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Westland Lysander - Winglet

Westland Lysander - Winglet



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Westland Lysander - Winglet

Picture showing the winglet and streamlined wheel faring of the Westland Lysander. Note the landing light just above the wheel and the machine gun further up.


British Westland Lysander with small winglets that let it carry wee bombs, bengals or cargo pods. The pilot is likely working on a cargo pod, many were used to supply French resistance dropping them over France in night missions

I've always loved the Lysander. So British looking.

I read this decades ago: "It is said that a British anti-aircraft gunner can recognize three types of aircraft: approaching and considered hostile, receding and considered friendly, and Lysanders."

IIRC, I read that in the autobiography of Sir Frederick Pile, commander of British anti-aircraft defenses in WWII.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Alfred_Pile

My uncle (had I been born at that time), was in a squadron flying these while BEF was still in France and the Dunkirk evacuation had just started. In the two weeks before, that one squadron lost 12 Lysanders shot down, crashed or damaged by anti-aircraft fire, losing 14 pilots and air-gunners. He was one of three from that squadron shot down that day, before it was even lunch. 6 dead.

You do have to wonder at the type of men who could fly these knowing full well the likely outcome. But then, it was extraordinary times for everyone.


Traces of World War 2 RAF - 26 Squadron 01/01/1940 - 30/06/1940


In 1935 the Air Ministry issued Specification A.39/34 calling for a two-seat army cooperation aircraft to replace the Hawker Hector. The Royal Air Force manned and led these squadrons but they supported, or cooperated, directly with the British Army. The pilots of army cooperation airplanes performed numerous missions including reconnaissance, artillery spotting, communication, and tactical liaison between Royal Air Force ground attack aircraft squadrons and British Army troops at the front.

In September 1936 the Air Ministry chose the Westland design and ordered 169 aircraft. It was then the British Army's custom to name cooperation aircraft after classical warriors. Lysander was chosen for the P.8, after a Spartan admiral who defeated the Athenian fleet in 405 BC

Westland started production and began delivering finished airplanes in 1938. By the time war broke out in September 1939, fiveBritish Army Lysander squadrons [2, 4, 13, 16, 26] were ready to fly. When the Germans invade France in May 1940, Britain threw as many airplanes as it could spare at the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) including the slow and poorly armed Lysanders. They were decimated.

The Lysander excelled in the role for which it was designed but it stood no chance against overwhelming numbers of German fighter aircraft. Lysanders were also not at all suited for ground attack. They were too slow and carried a pitiful load of bombs.

By the out-break of World War 2 No. 26 Squadron had been equipped with Lysanders and in October 1939 it was moved to France. When the Germans invaded Belgium in May 1940 No. 26 was forced to move to Lympne where it flew reconnaissance, bombing and supply missions over northern France. Coastal patrols began in June and training with the army occupied most of the Squadrons time for the next few years. In February 1941 Tomahawks began to arrive to replace the Lysanders for tactical reconnaissance missions.

George Barker, on BBC's WW2 People's War: 'In 1939 I was a regular corporal fitter-rigger in 26 (AC) Squadron at RAF Catterick in Yorkshire, equipped with 18 Lysanders. By July we were on call, ready to be sent wherever the army went, and were restricted to keep within 7 miles of the aerodrome. In October we were posted to Abbeville. The Squadron carried out surveillance and photographic duties during the so-called phoney war. We moved to Dieppe for a while and then, presumably in conjunction with the Army's unsuccessful advance in Spring we found ourselves in a field near the Belgian border.

One day I had seen off an early morning sortie and was about to go back to my tent for a little more 'kip', when several Lysanders from another squadron landed. Their airfield had been taken by the advancing Germans and casualties had been heavy. Our squadron took off to try to harrass the enemy with anti-personel bombs and .303 bullets and we bayonetted our petrol tins and started our retreat towards our rendezvous at Folkestone aerodrome.

Luckily the French authorities kept the 'N' roads clear for us and sent the poor refugees on slow roads, and the route of the enemy, although parallel to ours, did not converge with it. We were ground strafed rather inaccurately without any losses. We drove on to a ferry boat not long before the port was bombed and got to Folkestone just a few days after most of our Lysanders got there. We found them to be perforated all over with bullet holes. We were relieved of our small arms, being out of a combat area. My friend, who was a fitter-air gunner was shot down. He got back a week later after a rather hazardous journey, with some shrapnel in his back.'

CO: S/L W.B. Murray

Stations
10/05/1940: Dieppe, F
15/05/1940: Authie, F
19/05/1940: Lympne, UK

Missions and losses 01/01/1940 - 30/06/1940
Not all operations listed those with fatal losses are.

21/02/1940: France. 1 DOAS
29/03/1940: France. 1 DOAS

14/05/1940: Reconnaissance, F. 1 Plane lost, 1 WIA
15/05/1940: Reconnaissance, F. 1 Plane lost
19/05/1940: Reconnaissance, F, 2 Planes lost, 3 KIA, 1 DOW, 1 WIA
20/05/1940: Reconnaissance, F. 1 Plane lost, 2 POW?
22/05/1940: Supply drop, Calais, F
27/05/1940: Recce/Supply drops, F, 3 Planes lost, 6 KIA
29/05/1940: Tactical Reconnaissance, F. 1 Plane lost
01/06/1940: Tactical Reconnaissance, B. 2 Planes lost, 4 KIA
05/06/1940: Tactical Reconnaissance, F. 1 Plane lost, 2 KIA
20/06/1940: ?, UK. 1 Plane lost, 2 KIA

Corporal Stanley O. Slater, RAF 527163, 26 Sqdn., age 22, 21/02/1940, Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery Extension, France. Death not due to enemy action. He is listed "Died on Active Service", Flight Global 21 March 1940.

Sources: CWGC and Ken MacLean on RAF Commands Forum: Cpl S.O. Slater

back up

Leading Aircraftman John H.F. Lock, RAF 526907, 26 Sqdn., age 22, 29/03/1940, Fouquieres Churchyard Extension, France.
Death not due to enemy action. "Died on Active Service", Flight Global 11 April 1940. LAC Lock died at Nr. 9 Casualty Clearing Station (La Tricquerie).

