M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
HUMBER biplane 1910-1911 type
The biplane, shown at Olympia in 1910, was soon replaced by a more normal design of the time based on the French Sommer type, the design being attributed to A.H. Bailey.
The first of these was reported to have flown at Brooklands on 19 October 1910, having been fitted with a Gnome engine as, no doubt, the Humber engine still required development. The machine was packed, together with a second biplane and two monoplanes, and was dispatched to India by early November for demonstrations during an exhibition at Allahabad, in January and February. The team was managed by Capts. W.G. Windham and G. Dawes, with pilots Henri Pequet and Keith Davies, who also carried out pioneering air mail flights. The team was back by April and Pequet flew the Olympia machine at Brooklands for the first time on 6 May 1911 and the following day made a flight of 1hr 10min. Further flight trials of the engine, in a monoplane, took place throughout the summer, but apart from one in a monoplane sold to the Pashley brothers in August, the Humber engine was not generally adopted.
The machine was a typical pusher biplane with front elevator. It had the long curved skids attached to the front elevator supports, associated with the Sommer type. The tailplane was adjustable for incidence, by hand wheel adjacent to the pilot, an unusual feature at the time. The most obvious departure from standard practice, were the side curtains set at an angle between the two planes. These were warpable and were used in conjunction with small semicircular ailerons, positioned inboard of the outer pair of interplane struts, on the top wing. The top wing extensions could be folded down to reduce the span for storage, the side curtains then being folded upwards. Rudders were fitted above and below the tailplane.
50hp Humber four-cylinder inline, water-cooled with 7ft diameter propeller
50hp Gnome seven-cylinder air-cooled rotary
Span top. 45ft 8in
Span bottom 33ft 9in
Chord top 6ft 9in
Chord bottom 6ft 9in tapering to 5ft 9in
Area 506 sq ft
Weight 820 lb
Humber gave up the manufacture of aeroplanes and aero engines in August and sold all their remaining stock by auction on 4 September 1912. The sale included one Bleriot type, four biplanes, three Bleriot fuselages and two Humber Le Blon fuselages. Also a number of aero engines and finished and unfinished parts for aero engines and woodwork and metal parts.
P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
A British-built version of the Roger Sommer biplane was produced in small numbers by Humber Ltd., of Coventry, during 1910. One was sent to India, where, at the end of February, 1911, it carried the first official air mail in a service operated from the exhibition grounds at Allahabad to the post office at Baini on the opposite side of the Jumna River, lt was flown by Capt. W. G. Windham and Mons. Pecquet, who carried over 5,000 letters in one day with it. The four-cylinder 50 h.p. water-cooled Humber engine was fitted with a 7 ft. propeller, and the machine was a composite structure of wood and steel covered with fabric. The example exhibited at the 1911 Olympia Aero Show was a copy of the Allahabad aerial post aircraft and was fitted experimentally with sloping side surfaces between the wing-tips outboard of the ailerons. Span, 45 ft. 8 ins. Length. 40 ft. Wing area, 506 sq. ft.
Flight, December 24, 1910
Aviation in India.
THE first flight in connection with the Allahabad Exhibition was made by Pecquet on the 17th inst., using his Humber biplane. Starting from the Exhibition Grounds he flew across the Ganges and Jumna, round the fort, and so back to the flying ground, the trip being made at a height of about 600 ft. On Monday last some flying was witnessed at Calcutta, when Tyck, who has gone to India with Baron de Caters, started from the Tolbygunge Club Grounds on his Bleriot monoplane and made a short flight, attaining a height of 1,200 ft. Among the small group ot spectators who witnessed the ascent was General Sir O'M. Creagh, the Commander-in-Chief.
Flight, March 25, 1911
Humber, Ltd. - One Humber biplane. This machine is not yet complete, but it has a special interest in that it is exactly similar to the Humber biplane that has been used for the first aerial post at Allahabad, India.