Mitchell-Proctor Kittiwake I

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Mitchell-Proctor Kittiwake I

Originally designed in 1964-65 by R. G. Proctor and C. G. B. Mitchell as a dedicated single-seat glider tug aircraft.

Mitchell-Procter Aircraft was set up to produce the Kittwake prototype. It was a development of the Mitchell-Prizeman Scamp design study of 1964. 'Kit' Mitchell was the Kittiwake's designer, with Roy Procter in charge of building it. It had excellent visibility, sturdy landing gear.

The Kittiwake was of all-metal stressed skin construction with tricycle landing gear. The nose-wheel was steerable for fast taxiing and the aircraft was fitted with hydraulic brakes.

It was believed by the designers that the aircraft would also make a good small touring aircraft and be capable of aerobatics with a rate of Roll 200 degrees at 103 mph (90 kn; 166 km/h). The Kittiwake had a rate of climb of 700 feet (213 metres) per minute with a 1,000 lb (454 kg) glider in tow.

This performance was considered to be better than the de Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth and Auster 6A then commonly in use for glider towing.

The wing had generous flaps with high operating speeds which allowed for a fast descent. It had a self-starter system, provision for a radio. The Kittiwake also had a mechanism for retracting the tow rope during the descent. This design was fully aerobatic and additional fuel tanks could be fitted to extend the range.

By the middle of 1965 production tooling were being made for the wing ribs as well as spars machined.

The prototype, registered G-ATXN, first flew on 23 May 1967 and was later known as the Mitchell-Procter Kittiwake I. Around a year and a half later the partnership was dissolved and plans for home builders were produced by Procter Aircraft Associates.

One Kittiwake was built by Royal Navy apprentices in 1971 for glider towing. This aircraft had a larger diameter (6 ft 4 in, 1.93 m) airscrew fitted, which increased the rate of climb by around a quarter.

In later years the prototype was re-engined with a Lycoming O-290-D2 engine.

Mitchell continued development and produced the Mitchell Kittiwake II two-seater which first flew on 19 March 1972 with a more powerful Continental O-240 130 hp (97 kW) engine.

Examples built of the Kittiwake I: G-AXTN, G-BBRN (marked as XW784).

Details of the Kittiwake I

Crew: 1
Engine: 1 × Rolls Royce-Continental O-200-A 4-cylinder horizontally opposed air cooled piston, 100 hp (75 kW)
Length: 19 ft 7 in (5.97 m)
Wing span: 24 ft 0 in (7.32 m)
Height: 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
Wing area: 105 sq ft (9.8 m2)
Empty weight: 910 lb (413 kg)
Gross weight: 1,250 lb (567 kg) for aerobatic flight
Maximum take-off weight: 1,350 lb (612 kg)
Propellers: 2-bladed McCauley 69CM52, 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) diameter
Maximum speed: 131 mph (211 km/h; 114 kn)
Cruise speed: 122 mph (106 kn; 196 km/h) at 75% power
Range: 540 miles (469 nmi; 869 km) at 92 mph (148 km/h)
Ferry Range with additional tanks: 600 miles (521 nm; 966 km)
Rate of climb: 850 ft/min (4.3 m/s)

Source:

Sailplane & Gliding Magazine 1965 (Vol 16 No 4)
Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1970-71 edited by J.W.R. Taylor (Sampson Low)

Below is a layout drawing from Sailplane & Gliding and my photograph of the prototype in later years seen at the 2002 PFA Fly-in at Cranfield.
 

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Cy-27

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Some more on the build and development of this rare type.
 

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