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Airco D.H.9

Airco D.H.9


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Airco D.H.9

The Airco D.H.9 was an unsuccessful single engined day bomber designed to replace the D.H.4 but that was let down by its original engine. The D.H.9 was very similar to the D.H.4, and shared ninety percent of the same airframe. A number of changes were made to eliminate flaws in the D.H.4, the most obvious of which saw the fuel tank and the pilot swap places so that the pilot's cockpit was located close the observer/ gunners position behind the wings. This meant that the two crew members could communicate more easily, and reduced the chance of the pilot being caught in a sudden fire.

The first prototype of the D.H.9 was produced from an existing D.H.4. This aircraft underwent its flight trails at Hendon in July 1917, and its performance was impressive enough for it to be ordered into mass production.

As was so often the case it was its engine that let down the D.H.9. The aircraft was designed around the 300hp B.H.P. engine, which was to be mass produced by the Siddeley-Deasy Motor Car Company as the Siddeley Puma. When the first batch of aluminium cylinder blocks was delivered they turned out to have a fault that could not easily be corrected. Siddeley decided to reduce the engine's power output to 230hp in the hope that the cylinder blocks would be able to cope with the lower power levels. Unfortunately this was not the case. Not only did the lower-powered Puma reduce the performance of the D.H.9 to the point where it was actually lower than that of the D.H.4, it was still prone to failure. With its full military load the new aircraft had a service ceiling of only 13,000ft and was much slower than the more powerful versions of the D.H.4.

The engine problems delayed the combat debut of the D.H.9 until the summer of 1918, by which point nine squadrons in France and thirteen in Britain were equipped with the type. The D.H.9 had a disastrous combat record on the Western Front – between May 1918 and the end of the war Nos.99 and 104 Squadrons lost 148 aircraft in 848 sorties, two thirds of them after accidents.

The majority of D.H.9 squadrons never left Britain and instead were used for coastal patrols, often replacing the D.H.6 trainer. The aircraft's unreliable engines were still a problem but at least its poor performance wasn't such an issue.

The D.H.9 was more useful on less dangerous fronts. Its long range with lighter loads meant that it was used in attempts to bomb Constantinople and it was also used in the last stage of the campaign in Palestine.

A number of attempts were made to equip the D.H.9 with better engines. These proved that there was no problem with the basic design. Eventually the D.H.9 was given the American Liberty 12 engine to produce the much more successful D.H.9A, which saw limited service in the last months of the war before becoming the main bomber of the post-war RAF.

Despite its problems a huge number of D.H.9s were built. 4,630 were ordered, of which 3,204 had been delivered by the end of 1918. By the time production ended 4,091 had been built, although not all were fully completed and many of the last 800 were delivered straight into storage. The RAF struck the last D.H.9s off its strength in July 1919, leaving a vast number of aircraft surplus to requirements. As a result the D.H.9 was available in large numbers for export and in the post-war years was used by the air forces of Belgium, Poland, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, India, Afghanistan, Greece, Irish Free State, Holland, Latvia, Chile, Estonia the Netherlands and Spain.

Engine: Siddeley Puma
Power: 230hp
Crew: 3
Wing span: 42ft 4 3/8in
Length: 30ft 5in
Height: 11ft 3.5in
Tare Weight: 2,230lb
All-up Weight: 3,325lb
Max Speed: 109.5mph
Service Ceiling: 15,500ft
Endurance: 4h 30min
Armament: One forward firing Vickers Gun, one rear Lewis guns
Bomb-load: two 230lb or four 112lb bombs


Contents

The DH.9 was designed by de Havilland for the Aircraft Manufacturing Company in 1916 as a successor to the DH.4. It used the wings and tail unit of the DH.4 but had a new fuselage. This enabled the pilot to sit closer to the gunner/observer and away from the engine and fuel tank. The other major change from the DH.4 was the choice of the promising new BHP/Galloway Adriatic engine, which was predicted to produce 300 hp (224 kW) and so give the new aircraft an adequate performance to match enemy fighters. Ώ]

By this time, as a result of attacks by German bombers on London, the decision was made to almost double the size of the Royal Flying Corps, with most of the new squadrons planned to be equipped with bombers. ΐ] Based on the performance estimates for the DH.9 (which were expected to surpass those of the DH.4), and the similarity to the DH.4, which meant that it would be easy to convert production over to the new aircraft, massive orders (4,630 aircraft) were placed.

The prototype (a converted DH.4) first flew at Hendon in July 1917. Ώ] Unfortunately, the BHP engine proved unable to reliably deliver its expected power, with the engine being de-rated to 230 hp (186 kW) in order to improve reliability. This had a drastic effect on the aircraft's performance, especially at high altitude, with it being inferior to that of the DH.4 it was supposed to replace. This meant that the DH.9 would have to fight its way through enemy fighters, which could easily catch the DH.9 where the DH.4 could avoid many of these attacks.

While attempts were made to provide the DH.9 with an adequate engine, with aircraft being fitted with the Siddeley Puma, a lightened and supposedly more powerful version of the BHP, with the Fiat A12 engine and with a 430 hp (321 kW) Napier Lion engine, these were generally unsuccessful (although the Lion engined aircraft did set a World Altitude Record of 30,500 ft (13,900 m) on 2 January 1919 Α] ) and it required redesign into the DH.9A to transform the aircraft.


Operational history [ edit | edit source ]

To boost the rate of production, quantity orders for the DH.9 were also placed with Alliance, G & J.Weir, Short Brothers, Vulcan, Waring & Gillow and National Aircraft Factories No. 1 and No. 2.

The first deliveries were made in November 1917 to 108 Squadron  RFC  and it first went into combat over France in March 1918 withن Squadron , and by July 1918 nine squadrons operational over the Western Front were using the type.

