 lbs.||Weight 35 lbs.|
|Engines: .60 to .90 (2 cycle)||G45 and up|
De Havilland D.H.103 Hornet
The exceptional operational success of the Mosquito led, in 1942. to the idea of a scaled down single seat version to be known as the Hornet and capable of meeting single engined Japanese fighters in combat among the islands of the South Pacific. Very long range had therefore to be added to normal medium altitude fighter characteristics and perfected streamlining would contribute largely to its success. To this end Rolls-Royce Ltd. closely collaborated with de Havillands and developed special Merlin power plants of minimum frontal area. These permitted an exceptionally sleek installation which was a feature of the mock up shown to Ministry of Aircraft Production officials at Hatfield in January 1943. Permission to build was not received until the following June when the Hornet ceased to be a private venture and Specification F.12/43 was written round it.
Although superficially resembling the Mosquito, the Hornet was an entirely new design only identical with the earlier type in the method used for manufacturing the slim, oval section fuselage. The one piece. two spar, cantilever laminar flow mainplane was designed to high strength factors and consisted of a composite wood and metal internal structure with a stressed birch ply double upper skin and an undersurface of reinforced Alclad. The Hornet was the first type of aircraft in which wood was cemented to metal a unique method of construction only possible by using the revolutionary new Redux adhesive. Four bladed de Havilland Hydromatic airscrews driven by a Rolls-Royce Merlin 130 in the starboard nacelle and a Merlin 131 in the port were inward rotating to eliminate swing on take off and landing. Cooling was by leading edge radiators in the centre section and the aircraft represented the ultimate in airscrew driven fighter design. Armament consisted of four 20 mm. Hispano cannon beneath the pilot, who sat in the extreme nose under a sliding canopy with a magnificent view in all directions.
Piloted by Geoffrey de Havilland Jnr., the first prototype, RR915, flew from Hatfield for the first time on July 28, 1944 only 13 months after the commencement of detail designs. Calculated performance was met handsomely, manoeuvrability and climb were exceptional and the prototype reached 485 m.p.h., a speed probably never exceeded by any other air- screw driven aeroplane. In the first 60 days' trials by Geoffrey de Havilland and G. H. Pike, 501 hours were flown and a second prototype, RR919, was completed with two 200 gallon drop tanks under the wings, which gave a range of over 2,500 miles when cruising at 340 m.p.h. at 30,000 ft.
Production of the Hornet F. Mk. 1 for the R.A.F. began at Hatfield late in 1944 and the first aircraft, PX210, was delivered to Boscombe Down on February 28, 1945 but the war with Japan was over before any reached the Pacific. Production Hornets were only marginally slower than the prototype and one gave an unprecedented display of air to ground firing at Boscombe Down in the following August. On October 29th the Hornet was shown publicly for the first time when PX237 attended the R.A.E. At Home. The Hornet's intended alternative role in the Pacific was photographic reconnaissance and prototypes of the P.R. Mk. 2, PX216, PX220 and PX249, with rear fuselage mounted cameras, followed naturally. Five other P.R. Mk. 2s were produced but the rest of the order was cancelled and they were scrapped.
Hornet F. Mk. 3 aircraft, prototype PX312, (and batch commencing PX289) were equipped with wider sailplanes, larger elevator horn balances and two 200 gallon underwing tanks which could be removed for the carriage of two 1,000 lb. bombs. Internal tankage was increased from 360 to 540 gallons to give the Hornet a 40% increase in range. The public debut of the F. Mk. 3 was made by PX366 at an exhibition organised at Farnborough in June 1946, after which the type remained in production at Hatfield until the jigs were moved to Chester late in 1948. The first Chester-built Hornet flew in March 1949 and at the completion of the last contract in June 1952, a total of 211 Hornets had been delivered to the R.A.F. Production F. Mk. 3s were fitted with a curved dorsal fin, later retrospectively fitted to all Hornets to improve stability at high speeds.
The first Hornet-equipped squadron was No. 64 which took part in the Victory Fly Past over London on June 8, 1946 from its base at Horsham St. Faith. No. 19 Squadron formed with Hornets at Church Fenton in the following October. Nos. 41 and 65 Squadrons were similarly equipped later, those of No. 65 being chosen to fly to Uppsala on May 20, 1948 to pay an official visit to the Swedish Air Force. They returned on the 27th after a formation flight over Stockholm. On September 15, 1949 one of two Hornets detailed to participate in Battle of Britain celebrations at Gibraltar, was flown out from Bovingdon by F/Lt. H. Peebles at an average speed of 357 565 m.p.h. to establish a British point to point record. On the return journey on September 19th, Gp. Capt. A. C. P. Carver flew to Bovingdon under strict cruise control at the tropopause in 2 hours 30 minutes 21 seconds, and landed with 15 minutes fuel left in his tanks, setting up a new record at 435.871 m.p.h.
