In December 1918, the chief designer of the British company “Vickers aircraft” Pearson took over the project of amphibian aircraft. The idea looked interesting: this machine could be useful in the metropolis, and in numerous colonies.
In the tradition of that time the aircraft, dubbed “Viking”, had the scheme of a biplane. Both wings were the same span, the lower lay on the boat, and the top was based on a system of pillars. The rigidity of the biplane box was increased by numerous braces. The motor was mounted underneath the top plane and was fitted with a pusher propeller – this design was forced to take the propeller of a small diameter to ensure sufficient clearance to the deck of the boat, and wider blades to increase the efficiency of the screw.
First, Pearson wanted to put the engine Hispano-Suiza 8A 200 HP, but later opted for the engine rolls-Royce “Falcon” 275 HP Because it had water cooling before him have provided a large rectangular radiator.
Dvuhrjadnoe the boat did a rather narrow and flat, almost vertical sides, to make it easier to mount the chassis. Small width of the fuselage led to insufficient stability of the aircraft on the water. Later the bottom was repeatedly modified, in an effort to address this shortcoming. Two auxiliary float is located on the racks under the lower wing.
The cabin seats four, first made open. Later, Pearson became acquainted with the flying boat Norman Thompson NT2B and according to its design designed an indoor lantern. Control of the aircraft has performed two: the front seats were the steering wheels and pedals.
The aircraft had a rather bizarre biplane tail with a keel on the axis of the machine and two rudders on the left and right of it.
The prototype Viking (Viking I) Bruklend, 1919
The Viking III on the airfield, 1920
The Viking III on the banks of the Thames, 1921
“Viking” type IV 54, made for the Navy of France, 1921
“Viking” was made entirely of wood, not counting the different fastening elements. For example, the spars and ribs of the wings were made of spruce (Oregon pine), and the frames of the boat – from the elm. The boat was sheathed with plywood “Consuta” stitched with thin copper wire. Wing and tail tight fitting cloth, propitavshiesya varnish.
The chassis consisted of two stands with wheels and tail skids. When landing on the water stand was up ahead; the axes of the wheels move in an arcuate guide rails on the sides. Actuator-retract gear – mechanical, manual winch. It seems that this system later served as a model for the mechanism of wheel-lifting in the Soviet amphibian sh-2. Not uperevshis the crutch in the position of boats on the water was above the waterline.
With the first problems encountered at the stage of pulling boat model in the hydraulic canals – she swung hard on the go. At first suggested that the reason small width, but later it turned out that the key role played by the interaction of eddies formed in the first step, with the contours of the bottom for him. The situation improved after small improvements of design.
A prototype of “Viking” (it later became known as the “Viking” I) built in two months in a former dance hall in Weybridge turned into the First world war in a woodworking shop. The aircraft was then dismantled and transported to Brooklands, where he collected again. At the end of 1919 with the local airfield (on wheels) machine for the first time rose into the air. At the helm was the chief pilot of the company “Vickers” George. Alcock (the same one that first flew across the Atlantic).
18 Dec Alcock alone flew the Viking in Paris. On Ruan, he was in thick clouds and tried to sit down on the first suitable site, but on the run ran into a tree. The plane was broken, the pilot was killed.
About a week later started to build the second sample amphibians, Viking II. He differed from the first machine: the cabin is open, we have changed the shape of the nose (the first sample of his on the run filled with water), changed the shape of the bottom between the sponsons, increased wing area. New engine rolls-Royce Eagle VIII 360 HP is not located under the wing, and on a special pylon. Increased track chassis and wheel diameter, the keel was mounted a third rudder. Crutch provided an oil-pneumatic shock absorber, tail wheel and attached to it a water wheel.
Testing the Viking II from June of 1920, spent in Kovse S. Cockrell. In August of the same year on the amphibian, he took part in the competition of seaplanes in Antwerp.
