C.Barnes Short Aircraft since 1900 (Putnam)
Gordon Bell remained a freelance pilot, filling in with ferrying and demonstration flights for other firms, but gave Shorts first call on his services. On 13 June, 1913, he narrowly escaped death in a crash at Brooklands in a Martinsyde monoplane, in which his passenger, Capt J. R. B. Kennedy, was killed; later the Royal Aero Club censured him for reckless flying on this occasion, but he had learned his lesson and his certificate was not suspended.
Before this mishap, however, he had test-flown another new Short seaplane, a private-venture design exhibited at the Olympia show in February 1913. It incorporated many of Horace Short’s latest design features, such as manganese-steel tube struts instead of wood, improved main and tail floats, seats for two passengers side-by-side in front of the pilot and turning gear for starting the engine from the cockpit. The single-row 80 hp Gnome engine was neatly cowled and was carried on front and back bearings, with an under-shield intended to protect the engine from sea-water, although this caused overheating and was soon removed. The wings, though of improved profile and construction, did not fold and their extensions were strut-braced; also the ailerons (on the upper wing only) were of the trailing uncompensated type. On acceptance, this seaplane became serial 42 and was taken to Leven, on the Firth of Forth, in July 1913; while there it was flown by Gordon, Travers and Babington. Its floats were somewhat less robust than needed in tidal waters and, after having them stove-in more than once, 42 was converted into a landplane by the substitution of skids with wheels on a cross axle. A small fixed fin had been added, and with the floats removed 42 became a ‘lodger’ at the R.F.C. establishment at Montrose; during 1914 it returned to Eastchurch, whence it was taken to France in August with Samson’s Eastchurch Squadron. A month later it was the sole aeroplane possessed by Headquarters Flight, Morbecque, where on 28 September, 1914, Samson wrote it off in a tree when its engine failed just after take-off.
RNAS 42 - Span 48 ft (14-6 m); length 35 ft (10-6 m); area 390 sq ft (36-2 tn2); empty weight 1,200 lb (545 kg); loaded weight 1,970 lb (895 kg); speed 65 mph (104-6 km/h).
M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
S60. Tractor biplane, seaplane or landplane
This machine was built as a private venture, and was exhibited at the 1913 Aero Show at Olympia in February, on the stand of Percy Grace, brother of the late Cecil Grace, who acted as selling agent for Shorts. It was acquired by the Admiralty soon after the Show, being identified as No.42. In service the floats proved to be easily damaged in rough water; the machine was then converted to a landplane and was taken to France in August 1914, where it crashed into a tree, when being flown by Samson on 28 September 1914, and was written off.
The design included a number of new features, including lightweight main floats made of heavy fabric on wooden frames. These were connected to the fuselage by steel struts, the interplane struts being also of steel tubing. The pilot sat in the rear position; the front cockpit could accommodate two side-by-side and included an engine starting handle which a passenger could operate. The top wing extensions were braced by struts and single acting ailerons were fitted to the top wing only; the lower wing had rounded tips. The engine was carried on front and rear mountings and a board, to protect it from spray, was fitted below but was soon discarded. The wing tip floats were cylindrical canvas bags on steel frames, with horizontal tails. The tail float had parallel sides and small skids for protection, and was connected to the fuselage by five struts, the rearmost providing a pivot for a water rudder. No fin was fitted initially but one was added later.
Power: 80hp Gnome seven-cylinder air-cooled rotary driving a 8ft 6in diameter propeller.
Span top 48ft
Span bottom 30ft.
Area 390 sq. ft
Area tailplane 9 sq. ft
Weight allup 1,990lb.
Speed 65 mph
P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
Short Admiralty No. 42
At the 1913 Olympia Aero Show Short Brothers exhibited a new hydro-biplane. It resembled the S.41, but was improved in several ways. The lower wings were mounted direct on to the fuselage, and the tailplane was fitted below the upper longerons. Steel tubing was employed for the float struts, and the passenger's seat in the front of the undivided cockpit slid to the right to make room for a second passenger. A self-starter and petrol-injector were fitted. During 1912 Cdr. C. R. Samson, R.N., had flown the machine with two aboard in addition to himself.
The Admiralty bought the Show machine and, as No. 42 and fitted with a triangular fin, it flew at the 1913 Fleet Manoeuvres. Later, it operated as a landplane from Montrose and went to France with Samson's Eastchurch Squadron. Its end came when Samson wrecked it on 28th September, 1914. The engine was the 80 h.p. Gnome. Span, 48 ft. Length, 35 ft. Wing area, 390 sq. ft. Weight empty, 1.200 lb. Weight loaded, 1,971 lb. Maximum speed, 65 m.p.h.
O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)
This type first appeared at the 1913 Olympia Exhibition as a seaplane. It bore a considerable resemblance to the S.4l from which it was developed. Purchased for the Naval Wing, it was allotted the official number 42 and participated in the 1913 Fleet manoeuvres. Afterwards it was given a land undercarriage and was one of the aeroplanes taken to Ostend with Cdr Samson's Eastchurch Squadron of the RNAS on 27 August 1914. One 80 hp Gnome engine. Maximum speed, 65 mph. Span, 48 ft. Length, 35 ft.
Flight, February 8, 1913.
