Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Westland: Dreadnought

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Sept 1940.

Note: This is a sub-section of Westland Aircraft.

The Westland Dreadnought was an experimental single-engined fixed-wing monoplane design for a mail plane created to trial the aerodynamic wing and fuselage design ideas of Woyevodsky. It was designed and built by British aircraft manufacturer Westland Aircraft for the Air Ministry. Only a single aircraft was ever built, and it crashed on its initial flight, badly injuring the test pilot.

The design was aerodynamically advanced, featuring a continuous aerofoil section over all parts of the aircraft, including the fuselage and, unusually for British aircraft at that time, had no form of wing bracing.

Construction was all-metal, comprising drawn channeling with a skin of corrugated sheet panels. The method may be compared to the modern stressed skin construction.

Another advanced feature was the fail-safe ejection system.

Although conceived as a twin-engined type with retractable undercarriage, the design that emerged was fitted with a single 450 horsepower Napier Lion II 12 cylinder engine that allowed the Dreadnought speeds of up to 102 miles per hour.

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