In a near-civil capacity, Hornet F. Mk. 1 PX224 piloted by G. H. Pike came third in the High Speed Handicap Race at 343 5 m.p.h. at Lympne on August 31, 1946. Three years later PX386, a new F. Mk. 3 powered by 2,030 h.p. Merlin 133/134 engines, took part in the National Air Races at Elmdon on July 30, 1949 under the aegis of two de Havilland directors. Entered by W. E. Nixon and flown by R. W. Jamieson it was unplaced in the Kemsley Challenge Trophy Race but flown by G. H. Pike as F. T Hearle's entry for the Air League Challenge Cup, it came second and made the fastest time of 353 m.p.h.
The R.A.F. declared all early Hornet F. Mk. 1 aircraft obsolete in 1950 but in the following year most of Fighter Command's F. Mk. 3s were dispatched to Malaya for use by the Far East Air Force. They were then equipped with underwing rails for eight rocket projectiles or racks for two 1,000 lb. bombs for highly successful attacks against jungle terrorists and were the last piston engined R.A.F. fighters to see active service. The final batch consisted of 93 aircraft, the last 12 of which were fitted with one F.52 vertically mounted camera under the designation Hornet F. Mk. 4. They were in effect F. Mk. 3 aircraft with the 60 gallon top fuel tank replaced by a smaller one holding 46 gallons in order to make room for the camera.
SPECIFICATION AND DATA
Manufacturers The de Havilland Aircraft Co. Ltd., Hatfield Aerodrome, Herts., production transferred to Hawarden Aerodrome, Chester in 1948
Power Plants: Two 2,070 h.p. Rolls-Royce Merlin 130 or 131
Two 2.030 h.p. Rolls-Royce Merlin 133 or 134
Dimensions: Span 45 ft. 0 in. Length 36 ft. 8 in.
Height 14 ft. 2 in. Wing area 361 sq. ft.
Weights: (F. Mk. 1) Tare weight 12.502 lb. All-up weight 17,700 lb.
(F. Mk. 3) Tare weight 12.880 lb. All-up weight 20,900 lb.
Performance: (F. Mk. 1) Maximum speed 472 m.p.h.* initial climb 4,000 ft.l min.
Ceiling 37.500 ft. Range 2,500 miles
(F. Mk. 3) Maximum speed 472 m.p.h.* Initial climb 4,000 ft./mint
Ceiling 35.000 ft.
*At 22,000 ft.
De Havilland D.H.103 Sea Hornet
During the early stages of the Hornet project. the possibility of carrier based action against the Japanese had not been overlooked and for this reason opposite handed engines and the high drag flaps needed for power-on approach had been incorporated in the design. Late in 1944 prototypes of a Fleet Air Arm version were put in hand and three early production Hornet F. Mk. ls were selected for naval modification to Specification N.5/44. Design work was entrusted to the Heston Aircraft Co. Ltd. who produced a wing with Lockheed hydraulic power-folding similar to that of the Sea Mosquito, a forged steel arrester hook on a flush fitting external V frame, tail down accelerator pick-up points, and mountings for specialised naval radar and radio equipment. The de Havilland company also supplied Airdraulic undercarriage legs to replace the existing rubber-in-compression units which were unable to absorb the high rate of descent usual in deck landings. The weight penalty of these modifications totalled 550 lb.
The first prototype, PX212, flew on April l9, 1945 and like the second aircraft PX214, was merely a hooked Hornet with a standard non-folding mainplane. Both were shown to the public for the first time at a Press Show at Heston on October 2nd but PX219. the first to fly with full naval modifications and folding mainplane, had already commenced trial landings on the Light Fleet Carrier H.M.S. Ocean on August 10th. A production order was then placed for the Royal Navy s first twin engined long range escort strike fighter, designated Sea Hornet F. Mk. 20. The first production aircraft, TT186. with slotted flaps, flew at Hatfield on August 13, 1946 and went to Lee-on-Solent with several others for service trials with No. 703 Squadron. Armament was similar to the R.A.F. counterpart and consisted of four 20 mm. Hispano cannon in the nose, two 1,000 lb. bombs under the mainplane and alternative provision for eight 60 lb. rocket projectiles. Camera windows were built into the rear fuselage for optional F.R. Mk. 20 capability. During deck landing trials it was found that side loads on the undercarriage caused torque link trouble which necessitated the fitting of redesigned main legs, tests with which began on H.M.S. Illustrious on October 11, 1948.