WHAT THERE WILL BE TO SEE AT OLYMPIA.
Mr. Percy Grace.
On Mr. Grace's stand - Mr. Grace is, by the way, the agent for Messrs. Short Brothers, the well-known constructors of Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey - will be shown a Short tractor hydro-biplane fitted with an 80-h.p. Gnome engine. In general design the machine will be very similar to the Short S41 type, which, as readers will remember, made its first flight under the pilotship of Commander Samson, at Weymouth, in May, 1912. In span the machine will measure 48 ft., and it will be 24 ft. 6 in. long. The chord and the gap between the main planes are both 5 ft. Its weight is approximately 1,200 lbs. On the water, it rests upon three floats, two main ones of catamaran type arranged below the cellule, and a smaller float which supports the tail. In addition, a small float is fitted to each tip of the lower plane. As for its seating accommodation, provision has been made, in this machine, for two passengers to occupy the front seats, placed side by side, while the pilot sits behind them. The 80-h.p. Gnome motor is so fitted that it may be started by one of the passengers without leaving the machine. At the time of writing the machine is not yet fully erected, but it will doubtless be complete in every respect by the time Olympia throws open its doors to the public.
Flight, February 22, 1913.
SOME MORE AEROPLANES AT OLYMPIA.
SHORT MACHINES (MR PERCY GRACE).
As the agent for Short machines, Mr. Grace is showing on his stand a new 80-h.p. Short tractor hydro-biplane. Going back a few months, it will be remembered that the first machine of this type that Messrs. Short Brothers built, was a 100-h.p. hydro-biplane, which was supplied to the Admiralty, and which was flown by Commander Samson at the Naval Manoeuvres at Weymouth during the past year. Previous to that, however, he had completed a flight on this machine, which, although it did not receive a great deal of publicity in the general Press, was nevertheless a very fine achievement. The flight to which we refer was a non-stop run that Commander Samson made, taking with him a passenger from Eastchurch to Portsmouth, following the coast line. That same machine has, on many occasions, carried two passengers, beside the pilot, and a complete charge of fuel.
The 80-h.p. Short tractor hydro-biplane. - In general appearance, both that machine and the one shown on Mr. Grace's stand differ but slightly. Naturally there are detail improvements, and among these we might mention that instead of the wings having squared tips they are rounded off, and that Messrs. Short Brothers have used steel tubular stanchions of stream-line section in place of wooden struts to separate the planes.
The body is a simple girder of rectangular section totally enclosed by fabric to reduce head resistance. In front, under an aluminium cowl, rotates the 80-h.p. Gnome motor that drives a large diameter Integral propeller. The engine is carefully shielded in, both on top and below, so that it may not become splashed by any spray that may be thrown up by the floats passing through rough water. In the body are, normally, seats for two, the passenger sitting in front. His seat however, is arranged to slide to the right so that another seat may be placed to his left and so provision made for the carrying of an extra passenger. The pilot's seat is arranged behind the passenger in such a position that he has a very good view of all that is going on around him. He controls the machine by means of a vertical wheel mounted at the head of a column jointed so that it may be rocked to and fro. By pushing the wheel from him or by pulling it towards him he can make the machine descend or ascend; by rotating the wheel he controls the lateral balance. The rudder is connected by a pivoted foot bar on which his feet rest. That the engine may be set in motion without any necessity for the occupants descending from their seats, a starting handle is fitted in the passenger's cockpit. The writer noticed at the Paris Aero Salon that many hydro-aeroplanes fitted with Gnome engines had similar self-starting devices, but at the same time he wondered how they could possibly be of any use, for it is a well known thing that unless a Gnome motor is primed with petrol in each cylinder no amount of swinging over will get it to fire. On the Short machine, however, the constructors have fitted a petrol injector, operated from the pilot's seat, by means of which each cylinder may be given its priming of petrol prior to the motor being swung by the passenger. The main tank is stored on the floor of the body at the approximate centre of pressure of the machine, and from there it is supplied to a service tank under the cowl of the motor by a small wind-driven automatic pump. Enough fuel is carried for a flight of six hours.
The planes span 48 ft. and 30 ft. respectively. They have a chord measurement of 5 ft. and are separated by twelve streamlined steel struts. Ash, of H section, is used for the front spar, whereas the back spar, of the same material, is roughly of rectangular section. The ribs are of spruce, and their construction is such that it is almost impossible for them to split. Lateral balance it controlled by ailerons fitted to the top plane on either side of the machine. The extensions are supported by steel tubes.
Float construction. - Two long catamaran-type floats are connected to the body of the machine by stout steel struts. These floats are not stepped - they are simply plain pontoons. They are separated at a sufficient distance to give the machine a good notational base, but should the machine be inclined to tip sideways for any reason while floating, the tips of the lower plane are guarded by subsidiary floats mounted on them. These latter floats are illustrated by one of our sketches. They are made up in cylindrical form from canvas, with a skeleton of strip steel inside, so that should they become punctured they will still retain their shape. There is also a small float fitted to the tail.
The tail is non-lifting and of conventional type. In order that the machine may be steered readily at slow speeds on the water the air rudder works in conjunction with a water rudder.
This Short tractor hydro-biplane, an excellent sample of careful design and construction throughout, has a maximum flying speed of 65 miles per hour.