Sources: CWGC Ken MacLean and Henk Welting on RAF Commands Forum: LAC J.H.F. Lock,

back up


14/05/1940: Reconnaissance, F

Type:
Westland Lysander II
Serial number: L4777, RM-?
Operation: Reconnaissance, F
Lost: 14/05/1940
P/O Walker - wounded in hand
LAC Brown - unhurt
Shot down at Arras, 18.25 hrs. Aircraft a write-off

Source: Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008


15/05/1940: Reconnaissance, F

Type:
Westland Lysander II
Serial number: L4774, RM-?
Operation: Reconnaissance, F
Lost: 15/05/1940
P/O Clegg - believed unhurt
Cpl Cassidy - believed unhurt
Crashed near Arras, 16.45 hrs.

Source: Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008


19/05/1940: Tactical Reconnaisance, France

Type: Westland Lysander II
Serial number: N1290, RM-?
Operation: Tactical Reconnaissance
Lost: 19/05/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Christopher I.D. Halliday, RAF 33424, 26 Sqdn., age unknown, 19/05/1940, Authie Churchyard, F
Leading Aircraftman (Air Gnr.) Arthur F Church, RAFVR 936538, 26 Sqdn., age 25, 19/05/1940, Authie Churchyard, F
Took off from Authie. Crashed west of Authie 05.30 hrs. wreckage excavated in December 2003 by Pierre Ben.

back up

Type:
Westland Lysander II
Serial number: N1292, RM-?
Operation: Reconnaissance
Damaged: 19/05/1940
F/O Goodale - unhurt
P/O Taylor - wounded in leg
Took off from Authie. Returned damaged by ground-fire, 07.55 hrs. Aircraft repairable.

Type: Westland Lysander II
Serial number: N1202, RM-?
Operation: Tactical Reconnaissance
Lost: 19/05/1940
Pilot Officer Ralph H. Clifford, RAF 33537, 26 Sqdn., age unknown, 19/05/1940, Neuvilly Communal Cemetery Extension, F
Leading Aircraftman (Air Gnr.) Frederick L. Bettany, RAFVR 935893, 26 Sqdn., age 19, 19/05/1940, Landrecies Communal Cemetery, F
Took off from Authie. Shot down by Lt Strakeljahn of I.(J)/LG2. Crashed and burned out at Neuvilly, 13.30 hrs. LAC Bettany badly burned, admitted to hospital at Landrecies, where he died.

Sources: CWGC and Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008


20/05/1940: Reconnaissance, F

Type: Westland Lysander
Serial number: L4773, RM-? (possibly 'B')
Operation: Reconnaissance, F
Lost: 20/05/1940
P/O Elvin D. Pennington - captured
LAC Erskine - believed captured
Took off from Lympne. forced-landed on beach during evening reconnaissance sortie over Calais, 19.00 hrs.

Elvin Darley Pennington, RAF 42146, Camp L3, POW n° 33109 reported as POW in The Times Saturday, 06/07/1940. He survived the war.

LAC Erskine could be:
R.B. Erskine, RAF 581506, Camp L6, POW n° 20264 reported as missing in 1940.

Sources: Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008 Ross McNeill, Air Force PoWs 1939 to 1945 see also RAF Commands Forum: LAC Erskine and P/O Pennington.

back up 22/05/1940: supply drop, Calais, F

7 Westland Lysanders of No.16 Squadron Army Co-operation Command drop supplies to a besieged Allied garrison at Calais.


27/05/1940: Recce/Supply drops

Type: Westland Lysander
Serial number: L4782, RM-?
Operation: Armed reconnaissance
Lost: 27/05/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Herbert D. Dixon, RAF 40809, 26 Sqdn., age unknown, 27/05/1940, Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte, F
Leading Aircraftman (Air Gnr.) Daniel M. Nimmo, RAF 536679, age 24, 27/05/1940, Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte, F
Took off from Lympne. Shot down and crashed 05.40 hrs.

Type: Westland Lysander
Serial number: L6863, RM-?
Operation: Supply drop
Lost: 27/05/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Ernest E. Howarth, RAF 42129, 26 Sqdn., age 21, 27/05/1940, Calais Southern Cemetery, F
Leading Aircraftman (Air Gnr.) John A. Bolton, RAF 538775, 26 Sqdn., age 27, 27/05/1940, Calais Southern Cemetery, F
Took off from Lympne. Crashed near Calais 10.20 hrs.

back up

Type: Westland Lysander
Serial number: N1243, RM-?
Operation: Supply drop
Lost: 27/05/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) James H. Deas, RAF 33539, 26 Sqdn., age 21, 27/05/1940, Calais Southern Cemetery, F
Sergeant Terence McLoughlin, RAF 551464, 26 Sqdn., age 19, 27/05/1940, Calais Southern Cemetery, F
Took off from Lympne. Crashed near Calais 10.20 hrs.

Sources: CWGC and Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008

back up 29/05/1940: Tactical Reconnaissance, F

Type: Westland Lysander II
Serial number: P1689, RM-?
Operation: Tactical Reconnaissance
Lost: 29/05/1940
F/Lt Bryant - rescued, slightly injured
P/O Stone - unhurt
Took off from Lympne. Shot down and crashed in sea off Dunkirk.

Source: Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008

back up 01/06/1940: Tactical Reconnaissance

Type: Westland Lysander
Serial number: N1253, RM-?
Operation: Tactical Reconnaissance
Lost: 01/06/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) James C. Paterson, RAFVR 77683, 26 Sqdn., 01/06/1940, Bishop's Hatfield (st. Luke) Churchyard, UK
Sergeant (Air Gnr.) Arnold Carter, RAFVR 935185, 26 Sqdn., age 21, 01/06/1940, Sheffield (Shiregreen) Cemetery, UK
Took off from Lympne. Returned possibly damaged by Flak and crashed on landing at Hawkinge, 06.45 hrs.

