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A single-seat Hawker aircraft which is equipped with eight machine guns in the wings


The Hawker Hurricane is said to be the fastest fighting aircraft in any air force

A LOW-WING MONOPLANE, the Hawker Hurricane is said to be the fastest fighting aircraft in any air force. On February 10, 1938, a Hurricane was flown from Edinburgh to London, a distance of 327 miles, in forty-eight minutes. The average speed was 408.75 miles an hour.

THE Hurricane single-seater fighter monoplane, built by Hawker Aircraft, Ltd., is stated to be the fastest fighter in service in any air force in the world. It is a low-wing monoplane with a wing span of 40 feet and a gross area for its main plane of 257.5 square feet. The net area of the main plane, namely the area outside of the fuselage which provides effective lift, is 231.5 square feet. The overall length is 31 ft. 5 in.

The armament consists of eight Browning machine-guns. These are accommodated along the leading edges of the wings, four on either side of the fuselage. All the guns fire clear of the propeller and are operated by remote control. A wooden airscrew is used; it is of the fixed-pitch variety, the reserve power available making a variable-pitched propeller unnecessary.

A 900-1,050 horse-power Rolls-Royce Merlin II engine is fitted. This is a twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled engine with the cylinders arranged in the form of a V. A scoop under the fuselage collects air and delivers it to the radiator and a controllable outlet-flap behind the radiator enables cooling to be adjusted for maximum efficiency at all times. In spite of its high performance — the

aircraft has a top speed in still air of considerably over 330 miles an hour — the aircraft is not a difficult one for Service pilots to fly. A speed range of 6 to 1 is achieved with the aid of split trailing-edge flaps, the landing speed being about 60 miles an hour.

Rapid manoeuvring is possible on the ground because of the wide track of the landing wheels and because wheel brakes are fitted. The track of the landing wheels is 7 ft. 10 in. The undercarriage units retract when the aircraft is in flight; they fold inwards into the section of the wings below the fuselage. Power for the retracting gear is hydraulically transmitted from the engine, but the undercarriage may also be operated by hand. Provision is made also for the retraction of the tail wheel.

Steel and duralumin are used for the framework of the fuselage and wings. The main fuselage frame is of rectangular section, a wooden structure with stringers being added to give the fuselage its rounded shape. From the tail of the fuselage up to about the level of the pilot’s seat fabric covering is used; the remainder of the fuselage is covered with light metal panels. A mixture of fabric and metals is used for the wing covering as well. The leading edges and parts of the wings near the fuselage are metal-covered. The flaps have a metal surface and must not be brought into operation above a speed of 120 miles an hour.

The loaded weight of the Hurricane is approximately 6,000 lb. The tailplane has a span of 11 feet. The flaps are hydraulically operated and a sliding roof is provided for the cockpit. The range is more than 600 miles at full speed; but, as the aircraft can fly with the engine well throttled back, flight duration can be considerably more than the two hours approximately that it would take to fly 600 miles. Because the Hurricane is intended for night flying as well as for day flying, navigation lights, landing lights and parachute flares are included in the equipment. Full blind-flying instruments and two-way radio are carried.

On February 10, 1938, Squadron Leader J. W. Gillan, piloting a Hurricane, flew the 327 miles from Turnhouse Aerodrome, Edinburgh, to Northolt Aerodrome, London, in forty-eight minutes. He travelled at about 17,000 feet at an average speed of 408.75 miles an hour, a speed never before reached by a landplane.

You can read more on “Evolution of the Fighter”, “Fighter Design” and “Training R.A.F. Pilots” on this website.

The Hurricane Fighter