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)
In addition to the normal everyday work of training which was carried on there, the weekly flying displays and special events were a great feature of the early days at Hendon Aerodrome. With greater experience of general flying and increased reliability, exhibitions of aerobatics became more and more popular.
A Grahame-White tractor biplane was built specifically for the purpose in 1913, and was composed mainly of the fuselage from a Morane Saulnier monoplane, which was combined with the upper and lower wings of a Popular pusher biplane. The rather quaint-looking result of these machinations was christened Lizzie and known also as "The Teatray". The machine retained the Morane type of tail unit and was without fixed fin and tailplane. The front of the fuselage was covered with plywood, fabric being used over the rest of the airframe. The gap between the wings was the unusually large one of 6 ft. 3 ins., and contributed to the oddity of Lizzie's appearance. The substantial overhang of the upper wings of the Popular was another feature of the design. The engine was a semi-cowled 50 h.p. Gnome which turned a 7 ft. 6 ins. diameter propeller.
Lizzie's debut at Hendon was made with success on 22nd November, 1913, when Louis Noel flew it to win the 16 miles cross-country handicap race, and the machine continued to give exhibitions in the hands of Louis Strange and Reginald Carr. For Carr's demonstrations of looping, modifications were carried out early in 1914. The lower wings were extended until they were nearly as great in span as the upper surfaces, and outer pairs of interplane struts were added to transform the wings from single-bay into two-bay cellules. Although the large gap remained, the alterations did much to make Lizzie's appearance more conventional.
Description: Single-seat tractor biplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
Manufacturers: Grahame-White Aviation Co. Ltd., Hendon, London, N.W.9.
Power Plant: 50 h.p. Gnome.
Dimensions: Span, 28 ft. 6 ins. Length, 21 ft. 10 ins. Wing area, 220 sq. ft.
Weights: Loaded, 850 lb.
Performance: Maximum speed, 65 m.p.h.
Flight, November 29, 1913.
FLYING AT HENDON.
THE Second November Meeting at Hendon last Saturday was an exceedingly busy and interesting one, for in the bare two hours that this time of the year gives us now for our afternoon's amusement, some twenty flights were put up, in addition to a splendid cross-country handicap. The attendance at these meetings still continues to be extremely good, especially in the cheaper enclosures. Just before 2.30 p.m. the speedy 80 h.p. Avro biplane arrived from Brooklands, carrying a passenger, and with P. Raynham in the pilot's seat, the descent into the aerodrome being made with a fine spiral. As they landed Pierre Verrier went up on the Maurice Farman and gave one of his brilliant displays. Shortly after, Raynham took up a passenger on the Avro, and R. H. Carr, with his "motor-man" and a lady and gentleman as passengers, followed on the 100 h. p. Green-G.-W. 'bus. W. Birchenough, W. Strange (the latest G.-W. pilot), on the 50 h.p. G.-W. 'buses, Verrier on the Maurice Farman, and R. Slack on the 80 h.p. Morane-Saulnier came out immediately after. In the meanwhile "something" was attracting a small crowd towards the far end of the Grahame-White sheds. This proved to be "Lizzie," the new 50 h.p. tractor one-and-a-half-plane undergoing an engine test preparatory to the first trial flight. The engine having been run for a few minutes, Louis Noel, who sat in the pilot's seat, gave the signal to let go, and after a fairly short run, the machine left the ground and completed several circuits of the aerodrome in fine style for the first time of asking. Next to the Dunne, this machine when in flight is the strangest looking aircraft we have seen, although it is really not so very much out of the ordinary. It has a Morane-Saulnier type fuselage and tail, and the same main planes that went to make up the 35 h.p. "Popular" pusher biplane turned out by the Grahame-White Co. some little time back. The top plane, which measures 28 ft. span, is mounted high above the fuselage, whilst the lower plane, which has a span of 14 ft., is situated immediately below the bottom longerons. The planes are separated by four pairs of struts and are some 6 ft. apart. A Farman-type landing chassis is employed. On landing, Noel said his new mount was extremely sensitive on the controls, but otherwise behaved splendidly. After this interesting flight, F. W. Goodden ascended on the 35 h.p. Scotch Caudron, Gordon Bell took over the Avro and put up a splendid flight, and Marcus D. Manton came out on his 50 h.p. G.-W. 'bus with a passenger suspended in an extra seat below the pilot and only a few feet from the ground. This additional seat is intended for a "gunner," who will have a gun mounted in front of him. N. Spratt and G. M. Dyott also gave demonstrations on the Breguet biplane and Dyott monoplane respectively. By this time it was 3.30 p.m., and Raynham ascended on the Avro and steered off in the direction of Brooklands, after which a start was made for the cross-country handicap. This was over the four circuit Bittacy Hill course, a distance of about 16 miles. Nine entered for this race and with one exception started, as follows :- W. Strange on a 50 h.p. G.