The DH.9's performance in action over the Western Front was a disaster, with heavy losses incurred, both due to its poor performance and to engine failures, despite the prior de-rating of its engine. Between May and November 1918, two squadrons on the Western Front (Nos.㻣  and𧅨 ) lost 54 shot down, and another 94 written off in accidents. [4]  Nevertheless, on 23 August 1918 a DH9 flown by Lieutenant Arthur Rowe Spurling  of 49 Squadron, with his observer, Sergeant Frank Bell , single-handedly attacked thirty Fokker D.VII  fighters, downing five of them. [citation needed] Captain John Stevenson Stubbs  managed 11 aerial victories in a DH9, including the highly unusual feat of balloon busting  with one. [5]

The DH.9 was also more successful against the Turkish forces in the Middle East , where they faced less opposition, and it was used extensively for coastal patrols, to try to deter the operations of U-boats .

Following the end of the First World War, DH.9s operated by㺯 Squadron and𧇝 Squadron were sent to southern Russia in 1919 in support of the White Russian Army of General Denikin during the Russian Civil War. [6]  The last combat use by the RAF was in support of the final campaign against Mohammed Abdullah Hassan(known by the British as the "Mad Mullah") in Somalia during January—February 1920. [6]  Surprisingly, production was allowed to continue after the end of the war into 1919, with the DH.9 finally going out of service with the RAF in 1920. [7]

Following the end of the First World War, large number of surplus DH.9s became available at low prices and the type was widely exported (including aircraft donated to Commonwealth nations as part of the Imperial Gift programme. [3]

The South African Air Force received 48 DH.9s, and used them extensively, using them against the Rand Revolt in 1922. Several South African aircraft were re-engined with Bristol Jupiter radial engines as the M'pala, serving until 1937. [8]


Now having 5,500 + listed!

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19th century ballooning

This seems a major part of our aviation heritage which has been forgotten - or ignored. But why? It really does set the UK apart.

A pictorial view

A pictorial guide to our amazing aviation heritage of flying sites

Air Shows

A gallery of pictures, of air shows in the UK. We really do have a wonderful amount of air shows in the UK which usually attract larger numbers of spectators than major sporting events.

Hendon

* HENDON: Civilian aerodrome, (Also known as THE LONDON AERODROME before WW1). See also HENDON SOUTH

Note: This picture was obtained from Google Earth ©

The outline of the WW2 HENDON aerodrome can just about be made out, and includes HENDON SOUTH.

Also known as the GRAHAME-WHITE AERODROME and the HENDON AVIATION GROUNDS

PICTURE GALLERY ONE
Note: These pictures are scanned from Aeroplane Monthly, June 1987. These fabulous pictures were originally published in Flight and The Aeroplane.

Gallery One Captions
Picture One: Brindejonc des Moulinais about to take off from Hendon on a height record attempt , with a lady passenger , at Hendon in May 1913.
Picture Two: Part of the Aeronautical Syndicate's Valkyrie fleet at Hendon in May 1911.
Picture Three: Claude Grahame-White, with Richard Gates as passenger, pylon racing at Hendon in October 1912.
Picture Four: More racing at Hendon, August 1912.
Picture Five: R. J. Lillywhite in a Grahame-White Boxkite on a Hendon race day in June 1914.
Picture Six: Classic view of Hendon Aerodrome taken from an Avro 504K in May 1919.

Shared civil/military aerodrome in WW1. RNAS Air Station

Later civil aerodrome/airport from 1919 to 1925. In WW2 listed as being an airport when under RAF command. Later RAF aerodrome

Operated by: Originally in 1910 by Everett Edgcumbe & Co. Ltd, later Grahame-White Aviation Co

Military users: WW1: RNAS Home Defence Station and Flying School (1914 to 1916)

Royal Navy Air Station (Flying School originally operated by Grahame-Wight etc and taken over by the Admiralty although retaining civilian instructors).

RFC Home Defence Night Landing Ground 1916 to 1919. RFC Flying School 1916 to

1918. RFC/RAF No.2 Aircraft Acceptance Park (1917 to 1919)

RFC/RAF Training Squadron Station, RFC/RAF School of Instruction, No.1 (Communications) Sqdn

December 1918: No.1 (Communications) Sqdn (DH.4s & Handley Page 0/400s )

March 1919: No.2 (Communications) Sqdn

Interwar years:

600 & 601 Sqdns Auxiliary Air Force (Westland Wapitis)

604 Sqdn (DH.9As, Wapitis & Hawker Harts later Demons, returning later flying Blenheims)

611 (West Lancashire) Sqdn (Hawker Harts)

24 Communications Sqdn (Tiger Moths)

* Battle of Britain RAF Station (from 10 th July 1940) 11 Group

257 Sqdn Hawker Hurricanes (still based here 1 st August 1940)

WW2: RAF Fighter Command

504 Sqdn (Hawker Hurricanes)

257 Sqdn (Initially Vickers-Supermarine Spitfires, replaced by Hurricanes)

Transport Command 116 Wing MCS

24 Sqdn (DH89A Dominies, Douglas C-47 Dakotas)

USAAF 9 th Air Force 86 th Air Transport Sqdn

Post 1945: 604 Sqdn (Spitfires) ATC glider flying

Civil activities: Pre 1914 to 1940: GA training, joy riding, air shows, (known as Aerial Derbys prior to WW1), manufacturing and air races. Commercial charter and limited airline use

Civil charter users: 1911 to 1940: Aircraft Transport & Travel, D.H. Aeroplane Hire Service (based at nearby STAG LANE), Grahame-White Aviation, The Airadvert Co

British airline users: 1919 RAF No.1 (Communications) Sqdn., making civil passenger and mail flights to Paris and Versailles mostly to determine the Peace Treaty terms after WW1 ended it is claimed. Using DH.4s and HP 0/400s (There are several examples of the RAF performing &lsquoairline/freight/air mail&rsquo duties immediately after WW1 ended and before the civilian companies became organised). There is a strong case to made that the RAF were the first British airline operator!

Flying schools: Pre WW1 and in some cases during WW1: Beatty School of Flying, Blackburn Flying School, British Caudron Flying School, Chanter Flying School, Deperdussin Flying School, W H Ewen School of Flying, Grahame-White Aviation, J Laurence Hall Flying School, Hall & Temple Flying School*, London & Provincial Aviation, McArdle & Drexel Flying School, Ruffy-Baumann Flying School, Temple School, The Aeronautical Syndicate, The Bleriot School, Willows Flying School

*It now appears the Temple School was renamed the &lsquoHall School of Flying&rdquo in 1913.

