Frank was designing engines that were, for the most part, reliable, easy to maintain and increasingly fast. It is not surprising therefore that many Airplane manufacturers deployed his engines. From the BHP and Napier days to Gipsy hundreds of planes were powered by his engines. The list is extensive and hence this area will grow.
I will start off with the MILES M14A HAWK TRAINER III (MAGISTER) powered by the Gypsy Major I four-cylinder inline engine. The engine produced 130bhp, which was capable of a top speed of 142mph at 1,000 feet. Cruise speed was 124mph, range 380 miles and service ceiling 18,000 feet. The M14/M14A was produced up to 1941, by which time some 1,200 had been built in the UK with a further 100 assembled in Turkey.
The above photo, which is a fabulous, is a personal favourite mine. A good friend of mine Jerry Hughes is flying the plane from the rear seat with a friend using a cine camera in the front cockpit. A fellow club member took this striking photo. Jerry tells me "In our group we usually flew the Magister solo from the rear cockpit as the wrap around windshield was less draughty than the front one." Yep - and flying at 1,000 feet tops 124 mph - brrrrrr! Thank you so much Jerry Hughes - rarely am I lost for words but this takes my breath away.
Photo:©Jerry Hughes, please do not reproduce without contacting me to put you in contact with him.
More about Miles Aircraft and 'Maggie'
The company that would become Miles Aircraft Ltd was formed in the 1930s by Charles Powis, Jack Phillips and engineer Frederick Miles, trading initially as Phillips & Powis Aircraft Ltd. Rolls-Royce bought a share of the firm in 1936 and aircraft were produced under the Miles name, though it was not until 1943, when Rolls-Royce sold its interests, that the company became Miles Aircraft Ltd. Affectionately known as the 'Maggie', the M14 Magister was a two-seater training aircraft widely used by the RAF and Fleet Air Arm during WW2. It was a development of the civilian Hawk Major and Hawk Trainer, and being a low-wing monoplane was the ideal introduction to high-performance flying for pilots moving on to the Spitfire and Hurricane. Large numbers of the civilian Hawk versions were pressed into military service as well, and the design was also used by several foreign air forces. Many were adapted for civilian use after the war.
During late 1935, the Grand Prix motor racing driver, aviator and businessman Whitney Straight was engaged in efforts to establish numerous flying clubs to server major British towns.As a part of his efforts to popularise aviation, Straight sought a modern aeroplane that would be best suited for both club flying and use by private owners; specifically, he desired the envisioned aircraft to be considerably faster that the slow moving biplanes that traditionally dominated the market. It was also desirable for such a plane to feature a side-by-side seating arrangement in an enclosed cockpit, rather than an open cockpit that necessitated the cumbersome use of speaking tubes, in addition to more general attributes such as being reasonably easy to handle, safe to fly, and economic to both maintain and operate.
The prototype Whitney Straight (G-AECT) first flown on 14th May 1936 and its all-round good qualities exceeded expectations, comfortable and easy to fly, with a top speed of 145 mph. and a fuel consumption of over 20 miles to the gallon. Early production aircraft were powered by a single 130 hp (97 kW) Gipsy Major I piston engine. Immediate production followed the successful flight tests, and 50 M.11A, M.11B and M.11C aircraft were sold in almost every part of the world over the next two years. A number of these were used for experimental purposes, including the testing of various engines and, on the prototype, of auxiliary aerofoil flaps, the data gained proving beneficial to later Miles aircraft. A later model, known as the M.11 C, was fitted with the Gipsy Major Series II engine and a variable pitch airscrew, this combination giving a remarkable take-off and climb performance.
Perhaps one of the finest demonstrations of the all-round handling qualities of the machine was provided by the result of the 1937 King's Cup Air Race, in which General Lewin, then aged sixty-three, flew his own Whitney Straight into second place after a very close contest.
On the outbreak of war, in 1939, most of the Whitney Straights in Britain were requisitioned for R.A.F. communication duties, including 23 for the RAF (21 in the UK and two in India), and three for the Royal New Zealand Air Force. Many were still giving good and faithful service after five arduous years.
The sole M.11B was powered by a 135 hp (101 kW) Amherst Villiers Maya I engine.
'An interesting comparison with the M.11A was de Havilland’s competitor the DH 87 Hornet based, in private hands, at Elstree. In postwar years this has been the specimen of the type that has been the best known, for it has had a handful of owners, has operated from several aerodromes and has been the subject of various press reports. Unfortunately it has been removed from Moth. Both were ahead of their time in comfort and very successful, but the sleek Miles machine was almost 20 mph faster, which can be significant on the long hauls of which they were capable. As with several other good light aeroplanes in the thirties, the Whitney Straight was well established in production when the threat of World War 2 caused several manufacturers to switch from the civil market to the urgent needs of the time. Only 50 M.11As were completed, but its popularity had led to orders from overseas as well as from home; it was not long before the factory facilities were turned over to the M.14 Magister, 1300 of which were built to help equip the RAF’s rapidly growing number of elementary flying training schools. The Whitney Straight, though, earned its fuel and oil during the war, as 21 were impressed into military service as communications machines. Not surprisingly, their civil comfort levels made them very popular!' from PDF: Miles 11 Whitney Straight - 'Ahead of its time in 1936, the Whitney Straight could still hold its own today.' by David Ogilvy
The M.11A today is a rarity, with just G-AEUJ and G-AERV (owned by AOPA member Richard Allen Seeley) on the active list.
