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Alcock A.I

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1917


Aeroplane Building & Flying Society - glider - 1910 - Великобритания<– –>Aldritt - monoplane - 1912 - Великобритания

H.King Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 (Putnam)

The 'Sopwith Mouse'

   The above name was conferred by John ('Jack' later Sir John) Alcock himself upon the single-seat 'fighting scout' built at his instigation in mid-1917. Alcock had flown the Triplane and the Camel, and in his own little two-bay machine used major Sopwith components. The front fuselage and bottom wings, for instance, were adapted from the Triplane, while the top wings were in essence those of the Pup (though with longer ailerons, and these on the top wings only the bottom ones, of course, being much smaller). From the Camel came the horizontal tail-surfaces.
   Alcock's delightful little creation had a 110 hp Clerget engine. Apparently it performed well, and was flown at Mudros after Alcock himself had been taken prisoner, the recognised designations, apart from 'Sopwith Mouse', being 'Alcock Scout’ or A.I.
   Later (June 1919) Capt John Alcock and Lieut Arthur Whitten Brown, in a Vickers Vimy, made the first nonstop air crossing of the Atlantic. Earlier before the 1914 war Alcock had helped in developing the 150 hp Sunbeam engine, using a Farman pusher biplane, and thus presaging the installation in the Robey-built Sopwith Gun Bus. He had, in fact, been engaged by Louis Coatalen, the Sunbeam engine-designer himself.

P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)

A rather curious event took place during 1917 at Mudros in the Aegean which, although it contributed nothing to fighter development, deserves to be recorded as an example of initiative and ingenuity. During his service on the station with No. 2 Wing, R.N.A.S., Flt.Lt. J. W. Alcock, well known in flying circles before the 1914-18 War and to become famous after the Armistice for his trans-Atlantic flight with Lt. A. W. Brown, designed a single-seat fighter biplane which was put together from Sopwith Triplane and Pup parts. Two engines were tried in the Alcock A.I Scout, or Sopwith Mouse as Alcock called it; the first was a 100 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome, followed by a 110 h.p. Clerget. Unluckily, Alcock was taken prisoner before his brainchild was ready but the machine was test-flown at Mudros and Stavros after completion by his colleagues. The A.I’s armament consisted of a pair of Vickers guns.

F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)

Alcock A.I

   Flight-Lieut John W Alcock (later to be knighted for his epic first non-stop flight across the Atlantic) was serving with No 2 Wing, RNAS, at Mudros in the Aegean during the summer of 1917 when he built a small biplane scout, variously referred to as the Alcock A.I and ‘Sopwith Mouse’. Many of the design calculations were performed by Cdr Constantine of the Greek Navy at Mudros.
   Alcock’s fighter employed numerous components from crashed aircraft, including the fuselage, undercarriage and most of the lower wing from a Sopwith Triplane, and the upper wing of a Pup, into which was inserted a new centre section with cutout. A 100hp Gnome monosoupape engine drove a two-blade propeller, and the two-bay wings were rigged without effective stagger, the interplane struts converging downwards owing to the considerable difference in the two wing chords. It is not known whether the vertical tail surfaces (dorsal and ventral fins, and unbalanced rudder) were newly constructed or salvaged components, but the tailplane and elevator bear a similarity to those of the Pup.
   The fuselage was located roughly in the centre of the wing gap, clear of the lower wing, with the new centre section of the upper wing level with the pilot’s horizontal line of sight. Twin synchronized Vickers guns were mounted forward of the cockpit.
   Contrary to the account in the official history (The War in the Air, Vol. 5), Alcock did not fly his aircraft, being shot down in a Handley Page O/400 and captured by the Turks on 30 September 1917, before its completion. Nevertheless it was subsequently flown, probably on 15 October by Wing Capt Francis Rowland Scarlett (later Air Vice-Marshal, cb, dso, raf), and was later destroyed when it was struck on the ground by a D.H.4 at Mudros.