Between the wars: Beatty School of Flying, Grahame-White Aviation, London Flying Club, Temple Flying School (from HENDON SOUTH)

Manufacturing: Pre 1914: Blair Atholl Aeroplane Syndicate, Breguet Aeroplanes (factory in Willesden), Everett Edgcumbe, Farman, Grahame-White Co, Handley Page Co (final assembly and flight testing only?), Morane, Nieuport & General Aircraft, W.H.Ewen Aviation (later British Caudron Company), The Aeronautical Syndicate

In 1912, The Aircraft Company, later became the Aircraft Manufacturing Co &ndash Airco. In WW1 Airco built a large factory, a couple miles away to the south in The Hyde, Hendon

Pleasure flights: Pre WW1: Grahame-White Aviation and others

Other uses: Early 1950s site for the major British SBAC annual air-show later transferred to Farnborough in ? Still used in 2004 by the Police Air Support Unit for requirements by the Hendon police training school.

Location: SE of Burnt Oak, SW of Mill Hill, NE of Colindale, NW of Hendon and 7nm NNW of the City of London. The original HENDON aerodrome was situated in the area now known as Grahame Park, (presumably after Grahame-White?), to the W of the RAF museum and the later aerodrome to the S and E of this site.

Museum: The RAF Museum. Arguably amongst the finest in the world, and one of the most prestigious in the UK.

Period of operation: Almost certainly opened in 1910 to 1957?

Site area: Pre 1914: The original site was quite small, just a few acres, but quickly expanded. In September 1910 listed as being 146 acres although some say 207 acres, even 220 acres. In 1911 HENDON had a circumference of 2 miles


WW1: 192 acres 1097 x 1097

Runways: WW2: 15/33 1212x46 grass 10/28 914x46 grass
01/19 933x46 grass

After WW2 according to one informed source only two grass runways existed, a NE/SW runway of 914 metres and a shorter E/W runway 732 metres long

NOTES: It surely must be said that today the RAF museum at this site is a credit to all involved. It really is a magnificent achievement and ranks amongst the best museums to be found anywhere.

A MIKE CHARLTON GALLERY

Note: These pictures from postcards were kindly sent by Mike Charlton who has an amazing collection. See, www.aviationpostcard.co.uk

Third picture: I don't think I have seen any record of this remarkable flight. The postcard was sent on the 20th July 1911. But surely, here is proof that it occurred?


Eleventh picture: I wonder if anybody can kindly identify the aircraft in this line-up. I certainly have a couple of ideas, but quite frankly I'm out of my depth.


Twelfth picture: The cars look distinctly pre-WW1 but I suppose car design didn't develop much during WW1. I cannot think of any design like this emerging before WW1. Indeed, it looks to me to be a Vickers Vimy, or at least something similar. If anybody can kindly offer advice, this will be most welcome.

Thirteenth picture: Presumably Mr Brock flying the Blériot, and a Henri Farman in the foreground?

Fourteenth picture: Without any doubt a Blériot machine, presumably a 'XI'?

THE VERY EARLY HISTORY
So typical of recorded history and especially personal accounts, the following quote from C C Turner in his book Old Flying Days serves to illustrate how fickle memory can be. He has the following account: &ldquoMr Handley Page does not fly himself, but the reference reminds me of the wager he made with Mr Pemberton Billing. I do not remember which of them was the challenger, but the stakes were to be given to him who learned to fly in a day. Mr Pemberton Billing no doubt began with a practical advantage, for in about 1908 he had had a machine, and almost flown it. At any rate, he won the wager. Mr Handley Page, flying his own monoplane at Hendon certainly got off the ground, and landed again. He landed in a somewhat bouncing fashion, but without doing any damage, and on getting out asked a friend. &lsquoDid you see my landing?&rsquo &lsquoI saw them all,&rsquo was the reply.

Today I would like to call attention to the remark, &ldquoHe certainly got off the ground&rdquo but notice, but this wasn&rsquot credited with being a &lsquoflight&rsquo, even in those days! As I&rsquove made it clear elsewhere, neither should the short hop made by the Wright brothers in 1903 be regarded as &ldquoa flight&rdquo either. It is quite another issue to consider who was the first to &lsquofly&rsquo. In this case just getting a machine barely off the ground, even for the slightest distance, is definitely not &lsquoflying&rsquo. Who was the first to achieve this feat I suspect we&rsquoll never know? And, we are of course simply asking here about a powered flight of course. Ironically, after so many years research, it now appears it was the Wright brothers who first achieved a controlled circuit. But at Dayton.

Again from C C Turner, &ldquo The late Richard Gates made Hendon aerodrome. It was from here that M Louis Pulhan started his flight to Manchester in 1910, and Gates afterwards set to work to clear the trees and drain it. Then he decided he must learn to fly.&rdquo Mr Gates went on to become the father of &ldquocrazy flying&rdquo which in the early days was called &ldquoRag Time Flying.&rdquo Turner then goes on to say, &ldquoAnd in my opinion the success of Hendon as a centre of flying sport was largely due to him.&rdquo C C Turner also insists that Mr Bernard Isaac was a major figure in the creation of HENDON. Mr Isaac founded the Aeroplane Supply Company.

But, (isn&rsquot there always a &ldquobut&rdquo), Andrew Renwick in his excellent book RAF Hendon maintains it was Mr Edgar Isaac Everett in partnership with Mr Kenelm William Edward Edgcumbe who formed Everett Edgcumbe & Co Ltd with premises in nearby Colindeep Lane and began work on a monoplane. Some say they were joined by a certain Charles Richard Fairey, (later of course to found a very famous aircraft manufacturing company), who had also, some claim, worked with Martin and Handasyde at the WELSH HARP (or OLD WELSH HARP). &ldquoIn order to test their monoplane an airfield was required. The Motor published a photograph on 1 February that showed trees being felled to clear a site for flying. In February 1910 Hendon Urban District Council approved the erection of a shed in which to house the Everett-Edgcumbe monoplane and work could begin.&rdquo


ANDREW RENWICK
At the time of writing this note in early 2013 Andrew Renwick was, and had been for many years, (and possibly still is?), the Curator of Photographs at the RAF Museum so he of all people certainly should know the precise history of the site as he is also the author of the book RAF Hendon The Birthplace of Aerial Power. He very kindly offered to answer my many questions regarding early flying history, especially in this area of NW London.