No. 801 Squadron re-formed at Ford with Sea Hornets on June 1, 1947 and later went to Arbroath before embarking in H.M.S. Implacable in 1949. Sea Hornets remained in service until 1951 and three aircraft were attached to No. 806 Squadron to form part of a composite naval group which embarked in the Light Fleet Carrier H.M.C.S. Magnificent on May 25, 1948. After completing eight weeks training in Canada they went to New York to give memorable flying demonstrations at the International Air Exposition held from July 31st to August 8th.
One Sea Hornet F. Mk. 20 was sent to Australia for R.A.N. evaluation but although intended to be ,183-1, retained the Royal Navy serial TT213 throughout.
Sea Hornet F. Mk. 20 TT193 completed 190 hours flying in its two years Service life up to July 1, 19 0 with the Fleet Air Arm in the U.K. and with the R.C.A.F. at Edmonton, Alberta. It was then acquired by Spartan Air Services Ltd., the Mosquito equipped Ottawa survey company, and on June 98, 1951 was issued with a restricted C. of A. as a three seat civil photographic aircraft CF-GUO, operating at the increased all-up weight of 18.700 lb. In the following April it was sold to Field Aviation Ltd. but on July 11. 1952 the starboard engine blew up while on a photographic mission in the Prince George area of British Columbia. After a successful forced landing at Terrace B.C., it was given away locally through lack of spares.
Production of the Sea Hornet F. Mk. 20 ended on June 12, 1951 with the delivery of ll'E247, one of the last, WE241, forming an exhibit at the Fifty Years of Flying celebrations at Hendon a month later. The type was then relegated to second line duties and served with No. 728 Fleet Requirements Unit at Hal Far, Malta until 1955. An urgent naval requirement for a high performance, night fighter or strike navigator, was met by converting the Sea Hornet F. Mk. 20 into a radar equipped two seater. As before, design responsibility rested with the Heston Aircraft Co. Ltd. who produced the first trial installation aircraft to Specification N.21/45. This was again an R.A.F. Hornet F. Mk. 1, PX230, without the folding wing but equipped with Merlin 133/34 power plants; increased sailplane span; heated radar-navigator's cockpit over the trailing edge with one piece canopy and separate K type dinghy; A.S.H. scanner in a thimble radome in the nose; and flame damping exhaust manifolds. Designated Sea Hornet N.F. Mk. 21, it first flew on July 9, 1946 and was followed by a second prototype in the shape of former Hornet F. Mk. 1 and Sea Hornet F. Mk. 90 Pk 239. This not only had power folding wings but also the very considerable dorsal fillet which later became a retrospective modification on all earlier marks. In spite of the parasitic drag of additional equipment. the N.F. Mk. 21 was only 5 m.p.h. slower than its predecessor and first deck landing trials on H.M.S. Illustrious on October were broken up at Yeovilton two years later. Forty-three examples of a photographic reconnaissance version known as the Sea Hornet P.R. Mk. 22 were also delivered to the Fleet Air Arm, closely resembling the F. Mk. 20 but fitted with two F.52 cameras for day reconnaissance or one Fairchild K.19B for night use. It could also carry standard underwing armament and was virtually a navalised version of the R.A.F.'s Hornet P.R. Mk. 2. The prototype was TT 187, and one of the first production aircraft, VZ658, was exhibited with three vertical cameras installed at the S.B.A.C. Show at Farnborough in September 1948.
SPECIFICATION AND DATA
Manufacturers: The de Havilland Aircraft Co. Ltd., Hatfield Aerodrome. Herts.. production transferred to Hawarden Aerodrome, Chester in 1948
Power Plants: Two 2,070 h.p. Rolls-Royce Merlin 130 and 131
Two 2,030 h.p. Rolls-Royce Merlin 133 and 134
Dimensions: Span 45 ft. 0 in. Length 36 ft. 9 in. (N.F. Mk. 21) 37 ft. 0 in.
Height 13 ft. 0 in. Wing area 361 sq. ft.
Weights and Performances:
F. Mk. 20 N.F. Mk. 21 P.R. Mk. 22
Tare weight . . 13,300 lb. 14.230 lb.
All-up weight . . 18,530 lb. 19.530 lb. 18.230 lb.
Maximum speed*. 467 m.p.h. 430 m.p.h 467 m.p.h
Initial climb . . 4.000 ft./min 4.400 ft./min 4,650 ft./min
Ceiling . . . 35.000 ft. 36.500 ft. 37,000 ft.
Range . . 1,500 miles 1,500 miles 2,050 miles
* At 22000 ft.