-W. 'bus (10 mins. 10 secs.), W. Birchenough also on a 50 h.p. G.-W. 'bus (9 mins. 40 secs.), Marcus D. Manton on the "three-seater" 50 h.p. G.-W. 'bus (7 mins. 25 secs.), N. Spratt on the Breguet (3 mins. 40 secs.), Louis Noel on the one-and-a-half-plane (3 mins. 25 secs.), Pierre Verrier on the 70 h.p. Maurice Farman (3 mins.), G. M. Dyott on his 50 h.p. Dyott mono. (1 min. 38 secs.), W. L. Brock on the 80 h.p. Bleriot with a passenger (40 secs.), and R. Slack on the 80 h.p. Morane-Saulnier. Spratt was a non-starter, but the others got away without incident. "Lizzie" got off in fine style, after a run of only a few yards. At the end of the first circuit Strange and Birchenough rounded the pylon like the Siamese twins - except that they were literally one on the top of the other. Verrier only completed one circuit, and Birchenough retired on the third lap. Noel brought "Lizzie" close round the pylon at the end of each circuit with clockwork regularity and easily overhauled Strange and Manton, finally crossing the line first, with Dyott 16 secs, behind, and Slack, who made a fine effort from scratch, 7 secs, after Dyott. Brock came in fourth, and would certainly have done belter had he not flown so high and wide. The extra head resistance of Manton's third seat appeared to slow him down somewhat, for he came in 50 secs. after Brock, but 28 secs, ahead of Strange. Immediately after the cross-country race, Gustav Hamel went up with a passenger on his 80 h.p. Bleriot, upon which he subsequently made several flights. Six other pilots then ascended and circled the aerodrome together. These were Birchenough, Strange and Manton on G.-W. 'buses, Carr on the 100 h.p. 'bus with passengers, Brock on the 80 h.p. Bleriot, and Slack on the Morane-Saulnier. Philippe Marty then made a flight on Brock's Bleriot, his landing with a strange machine being excellent. The proceedings were brought to a close by Gustav Hamel bringing out his Morane-Saulnier with which he intended to fly upside down and loop the loop, and which had been strengthened for this purpose. He ascended to a height of some thousand feet or so, and made two exceedingly steep dives and also banked the machine until the wings were vertical. He did not, however, attempt anything further than this. The times and handicaps of the cross-country handicap are given below:-
Cross-Country Handicap. (16 miles.) Handicap. Handicap Time
m. s. m. s.
1. Louis Noel (50 h.p. G.-W. tractor biplane) 3 25 24 55
2. G. M. Pyott (50 h.p. Dyott monoplane) 1 38 25 11
3. R. Slack (So h.p. Morane-Saulnier monoplane) scratch 25 18
4. W. L. Brock (80 h.p. Bleriot monoplane) 0 40 25 58
5. Marcus D. Manton (50 h.p. G.-W. biplane) 7 25 26 48
6. W. Strange (50 h.p. G.-W. biplane) 10 10 27 16
Flight, March 7, 1914.
THE GRAHAME-WHITE TRACTOR BIPLANE,
IT is the usual practice of manufacturers who have evolved a successful machine to retain the main design and confine their attention in future machines to detail improvements. Not so with the Grahame-White Aviation Co. Since this enterprising firm first entered the field of aeroplane construction, they have turned out one type of machine after another, each of which has had hardly any resemblance to its predecessor. A pusher box kite was followed by a tractor biplane, then a monoplane; Next in turn was another pusher, this time quite a small affair, only to be succeeded by a huge biplane which, on account of its weight-carrying capabilities, was dubbed "Char-a-bancs." The next machine to issue from the G.-W. works was a diminutive biplane of the tractor type, and this had scarcely left the stocks before another and different type was put in hand for the Olympia show. But we are anticipating events.
The subject of our scale drawings this week issued a the Grahame-White works some time ago, and created some excitement by winning a cross-country race the first time she was flown, without any previous test flights of any description. Since then this machine has been flown repeatedly at Hendon, where she is known to frequenters of the aerodrome as "Lizzie." However, in spite of her rather startling appearance she flies quite well in the hands of Mr. Reginald Carr.
As will be seen from the accompanying scale drawings the upper plane possesses a very considerable overhang, the lower plane being-of quite diminutive size. As the fuselage is placed comparatively low down - right on top of the lower plane in fact - the centre of gravity, as well as the centre of thrust, must be considerably lower than is usual in machines of this type. From a rough estimate of weights and resistances, it would be expected that the machine would be very sensitive to variations in thrust, such as are caused by switching the engine on and off, but a careful inspection of the machine in flight failed to show any such tendency, so that one can only assume that the horizontal area of the enclosed fuselage acts as a very effective damper plane in preventing any sudden oscillations around the transverse axis of the machine. Also transversely the machine appears to be very stable, the large ailerons fitted to the upper plane rarely being called into action, and on such occasions as they are used they seem very effective, so that the machine appears to be amply controlled.