For example, in February 1910 it was reported that Claude Grahame-White had successfully flown a Bleriot monoplane at Hendon. I think we both agree this was almost certainly at THE HYDE, a nearby location.

THE FORMATION OF HENDON AS &lsquoTHE LONDON AERODROME
From Andrew Renwick &ldquoOn 30 September 1910 Kenelm Edgcumbe and his brother-in-law, Harold Arthur Arkwright, registered The London Aerodrome Company Limited to acquire the site. Leases were obtained and more ground was cleared on 2 November 1910 Lawrence Ardern was made a shareholder in recognition of the assistance he provided in obtaining the various leases.&rdquo All rather boring perhaps, but, note the absence of the name Richard Gates so far, much vaunted by C C Turner in his book of around 1927. I make no apologies for going into such detail as HENDON in those days was soon to become the premier flying site in the UK.

AN ARGUMENT THAT CANNOT BE WON?
Experts can, and will, argue this point promoted by Andrew Renwick that HENDON was actually &ldquoThe Birthplace of Aerial Power&rdquo BROOKLANDS (SURREY) and FARNBOROUGH (HAMPSHIRE) are also serious contenders of course, and I would add EASTCHURCH (KENT). But surely from the point of view of huge public acclaim and the promotion HENDON afforded British aviation, this site holds all the aces? As pointed out so often elsewhere the beauty of providing just a &lsquoGuide&rsquo has manifold benefits &ndash definitely in not professing to provide a definitive answer and, in fact, usually attempting quite the opposite. It is of course only human to try and arrive at conclusions, and opinions can be aired in a &lsquoGuide&rsquo. What has really intrigued if not fascinated me, is the sheer abundance of differing accounts and opinions in such a specialised subject of recent history!


THE BEGINNING
Without any doubt, the simple fact that the French pilot Louis Paulhan had elected to start from the only partially cleared HENDON &lsquoaerodrome&rsquo and won the Daily Mail London to Manchester race in April 1910 this put HENDON &lsquoon-the-map&rsquo. Today it is quite hard to try and envisage the effect on the population but is certainly not an exaggeration to say it equalled the first landing on the moon. Indeed, it can be argued that the event had more impact because many thousands actually turned out along the route to witness the race, whereas with the moon landing it was only seen on TV.

Getting back to Andrew Renwicks book RAF Hendon: &ldquoSheds were erected&hellip.and although the flying ground wasn&rsquot completely ready it opened on 1 October 1910. The Aero reported that enough ground had been cleared to allow a run of half a mile, with workmen clearing more hedges and trees to create an area of more than 200 acres and allow a circuit of 1¾ miles.&rdquo Andrew Renwick also makes the point that: &ldquoThe size on an aerodrome was important&hellip..in the early days&hellip.all flying was carried out over the airfield, pilots rarely ventured beyond the aerodrome boundary, which made cross-country flights remarkable.&rdquo


THE FIRST TO ARRIVE
It now appears the first two organisations to occupy the sheds at HENDON were The Blériot School opened with Norbert Chereau as manager and Pierre Prier as chief instructor. Frank Hedges Butler was their first student pilot. The second organisation was the Aeronautical Syndicate Ltd, originally set up at LARKHILL (WILTSHIRE) in July 1909. To quote from Andrew Renwick: &ldquoThe aeroplanes of the Bleriot School and the Aeronautical Syndicate were regularly seen in the sky over Hendon at a time when few people had even seen a motor car.&rdquo He also reckons the Everett-Edgcumbe monoplane never flew properly, although it did make &ldquoa few hops&rdquo.

I do realise I&rsquove banged on about the subject elsewhere in this Guide, but it must be remembered that the so-called &ldquofirst powered flight&rdquo by the Wright brothers at Kittykawk in the USA, in 1903, was nothing of the kind. It was just a &lsquoshort hop&rsquo in ground effect. In April 2013 I learnt that Jane&rsquos World Aircraft has accepted the claim that Gustave Weisskopf (Whitehead) had made a flight of 1.5 miles at about 50 feet in Connecticut in 1901 and that the Smithsonian Institute were reviewing their decision to credit the Wright brothers made in 1948. (See: www.gustavewhitehead.com)

However, it certainly does appear the Wright brothers did achieve the first &lsquoproper&rsquo flight, by flying a circuit, when they returned to experiment in Dayton, Ohio. All that can be said about the Weisskopf endeavour is that it was a bloody long hop, but certainly not a flight. The problem appears to be that the vast majority of experts and academicians are not pilots and therefore cannot differentiate between a machine becoming airborne &ndash and a flight which involves in its most basic form, flying a circuit and thereby exercising the machine in the basic elements required for a flight, in all three axis, climbing, turning and descending. There is no explicit requirement to even land at the same place as the take-off, but this is generally deemed preferable &ndash even today!

This is all a great shame because the Wright brothers, who were so damned greedy, intent on getting patents for all &lsquoflying machines&rsquo registered to them alone, (a ridiculous notion of course), the exact date of the first circuit flown by one the brothers seems shrouded in mystery. Or should that simply be &ndash not recorded. After raising almost no interest in the USA for their &lsquoflying machine&rsquo when they appeared in Europe to demonstrate their skills at Le Mans, all the European pilots thought they had the best &lsquoall-round&rsquo aircraft, even if it couldn&rsquot match anything in Europe for certain aspects of performance such as climb rate, speed, service ceiling etc.

It was soon realised that the &lsquoWright Flyer&rsquo design had many inherent problems and another approach was required. Without too much doubt is was the French pilots and designers discussing the subject in the Aero Club de France on the Champs Elysees in Paris who pretty much sorted it all out. Indeed, the terms they adopted are still used globally for many aircraft components, such as fuselage, empennage and aileron etc. They certainly quickly realised that, for aircraft of that period, having just a single engine, it had to be in front of the pilot. Having it positioned behind the pilot, as with the Wright designs, meant that any serious accident would invariably be fatal when the engine hit the pilot. Nevertheless, new designs with the engine behind the pilot/crew continued to be made for several years, although I believe I am correct in claiming not too many in France and by French designers in WW1 none at all? Needless to say the British clung onto the pusher design long after designers in other countries had given the idea up, especially for a combat role.

