H.King Aeromarine Origins (Putnam)
To resume our pursuit of marine aircraft 'firsts', whether regarded as a twin-hulled flying boat or as a twin-float seaplane the Radley-England waterplane of 1913 was of such remarkably original layout that I must give it a place. The accompanying photograph tells its own story: I feel it only necessary to add that the engines were three 50-h.P. Gnomes, coupled to a single shaft, and that the craft made several flights before an alighting accident. It was rebuilt with several modifications, and a 150-h.p. Sunbeam engine.
M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
Radley-England Waterplane 1
The Waterplane No. 1 was an ambitious and unorthodox design by James Radley and E. C. Gordon England, intended to compete in the 1913 Daily Mail Circuit of Britain event. Construction was undertaken at Portholme, Hunts., where, although the machine was a floatplane, flight-testing was carried out by Gordon England by the expedient of fitting a temporary wheeled undercarriage to the undersides of the floats.
The very original layout of the Waterplane included a pair of flat-bottomed punt-like floats, each of which was large enough to accommodate three passengers. The pilot sat in the front of the starboard float with two seats side-by-side behind him, the same seating arrangement being installed in the opposite float. Both nacelles were suspended by struts beneath the four-bay parallel-chord wings, of which the upper pair possessed slightly greater span than the lower. Mahogany, pine and oak were employed in the construction of the floats, each of which contained two water-tight compartments. Adequate lateral control was ensured by the provision of large ailerons on the upper planes. Twin rudders and the monoplane horizontal tail surfaces were carried on booms, the elevator area being very large compared with that of the tailplane.
Perhaps the most unusual feature of the Waterplane was the power plant. This consisted of three 50 h.p. Gnome rotary engines mounted in line one behind the other just above the lower wings' centre-section. The four-bladed 9 ft. 10 ins. diameter propeller was mounted on a long overhead shaft set above the engines midway in the wing gap, and connection to the power units was made by three Coventry roller chains. This unorthodox arrangement proved to be a very practical one during the trials, in which the machine performed satisfactorily, after which the Waterplane was transported to Shoreham for its final water tests, which were conducted from the River Adur by Gordon England. Making a demonstration flight with a news reporter, however, he was unlucky enough to rip the bottom of the starboard float when he ran over a buoy during the landing run. The Waterplane half-sank in shallow water about a hundred yards from the shore, but was salvaged for rebuilding.
Description: Six-seat pusher hydro-biplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
Manufacturers: J. Radley and E. C. Gordon England, Portholme, Hunts.
Power Plant: Three 50 h.p. Gnomes.
Dimensions: Span, 45 ft. 4 ins. Length, 29 ft. 3 ins. Wing area, 505 sq. ft.
Weights: Empty, 1,400 lb.
Flight, April 12, 1913.
THE RADLEY-ENGLAND WATERPLANE.
A NEW British-built waterplane of great interest has been constructed at Huntingdon by James Radley in collaboration with Gordon England, who is acting as his engineer and designer. Both have had great experience in aviation, the former as a practical pilot, and the latter, not only as a pilot, but as a designer of successful machines.
In their joint effort they have made a bold attempt to advance aeroplane construction a definite step by building a machine which is designed in the first instance to carry six passengers. Other machines have carried as many passengers or even more upon occasion, but this is a machine in which the accommodation for six passengers has been provided at the outset, and has formed of necessity a basic factor governing the proportions of the aeroplane as a whole.
The machine is a waterplane, and the pilot and five passengers are seated, three in each of the two boat-like floats upon which the machine rests when it alights on the water. In the right-hand float is the accommodation for the pilot, and two seats for passengers are arranged behind him, while the three other passengers occupy corresponding seats in the other float.
As may be judged from the fact that it has to carry this amount of weight, this biplane is by no means small, and its planes afford some 500 sq. ft. of supporting surface. The weight empty is estimated at about 1,400 lbs., and the calculations for the weight loaded were based on the assumption that the normal wing loading would be in the order of 3 1/2 lbs. to the square foot. Actual weights generally differ considerably from estimated weights, and we should expect the final real value to come out somewhat heavier than the abovementioned figure.
The tail is carried by outriggers in the usual manner, but is somewhat interesting in the comparatively small size of the fixed tail plane as compared with that of the elevator flap serving as its extension, which would probably tend to increase the sensitiveness of the vertical directional control. Steering in a horizontal direction is carried out in the orthodox manner by means of two balanced rudders, carried by the outriggers and situated under the tail plane. Lateral balance is obtained by means of ailerons of large proportions hinged from the rear spars of the upper main planes. These various steering surfaces are operated by a control of the usual type, consisting of a universally-jointed lever, a backward and forward movement of which operates the elevator, and a side-to-side movement actuates the ailerons, which, by the way, are interconnected, so that when one is depressed the other is correspondingly elevated. The rudders are controlled by a footbar in the usual manner, the bar, however, being practically unbreakable, as it is built up of some twelve laminations of wood.
As will be seen from the accompanying diagram of the wing section of the main planes, these have a somewhat small camber, 2 ins. maximum, and have a maximum thickness of 2 1/4 ins. The angle of incidence is set at 3 degrees. The main spars, which are of "I" section ash, are situated some eight inches from the leading edge, while the rear spars, which are also of "I" section ash, are spaced only 31 1/2 ins. from the main spars, roughly, half-way between the latter and the trailing edge. The ribs, which are spaced close together at the inner portion of the wings, are built up of spruce with willow web-blocks, or distance pieces. Mahogany is used for the inner struts carrying the engine, while the others are of spruce, those carrying the outriggers being made hollow for the sake of lightness, and bound with fabric.
The floats, each of which is connected to the lower main planes by three ash struts, have mahogany sides and white pine bottoms, while the floor timbers are of oak. Each float is partly covered over with curved decks of teak, and each has two water-tight compartments, either of which is sufficient to keep the whole machine afloat. The shape of these floats can be seen from our illustrations, and it will also be noticed that they are not stepped in any way.
One of the most interesting features in the design of this machine is the manner in which the power plant is arranged. It consists of three 50-h.p. Gnome engines placed in line on a common axis and each supported on either side. Above the engines is a countershaft, which is driven by all three engines in common by means of triple Coventry chains of the roller type. The tubular countershaft is mounted on ball bearings, and is of very large diameter, and carries at its rearmost end a four-bladed propeller of about 9 ft. 10 ins. diameter, which is geared down to about three-fourths of the engine speed. Interposed between the rear engine frame and the propeller is a large ball race which takes both the journal load and the thrust of the propeller. Another unusual feature of the drive is that the chain sprocket of each engine is machined solid with the end-plate of the crank case. Each engine is independently controlled from the pilot's seat by a separate petrol cock and switch, whilst on the control lever is a master switch that cuts out all three engines.
Fuel and oil are contained in tanks supported above the power plant, and each engine is supplied by separate pipes. At present the capacity of the fuel tank is 21 gallons, and the oil 10 1/2 gallons, but it is intended to carry further supplies of fuel and oil in tanks in the floats. Oil is supplied to each engine by a separate pump.
Bracing is everywhere carried out in a thorough manner by stout steel wire, whilst double steel stranded-cables are employed for the control. Drift is also well provided against by means of wires attached to the bows of the floats. The wheels shown, attached to the floats, in our illustrations are only temporary, being fitted for preliminary trials on the ground before taking to the water. It is with this machine that Messrs. Radley and England propose to enter for the latest prizes offered by the Daily Mail.