Type: Westland Lysander
Serial number: L4761, RM-?
Operation: Tactical Reconnaissance
Lost: 01/06/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Robert Wilson, RAFVR 73014, 26 Sqdn., age 24, 01/06/1940, Steenkerke Churchyard, Belgium
Leading Aircraftman (Air Gnr.) Arthur V. Fitzgerald, RAF 581507, 26 Sqdn., age 23, 01/06/1940, Steenkerke Churchyard, Belgium
Took off from Lympne. Shot down by Lt von Moller of 1./JG2 and crashed south of Furnes (Veurne), 08.40 hrs.

Sources: CWGC and Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008

05/06/1940: Tactical Reconnaissance, F

Type: Westland Lysander
Serial number: N1211, RM-?
Operation: Tactical Reconnaissance
Lost: 05/06/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) David G. Fevez, RAF 42746, 26 Sqdn., age 21, 05/06/1940, Ercourt Churchyard, F
Sergeant (Air Gnr.) Robert D.K. Cochrane, RAFVR 903064, 26 Sqdn., age 27, 05/06/1940, Ercourt Churchyard, F
Took off from Lympne. Shot down by Hptman Müller (staffelkapitän) of 4./JG3 south-west of Abbeville and crashed near Ercourt, 12.10 hrs.

Sources: CWGC and Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008

20/06/1940: ?, UK

Type: Westland Lysander
Serial number: N1292, RM-?
Operation: ?
Lost: 20/06/1940
Flight Lieutenant (Pilot) Denis D. Rawlins, RAF 37420, 26 Sqdn., age 30, 20/06/1940, Stratford-sub-Castle (St Lawrence) Churchyard, UK
Pilot Officer John P. Lees, RAFVR 77689, 26 Sqdn., age unknown, 20/06/1940, Aldingham Churchyard, Cumbria. The CWGC lists him as 'missing', which is not the case.
Plane crashed near Odiham, Hampshire.

Sources: CWGC and Henk Welring. See also TOCH-forum.

Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008
Brian Cull, Twelve Days in May, Grub Street, 2001 (new edition)
Cynrik De Decker en Jean-Louis Roba, Mei 1940 boven België: de luchtstrijd tijdens de achttiendaagse veldtocht, De Krijger, Erpe-Mere, 1993 (in Dutch)


Products [ edit | edit source ]

Fixed-wing aircraft [ edit | edit source ]

Rotorcraft [ edit | edit source ]

    a joint Cierva / Westland project
  • Cierva CL.20 a joint Cierva / Westland project - Westland Aircraft took over the Rotodyne project in May 1960 a license-built version of the American Sikorsky S-51 a turbine-powered version of the Sikorsky S-58 a license-built version of the U.S. Sikorsky S-55/H-19 Chickasaw with British engines. a private venture by Westland Aircraft as an improvement on the Westland WS-51 Dragonfly (1958) – heavy lift helicopter, private venture to prototype stage only

Others [ edit | edit source ]


Matchbox 1/72 Westland Lysander (1972)

To be built out of the box, with some added refinements and minor accurising works.Here we go.

(The blue is just cardboard, used so that you can see the large canopy transparency).Right. looking at the kit cockpit and comparing it with images on-line, it appears I have a little bit of work to do! On the plus side, the canopy has a lot of framing, so I won't have to go over the top. FLW* The interior detailing is falling away quickly, in terms of need. The central 'cage' is clearly simplified.

However, whereas on the real thing, there appears to be a gap between the wings, allowing you to see downwards onto what appears top be a large fuel cell, with the Matchbox kit, the wings link up inside the canopy, locking together to form quite a sturdy join. Because of this, you can't see whatever it is supposed to be beneath the centre of the canopy. Internally, I've replaced both kit seats with the AeroClub generic WWII seats and an accompanying control column. I've scratched an instrument panel. I also decapitated one of the crewmen, replacing his head at an angle and cutting free his arm, all the better to grip the afore-mentioned column. I then decapitated the gunner, intending to repeat the process, but the Carpet Monster ate it, so I'm having to substitute him for a figure with a head. I hate losing things, so spent some time on my hands and knees, fighting off curious pussy cats, whilst looking for a tiny head. Hey ho! Well, I've been playing. Originally, I was going to go totally oob, convincing myself that the heavy canopy would hide any internal detail. Then, I applied a couple of coats of Klear and the canopy became that much clearer. Besides, I had the time and the plastic rod and some plastic strip I'd been meaning to use for a long time. The side walls have, therefore, received an appropriate finish. I decided o keep the internal framing as is, even though it meant that I can't fit a fuel cell in there. Never mind, I told myself, there isn't one shown on the box top illustration, either. I never found the missing head, so a substitute PJ Productions crewman was going to be manning the gun.

Feb 15, 2013 #2 2013-02-15T21:24

I toyed with the idea of slicing up the canopy, so that I could, at least, have the gunner pointing his weapon at passers-by. (As you do).
I suppose that's the one aspect of the Airfix kit that seems superior, (apart from the Spy, that is), and that's the multiple-parted canopy.

Anyways, I slapped H226 Internal Green, thinned out, all over the internals and assembled the engine/cowling.
The engine is another example of why I believe Matchbox had so much promise. exquisitely detailed.

A quick dry-fit of fuselage halves, with internals in place, demonstrates more of that promise. no gaps to fill on this Baby!

I'm yet to see anyone try to replicate those big lamps on the front of the undercarriage spats.
Having just built mine up, (and yes, the wheels do go round!). I'm going to have a go with my trusty Dremel at drilling out some cone-shaped depressions.

Interior-wise, I painted the crew and applied liberal coats of graphite to the internal framing, (ie I rubbed a soft pencil all over it). This had the effect of highlighting the edges of any detail, depending on whch way the light is. Hopefully, this will be enough to show that it's there, through the canopy.

Feb 15, 2013 #3 2013-02-15T21:29

Using a special little drill bit on my Dremel, (the one that looks like a little ball when it's spinning), I successfully drilled a hemispherical cavity in each of the spats. (I pre-drilled a pilot hole to guide me).
I inserted a very short length of transparent sprue and painted the surrounding gloss silver. I then filled the holes with Clearfix.

Internally, I was inspired by seeing old instrument panels, particularly the point about you being able to see the cables emerging from the back of them.
Needless to say, my instrument panel gained a collection of very, very fine, red plastic rod, (more like thick thread in actuality), emerging from the back of it.

