Wingleader Magazine - Issue 7

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For all those1 who still run to the window when something flies over...



IN THIS ISSUE TYPHOON RESTORATION NEWS Managing Director: Simon Parry (Co-Founder) Editor and Design Director: Mark Postlethwaite (Co-Founder) Technical Director: Wesley Cornell (Co-Founder)


Contributors to this issue: Roger Tisdale Arvo Vercamer Anne Gafiuk Ken Wright Piotr Forkasiewicz

Steve Bridgewater Andy Hay Geoff Leach

Editorial Submissions: If you have any editorial content (news, comment, articles etc.) that you would like us to consider for inclusion in the next edition of Wingleader Magazine, please email us at

Advertising: T: +44 (0)845 095 0346 E: W: All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © Wingleader Magazine Ltd 2019. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Wingleader Magazine is published by Wing Leader Ltd (08559824), registered in England and Wales. Registered office: 12 Jordan Street, Liverpool, L1 0BP, United Kingdom. All information contained in this magazine is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Wingleader Magazine cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Wingleader Magazine nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for loss or damage. The views expressed in Wingleader Magazine are not necessarily the views of Wing Leader Ltd, its editors or its contributors.




elcome to issue 7 of Wingleader Magazine. As we are now into the second half of our 12 month experiment we are delighted to see that the readership figures continue to increase with over 50,000 people worldwide now having seen a copy. Our task for this second period is to make the magazine viable from a commercial point of view. In the next few months we’ll attempt to bring advertisers and sponsors on board now that we have a decent audience to promote to. This is always the most difficult aspect of any publication, so if you would like to advertise with us or know someone who might, please get in touch. We hope you enjoy this month’s content, again we concentrate mainly on superb images that have rarely if ever been seen before in this high quality.

On the cover: Liberator Rocket Strike by Piotr Forkasiewicz. We are now in a position where can accept a limited amount of advertising in this digital magazine If you or your company would like to support our project and reach a fresh and vibrant new audience of aviation enthusiasts, please contact us for our Media Pack. We can offer some very generous introductory rates for those who get in early.

Mark Postlethwaite. July 2019 2




n 1 April 1945, a Hawker Typhoon was shot down. In the wider aspect of the Second World War, this was not unusual as 11 failed to return on this day alone. Typhoon RB396 of 174 (Mauritius) Squadron, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Chris House, was one of those aircraft. Operating from the safety of B.100 at Goch, Germany (later RAF Laarbruch), RB396 was hit by Flak and force landed outside of Denekamp in the Netherlands with Chris evading capture to return to operations with 174 Squadron.

The battered but well preserved fuselage of Typhoon RB396.

Sadly, RB396 was not the only casualty of the operation as the Dutch family that hid him paid for the heroism with their lives after being informed upon to the Gestapo.

Flt Lt Chris House of 174 Squadron, RB396’s last pilot.

At a little over four months old, RB396 had been repaired over eighteen times and flown in support of major operations such as Plunder and Varsity before being brought down, and was left, along with thousands of other wrecks, on the European battlefield. By April 1945 the Typhoon Mklb had been superseded by the Hawker Tempest MkV and RB396 shared the fate of all but one Typhoon and sold for scrap. The eventual fate of the Hawker Typhoon was

disproportionate to its impact in the European theatre as the RAF’s ‘flying artillery’. The Hawker Typhoon’s rushed birth meant design faults were found and rectified under combat conditions, with early engine and the tail failures being well documented, yet only the Typhoon could counter Kurt Tank’s masterpiece, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190. Inefficient at altitude, the Typhoon more than made up for it all at low level and 609 (West Riding) Squadron CO Roland ‘Bea’ Beamont successfully argued for the type to continue in service. By late 1943 the main issues had been rectified and the Typhoon was now armed with


four 20mm Hispano HS.404 cannons, 8 rockets and the capacity to carry 1000lb bombs, which allowed it excel in the ground support role during the liberation of Normandy. Typhoon pilot and later Bond designer Ken Adam said he always regretted taking a Jeep to view the results on the ground after the battle. By the end of the war, the Typhoon was no longer needed and the remaining aircraft on the production line were test flown and then scrapped. Only Typhoon MN235 survived, having been sent earlier to the USA for evaluation, it returned to the UK in the 1960s in exchange for a Hurricane, to take its place


Vital to the project is the expertise required to rebuild RB396 and to this end, in October 2018, it was announced that the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford would oversee the rebuild. In April of this year a statement by HTPG announced that the RB396 fuselage would go to Airframe Assemblies on the Isle of Wight. This is being partially funded by an incredibly successful three-week crowdfunding campaign that raised over £67,000. Metal is about to be cut. In May the work began in earnest when the fuselage departed for Sandown. With an estimate of £200,000 for the completion of this section of airframe, the team is aware that there is still a way to go but with the continued support of the public and the larger support of corporate sponsors and individuals, it will be done. In just two and a half years, the Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group has achieved a huge amount. A Supporters’ Club with a paid

A close up view of the fuselage showing the serial number RB396.

in the new RAF Museum at Hendon. The only complete Typhoon in the world. RB396’s fuselage was originally purchased after the war by a Dutch Chemical Company but eventually arrived at the Fort Veldhuis museum in the Netherlands. On the museum’s closure in 2012, the Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group (HTPG) founder and trustee Dave Robinson acquired her and after more than 65 years away RB396 made her way back to England. Dave was contacted by Sam Worthington-Leese whilst he was researching his grandfather’s RAF service and it didn’t take long for them to realise each other’s qualities.

Charity status was quickly gained for the HTPG and in 2016 at the public launch of the HTPG the goal was set to have RB396 in the air for the 2024 80th D-Day celebrations. It was becoming a reality that a Hawker Typhoon, a living memorial to the air and ground crews, would be returned to the air.

membership exceeding one thousand, a base, an ever broadening range of merchandise, a fuselage being restored and an engine considered to be one of most viable in the world for restoration. All of this and more has been achieved by a dedicated team of volunteers with a broad set of skills from all walks of the aviation and business world. If you project a similar progress forward two and a half years you will understand why the team see the first flight in 2024 as achievable. But this will not be achieved without significant support and funding from the public and corporate sponsors. They are always on the lookout for new volunteers, supporters and sponsors so please contact them if you think you can help. The ultra rare zero hours Napier Sabre engine.

The project took a massive step forward when later in 2016, the group was gifted a zero time, factory inhibited Napier Sabre engine by Cranfield University. A Typhoon with anything but a Sabre in the front is not a Typhoon. A base was acquired on a long term lease at Uckfield in Sussex and a coordinated team of volunteers was put in place to deal with the growing demands and keep the momentum going at a steady pace.





