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Kennedy Giant

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1914

Four-engine (two tractor, two pusher), three-crew, four-bay biplane bomber

Keith-Weiss - Aviette - 1912 - Великобритания<– –>King - monoplane - 1909 - Великобритания

F.Manson British Bomber Since 1914 (Putnam)

Kennedy Giant

   The product of a gifted young man, Chessborough J H Mackenzie-Kennedy, the Giant was of impressive proportions, but of doubtful structural integrity and badly underpowered. As an eighteen-year-old and with three pounds in his pocket, Kennedy had left England for Russia, convinced of aviation's future and, in particular, the potential of very large aeroplanes. In 1908 he completed the design of Russia's first aeroplane, and formed the Kennedy Aeronautic Company the following year. Becoming associated with Igor Sikorskii in 1911, he was involved in the design of the first Sikorskii four-engine biplanes before returning to England on the outbreak of war.
   Kennedy discussed his ideas for very large aeroplanes with the War Office, by which he was promised support, and established his design office at 102 Cromwell Road, South Kensington, together with T W K Clarke, G C McClaughlin and E A Vessey.
   The fruits of this encouragement were the Giant, whose manufacture was undertaken by the Gramophone Company Ltd and the Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, both of Hayes, Middlesex. Final assembly took place at Hendon but, owing to its great size, the aircraft had to be erected in the open. The four-bay, unstaggered wings spanned 142 feet; ailerons were fitted to the upper wings only, their control rods extending along the top of the leading edge, and the wing overhang being braced by pairs of outraked struts. The four engines, mounted in tandem pairs in nacelles on the lower wings, were very early British-built examples of the Canton-Unne/Salmson Z9 nine-cylinder water-cooled radials, each of which was provided with a pair of large vertical radiators on the sides of the nacelles.
   The fuselage, of singularly bizarre appearance, was of rectangluar section over its entire length and tapered towards the tail only in plan. It provided fully-enclosed accommodation for the crew, the pilot being situated in the extreme nose, with individual compartmented cabins aft. The tail surfaces were clearly of inadequate area, the tiny rudder (later enlarged) being unbalanced and without a fixed fin. The undercarriage was an extraordinarily complicated structure of multiple V-struts and skids. One is left to conjecture that the bomb load would have been suspended beneath the aeroplane, though exactly where it is difficult to imagine.
   Supply of the Sunbeam engines, manufactured under licence by the Dudbridge Iron Works Ltd of Stroud, were afforded very low priority (and were not subject of official trials until May 1919). Early examples were rated at only 200hp and, with these, the Giant was made ready for flight at Hendon late in 1917. This power proved insufficient to gain true flight, and despite being taxied at full throttle downhill, the pilot, Lieut Frank Courtney, only managed to lift the mainwheels off the ground for a short hop with the tailskid still dragging along the ground.
   Although no further attempts were made to fly the Giant, Kennedy was not discouraged from designing a second, smaller version, and construction was underway at the works of John Dawson & Co Ltd, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in 1920 when the venture was abandoned owing to financial failure.

   Type: Four-engine (two tractor, two pusher), three-crew, four-bay biplane bomber.
   Manufacturers: Fairey Aviation Co Ltd, and the Gramophone Co Ltd, both of Hayes, Middlesex, to the design of Kennedy Aeroplanes Ltd, South Kensington, London W.7
   Powerplant: Four 200hp Canton-Unne Salmson Z9 nine-cylinder water-cooled radial engines driving two tractor and two pusher two-blade propellers.
   Dimensions: Span, 142ft 0in; length, 80ft 0in; height, 23ft 6in.
   Weight: Tare, 19,000 lb.
   Performance: No true flight achieved.
   Prototype: One, No 2337. One partial flight made by Lieut Frank T Courtney late in 1917.

P.Lewis British Bomber since 1914 (Putnam)

One of the more unusual developments in the evolution of British heavy bombers was provided by the Kennedy Giant of 1917, an enormous biplane with a span of 142 ft. and powered by four 200 h.p. Salmson engines mounted in tandem pairs between the mainplanes. The aptly-named Giant was constructed jointly at Hayes by Fairey and by the Gramophone Company Ltd. to the design of C. J. H. Mackenzie-Kennedy. Kennedy’s aeronautical experience in Russia prior to the 1914-18 War, culminating in his close association with Igor Sikorsky in the designing of the Russian’s Il’ya Mourom’etz, showed up strongly in the British machine, construction of which was authorized by the War Office following representations by Kennedy. The early serial number 2337 was allocated to the machine, but the aircraft’s components were not ready for assembly until the close of 1916. Northolt was selected as the best place for erecting the huge, square-cut bomber which had to be put together in the open in the absence of a hangar large enough for it. The Giant’s remarkably deep fuselage rested on the shorter lower wings, and its constant depth extended to about mid-way along its length, at which point the lower longerons slanted upwards to provide slight taper in elevation. The crew members were fully enclosed and liberally provided with windows extending to the tail.
   Unable to obtain the powerful engines which the Giant needed, the designer had to be content with the low-powered Salmsons, the combined 800 h.p. of which proved completely unequal to the task of lifting the machine from the ground at Northolt when Lt. F. T. Courtney attempted to fly it towards the end of 1917. Thereafter, the Giant was abandoned.

