Pterodactyl Bomber project c.1944

martinletts

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Hi guys,

I've found a new subject for my next model that's right up my street, but alas I can find no other info on this other than in Secret Projects Flying Wings and Tailless Aircraft.

I had started to CAD-up an initial three view based on the small illustration shown in the book, but more info would be extremely helpful. Does anyone have any ideas or recommended reading? From the text it says that Hill made a couple of bomber designs (this one being the largest).

Best regards.

Martin
 

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hesham

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Hi,

also the Short Bros-Hill Pterodactyl MK VIII as transatlantic airliner project.

http://webspace.webring.com/people/du/um_5166/brit/odd_air.htm
 

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martinletts

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Hi Guys.

Sorry to resurrect this again but I seem to be drawing a blank everywhere. I'm trying to find out anything (at all) on this project, other than the only source I have which is Bill Rose's Secret Projects book. I don't suppose anyone knows if he is contactable?

Cheers.
 

steelpillow

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Derek James, "Database: Westland-Hill Pterodactyls", Aeroplane, September 2010, pp59-73:
The Westland-Hill Pterodactyl VIII passenger airliner, a true flying wing, was "variously described as having three or five Rolls-Royce Griffon pusher engines" and variants were tested in the wind tunnels of the Canadian National Research Council (NRC) from ca. 1943. Around the same time, the VIII was being proposed for the UK postwar civil planning which led to the Bristol Brabazon. Hill was in Canada at the time, as Scientific Liaison Officer to the government there, and the NRC later went on to build its own Pterodactyl-style research aircraft.

I would suggest that if a bomber was being planned, Hill would have been smartly fetched back to the UK. As you can see from the images posted above here, Rose's "bomber" looks uncannily like a three-Griffon variant of the Mk VIII passenger plane. I would be hard put to say that he is correct.

BTW, James makes no mention of Short Bros. in the context of the Mk.VIII. The Mk VII project had been a flying boat designed in cooperation with Saunders-Roe, while Hill did not officially become a Consultant to Short's until he returned from Canada in 1945. Is there any provenance to the claim that the 1943 Mk VIII was a Short-Hill collaboration? For example, might Short's have been involved in the Brabazon Committee proposal?
 

Schneiderman

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There is a little more on the Mk.VIII project in Peter Lewis' article in Air Pictorial June 1973. Again no mention of a bomber derivative but it would not surprise me at all if such a concept was considered.
 

steelpillow

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Thank you. I will look up the Lewis article.

Meanwhile something sent me back to my notes from the Tailless Aircraft Advisory Committee (TAAC) file at the National Archive:
Letter from Lockspeiser (DSR) to Hill, 6 April 1944 - Hill had apparently approached several firms with a proposal for a postwar tailless aircraft, but only Short's were interested. The Minister had suggested lines to proceed & Hill apparently knew it.
So that rather answers my question.
 

Schneiderman

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Any idea how he managed to work for/advise Short and General Aircraft at the same time?
 

steelpillow

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Schneiderman said:
Any idea how he managed to work for/advise Short and General Aircraft at the same time?
Presumably he was an independent consultant working for each part-time as occasion demanded, much as the engine designer Frank Halford did for both de Havilland and Napier during the 1930s. Flight published a supersonic swing-wing proposal of his in 1951, under his own name.
 

Schneiderman

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I guess so, its just that he comes across as quite deeply embedded within each of them
 

steelpillow

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Schneiderman said:
I guess so, its just that he comes across as quite deeply embedded within each of them
Does that idea of embedding in the GAL 56 programme come from other evidence? (Me showing my ignorance again).
 

Schneiderman

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I just find it a bit surprising that he was working as co-designer for projects with both companies, it seems a rather greater degree involvement than just being a consultant. For example with both GAL and Shorts he co-authored patents with their chief designer; with GAL it is for swing-wing aircraft designs and wing-tip ailerons. I assume that there was no overlap in time for his work with each company but it is an unusual situation.
 

steelpillow

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Schneiderman said:
I just find it a bit surprising that he was working as co-designer for projects with both companies, it seems a rather greater degree involvement than just being a consultant. For example with both GAL and Shorts he co-authored patents with their chief designer; with GAL it is for swing-wing aircraft designs and wing-tip ailerons. I assume that there was no overlap in time for his work with each company but it is an unusual situation.
Yes, it is a but unusual. But that GAL swing-wing work intrigues me. Would it have been a precursor to his 1951 supersonic proposal? Never did my byline feel more apt - so many projects, so little time.
 

Schneiderman

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Yes, I know what you mean. I'm trying to focus on various 1930s design trends but the research trail just keeps drawing me onto later and peripheral issues.
 

Schneiderman

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It turns out that the image Hesham posted in #1 is not the VIII but a joint project between Short and Hill based on, and enlarged from, the work he had done on the VIII in Canada. Here is a little more information from an article in Aeroplane 9th July 1948
 

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steelpillow

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Nice find. That issue of Aeroplane is now on my shopping list.

It is perhaps worth noting that this was the gestation period of the V bombers and Short's contender was based on Hill's aeroisoclinic tailless swept wing. One wonders what crossovers between the bomber and transport wing designs might have been on their drawing boards around that time.
 

Schneiderman

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It looks as if the sequence of events started with Hill drawing up his design for the Type VIII during his time in Canada and the NRC then testing a model in their wind tunnel and subsequently with a glider. NACA also tested a model in their wind tunnel. As a consequence of these tests Hill reintroduced the wing tip controllers from his earliest designs to address bending and flexing problems. This led directly to his development of the aero-isoclinic wing.

From Peter Lewis the 3-engine VIII airliner had a span of 140 ft 1.9 inches and an area of 3666 sqft
From Don Brown the 5-engine Short-Hill airliner had a span of 176 ft and an area of 5300 sqft

There does no appear to be a Short project designation for the airliner, but that is not too unusual for the period at which it was designed, I know of three other well-defined projects underway at the same time that also lack numbers.

Aeroplane article attached (other interesting things in there)
 

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Schneiderman

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Yes, it was someone posting that on Facebook that prompted me to seek out the original article. The fighter is so unlike AW work at that time I was highly sceptical, but it does appear to be true as there was nothing from AW in the correspondence pages of later issues denying its existance.
 

hesham

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Many thanks to you my dear Schneiderman,

and after your permission,can I send the AW pusher fighter,and thanks.
 

Schneiderman

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Yes of course, its already on Facebook
 
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