Harry Hardy has always been a man on a mission. Now in his late 90s, he is still spreading the word about the importance of the Hawker Typhoon from D-Day to VE-Day. He appealed to Anne Gafiuk, a Canadian researcher and author to collect the stories of the other ‘Tiffy Boys’ before it was too late. “You have to talk to those of us who remain before we are all gone. Combine them all into a true picture of our life and how the Typhoons contributed to the success of the Allied armies as they fought from Normandy to Germany during World War Two. Your questions rejuvenate our old memories.” This then is part two of the story of the ‘Tiffy Boys’ as told to Anne and Ken Wright by Harry Hardy, 440 Squadron, Doug Gordon, 440 Squadron, Frank Johnson, 174 Squadron, Jack Hilton, 438 Squadron, John Thompson, 245 Squadron, and Wally Ward, 440 Squadron.

Above: Harry Hardy photographed by Phil O’Donoghue, Burnaby BC. Left: Rocket projectiles being loaded onto the underwing rails of a Typhoon. (All photos via the authors)


F/O Frank Johnson 174 Sqn:

volunteer. No one stepped forward. “Ok! If that’s the way it’s going to be”, he thought so he simple picked the required number of ‘volunteers’. I was number fifteen and we were all shipped out that afternoon.


Frank’s story

“We all went to the same Advanced Flying Unit. To get acquainted to the geography in Britain, I used to do my navigation by rivers and railway tracks. I quite enjoyed the training part. One month later I moved onto an Operational Training Unit flying Hurricanes and Typhoons. I crashed three times in farmer’s fields in England, not all in Typhoons. I, for some reason, developed a fear of jumping out of the Typhoon. “One of the armaments the RAF Typhoon carried was slung underneath the wings. Four rockets on each wing and a salvo was fired two at a time depending upon the target. The rockets were loaded onto the rails, plugged and hooked up electrically to the firing switch in the cockpit on the throttle. “I couldn’t have been happier than the day I got my wings. I was so proud! All of us who had passed the test were transported from Canada on RMS Queen Mary to Bournemouth in England. Here, we got a two week pass to go anywhere in the UK. I went to Scotland. We were all due back on the parade square at 8 am in a fortnight’s time and whatever you did, one had to be neat and tidy, have polished buttons and shoes, uniform nice and neat and to have had a haircut. “One day on parade, and I can’t remember whether it was the Commanding Officer, he said that the RAF were short of pilots. He called for 20-25 volunteers to go. In the military, one learns very quickly never to

“Regarding one’s fellow pilots, you never got to know them very well. Everyone was cordial but tried to keep himself at armslength. One might have supper with them one night then the next day, they were dead. This situation could play on one’s mind and possibly affect the individual’s concentration on getting the job done. Knowing death was a constant companion was something that had to be accepted and handled according to one’s mental capacity. Suffice to say, either the situation was accepted as a part of the

Right: A Typhoon fires a salvo of rocket projectiles onto a railway line in Northern France, 1944.


WORLD WAR II pilot’s life, or begin to fall apart and was unable to continue to do what had to be done. The German pilots would go through the same mental anxiety and stress as we would. “By 1945, the Germans were retreating on all fronts. I can’t remember the exact date or the location but we took out the bridges so the Germans had to take the ferry boats. We were going in at 6000 feet and encountered heavy anti-aircraft fire. One could almost walk on it. I decided I would not go through it so the no. 2 guy and I flew 40 miles down the river and at 200 feet above the river going like hell. We

He was obviously a rookie. Maybe it was his first flight in that aircraft or he had gotten lost. He certainly didn’t know what the hell he was doing. I pulled alongside him -- almost wingtip to wingtip -- a young boy was in there. He couldn’t have been more that 18 or 19 -- I was 22. He had the look of horror on his face -- he put his hands up to his face to hide himself. The war was almost over so I figured what was the sense of killing him, so I waved at him and flew off.

shot up the ferries and killed the soldiers on board. It was war! “I remember I was doing a test on one of our aircraft which had aileron damage and was making it difficult to fly when I got a radio message from the ground controller. Seems there was a German plane above the airstrip. I was up about 4,000 feet and I look down and I see this guy in a Focke-Wulf 190. Anybody who was an experienced fighter pilot would never be flying over an enemy airstrip by himself and certainly would never be flying in a straight line, but this guy was.

“Back at the base, hardly anyone knew about the episode but the Squadron Leader certainly


By 1945, the Germans had some of the most potent fighters of the war like the Focke-Wulf 190 D-9 seen here. But as Frank found, many of them were flown by frightened teenagers with very little combat experience.

did. I was curtly told that he [the German] was the enemy and by me not taking him down, I didn’t do my job. At that moment, I didn’t give a damn. It is the only thing that I did in that whole war that I am really pleased about. Perhaps he survived the war. In my heart, I knew I was right.”

On 30 March 1945, Flying Officer Frank Johnson was shot down over Germany. Although he survived, his back was badly damaged, shrapnel in his right shin, a bullet in his left hip and he was bleeding from his forehead and covered in mud, blood and aircraft oil. He was a mess. “I was captured by a German advance field unit and they couldn’t have been gentler. I was freezing that night and one of the German soldiers guarding me noticed I was shivering and handed me a bottle of Schnapps — and brother, I wasn’t cold after that. Ernst was his name. He wrapped me in his great coat. He even gave me his own bedroll. I don’t think they wanted to go to the trouble of trying to transport me to an aid station or hospital so they took me the next morning to a farmhouse. They may have known the lady of the house as she took one look at me and told the soldiers to bring me in.

of stew and every time I have chunky soup for lunch I picture that nice German lady. I picture her clear as day. She was a wonderful person. Not long after, I was taken to a POW camp but was liberated six weeks later. After the war, I tried to find her as I wanted so much to thank her but sadly, I was unable to do so.”

Below: The Typhoon was a very strong aircraft and the salvage crews restored many battered airframes back to life as the Allies advanced across Holland and into Germany. Right: Another battered airframe that was brought back to life was Frank himself after being shot down on 30 March 1945!

‘This German lady pulls back an eiderdown bed cover and there are these beautiful white linen sheets, on a beautiful bed, and the soldiers just put me on it. I was bloody. I had muddy boots on. And this lady, she took my boots off, undressed me and she kept talking to me, and she gets a big bowl of hot water and cleans all this mess off. She bandages my hip and then...she washed my face, my arms, my chest — everywhere — and left me lying there on that beautiful bed. I wish I was able to understand her. ‘Now, why would she do this? I was the enemy. To this day, I still can’t get over it. She goes downstairs and comes up with a big bowl



Shortly after this incident, the Squadron moved to Germany and continued to operate from there for the remainder of the war.


