Camco Mk.IIA V-Liner


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Already mentioned by hesham in another thread, I've found a
drawing of the Camco Mk.IIA V-Liner, I've once copied from
A.J. Jackson "British Civil Aircraft, 1919 - 1972, Vol.I". Interestingly,
this very weird design didn't remain just a project, but the prototype
was scrapped after it was damaged in the factory at 18th November
1968. So there could have been photos of the unfinished prototype,
I think. And, as it was designated Mk.IIA, there probably was a Mk.I? ???


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IIRC the V-Liner emerged from nowhere just before the September 1968 Farnborough show. It was being built by the Slingsby sailplane company at Kirbymoorside under contract to Camco, a US company. (Aerial advertising was not legal in the UK at that time.) A portion of the truss structure was shown at Farnborough, along with a model. I think first flight was planned for 1969, but the factory burned and the company went under.
It was offered in three versions;


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Eventually an American company invented "sky-typing" to replace the flying billboard concept. They hired a half-dozen T-6 Texans to fly in formation and linked their smoke-generators (electronically) to type messages in the sky. Smoke messages are easiest to read against a clear blue sky.
An alternative approach was Orlando Helicopter's [ Sikorsky ] S-55 Nite-Writer, which had immense 40 x 8 ft electronic advertising display-grid mounted on the starboard side which generated messages visible from a couple of miles distant.

It was mentioned in Jane's for several years in the 1980s and there are numerous incidental references to it online ( probably all deriving from the same source ) but I've never determined whether it was actually used. The test-bed was N4782S which is now preserved in the Udvar-Hazy Center.

The manufacturer of the display, Sky Sign, is still in business and offers an LED-based array of similar dimensions for small aircraft like the R44, now mounted ventrally.


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There was a full page article on the Camco V-Liner design in the November 1968 issue of Aircraft Illustrated.

No mention of the CV-1, just the CV-2 , CV-2 and CV-4 versions. Brief details of the differences are included in the specification image below.

The V-liner concept was originally conceived by Lewis McCarthy Junior of the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (Camco) as an amphibious vehicle for aerial advertising. Camco saw a potential market for 42 of these V-Liners. The first two examples were earmarked for First National City Bank and Canada Dry for advertising over New York.

Roles were also envisaged for survey work, traffic control, public appeals and TV licence dodging detection (a popular sport in the UK in the late 80's).

The triangular tubular fuselage could flash three word signs at the rate of 90 words a minute on both sides.

Shown at Farnborough 1968 in model form. The Slingsby (Kirbymoorside) constructed aircraft would have 40 miles of wiring, 3,348 light bulbs. The total length of the aluminium tubing was 2,193 feet !

Specs, drawing of the CV-2A and the type in model form below.

I bet take-off would be a great sight!


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A page on the V-Liner:

I can't say that it looks very practical. It might fly in a straight line but the dynamics in any kind of maneuvering flight would have been... entertaining. I hope that there was a button that either crew member could push that would change the advertising message to MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY.

If you could make it work today it would be a hell of a VHF radar platform.

Very touching dedication to Kenneth Lovell-Smith (1928 - 2013) author of V-Liner idea, by one of his sons, Justin.


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