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)
A. Westlake, of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, was an automobile engineer by profession, but was one of the pioneers among workers in aeronautical research in Great Britain. He started his experiments during 1904 and finally designed his own aeroplane, which was built in 1913 by the East Anglian Aviation Co. Ltd., of Clacton.
The machine was a single-seat tractor monoplane of comparatively clean appearance but of rather low power. The engine was constructed by Westlake from four de Dion air-cooled cylinders, which he mounted horizontally-opposed on the crankcase, with a resulting output of 18 h.p.
The front portion of the fuselage was given a section of pentagon form, which changed to triangular aft of the wings. Mid-way to the tail the upper pair of longerons were splayed outwards to form the leading-edge of the tailplane, to the rear of which was fixed a one-piece elevator of generous area.
The wings were of parallel-chord outline, with large ailerons fitted at an angle across the tips. In a projected later version wing-warping was proposed, together with variable incidence. The wings were braced to a sturdy cabane and the wide-track undercarriage was sprung with rubber cord for absorbing shocks. No fin was fitted, the rudder alone providing the vertical tail area.
The Westlake Monoplane made successful straight flights, but its performance was limited severely by the low power obtainable from the engine.
Description: Single-seat tractor monoplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
Manufacturers: East Anglian Aviation Co. Ltd., Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.
Power Plant: 18 h.p. Westlake.
Dimensions: Span, 34 ft. Length, 23 ft. 6 ins. Wing area, 175 sq. ft.
Flight, September 13, 1913.
THE WESTLAKE MONOPLANE.
A NEW and very interesting machine on somewhat original lines has been added to the list of British built aeroplanes. It has been designed and constructed by Mr. A. Westlake at Clacton-on-Sea. Mr. Westlake, who has had considerable experience in motor engineering, and is well known in the motor world, holds several patents relating to aeroplanes and aero-engines, his first patent being taken out so far back as 1904, and he has been constantly experimenting since then, so that, although little publicity has been given to his experiments, he is really one of the earliest workers in aviation in England.
An examination of the accompanying scale drawings and photos will show that in general outlines the Westlake monoplane is somewhat similar to certain well-known German machines. It is, however, only in its graceful lines, that this resemblance manifests itself; on closer inspection it is found to be quite different.
The backbone or fuselage is of rather unusual design, being of pentagonal cross section in front and triangular in the rear portion. The fan shaped tail is formed by sweeping the upper longerons outwards for the last few feet of their length. Carried on a tubular axle, supported on extensions of the longerons, is the elevator, which is of the flat non-lifting type, and is operated through cables passing round a drum on the control wheel in front of the pilot.
It will be noticed that the rudder is situated wholly on top of the empennage and is unusual in that its axis is forwardly inclined instead of being, as is general practice, at right angles to the line of flight. The effect of thus inclining the axis of the rudder is such as to make it act in a certain measure as an elevator so that, in turning, the tail of the machine will rise, thereby causing the machine to dive slightly without using the elevator. This is a great advantage, especially for school work, as most pupils are apt to forget to get the nose of the machine down when making a turn.
The chassis consists of two pairs of A struts, the apex of which forms the cabane, and which carry at their lower extremities a pair of skids from which the tubular wheel axle is sprung by means of rubber shock absorbers. Attachment of the chassis to the fuselage is effected by means of steel clips, which grip the longerons so that in no instance are these weakened by piercing. The chassis is of such simple construction, that should it become damaged through a heavy landing, it could be repaired with almost any material available, such as plain boards or planks. The advantages of this in a Military machine are obvious. The present machine, which is a purely experimental one, is fitted with ailerons, but the next machine will be fitted with warping, which however will be of an unusual nature in that both wings may be warped together so as to increase the angle of incidence and, incidentally, the camber, or they may be warped as in present systems, one moving up when the other moves down, or both may be moved down simultaneously, or again one may be left neutral while the other is warped.
The method of carrying out all these operations by means of a single lever is shown in one of the accompanying sketches, which is, we think, self explanatory. In the sketch only two cables are shown running to the wings, but any required number may be fitted by interposing compensation devices, such as pulleys in the cables.
The new wings are to have two spars in the usual way, the rear one of which will be situated about halfway along the chord, and a third one further back will serve to distribute the pull on the wires over all the ribs. In the present monoplane the ailerons may be worked in a similar way, either together or independently, and may be both raised upwards to form what is virtually negative wing tips.
The next machine it is hoped will possess, due to its variable angle of incidence, a very wide speed range which, of course, is a great advantage as it enables the machine to land at a speed very much below its normal flying speed. This feature impresses one as being of special value for waterplanes, as it would greatly lessen the shock of the floats coming in contact with the water.
As the present machine is fitted with an engine of only 18 h.p. which, as a matter of fact, was built by Mr. Westlake himself from four De Dion air-cooled cylinders, no extended flights have been made, but Mr. Westlake has got several straights out of it, and no doubt, with an engine of more reasonable power, the machine would fly quite well.
For the exploitation of his patents Mr. Westlake has formed a limited company under the title of The East Anglian Aviation Co., Ltd., with which Mr. Arthur Elliott, the West-End estate agent, is associated. The London offices of the company are at 26, Shaftesbury Avenue, but the works and flying ground will be at Clacton-on-Sea, where a very large tract of land has been acquired, which is, we understand, absolutely flat and sheltered from north and easterly winds, and having moreover the advantage of a sandy, sloping foreshore, which should be excellent for waterplane practice. As the locality of the aerodrome is within a few miles of the military town of Colchester and the naval depot at Harwich, a school at Clacton-on-Sea should soon become popular among the officers stationed at these two centres.