Wally’s story Flt Lt Wally Ward 440 Squadron

‘The first trip that I did, we came back over Dieppe [Normandy, France]. Why I don’t know, but we did. Because it was my first flight, I was the tail end Charlie [air force slang used to designate the last aircraft in an aerial formation]. I was off at the end of the wing and I just got over to Dieppe and pow, bang, bang, these great big black clouds of shells exploding all around me, it was anti-aircraft fire, which you’d expect around Dieppe of course. And I was hit! My aircraft was hit! And I remember thinking: Well, that’s a stupid thing, I don’t think I like this war if this is what they’re going to do. Anyway, my first concern

was, how badly was I hit? Well, I got hit in the radiator at the front there and my cooling was in jeopardy, which meant I was losing glycol and in time, when you lose your coolant, then your engine’s going to overheat and it would seize up. I radioed to my squadron leader and he kept somebody with me, because I had slowed down.


“I got across the English Channel, losing height all the way, and when I got the coast, I was down to about 2,000 feet but there was an aerodrome right at the coast, [RAF] Tangmere. As they had radioed ahead I just went straight in and landed safely and when I taxied in and shut the engine off, there was this stream of liquid still pouring out the front of the aircraft.

Above: Wally Ward ready for his next mission in his 440 Squadron Typhoon



Armourers loading bombs under the thick and sturdy wings of a Typhoon. This is an early example with the ‘car door’ type canopy. Compare it with the ‘bubble’ canopy on the previous page.


“We were 143 Wing [143 Wing, Royal Canadian Air Force, established on January 10, 1944, as part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force (TAAF)] and we had three Canadian squadrons there. There were other squadrons there but we were three, 438, 439 and 440. And every target we had was tactical. That is, we were in the Second Tactical Air Force, which meant that our prime role was to support any targets that were identified by the Canadian Army.

“What they would do is when they could see us getting close to the target, (they’d hear us and see us, coming in at about 10,000 feet), they would fire a few shells which, when they exploded, would land right on the target area and red smoke would come up. It was very helpful to us in making sure we attacked the right area. We had to be very careful not to bomb our own troops. There were a couple

of times when they used another technique. If it was overcast and it was solid cloud and you couldn’t see the target, they had a system whereby there would be somebody with equipment up close to the target area that would be in radio communication with us. He would plot us to the target area and tell us when to drop the bombs. We never saw the target.”

A groundcrewman guides a Typhoon pilot through the puddles and out towards a runway in early 1945. The yellow outer ring to the upper wing roundel was introduced in January 1945.

Walter Ward passed away May 30, 2019


F/O John Thompson 245 Squadron

The skies swarmed with German Luftwaffe and Royal Air Force fighter planes hell bent on obliterating each other as the Battle of Britain raged between 10 July-31 October 1940. Thousands of kilometres away in Woodbridge, Canada, a 17 year old was mesmerized by daily radio and newspaper reports about this clash of civilizations that could decide the future of a world in conflict. John Thompson, a high school student, was eager to sign up with the Canadian military as soon as he turned 18 in April 1941, but the question he faced was which branch to fight with: army, navy or air force? “The guys who flew in the Royal Air Force were outnumbered but the English pilots had something more, they were fighting for their homeland and the

odds meant nothing to them. “When the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made that famous little speech; ‘Never in the field of human conflict have so many owed so much to so few,’ that stuck in my mind. From then on, I wanted to be a pilot. Not just a pilot, but a fighter pilot. I read about Spitfires and Hurricanes and I wanted to fly one.” Becoming a fighter pilot with its initial training sessions was a long, drawn-out process. Thompson would discover, however, that in war, time for thorough training was a commodity neither side could afford if losses were heavy and replacements were needed quickly. “I got my wings in Canada and I was so proud. I was then sent to England in December 1942 where I started in the pilot training school.”

28 July 1944 on an airfield somewhere in France, pilots of 245 Squadron study maps of the local area whilst waiting for their next ground support mission. L-R: Pilot Officer Sam Bennett of Toronto, Flying Officer George Wharry of Edmonton, Warrant Officer Chester West of London Ontario, and Pilot Officer John Thompson of Woodbridge, Ontario.

It would still be more than another year before Thomson would fly in combat. Once in England, the training stepped up a major notch giving him a taste of fighter work flying Spitfires, the kind of planes he knew had been in the thick of the Battle of Britain. The trainers were tough men, pilots who had been ‘on ops’ (operations in war). “You were being trained by guys who had done the whole bit. When I flew, I felt like I was flying with guys who had done it. When our training finished, we were the pilots who were supposed to be able to go to a squadron and meet the enemy. The realization it was going to get deadly finally set in. The guy on your tail was going to try shooting you down. The problem was that when I finished that course, I was posted as an instructor at bomber defence training. No meeting the enemy, at least not yet.”



John’s story


For the next seven months from late 1943 and early 1944, Thompson, flying in all kinds of weather, practiced fighter attacks over and over on Lancasters and sometimes Wellingtons, or whatever happened to be available. “We were flying 50 to 60 hours a month, which is a lot of flying time in all kinds of conditions. My Squadron commander asked me what type of plane I preferred to fly and I told him a smaller, faster fighter like the Hurricane.” The Squadron Commander had noted Thompson’s seven or eight hours of flight time on a Typhoon and ordered him to fly one. He would pilot Typhoons for the rest of the war. “I was assigned to 245 Squadron about a month before D-Day. Flying to me was just a piece of cake. When you’re flying a seven tonne Typhoon full high octane fuel and loaded with so much explosive ordnance, every take off and landing was an experience. A flight didn’t count

as a combat flight unless you were shot at or fired your guns off. So, every time we went out, we shot at something. I crashed a couple of their planes, but nothing bad. Thankfully, I was never hurt.” ‘The RAF 245 Squadron I joined were all Limey [English] toffee noses, and weren’t very welcoming to me at first. I was the only Canadian. I was a ‘colonial.’ I didn’t like the Typhoon aircraft and I didn’t like the people. Once I had flown the Typhoon in battle and came to grips with the plane and what it could really do, I grew to like the aircraft over time and the Limeys finally accepted me as one of the boys. Nevertheless, like it or not, this was war and the squadron was ready for D-Day. We made a couple of flights on D-Day without being fired on and by the middle of June we had moved into Normandy. From then through July and August, we took part in the Falaise Gap battle, the liberation of Caen, and then followed

John Thompson’s first posting was as an instructor at a bomber defence training unit. Here he flew over 50 hours a month carrying out mock interceptions against all types of RAF bombers. In the photo below, a war weary Spitfire carries out a mock attack on a Central Gunnery School Wellington over Cambridgeshire.


