In the initial period of the Second World War, the English Channel was one of the main factors capable of protecting Britain from German attack. However, in the future, this water area has become a problem for the British troops. For landing on the coast of continental Europe, ships and amphibious-purpose aircraft with various characteristics were required. For several years, a variety of solutions have been proposed for the delivery of troops. One of the most interesting ideas was proposed as part of Carrier Wing or Baynes Bat.
To send soldiers with light weapons it was planned to use several model airborne gliders into the enemy’s rear rears. Such equipment allowed to transport rather large landing forces and disembark it in a given area. However, the landing gliders, which were in service at the beginning of the war, had a serious disadvantage in the form of limited carrying capacity. Because of this, the landing force did not have to rely on the support of armored vehicles and should only rely on its strength. As a result, the army and industry tried to create gliders with increased payload.
Prototype Baynes Bat in flight
The solution to this problem in the end was the cargo airframe Hamilcar company General Aircraft. He could take on board cargo weighing up to 7 tons, which allowed him to carry one light tank Mk VII Tetrarch. However, such a glider first took off only in March 1942 of the year. Before the start of mass production of such equipment, the army did not have the means to transport armored vehicles, which contributed to the emergence of various projects, including the most daring ones.
In 1941, the designer L.E. proposed his own solution to the existing problem. Baines. In accordance with his plan, for delivery tanks behind the enemy’s rear, a specially designed glider should be used. Moreover, some features of this product made it possible to consider it not a full-fledged aircraft, but a set of additional equipment for existing equipment. The project was called Carrier Wing Glider. Subsequently, the nickname stuck to the project, which was originally the proper name of the prototype.
It is not known whether L. Baines knew about foreign developments in the field of airborne landing of tanks, but his project proposed the already well-known method of delivering payloads to a given area. It was proposed to equip the existing lightweight tank of a production model with a set of additional equipment with which it could be in the air and make a planning flight. With the help of the tug plane, the “flying tank” should have been lifted into the air, after which the route was overcome only through planning.
On the tank should install a special design, the main elements of which were two half-wings. The planes were connected to each other and with the tank with a set of mounts and locks. Upon arrival in the landing zone, the crew of the armored vehicle could drop the wing and go into battle as a full-fledged light tank. Such an approach to the design and use of aircraft allowed us to simplify the production of gliders, but at the same time to ensure the maximum possible efficiency of their use.
Scheme of the aircraft
In his project Carrier Wing L.E. Baines decided to use the original design of the wing. All landing gliders of the time were equipped with a straight wing of large elongation, which had a rectangular shape. In addition, they had a pronounced fuselage with an internal cargo compartment, which was one of the largest structural elements. To improve the aerodynamic characteristics of the new glider should be built according to the "flying wing". The carrier plane was supposed to get swept front and rear edges. Some other ideas and solutions that were not very characteristic for that time were also proposed.
The prospective glider actually had to be a swept wing, on the tips of which there were vertical stabilizers-washers. The fuselage was missing. In the central part of the wing provided space for the pilot's cockpit. Management was proposed to carry out using large elevons on the rear edge of the wing. On the lower surface of the wing, in its center, should have been placed anchorage for the payload in the form of a tank. Perhaps the project also envisaged the use of some tools that improve the aerodynamics of the land vehicle.
According to the calculations of the author, a promising landing glider should have a wing spanning about 100 feet (of the order of 30 m). Such a plane allowed it to carry a payload weighing up to 8-8,5 t, which corresponded to the newest light tank Tetrarch. The glider should have been controlled by its own pilot. In some sources, there is information according to which the glider pilot should have been a member of the crew of the tank, but there is no evidence of this. In addition, some doubts are raised by the very expediency of such a crew recruitment.
The Carrier Wing Glider project was developed in 1941 year, but for a long time could not get out of the "paper" stage. For one reason or another, tests of a promising airframe were constantly postponed. Only in 1943 year L.E. Bains was able to interest the military and get the opportunity to begin practical development of original ideas. In connection with the excessive innovation and excessive boldness of the project, the tests decided to start with a reduced manned model of the landing glider.
Glider on the ground, view of the nose
In the first half of 1943, gliders producing Slingsby Sailplanes began assembling the first prototype in the original project. It was proposed to make a prototype that differs from a full-fledged glider in smaller sizes. Despite three times smaller dimensions, an experienced glider had to demonstrate the prospects of the L.E. Baines The first and, as it turned out, the last prototype for its characteristic form got its own name Baynes Bat - “Baines Bat”.
The prototype was built of wood with a minimum amount of metal parts. Sheathing was made of linen. Power set glider had a very simple design. Thus, the front edge of the wing was formed by two spar beams, which were the main structural elements. Behind the spars were attached ribs, connected with an additional beam at the rear edge. To accommodate the pilot wing equipped cockpit characteristic shape. A small fairing with a transparent lantern protruded above the upper surface of the wing. A larger unit was envisaged under the wing, on the bottom of which a landing ski was located. The project also envisaged the use of a two-wheeled dump chassis, necessary for take-off.