Over one hundred years later the vast majority of new light aircraft still retain this feature.

EMILE PUPIN
Returning to Andrew Renwick and RAF Hendon the next person to put in an appearance was Emile Pupin with his &lsquoPupin monoplane&rsquo, but no record appears to exist of it ever flying.


HENDON DEVELOPS
Again from Andrew Renwick &ldquoOnce more hangars had been built, the Grahame-White School was able to move from Brooklands and new workshops replaced those at Walham Green.&rdquo

From C C Turner, amongst the earliest personalities at HENDON in 1910 were Mr Robert Blackburn and Mr Harold Blackburn who ran a flying school here under the management of Harold. Oddly enough neither were related and Robert of course went on to form the famous Blackburn Aeroplane Company, eventually based at BROUGH, YORKSHIRE. This is all very odd because C C Turner was there, and a journalist, but Andrew Renwick makes no mention of the Blackburns being at HENDON in 1910. Indeed, he says the Blackburn School moved to HENDON in September 1912, &ldquobeing one of the smallest&rdquo and makes no mention of Robert Blackburn being involved!

Originally I had noted that: &ldquoHENDON aerodrome came about according to many supposedly highly reliable accounts when Claude Grahame-White teamed up with Louis Blériot and Sir Hiram Maxim to create an international aviation centre in 1911. This was the time when HENDON became known as &lsquoTHE LONDON AERODROME&rsquo." As you can now see, this was not the case.

Prior to this Claude Grahame-White had set up a flying school in Pau, France in early 1910 and also set up a School at BROOKLANDS (SURREY) for a few months in 1910. According to Andrew Renwick in RAF Hendon, one of his pupils at Pau was Edith Maud Cook, (also known as Miss Spencer Kavanagh). &ldquoShe could have been the first British woman pilot if she had not been killed in an accident before passing her test a parachute jump from a balloon in Coventry went wrong on 9 July and she died the next day.&rdquo


AN ACCOUNT BY JOSHUA LEVINE
In his excellent book Fighter Heroes of WW1 Joshua Levine gives this account by Eric Furlong: &ldquoClarence Winchester was a freelance pilot with his own aeroplane giving joyrides to people for something like £1 a time. He used to put the passenger in the aeroplane and then start frightening them by telling them that they musn&rsquot touch this, that whatever they do, they were not to lean against that, that wire was absolute death if they got tangled up in it. By the time they took off, the passenger was jelly. When we asked him why he did this, he said, &lsquoWell, they think they&rsquore getting their money&rsquos worth if they&rsquore really frightened&hellip&rsquo.&rdquo I suppose that to some extent the idea that flying is inherently dangerous still pervades even today? For example take the mostly ignored and somewhat ridiculous &ldquosafety&rdquodemonstrations performed by cabin crew before each take-off in a modern airliner. The majority of passengers know deep down exactly what they will do in a serious emergency - they&rsquoll scream and panic and thereby hinder every attempt made by the flight crew to control the situation, and prevent the cabin crew from effecting a successful evacuation, in the very rare circumstances this might occur these days.

And, this isn&rsquot my very cynical view either read the accident reports.

Joshua Levine also tells another interesting story about HENDON. &ldquoOn Sundays, Frederick Handley-Page would send his aircraft, Yellow Peril, down to London Aerodrome, where its pilot would give joyrides. There was one man who refused to take a &lsquoflip&rsquo, however, as Charles Tye recalls:&rdquo &ndash &lsquoEvery Sunday, we used to take people up for trips. From Hendon, round Hyde Park and back. I don&rsquot suppose the trip lasted more than ten minutes and we used to charge a guinea. One particular Sunday, Handley-Page was there himself and I saw him talking to the actress Gladys Cooper. We hadn&rsquot had a customer for a while, and the pilot, a man named Whitehead, said to me, &lsquoI wonder if Miss Gladys Cooper wants a trip? Go and ask! And if she doesn&rsquot want a flip, ask Mr. Page if he&rsquod like one. I don&rsquot think he&rsquos ever been in the air before!&rsquo So I went over and just stood aside Mr. Page while he was taliking to Gladys Cooper. &lsquoWhat do you want, Charlie?&rsquo he asked. I said, &lsquoMr. Whitehead is sitting up there and he&rsquos getting fed up. Is anybody coming up?&rsquo He said, No!&rsquo So I said, &lsquoWell, he says he&rsquod like to take you up as he doesn&rsquot think you&rsquove been in the air before!&rsquo He looked at Miss Gladys Cooper and he took me aside and whispered in my ear, &lsquoYou go back and tell Whitehead &ndash I build them. I don&rsquot bloody well fly them!&rsquo

This very direct and honest statement regarding the role of designer and manufacturer still seriously affects the industry even today. There have been at least a couple of very serious accidents caused because the designers knew little, or even cared, about how pilots actually fly aircraft, or for that matter, how aircraft should be flown properly. I could cite examples of many airliners which have been certified as safe despite having very serious design flaws relating to the well understood basics of how to fly aeroplanes. Ignoring principles taught to everybody learning to fly even a basic training type. Indeed, in jaded moments I have often said, relating to light aircraft, that they are now so safe the primary role of the designer is to make them dangerous to operate! Exactly the same can be said about many modern cars of course, with many quite superfluous complexities being included.

This said, and as related, Federick Handley Page had flown.


THE HANDLEY PAGE EPISODE
Official records show that J G Weir was awarded his Pilots Certificate, (No.24), after flying a Blériot Monoplane from HENDON on the 8th of November 1910. The Handley Page concern started in 1908 and became a limited company about one year later. Later on, (probably in 1916), with a factory in Cricklewood, but, according to Jane&rsquos 1917 &lsquoAll The World&rsquos Aircraft&rsquo their flying ground was HENDON. This was soon to change as Handley Page developed their own airfield at CRICKLEWOOD and was later, after WW1, to become the first &lsquoproper&rsquo British international airport adjacent to their factory, and Handley Page operated by their own airline.

