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)
Pemberton Billing P.B.7
Noel Pemberton Billing's P.B.7 flying-boat was one of the most elegant aircraft displayed at the 1914 Olympia Aero Show. It was built by his Supermarine works at Woolston, Hants., under the Supermarine number P.B. I, and was powered by the 50 h.p. Gnome driving a Pemberton Billing three-bladed propeller. The single-seat cockpit was installed in the after section of the 200 lb. finely-constructed, cigar-shaped hull, through the upper part of which the lower wings passed in one piece. The thrust-line was set at a considerable angle of up-thrust by pointing the nacelle downward towards the tail-unit, in support of a theory that the machine would rise quickly from the water. This idea was discarded, however, and the lay-out was revised so that the engine was mounted in the hull behind the pilot, with a pair of pusher propellers driven by chains.
The P.B.7 was tested during May, 1914, on Southampton Water, but, owing to the unsatisfactory propellers, only a short hop was possible. Among the detail refinements of the design were the sprung outer floats and the buoyant pilot's seat, which was detachable in the event of an accident in the water. The P.B.7. was intended to be the predecessor of the proposed Supermarine P.B.7 flying-boat, whose hull was to have been a boat unit complete with under-water propeller, on which was to be mounted a removable aircraft unit of wings and tail so that the lower section could be converted into a high-speed motor-boat. Span, 28 ft. Wing area, 293 sq. ft. Weight empty, 750 lb. Weight loaded, 970 lb. Maximum speed, 50 m.p.h.
Flight, March 14, 1914.
WHAT THERE WILL BE TO SEE AT OLYMPIA.
Pemberton Billing. (49.)
AMONGST the new comers at the Show one of the most interesting will be the flying boat exhibited by Mr. Pemberton Billing. The "Supermarine," as Mr. Billing calls his flying boat, represents radical changes from usual practice in flying boat construction and design. The boat itself, as will be seen from accompanying sketch, is cigar shaped, thus providing a perfect streamline. The construction of the boat is unusual and will be fully described later. The Supermarine is of the tractor type, and it will be seen that the position and attitude of the engine and propeller is highly original inasmuch as they are mounted above the boat and in front of the main planes. It will be interesting to see how this arrangement will work in practice, the theory, of course, being that setting the propeller-shaft at an angle to the boat will facilitate getting off the water.
In addition to the complete machine there will be exhibited on this stand a model of the next Supermarine to be built, which is to be known as the P.B. 2, whilst the present machine is called the P.B. 1. A three-bladed propeller of special construction, and a supermeter for determining the height above the ground or the sea, and described elsewhere in this issue, will complete the exhibit on this stand.
Flight, March 21, 1914.
THE OLYMPIA EXHIBITION.
THE SUPERMARINE P.B. 1 (PEMBERTON BILLING). (49.)
AMONGST the newcomers at the Show, one of the most ordinal machines is the flying boat exhibited by Mr. Pemberton Billing. This machine differs radically from any flying boat hitherto turned out in this or any other country, and is an attempt to produce as Mr. Pemberton Billing puts it, a boat that will fly rather than an aeroplane that will float. The construction of the cigar-shaped hull is very interesting. The upper portion of the hull consists of two layers of spruce, whilst the thickness of the lower portion of the hull has been very carefully proportioned according to the strains imposed upon it. Thus at the keel there are five thicknesses of wood, while from the keel towards the deck it gradually tapers off into four, three and two thicknesses. The step of the boat, which forms a separate structure, riveted to the main hull, is built up of spruce, mahogany, rock elm and ash, beginning with the weaker wood near the nose of the boat, and having the strongest wood at the step where the greatest load is taken.
It will thus be seen that strength is obtained where necessary, not only by bulk, but also by careful selection of the materials best suited for the purpose. In addition to this, the circular construction of the hall has the advantage that a pressure applied at any point is transmitted to the whole surface, thereby making it possible to reduce the weight to a minimum and yet preserve the necessary strength. The weight of the hull is only about 200 lbs. Further rigidity is added to the boat by internal cross-bracing of the usual type, and bulkheads divide the boat into watertight compartments. These bulkheads are fitted with manholes in order to allow of adjustment of the internal cross-bracing. In the nose of the boat rests an anchor or grapnel, which, on being released, is shot forward by a strong coil spring. The anchor cable passes round a drum in front of the pilot's seat, so that the pilot is able to lower or hoist his anchor without leaving his seat. Interesting as the design and construction of the boat itself undoubtedly is, the engine mounting is even more so, for instead of mounting the engine as it is usually done, either in the boat itself or between the inner plane struts, Mr. Billing has mounted it in a streamline casing of wood, which also encloses the tanks. The rear portion of this casing is secured to the two front inner plane struts, whilst an additional two struts running from the engine down to the deck of the boat take the weight of the engine, a 50 h.p. Gnome driving directly a three-bladed propeller. The main planes, which are perfectly straight, that is to say, they have no dihedral angle, are set at an angle of incidence of 3 degrees. They are separated by spruce struts, and cross - braced in the usual way by stranded cables. The lower wing tips are protected by floats of a similar construction to that of the boat. By introducing springs in the cross-bracing of the floats these are allowed to travel backwards and upwards, thus adapting themselves to undulations of the water. One of the accompanying sketches shows the tail planes, which are mounted on a small structure of steel tubes. The pilot's seat, which is situated just to the rear of the lower plane rear spar, is made quickly detachable, so that in case of accident the pilot can throw it overboard, and as it possesses sufficient buoyancy to keep a man afloat, it serves the purpose of the lifebelt frequently worn by pilots of waterplanes. Control is by means of a single central lever and a pivoted foot-bar.
In addition to the complete machine, there is shown on this stand a scale model of the Supermarine P.B. 3, which Mr. Pemberton Billing was unable to get finished in time for the Show. This machine will be fitted with two Austro-Daimler engines placed in the hull, and driving the propeller through bevel-gearing. Another interesting item is the Supermeter, which indicates to the pilot his height above the surface from a height of 15 ft. downwards. As this instrument was fully described in these columns last week, further reference is unnecessary. Some examples of the three-bladed propellers with which the Supermarines are fitted will be found to be well worth a careful inspection.