“Deuce” followed by the “Troika” -it was made under the requirements of the contest announced by the Ministry of civil aviation on the seaplane. On this machine again, a little modified the shape of the bow of the boat, redid the mounting of the tail wheel, once again increased the wing area and added square section of the keel, speaking up above the upper plane of a biplane tail. The plane had an open cockpit and was equipped with a motor Napier lion II, 450 HP
The Viking III has passed official tests under the auspices of the Ministry of aviation in Martlesham-Hise (on wheels) and Felixstowe (on water) in September – October 1920, He won the contest and the creators presented the prize of 10, OOO pounds.
In February – April 1921 on this machine S. Cockrell has made several flights with passengers from London to Paris and back. He flew from the Thames, and landed on the Seine, or Vice versa; the flight took 2.5 hours.
“Viking” became interested in the Navy, which considered it as a potential scout, spotter and aircraft to link the ships to the shore. The Troika has been tested on the aircraft carrier “Argus” machine successfully landed on the deck and took off with her.
But “Viking” was not simple in piloting. This was partly due to the high location of the motor on the boat. When the engine amphibian sought to enter into a dive, when off – turned nose. Worst of all was that at low speeds the plane falls off the wing, and then went into a dangerous flat spin. So to keep control of the car could only be experienced and cautious pilot.
But this is not considered an insurmountable obstacle to further work. Following modification, the Viking IV, was designed to launch a series. It was made in three versions: commercial, military air and naval spotter. The last two could carry defensive armament is one or two machine guns on the turret “Scarf” behind the plane of rotation of the screw.
“Viking” type IV 64 after Assembly in Petrograd, 1922
“Viking” 1st Menomonee squadron after the disaster in Sevastopol, July 1926
The Viking IV in San Sebastian on the way to Madrid, 1922
Amphibious Viking type IV 64
The cab did again closed, the bow of the boat lifted slightly and she became more “stupid”. The width of the boat grew a foot and so moved to the tail of the rear redan. Wheels are supplied with brakes. The crutch with a water wheel was slightly altered. Wingspan has increased by 1.22 m, reaching 15,24 m. the Designer has applied the new T64 wing profile with a flat bottom to give more lift (in all the previous versions used the profile of ALA 15). The engine was consistent with the previous model. Changed layout of struts between the planes has given the opportunity to put the biplane box, which was especially important when storing on the ships. All this has led to an increase in takeoff weight 2043 kg of the “Troika” of up to 2724 kg.
Series production began in late summer 1921 The issue was produced in small batches and even single specimens, differ quite significantly from each other. Therefore, the firm each party was assigned the designation “type-so.” The first aircraft delivered on September 27, 1921, was called the “type 54” and was intended for the French Navy. It runs as a civilian, but with the possibility of rapid alterations in the military. This machine did just one.
The next order of ten amphibians were received from aircraft of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). They have a box of wings not folded and the wings had the old profile RAF 15. Sheathing boats were made of plywood “Consuta”, manned aircraft motors “lion”. Additional fuel tanks increased range up to 1410 km away, and the Whole order were completed during 1922.
Dismantled the Vikings in boxes steamers arrived on the island of Java. There they gathered and circled. During the operation of two amphibian crashed. One crash was found guilty by a pilot who had never flown on seaplanes. But the second was a consequence of the impact on the design of the wet tropical climate – the tree was damp and rotten, and the steel rusted. After a certain period, steel fastening elements of the airframe so got damaged by corrosion that the plane simply collapsed. Gradually Dutch the Vikings have become dangerous to fly and put them into storage.
Two cars in the embodiment of the ship’s spotter sold naval fleet of Japan. They had the profile of the wings T64. Aircraft for Japan provided for the installation of a 37 mm gun (of unknown model) to fight submarines on the surface, although the actual guns were never mounted. Amphibians went to Japan, accompanied by a group of specialists and Vickers test pilot major G. Brake. In March 1923, he made several demonstration flights with the aircraft carrier “Jose”.
One “Viking” made for demonstrations in Spain. This option is different the open cockpit and covering of a boat from plywood BST. The latter is a two-glued veneer sheet of wood of mahogany. The auxiliary floats are moved to the ends of the wing. But Spain is to buy a car would not. Later this amphibian was sold to a retired captain L. Hamilton, who used it as an air taxi service. He shuttled between St. Moritz and various settlements in Switzerland, carrying tourists to the ski resorts. On soft snow, the plane sat on the bottom, ice on wheels.