J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)

Kennedy Giant

  IT has been said that Chessborough J. H. Mackenzie-Kennedy was the man who took aviation to Russia. At the age of eighteen he went there with three pounds in cash and a strong belief in the possibilities of aviation. He went to the Putiloff Gun Works and discussed his plans to such good purpose that he almost immediately became a member of the Imperial Russian Technical Society and was given a good deal of support.
  By 1908 he had completed the design of the first Russian aeroplane, and in the following year he formed the Kennedy Aeronautic Company. In 1911 he met Igor Sikorskii, and the two became friends. Both were convinced of the practicability and usefulness of very large aeroplanes, and in 1913 there appeared the first Sikorskii four-engined biplane, with the design of which Kennedy had been associated.
  Soon after the outbreak of war Kennedy returned to Britain. The success of the big Sikorskii machines had fired his enthusiasm afresh, and he forthwith took his own ideas for a giant aeroplane to the War Office. He was rewarded with permission to construct a prototype, and set up his design office at 102 Cromwell Road, South Kensington. Associated with him were T. W. K. Clarke, who had been one of the pioneers of aviation in Britain, E. A. Vessey and G. C. McClaughlin.
  The construction of the Kennedy Giant was undertaken by the Gramophone Company, Ltd., and the Fairey Aviation Company, Ltd., both of Hayes, Middlesex. The completed components were sent to Northolt aerodrome for assembly towards the end of 1916, but the machine was so large that it had to be erected in the open: there was no hangar large enough to accommodate it.
  In appearance the Kennedy Giant bore a general resemblance to the Sikorskii Ilya Mourom’etz. The deep and commodious fuselage provided completely enclosed accommodation for the crew: the pilot sat in the extreme nose, and behind his compartment were a navigation room and other cabins. Windows were fitted along the entire length of the fuselage.
  The completion of the Giant was not accomplished without incident. The surviving accounts contain the elements of conflict and confusion, and doubtless the passing of time has blurred the details. One account says that when the first attempt to move the Giant was made, it needed the combined efforts of two lorries and seventy men to haul it along. These exertions proved too much for the machine, for it broke its back. The fuselage was shortened by about ten feet and repaired, and construction proceeded.
  It has also been recorded that the mainplanes had to be moved aft by an appreciable distance during the erection of the aircraft; assembly was thereby delayed.
  Structurally the Giant was more or less conventional. The fuselage was a cross-braced box girder of almost constant depth, and terminated in a rudder which could hardly have been adequate even if the fuselage had been longer or the mainplanes farther forward. It looked absurdly small on the completed machine, but was later replaced by a very much larger horn-balanced rudder; the original plain elevators were also replaced by horn-balanced surfaces.
  Ailerons were fitted to the upper wings only, and were actuated by long spanwise shafts which ran along the wing just above the leading edge. A similar control system operated the elevators. The undercarriage was a wonderfully complicated affair which had four wheels and a multiplicity of struts.
  Unfortunately for Kennedy, the only engines which the authorities would release for his machine were some British-built Salmson water-cooled radials of 200 h.p. each. The serial numbers of these engines indicate that they were among the first Salmsons to be made by the Dudbridge Iron Works, Ltd., who held the British licence for their manufacture.
  The engines were mounted above the lower wing in two tandem pairs, and each engine had two radiators, one on either side. The intention was that these engines should be cleanly cowled, for large pointed spinners were later fitted to the pusher airscrews. With only 800 h.p. available the Giant was badly underpowered.
  The first attempts to fly the aircraft were made late in 1917 by Lieutenant Frank T. Courtney, who was then an instructor with No. 35 Training Squadron at Northolt. After several attempts had proved unsuccessful, Courtney taxied at full throttle down a slight slope from the hangars against a stiff breeze, but even that rather desperate action resulted in no more than a straight hop with the wheels off the ground but with the tail-skid trailing.
  No further attempts were made to fly the Giant. For want of sufficiently powerful engines it was never properly completed, and lay derelict at Northolt for several years. Kennedy retained his faith in large aeroplanes, for in 1919-20 a second Giant of his design was under construction at the Victoria Works of John Dawson & Company, Ltd., Newcastle-on-Tyne. This was to have been smaller than its predecessor: the span was to have been too feet, the length 55 feet, and the estimated useful load was 6,500 lb. Better luck with engines was obviously hoped for: the estimated maximum speed of the second Giant was 120 m.p.h. Kennedy’s venture failed financially in December, 1920, however, and his new aircraft was never completed.

  Manufacturers: Kennedy Aeroplanes, Ltd., 102 Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London, W.7. Components made by the Gramophone Company Ltd., Hayes, Middlesex, and by the Fairey Aviation Company, Ltd., Hayes.
  Power: Four 200 h.p. Salmson, engines numbered 2, 6, 8 and 10.
  Dimensions: Span: 142 ft. Length: 80 ft. Height: 23 ft 6 in. Chord: 10 ft. Gap: 10 ft.
  Weights: Empty: 19,000 lb.
  Serial Number: 2337.