   Type: Single-engine, single-seat, two-bay biplane fighting scout.
   Manufacturer: Flight-Lieut J W Alcock, RNAS, and personnel of No 2 Wing, RNAS, Mudros.
   Powerplant: One 100hp Gnome monosoupape engine driving two-blade propeller; later fitted with 110hp Clerget engine.
   Armament: Two synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine guns.

   The Author is indebted to Mr J M Bruce for permission to reproduce the above material, which represents the result of research among former members of No 2 Wing, RNAS. The official history also incorrectly states that the Alcock A.I was powered by a captured Benz engine.

W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters


   Evolved at the RNAS base at Mudros, in the Aegean, by Lt John Alcock during the summer of 1917, the A.l employed modified components of the Sopwith Triplane (forward fuselage and lower wings), Sopwith Pup (upper wings), and Sopwith Camel (tailplane and elevators) which were married to a rear fuselage and vertical tail surfaces of original design. Powered by a 110 hp Clerget 9Z nine-cylinder rotary engine and carrying a 0.303-in (7,7-mm) Vickers machine gun, the A.l (which was also referred to by its designers as the "Sopwith Mouse” in recognition of its part parentage) flew at Mudros in October 1917, but was written off after crashing early in 1918.

Approx span, 24 ft 3 in (7,39 m).
Approx length, 19 ft lin (5,82 m).
Approx height, 7 ft 9 in (2,36 m).

J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)

Alcock Scout

  IN 1917, Flight-Lieutenant J. W. Alcock, who was later to achieve fame for his trans-Atlantic flight with Arthur Whitten Brown in 1919, was serving with No. 2 Wing, R.N.A.S., at Mudros, in the Aegean Sea. While there he made a single-seat fighter biplane, which he called the “Sopwith Mouse”, and which was also known as the Alcock A.1.
  This aircraft consisted almost wholly of Sopwith Triplane and Pup components. The fuselage, undercarriage, and most of the lower wing belonged to a Sopwith Triplane, whilst much of the upper wing had originally belonged to a Pup. It appears that a new centre-section was made for the upper wing, and that a centre-section was also fitted to the lower wing. The fuselage appeared to rest on top of the lower main-plane. Two-bay interplane bracing was used, and the interplane struts converged downwards to meet the more closely-spaced spars of the lower wing. The gap was such that the upper wing was brought low above the fuselage, and interfered very little with the pilot’s view.
  It is hard to determine how much of the tail unit came from other aircraft, but the rudder might have belonged to a Sopwith type. Triangular fins were fitted, one above and one below the fuselage; and the tail-skid was apparently attached to the rudder-post. The tailplane was mounted centrally on the fuselage.
  The Alcock machine was at first fitted with a 100 h.p. Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine, but a 110 h.p. Clerget was later fitted. It is believed that some of the components were taken from the Sopwith Triplane which crashed at Mudros on September 3rd, 1917. Much of the mathematical work involved in the building of the aircraft was done by Commander Constantine of the Greek Navy, who was then in command of the Greek Air Force at Mudros.
  Contrary to the official history, Alcock never flew his “Sopwith Mouse”, for it had not been completed when he was taken prisoner by the Turks on the night of September 30th, 1917: he and his crew (Lieutenant S. J. Wise and Lieutenant H. Aird) were captured when No. 2 Wing’s solitary Handley Page O/100 was forced down in the Gulf of Xeros.
  But the Alcock Scout was completed and flown. While Alcock was in the civil jail at Seraskerat, Constantinople, he received this message from Wing-Captain F. R. Scarlett, C.B., D.S.O., on October 18th, 1917: “Your baby was taken for an airing, but is still having trouble with teeth. She has now been fitted with new clothing. Now a great improvement in health.” It is believed that the Alcock A.I was first flown on October 15th, 1917.
  Early in 1918 the machine was flown over to Stavros by Flight-Lieutenant Starbuck, and it is believed that it was crashed there by that officer.
  The foregoing history is based on notes provided by former members of No. 2 Wing, R.N.A.S., who were at Mudros when the Alcock A.I was built; it is very different from the account which appears in Volume V of The War in the Air, the official history. The latter account tells of an aircraft of Alcock’s design fitted with a Benz engine which had been taken from a Friedrichshafen bomber shot down in April, 1917, and goes on to relate how Alcock flew it to attack three enemy seaplanes on September 30th, 1917.
  That story is inaccurate, however, for the Alcock A.1 could not have been fitted with a Benz engine, and Alcock was flying a Camel on the occasion in question. It may indicate that he designed an aeroplane round the Benz engine, for it was stated that drawings were sent home from Mudros.

