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)
The Lakes Hydro-monoplane was another of the aircraft flown so successfully from Lake Windermere by the Lakes Flying Company. A two-seat pusher, it was designed for Captain E. W. Wakefield by Oscar T. Gnosspelius and was built during 1913 by Borwick and Sons, of Bowness-on-Windermere. An 80 h.p. Gnome was used and the machine, flown initially by Rowland Ding, continued in useful employment by the Northern Aircraft Company - as the Lakes Flying Company became later - until 1916 for the training of R.N.A.S. pilots. When it first appeared the aircraft was equipped with a wide central float and two smaller wing-tip floats. These were afterwards exchanged for a pair of main floats only.
Flight, November 13, 1914.
WATERPLANE FLYING AT WINDERMERE.
ALTHOUGH comparatively little has been heard with regard to the activities of the school and works of the Lakes Flying Co., on Lake Windermere, a good deal of constructional and school work has been done, resulting in the production of several school machines and a number of pilots, some of whom have turned out really fine flyers. Under the management and direction of Mr. E. W. Wakefield, who has up to quite recently been the director and owner of the Lakes Flying Co., a machine of original design has been evolved and given excellent results, which does its designer, Mr. Gnospelius, as well as its constructors, the Lakes Flying Co., credit.
Arrangements have now been considered for the Northern Aircraft Company, Ltd., whose director and manager, Mr. W. Rowland Ding, is well known as a particularly successful pilot of the Handley Page biplane, to take over the whole business of the Lakes Flying Co., including the hangars, machines, plant, &c, and it is intended to start immediately with the school and works. The present equipment of the school comprises three machines, including the new monoplane referred to above, whilst the construction of new machines will be commenced at once. As Mr. W. Rowland Ding, in addition to being an experienced pilot, is also a capable designer, the appearance of the new machines will be awaited with interest.
It seems likely that the new school will quickly become popular, for Lake Windermere is in a very attractive flying venue, owing to its elongated shape, a "straight" of eight miles in length and an average width of about three-quarters of a mile, increasing in places to slightly over a mile.
As most of the tuition work will take place over the lake, the danger of serious accident should be remote, especially as a motor boat of 12 h.p. is always in attendance upon the waterplanes. Apart from the waterplanes it is intended to build several land-going machines, so that pupils will have an opportunity of making themselves acquainted with the handling of both types. Attached to the school is also a very fine hydroplane, fitted with a 50 h.p. water-cooled Clerget engine. This boat has a speed of about 50 m.p.h., and will carry four passengers. It will be at the disposal of the pupils, and should form one more attraction to the, in this respect, already well-provided school.
Mr. Ding's own description of his first experience with the water monoplane, of which we hope to be able to give full details later, forms very interesting reading, and, incidentally shows how easily a capable pilot, who has had no previous experience with waterplanes, can master the handling of this type of aircraft. Mr. Ding puts his initial efforts on the Lakes machine as follows :-
"On arriving at Windermere I found that there were three machines: 1. The 'Water-Hen,' the Farman-type biplane with front elevator, built by the Lakes Flying Co., of which a description, with scale drawings, appeared in FLIGHT some time ago. 2. A 50 h.p. Gnome-Avro biplane. 3. A very interesting 80 h.p. 'pusher' monoplane, designed by Mr. Gnospelius and built by the Lakes Flying Co., this machine being not quite finished.
"I decided at once that the third machine was the one which would probably put up the best performances, and I therefore packed the others in different hangars out of the way and set to to finish it off. As soon as finished I had this machine placed on its bogey and run down into the lake, and after a short preliminary run of the engine, which behaved splendidly, I set off on my first waterplane trip.
"I may say that I have never seen a waterplane in the air, and only know what it looks like from photographs. It was with some fear and trepidation that I opened the engine out and waited to see what would happen. One or two seconds after I started I found that I had not the throttle adjusted quite right, and therefore began to adjust it in order to get more speed out of the engine. So busy was I doing this that I did not notice that I had left the water and got some 20 feet into the air, and when I found what had happened I felt very relieved indeed, as I had been told that about the first thing I would do would be to get the front of the float under the water and turn a somersault!
"The machine felt so nice in the air that I took it straight up to about 600 or 700 ft., and managed to do quite small circuits. I found out, however, that the side areas were all wrong, and the machine had a great tendency to spin, this being probably due to the fact that it has a very large square-sided body, protruding out in front of the machine a la Henri Farman, with not much fixed tail area at the back to counteract it. After the first flight I therefore had a large fin made and fitted to the rear of the machine, and, on trying it again, I found that this was a wonderful improvement, as the machine now seems as nice to handle in the air, although somewhat slow, as any I have tried, and there is no tendency to spin at all. The third flight I made with a passenger of about 12 1/2 stone, and this flight was quite successful. The machine lifts a passenger quite well and will do as small circuits as any machine I have seen.
"I find landing on the water quite as easy as landing on terra firma, except perhaps when the Lake is so smooth that it looks like glass, but one soon gets used to this too.
"I am sending you several photographs of this new machine, which deserves to be noticed, as it is of a type which is distinctly original, and which, if it was a little faster (its present speed being about 55 m.p.h,), would be as good a flying machine as any in the country, especially considering that at present it has on it a somewhat heavy and old 'single' float which was not designed for it."