Top of the Class (continued...)

Previous Page | Home | Next Page

Following the generally favourable comments by the test pilots and the general aviation press of the day, OO-POM was dismantled for detailed examination and for drawings and simple jigs to be made,these having been purposely destroyed prior to the hurried evacuation in 1940. Parts were distributed to both Fairey Hayes and Hamble factories and the proposed registration G-AKSX was cancelled as `not taken up.'

Up to now, both the Chipmunk and Primer aircraft were considered as private venture by the Ministry of Supply. They therefore issued an invitation to both companies on May 14th. 1948 to submit quotations under reference 6/acft/2508/CB 9A for 750 airframes with embodiment loan items such as engines, radio, propellers, instruments etc. being supplied by the Ministry. The quotation called for the complete airframe to be to the RAF standard known at that time with full interchangeability of parts from the first airframe, class one protective treatment, normal flight testing and delivery ex works with empty fuel tanks.

G-ALBL Engine

Hamble-built Fairey Primer G-ALBL during overhaul and conversion to Cirrus Major power in November 1948 after 50hrs flying with a Gipsy Major
Line Views

Fairey Aviation in reply, stated that delivery was anticipated in 13-14 months from date of contract which allowed 9-10 months for deliveries of raw materials and four months for fabrication. Utilising either the Gipsy Major 10 or Cirrus Major 3 engines the production rate of 20-25 per month was envisaged. They pointed out that the figures quoted were for the aircraft to its present specification and that any modifications would be subject to further claim.

De Havillands stated that deliveries of Chipmunks built to the RAF standard known at that time could commence in April 1949 with one hundred delivered by March 1950, the production rate being 20 per month or higher if required, using either the Gipsy Major 1C or 10 series of engines. They pointed out that the quotation included a small fixed sum per aircraft which was payable to de Havilland Canada for recovery of design and development costs and therefore foreign exchange facilities would be required.

A meeting of the contracts committee discussed the quotations received and it was soon evident that although meetings had taken place with de Havillands as to modifications required in order to bring the Chipmunk to RAF standard, this had not happened in the case of the Primer. A meeting was therefore arranged to view the dismantled parts of the prototype as soon as possible in order to rectify this situation.

Specification T8/48 entitled `Design & Manufacture of Chipmunk Elementary Trainer' was officially issued on May 21st. 1948. The requirements included lightweight VHF radio, two stage amber screens and standard RAF blind flying instrument panels, night flying equipment and crash proof fuel tanks. Particular note with regard to the fuel system was made in that a fuel cock, controllable from both cockpits was required having `on-off' positions only. Facility was also required to ensure that should one fuel tank expire then the remaining tank would continue to feed and without drawing air into the system via the empty tank. The engine specified was the Gipsy Major 8, which under the de Havilland Engine Company numbering system is the military equivalent of the civil Major 10-2, an example of which was under test and development at that time in the prototype Chipmunk G-AKEV.

Following committee meetings at the Ministry of Supply, letters were sent to both companies on May 22nd. saying that it was the intention of the Ministry to place the two aircraft in full competition, not only in respect of performance and characteristics but also purchase price and ease of maintenance. Both types were therefore to be supplied for testing, the Chipmunk to T8/48 as issued and the Primer to a specification yet to be announced. A formal invitation to tender would then be made to submit a firm price and in which the numbers of aircraft required would be stated.

The "new" Primer at Boscombe Down in December 1948, showing the design differences, especially in the area of the cockpit. Powered by a Cirrus Major 3, G-6-5 was later registered G-ALEW.

Previous Page | Home | Next Page