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Central Centaur IV

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1919

Central - Centaur IIA - 1919 - Великобритания<– –>Channon - biplane - 1910 - Великобритания

A.Jackson British Civil Aircraft since 1919 vol.1 (Putnam)

Central Centaur IV

   The Centaur IV was a two-bay biplane of conventional wire-braced, fabric-covered, wooden construction, designed by J. S. Fletcher and built at Kilburn in 1919 by the Central Aircraft Company. This had been formed in 1916 as a subsidiary of the local woodworking firm of R. Cattle Ltd. The Centaur IV was originally to have been available in two distinct models, as a side-by-side two-seater or as a three-seater with the pilot in the front of an enlarged single cockpit. As no market existed for the private-owner version all eight aircraft were constructed as three-seaters. These formed the joy-riding and instructional fleet of the ambitious flying school opened by the firm at Northolt with Herbert Sykes, O.B.E., as manager and Lt. F. B. Goodwin-Castleman as chief pilot. The prototype Centaur IV K-108/G-EABI was powered by an 70-h.p. Renault eight-cylinder V-type air-cooled engine, but all subsequent machines had the 100-h.p. Anzani nine-cylinder radial. This was uncowled and bolted direct to the original engine bulkhead with a supreme disregard for aesthetics. The extra power gave a much-needed increase in performance, and their docility in the air was a legend, the average pupil going solo in three hours. Two of the first women to take up flying after the First World War were trained on Centaur IVs and on 24 June 1920 a third, the late Miss Imelda Trafford, became the first woman to qualify for the Air Ministry’s newly created ‘A’ Licence. Great enterprise was also shown in offering, and successfully selling, trips round London, the Welsh and Kentish beauty spots, cathedral cities and the Belgian battlefields at fares ranging from £2 3s 6d. to £60. By June 1920 flights over London were averaging 100 a week and two aircraft were despatched to Bury St. Edmunds for a three-week joy-riding ‘season’ at local request. In its passenger-carrying form, with dual controls removed, it was referred to as the Centaur IVA.
   The fifth and subsequent Centaur IVs were provided with increased rudder area by means of small additional triangular areas top and bottom. G-EAOR, the first aircraft so modified, was fitted with the conventional three-float undercarriage of the period to become the sole Centaur IVB. A week’s joy-riding was carried out at Southend with this floatplane after the Mayor had made the inaugural trip on 19 June 1920 and had made an enthusiastic second flight at his own expense immediately afterwards. It was eventually dismantled, and returned to London by rail for exhibition at the Olympia Aero Show in the July. Following its conversion to a landplane it crashed in October 1920, to become the type’s sole casualty.
   The post-war slump brought about a sharp decline in the Company’s activities, and in October 1921 the Centaur IVA G-EAOQ was sold in Belgium, making the delivery flight non-stop from Northolt. It was followed by G-EAQE and ’QF in December 1921, ’HS in July 1922 and ’OS in October 1922. At least five similar aircraft were also built to a Belgian order, some of which were active until 1938. The final British Centaur IVA G-EAQF was re-registered O-BOTI on arrival in Belgium, where it was used for instructional flying until withdrawn from use in November 1923. Two years later it was restored to flying condition, probably by the cannibalization of G-EAQE/O-BOTH, as it then took on a new lease of life with the markings properly belonging to its sister aircraft. Later, as OO-OTH, it fell victim to the tide of war in 1940.
   When the Central Aircraft Company finally closed down in May 1926 the two surviving Centaur IVs G-EABI and ’LL were sold to the Gnat Aero and Motor Co. Ltd. at Shoreham, continuing their joy-riding careers along the south coast until taken over by the re-organized Gnat Aero Company in March 1927 and finally scrapped in April 1930.

Manufacturers: The Central Aircraft Company, Palmerston Works, 179 High Road, Kilburn, London, N.W.6.
Engine Centaur IVA Centaur IVB
70-h.p. Renault 100-h.p. Anzani 100-h.p. Anzani
Span 34 ft. 2 1/2 in. 34 ft. 2 1/2 in. 39 ft. 1 in.
Length 27 ft. 6 in. 24 ft. 9 in. 27 ft. 1 in.
Height - - 9 ft. 6 in.
Tare weight . 1,096 lb. 900 lb. 1,230 lb.
All-up weight 1,600 lb. 1,400 lb. 1,900 lb.
Maximum speed 70 m.p.h. 75 m.p.h. 75 m.p.h.
Duration - 3 hours 3 hours

Журнал Flight

Flight, March 6, 1919.


