Aviation of World War II
The creator of "Gladiator" G.P. Folland worked at the Royal Aviation Bureau during the First World War and was involved in the development of aircraft such as the RE 9, SE 4, SE 5 and FE 2. In 1917 he became an employee of British Newport & General Aircraft Co., Ltd. The company's management gave Folland the opportunity to show design initiative. His first aircraft were the Nighthawk BN 1 and the London Tripleane. In addition, Folland was involved in the creation of the Beamel sports aircraft, as well as the Gloucester I, II, III, IV and IV.
Nighthawk enjoyed widespread acclaim. The firm embarked on further development of the design. This is how the Mars I and Mars II (Sparrowhawk) aircraft appeared. The trail of Mars III (Sparrowhawk II) was a training modification of Mars II.
The next cars Folland were "Grose" and its further modification "Mushroom II". In 1925, the Gloucester Gamecock aircraft appeared. It was a biplane fighter powered by a Bristol Jupiter engine.
In the mid-20s, many experimental prototypes with different engines appeared on the basis of Gamecock. They were all biplanes. Among others, the SS 18 prototype appeared in 1927.
Further work on this machine led eventually to the creation of the "Gauntlet", and then the "Gladiator". The SS 18 flew with a variety of engines, including the Bristol Mercury II and the Armstrong-Siddley Panther. Next came the SS 19 prototype with a Rolls-Royce F.XI engine. This aircraft went into production under the name "Gauntlet". In turn, the Gauntlet became the prototype of the Gladiator aircraft.
The idea to equip an aircraft with a jet propulsion system began to float in the air after the First World War. During the 1920s, attempts were made to develop new types of engines for aviation - rocket or gas turbine, but the latter still required the use of conventional propellers.
In the early 1930s, a young English engineer, Frank Whittle, then serving in the Royal Air Force (RAF), privately began work on a new engine. The attitude of the military to Whittle's ideas was ambiguous. The RAF was very supportive. and the Ministry of Aviation rejected the inventor's proposals, allowing him to take the patent in his own name. The essence of the patent was that the gas turbine rotated a series of impellers in a closed channel instead of the usual one.
In March 1936, Whittle founded Power Jets Ltd. to turn your project into metal. In parallel with the development of the engine, he tried to find a suitable aircraft to install it. In 1939, Whittle met George Carter, chief designer of Gloucester Aircraft, and their subsequent meetings showed that the advent of jet warplanes was just around the corner. By this time, the Air Department had changed its views abruptly and showed extreme interest in Whittle's work. As a result, Gloucester received an order for the development of a new machine, which was a flying stand for testing a jet engine and, moreover, with minor modifications could turn into a full-fledged combat aircraft for the RAF.
As a result, the Gloucester E 28/39 prototype aircraft was created, which is often called Gloucester-Whittle or Gloucester "Pioneer". The first prototype of the new vehicle, serial number W 4041, took off on May 15, 1941 from Cranwell airfield. After landing, the pilot G. Sayer enthusiastically spoke about the aircraft, and the era of jet aviation began in England. The second E 28/39 was built, which first took to the air on March 1, 1943, but after about four months the pilot had to leave this aircraft with a parachute (instead of non-freezing lubricant, the equipment used for the aileron suspension assemblies the usual one, which froze at high altitude and the car lost control ).
This loss did not affect further work in any way, since the Ministry of Aviation has already ordered 500 twin-engine jet fighters for the RAF and issued the corresponding specification (terms of reference) F.9 / 40. Although the contract provided for the construction of twelve prototype aircraft, only eight were actually built, the first of which took off from DG 206. It took off from Cranwell airfield on March 5, 1943. The Rover firm in Coventry did not have time to produce the Whittle W2B engine by the deadline, and the plane was equipped with a Dehavilland III Halford turbojet engine. Despite a number of problems, including an unpleasant yawing tendency at speeds around 370 km / h. the aircraft was recognized as suitable for further improvement.