The aircrew were all painted up and strapped in and were secured in place and the fuselage all fastened up.

I also painted that lovely engine piece. When Matchbox were good, they were brilliant!

When I attached my interior to the port fuselage side, I dry-fitted the starboard fuselage side, just to make sure it all fitted nicely.
It did, with no gaps. To assist the gluing, I dropped a drop of Zipkicker accelerator and my internal fittings where beautifully secured into place.

Yesterday, I applied superglue to the starboard side, expecting a repeat of my dry-fitting experience.

No such luck. the applied glue immediately set, in response to some errant accelerator, leaving me with the job of trying to remove it all, prior to re-gluing and trying to create a gap-free join.

To coin a phrase. poochunks!

Hey Ho and a 3 foot Judge springs to mind.*

Anyways, a bit of sanding never harmed anyone.

I had a lovely hour or two, attaching the wheels spats and tailplanes. All went together very nicely, with no untoward gaps. I found the leg-to-fuselage join nicely engineered, making it very easy to have the legs fixed at the proper angle.
Ditto the tailplanes, with interlocking tabs.

*One of those small things sent to try us!

When I attached my interior to the port fuselage side, I dry-fitted the starboard fuselage side, just to make sure it all fitted nicely.
It did, with no gaps. To assist the gluing, I dropped a drop of Zipkicker accelerator and my internal fittings where beautifully secured into place.

Yesterday, I applied superglue to the starboard side, expecting a repeat of my dry-fitting experience.

No such luck.
the applied glue immediately set, in response to some errant accelerator, leaving me with the job of trying to remove it all, prior to re-gluing and trying to create a gap-free join.


On the Bench

The Phoenix Model Westland Lysander arrived in the shop packed in a HUGE well-protected box with no damage. Upon opening the box the first thing I noticed was how immaculate the covering of this model is. The sheer size of this airframe would have you to assume that there would be a few wrinkles to iron out before assembly. Not a blemish! The whole airframe looked fantastic right out of the box.

All the parts were well protected from any movement during shipping, but not overdone. I like it when they use just enough tape and packing to protect the model, but not too much that it's cumbersome to unpack on our end. Overall very nicely done.

Now that we have it unpacked, let's get started on this bad boy! The build went right along in typical ARF fashion and started right off with installing the main wing control surfaces and servos. Just install the CA hinges to the control surfaces using some pins to hold them in place to make sure they stay centered and aligned to the wing, then apply some thin CA to each hinge. Once that is done go ahead and mount the servos to the wings. The only thing I will caution you on is to make sure you check the centering on your servos before installing them to the wing. With the covered servo bays it will save you some time getting everything set up as the build proceeds. All four of the Futaba S3071 HV S.Bus MG servos fit perfectly with no modifications to the servo trays needed.

I really like the beefy control horns on this model. They each have laser cut pockets in the surfaces that they fit into to make installation and alignment much easier. And with an airframe of this size, the large size control horns will be just the ticket.

One of the nice things about using the Futaba S.Bus System on the Phoenix Model Lysander, was the ability to connect the ailerons and flaps from each wing so that you only have one wire coming out. This will make assembly at the field much easier and quicker.

The installation of the main gear went by quickly and I had her on her feet in just a few minutes. There are only just a couple of small things I would like to see addressed with the gear. First off installation requires you to drill a hole through the outside of the wheel pants to access the axle. I would rather see a small re-design on this so you won't have to put holes in the beautifully done gear. The only other thing I would like to see is the addition of actual landing lights to the pots that come in the wheel pants. It would be an easy modification to make some up (which I will be doing) but the addition of some pre-installed lights would be awesome. Other than that I encountered no issues at all with the assembly.

Ok, so the next step in the manual is where I will take you on a little detour. Because of its size, I skipped the next few steps of installing the wings to the airframe along with the struts. I went ahead and jumped over to the rest of the build and completed these few steps last. At a 126" wingspan, it's just too big to manage in my meager shop. That being said let's move on!

The Phoenix Model Westland Lysander has both a pull-pull rudder set up as well as a pull-pull tail wheel set up, so as you proceed with both of these installs, it is important to make sure you get everything lined up correctly and that your cables are nice and tight. Once the build is complete and you get some flights on her it's always a good idea to come back and re-tighten the cables as needed. They will have a bit of stretch until they break in good. Both the tail wheel and the rudder install in the usual pull-pull way, just make sure you cross both over inside the airframe before attaching to the servo arm.

The only thing I encountered that may cause you a little bump is the immaculate covering we talked about earlier. On the rudder cables, the tube that the cable runs through can be a little tough to locate from the outside. To be sure you don't have to cut into it much it's a good idea to take a piece of scrap control rod (I always have a few on hand) and insert it into the guide tube from the forward end. This way you can lightly push it into the covering from the inside to locate the tube ends on the outside of the airframe at the rear stab. It will just look a lot nicer in the end.

I really like the tail wheel assembly cover! This really cleans up the outside of the airframe and also makes for easy access in the case of any needed repair work. Nice touch!

Now let's move onto the dual elevator assembly. The elevator installation and set up is pretty straightforward on this model. Just make sure to get the alignment correct from side to side and you will be all set. I didn't encounter a single issue with this portion of the build. The design was very well thought out.

The thing to keep a close eye on with this part of the build is servo arm placements. Once you get the throttle servo and optional choke servo installed to the airframe, it can be a little tight up front. It's not an issue at all just make sure the servo arms do not bind with each other. It is fairly simple to get everything in there in a way that won't cause you any issues.

Now on to the beef! I opted to go with the Gas setup on this one. The DLE 61 bolted up perfectly to this monster! With the size of the Lysander, there is plenty of room up front and everything went smoothly. The only modification I made was a couple of small radii I cut into the opening in the firewall for the throttle linkage and the choke linkage. They turned out being too close to the edge of the square hole, and I wanted to ensure that I would not run into binding issues.

The installation of the gigantic cowl was very straightforward indeed. After making only a small modification to fit the muffler and a couple of small holes for adjustment screws, it was ready to mount. Make sure before you pre-drill the holes for the mounting screws that you check the alignment on the top hatch. I left my hatch so that it would open with the gas option for ease of repairs, tank access, and battery maintenance. The large top hatch will make these processes very easy to perform.

