J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)
ALTHOUGH the Nieuport London was not officially regarded as being in the same category as the Manchester, Bourges, Oxford and Cobham, it had several features in common with them. It was designed for two A.B.C. Dragonfly engines; the installation of two high-compression Siddeley Pumas was envisaged as a means of testing the airframe; but no example of the London was completed before the Armistice, and the aircraft did not fly until 1920.
Whereas the other four Dragonfly-powered twins were designed as high-speed day bombers, however, the London was intended to be a night bomber; and particular attention had been paid to structural simplicity in order to achieve rapid production. The aircraft was designed in 1918 by H. P. Folland, and was an outstanding example of his genius, both structurally and aerodynamically.
The London was a triplane of rather angular appearance. It was built of wood throughout, and the number of metal fittings was kept to a minimum: the structural members were of deal, pine and cypress; wooden pegs and dowels were used; joints were made in the simplest possible fashion, with nails and brass wire sewing; and the fuselage was covered with quarter-inch tongue-and-groove match-boarding. The wings and tail unit were fabric covered.
All control surfaces were horn-balanced. Ailerons were fitted to all three mainplanes, but the London proved to be so responsive to the controls that the top and middle ailerons were removed and the wings suitably modified; the remaining bottom ailerons were quite adequate to provide lateral control. The tail-unit incorporated a keel-fin reminiscent of the S.E.5.
The undercarriage consisted of two separate single-wheel units, one under each engine: the wheel track was therefore wide. The Dragonfly engines were mounted in carefully-faired nacelles which contrasted markedly with the London’s severe lines. With the A.B.C. radials the aircraft was officially named London Mark I; the designation London Mk. II was allotted to a Puma-powered version which had been designed to enable the airframe to be test-flown if Dragonflies were not available in time.
It seems doubtful whether the London Mk. II was ever built. By the time an airframe was completed, Dragonflies were available, and H.1740 appeared with those engines.
But by then the war was over, and new military aircraft were not wanted. It was proposed to convert the London into a transport aircraft with accommodation for thirteen passengers or 2,685 lb of mails or freight, but development of the design ceased when the Nieuport and General Aircraft Company closed down in August, 1920.
Manufacturers: The Nieuport and General Aircraft Co., Ltd., Cricklewood, London, N.W.
Power: London Mk. I: two 320 h.p. A.B.C. Dragonfly I. London Mk. II: two 290 h.p. Siddeley Puma.
Dimensions: Span: 59 ft 6 in. Length: 37 ft 6 in. Height: 17 ft 6 in. Chord: 6 ft 8 in. Gap: 5 ft 10 in. Stagger: nil. Span of tail: 20 ft 6 in.
Areas: Wings: 1,100 sq ft. Ailerons: each 20 sq ft, total 120 sq ft. Tailplane: 64 sq ft. Elevators: 40 sq ft. Fin: 30 sq ft. Rudder: 20 sq ft.
Performance: Maximum speed at ground level: 100 m.p.h. Climb to 10,000 ft: 30 min. Endurance: 4 hours. Tankage: Petrol: 175 gallons.
Armament: A double-yoked pair of Lewis machine-guns could be carried on a Scarff ring-mounting on the front cockpit. The bomb load consisted of nine 250-lb bombs or their equivalent weight.
Serial Number: H.1740.