A SPORTING SINGLE-SEATER

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53

LIGHT ‘PLANE TYPES A SPORTING SINGLE-SEATER The Southern Aircraft “Mart/et”

AS private flying progresses, the requirements of pilots are becoming more ?varied. There . are some who seek an increase in comfort and sociability ; hence the growing popularity of the cabin machine. On the other hand, quite a number of potential owner-pilots, for some time, have been looking for a plane of a type with which they can indulge in aerobatic and high speed flying as apart from the more staid form of aviation. Their attitude, in fact, is similar to that of the sporting motorcyclist, who plumps for a real sports solo machine and has no use for passenger vehicles. To meet this demand, which though not large, is nevertheless very definite, at least two British aircraft manufacturers have put into production a type of machine, which, to borrow an American expression, is

best described as a “sport plane.”

The Southern Aircraft Co. of Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, is one of these concerns, and their little “Martlet,” single-seater is a machine which has already attracted a great deal of very favourable attention.

Like a fighter in looks and performance

the ” Martkt ” s:ngk-seater. The history of its evolution is rather interesting, because while it is quite a modern production, it has its basis of design in that pioneer of post-War light aeroplanes, the Avro “Baby.” This latter machine, which was, of course, made famous by Mr. Bert Hinkler’s wonderful flight to Turin, was actually designed before the end of the War when Mr. Roy Chadwick of the Avro concern, with commendable foresight, was convinced that when peace came, flying would take on a civilian and sporting aspect. When the ” Baby ” was first built, its makers were in somewhat of a quandary in

regard to the power unit, there being no suitable lowpowered engine in production. Eventually, however, an old pre-war 35 h.p. Green engine was found. This was far from new, having in fact, for years been used as a stationary engine in a saw-mill. Nevertheless, this same engine was removed from its workshop bedplate, overhauled and installed in the first” Baby,” and it was this identical machine which Mr. Hinkler used. The Avro “Baby “, unfortunately, was somewhat before its time and its makers did not continue with it, but the ” Martlet,” as has already been stated, is really the Avro ” Baby ” in a revived and revised form. Naturally enough, it is powered with a modern engine, and it may now be obtained with an Armstrong-Siddeley “Genet,” (Mark II or Major), Gipsy, Cirrus or Hermes unit. The airframe is of quite orthodox design and build, being of wood throughout, a n d incorporates wire bracing. Both the upper and lower planes have dihedral, but the span of the former is slightly greater than that of the latter. Ailerons are fitted to both. The structure of the ” Martlet ” is very robust throughout, and it has a margin of safety sufficient to withstand continual stunting without any fear of complications setting in. The centre section, like the in. terplane assembly, is braced with Raf wire and the flying wires are duplicated —an unusual feature for a light plane nowadays, but none the less desirable. The leading edge of

the main-planes is reinforced with three-ply. The tail-unit is strongly reminiscent of the ” Avian,” especially the rudder, which is unbalanced and binged to a triangular-shaped fin. The tail plane is braced with wires to the fin and to the lower longerons of the fuse

lage. Care has been taken to keep down the frontal area of the fuselage as much as possible, t h e cowling of the engine being particularly clean; a padded fairing is also built on to the decking just behind the pilot’s cockpit. The petrol tank is housed in the centre section and is neatly streamlined

A head-on view

of the “Marilee.

off. A long-travel Oleo-Steel under-carriage is fitted and the tailskid is sprung with the usual shock absorbing ” bunjee.” On the ground, the ” Martlet ” strikes one at once as being a very compact, sturdy and good-looking little aircraft, and its performance in the air shows that it has capabilities which are genuinely surprising. Apart from the fact that it can be “flung about” through a series of loops, half-rolls and other evolutions, its agility is further demonstrated in its take-off, and climb. Under test, for instance, it has been found to get off, without any assistance from the wind, in 32 yards, and the time taken was 51 seconds. Other tests, in a wind of 20 m.p.h., showed that it requires a run of only 20 yards before becoming airborn. Its rate of climb is also very good, being slightly over 1,000 feet per minute. On the other hand, its landing its top speed is in the speed is only 40 m.p.h., while

neighbourhood of 112 m.p.h.

Altogether it would seem to answer in every way to the requirements of the genuine sporting owner-pilot. Details of the ” Martlet ” are :—Span, 25ft. ; Length, 20ft. 3 ins. ; Weight loaded, 1,040 lbs. Price 2550.