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Westland Wizard


Monoplane Fighter Prototype (1927)


Aviation / Aerospace

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Image from the Public Domain; early-winged Wizard fighter pictured.

Jump-to: Specifications

The Westland Wizard failed to sell the British Air Ministry on the idea of a monoplane-winged frontline fighter during the late 1920s.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/21/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
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.

Specifications



Service Year
1927

Origin
United Kingdom national flag graphic
United Kingdom

Status
CANCELLED
Development Ended.
Crew
1

Production
1
UNITS


Westland Aircraft - UK
National flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom (canceled)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.


Length
26.8 ft
(8.18 m)
Width/Span
39.5 ft
(12.05 m)
Height
9.4 ft
(2.85 m)
Empty Wgt
2,469 lb
(1,120 kg)
MTOW
3,340 lb
(1,515 kg)
Wgt Diff
+871 lb
(+395 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Westland Wizard II (Mk.II) production variant)
Installed: 1 x Rolls-Royce F.XI liquid-cooled 12-cylinder engine developing 490 horsepower.
Max Speed
188 mph
(303 kph | 164 kts)
Ceiling
17,388 ft
(5,300 m | 3 mi)
Range
404 mi
(650 km | 1,204 nm)
Rate-of-Climb
1,945 ft/min
(593 m/min)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Westland Wizard II (Mk.II) production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)
PROPOSED, FIXED:
2 x 7.7mm Vickers machine guns semi-recessed into fuselage sides.

PROPOSED, OPTIONAL:
4 x 20lb Conventional Drop Bombs held underwing.


Supported Types


Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition


(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 4


Wizard - Base Series Name
Racer - Racing airplane on which the Wizard was formed from; fitted parasol wing mainplane; fitted with Rolls-Royce Falcon III inline engine of 275 horsepower.
Wizard Mk I - Original form outfitted with Rolls-Royce F.XI 12-cylinder inline engine of 490 horsepower.
Wizard MK II - Revised prototype with Rolls-royce F.XIS (Kestrel II) inline engine of 500 horsepower; revised wing mainplanes and strutting.


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