Below: John Thompson poses with his Typhoon, the PSP (Pierced Steel Plank) mats under the aircraft would suggest that this photo was taken at an airfield in France.

the German retreat through Belgium, into Holland and made a lot of attacks on Arnhem. “When we did meet the enemy, we depended on a helpful squadron of Spitfires nearby to do the heavy fighting of aerial combat. We were instructed not to try and fight any German fighters because our turning radius was way behind the enemy’s capability. They could turn inside us and if they turned inside you, you were dead. Our worst enemy was the damn trigger-happy Americans. To them, we looked like a Focke-Wulf or a Messerschmitt. Any time there were American fighters around, your eyes were wide open because they bounced (attacked) every time. It didn’t seem to matter to them that we were a British aircraft with those great big invasion stripes on each wing. Between them, the Luftwaffe and the flak, it wasn’t the easiest sky to fly in. We were mostly ground-attack specialists, so everybody shot at you, even a guy with a machine gun.



Left: Just after D-Day, Typhoons were sharing forward airstrips in England with USAAF aircraft as they used them to ‘hop’ over the Channel to France. This Typhoon is parked next to a B-26 Marauder of the 450th BS at Woodchurch.


Left: 245 Squadron had one of the most strikingly decorated Typhoons in the entire Royal Air Force, complete with sharkmouth and checkerboard skyband! Below: The advanced airfields were tricky to negotiate and this Typhoon appears to be in need of manual guidance back onto the very narrow taxiway. Right: John Thompson in retirement. He had flown 100 missions by the end of the war. (Steve Somerville, Vaughn Citizen, Nov 2012)

“If a fellow pilot was killed, there was no time for sentiment. Guys who got shot down, they were gone, you never thought about them again. I mean, you might have thought about them, but nobody dwelt on it. There’s nothing you can do about it and as a result I didn’t make any close friends. They just disappeared. They didn’t come back. I was posted to many different stations, I’d meet 25 to 30 guys who were on course with me and I’d never see them again. You didn’t try to form any strong bonds, you knew people, but you didn’t make any great friendships. “My war officially ended after I had flown my 100th mission in May of 1945, just as the war in Europe was ending. Our air wing commander brought me in and said I was due for a rest. He gave me a couple of options saying I could go on instructing or send me home. I chose to go home. Who wouldn’t?”





Gutless and flawed; the Gloster E.28/39 and Heinkel He 178 were nonetheless the first of a new generation. As the jet aeroplane marks its 80th anniversary, Steve Bridgewater takes a look at the trailblazing pioneers.


s early as the 1920s, British pilot and inventor Frank Whittle was contemplating the technology behind the turbojet engine. Expanding on the ideas published in AA Griffith’s seminal 1926 paper ‘An Aerodynamic Theory of Turbine Design’ Whittle patented the centrifugal-flow turbojet in 1930. However, five years later when the patent was up for renewal, the RAF pilot could not afford the £5 fee and the Air Ministry refused to pay it on his behalf, referring to the design as being “impracticable.” Meanwhile, on mainland Europe, German engineer Hans von Ohain had been independently studying a concept for “an engine that did not require a propeller” and by 1936 he earned a patent for his version of the jet engine. Although broadly similar to the British concept, von Ohain used a centrifugal compressor and turbine with flame cans wrapped around the outside of the engine.

Gloster E.28/39 W4041/G makes a low pass over the airfield during a test flight.


After a redesign to run on pressurised hydrogen, the resulting HeinkelStrahltriebwerk 1 (HeS 1) was completed in March 1937. It ran well, but the hydrogen created high exhaust temperatures that burnt the metal and soon the combustors were changed to use normal gasoline.

Back in Britain, however, Frank Whittle had not been sitting idle. Having secured limited funding, he created Power Jets Ltd in 1936 and the WU (Whittle Unit) engine ran successfully on 12 April 1937, just a month after the HeS 1 but with just a fraction of the budget and no official backing.

First of the Breed

The von Ohain engine was soon being developed into the flight-worthy HeS 3 version,

which used a machined compressor, turbine stages and a reduced cross-sectional area to limit aerodynamic drag. This proved to be too inefficient though, so the turbine size was increased on the HeS 3b, which first ran in July 1939. Aerial testing beneath a Heinkel He 118 divebomber proved successful and soon it was time to fit the engine to the special airframe Heinkel had been developing in secret.

Left: Hans von Ohain, inventor of the first jet engine to fly. Below: Max Hahn, who built the first working model of von Ohain’s engine.

Prototype Propulsion

Confident in his design, von Ohain paid motor engineer Max Hahn 1,000 Deutschmarks to complete a working model of his engine, which he took to the University of Göttingen (where he worked in the physics department) for testing. Despite teething problems, most notably that the fuel would often not burn correctly in the flame cans and would shoot flames out of the back, his boss (Richard Pohl) saw the potential in the design. In February 1936, Pohl wrote to aircraft designer Ernst Heinkel to make him aware of the design. Heinkel was impressed with the concept and after recommending some



alterations, he quickly signed up both von Ohain and Hahn to his design team at the Marienehe airfield in Warnemünde.


Aside from its revolutionary powerplant, the Heinkel He 178 was a conventional aircraft. The fuselage was essentially a metal tube and contoured to maximise airflow to the centrally mounted engine. The straight, 23ft 3in span, wooden wing was mounted high atop the fuselage aft of the cockpit and the pilot sat well forwards beneath a two-piece canopy. The undercarriage was a tail-dragging arrangement with the main wheels retracting up into the fuselage, which was just 24ft 7in long. The jet exhausted through a circular nozzle at the rear of the airframe. The aeroplane weighed just 3,505lb empty and fully fuelled it tipped the scales at a shade under 4,400lbs. Heinkel’s engineers predicted the He 178 would be capable of 460kts, although the small airframe’s fuel capacity limited range to just 125 miles and endurance to just 10 minutes. Much of the He 178’s design was drawn from the earlier He 176, which had become the first aircraft to be propelled solely by a liquidfuelled rocket on June 20, 1939.

Above: This is the only known photograph of the Heinkel He 176 prototype, probably taken at Peenemünde in 1938. Much of the rocket powered He 176 was incorporated into the He 178 project.

