Tonight we come to the third of our five posts covering the Player’s cigarette card series “Aircraft of the Royal Air Force”. This week the cards focus mainly on fighter aircraft.
No. 21- Gloster “Gauntlet” Fighter
This is a biplane fighter built by the Gloster Aircraft Co. Ltd., and fitted with a Bristol “Mercury” air-cooled engine which develops 645 h.p. at a high altitude. The wings are “staggered”, the upper wing being mounted further forward than the lower. The maximum speed is 230 m.p.h. 2 machine guns are mounted on the sides of the fuselage. The Gloster “Gauntlet” has a wing span of 32 feet 10 inches, a length of 26 feet 2 inches and a height of 10 feet 2 inchesNo 22.- Gloster “Gladiator “ Fighter
An all metal biplane fighter and a development of the earlier “Gauntlet” being faster and more heavily armed. It is fitted with a Bristol “Mercury IX” engine which develops 840 h.p. at 12,500 feet. The single-strut undercarriage is an unusual feature. The “Gladiator” has a wing span of 32 feet 3 inches- 7 inches less that the “Gauntlet”- and attains a maximum speed of 255 m.p.h. The armament consists of 4 machine guns, 2 in the fuselage and 2 in the wings.No 23.- Gloster Unnamed Fighter
This single seater fighter, built by the Gloster Aircraft Co., and fitted with a Bristol “Mercury IX” or “Perseus” engine, is of recent introduction and its performance figures are still secret. It is a low-wing monoplane with monocoque fuselage. The construction is all metal and the covering metal-stressed skin throughout, except for fabric covered rudder, elevators and ailerons. The fin and rudder are placed noticeably further forward, relative to the tail plane, than is usual. The aircraft has a wing span of 38 feet 2 inches and a length of 31 feet.No 24.- Hawker “Demon” Fighter
Built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd., and fitted with a Rolls-Royce “Kestrel V” engine developing 575/600 h.p. at 11,000 feet, this is the only two-seater fighter in service with the exception of a development of the service type “Demon I (turret)”. The “Demon” is a biplane with a wing span of slightly more than 37 feet, which is somewhat wider than is general in aircraft of this type. The “Demon” develops a top speed of about 182 m.p.h. but its range is no less than 404 miles. The design, apart from the two-seater construction, follows conventional lines. The rear cockpit accommodates the gunner.No 25.- Hawker “Demon I (Turret)” Fighter
Structurally this aeroplane is identical with the normal “Demon” two-seater fighter, but in place of the rear gunner’s cockpit a power-operated turret is installed. The engine is a Rolls-Royce “Kestrel V” (derated) 12-Cylinder Vee liquid-cooled engine giving a maximum output of 584 h.p. The majority of the two-seater fighter squadrons of the Royal Air Force are now equipped with this aircraft. The maximum speed is 180 m.p.h. at 20,000 feet. The wing span is 37 feet 3 inches, length 29 feet 6 inches and height 10 feet 9 inches.No 26.- Hawker “Fury” Fighter
This aptly named single-seater fighter is built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd., and fitted with a Rolls-Royce “Kestrel” engine developing 480 h.p. at 11,500 feet. The construction is composite, being partly wood and partly metal. The airscrew is wood. The under-carriage is of a conventional v-type with Oleo legs and tubular axle. The “Fury”, which has a high degree of manoeuvrability, attains a speed of 223 m.p.h at 15,000 feet and lands at 62.5 m.p.h. A development of the type is the “Fury II” which mounts a “Kestrel VI” engine.No 27.- Hawker “Hurricane” Fighter
This single-seater fighter is probably the most discussed type now in service. A “Hurricane” recently covered the 327 miles from Edinburgh to Northolt in 48 minutes. The type combines high speed with ease of manoeuvre and slow landing, and the beautifully streamlined design gives an impression of power that is confirmed by the machine’s performance. The “Hurricane” is a low wing cantilever monoplane with a 40-feet wing span, built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. It is fitted with a Rolls-Royce “Merlin” engine developing 1,050 h.p. The armament consists of 8 machine guns, mounted 4 in each wing.No 28.- Supermarine “Spitfire I” Fighter
A single seater fighter monoplane in which many of the lessons learned by Supermarine Aviation (Vickers) Lt., in producing high-speed seaplanes for the Schneider Trophy Contests, have been incorporated. All-metal stressed skin construction has been used. The pilot’s cockpit is enclosed and a retractable undercarriage is fitted. Power is provided by a Rolls-Royce “Merlin” 12-cylinder liquid-cooled engine, and the “Spitfire” has been claimed to be the fastest military aeroplane in the world. Performance figures are not available. The aircraft has a wing span of 37 feet and a length of 30 feet.No 29.- Saro “London” Flying Boat
Saunders Roe are the builders of this imposing open-sea reconnaissance flying boat, which is fitted with two Bristol “Pegasus” engines. The “London” is a sesquiplane biplane of metal construction and has fabric covered wings. Wing-tip floats are fitted to the bottom plane. A beaching chassis, consisting of two large disc wheels and a tail-trolley, enables the “London” to be hauled up the slipway. There are gun positions in the nose, amidships and in the tail. The range of the “London” is 880 sea miles and it carries a crew of 5 (pilot, navigator and 3 gunners). The wing span is 80 feet and length 56 feet 6 inches.No 30.- Short “Singapore III” Flying Boat
This metal hull biplane, built by Short Bros. Ltd., and fitted with 4 Rolls-Royce “Kestrel” engines is the third of the “Singapore” series and is designed for reconnaissance work. The engines are mounted tandem between the wings, the lower wing being fitted with wing-tip floats for lateral stabilisation. There are machine-gun mountings at the bow, centre and tail. The aircraft develops a top-speed of 118 knots (136 m.p.h.), has a range of 865 sea miles and carries a crew of 6. It is a sesquiplane, i.e. the wings are of unequal span. The crew’s quarters have bunks, cooking apparatus, work bench and stowage for dinghies.