H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)


Giant. No armament was ever fitted to this great biplane (142 ft span) of 1916, but mention is warranted because of the designer's earlier association with Igor Sikorsky (see under Handley Page V/1500) and the clear intention to install a tail turret, as betokened by the depth of rear fuselage. The following item in The Aeroplane of 28 February, 1923, is relevant:
   'On Feb. 21 the trustee in bankruptcy of Mr Chessborough J. Mackenzie Kennedy, the author of the famous super-Sikorsky which has so long decorated or disfigured (according to taste) the landscape at Northolt, sued the Air Council in respect of the rights to use the idea of a gun-pit in the tail of an aeroplane. The Plaintiff alleged that the War Office agreed with one Hamilton Edwards to take an aeroplane designed by Mr. Kennedy, having a gun-pit in the tail and engines mounted on the wings... It was further alleged that in the autumn of 1917 the Air Board lent their designing and technical staff to Handley Page Ltd., who disclosed to that firm Kennedy's confidential reports and that the Handley Page V/1500, which had a gun-pit in the tail, was the result. Mr. Frederick Handley Page applied for a patent for the tail gun-pit on March 15, 1918, and Mr Kennedy applied for a patent on March 16.'
   The action was dismissed.
   The ultimate layout as planned by Kennedy was remarkably advanced. In the nose of the fuselage was a gun position, and there was an enclosed flight deck immediately behind. A second gun position was on top of the fuselage aft of the wings, and behind the tail (which had twin fins and rudders) was the controversial 'gun-pit'. The designer schemed for this position a kind of cushion, which could be arranged to act as a knee-pad or seat, according to the direction in which the gunner was firing. Two guns were planned for this station, but Kennedy was mindful of the weight problems involved and spoke of extending the nose accordingly.
   Careful attention was likewise paid to the bomb installation. Each bomb was to be carried vertically, nose-down, by a pair of arms, pivoted laterally at one end and formed with interlocking cups at the other end to hold the nose of the bomb. The arms were to be controlled through selector gear, associated with an indicator, in the form of a figured drum, which showed the number of bombs dropped or still held.

H.Nowarra, G.Duval Russian Civil and Military Aircraft 1884-1969

Although the large Kennedy machines were not a success and the intervention of war contracts to his factory delayed further experiments, this designer was eventually responsible for the Kennedy Giant of 1918, a four-engined aircraft of comparable size and appearance to the Sikorski heavy bombers. Powered by 2 tractor and 2 pusher engines, the Giant was not a success.

Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919

Mr. Kennedy was one of the pioneers of aviation in Russia, and was largely concerned with the development of the Sikorsky biplane.
   Returning to England soon after the outbreak of War, he was responsible for the design of the machine illustrated herewith, which was built by the Gramophone Company, Ltd., at their works at Hayes, and was erected in the open at Northolt Aerodrome, there being no shed in the country sufficiently large to house it.
   The machine was equipped with 4-200 h.p. British-built Salmson engines, as the only ones which the authorities would issue, and the power was inadequate for more than straight flights.
   The following are the leading dimensions:
Span 142 ft.
Chord 10 ft.
Gap 10 ft.
Overall length 80 ft.
Maximum height 23 ft 6 in.
Weight of machine empty 19,000 lbs.
Engine type and h.p. 4-200 h.p. Salmson.

F.Mason - British Bomber since 1914 /Putnam/
The Kennedy Giant, No 2337, at Hendon in 1917. Mr J M Bruce is quoted as stating that it required two lorries and seventy men to move it, but even this effort broke the aircraft's back. It was repaired, but with the fuselage shortened by 10 feet, presumably in the form shown here. The Giant bears more than a superficial resemblance to the Sikorskii Ilya Mouram'etz, the worlds first four-engine aeroplane.
J.Herris - Weird Wings of WWI /Centennial Perspective/ (70)
The designer of the Kennedy Giant was inspired by the success of the Ilya Mourometz when he was living in Russia before the war. The configuration of the Giant also followed the general configuration of the Ilya Mourometz. It was more fortunate in its engines, being powered by four 200 hp Salmson water-cooled radials arranged in two pusher-tractor pairs. Despite this 800 hp, the Giant did not have enough power to take off and the aircraft was never flown despite failed attempts. Wing span was 142'.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
Side View of the Kennedy Giant (4 - 200 h.p. Salmson Engines).
J.Herris - Weird Wings of WWI /Centennial Perspective/ (70)
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
Kennedy Giant. The Giant when first completed, with its original small rudder.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
The Giant with enlarged rudder and modified elevators.
J.Herris - Weird Wings of WWI /Centennial Perspective/ (70)
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
A Front View of the Kennedy Giant, with a Bristol "Fighter" alongside.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
The Kennedy Giant being erected at Northolt.