Above left: The Heinkel He 178 seen in the hangar at Rostock prior to its maiden flight in 1939. Left: The retractable undercarriage was a constant source of woes for the He 178 designers. Here the aircraft taxies out with the undercarriage bay fared over, the engineers clearly resigned to the fact that the gear was destined to stay ‘down’.




w.flyin y Hay ww le by And


Crew 1 Length 24ft 7in (7.48m) Height 6ft 10in (2.10m) Wingspan 23ft 3in (7.20m) Wing Area 98sq ft (9.10m2) Empty Weight 3,505lb (1,590kg) Max Take-Off Weight 4,387lb (1,990kg) Max Speed 380mph/608km/h) Service Ceiling 13,123ft (4,000m) Ferry Range 125 miles (200km) Powerplant One Heinkel HeS 3 turbojet (992lb thrust) Armament Nil First Flight August 27, 1939 Right: The Heinkel 178 heads out for a test flight. Few photographs exist of the He 178 as both airframes were destroyed by Allied bombing raids later in the war.


WORLD WAR II Maiden Flight Eighty years ago – on 27 August 1939 – test pilot Erich Warsitz eased the He 178 into the sky for the first time at Rostock. The world had entered the jet age. Problems with the undercarriage meant the wheels remained in the down position throughout the flight, limiting the jet’s speed to just 325kts. However, the flight ended unceremoniously when the aircraft ingested a bird and the engine flamed out. Luckily Warsitz managed to ‘dead stick’ land the aeroplane safely.

A week later, on 1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland and World War Two officially began in Europe.

Top Secret

Amazingly, Heinkel had developed both the engine and the He 178 test-bed in almost complete secrecy and even the Luftwaffe was unaware of the project.

Ernst Udet (head of the RLM’s development wing) and Erhard Milch watched the aircraft perform, but were reportedly unimpressed. The Luftwaffe commander in chief, Herman Goering, didn’t even show up. Undeterred by this indifference, the Heinkel engineers progressed with flight-testing and a second aircraft (He 178B) was constructed, this time with clipped wings. However the aircraft was never to fly under its own power before Heinkel abandoned the He 178 project and diverted attention to its new, twin-engined, twin-finned He 280 fighter.

On 1 November 1939, after the German victory in Poland, Heinkel invited the Luftwaffe hierarchy and the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM or Reich Air Ministry) to Rostock for a demonstration of the new ‘wonder weapon.’


Above: The He 178 was dropped in favour of the Heinkel He 280. However, the twin jet fighter did not find favour with the RLM and only nine examples were built. In this photo, the engine cowlings have been left off to keep the engines cool.


The first prototype He 280 (DL+AS) was completed in the summer of 1940, but the proposed HeS 8 engines were running behind schedule. On 22 September the aeroplane performed its maiden flight as a glider, after being towed aloft. It would be six months before test pilot Fritz Schäfer would take the second prototype (GJ+CA) into the air under its own power on 30 March 1941. The He 280 was first demonstrated to Ernst Udet a week later on 5 April, but once again the Heinkel design was met with indifference. Nine prototypes were built before Heinkel was ordered to abandon the project and focus attention on developing bombers.

‘Official’ Projects

Unbeknown to anybody at Heinkel, the company was highly unlikely to receive recognition for any of its jet propulsion projects. This was because the RLM was already working on a number of secret projects to develop jet engines with both BMW and Junkers. These ‘official’ turbojet engines were axial-flow engines, not centifugal-flow units, and would go on to power the Messerschmitt 262, which bore a strong resemblance to Heinkel’s stillborn He 280. The two He 178 prototypes were preserved (one at the Berlin Air Museum and one at Rostock) but both were destroyed in Allied bombing raids in 1943. The He-176 was also lost in an air raid and no He 280s were saved for posterity.

Right: Two views of Heinkel He 280 V3 GJ+CB after a forced landing in early 1943.



Whittle’s Jet

Left: Frank Whittle. In 1930, Whittle patented the centrifugal-flow turbojet, but five years later when the patent was up for renewal, the RAF pilot could not afford the £5 fee and the Air Ministry refused to pay it on his behalf, referring to the design as being “impracticable”.

Meanwhile, back in Britain, Frank Whittle’s Power Jets team had been enduring mixed fortunes. Although the WU had run in April 1937, the project was still being conducted on a shoestring budget and it would be March 1938 before limited funds were made available by the Air Ministry. This, however, was a doubleedged sword as the funds came with the condition that the team signed the Official Secrets Act – something that made obtaining further outside investment almost impossible.

Below: The unpainted Gloster E.28/39 W4041 photographed on the ground at Brockworth shortly after completion. The jet was initially fitted with a non airworthy Power Jets W.1 engine but did conduct ‘hops’ from the grass airfield at Brockworth prior to moving to Cranwell where the long runway was ideal for flight testing


By the time war broke out in September 1939 (shortly after the He 178 had made its maiden flight) Power Jets employed just ten staff, leaving Whittle to surmise that: “I have a good crowd round me. They are all working like slaves, so much so that there is a risk of mistakes through physical and mental fatigue.” Luckily, the next time the Air Ministry visited, the WU ran for 20 minutes without a snag and the team went home convinced of the engine’s importance.


It issued a contract for Power Jets to start work on the ‘Whittle Supercharger Type W1’ engine and in September 1939 the Gloster Aircraft Company was awarded the job of designing a simple flight test aircraft to evaluate the engine.

Gloster E.28/39

Gloster’s chief designer, George Carter, was given the highly confidential job of creating Britain’s first jet aeroplane. He had already been instrumental in the development of the Gauntlet and Gladiator and had come up with a very innovative design to meet Air Ministry Specification F.18/37, which eventually led to the Hawker Typhoon. Carter’s stillborn design was notable in that the unconventional fuselage featured a battery of 12 machine guns in the nose and an engine mounted behind the cockpit driving a pusher propeller between twin booms. This seemed like an obvious configuration for the new breed of jet aeroplanes and appealed greatly to Whittle when he toured the Gloster factory. Carter and his team also visited Power Jets’ Lutterworth facility in late 1939 and a close working relationship between the two men soon began. “My introduction to the jet engine took place in September 1939, when asked by the Air Ministry if we would take on the job of designing a jet-propelled aeroplane,” Carter wrote in Flight in 1949. “After some preliminary talk and a look over a few of the drawings, we went along to the test bay and I had my first sight of a gasturbine-cum-jet-propulsion unit. It seemed to me a quaint contraption – rather on the rough and ready side – and by no means the kind of thing to inspire confidence as a prospective power installation.”

