Vickers Windsor Heavy Bomber Prototype
Developed for the Royal Air Force as a heavy bomber during World War 2, the Vickers Windsor was no longer needed for its intended role - limiting the program to just three aircraft.
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Beyond the "Warwick" of 1939, the Vickers concern failed to net much interest from the Royal Air Force (RAF) in another heavy bomber design during World War 2 (1939-1945). In seeking a successor for its "Wellington" medium bomber series, company engineers went to work on an attempt to fulfill Air Ministry Specification B.11/41, this product intended as a twin-engine, high-speed medium bomber. However, this design did not live up to its proposed expectation so a four-engined form was drawn up in its place and the same "geodesic" construction practice used on earlier Vickers large aircraft was to be employed - the process incorporating a "basket-weave" type understructure covered over in fabric to produce a lightweight-yet-strong body.
As the same time, company engineers were attempting to develop a Wellington bomber with pressurized cabin spaces for the crew operating at high altitudes and Air Ministry authorities pushed for such a feature on the existing Warwick. Added to this was a new elliptical wing mainplane now carrying two engines apiece - for a total of 4 x Rolls-Royce "Merlins" - with the project goal becoming a heavy bomber exhibiting a 55,500lb Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) and capable of a warload of 8 x 1,000lb conventional drop bombs, a service ceiling nearing 43,000 feet and a maximum speed of 350 miles per hour.
Two prototypes were covered by Specification B.5/41 and work on the airframes spanned into late-1942 by which point the original Wellington successor design was merged into the program under Specification B.3/42 and this commitment ultimately begat the "Windsor" (Type 447) high-altitude heavy bomber - the first-form of the aircraft recognized as "Windsor B.Mk I" before the end of 1943.
For the high-altitude role, pressurization of the crew cabin spaces was a must. The aircraft would be of considerable size for the operating altitudes, range and bombload required. The mainplanes were shoulder-mounted along the fuselage sides, the fuselage given a deep profile with stepped cockpit. The tail unit incorporated a sole vertical fin with low-mounted horizontal planes and each wing mainplane managed a pair of Rolls-Royce engines for the power needed. The internal geodetic construction was also carried to the wings resulting in no spars being needed for supporting the wide-spanning structures - though the process was a complex one and required fine tuning (a special composite fabric also had to be designed to contend with the speeds at play). These structures also carried noticeable anhedral when the aircraft was at rest, flexing upwards when the bomber was in flight which further complicated the construction and skinning process of the aircraft). The undercarriage was unique in that each engine nacelle was given a wheeled main leg, the tail of the aircraft supported by a conventional tailwheel. This presented a pilot's challenge during ground-running on narrower runways.