So now that the build is finished let's get this big girl to the field!


Eduard 1/48 Westland Lysander (Special Duties In France): Part 2

At the end of my previous post, I’d completed the assembly of the cockpit and rear compartment of this aircraft. Some more bits and pieces needed to be modified and detailed before I could begin assembly.

First, wheels. The Lysander had a spatted fixed undercarriage, with landing lights recessed into the front of the spats. The kit provides locating holes for the wheels which correspond to the position they occupy in flight—but they sink a little deeper inside the spats once the shock-absorbers are loaded on the ground. So I needed to adjust the wheel position with a little judicious chiselling. Here’s the before (left) and after (right) view:

And the corresponding before and after wheel positions:

The landing lights proved problematic. A parabolic reflector needs to be fitted inside the spat, with a transparent cover fitting flush over the top of it. There seemed to be no discernable way the kit parts could be made to fit inside the spats in the way the instructions portrayed. I ended up removing a lot of plastic before I could get things to go together neatly, like this:

The rear wheel likewise needed to be adjusted. First to remove a large fairing that doesn’t match the appearance of the Special Duties aircraft, and secondly to shorten the oleo to depict its compressed position on the ground. Here’s the original part:

And the trimmed part in the final wheel assembly:

I also want to model this aircraft with the canopy open—top panel slid back, port-side window slid down. This requires a bit of work with a razor saw, because the transparent parts in the kit are not designed to allow open sections. Here’s the tricky upper canopy as supplied:

And once I’d divided the two sections:

Next, the wings. The Lysander had an innovative set of automatic flaps, connected to leading-edge slats, which deployed in response to reduced airflow over the wing. So when it was parked on the ground, both slats and flaps were fully deployed. The Eduard kit doesn’t provide any sort of option for this—flaps and slats are moulded in the stowed position, as if the aircraft were in flight. I got hold of a CMK Lysander detail set, which provides, among other things, a set of slats and flaps. But, amazingly, only the outboard slats. Since the inboard slats were mechanically connected to the flaps, it’s actually impossible for the aircraft to have flaps down without inboard slats deployed. So if I wanted to model this aircraft at rest on the ground, I was faced with building my own inboard slats. After a bit of hunting around for ideas, I used some 0.1mm aluminium sheet to reproduce the missing slats. First I applied some Tamiya masking tape to the inboard leading edge of the wing, and traced out the shape of the slats. Then I peeled off the tape and and stuck it to my aluminium sheet, so that I could cut out the correct shape. Then I taped the flat aluminium sheet into place on the leading edge, and gently bent it into shape. Presto, I had a slat.

Then I needed to remove most of the leading edges of the wings, and cut away the kit’s moulded flaps. Here’s the result of that:

I was certainly beginning to feel a little committed at this point. I applied CMK’s replacement outboard leading edge, and improvised an inboard leading edge using the material I’d cut away from the outboard leading edge. So here’s how that all looked:

CMK provide slat supports for their outboard slats, with enough spares to allow me to add them to the inboard wing, too. I’m going to leave the slats off until late in the build, for ease of painting. But here are the flaps in position:

Eduard provide some photoetch flap hinges, but of course they’re intended for flaps in the stowed position. They were easy enough to split and position correctly on the lowered flaps. The inboard hinges are in position, above the outboard hinges need to wait until later in the assembly, because they attach to the wing support struts.

Next, the tail, in which I installed CMK’s replacement control surfaces and tailplanes. The Lysander tailplanes were (rather notoriously) adjustable, and needed to be cranked slightly downwards at the leading edge for take-off and landing. The kit, of course, doesn’t permit that adjustment.

Life was complicated somewhat by the fact that I seemed to have two port tailplanes from CMK:

They’re identical top and bottom, and since I was adjusting the position of the locating tabs anyway, in order to tip the tailplanes forward, I simply sawed off the tabs and repositioned them:

More complications, however, because there’s a plate attached to the upper surface of the tailplane, which tips with it, and this plate is inconveniently moulded as part of the kit’s tail:

I traced the plate on to Tamiya tape, again, and transferred the shape to some thin styrene sheet, before sanding off the moulded part and scribing in the missing panel lines:

You can see I’ve also carved away the kit rudder, in preparation for replacing it with the CMK version, slightly deflected to the right to match my rudder pedals. The CMK rudder looked like a good fit when held against the intact model, but ended up needing a little filler to make a snug fit. Here it is, dry-fitted, with the tailplanes attached and the styrene plate in position:

So that’s all the bits and pieces ready to glue together. More next time.


10 Incredible Cancelled Westland aircraft

As early as 1848, one John Stringfellow was experimenting with heavier-than-air flight in Somerset in West England. This West English tradition continued with Westland Aircraft, formed by the father of the great aircraft designer Teddy Petter (creator of the Canberra, the Lightning, and the Gnat among other aircraft) in 1915. Westland famously produced the extremely effective Lysander, the almost brilliant Whirlwind and the superb Lynx helicopter, but not all the designs of this innovative company entered production. A delve through the Westland archives reveals a host of fascinating flying machines savagely discarded by history.

10. Wizard l & ll (1926) ‘The Blackballed Wizard’

The extremely attractive Wizard fighter started life as a racing aircraft known simply as the ‘Racer’. In an age of biplane and sesquiplane fighters, a parasol monoplane was something of a novelty. Despite the stigma of its unconventional configuration, the first Wizard attracted Air Ministry interest, and Westland was asked to submit the design for Specification F 20/27, a requirement for a new RAF fighter, a role the Wizard would have performed admirably. The A&AEE’s test pilots praised the Wizard’s performance: it was impressively fast and had a remarkably good climb rate. But they also noted the pilot’s limited forward view and considered the aileron control loads too great. So, the Air Ministry gave Westland a contract to refine the Wizard. The Wizard II that followed was fitted with a new, all-metal wing of increased span and reduced chord. By mounting the wing on more conventional struts and reducing the central section, the pilot’s forward view was improved. The engine was also replaced with a supercharged 500 hp Rolls-Royce F.XIS. The changes that created the Wizard II, which were probably unnecessary, marred the aircraft’s performance. The RAF were unimpressed and did not order it into production. Many at Westland believed the Wizard’s failure was less to do with the aircraft, which was superb, and more to do with the RAF’s prejudice against monoplanes.