   OWING to the restrictions imposed by the order relating to aeroplane designs, which prohibited the getting out of anything except general arrangement drawings of a new design, the British Aircraft Industry has been greatly hampered in its change-over from war work to peace machines. These difficulties are now, it is true, partly overcome by the cancelling of the order which decreed that no firm was allowed to get out original designs except after obtaining an official permit. But great damage had already been done, not by the order itself, which was probably a necessary evil during the War, but by the fact that, even after it was quite certain that the Armistice would be signed, the Air Ministry refused to let constructors turn over some part of their works and drawing offices to post-War production problems. Had this been permitted there can be little doubt that British constructors would not now have been labouring under a great disadvantage compared with firms of other countries in the competition for after-the-War trade. The consequence has been that while our manufacturers are endeavouring to obtain permission to export machines and engines, and are being held up by vague and indefinite replies from the authorities, foreign firms are losing no time in establishing themselves abroad, and in getting their hands on any foreign orders that may be available.
   In spite of such handicaps, however, it is gratifying to know that British firms are quite alive to the possibilities of both home and foreign trade, and are getting out designs for post-War machines as rapidly as conditions will allow. Among the first firms to announce their post-War types of aeroplanes is the Central Aircraft Co., of 179, High Road, Kilbum, who have already settled on at least three types which will be produced in quantities, and of which the first is already ready. The Central Aircrat Co. has attained a splendid reputation for excellence of workmanship, the credit for which is due to Mr. Arthur J. Cattle, the Chief of the Company, for who is the best is hardly good enough. Under his energetic guidance the business is expanding rapidly and bids fair in the near future to assume very large proportions. The first of the trio is a two-seater school machine, fitted with a French 70 h.p. Renault, but so designed as to be adapted to take any engine of similar type, such as the Wolseley and R.A.F. engines. The first of these machines was finished recently, which is a highly creditable performance, considering the short time that has elapsed since the cancelling of the restrictions on private designs. The machine was tested by the firm's chief pilot, Mr. Herbert Sykes, O.B.E., at the aerodrome a couple of weeks ago, and at once showed that it was quite up to the expectations of its designer, Mr. "Tony" Fletcher, who is in charge of the design department of the Central Aircraft Co.
   The machine is a tandem two-seater, fitted with dual controls. The lines of the machine are quite pleasing, in spite of the difficulty of providing a neat nose where a Renault or similar engine is fitted. The designer has kept in mind ease and cheapness of manufacture, and this is obtained, not by any scamping in workmanship, which as a matter of course is excellent, but by designing for interchangeability wherever possible. Thus, for instance, all the inter-plane struts are identical, the one type of strut fitting anywhere in the wing cellule. In a similar manner the elevator flaps and the rudder are identical and interchangeable. As the machine is intended for school work - the Central Aircraft Co. are shortly starting a school with Mr. Sykes as chief instructor - the wing section has been designed with a view to giving a low landing speed, while at the same time reaching reasonably high maximum speed (the speed range is from 28 to 70 m.p.h.). The wing section is fairly deeply cambered, but the rather large travel of the centre of pressure usually associated with a wing section of this type is counteracted by giving a slight reflex curvature to the trailing edge. There is therefore no reason to suppose that the machine will not be quite easy to pull out of a nose dive, and although the elevator flaps are large, giving ample control, the large fixed tail plane should effectively prevent a pupil from too sudden flattening out after a dive. The machine should prove popular, not only at the Central Aircraft Co.'s School itself, but also among other firms who wish to obtain a good reliable type of school machine.
   In addition to the school machine, which is a fait accompli, the Central Aircraft Co. is marketing two more types. One of these is a touring model in which the pilot and passenger sit side by side. This machine will be fitted with a 100 h.p. Anzani engine, and the wings will be arranged to fold in the manner of most modern seaplanes, so that the question of storage becomes much simplified, the machine occupying quite a small space when the wings are folded. This machine is expected to have a performance of 30 to 80 m.p.h., and is very well suited to touring or sporting purposes.
   The third model to which reference has been made is a twin-engine machine, designed as a passenger carrier seating eight passengers. This machine is of very pleasing appearance, and the engine power being comparatively low, two Beardmore engines of 160 h.p. each, should not prove excessively expensive to run. The cabin will have non-splintering windows of Triplex glass, and will be electrically heated, thus providing for the comfort of the passengers. If desired, the machine can be used for carrying half a ton of goods or mails instead of the passengers. With three hours' fuel on board the speed range is expected to be 40 to 90 m.p.h. This machine is now in course of construction.
   The Central Aircraft Co. will be pleased to give further information relating to delivery and prices of their various types upon application to their offices at 179, High Road, Kilburn. We might add that there is one more type coming through, of which we are not, however, permitted to give any particulars at present, but it is hoped to prove the last word in performance. This machine may be expected to go through its trials in the coming spring.

A.Jackson - British Civil Aircraft since 1919 vol.1 /Putnam/
The prototype Centaur IV G-EABI, with Renault engine and four bladed airscrew, undergoing maintenance at Northolt in August 1920.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
TWO VIEWS OF THE C.A.C. SCHOOL MACHINE. - Inset is the machine in flight. In the bottom photograph Mr. Sykes is in the pilot's seat, while standing against the machine is Mr. "Tony " Fletcher, the designer.
A.Jackson - British Civil Aircraft since 1919 vol.1 /Putnam/
The third production Centaur IVA showing the flat topped rudder.
A.Jackson - British Civil Aircraft since 1919 vol.1 /Putnam/
The eighth and final British built Centaur IVA showing the enlarged rudder.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
Nurse McMaugh, at the Central Aircraft Co.'s aerodrome at Northolt, where she is taking her ticket, goes up with Mr. Sykes, O.B.E., for a spin. An Australian pupil at the school wishing her a good trip. Inset: A snap of the above pair in the air, taken from a sister Central Aircraft 'bus.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
"TICKETS" AT NORTHOLT: The Central Aircraft Co. are busy out Northolt way giving passenger flights and doing school work. Our photograph shows two pupils who have just obtained their Royal Aero Club certificates. On the left is Mr. Tanner, whose actual flying time was 3 hours 15 mins., and on the right, Mr. Pool, who got his "ticket" after 3 1/2 hours in the air. Mr. Herbert Sykes, O.B.E., who is chief instructor, is seen between his two latest pupils. The machine used is the C.A. Co.'s "Centaur 4," with Anzani engine. As each pupil is allowed 10 hours' flying, Messrs. Tanner and Pool are looking forward to nearly 7 hours' flying before leaving the school
A.Jackson - British Civil Aircraft since 1919 vol.1 /Putnam/
The Centaur IVB taxying ofl Southend on 19 June 1920 at the beginning of the Mayoral joy-ride.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
THE C.A.C. SIDE-BY-SIDE TOURING AEROPLANE. - 100 h.p. Anzani engine. A sketch of the proposed machine.
A.Jackson - British Civil Aircraft since 1919 vol.1 /Putnam/
Central Centaur IV