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Fairey Fleetwing

United Kingdom (1929)
Picture of Fairey Fleetwing Two-Seat Carrierborne Reconnaissance Biplane Prototype

The Fairey Fleetwing failed to out-duel the Hawker Osprey in trials for the Fleet Air Arm service of Britain.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Fairey Fleetwing Two-Seat Carrierborne Reconnaissance Biplane Prototype.  Entry last updated on 4/3/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

In the mid-1920s, the British Air Ministry, on behalf of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA), drew up a new requirement in "Specification 22/26" calling for a twin-seat, carrier-based reconnaissance aircraft. Fairey Aviation Company was one of the respondents with what became their Fairey "Fleetwing" biplane product. The aircraft competed unsuccessfully against the Hawker "Osprey" for the specification and this resulted in just one aircraft being completed.

Design of the Fleetwing is attributed to Marcel Lobelle.

The Fleetwing utilized a traditional biplane wing arrangement but its upper element was considerably larger than the lower. "N-style" struts were used to connect the two planes outboard of the fuselage. The crew of two was seated in tandem in separate cockpits with the pilot located aft / under the upper wing section. The engine was set within a streamlined nose section and the tail utilized a traditional arrangement. The undercarriage was fixed and only the two main legs were wheeled. Dimensions included a length of 29.3 feet, a height of 11.4 feet and a wingspan of 37 feet. Gross weight was 4,740lb. Power was from a single Rolls-Royce F.XI "Kestrel I" series water-cooled inline engine outputting 480 horsepower. This drove a two-bladed propeller at the nose.
A product of its time, construction of the aircraft was mixed, involving wood, canvas and metal. Other consistent qualities were its "tail-dragger", fixed undercarriage and open-air cockpits.

Proposed armament was a 7.7mm Vickers machine gun in a fixed, forward-firing fuselage position (portside, synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades) along with a 7.7mm Lewis Machine Gun on a specialized mounting in the rear cockpit. 4 x 20lb bombs could be carried under the portside wing for light bombing duties.

The prototype Fleetwing went airborne for the first time on May 16th, 1929. The following month, the FAA conducted its deck trials leading to the Fleetwing being fitted with all-metal wing mainplanes as well as the Rolls-Royce "Kestrel IIMS" water-cooled supercharged series engine of 600 horsepower. Additional trials were held in October of 1929 which led to the Hawker product (a navalized version of the Hawker Hart) being selected ahead of the Fleetwing.

As built, the Fleetwing recorded a maximum speed of 169 miles-per-hour and held a rate-of-climb of 1,190 feet-per-minute.






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.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (169mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Fairey Fleetwing's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
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
1
1


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: United Kingdom
Year: 1929
Type: Two-Seat Carrierborne Reconnaissance Biplane Prototype
Manufacturer(s): Fairey Aviation Company - UK
Production: 1
Global Operators:
United Kingdom (cancelled)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Fairey Fleetwing model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
29.36 ft


Meters
8.95 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
37.01 ft


Meters
11.28 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
11.42 ft


Meters
3.48 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
3,307 lb


Kilograms
1,500 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
4,740 lb


Kilograms
2,150 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Rolls-Royce Kestrel IIMS V-12 water-cooled supercharged inline engine developing 600 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
169 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
272 kph


Knots
147 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
500 mi


Kilometers
805 km


Nautical Miles
435 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
25,000 ft


Meters
7,620 m


Miles
4.73 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,190 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
363 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (4):

PROPOSED:
1 x 7.7mm Vickers machine gun in portside fuselage mounting synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blade.
1 x 7.7mm Lewis Machine Gun on trainable mounting in rear cockpit.

OPTIONAL:
4 x 20lb conventional drop bombs held under portside wing.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Fleetwing - Base Project Name; single flyable example completed.