Above: Power Jets Ltd was founded in 1936 and its WU design was the first turbojet to run. The W.1 engine powered the Gloster E.28/39 on its maiden flight and was also the first jet engine built in the USA where, as the General Electric I-A, it powered the Bell P-59A Airacomet. The uprated W.2 was built by RollsRoyce as the Welland, powering early versions of the Gloster Meteor.



Left and Below: Despite the novel features and lack of computing power, George Carter got it right first time. The Gloster E.28/39 was uncomplicated, simple and pleasant to fly and provided the perfect platform for proving Whittle’s theories. Furthermore, during a testing career that lasted nearly four years, it was able to accept engines capable of generating double the original thrust.

He noted that the engine started with a muffled “thud” as the fuel mixture was ignited and quickly speeded up to register a modest amount of thrust, which he estimated was about 400lb. “Some parts of the engine casing showed a dull red heat” he continued, “which, combined with an intensely high-pitched volume of noise, made it seem as though it might at any moment disintegrate in bits and pieces.” Despite his initial misgivings, Carter regarded his first encounter with Whittle’s engine as “an unforgettable and unique experience.” He also “felt convinced that the prospect of ultimately successful development of the engine far outweighed the very hazardous nature of the enterprise in accepting responsibility for putting it inside an aeroplane.” Carter’s initial drawings showed two alternative arrangements – both featuring a mid-mounted wing, but one had two intakes either side of the forward fuselage and a full-length tailpipe. The other had tail surfaces supported by a boom extending from the pilot’s cockpit with a shorter tail-pipe exhausting mid-way between wing and tail.

Official Order

The Air Ministry subsequently issued Gloster with a formal specification on 13 February 1940. This called for an aircraft capable of 330kts that could easily be converted from trials machine to fighter and could carry four Browning machine guns with 500 rounds each. However, this armament was not expected to be carried during the trials. The contract was for two aircraft (later serials W4041 and W4046) and £18,500 was allocated



per aircraft. The Air Ministry also agreed to the construction of two sets of wings; a ‘high lift’ wing for initial testing and a ‘high speed’ wing for later trials. Fears over disrupted airflow from the short tailpipe design led the more conventional design being adopted, albeit with a low set wing. Unlike Heinkel’s He 178 the Gloster E.28/39 had a tricycle undercarriage and was of all-metal monocoque construction.


To avoid prying eyes the design work was mostly completed on a farm near Cheltenham and construction then began in high levels of secrecy at Gloster’s Brockworth plant. However, fears that the factory was susceptible to German bombing meant the project moved to the nearby Regent Motors garage in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Today, this historic site is occupied by a shopping arcade, the Regent Arcade. Once completed, the aircraft (by now registered W4041) was moved back to Brockworth airfield and the powerplant fitted. Engine runs began on 6 April 1941 with the aircraft in the hangar with only its jet pipe protruding through the open doors.

Making History

Taxy trials began the following evening with test pilot Gerry Sayer praising controllability but criticising the lack of acceleration. The following day, Whittle himself was able to sample the aircraft for the first time and conducted a series of high speed trials, but it was Sayer who was at the controls when the aircraft left the ground in a series of short hops.

Above and right: Two aircraft were ordered and serials W4041 and W4046 were allocated. Contract price was set at £18,500 per aircraft and the Air Ministry also agreed to the construction of two sets of wings which enabled the initial tests to be made with a ‘high lift’ wing and later ones with a ‘high speed’ one. As it was feared that the short exhaust pipe might result in an unpredictable airflow, a long pipe design was adopted.



The grass runway at Brockworth was deemed too short and bumpy for flight-testing though and the aeroplane was taken by low-loader to RAF Cranwell, Lincs for further testing while the team waited for a weather window. Then, at 5.40pm on 14 May 1941, the rain and cloud had improved enough for Sayer to attempt a flight. With the canopy left open he ran the engine run up to 16,500rpm before releasing the brakes. After just 600 yards Britain’s first jet aircraft was airborne. After 17 minutes the aeroplane landed successfully and Britain had entered the jet age – almost two years after the He 178 had flown in Germany. Some 17 flights were conducted before the aeroplane was trucked back to Gloucester where the aeroplane was ensconced in Crabtree’s Garage in Cheltenham while engineers replaced the high lift wing with the high speed one and fitted a newly arrived W1A engine.

Tragic Loss

On 16 February 1942 W4041 flew again but Sayer was killed in October when the Hawker Typhoon he was flying was involved in a mid-air collision and his assistant, Michael Daunt, took over his role. Left: The wreckage of the second prototype E.28/39 W4046/G after it crashed near Guildford on 30 July 1943. The pilot abandoned the aircraft at high altitude after it became uncontrollable. Despite it falling from a great height, the wreckage of W4046/G is remarkably intact.




Crew 1 Length 25ft 3in (7.75m) Height 8ft 10in (2.70m) Wingspan 29ft 0in (8.9m) Wing Area 146sq ft (13.6m2) Empty Weight 2,886lb (1,309kg) Max Take-Off Weight 3,748lb (1,700kg) Max Speed 330kts (380mph/608km/h) Service Ceiling 32,000ft (9,755m) Ferry Range 410 miles (656km) Powerplant One Power Jets W1 turbojet (860lb thrust) Armament Provision for four .303in Browning machine guns First Flight May 15, 1941


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Above: A jubilant Gerry Sayer gives the V for Victory sign from the cockpit of W4041. He continued as Chief Test Pilot until October 1942 when he was killed in a Hawker Typhoon which was involved in a mid-air collision. Sayer’s assistant, Michael Daunt, then took over the testing programme for the E.28/39.



Flight-testing continued and the second E.28/39 (W4046) joined the fleet in March 1943. It did not enjoy a long career however as it was lost in July when its ailerons jammed, forcing Sqn Ldr Douglas Davie to bail out from 33,000ft. The second aeroplane had made 134 flights in just five months – compared to W4041 that would make just 110 flights in its entire four-year career. Legendary test pilot Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown was at the controls for some of those test flights. He joined the test programme in April 1944 and later recalled the E28/39 as “one of the most exciting aircraft I ever flew.”

Legacy W4041 continued flying until 1944, by which time more advanced turbojet-powered aircraft were available. The Gloster E.28/39 was uncomplicated, simple and pleasant to fly and provided the perfect platform for proving Whittle’s theories. Furthermore, during its career it was able to accept engines capable of generating double the original thrust. Experience with the E.28/39 also paved the way for Britain’s first operational jet fighter aircraft, the Gloster Meteor, of which nearly 4,000 would serve with air arms around the world.