One amphibian with motor “Eagle” IX ordered the canadian company Laurentide air service. This machine then a few years operated on the East coast of Canada.
Special the Quartet built for the Australian R. Smith, who wished to make her round the world flight.
The wings are not folded, the cab performed an open, instead of passenger seats installed additional fuel tanks and compartments for cargo. All metal parts have tried to protect from corrosion, exhaust pipes made of stainless steel.
13 APR 1922, this “Viking” test S. Cockrell flew at Brooklands. The car was accepted by the customer, who rose it in the air with the mechanic Bennett. But at an altitude of about 600 m with a sharp turn the aircraft fell on the wing and went into a flat spin. Smith seems to have been able to deduce from it the amphibian, but stalled the engine. The pilot and mechanic were killed.
“Viking” type 73 for Argentina
“Walker” I type 78
The Viking VII (“Vanellus”) in the triple option
“Walker” II, original motor Eagle IX
“Walker” McLaren at an intermediate stage of flight, the airfield Hinaidi near Baghdad, 1924
Swedish and Danish sailors were interested in the opportunity to transform the Viking into the torpedo hung on one 18 inch torpedo. Apparently, it found it impossible, because the correspondence with Denmark and Sweden ceased.
Another “Viking” (“type 64”) military version, but without weapons, in 1922, sold to Soviet Russia. The order is made through the Soviet trade delegation in revel. The machine had a motor “lion”, open cabin and trim boat from plywood ST. On 4 April the amphibian arrived in Petrograd and for some time lay in a warehouse, and then in one of the hangars of the airfield Curfew began unpacking and Assembly. October 21 launchpadbullet (as then wrote) ordered Assembly of the amphibian to stop and send it to Moscow, but the late – the car was almost ready. Therefore, tests were carried out in Petrograd, the Rowing port.
After the plane a while was listed in the 1st separate Maritime getrootnode Air forces of the Baltic sea. For some unknown reason felt that it is more expedient to exploit the amphibian on the Black sea, and in may 1923 the pilot L. I. Hicks and the mechanic Radev made it a flight to Sevastopol. There the “Viking” incorporated into the 4th marine reconnaissance detachment. According to the reports, in December the car was in quite good condition. In 1925, the aircraft was transferred to the 2nd separate naval fighter detachment in Odessa and then returned to Sevastopol, including the 1st separate squadron mononono.
22 Jul 1926 commander of this squadron p. P. Sorokin made in Sevastopol training flight with the pilot Bolotov. On takeoff Bolotov prematurely pulled away from the water, two times “barcol” (i.e. touched the water again and jumped), and then buried his nose in the water. The car overturned; Sorokin died, Bolotov survived. Amphibian later the boat was towed to Sevastopol and pulled out of the water, but the repair did not. The “Viking” in the lists of our air force was not listed.
But back. In the 1923 edition of amphibians continued. A year earlier, the us Navy ordered a single copy spotter for study. Machine handed over to the Americans in February 1923, had an engine “lion” and the wings with the profile of the T64, but the reduced scale.
A week later, two aircraft released for “river plate aviation company” from Argentina. It was a civil aircraft with engines “Eagle” IX. The wings had a profile RAF 15, and the space between the planes is increased per foot (0.305 per m). On the upper wing edges of the center section housed extra fuel tanks. Amphibious one had a closed cabin, and the other open.
Both aircraft served on the Buenos Aires- Montevideo. The power of the motor “Eagle” (360 HP) for a fairly heavy car was too small, which affected mostly screwed off. The small ground clearance of the chassis meant that the bottom scraped along the ground on uneven grounds. The rocky ground was the cause of frequent damage to the wheels and rapid wear of the tires.
Four of the Quartet set in may 1923 the Navy of Argentina. They were equipped with more powerful “Lyons”; wings with the profile of the T64 had full scope, and could be folded for storage.