Scanned from British Aviation - The Pioneer Years by Harold Penrose, surely this must be a very interesting aeroplane. It seems that is was built by Handley Page at his Barking factory to the design of a Mr T Sonoda of Japan. I wonder if the 'Rising Sun' motif on the rudder was then a legal requirement for Japanese aircraft, akin to the 'Swiss Cross', a white cross on a red band, on the tail of all Swiss civil aircraft?


History

The Airco DH.9 ( after 1920, the de Havilland DH.9) was a British bomber flown during the First World War by the Royal Flying Corps and — by war’s end — the Royal Air Force. Intended as a replacement for Airco’s earlier, highly successful DH.4, it was ordered in very large numbers, with over 2,000 in RAF service by November 1918. Unfortunately, it was not only inferior to the DH.4, but its performance was so poor that it cost a great many Allied airmen their lives.

The idea was for the DH.9 to have similar performance to the DH.4, but longer range, helping to form Britain’s first strategic bomber force. But in reality, the DH.9’s performance was not similar to that of the DH.4 far from it. Originally intended to be fitted with an American-supplied Liberty V-12 engine, the DH.9 was instead mated with a BHP 230 hp engine, due to delays in production that rendered the Liberty unavailable. But the BHP was the engine that was fitted to the DH.4 at the prototype stage, and later replaced by the Rolls Royce Eagle, a superior engine capable of 250 hp. Unfortunately, a Rolls Royce powerplant was not in the DH 9’s future. It entered service saddled with the underpowered, unreliable BHP. The alternative of a Rolls Royce engine was not an option due to the limitations on production capacity and priorities for its use in other aircraft – including the DH.4.

The DH.9 was designed by Geoffrey de Havilland for the Aircraft Manufacturing Company (Airco) in 1916. It used the wings and tail unit of the DH.4 but had a new fuselage, enabling the pilot to sit closer to the gunner/observer and away from the engine and fuel tank. The other major change from the DH.4 was the choice of the promising new BHP/Galloway Adriatic engine, predicted to produce 300 hp (224 KW) and so give the new aircraft an adequate performance to match enemy fighters. But in flight tests beginning at Hendon in July 1917 the BHP proved disappointing, having such difficulty consistently delivering the initially rated 300 hp that it was de-rated to 230 hp (186 kW) in order to improve reliability. This rendered the DH.9 inferior to the DH.4 it was intended to replace, particularly at high altitude, with all too often with fatal results.

The DH. 9 design altered the DH4 two-seater bomber in two ways: First, it moved the pilot’s cockpit rearwards, just behind the trailing edge of the wing, making space for an internal bomb bay in the fuselage. Second, the engine centre line was raised and the nose radiator replaced by a vertical water tank and a radiator in the bottom of the fuselage. Compared to the DH4, the total empty weight was reduced by 100 lbs, the fuel tank size increased and the bomb load increased by 500 lbs, at the cost of “a slight loss of speed and climb and an increase in the landing speed.” The design had the advantage of closing of the gap between the pilot and the observer/gunner, improving communication between them during combat. However, when fully loaded, the DH. 9’s service ceiling was about 14,000 ft., some 2,000 ft. lower than the DH4. The deficiencies in its powerplant combined with its heavier bomb load meant that in combat, enemy fighters would be able to reach and attack the DH.9 formations more easily. Authorities had evidence early on that the slower, lower flying DH.9 would have to fight its way through enemy fighters before reaching its targets, whereas the earlier DH.4 was able to avoid many such attacks due to its superior speed. Despite this, plans went ahead to put the new type into service — perhaps with a thought of fitting it with a improved powerplant as soon as possible — but at the cost of many Allied airmen’s lives.

Entering service in November 1917, the deployment of the DH.9 to France was a disaster, frequently resulting in heavy losses, due mainly to the poor performance of the BHP engine. For Major General Hugh Trenchard, commanding officer of the Royal Flying Corps on the Western Front from 1915-1917, the events of 31 July 1918 confirmed his early prejudices about the DH.9. A formation of a dozen aircraft from No. 99 Squadron set out to bomb the town of Mainz. Three aircraft dropped out with engine trouble before crossing the lines nine aircraft continued but due to enemy opposition attacked Saarbrucken instead. Four aircraft were brought down before reaching the target, and of the five remaining, a further three were shot down by the time the raid was completed. This one action resulted in the loss of 14 aircrew, eight of whom never got near their target.

By the end of August 1918 Maj. Gen. Trenchard, by then recalled to London to take up the post of Chief of the Air Staff for the recently created Royal Air Force, decided that the DH.9’s were unfit for front-line service “and that the losses which must be expected they would suffer did not justify again sending them over the lines.” He accordingly withdrew the type from front-line service, and it was thereafter used for transport or liaison duties.

Elsewhere the DH.9 continued in service until the Armistice. Despite its limitations, when flown in a tight defensive formation, the DH.9 could hold off attackers with some success and squadrons claimed a number of victories against attackers. The DH.9 saw service in France with Nos 27, 49, 98, 99, 103, 104, 107, 108, 206, 211 and 218 Squadron. Some 2,166 DH.9’s were delivered for RAF service by the end of October 1918 and a total of 3,204 were produced.

Between May and November 1918, two squadrons on the Western Front (Nos. 99 and 104) lost 54 DH.9’s shot down, and another 94 written off in accidents. DH.9’s were more successful against the Turkish forces in the Middle East, where they faced less opposition, and were also used extensively for coastal patrols, to deter U-boat operations. The DH.9’s combat record in France was a key reason it was re-deployed to these duties. After the war, a single DH 9 was rebuilt as an air ambulance, requiring a modification of the fuselage by placing a special installation behind the cockpit over what had been the gunner’s postion. This was the widest part of the fuselage, where stretchers could be fitted to keep the injured in a stable position. Only one DH 9 was so modified, as larger, twin-engined aircraft became available for this duty in the 1920’s.

While attempts were made to provide the DH.9 with an adequate engine, with aircraft being fitted with the Siddeley Puma, a lightened and supposedly more powerful version of the BHP, and also with the Fiat A12 engine, and finally with a 430 hp (321 kW) Napier Lion engine, these were generally unsuccessful (although the Lion-engined aircraft did set a World Altitude Record of 30,500 ft (13,900 m) on 2 January 1919). Ultimately, it required a redesign into the DH.9A to transform the aircraft.