9. Fairey Rotodyne (1957) ‘The Screaming Commuter’

The merger of Fairey’s aviation interests with Westland Aircraft took place in 1960. Westland now had the intriguing, and much hyped, Fairey Rotodyne project.

Streaking from city centre to city centre with a top speed twice that of helicopters of the time, the Rotodyne, could have been a major transport innovation. As the world’s first vertical take-off airliner it could have revolutionised air travel, removing the need for remote airports for everything but long haul journeys.

The concept was extremely innovative. For takeoff and landing, the rotor was driven by tip-mounted jet engines. These engines did not have intakes or compressors, but were fed from compressed air piped from the main turboprop engines. The turboprop-powered propellers on the wings provided thrust for horizontal flight while the rotor autorotated (‘autorotation’ is when rotors turn around while unpowered, but in flight). Thanks to its tip-mounted jets, the Rotodyne was exceptionally noisy, an undesirable trait in a city centre airliner, and was cancelled. Debate still rages about the degree to which the Rotodyne’s noise levels could have been reduced.

8. C.O.W. Gun Fighter (1930) ‘Schräge Moo-sick’


The Westland C.O.W. Gun Fighter was a response to Air Ministry specification F.29/27 for an interceptor fighter armed with the ferocious Coventry Ordnance Works 37 mm autocannon. The resultant aircraft was based on the earlier Interceptor (Vickers created a rival design, the bizarre Vickers 161 COW-gun fighter). The gun of the Westland C.O.W Gun Fighter was mounted at 55º in order to fire up into an enemy bomber when the fighter was manoeuvred directly below. Trials were discouraging, with the aircraft displaying ‘alarming’ handling characteristics, and the experiment was dropped. The concept of upward firing guns, established in World War One, returned in World War Two, when German ‘Schräge Musik’ night fighters achieved considerable success.

7. Westland Dreadnought (1924) ‘Wetland Dreadful’

The Dreadnought was an attempt by Westland to perfect the new German-Dutch technology of metal aircraft construction, and explore an aerodynamic configuration with a continuous aerofoil section over all parts of the aircraft. The story of the Dreadnought begins with the Chairman of Airco sending William Wilkins to Russia to study the possibility of licence-production of the de Havilland DH4 and DH6. Mr. Wilkins returned to the United Kingdom with something far more interesting, the inventor Nikolai Stepanovich Voevodsky. Voevodsky had been in correspondence with Airco for several years with ideas for aerodynamically clean monocoque blended wing aircraft. But these plans for Anglo-Russian collaboration could not bear fruit during the Russian civil war (with Britain supporting the losing side). Voevodsky’s plans were adopted by the Aeronautical Research Committee, who were embarrassed by the German and Dutch advances and wished to leapfrog their technological lead.

The concept was given to Westland Aircraft to construct an aircraft. Ambitiously, they designed one a 70-ft wingspan. Unfortunately, the aircraft was terrible, and couldn’t fly the first attempt at flight took the unfortunate test pilot’s legs off. As Bill Gunston put it “It was perhaps the worst form of all metal construction, the underlying skeleton of the very large wing being of enormous complexity…yet with the skin doing very little to bear loads”.

6. Westland Westminster (1958) ‘No, Prime Minister’

The Westminster was based on the rotor and transmission system of the S-56. Other than this, it was an all-new design. Whereas the S-56 used massive radial engines, the Westminster was an extremely advanced design powered by two Napier Eland 229 turbines. The use of a proven rotor and transmission system was a wise one, as the cost of developing one from scratch was well beyond Westland’s budget. As it was the project cost £1,350,000 (equivalent to around £50 million in 2017) of company money. This large experimental helicopter could have led to a productionised machine capable of carry 40 passengers at 150mph for 100 miles. Two variants were proposed a civil transport version and a flying crane.

5. W-37 Jet trainer (1954) ‘Jetboy’

The aircraft project types with the lowest survival rate are as follows: counter-insurgency aircraft, supersonic business jets and jet trainers. Every major and minor aircraft manufacturer has had a go at some or all of these, and almost all of them fall at the wayside. Westland was no exception, and in the mid 1950s they offered the RAF the W-37 jet trainer. The idea was to get rid of initial (called ab initio in Britain to remind pilots that the RAF is posh) training in piston-engined aircraft. The RAF didn’t go for the W-37, but did embrace all-jet training for a while.

4. Westland W-81 (1951) ‘Merlin’s Grandma’

In the early 1950s Britain was creating the most advanced turbine engines in the world. The W-81 was a bold attempt to harness the turbine to build a helicopter far in advance of any other. In fact, the specs of the W-81 would still be respectable in 2017: a maximum cruising speed of 180 mph, a payload of 32 fully-armed troops or four tons of cargo and maximum range of 950 miles.

3. Compound concept (1979) ‘The Yeovil Speedhawk’

A coaxial design concept from 1979. Coaxial rotors, popular in Russia with the Kamov design bureau, have several advantages including increased payload for a given amount power. Co-axials do not have the torque issues of conventional helicopters, so do not have to waste precious power on a tail rotor – this means all power is devoted to lift and thrust. This design harvests the extra power to a ducted propeller providing extra ‘push’. The combination of a slick design, co-axial rotors and a pusher propeller would have made this design much faster than a conventional helicopter. In 2007 flew a similar design, the Piasecki X-49 ‘SpeedHawk’ (OK, I admit the X-49 also had vectoring thrust and wings). As an aside, Westland has held the absolute speed record for conventional helicopters for 31 years- a modified Westland Lynx achieved a speed of 249 mph in 1986.

