Miles Hoopla


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26 January 2011
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I've read a little about this project. However, haven't found very much. Doesn't anybody know any more?

From "The Illustrated Enciclopedia of the World's -Rockets and Missiles" by Bill Gunston
Leisure books 1979


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Justo, thanks. Thats one of the few sources I've seen which mention anything about the Hoopla. As the picture I posted shows, it obviously reached at least the mockup stage. I was wondering if anything else had been published about its launching arrangements, guidance system, etc. It seems to me that it would have been an excellent alternative to the use of manned bombers. Considering the difficulties that the Fi-103 presented to the British and knowing how unprepared the Germans were to meet the Bomber Command threat, it looks to me like it would have been quite a useful weapon system. Pity it wasn't taken up.


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There are three pages on Hoopla Project/Autopilot in Don Bown's 'Miles Aircraft since 1925' (Putnam, 1970). The fourth/fifth photograph above appears there, where its source is described as 'Miles Aircraft'. Maybe all five photographs emanated from the manufacturer.
Chapter 10 of 'Miles Aircraft - The Wartime Years' is dedicated to the 'Hoopla'.

The flying mock-up, named the 'Hoopla', was not given a Miles type number and it is not even known if it was ever test flown, or if it was, where from.

The Hoopla was designed for long range precision bombing guided to target by radio control. A radio-directed automatic control unit for the elevator and rudder was incoporated into the design and according to RAE calculations this weapon should have been able to operate with a reasonable degree of accuracy upto a range of 400 miles.

Also known in Phillips & Powis documents as the HEC M VI Carrier for 60 HE Mines. Mines carried in 60 containers each weighing around 18 lb. The HEC M probably denoted High Explosive Carrier Mines.

General Characteristics
Engine: 260 hp de Havilland Gipsy Six or Menasco C6S engine
Span: 27 ft 0 in
Length: 22 ft 0 in
Height: 4 ft 8 in
Wing Area: 95 sq ft
Empty Weight: 875 lb / 907 lb (de Havilland / Menasco)
Gross Weight: 2,477 lb / 2,509 lb (de Havilland / Menasco)
Fuel Weight: 480 lb
Fuel Weight: 22 lb
Oil Weight: 480 lb
Payload Weight: 1,100 lb
Maximum Speed at sea level : 220 mph / 240 mph (de Havilland / Menasco)
Maximum Speed at 20,000 ft : 200 mph / 220 mph (de Havilland / Menasco)
Maximum Speed at 25,000 ft : 168 mph / 174 mph (de Havilland / Menasco)
Stall Speed: 83 mph
Endurance: 3 hours

The chapter has some of the images posted by Iverson plus some drawings.


Miles Aircraft - The Wartime Years by Peter Amos (Air Britain) ISBN 978-0-85130-430-4
Cy-27 said:
The flying mock-up, named the 'Hoopla', was not given a Miles type number and it is not even known if it was ever test flown, or if it was, where from

To me, to describe something as a 'flying mock-up' seems to be a contradiction in terms. If it could fly, it would have hardly been a 'mock-up' and is unlikely to have been described as 'a project'. However if Don Brown is to be accepted (and whilst I acknowledge that over the years, since his book was published, many errors therein have been identified, he was working for the company at the time of the Hoopla project), it would seem that a 'mock-up' was precisely what is was and that it never proceeded beyond that stage. In the book he says:

'Miles therefore built the mock-up of a cheap light aeroplane capable of carrying a 1,000 lb bomb - the largest bomb in general use at that date - and powered by a projected cheap mass-produced engine. In addition, a radio directed automatic pilot would be designed and, according to RAE calculations, should be capable of operating with a reasonable degree of accuracy up to a range of 400 miles. The idea and the mock-up were duly submitted to the Ministry of Aircraft Production with the suggestion that this weapon should be put into large-scale production and stored, but not used except as a deterrent should the enemy first resort to such means of warfare. So far from appreciating that this was a wise and prudent precaution, the Ministry would have nothing to do with it. There the matter ended for the time being.' [The italics are mine]

In the circumstances, I think it reasonable to assume that the Hoopla project never proceeded beyond a mock-up and that such mock-up never flew. However if Peter Amos, in his book, advances an argument to suggest that the mock-up might have flown, I'd be interested to hear that. Unfortunately I do not have his book.
This weapon would have almost certainly been flown at night. Several hundred of these craft would have not only been difficult targets to hit, but would have utterly overwhelmed German defenses. If hit, it still would have done damage by the bomb being automatically released. There would probably have been a small self-destruct charge to prevent enemy examination of the control device.
Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship wrote a song about “Knee deep in the Hoopla …. “
Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship wrote a song about “Knee deep in the Hoopla …. “

Yup, on the same Starship album as Bernie Taupin's much-loathed "We Built This City" ;p

Hoopla meant different things on either side of the pond. In North America, hoopla meant a bunch of fuss about nothing. It also meant a hubbub in the UK at the time of Miles' proposal. But it also referred to a ring toss game. I'm guessing that the latter was the origin of the Miles flying bomb name.

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