  Power: 100 h.p. Gnome Monosoupape; 110 h.p. Clerget.
  Armament: Two fixed, forward-firing Vickers machine-guns, synchronised to fire through the airscrew. Service Use: No. 2 Wing, R.N.A.S., Mudros; also flown at Stavros.

O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)


   Devised but not flown by F/Lt J W Alcock (later to achieve fame in the Vimy Atlantic crossing of 1919), this single-seat scout was operated by No.2 Wing of the RNAS at Mudros in 1917-18. It was comprised of components from the Sopwith Triplane and Pup and had a 100hp Monosoupape or 110 hp Clerget engine. Armament was twin Vickers machine-guns. No other details available.

H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)

Alcock A-1. Named by 'Jack' Alcock the Sopwith Mouse (being built largely of Sopwith components), this most private of private-venture aircraft (1917) had a single fixed Vickers gun on the centre line of the fuselage, a la Pup and Triplane.

C.Owers British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 (A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes 81)

The Alcock A.1

  John W. Alcock, with Arthur Whitten Brown, earned fame as the pilot of the first aircraft to fly the Atlantic in 1919. Alcock had gained his Royal Aero Club Certificate in November 1912. He joined the RNAS in November 1914, and after serving as an instructor at Eastchurch, he was sent to the Mediterranean theatre of operations.
  In 1917, Flt Lt Alcock was serving with No.2 Wing, RNAS, then based at Mudros, in the Agean. Alcock made a surprise attack on an enemy reconnaissance seaplane escorted by two fighting seaplanes on 27 July 1917. The enemy seaplanes were attempting a reconnaissance of Lemnos where the RNAS had established itself. Alcock’s Sopwith Camel sent one of the fighting seaplanes down apparently in trouble. He then turned to the second fighter and it landed near Seddel Bahr in a damaged condition. In the meantime, the remaining seaplane alighted where it was protected by Turkish artillery.
  Alcock and Flt Lt H.T. Mellings attacked another similar trio of seaplanes on 30 September. Alcock was again in a Camel and Mellings in a Sopwith Triplane. Alcock forced one to alight and its wounded pilot was eventually picked up by the Royal Navy. Mellings also scored, his opponent diving into the sea where it broke up.
  The official RFC/RAF history, The War in the Air, mentions this combat but suggests that while Alcock’s aircraft is mentioned in the official reports as a Camel, there is some evidence it was Alcock’s own design. The history then relates how a twin-engine German bomber had been shot down by Naval pilots in April 1917, on the Macedonian front. From this machine a Benz engine was recovered in good condition. This engine was sent to Mudros and Alcock had been given permission to build an aircraft around it. According to Lt Col L.H. Strain, Alcock built his fighter but had not tried it and was going to test it on the morning of the 30th when the raid took place. The engine had been warmed up but Alcock was caught in his bath when the enemy’s reconnaissance machines came over. He hurriedly put on his pyjamas and ran out to his machine and took off, quickly catching up with the enemy machines as his aircraft was 20 mph faster than anything else the British had. Alcock had no knowledge of aerodynamics, etc., but he had a natural genius for knowing where stresses came and how to meet them.
  That evening Alcock left in the Handley Page O/100 to bomb Constantinople and Haidar Pasha’s railway stations. Engine trouble forced the bomber to turn back and it force landed in the Gulf of Xeros.The crew eventually had to swim to shore where they were captured and became prisoners of the Turks.
  The late Jack Bruce’s researches with former members of No. 2 Wing, RNAS, who were with Alcock on Mudros, present a different story of the Alcock Scout. From photographs it is evident that it was a two-bay rotary powered biplane. Alcock called it the Sopwith Mouse due to the number of Sopwith components used in its manufacture, but has become more commonly known as the Alcock A.1 The fuselage appears to have used parts of a Triplane that crashed at Mudros on 3 September 1917. The upper wing was modified from that of a Sopwith Pup, while the lower wings were modified Triplane components. Ailerons were fitted to the upper wings only and were longer than those of the Pup. The horizontal tailplane and elevators came from a Camel. The rear fuselage, fin and rudder were of original design. The resultant two-bay aircraft was a well-proportioned machine of clean lines. The fuselage was mounted mid-gap in order to bring the pilot’s eyes level with the upper wing, giving him a good field of vision. The engine was a 110-h.p. Clerget. Armament comprised a single Vickers gun mounted on the aircraft’s centre-line on the fuselage decking in front of the cockpit.
  It appears that rather than Alcock being the designer, the stress calculations for the machine were carried out by Commander Constantine of the Greek Navy, who was in command of the Greek air contingent on Mudros.
  Alcock never got to fly his Mouse as he was taken prisoner before it was completed. While in jail in Constantinople Alcock received a message from Wing-Captain F.R. Scarlett which read: Your baby was taken for an airing, but is still having trouble with teeth. She has now been fitted with new clothing. Now a great improvement in health. It is believed the machine first flew in October 1917.
  Norman Henry Starbuck, RNAS, was posted to the Aegean and flew the A.1 on 25 March 1918. He wrote that it Cartwheeled both ways and spun to the right. She came out of everything alright. This type of machine has never been stunted before. Very nice to fly, a bit nose heavy and heavy on controls but quick in answering.
  Flown at Mudros and Stavros, the A.1 was eventually written off in a crash.

