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British Industrial History

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Leslie Everett Baynes

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Leslie Everett Baynes, AFRAeS (1902–1989) was an English aeronautical engineer.

1902 March 23rd. Born at Barnes, Surrey, the son of James and Florence Baynes.

Educated at Gresham's School, Norfolk, leaving school at the age of sixteen to join an aircraft company. He developed engineering skills at school and in industry.

After leaving school, Baynes started work in the fledgling aircraft industry with Airco (The Aircraft Manufacturing Company) at Hendon Aerodrome. From there, he moved on to Short Brothers at Rochester, where he redesigned the Short Singapore flying boat.

In 1930, Baynes designed the Scud light sailplane, built at first by Brant Aircraft Limited at Croydon. The Scud was successful, and in 1931, Baynes went into partnership with E. D. Abbott as Abbott-Baynes Sailplanes Ltd, of Farnham, Surrey, to build Scud I sailplanes, and later the Scud II (1932)[1].

1935 A Scud II flown by Mungo Buxton took the British Height Record for a glider to 8,750 feet (2,666 m).

In 1935, Sir John Carden, an authority on tank design, who was a keen flier and interested in gliding, outlined to Baynes his requirements for an auxiliary (ie self-launching) sailplane. Baynes designed the Scud III sailplane, built by Abbott-Baynes Sailplanes, which when fitted with an engine was called the Carden-Baynes Auxiliary[2]. That carried a retractable 249 cc Villiers engine mounted on top of the fuselage. The engine drove a pusher-propeller and produced 9 bhp, and the capacity of the fuel tank was enough to run the engine for thirty minutes. The 249 cc Auxiliary is believed to be the lowest-powered aircraft in the history of powered flight.

Also in 1935, the Henri Mignet HM.14 Pou du Ciel "Flying Flea" which had been built and flown by Stephen V. Appleby, was rebuilt by Abbott-Baynes Sailplanes, incorporating modifications designed by Baynes, who had witnessed its forced landing at Heston Aerodrome. The success of the Flying Flea family of homebuilt aircraft arose from an English translation of Mignet's book, The Flying Flea (1935), showing readers how to build their own aircraft at home. Abbott-Baynes Sailplanes Ltd went into limited production of a developed version named the Baynes Cantilever Pou.

Following the death of John Carden in December 1935, in April 1936, Baynes set up Carden-Baynes Aircraft at Heston Aerodrome, and designed the Carden-Baynes Bee, a two-seat light wooden aircraft with two Carden-Ford engines in pusher configuration.[3]

1937 Aircraft were the Baynes Bee and the Baynes B.4

1937 A new company, Baynes Aircraft Ltd, was to be established to acquire the Carden-Baynes company[4]

1939 Aeroplane Designer, living in Eton[5]

WWII Baynes was aviation adviser to Alan Muntz and Co at Heston Aerodrome, specialists in weapons systems; he organised an aircraft division of the company. In 1941, he put up a proposal for a detachable wing with a 100-foot wingspan which when attached to a tank would turn it into a glider. This concept was developed as far as the famous Baynes Bat prototype, with most of the test flights being piloted by Flight Lieutenant Robert Kronfeld.

Baynes also worked on designs for long-range bombers; the V-22 Osprey was an American aircraft very similar to a bomber design he submitted to the British government during WWII.

1945 Married Margaret A Vardy (nee Findlay) in Maidenhead[6]

After the war, in the 1940s and 1950s, Baynes was busy with research in the area of variable-sweep supersonic aircraft. In 1948 L. E. Baynes AFRAeS was the first to patent in Britain, the US and Canada a design for a supersonic variable-sweep wing and tail fighter ("High Speed Aircraft Having Wings With Variable Sweepback"); the design was built and wind tunnel tests were completed successfully. However, due to budget constraints at the time, the design failed to receive government backing and was later developed in the US.

L. E. Baynes designed the Youngman-Baynes High Lift Research Aircraft, an experimental flying test-bed for the system of slotted flaps invented by R.T. Youngman. It used components from the Percival Proctor, and was built by Heston Aircraft Company Ltd. Test pilot Flight Lieutenant Ralph S. Munday piloted the first flight at Heston Aerodrome on 5 February 1948, carrying the military serial VT789.

Alan Muntz and L. E. Baynes formed Baynes Aircraft Interiors, specialising in aircraft interiors[7]. Baynes designed interiors for airliners. He also invented the vertical lift plane and the high-speed hydrofoil.

1989 March 13th. Died at Swanage near Poole, Dorset.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Flight 16 September 1932
  2. Flight 19 December 1935
  3. Flight 19 March 1936
  4. Flight 25 November 1937
  5. 1939 register
  6. BMD
  7. The Times, Mar 16, 1985