Lancaster High Speed Mail Plane (pre Lancastrian?)

bluedonkey99

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Lancaster High Speed Mail Plane (pre Lancastrian?)

I Not sure if this counts as secret, or cancelled, or evolved?

Most of the reference to the Lancaster High Speed Mail Plane refer to the Lancastrian.
however the following book, on Page 41 has a small drawing of an alternative design, now I can see how this could have been simplified into a Lancastrian and would be happy to leave it thier!

EXCEPT.... Does anyone have any further info, drawings or plan views?

regards
martin

Lancaster - The Story of A Famous Bomber
Author : Bruce Robertson
A Harlyford Publication, 1977 (First Edition 1964)
ISBN:0 900435 10 0

lanc-mail-plane.JPG
 

Just Imagine

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the following book, on Page 41 has a small drawing of an alternative design, now I can see how this could have been simplified into a Lancastrian and would be happy to leave it thier!

Blowing up that side view to 1:72 scale that fuselage is about 35 mm diameter in 1:72 which is much bigger than a Lancaster/Lancastrian so that points to it being a totally new (most likely circular and even pressurised?) fuselage. Can even envisage it having tricycle undercarriage. Also not too difficult to imagine a developed Bomber version of this with the Lincoln wing and even later versions with turbo prop powerplants (a la Pythons or Clydes etc).
 

kitnut617

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Well, keep in mind Avro bomber aircraft of the time (and the York), all had rectangular cross section fuselages, the much later Tudor being the first with a round fuselage.
 

Schneiderman

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Tudor design is second half of 1943 at the latest, so roughly the same time
 

kitnut617

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Yeah, right, so it was ---- but the Tudor's fuselage was 10'-0" in diameter, the 35mm that just imagine has worked out is 8'-0" in 1/72 scale. Same as the York which was also designed at the same time ;)
 

Schneiderman

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The MAP allowed development of the York as it was simple and used a large percentage of Lancaster components, so minimal disruption to bomber production. It flew in June 1942. There was no identified requirement for a mailplane in the early years of the war and the Brabazon Committee did not include such type in their initial list in Feb 1943, unless you include the jet-powered would-be Comet. There is no Type number for such a variant in the Avro project list, so...…...are we sure that the concept ever really existed? Robertson's book appears to be the only reference.
 

kitnut617

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I agree with you Schneiderman, and until today, I hadn't seen that profile before either.
 

Hood

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I wouldn't dismiss this out of hand. It could just be a concept that went no further. We don't know Robertson's source, but if this was in the 1964 edition then it was much closer to the events of the 1940s and could well have been the recollection or from someone who worked at Avro at the time, or perhaps drawn from memory or an interpretation Robertson made from information he had.
Given the Type 684 around a similar timeframe its not impossible a more streamlined airframe was considered.
 

Schneiderman

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Much closer to the time does not necessarily mean better informed as a great deal of archive material was not yet accessible and memory was very often flawed. Several of the early Putnam volumes are testament to that. I agree that various Lancaster-derived designs could have been sketched and proto-Tudor designs may have looked similar to this, but mailplane in 1943 I feel is unlikely.
 

Just Imagine

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Yeah, right, so it was ---- but the Tudor's fuselage was 10'-0" in diameter, the 35mm that just imagine has worked out is 8'-0" in 1/72 scale. Same as the York which was also designed at the same time ;)

Ah yes good point but the give away or hint on that Drawing that made me think circular cross section was the length of the parallel section of the fuselage whereas in equivalent side view the York is anything but parallel.

And although we don't have a proposed Type Number the dates mentioned above would hint at the Lincoln wing being used if it had entered production.
 
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Schneiderman

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Ah yes good point but the give away or hint on that Drawing that made me think circular cross section was the length of the parallel section of the fuselage whereas in equivalent side view the York is anything but parallel.
And although we don't have a proposed Type Number the dates mentioned above would hint at the Lincoln wing being used if it had entered production.

The nose profile looks to be more consistent with a circular section, I would say.
The way it is drawn the nacelles are more Lancaster then Lincoln, but I guess which would have been used would have depended on the urgency of the requirement and the amount of disruption MAP were prepared to accept in bomber production. Not that I am convinced that it was a real project ;)
 

CJGibson

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Could the 'astrodome' be a double-glazed pilot's transparency a la Wellington Mk.V for use at altitude?

Could this be a proposed testbed for a pressurised Lancaster along the lines of the Wellington V rather than a mail plane etc?

Chris
 

Just Imagine

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The way it is drawn the nacelles are more Lancaster then Lincoln,

Yes that Drawing like the Title is definitely Lancaster. I was just hinting at further development given the likely time frame.

Not that I am convinced that it was a real project ;)

Ah yes well without a Type Number you are correct although if as hinted in the Book's "About This Book" section by D. A. Russell where he writes "Messrs A. V. Roe Ltd had already supplied drawings for the (Harleyford) draughtsmen to use in the preparation of the 1/144 scale tone paintings presented here." for Avro to have supplied a Drawing the Drawing Office most likely would of had a Type Number or Type Number and Sub Type reference for the Drawing. Then again on the other hand in the Book that is a line Drawing to 1:288 and not a 1:144 tone painting so is it a Harleyford Draughtsman's creation / invention / interpretation of what might have been?

Where are the Type (and sub Type Number - like "Avro 685A York G. R. Flying Boat" 1:288 line Drawing on Page 73) "Experts" when you need them?
 

Grey Havoc

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but mailplane in 1943 I feel is unlikely.

On the other hand, the Allies were using bombers, light and otherwise, as improvised mailplanes by this point in time on various medium to high risk routes. For example Mosquitoes on the Ball-bearing Run, which were ostensibly BOAC aircraft, crewed by RNoAF personnel disguised as BOAC employees! They initially used some other types, in particular Lockheed Model 14s & Lodestars on that route, but the threat level eventually became too high I believe. I have heard that a few Whitleys were briefly used at the outset of the route, before they were reassigned back to Bomber Command where they were even more urgently needed. On a side note, the USAAF also operated a service on the same route for a period during 1944 primarily in support of the OSS under Operation Sonnie, using C-47 Skytrains and C-87 Liberator Express'. Those aircraft are sometimes erroneously listed as having been part of the BOAC operation.

EDIT: I forgot to note that SOE was involved with the Ball-bearing run, along with MI6 (SIS) and later the OSS. Apparently MI5 also had some involvement. Another interesting thing is that from 1943 onwards, some genuine civilian BOAC pilots were used along with the RNoAF and RAF pilots, though at least on one occasion there was an unfortunate incident involving the bomb bay doors of a Mosquito while a civilian pilot was dodging a German fighter. Fortunately both the vital cargo and accompanying passenger survived...
 
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DWG

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On the other hand, the Allies were using bombers, light and otherwise, as improvised mailplanes by this point in time on various medium to high risk routes. For example Mosquitoes on the Ball-bearing Run

The Stockholm ball-bearing run was one that immediately popped to mind. And that's something that might trigger Squadron level proposals that get booted to higher level then filed without necessarily ever going through the Avro drawing office (cf Sunderland Mk V for a proposal that didn't get filed).
 

Hood

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The Stockholm run was what immediately leapt to my mind. It wouldn't take a massive leap for someone to propose using a Lanc to transport a more economical load of ball bearings and then streamlining and lightening it for maximum speed and as cover calling it a mailplane. Also Lisbon run etc. and maybe routes to the Middle East would all of been drivers for a high-speed aircraft for some immunity from interception. Of course that's speculation, I feel the drawing is a post-war reconstruction from memory however.
 

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