Specifications: No accurate dimensions are recorded but the following are approximate based on the known components that were used in its construction.
Span: 24 ft 3 in upper; 23 ft lower. Length: 19 ft 1 1/2 in.

C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
Alcock A.1
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
The A.1's Sopwith heritage is shown in these photographs.
O.Thetford - British Naval Aircraft since 1912 /Putnam/
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
The writer makes no apology for including this less than perfect view of the one-off Alcock A I, whose genesis encapsulated the truly remarkable spirit and initiative of some RNAS fliers. Designed and built on the Aegean island of Mudros by RNAS pilot John Alcock, presumably as a spare time venture, the single-seat fighter made use of some existing Sopwith components, as both Pups and Triplanes had operated from the island. However, it was what Alcock did with these that was so impressive, building them into an intelligently conceived airframe that was just about as robust as it could be, while providing the pilot with optimum visibility. Powered by a 110hp Clerget 9Z, the double bay, sesquiplane machine was armed with a single, synchronised 303-inch Vickers gun. Described by witnesses as being fast and agile, it is a great pity that no actual performance figures survive. Flown by one or two RNAS pilots on Mudros and Stavros, the A I reportedly made its maiden flight on 15 October 1917. A very real tragedy was that Alcock himself had been forced down and taken prisoner on 30 September 1917, only a fortnight prior to the aircraft's first flight. As to the fate of the A I, sadly, it was ultimately to be 'written-off' as being beyond economic repair following a local crash. John Alcock was of course the same pilot who, when accompanied by navigator Arthur Whitten-Brown in a Vickers Vimy, was to win a lasting place in aviation's annals by making the first ever non-stop transatlantic crossing by aeroplane in mid-1919.
J.Bruce - British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 /Putnam/
The serviceman gives scale to the A.1.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
F.Mason - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
The Alcock A.I, probably after being fitted with the Clerget engine.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
The end of the A.1. It appears to have come off the loser after a tussle with an R.E.8.
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
Alcock A.1
C.Owers - British Aircraft of WWI. Vol.7: Experimental Fighters Part 3 /Centennial Perspective/ (81)
Alcock A.1