The Miles M.17 Monarch was a British, light, touring aeroplane of the 1930s. It was a single-engine, Gipsy Major I, three-seat, cabin monoplane with a fixed, tailwheel undercarriage.
The last civil type produced by Phillips and Powis before the war, the Monarch was a development of their earlier Whitney Straight. Compared to its sibling. the Monarch had an enlarged fuselage, allowing provision of a third seat in part of what had been the luggage space.
Eleven aircraft were built between 1938 and 1939, six of these to British customers, the rest going to export.
On the outbreak of war five of the British-registered machines were impressed by the Air Ministry; one machine belonging to Rolls-Royce acquired camouflage paint but remained in its owner's service. All but one of these survived the war, though a Dutch-registered aeroplane (PH-ATP) was destroyed in the Luftwaffe raid on Schiphol on 10 May 1940. One aircraft, OY-DIO, was on the Danish register until 9 Sept. 1939 and owned by a Dane named Hagedorn.
In the 1950s, one Monarch (G-AIDE) enjoyed some success as a racer in the hands of W.P. Bowles
For the most part, the remaining Monarchs led uneventful but useful careers; a number survived into the Sixties. G-AFJU is displayed at the National Museum of Flight at RAF East Fortune near East Linton, Scotland.
Miles M.17 Monarch operational at Wroughton, Wiltshire, in July 1992
A side-by-side biplane trainer aircraft, the B-2 was designed to be immensely strong to enable it to withstand the rigours of instructional flying.
The Blackburn B-2 prototype (G-ABUW) made its first flight at Brough on 10th December 1931, powered by a Gipsy III engine.
The B-2 was fitted with various engines over its 6 year / 42 aircraft production life (1931 – 1937). Initially it received a Gipsy III engine although subsequently the more powerful Gipsy Major and then the 120 hp Cirrus Hermes engine were fitted .
The Blackburn B-2 was developed by Blackburn as a successor for its earlier Bluebird IV trainer, retaining the layout and side-by-side seating of the earlier aircraft, but having a semi-monocoque all-metal fuselage, instead of the metal and fabric covered fuselage used by the earlier aircraft.
The single-bay biplane wings were of similar structure to those of the Bluebird IV and could be folded for easy storage. Leading edge slots were fitted to the upper wing to improve low-speed handling, with ailerons on the lower wings only. The conventional landing gear was fixed, with the mainwheels supported on telescopic legs and a spung tailskid.
The B-2 was aimed mainly at the military trainer market, and the prototype B-2 was shipped to Lisbon in September 1933 for evaluation by Portugal. Although it performed well in the evaluation, the Portuguese preferred a tandem layout, and purchased the Tiger Moth. Although not successful in competing for major military orders, the B-2 continued in production to equip civilian flying schools in the United Kingdom that were busy training pilots for the Royal Air Force under the RAF expansion scheme, with the B-2 equipping flying schools owned by Blackburn at Brough Aerodrome and London Air Park, Hanworth. A total of 42 B-2s, including the prototype, were built, with production continuing until 1937.
The last three B-2s were sold to the Air Ministry and issued to the Brough flying school where they were operated in RAF markings.
This aircraft (above), the only remaining airworthy Blackburn B-2, was built in 1936 and delivered to Flying Training Ltd at Hanworth, fitted with a Hermes IVA engine in common with the rest of the Hanworth fleet. It returned to Brough with all the other B-2s in 1939 and was retained by Blackburn Aircraft Ltd when the other B-2s were taken over by the RAF. Post war, it was fitted with a Gipsy Major I engine and continued to be based and to fly from Brough where it was initially used for instruction at the Blackburn-sponsored Brough Flying Club. Latterly it has been exhibited over many years at various flying meetings and now forms part of the Heritage Fleet of aircraft owned by BAE Systems.
It is now in The Shuttleworth Collection.
Another fuselage was for many years seen up a tree in an Essex scrapyard before being rescued in the 1980s. The aircraft displays two identities, G-ACBH and G-ADFO and is preserved, still wearing its original paint, at the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum.
Sir William Roberts, who was a prominent figure in the history of aviation preservation, kept this Miles M14A having sold all his collection including a Mosquito and Lancaster. Bonhams auctioned the Hawk Trainer after his passing 2012
External link - Napier H-16 Rapier Aircraft Engine by Old Machine Press
External Link - Napier H-24 Dagger Aircraft Engine by Old Machine Press
External link - Napier H-24 Sabre Aircraft Engine by Old Machine Press
The Hawker Hart was a British two-seater biplane light bomber aircraft of the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was designed during the 1920s by Sydney Camm and manufactured by Hawker Aircraft.
K2434 was used by Napier to test the Napier Dagger I, II and III.