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Thread: A W Whitley V

  1. #1
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    Default A W Whitley V

    I would appreciate any information regarding the handling characteristics of the Whitley V particularly if one engine had to be shut down or was operating at reduced power.

    Thanks

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    Default Re: AW Whitley

    Hi...terrible, I would imagine....;0)

    I read somewhere that Whitley's were dreadful to fly on two engines..so on one would be extremely taxing...

    They were slow of course because of the incidence of the wing....originally they had no flaps....design characteristic and a basic flaw..although these planes were on the threshold/transition of aircraft moving from bi-planes to monoplanes....so not the a/cs fault.....could have been a much better plane if they had just stuck some flaps on her...and dealt with those wings.....

    The Whitley flew with a distinctive nose down attititude which of course increased drag....controls were said to be quite unresponsive.....at the best of times...

    I was 'friends' with a former whitley Navigator...but sadly he passed away last year before I was able to quiz him on whitley's.....

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    Hi,
    From the accounts i've read over the years from ex Whitley 'drivers', the aircraft was generaly regarded as pleasant to fly, but the take off and landing took a bit of getting used to for the uninitiated because of the wing incidence. If you can get hold of a now long out of print book 'Test pilot at war' by H A Taylor (Ian Allan) it includes some interesting insights into the handling characteristics of many a/c of this period from an ex ATA and MU test pilot.
    Ian

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    Nicks,

    There's been a long-running thread (started in 2009) about the Whitley on the Key Publishing forum at http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showthread.php?t=93634&highlight=Whitley. Suggest you either post your query there or contact the thread 'owner'.

    Brian

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    What is the specific reason for your query? The forum can probably focus better on your question once we know why you want to know. The Whitley's handling characteristics were rather peculiar when approaching to land, especially when low on fuel and with a load still on board.

    As to flying the Whitley V on one engne, it was usually accompanied by a gradual loss of altitude, though some said that the will-power of the pilot could wield a decisive influence.

    Deadrock

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    Default

    Hi,
    Further to my initial reply, i've managed to dig out the Pilot's notes for the Whitley V. Under the section 'Engine Failure' it has the following :-
    (i) Safety speed is 95 m.p.h. A.S.I.R.
    (ii) At normal load (26,000 lb), the aeroplane will climb on one engine. Climbing speed is 100 m.p.h. A.S.I.R.
    (iii) At overload (32,000 lb), the aeroplane will not maintain height.
    There is no mention of any adverse handling effects with one engine failed.
    Cheers
    Ian

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    Pilot's Notes should perhaps be treated with a similar degree of caution to the MPG figures published for modern cars, carried out in 'normal' weather conditions using a relatively new aircraft.

    Anecdotal evidence, backed by the evidence from Special Duties and bomber operations - my specific area of interest relates to SD operations by (1)419 Flight, 138 and 161 Squadrons - indicates that the Whitley's ability to hold height on one engine was marginal at best. That margin disappeared if any of the factors likely to afflict aircraft on operations came into the equation; which they usually did. These factors might be icing on the wing surfaces reducing lift, the freezing of exactor controls preventing adjustment between fine and coarse pitch, and well-worn engines developing less than the rated power output.

    If you lost the starboard engine you also lost the hydraulics for the undercarriage, power-turrets, flaps and radiator-shutter; if you lost the port engine you lost the brake hydraulics and power for the automatic pilot.
    A generator on the Port engine provided the general electrical power; another on the Starboard engine powered the starters and the wireless kit. (Info from the Pilot's Notes.)

    The Whitley could have been flown single-handed but for one minor flaw: if the hydraulics failed the undercart could only be lowered manually by another crew member, the lever and mechanism being behind the bulkhead aft of the W/Operator's position. (See the film "Memphis Belle" for an example of the procedure on a B-17.) On the afternoon pre-operational flight-test another crew member, usually the W/Op, accompanied the pilot precisely for this reason.

    Celt22 is quite right about Whitley pilots liking the aircraft: my father's pilot told me it was a pleasant and comfortable aircraft to fly. But for almost everyone else the Whitley was very draughty and very cold, especially at altitude. SD crews were fortunate in that they rarely flew above 7,000 feet unless they were going to Scandinavia or Eastern Europe. Over France or the Low Countries, beyond the coastal flak, they usually flew at 1,000 - 2,000 ft. Which meant that if you lost an engine you were rather close to the deck. Fortunately the Merlin X was reliable. For the bomber crews flying at 10,000+ feet, their operations were a freezing hell.

    DR

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    Default

    Thank you all for your useful and informative answers. I have been looking into the loss of a Whitley in 1941, which may have been trying to land on one engine, hence my interest in the handling characteristics.

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