Type: tactical bomber/patrol aircraft/air ambulance
Manufacturer: Airco
Designed by: Geoffrey de Havilland
First flight: July 1917
Introduced: 1917
Retired: 1920
Primary users: Royal Air Force, RNAS, RFC.
Number Built: 4091
Variants: DH.9A, DH.9C, Westland Walrus
Length: 30 ft 5 in (9.27 m)
Wingspan: 42 ft 4½ in (19.92 m)
Height: 11 ft 3½ in (3.44 m)
Wing area: 434 ft² (40.3 m²)
Empty weight: 2,360 lb (1,014 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 3,790 lb (1,723 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Armstrong Siddeley Puma piston engine, 230 hp (172 kW)
Maximum speed: 98 kn (113 mph, 182 km/h)
Endurance: 4½ hours
Service ceiling: 15,500 ft (4,730 m)
Climb to: 10,000 ft 18 min 30 sec
Crew: 2
Armament: One forward firing .303 Vickers machine gun one or two rear .303 Lewis guns on Scarff ring

Reviewing the record nearly a century later, one wonders why the DH.9 was allowed to enter service at all with a clearly inferior powerplant, which literally meant the difference between life and death for many British airmen. It is curious that, given the initial specifications laid down for the new bomber, it was not given an equally successful if not identical powerplant to the aircraft it was intended to replace. It is equally curious that, when its designated powerplant was proven deficient prior to its deployment to France, arrangements were not made to increase production of the Rolls Royce Eagle engine which had made the DH.4 such a successful aircraft, or to scrap the DH.9 altogether in favor of increasing production of the DH.4. Was it simply a case of political pressure to give the Royal Flying Corps its first strategic bomber, regardless of the cost, with national prestige so tied up in the project that failure could not be conceded? In any event, the DH. 9 was a great deal more successful as liaison aircraft and air ambulance than as a bomber.

Comparisons in performance between the DH.4 and DH.9

The Official History of the War in the Air makes particular reference to the performance of the DH4 and DH9 bombers during the Battle of Amiens, illustrating the poor performance of the newer aircraft.

” The DH4 fitted with the 275 horse power Rolls Royce (Eagle VI) engine was splendidly reliable. In the four days of intensive fighting from 8-11 August inclusive the DH4’s of 205 Squadron were in the air for a total of 324 hours 13 minutes, and dropped sixteen tons of bombs. Every aeroplane returned from its mission and no more than one had to be struck off the strength of the squadron.”

” By way of comparison, a typical DH9 squadron flew a total of 115 hours in the same period and dropped four and a half tons of bombs. During the operations seven of the DH9’s were lost and two others were wrecked, and ten pilots had to leave formation without dropping their bombs, through engine trouble.”


And from TAH's own archive.

Broughton-built de Havilland Chipmunk 21 G-AMUC gambols over Portsmouth after its delivery to Hamble-based Air Service Training in October 1952.

We originally captioned this image as being Hawker Siddeley test pilot John Farley in P.1127 XP984 aboard HMS Bulwark in June 1966. However, John contacted The Aviation Historian to put the record straight: "I did not fly from Bulwark in June 1966, so if the ship and date are right, the pilot is wrong!" After a little digging we found that it was in fact John's colleague Hugh Merewether. It's a fair cop &ndash thanks, John! This aircraft is now on display at Brooklands Museum.

The Piasecki 16H-1A Pathfinder II was one of several machines built by the company in the 1960s while engaged in research into the high-speed compound helicopter concept, whereby the rotor is unloaded in flight by means of a wing. An in-depth feature on Piasecki's compound helicopters is coming soon in The Aviation Historian.

Gone fishin' &ndash perfect for getting away from it all, the Bensen B-8MW Hydrocopter was a classic 1950s idea that, perhaps disappointingly, never really caught on. Capable of 40–75 m.p.h., the Hydrocopter was powered a 72 h.p. McCulloch two-stroke engine and was a development of the Gyroboat &ndash literally just a skiff with a rotor!

Seen here in Luftwaffe markings, the sole Savoia-Marchetti SM.93 ground-attack aircraft was the Italian company's final World War Two design. It carried a crew of two, with the pilot lying in a prone position, and was powered by a Daimler-Benz DB605 engine. Look out for more on this and other little-known Italian wartime designs in forthcoming issues of The Aviation Historian.

A magnificent portrait of factory-fresh de Havilland Comet 4 G-APDR of BOAC shortly after its first flight in July 1959. Flying the flag for Britain on long-haul routes until 1965, G-APDR later went on to serve with Mexicana.

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AIRCO DH.9

The Airco DH.9 (from de Havilland 9) also known after 1920 as the de Havilland DH.9 was a British bomber used in the First World War. A single-engined biplane, it was a development of Airco’s earlier, highly successful DH.4 and was ordered in very large numbers for Britain’s Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force.

An unreliable engine which did not deliver the expected power meant, however, that the DH.9 had poorer performance than the aircraft that it was meant to replace. This resulted in heavy losses to squadrons equipped with the DH.9, particularly over the Western Front. It was subsequently developed into the DH.9A with a more powerful and reliable engine.

Design and development

The DH.9 was designed by de Havilland for the Aircraft Manufacturing Company in 1916 as a successor to the DH.4. It used the wings and tail unit of the DH.4 but had a new fuselage. This enabled the pilot to sit closer to the gunner/observer and away from the engine and fuel tank. The other major change from the DH.4 was the choice of the promising new BHP/Galloway Adriatic engine, which was predicted to produce 300 hp and so give the new aircraft an adequate performance to match enemy fighters.

By this time, as a result of attacks by German bombers on London, the decision was made to almost double the size of the Royal Flying Corps, with most of the new squadrons planned to be equipped with bombers. [1] Based on the performance estimates for the DH.9 (which were expected to surpass those of the DH.4), and the similarity to the DH.4, which meant that it would be easy to convert production over to the new aircraft, massive orders (4,630 aircraft) were placed.