Due to the lack of a traditional tail, the Baynes Bat received two large wing tips, with which it was planned to ensure acceptable track stability. For control, it was necessary to use two flaps, placed on the lower surface of the wing near the cabin, and two elevons near the tips. Control plane using cable wiring connected to the control stick in the cabin.
Maximum length of an experienced glider L.E. Baines was 2,46 m, wingspan - 10,16 m. Wing area - 14,86 sq.m. The crew consisted of one person. Take-off weight reached 485-490 kg. It was allowed to be towed by any aircraft with the required characteristics at a speed of no more than 145 km / h.
In July, the 1943 of the year experienced Baynes Bat glider first flew under the control of pilot Robert Kronfeld. In the future, this pilot repeatedly participated in new test flights of an experimental glider. According to some data, for a more complete study of the work of the “flying wing”, the glider carried a set of various recording equipment that followed a number of parameters. Thus, test flight reports were based not only on the reports of the pilot, but also on the data from the instruments.
An experienced glider showed itself well during various tests. From the point of view of control, he hardly differed from a similar technique of traditional design: the device reacted easily to the movements of the control knob, but at the same time was not inclined to overly vigorous maneuvering, threatening to stall. Some design flaws manifested themselves when landing with a relatively strong side wind. In this case, there was a risk of demolishing to the side or stalling with a blow to the ground. However, R. Kronfeld quickly mastered the management of the original sample. Interestingly, test pilot Eric Brown, who also participated in the verification of “Bains Bat”, left other reviews. In his opinion, the device was inconvenient to manage and could not demonstrate good performance.
According to the test results of a reduced prototype, the question of building a full-fledged prototype with its subsequent flight tests, including using a payload in the form of a light tank, could be resolved. However, permission for this work has not been received. The proposed glider was of interest to the army, but in the current situation, the military decided not to take risks and not to resort to overly bold projects.
From 1942, the amphibious units used the Hamilcar amphibious gliders, capable of carrying not only people, light equipment or other cargo, but also Mk VII Tetrarch tanks. Such aircraft were built serially and massively mastered by pilots. In fact, the niche of gliders carrying light armored vehicles has already been occupied. Continuing work on the Carrier Wing Glider with a view to the possible adoption of such equipment for service and the replacement of existing gliders was considered impractical. Soon after the completion of the test of the Baynes Bat apparatus, the project was closed in its original form.
"Bat" after testing, accidents and repairs
The reasons for the refusal of Carrier Wing L.E. Baines were simple. First, the army already had the required aircraft, and secondly, the new development was not very versatile. The design of the proposed airframe allowed to carry only tanks, while the serial Hamilcar could take on board a variety of cargo. Not later than the end of 1943, the Baynes Bat glider tests ceased, and the development of the basic design was completed.
Since a certain time, the Carrier Wing and Baynes Bat projects have been carried out with the participation of the research organization Royal Aircraft Establishment. It was her participation that saved the experienced glider from immediate disposal. The prototype was no longer of interest from the point of view of practical application, but still could serve science. The “flying wing” scheme attracted the attention of scientists. The need for some research led to the fact that the “Baines Bat” soon became a flying laboratory. With its help, for a long time, RAE specialists studied the behavior of aircraft deprived of a pronounced fuselage and plumage.
There is reason to believe that, as far as participating in various studies, an experienced glider was repeatedly subjected to one or another refinement. In addition, some abnormal situations and accidents were possible, after which individual elements of the airframe required restoration. Thus, by the end of his research career, an experienced glider could have come in a modified form, not completely corresponding to the original one.
According to various sources, the work of Baynes Bat as a flying laboratory continued for several years, at least until the mid-forties. After that, other equally interesting samples were at the disposal of the RAE aviation similar aerodynamic design techniques. Researchers began to study them, and the already tested sample was sent for storage. As far as we know, the last time the experimental "Bat" was seen in 1958 in one of the hangars of the Croydon airfield. What happened to the glider later is unknown, but a unique sample has not survived to this day.
During the Second World War, L.E. Baines proposed an original way of delivering light tanks to the rear of the enemy, but this idea never came to practical use. Due to technological and organizational difficulties, the bold project was not implemented on time. While the author of the idea and his colleagues were preparing to test a reduced sample, ready-made serial gliders were commissioned. They were not distinguished by the boldness of ideas, but at the same time they could fully solve the tasks posed. In such conditions, the “flying wing” was of interest only to scientists, who took the original apparatus for themselves. Thus, the Carrier Wing Glider / Baynes Bat project did not solve the tasks posed by the author, but helped further the development of aviation technology.
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