Pioneer STOL - the Westland Lysander

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by michaelmaltby, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    #1 michaelmaltby, Mar 13, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
    Like others here, I have always been a great admirer of the Westland Lysander. Officially an "Army Co-operation aircraft" - that term covers a lot of ground. The RAF P-51's were also lumped into the same category yet clearly were very different aircraft.

    I've admired the Lysander in part because - like Lancs, Mosquitos, Hurricanes, Ansons and Cansos - they were built in Canada as part of the Canadian war effort - all started before the USA became involved in 1941.

    Canada was opened up after WW1 by aircraft and came to depend on planes that were rugged and that could get in and out of tight places. The RCAF must have found the Lysander a great asset - and there may well have been RCAF pilots who flew the Lysander in safety in Canada and went on to fly covert blackout missions into occupied Europe and/or SE Asia - ferrying agents, arms and supplies in and agents and perhaps high value human assets out.

    Was the Lysander the precursor of modern STOL aircraft?

    Ironically - when I think of amazing STOL performance I think of the Fieseler Fi 156 Storch and the resue mission by Otto Skorzeni's troops to rescue Musollini. Both were designed at roughly the same time though of different sizes and purposes.

    Without detracting from USSAF planes like the Grasshopper and such, I don't think there's a technical comparision between the Storch, Lysander and the US machines.

    And finally, lets remember that Glenn Miller disappeared in a USAAF Norseman - another Canadian-built machine that was the first post-WW2 Canadian bush plane and STOL pioneer.

    My nationalism is showing here, but there's lots to chew on here: especially the graceful Lysander and the amazing Storch (built post-war by the Swiss if I'm not mistaken.

    Anyone ...

    Chairs,

    michaelmaltby
     
  2. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Michael,

    >Was the Lysander the precursor of modern STOL aircraft?

    No. The Lysander was a compromise between poor-field capability and stable flight characteristics required from an observation plane. As a result, it is somewhat lacking in controllability, quite different from a true STOL aircraft like the Storch.

    Read more here: PilotWeb

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  3. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Henning - clear answer.

    It sounds like quite a handful - landing that at night must have been a challenge - as my Dad used to say: "all in the way you hold you mouth".

    MM
     
  4. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    G'day Michael.

    A concept that was outdated by the time it flew so different roles were sought. Petter and Davenport were constantly trying to improve the Lysander's armament especially in light of the BEF experience. Lysander I (project) L4673- was an attempt to provide a ventral gunners position by enlarging the fuselage, dubbed the "Pregnant Perch," and it was planned to be involved in anti-invasion duties. Unfortunately engine failure resulted it it crashing and the project was abandoned...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    (Great site HoHun, Thanks!)
     
  5. slaterat

    slaterat Member

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    When I think of early bush/stol planes, designed for that purpose the early Bellancas come to mind, the Skyrocket and the Airbus/Cruiser.

    Slaterat
     
  6. Geedee

    Geedee Well-Known Member

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    Heres a few shot of one the airworthy 'Lizzies' we have here in the UK. Its actually quite a big plane when you're up close, wth the cockpit looking like you need an 'ology' in mountaineering to reach !

    I havent seen that 'Perch' version before. I thought the poor old girl with the four gun powered turret was bizarre enough !
     

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  7. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    The Lysander was big and over powered for what it was. Other aircraft like the Storch did the same on less power, smaller airframe and could land almost vertically...so the Lysander does nothing for me.
     
  8. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it was subjected to a lot of experimentation. Another trial involved fitting seven foot bench-type dive brakes to the wings of R9126 for the possible role of dive-bomber. 260mph could not be exceeded in the steepest dive but the trim change was so violent it was deemed totally unacceptable...

    [​IMG]

    A four-gun dorsal gun turret was considered but only reached the mock-up stage...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    For anti invasion duties I believe that they had twin 20mm's to attach to the wheel struts for night straffing.
     
  10. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    I've read this as well Glider but I don't know how extensively it was used or fitted. It was first fitted to K6127 and evaluated by No.40 squadron where it was shown to reduce the maximum speed by 12 mph. Green and Swanborough mention that the appropriate mountings for the cannons were supplied to half the front-line strength of UK Lysander Squadrons, but I don't know how many were ever fitted. Most sources describe it as an anti-tank weapon, but that depends on the caption (others describe it as an anti-barge weapon)...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Normal wheel spat armament was two 0.303 inch Browning's with the ammunition feeding down the undercarriage pylon leg...

    [​IMG]

    Another alteration to the Lysander was the application of Blackburn's high lift constant chord wing with 9 degrees of forward sweep..

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I had also heard that there were enough kits for half the squadrons but have never heard of them being used. Personally I don't fancy their chances of penetrating a Pz III or IV but the Germans had a high proportion of Pz II's which may well have been vulnerable. Again against the barges they could well have been effective or even the tugs pulling the barges.

    Never seen a photo of one before, thanks for that.

    Its another indication as to what effort the RAF were going to put into attacking the beches. Even Tiger Moths were being armed with small bombs for night raids.
     
  12. Snautzer

    Snautzer Member

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    medic relief version
    source (of all places...) Der Adler

    pdf for readability
     

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  13. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of large single engined STOL aircraft ... there is the Moose:

    Antonov An-2

    Saw one parked at a small airport in Cuba years ago - couldn't believe me eyes.

    MM
     
  14. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    ...and this is probably part of the reason why the UK moved to the more "Grasshopper-like" Auster, later in the war.

    FWIW, when I think of early, Large "Bush" planes, I think of the Farichild 100/Pilgrim, the Stinson Detroiter and the single engined version of the JU-52.
    All pioneered the use of air service in rugged, under developed regions.


    Elvis
     

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  15. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Don't you mean the Murphy Moose?

    Built in Canada...by actual Canadians! :D

    (sorry, just a little "symantics jest" on my part ;) )



    Elvis
     
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