The prototype (a converted DH.4) first flew at Hendon in July 1917. [2] Unfortunately, the BHP engine proved unable to reliably deliver its expected power, with the engine being de-rated to 230 hp in order to improve reliability. This had a drastic effect on the aircraft’s performance, especially at high altitude, with it being inferior to that of the DH.4 it was supposed to replace. This meant that the DH.9 would have to fight its way through enemy fighters, which could easily catch the DH.9 where the DH.4 could avoid many of these attacks.

While attempts were made to provide the DH.9 with an adequate engine, with aircraft being fitted with the Siddeley Puma, a lightened and supposedly more powerful version of the BHP, with the Fiat A12 engine and with a 430 hp Napier Lion engine, these were generally unsuccessful (although the Lion engined aircraft did set a World Altitude Record of 30,500 ft (13,900 m) on 2 January 1919 [3] ) and it required redesign into the DH.9A to transform the aircraft.

The first deliveries were made in November 1917 to 108 Squadron RFC, with several more squadrons being formed or converted to the DH.9 over the next few months, and with nine squadrons operational over the Western Front by June 1918.

The DH.9’s performance in action over the Western front was a disaster, with heavy losses incurred, both due to its low performance, and engine failures (despite the prior de-rating of its engine). For example, between May and November 1918, two squadrons on the Western Front (Nos. 99 and 104) lost 54 shot down, and another 94 written off in accidents. [4] The DH.9 was however more successful against the Turkish forces in the Middle East, where they faced less opposition, and it was also used extensively for coastal patrols, to try and deter the operations of U-boats.

Following the end of the First World War, DH.9s operated by 47 Squadron and 221 Squadron were sent to southern Russia in 1919 in support of the White Russian Army of General Denikin during the Russian Civil War. [5] The last combat use by the RAF was in support of the final campaign against Mohammed Abdullah Hassan (known by the British as the “Mad Mullah”) in Somalia during January—February 1920. [5] Surprisingly, production was allowed to continue after the end of the war into 1919, with the DH.9 finally going out of service with the RAF in 1920. [6]

Following the end of the First World War, large number of surplus DH.9s became available at low prices and the type was widely exported (including aircraft donated to Commonwealth nations as part of the Imperial Gift programme. [3]

The South African Air Force received 48 DH.9s, and used them extensively, using them against the Rand Revolt in 1922. Several South African aircraft were re-engined with Bristol Jupiter radial engines as the M’pala, serving until 1937. [7]

Because of the large number of surplus DH.9s available after the war many were used by air transport companies. They provided a useful load carrying capability and were cheap. Early air services between London, Paris and Amsterdam were operated by DH.9s owned by Aircraft Transport and Travel. A number of different conversions for civil use were carried out, both by Airco and its successor the de Havilland Aircraft Company and by other companies, such as the Aircraft Disposal Company. [8] Some radial powered DH.9Js continued in use until 1936. [9]


Airco D.H.9 - History

C6501, the first production Airco DH9 with 230hp BHP engine.

Airco DH9 with Napier Lion engine in a wintry landscape.

Airco DH9B civil conversion G-EAGY of Aircraft Transport & Travel Ltd.

Civilian Airco DH9C G-EBAX of De Havilland Aeroplane Hire Ltd.

QANTAS civil design G-AUFM based on DH9C fuselage with DH50 wings and cabin layout.

Airco DH9 G-EAQM the first single engine aircraft to fly from England to Australia.

Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar III powered DH9J G-EBEZ of De Havilland School of Flying.

Operational history

First World War

The DH.9A entered service in July 1918 with No. 110 Squadron RAF, moving to France on 31 August 1918 to serve with the RAF's Independent Air Force on strategic bombing missions. Its first mission was against a German airfield on 14 September 1918. [ 3 ] A further three squadrons commenced operations over the Western Front before the Armistice, with 99 Squadron (also serving with the Independent Air Force) replacing DH.9s, while 18 Squadron and 216 Squadron replaced DH.4s. [ 3 ] Despite the superior performance of the DH.9A over the DH.9, the DH.9A squadrons suffered high losses during their long range bombing missions over Germany. [ 8 ] Other squadrons flew coastal patrols from Great Yarmouth before the end of the year.

The United States Marine Corps also adopted the DH.9A, its Northern Bombing group receiving at least 53, operations starting in September 1918. [ 9 ]

Interwar RAF service

While the squadrons in service at the end of the First World War quickly disbanded or re-equipped in the postwar dis-armament, the DH.9A continued in service as the RAF's standard light bomber, with a total of 24 squadrons being equipped between 1920 and 1931, both at home and abroad.

The first post war operations were in southern Russia in 1919, in support of the "White Army" against the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War. In September 1919, the RAF personnel were ordered to return home, leaving their aircraft behind. [ 6 ] A squadron of DH.9As was deployed to Turkey in response to the Chanak Crisis in 1922, but did not engage in combat. [ 10 ]

The DH.9A was one of the key weapons used by Britain to manage the territories that were in its control following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the Great War. Five squadrons of DH.9As served in the Middle East, [ 11 ] carrying out occasional bombing raids against rebelling tribesmen and villages. A larger radiator was fitted to cope with the high temperatures, while additional water containers and spares (including spare wheels lashed to the fuselage) were carried in case the aircraft were forced down in the desert, the DH.9A's struggling under ever heavier loads. Despite this it served successfully, with the Liberty engine being picked out for particular praise for its reliability ("as good as any Rolls Royce") in such harsh conditions. [ 12 ] Some DH.9A aircraft were also transported to India to supplement the British Indian Army.

At home, the DH.9A continued on in regular RAF service until 1930, also forming the initial equipment of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF).

Soviet service

The R-1 was heavily used by the Soviet Air Forces through the 1920s as its standard light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. The Soviets deployed R-1s in support of the Chinese Kuomintang forces in the Northern Expedition against warlords in 1926-27 and against Chinese forces in clashes over control of the Chinese Eastern Railway in Manchuria in 1929. R-1s were also used in support of operations against Basmachi Rebels in central Asia. [ 13 ]


Watch the video: James Holland Presents the Airco. RAF 100 Mini-Series at IWM Duxford (June 2022).


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