Entries by Cayley

Bristol Beaufighter

Bristol’s pugnacious Type 156 Beaufighter was a heavy two-seater, long-range fighter that proved a formidable night interceptor and anti-shipping aircraft. A hastily improvised concept combining the flying surfaces and rear fuselage of the Beaufort torpedo bomber with a new front fuselage and higher-powered engines, the Beaufighter progressed from design to prototype in just six months. The Mk 1F nightfighter entered service in August […]

Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirit

The formidable B-2 Spirit is an American multi-role stealth bomber capable of not only penetrating sophisticated enemy defences, but also of attacking heavily defended targets with both nuclear and conventional weapons. Aware that Northrop’s living-wing bombers of the late 1940s had been difficult to track on radar, the US Air Force approached the company in the 1970s when it required a subsonic bomber to penetrate Soviet […]

Bell X-1

The rocket-powered Bell X-l was the first aircraft to fly at above the speed of sound. It was built expressly to investigate the problem of “breaking the sound barrier”, then regarded with some trepidation. The X -1 was straight-winged and aerodynamically clean, with a fuselage modelled along the lines of a 0.50-calibre bullet. For its experimental flights, it was carried aloft in the […]

North American X-15

The record-breaking North American X- 15 was an aircraft designed specifically to push flight to its extreme limits. From June 1959 to November 1968 it made 199 experimental flights, Flown by a dozen different test pilots, including future Moon-mission leader Neil Armstrong. The aim was to investigate the problems of flying at unprecedented speeds and at altitudes close to or beyond the edge […]

Rutan Voyager

The first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world without refuelling, Voyager completed its epic flight on 23 December 1986. The gruelling round trip from Edwards Air Force Base in California, took nine days, three minutes, and 44 seconds. Voyager was designed by engineer Burt Rutan and piloted by his brother, Dick, together with Jeana Yeager. It began as little more than […]

Avro Lancaster

When i he first Lancasters appeared at RAF Bomber Command bases in the spring of 1942, they were greeted with relief and enthusiasm by aircrews. Here at last was an aircraft truly fitted for the role of night-time heavy bomber. Designed by Roy Chadwick and powered by four Merlin engines, the Lancaster could carry a standard bombload more than double that of the Boeing B-17. […]

Supermarine S.6B

In the 1920s mihI early 1930s seaplane racers were the fastest aircraft on the planet. Built purely for speed, entrants for the biennial Schneider Trophy contest were at the cutting edge of progress in streamlining, high-performance engines, and high-octane fuels, Britain won the trophy in 1927 and 1929 with sleek Supermarine monoplanes designed by Reginald Mitchell. For the 1931 contest, Supermarine adapted their 1929 winning […]

Maxim Multiplane

In the 1890s English-domiciled American millionaire Hiram Maxim was in the forefront of inventors convinced that the key to flighl was engine power. He spent £20,000 a substantial part of the fortune he had made out of the Maxim machine-gan-buildings a massive 8,000lb aircraft. With its welded steel – tube airefraime and biplane wings spanning over 100ft, this behemoth was powered […]

De Havilland Mosquito

Originally designed as a high-speed unarmed light bomber, the de Havilland D.H.98 Mosquito proved one of the most versatile aeroplanes of World War II, serving in a wide variety of roles, and excelling at each and every one. The Mosquito was built almost entirely of plywood, sparing the use of metals that were then in short supply. From the maiden flight of its […]