2. Westland W-90 (1957) ‘The Ark’

The titanic W-90 would have been the biggest helicopter in the world by a huge margin. It was planned that the W-90 would carry 450 soldiers the largest aircraft that actually went into production, the Mi-26, could only carry 90. The W-90 was to be powered by three large Armstrong Siddeley turbojets mounted one to each blade. At 196 feet in diameter, the main rotor would have been almost twice that of the Mi-26’s, and at 200,000 Ib the W-90 was also almost twice as heavy. Troops would occupy the three separate decks, sharing the lower floor with cargo, military vehicles or artillery.

1. Westland Pterodactyl Mk V Fighter (1934) ‘The Cursed Dinosaur’

Art by Daniel Bechennec

J. W. Dunne (1875-1949) developed some fascinating theories on the nature of time and consciousness, and he also pioneered stable aircraft and swept wings. At the age of 13 he had a dream he was flying an aeroplane that needed no steering — a significant anecdote, as Dunne was a firm believer in precognition in dreams (in fact he did not believe in the linear progression of time, something he thought was merely an illusion brought about by human consciousness – see Slaughterhouse-Five for a similar idea).

Here was a man who had the idea of tailless swept-wing aircraft years before the Me 163 was melting its groundcrew. His work inspired the brilliant engineer G.T.R Hill (designers have designations rather than names) who was looking for a way to save the many lives lost in air crashes. Dunne’s designs were the first inherently stable aeroplanes and thus had a degree of inherent safety, to this Hill added pivoting wingtip controllers which could act as ailerons and (when activated in unison) elevators. The Pterodactyl series had good handling and explored several new ideas (including variable geometry wings in the IV version).

An all-metal fighter variant, the Mk V, was built powered by a steam-cooled 650h.p Goshawk engine. As you’d expect from such a revolutionary design, it was beset with problems (the worst being the collapse of the entire wing during an early taxiing trial). But this, and other teething problems, were overcome (like the appalling Nieuport-Delage NiD 37 Type Course,the aircraft was a sesquiplane). The aircraft proved 10mph faster than the RAF’s best in-service fighter, the Demon. It was armed with two fixed .303 machine-guns, racks light bombs and a two-way radio. The addition of an electrically powered gun turret did not reduce the aircraft’s impressive 190 mph top speed (there is some debate as to whether this was actually fitted). The fighter was considered in two configurations: one with a tractor engine and rear-mounted gun turret (the Mk V) and the other a pusher aircraft with a front-mounted turret (the unflown Mk VI). Though promising, the RAF deemed the advantages of such a radical new design too small compared to the potential risks.

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Revell 1/32 Westland Lysander Mk.I/III Kit First Look

In the mid-1930s, the British Army was looking for a liaison aircraft to replace the Hawker Hector. The Air Ministry released the requirement to selected companies and Westland was not on the initial list of invitees. When they did receive their opportunity, Westland's designers went beyond the specification and interviewed the pilots to see what capabilities were the most important. The key features they wanted were visibility, low-speed handling, and short take-off and landing (STOL) capabilities.

The resulting design, internally designated as P.8, featured a high wing, an advanced aerodynamic wing with leading edge slats, slotted flaps, and an adjustable tailplane for low-speed pitch trim authority. Powered by an air-cooled Bristol Mercury engine rated at over 800 horsepower, the aircraft could take-off and land in very small fields, climb at over 1400 feet-per-minute, had a useful load of nearly 1800 pounds, and a range of 600 miles.

Compared to the German equivalent - the Fieseler Storch, the Lysander was twice as fast, could climb about 50% more per minute, and had more than double the range. While the empty weight of the Lysander was also twice that of the Storch, that also made the aircraft more tolerant of less-than-ideal field conditions where a stray gust of wind could flip a lighter aircraft on the ground.

For those of us old enough to remember Matchbox kits, here is one of their better classics, the 1/32 Westland Lysander. This kit was one of the most detailed of their offerings, providing parts for three different configurations. At that time, one of Matchbox's claims to fame was the multicolored styrene sprues that comprised their kits, and this tended to distract many modelers from the merits of these kits.

After Matchbox went out of business, Revell/Germany acquired the molds and started re-releasing many of the smaller scale Matchbox kits under their Revell logo. Now they've re-released the Lysander and thank you Revell!

This kit is (now) molded in light gray styrene and still presented on five parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. The molds are in great shape and there is no visible sign of flash problems. While the tooling is older, this kit has scribed surface details though you might opt to fill in many of these scribed lines and rescribe them with less width and depth.

The cockpit of this kit is rather simplistic, though the thinking was that you wouldn't notice any issues if you planted both pilots into the two cockpits. If you want to leave the cockpits unoccupied, there are sufficient details between the separately molded steel frame and the various control panels to get a good start. The AMS modeler can supplement the stock details with some scratchbuilding to busy up the cockpit. If you can find the Mushroom Publications or 4+ Publications monographs on the Lysander, you'll have plenty to work from in your build.

The kit's Bristol Mercury engine isn't bad out of the box, but again, the AMS modeler may want to do a little detail work on the stock parts.

The flight control surfaces are separately molded and postionable. The leading edge slats and trailing edge flaps are molded up and locked. The leading edge slats were automatically extended at low speed, so you might want to do some mods to the leading edges to deploy the slats.

The clear parts are one area for some tweaking. While the windows are molded in separate sections to provide so options, the frames are rather overemphasized. While this will make for easy painting, you might want to mask off the clear panes and sand down the frames, or better yet, mask off the clear panes, sand down the frames, then vacuform replacement windows. If you do an AMS detail job to the front and rear cockpits, you'll definitely want to consider replacing the clear parts.

Among the features and options in the kit:

  • Detailed cockpit interior framework
  • Positionable flight control surfaces
  • Distinctive interior and exterior parts for the Mk.I and Mk.III Lysander
  • Optional boarding ladder for the special duty Mk.III
  • Optional external fuel tank for the SD Mk.III
  • Optional rear gun mount for the Mk.I/Mk.III
  • Optional wheel spat winglets with bomb racks and bombs

Markings are provided for three aircraft:

  • Lysander Mk.I, P1684, 16 Sqn, UG-A, RAF Cambridge, 1940
  • Lysander Mk.III, T1631, 2 Sqn, XV-H, RAF Sawbridgeworth, 1941
  • Lysander Mk.III, R1925, 161 Sqn, JR-M, RAF Tempsford, 1944

I had forgotten how much of a gem in the rough this kit was when produced by Matchbox as I was one who couldn't see past the ghastly multicolored styrene parts. While this kit is by no means up to contemporary detail standards, it also isn't very expensive either and provides a nice starting point for either a relaxing out-of-the box build or an AMS modeler's dream. Either way, the kit is a very nice starting point for this distinctive STOL aircraft that operated quite frequently behind enemy lines.


