Newsletter 20
Spring 2008
Updated on 22May2008
AIAA Honours Dunsfold
Annual General Meeting
Book Review
Doctorate for John Farley
Dunsfold and Brookland Events
First Hunter
Flying Hawker Aircraft
Future of Naval Aviation
Hawk News
John Dale
Joint Strike Fighter News
Museum for Dunsfold
Remembering the P.1083
Sea Harrier News
V/Stol Award for Ralph Hooper

Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved Hawker Association
   With the Hunter back in service in England in 2007 (see Newsletter No.19) it is interesting to look back fifty-six, yes, fifty-six years, to Neville Duke's maiden flight in the first Hunter. The following is taken from an account he wrote to mark the 21st anniversary of that flight...
    "As it happened, the preliminaries leading up to that first flight proved more eventful than the flight itself. The prototype, WB188, had been taken by road from Hawker's Kingston on Thames factory the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down, in Wiltshire, and there re-assembled. First came ground handling and taxying trials at speeds up to 100 knots on Boscombe's 3,000 yard long runway. The results were quite satisfactory and all was set for a run at take-off speed. 
The First Hunter

    Conditions for the run were ideal. With the engine at full throttle, the brakes were released and the aircraft accelerated to 120 knots within about 1,000 yards and just became airborne. The throttle was immediately cut and the brakes intermittently applied from about 110 knots. But the brakes began to fade and the end of the runway came rapidly nearer. Soon, braking power was virtually lost but sufficient control remained to allow me to swing off the runway in time to avoid going into the rough stretch beyond. The brakes were billowing smoke and were subsequently found to be burnt out and useless. However, the run had been necessary; the handling characteristics at take-off speed had to be known before the actual flight.
    Repairs were made and the Hunter's first flight took place in the early afternoon of July 20, 1951. It lasted forty-seven minutes and covered a speed range up to 350 knots (Mach 0.6) at heights up to 19,000 ft. A cross wind caused the Hunter to weathercock slightly on take-off but the tendency was checked, at  first by the gentle use of brakes and later by the use of rudder.
    Acceleration was rapid and rudder control became effective at approximately 50 knots IAS. (All figures quoted are indicated air speeds). The take-off run was smooth, with no shimmy or wheel vibration. Full up elevator was used during the initial run, and this called for a heavy pull-up force as speed increased.
    The nose wheel came off the ground at approximately 100 knots and there was no tendency to pitch into the air. A constant attitude after the nose wheel came off was easily maintained. Incidence was kept low and the aircraft was allowed to fly itself off at approximately 140 - 150 knots. The unstick was clean and no pitching occurred. The forward view was good.
    Immediately on unstick a lateral oscillation set up which could not be damped out with aileron; it was caused by lateral movement of the control column. The ailerons were light and effective at this speed and the control column oscillation had a correspondingly noticeable effect.
    No sink occurred as the undercarriage was retracted - at approximately 160-170 knots - but the brakes had to be used to stop the airframe vibration set up by wheel spin. The undercarriage retracted with a positive action but the starboard undercarriage red light remained on and speed was therefore restricted to 350 knots. Undercarriage retraction caused no apparent change of trim.
    Aileron and elevators had power controls but for the first flight the elevators were controlled manually by an emergency reversion system. For this reason the control was heavy and gave rise to some difficulty; the tailplane trim range was inadequate to deal with these heavy forces. But it was only a temporary difficulty; with the elevators under power control and a wider tailplane trim range the system was quite satisfactory.
    The Hunter was put through the scheduled test programme, which included handling in level flight, slow speed handling with undercarriage and flaps in both down and up positions, engine handling and structure temperatures, and tailplane angles to trim.
    Landing presented no serious problems. Speed was reduced on a long downwind leg and full negative tailplane incidence (-40 minutes) was required to trim the aircraft at 220-225 knots. The undercarriage was selected down at 200 knots and locked down in 12 seconds - the starboard leg, nose wheel and port leg in rapid succession - and with no noticeable yaw. The undercarriage lights were bright and clearly visible.
    Full flap was selected at 180 knots but full negative tailplane incidence was insufficient to trim the aircraft, and at 150 knots left a pull force of some 10 lb to be applied to trim the aircraft. The lowering of the flaps was followed by a marked increase in the rate of descent which had to be checked by an increase in power. Flap operation, and the position and functioning of the flap lever and of the flap indicator, were all satisfactory.
    Final approach was started at 150 knots and the Hunter crossed the end of the runway at 140 knots with the engine fully throttled back. Both hands were needed on the control column for hold-off - the 20 lb pull needed on the manually-operated elevators was too tiring for one hand.
    After a 47 minute flight, touchdown at 115 knots was smooth and so was the landing run. The flaps had remained adequate for normal use throughout the approach, and no tendency to swing on the landing run was apparent.
    Later flights confirmed the excellent handling characteristics which the Hunter revealed on the first, and a few minor modifications, including the addition of a small tailcone (at the trailing edge of the tailplane-fin junction. Ed) to help eliminate tail-end vibration at transonic speeds, allowed us to fly at speeds up to 700 mph within a month of the first flight, a tribute to the soundness of its design and construction. In less than a year it had been flown at supersonic speed in a dive and its sonic booms gave audible proof of its transonic capability during demonstrations at several SBAC Farnborough air displays."
    Neville concluded his article by saying, "If, when the time comes, the Hunter needs an epitaph, a clue to the appropriate wording might be found in the 'Limitations' section of its Service Pilots' Notes. The epitaph would simply state: 'It had no Mach limitation.' "