Conversely, while just two He 178s were built and only one flew under jet power, the rival Messerschmitt Me 262 – which was officially developed for the RLM using approved engines, flew under jet power for the first time in July 1942. In just a few years an amazing 1,430 were built and, for a while, the jets became the scourge of the Allied bomber crews.

The E.28/39 was airborne after a take off run of just 600 yards and Sayer later described the engine as “quite smooth.” The first flight lasted just 17 minutes – but history had been made. Between May 25 and May 28 some 17 flights were made at Cranwell . In December 1942 the aircraft was transferred to RAE Farnborough and was subsequently returned to Brockworth for further work. End-plate fins were fitted to the tailplane to improve stability and a 1,700lb thrust W2/500 engine was installed.


Photo Archive : Liberator FL927 31


This superb view of FL927 shows the forward facing ASV aerial in the nose and the two receivng aerials outboard of the engines. The bulge below the nose is to house the ASV MkIII radar which was very similar to Bomber Command’s H2S.

The Typhoon wasn’t the only RAF aircraft to carry rocket projectiles. Coastal Command mounted them underneath its Beaufighters and Mosquitos and even had a go at firing them from a Liberator! Here are a sequence of photos of Liberator GRIII FL927 which was used as a testbed for this U-boat bashing weapon.

Liberator FL927 started life as a B-24D 41-11626 and crossed the Atlantic on 11 August 1942. After modifications and fitting of various pieces of equipment, the plane was sent for testing at the A&AEE Farnborough on 16 April 1943. The primary purpose was to test the instalation and firing of the rocket projectiles that were mounted on rails underneath the cockpit. The rockets were first fired on the ground which resulted in buckled bombbay doors and broken nose perspex! In the air, however, the system worked well and it was recommended that the rockets were fired in a 15 to 20 degree dive at approximately 250ft asl. Once the trials were concluded, FL927 was grounded as a maintenance airframe and was eventually scrapped in 1947.



This view shows the side scanning ASV aerials. Earlier aircraft had tall transmitting aerials on top of the fuselage, but by this time, the transmitters had been incorporated into the smaller aerials on the sides of the fuselage.



A nice vertical view for modellers showing the upper camouflage scheme and the precise position of the roundels. Note the underwing ASV aerials point 20 degrees away from the nose giving a much wider search area.




A nice view of the undersides of FL927 showing the newly installed and strengthened bomb-bay doors. The dark object under the starboard wing is a mock-up Leigh Light.

PHOTO ARCHIVE A view no U-boat captain wanted to see, Liberator FL927 approaches the camera aircraft from astern.

A standard port side view of FL927, the ‘aerial’ just behind the nose glazing is one of the two pitot tubes mounted on port and starboard.

The Mustang MkIa was equipped with 4 x 20mm cannons and is therefore easily distinguishable from the MkI. Less than 100 MkIas were flown by the RAF so these photos are quite rare. The even rarer MkII had four x 0.5 machine guns in the wings.




A high-res close-up for all those weathering fans!


The full frame of the previous image showing a wealth of detail for the modeller.


THE growth OF an Air Force




In the second part of our look at the Estonian Air Defence Force, Roger Tisdale and Arvo Vercamer explore the various types that were purchased from European manufacturers before war clouds again gathered above the Baltic States.


y the mid to late 1920s, all of Estonia’s First World War surplus military aircraft were worn out, having far exceeded their expected life spans. The Estonian military recognised this fact but the global economic crisis of the late 1920s had a severe impact on Estonia’s budget and economy. Estonia phased out the old “Mark” currency and introduced the “Eesti Kroon” (Estonian Crown) which contributed to the economic re-invigoration of Estonia, which in turn led a strong improvement of the Republic of Estonia’s reputation within the international community. The restructured economy allowed Estonia to make a number of military hardware purchases abroad, including urgently needed military aircraft.

Hawker Hart IAN 148. Lieutenant Mart Napa standing in front of “his” Hawker Hart, IAN 148. This type was very well liked by the Estonian flight crews as well as by their mechanics, who appreciated the excellent design and mechanical reliability of the aircraft.


such as the Avro Anson multipurpose aircraft. Included in this make-up were also a few Estonian-built training aircraft). In 1939, the EADF contained three “Flight Divisions (one in the City of Rakvere, one in the City of Tartu, and one in the capital Tallinn). Of interest to note is that until the mid-1930s, the Estonian Navy also maintained two multipurpose aircraft wings.

During the early part of 1939, Estonia contracted and paid for 12 Spitfire Mk. I fighters and a number of Mk. I Westland Lysanders from Great Britain. However, when WWII broke out, London needed every available aircraft and cancelled the Estonian order. London promptly refunded the payments in full to Estonia. The Soviet Union took advantage of this situation by forcenegotiating Estonia to purchase a number of Polikarpov I-16 fighters and UTI trainers.


Below: Letov-Smolik S-228E, IAN 140. On 5 October 1931, Estonia and Czechoslovakia signed a contract for the purchase of four S-128 bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, to be powered by Gnome-Rhone Mercury VIIa engines. The Czechs were asked to modify Estonia’s S-128 aircraft so much that a new type designation was created S-228/E (E for Estonian).


In 1928, the Estonian military reorganized itself. The Aviation Regiment was placed under the jurisdiction of a newly established Estonian Air Defence Force/EADF (Õhukaitse) department, which now also included the Estonian Anti-Aircraft Artillery units. In the early 1930s, the EADF was ready to commence with new aircraft and by 1939 the EADF contained close to 80 active fighters, seaplanes and bombers (Bristol Bulldog II, Hawker Hart and Potez 25 biplanes from the 1920s/early 1930s, but also the more modern,


Payment was demanded in gold - but no aircraft were ever delivered by Moscow, and to date, Moscow has not returned the paid funds to Estonia. After the fall of Poland in September 1939, Estonia was forced to accept a Mutual Assistance Pact with the Soviet Union. This pact was signed on 28 September 1939. The terms of the accord allowed the Soviets to establish military bases in Estonia, which were later used in the Winter War against Finland. The EADF was under strict orders not to interfere

with any Soviet military actions against Finland - though a number of damaged Soviet combat aircraft did make forced landings in Estonia during the Winter War. On 17 June 1940, the three Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were (bloodlessly) invaded by Soviet forces. During the Soviet invasion , occupation and annexation of Estonia, the Estonian Air Defense Force, under orders from above, took no action against the Soviet invaders and as a result, EADF aircraft remained in a “standby mode” only.