Traces of World War 2 RAF - 13 Squadron 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940


On 3 September 1939 when war was declared on Germany, XIII Squadron was based at Odiham in Hampshire flying Lysanders. The Squadron soon moved to France and by 2 October 1939 XIII Squadron had established itself at Mons-en-Chausseé as one of a number of Lysander and Blenheim Squadrons that together formed 22 Army Cooperation Command of the Air Component of the British Expeditionary Force.

The Squadron initially spent time familiarizing itself with the local area and taking pictures of the enemy positions, overlapping them to form a photographic mosaic of Northern France. Time was also spent conducting fighter affiliation training with Hurricanes and on performing signals exercises with the Royal Artillery. During the "phony war" there were very few casualties and the Squadron continued with exercises and photo-reconnaissance sorties.

The "blitzkrieg" attack on 10 May 1940 however changed everything and forced the Squadron to move to Douai to spot for heavy artillery and to bomb frontline troop positions. Throughout this period there were many encounters with enemy aircraft, often with dire consequences. On one occasion however a Lysander was attacked by two Me 109s. One Messerschmitt was shot down in flames and the other was so badly damaged that it was forced to break off the engagement. The Lysander returned to base without damage or any injury to the crew! The Squadron moved to Hooton Park in Cheshire on 1 June 1940.

Air Marshall Sir Alfred (Freddy) Ball, KCB DSO DFC
attended RAF College, Cranwell in 1939 and joined 13 Squadron in France in March 1940.

Cathleen Teece writes on BBC's WW2 People's War how her brother Richard T. Clifford ('Dick), member of 13 Squadron, escaped from France in May 1940.

CO: W/C S.H.C. Gray

Missions and losses 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940
Not all operations listed those with fatal losses are.

15/05/1940: Tactical Reconnaissance, B. 1 Plane lost, 2 KIA
16/05/1940: Tactical Reconnaissance, F. 1 Plane lost, 2 KIA
18/05/1940: Amiens, France. 1 Plane lost, 1 DOW
21/05/1940: Liasion flight, F. 1 Plane lost, 2 KIA
22/05/1940: Supply drops, Calais, F
25/06/1940: 1 MIA

back up

15/05/1940: Tactical Reconnaissance, Belgium

Type: Westland Lysander
Serial number: L4813, OO-?
Operation: Tactical Reconnaissance
Lost: 15/05/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Alan C. Ollerenshaw, RAF 41729 (NZ),13 Sqdn., age 19, 15/05/1940, Leuven Communal Cemetery, B
Leading Aircraftman (Air Gnr.) Charles F. Lucas, RAFVR 937157, 13 Sqdn., age 23, 15/05/1940, Leuven Communal Cemetery, B
Crashed at 10.00 hrs (Belgian Time, GMT +1hr) in Bierbeek, near Leuven (Louvain). Exact cause unknown, but possibly shot down by Oberlt Fronhöfer of 9./JG26

Sources: CWGC Cynrick De Decker and Jean Louis Roba, Mei 1940 boven België. de luchtstrijd tijdens de Achttiendaagse Veldtocht, De Krijger, 1993 Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008

Type: Westland Lysander
Serial number: L6885, OO-?
Operation: Tactical Reconnaissance
Lost: 16/05/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Thomas H. Borg-Banks, RAF 41659, 13 Sqdn., age 19, 16/05/1940, Vieux-Conde Communal Cemetery, F
Leading Aircraftman (Air Gnr.) Walter F. Lawes, RAF 567002, 13 Sqdn., age 21, 16/05/1940, Vieux-Conde Communal Cemetery, F
AC1 H.P. Moule - injured
Crashed near Vieux-Condé. Believed that claimed by Fw Bothfeld of 1./JG27 over La Chapelle 05.50 hrs. AC1 Moule suffered a broken arm.

Sources: CWGC Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008

18/05/1940: ?, France

Type: Westland Lysander
Serial number: N1221, OO-?
Operation: ?
Lost: 18/05/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) John H. Day, RAF 41676, 13 Sqdn., age unknown, 20/05/1940, Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Tréport, France
Air Gunner: ?
Took off from Authie. Wrecked in explosion when bomb became detached on landing at Amiens. P/O Day believed to be badly wounded, evacuated but died in hospital at Le Tréport en route to England

Sources: CWGC Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008

Type: Westland Lysander
Serial number: ?, OO-?, A Flight
Operation: Liasion flight
Lost: 21/05/1940
Flight Lieutenant (Pilot) Richard H.N. Graham, RAF 25066, 13 Sqdn., age 34, 21/05/1940, St. Martin-au-Laert Churchyard, F
Pilot Officer (Air Gnr.) Reginald E.C. Butterworth , RAFVR 77531, 13 Sqdn., age 33, 21/05/1940, St. Martin-au-Laert Churchyard, F
Took off from Clairmarais. Shot down over St. Omer and crashed in St. Martin-au-Laërt.

Sources: CWGC Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008

back up

22/05/1940: supply drop, Calais, F

7 Westland Lysanders of No.16 Squadron Army Co-operation Command drop supplies to a besieged Allied garrison at Calais.

Corporal Stanley Mills, RAF 570908, 13 Sqdn., age 20, 25/06/1940, missing
Likely to be a ground crew member of the squadron. Date of missing unknown 25/06/1940 was used as a kind of 'sweep up' date for all missing personnel.
He could have died during the final evacuation of France, in Operation Aerial.

Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008
Cynrick De Decker and Jean Louis Roba, Mei 1940 boven België. de luchtstrijd tijdens de Achttiendaagse Veldtocht, De Krijger, 1993 (in Dutch)

These pages are dedicated to the men of 13 Squadron who died during World War II.