As for the low centres of gravity and thrust, these cannot be lower than those of the Morane-Saulnier "Parasol," which is, perhaps, the machine with which this new Grahame-White tractor may be most readily compared, and which has already shown itself capable of very good performances, indicating that in a modern machine a low centre of gravity is not necessarily detrimental to good flying qualities.
Constructionally the machine is built along orthodox lines following standard practice. The fuselage, which, it will be seen, is similar to that of the Morane-Saulnier monoplane, is built up of four longerons connected by struts and cross members, the whole being made rigid by diagonal cross bracing in the usual way. The longerons converge to a horizontal knife's edge at the rear, where are carried the tail planes, which are similar in shape although differing in size from those on the Moranes. No fixed tail plane is fitted, the enclosed fuselage performing the function, as has already been said, of the damper plane. In the front portion of the fuselage is arranged the pilot's seat, in front of which is the control lever, a universal pivoted steel tube actuating the elevator and ailerons in the usual way. A pivoted foot-bar operates the rudder. The pilot is protected against the wind by a neat little shield of transparent material. Mounted on overhung bearings in the front of the fuselage is the engine - a 50 h.p. Gnome - which drives directly a propeller of 7 ft. 6 ins. diameter. Between the engine and the pilot's seat are the oil tanks, and a service petrol tank containing 12 gallons, whilst an additional supply of 10 gallons of petrol is carried in a reserve tank behind the pilot's seat. The fuselage is covered with fabric in the rear portion, whilst the front part is covered with three-ply wood. The main planes, of which the upper one has a very pronounced overhang, are built up over two main ash spars, both of I section, and the ribs occur at every foot, approximately, along their length. At those points at which the interplane struts are attached to the spars, the ribs are of the hollow box variety; in other places they are built up, I section, of spruce flanges and three-ply webs. To better maintain the shape of the plane, false ribs, extending from the loading edge to the front spar, are arranged halfway between each pair of main ribs, and a pair of transverse stringers are run, at a point halfway between the front and rear spars, from one end of the plane to the other. Four pairs of spruce struts connect the main planes by diagonal cross wiring. The chassis, which is of the Henry Farman type, consists of two ash skids, carried on vertical struts of the same material, and made rigid by means of steel tubes of streamline section, which slope inwards to join the lower main spars at the point where the latter join the interplane struts. Each skid carries a pair of wheels on a short tubular axle, sprung from the skid by rubber shock absorbers. In order to lighten them, the skids are spindled out to an I section between the points where the struts are attached. Two tubular cabanes or king posts serve as an anchorage for the upper bracing wires, which carry the weight of the extensions of the upper plane, when the machine is on the ground. A tail skid, similar to the one employed on the Morane-Saulnier monoplane, protects the tail planes against contact with the ground. The machine gets off very quickly, and appears to climb well, and she is certainly very fast for a biplane with so small power. Her speed is in the neighbourhood of 65 m.p.h., and the weight is 850 lbs., including pilot, petrol, and oil.
Flight, May 22, 1914.
THE AERIAL DERBY.
THE PILOTS AND HOW TO RECOGNISE THE MACHINES.
No. 2. The 50 h.p. Grahame-White Tractor Biplane
may be recognised by the comparatively great gap between the main planes, and also by the small size of the tail planes. The fuselage is similar to that of the Morane monoplane.
THE MACHINES AND HOW TO RECOGNISE THEM.
No. 2. The 50 h.p. Grahame-White Biplane is the machine which is familiar to our readers under the pet name "Lizzie." It is on this machine that Mr. R. H. Carr has for the past few weeks been giving such successful demonstrations of looping the loop.
Flight, April 9, 1915.
Once inside the gates my first objective was the wind gauge in the paddock. Even from a distance of several yards the little pen which influences to such a large extent the amount and character of the flying, could be seen to be moving up and down in a series of violent jerks, remindful of the band conductor's baton. My visions of "stunt" flying faded in an instant, and instead I began to picture an afternoon without a single flight. From casual remarks dropped by some of the visitors, I received the impression that the majority of these were fully aware of the dangers of airwork under the prevailing weather conditions, a fact which speaks well for the educational value of the meetings held at Hendon before the war. It was, therefore, more with a feeling of pleasant surprise than with one of disappointment at seeing no flights earlier in the afternoon, that the public greeted the appearance towards evening of Mr. Graham on "Lizzie." His performance was truly a magnificent one, but personally I felt greatly relieved when he had landed safely, after giving a demonstration of his steep spirals, for the wind was tricky and treacherous. And, after all said and done, "Lizzie" has an engine of 50 h.p. only. However, all went well, and every credit is due to "Lizzie's" owner for his plucky stunt, and for the masterly way in which he handled his machine.