Of interest to note is that after August 1940, a number of patriotic Estonian EADF personnel crated up a number of Estonian-built training aircraft and buried the crates underground. Soviet military occupation officials never located these crated aircraft. They were dug up in late 1941 and flew with the Luftwaffe’s Sonderstaffel Buschmann in and around the Gulf of Finland and Leningrad.

The former EADF became the Aircraft Squadron of the 22nd Territorial Corps (the former Estonian Army) of the Soviet Army in the summer of 1940. While the EADF ceased to exist, its pilots would continue to fly for both the Allies and the Axis, until the end of the Second World War.

Armstrong-Whitworth AW IIIDC (Dual Control) Siskin, IAN 135. The Estonian Air Defence Force (EADF) operated two Siskin III DC trainers during the interwar period.


Gourdou-Leseurre GL-22B3; IAN 77, 81 and 89 - Although Estonian aviation specialists did not have much confidence in the airworthiness of the French GL-22s, Estonia elected to purchase them, probably because neighbours Finland had also purchased the GL-22. Between 1924 and 1933, number 77 served in numerous Estonian squadrons, each squadron transferring the aircraft to another squadron because the aircraft was disliked by its pilots due to frequent mechanical issues. (A major problem was that the fuel lines on the aircraft were prone to leaks and ruptures.) Another serious defect with the GL-22 type was its use of thin aluminium undercarriage legs, which frequently crumpled upon landing. Estonian technicians tried to repair this defect by removing the forward undercarriage strut (something the Finns also did), and increasing the stiffness of the remaining two undercarriage struts. However, this proved to be only a partially successful solution.



Gourdoue lessEurre GL-22B3


potez 25 Estonia was one of 18 nations which operated the Potez 25 aircraft. In 1926, Estonia purchased four Potez 25.13 (Potez 25 “Jupiter”) reconnaissance aircraft. A short while later, in late 1926 or early 1927, an additional order for five more Potez 25 aircraft was placed with French authorities. These aircraft were Potez 25A2’s and were equipped with Gnome-Rhone Jupiter V engines as seen here:

Potez 25.A2, IAN 101 - This aircraft was accepted for duty by the 5th (Estonian) Flight-Squadron on 7 May 1928. During transport to Estonia, some veneer panelling was damaged, and it took over two months to repair the damage. She was sold to (Republican) Spain in 1934/1935.

Potez 25.25, IAN 97 - This aircraft had a smaller cockpit, a slightly more powerful engine and a slightly wider undercarriage compared to the rest of Estonia’s Potez 25 aircraft. She was also painted in an all-silver finish upon her arrival in Estonia and had had a high operating cost - 100 (Estonian) cents per kilometre flown.

Potez 25.A2, IAN 100 - On 15 September 1931, this aircraft’s engine began mis-firing badly during an aviation-day exhibition and made a forced landing near the village of Kõnnu. Her undercarriage and right lower wing were heavily damaged in the incident. She was withdrawn from service in 1937, and sold to (Republican) Spain.


Bristol Bulldog, Mk. II, Type 105A, IAN 132 - On 21 March 1931, this aircraft was accepted as service-ready by the EADF. She served well until August of 1940, when Soviet military forces invaded Estonia and seized all surviving EADF aircraft. This aircraft may have flown in Soviet VVS colours, before being destroyed in order to prevent their use by advancing German forces during the summer of 1941.

Above and below: Bristol Bulldog, Mk. II, Type 105A, IAN 123 - This Bristol Bulldog was accepted as being fully operational in the EADF on 05 December 1930. She served well, with no major mishaps or engine defects until 1937, when she was sold to (Republican) Spain.



bristol bulldog


aw siskin iii The Estonian Air Defence Force (EADF) operated two Armstrong Whitworth Siskin III DC trainers during the interwar period. They were allocated Estonian numbers 134 and 135, and were assigned to the “Lennukool� (flight school) of the EADF. Siskin number 134 was permanently withdrawn from active service on 11 May 1937. Number 135 was withdrawn from active service in 1939, but it continued to serve in supporting roles up to the Soviet occupation and annexation of Estonia in 1940.


Although a decent aircraft, the Letov 228E suffered engine problems with the EADF. This was due to their Mercury VIIa engines not operating well below -15C (5F) which was often the case in Estonia during the winter months.



letov 228e


hawker hart Estonia’s Hawker Hart numbers 145, 146, 147 and 148, were equipped only with ski (winter) and wheeled (summer) undercarriages. Numbers 149 to 152 were, in addition, also equipped with floats for maritime operations. After the Soviets occupied Estonia in the summer of 1940, they removed all Estonian insignia on the Harts, and replaced them with Soviet VVS markings. These aircraft did not fly very much during the first occupation (August 1940 - June 1941), as the Soviet military pilots were not yet familiar with type. The Soviet authorities also feared that surviving Estonian Republic pilots might try to escape in them.


Left: Nr 155 - This Estonian-built training aircraft was originally identified as the ÕGL-1 (Õjuja Gaasikaitseliit - Air and Gas Defence League). Later, it was re-named as the PON-1a, in honour of its constructors, Post/Org/Neudorff (formally Toomas). Below: Nr 159 - Estonia operated only one Miles Magister M.14a training aircraft. The profile depicts the aircraft outfitted with a larger rudder assembly - not the thinner one normally used on Miles Magister M.14a aircraft. Below: Nr 161 - The PTO-4 (Post/ Tooma/Org) was an Estonian-built training aircraft powered by a British Genet “Major” engine. Surviving the 1st Soviet occupation period (1940/1941), of interest to note is that at least two of the four Estonianbuilt PTO-4 trainers survived with the German Luftwaffe until 1944.

Left: Nr. 160 - The PN-3 (Post/Neudorff) trainer, of which only one air-frame was built, was an Estonian-built aircraft intended to train its pilots to fly the Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Ia fighters, which were ordered from the UK. She took her first formal flight in 1939.



training aircraft


henschel 126 Right and below: Nr. 163 - Estonia ordered 12 Henschel Hs-126/B-1 Army Cooperation aircraft from Germany in February of 1940. Only five were actually delivered. Some of Estonia’s Henschel Hs 126/B-1 aircraft were used by the Soviet VVS in 1941/1942, to undertake clandestine operations behind German lines.

Right and below: Nr 158. Only one Avro Anson Type 652A, Mk. I, coastal reconnaissance aircraft was operated by the EADF. This airplane also flew in Soviet VVS markings in 1940/1941, during the first Soviet occupation period of Estonia.

avro anson 50


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