Canadian air force purchased two “Viking” with motors Eagle. They wanted to mount instead of wood screw, metal “Leitner-watts”, but later this intention was abandoned. The Canadians used amphibious for the detection of forest fires and rescue operations. Planes of the company “Vickers” has proved itself well enough and the plant of the local branch of Canadian Vickers in Montreal has released an additional batch of “Vikings”.
Flight-technical data of amphibians “Viking”
Two aircraft marked “Vickers” V, but almost no different from the “fours”, passed in April 1922, the British air force. These cars had an oil-pneumatic shock absorbers of the main landing gear instead of the rubber used. They were used 70 squadron, stationed in Iraq. The purpose was to determine the feasibility of exploitation of amphibians in the middle East. This turned out well because ponds complement a very rare network of local airfields. But again there were complaints of damage to bottoms with stones because of the low boarding of the boat when moving on wheels. Bad local climate, and wood construction. If in the humid tropics it is rotten, then dry heat – cracked and cracked. More British military “Vikings” did not buy.
The last two versions of “Viking”, in addition to serial numbers, have their own names. The Viking VI at the design stage was called “type 78”, and then “Walker”. He was distinguished by the increased height of the profile and the chord of the wings. Although the scale was reduced, the total area has increased. From folding biplane box refused. On the ailerons of “fries” installed weight balance weights on the brackets, increased the width of the bottom of the boat eliminated the speakers on the upper plane of the biplane tail of the keel.
Built two copies of the “six”. “Walker” I was made as a civilian version with a motor “lion”. The cabin was open. The engine is enclosed in a rounded hood, in front of which was located an oval radiator. “Walker” II was built as a military engine “Eagle” (which was not epatirovala and combined with a rectangular radiator) and the ring under the turret “Scarf” in the rear of the fuselage.
Squadron-leader A. McLaren decided to commit to “Welcare” round the world flight. He intended, taking off from England to reach the Aegean sea, from there to fly to the Persian Gulf, and then through India, Burma and Singapore to get to Tokyo. Further, the way lay through the Sakhalin, Kamchatka and the Bering Strait to Alaska. To close the circle McLaren expected across Canada and the North Atlantic.
The reliability of aviation technology during those years was low, so I decided to use two aircraft. The second “Walker” remade in full compliance with the first, providing both additional fuel tanks. Was considered the basic “Walker” II, the first copy was shipped by sea to Tokyo as an alternate. The replacement motor was assumed in Montreal.
The crew consisted of pilot A. McLaren, Navigator N. Plenderleith and mechanics R. Andrews.
Really spare motors required much more. On the approach to Corfu is broken reducer “Lyons”. Well, in those years, the engine was quite common, quickly found new and the plane flew on. But this engine had to be replaced in parle in India. In Akabe in Burma amphibian stood two days under the tropical shower even without covers. When you attempt to take off failed drive changes the installation angle of the stabilizer. Followed the accident. Decided that repairing a wrecked car is useless. On the deck of the USS “William Preston” from Tokyo to Akyab brought a spare “Walker”. Flights resumed, but on 2 August over the Bering sea, the plane was caught in heavy fog and crashed into the sea near the Soviet coast. The boat and motor are “fished out” and brought to shore, later the wreckage “Velcera” brought to England.
The Viking VII was soon renamed the “Vanellus”. It was the first single and then triple the spotter of fire of ship artillery. Wings performed the same as “Valheru”, but micralyne stand positioned differently to make the folding boxes more convenient. Wingspan restricted 14,02 m to adjust the dimensions of the Elevator of the aircraft carrier “Eagle”. The upper wing on the edges of the center-placed fuel tanks. Empennage first designed the biplane, but later moved to the monoplane, to expand the zone of fire of the rear turret. Added front turret mounted behind the pilot’s seat. This arrangement was due to the reluctance to limit the review of the pilot.
The only drawn copy of the “Vanellus” March 25, 1925, was put into the test centre at RAE Farnborough. There he competed with a plane of the same class “Sigall” III presented by the company “Supermarine”. Both machines fly from land, water and from the deck of the aircraft carrier “Argus”. As a result, “Seagull” won, and “Vanellus” was forgotten.
The story of amphibious “Viking” is over.