MANUFACTURER(S): Westland Aircraft - UK
OPERATORS: United Kingdom (canceled)
LENGTH: 26.84 feet (8.18 meters)
WIDTH: 39.53 feet (12.05 meters)
HEIGHT: 9.35 feet (2.85 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 2,469 pounds (1,120 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 3,340 pounds (1,515 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Rolls-Royce F.XI liquid-cooled 12-cylinder engine developing 490 horsepower.
SPEED (MAX): 188 miles-per-hour (303 kilometers-per-hour; 164 knots)
RANGE: 404 miles (650 kilometers; 351 nautical miles)
CEILING: 17,388 feet (5,300 meters; 3.29 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 1,945 feet-per-minute (593 meters-per-minute)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Westland Wizard Monoplane Fighter Prototype.
Entry last updated on 5/21/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Westland began its contribution to the aviation world by license producing the Short Type 184 floatplane during World War 1 (1914-1918). From there it evolved to manufacture a myriad of aircraft forms into the inter-war period and the Westland "Wizard" became its first try at a monoplane design. The type was formed from the earlier private venture "Racer" model built solely for speed and utilized a parasol (high-mounted, strutted) wing mainplane. A mixed-construction (metal and fabric skinning) approach was had for the structure and power was served through a sole Rolls-Royce Falcon III inline engine of 275 horsepower.
The Racer went airborne for the first time in November of 1926 but a landing accident in 1927 caused considerable damage to the frame. Despite this setback, the original plan was retained and the proven Racer was reconstituted to become a frontline fighter design as the Westland Wizard. More metal construction was used for strength and a cowling devised to offer complete streamlining of the nose over the inline engine. A Rolls-Royce F.XI 12-cylinder supercharged inline of 490 horsepower now replaced the original Falcon III engine - though still driving a two-bladed propeller assembly. A retractable radiator assembly was fitted under the fuselage, just ahead of the cockpit floor. The cockpit itself remained of single-seat design and open-air. The wheeled undercarriage also retained its fixed configuration. One key carry-over quality of the fighter was its twin-strutted parasol monoplane wing structure, this fitted ahead of midships and ahead and over the cockpit.
For its intended fighter role, the Wizard was outfitted with 2 x 7.7mm Vickers machine guns in fixed, forward-firing mounts recessed into the fuselage sides and synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades (by way of an interrupter system).
The Wizard was already in flight trials as soon as late-1927 and proved the design sound on the whole. Rate-of-climb was excellent and handling deemed good enough to warrant attention from the British Air Ministry. A review found forward visibility (mainly due to the wing's positioning and the fuselage's long nose) to be rather poor and this forced Westland engineers back to the drawing boards.
During this period a new wing mainplane was developed that featured a revised strut work, planform and reduced thickness. The F.XI engine was also succeeded by the Rolls-Royce F.XIS ("Kestrel II") engine now offering 500 horsepower output and promising performance gains. However, this did not prove to be the case as the "Wizard II" fared poorly with the changes in place. This setback led to waning interest by the Air Ministry which, in turn, led to the Wizard falling away to the pages of British aviation history.
The Air Ministry continued to champion proven biplane forms for the foreseeable future as a result and relied on them into the 1940s - some classic examples even seeing notable service during World War 2 (1939-1945).
Performance for the Wizard II included a maximum speed of 188 miles per hour, a service ceiling up to 17,500 feet and a rate-of-climb nearing 1,945 feet per minute. Proposed armament was 2 x 7.7mm Vickers machine guns (fixed, forward-firing) and support for 4 x 20lb conventional drop bombs.
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Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (188mph).
Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Westland Wizard II (Mk.II)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units