Army Reconnaissance Aircraft
The monoplane-winged Hawker Duiker was intended to fulfill a new British Air Ministry requirement of 1922 - it failed.
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In 1922, the British military looked to secure a new design for a dedicated "Army Reconnaissance Aircraft" under the Air Ministry's Specification 7/22. This led the Hawker concern, under its new lead engineer Captain Thomson, to draw up plans for an equally-new design which became the "Duiker". The aircraft was unique in that it had a parasol wing arrangement - that is, it was of monoplane form in which the mainplane was suspended over the fuselage as opposed to be directly attached to it. Furthermore, this aircraft appeared at a time when the biplane was still en vogue around the world, leading to little interest in the Hawker approach. As such, only one single, flyable example was completed in 1923.
For expediency and development costs, the aircraft used as many off-the-shelf parts as possible and this was helped by the fact that the plane was built at the Brooklands Airfield which, at the time, was being shared by another aeroplane builder, Vickers. The aircraft has a slab-sided fuselage with its engine held at the nose in the usual way. The mainplanes were well-forward in the design and supported by thick struts emanating from the lower sides of the fuselage. The pilot sat in an open-air cockpit just aft of the engine installation and a cut-out was given to the wing so as to improve the pilot's vision. A second open-air cockpit was added aft of the pilot's and this managed by an observer/machine gunner who had access to a defensive-minded machine gun atop a trainable mounting. The tail unit was conventional with its single-finned rudder ad the undercarriage was traditional with a wheeled, strutted unit under the forward mass and a simple tailskid under the tail. Wood was used throughout most of the Duiker's construction.
As finalized, the aircraft held a length of 31.4 feet, a wingspan of 48.4 feet and a height of 10.6 feet. Empty weight was 4,000lb against an Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) nearing 4,700lb.
In its earliest form, the Duiker was equipped with an Armstrong Siddeley "Jaguar" series engine but this later gave way to a Bristol "Jupiter IV" type, a 9-cylinder air-cooled radial unit outputting 3,89 horsepower while driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.
With a first flight in July of 1923, the aircraft went on to record a maximum speed of 125 miles-per-hour, a cruising speed of 99 mph, a range out to 340 miles, and a service ceiling up to 14,500 feet. Endurance was rated up to 3.75 hours. Climb-rate was about 495 feet-per-minute.
Instability plagued the new design and its monoplane-winged form did not impress. The project was eventually abandoned with just the single prototype to show for it and the Specification went unfulfilled as the Hawker design was its only contender.