Military Review

Experimental deck fighter M.35 Libellula

Marine application aviation in the operations of World War II played an important role. The British carrier-based Seafire and Sea Hurricane fighters were a modification of land aircraft and had a high landing speed. To these planes descended into the deck hangars of aircraft carriers, the wings were made folding, and this led to an increase in take-off weight.

To eliminate these shortcomings, the English designer D. Miles in the year 1940 developed the design of a deck fighter with a "tandem" scheme. The front wing area was 60 percent rear area. The use of this arrangement made it possible to reduce the size of the wings, that is, they could be made not folding, but the flaps deflected simultaneously down on both bearing surfaces should have provided low landing speed.

Experimental deck fighter M.35 Libellula

To test this idea at the aviation firm Phillips & Powis Aircraft Limited, under the direction of Miles, built an experimental aircraft M.35. George Miles wanted to name the plane Dragonfly, which was the name used for the de Havilland DH.90 and the project was given the name Libellula. The layout of the M.35 was conceived as suitable for a carrier-based fighter; the pilot was positioned as far ahead as possible, and the engine and pusher propeller were installed behind the rear wing. Since the lift was provided by two wings, the span of which could be reduced, there was no need to fold them.

The M.35 fighter was a single-seat all-wood monoplane equipped with a pushing propeller. The front bearing surface served to accommodate the elevators, the rear - ailerons. In addition, both surfaces were equipped with landing flaps. Vertical plumage - washers at the end of the wing. The plane had one interesting feature - a significant sweep of the main wing tips. Swept wing improves road stability. In addition to the three-wheeled chassis with a nose wheel, there was an additional wheel at the back, which prevented the propeller from crashing when landing with a significant angle of attack.

The M.35 aircraft was manufactured and lifted into the air six weeks after the start of construction. The first prototype, under registration number U-0235, took off on May 1 of the year 1942. In reality, this machine was not a real fighter, but rather demonstrated the technology, it was not even equipped with weapons.

During the tests, it turned out that the aircraft had a significant longitudinal instability. Tests in a wind tunnel showed that this problem can be eliminated. The stability of the aircraft was improved by changing the centering. Despite the challenges identified during the tests, Miles proposed this project to the Admiralty of Great Britain. However, taking into account all the identified shortcomings, as well as taking into account that the fighters that were in service with the British Navy exceeded the M. 35 in all respects, the production contract was not signed.

In addition to the M.35 Libellula, George Miles developed the M.XNXX heavy bomber in the same way. The new car had to be equipped with three turbojet engines or, for a start, two high-altitude Rolls-Royce Merlin 39 (Rolls-Royce Merlin) or Bristol Hercules VIII (Bristol Hercules). Under the designation of M. 60B, a bomber model was built on the 39 / 5 scale of its actual size. 8 July 22, the unit took off and showed good aerodynamic stability. Initially, flight tests were carried out privately, but in 1943, the aircraft was transferred to Farnborough at the Royal Aviation Research Institute, where the tests were stopped after two accidents.

Aircraft performance characteristics:
Length - 6,20 m;
Height - 2,06 m;
The span of the upper wing - 6,10 m;
The span of the lower wing - 6,22 m;
Wing area - 12,50 m2;
Empty weight - 660 kg;
Normal take-off weight - 839 kg;
Engine type - piston engine de Havilland Gipsy Major;
Power - HP 130;
Cruising speed - 224 km / h;
Maximum speed - 358 km / h;
Practical range - 320 km
Practical ceiling - 6200 m;
Armament - not installed;
Crew - 1 man

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  1. Hemi cuda
    Hemi cuda 16 July 2013 10: 33
    Thanks for the article, interesting plane.
    1. Argon
      Argon 16 July 2013 15: 02
      What a loud title of the article-FIGHTER. In my opinion, the prerequisites for the creation of this "Duckling" are not quite correctly described. It happened during the "battle for Britain", the industry and especially the treasury of England frantically tried to maintain the pace of supply of Air Force fighters, compensating for the huge losses (according to At the same time, the financing of the fleet's aviation was of a quality, not even of the second order. Specifically, the fleet of carrier-based fighters was mainly biplanes, and about a hundred Sea Harikains were rapidly physically aging. At the same time, the issue of air defense of ship groupings has not been canceled. So they rushed to the top, the development of light vehicles (cheaper) not "tied" to the units used by ground fighters. I must say that the British were not alone in their "run over the horizon" in the USSR (for example), a number of so-called were created. n. "training fighters" BICH-21, SAM-13, TI-28. It should be noted that the achievement of comparable characteristics (with "normal" fighters) in the classic layout was not a real task, so all representatives of the "ersatz" line look unusual. According to the M-35, we can say that the implementation of the controllability characteristics of the "classic duck" causes significant difficulties even now, with the presence of fairly "advanced" EDSU. All "Rafali" and "Grippens" "from
      rush to "hybrid ducks" where the PGO performs its role directly only in some modes, in fact, these machines are "tailless".
  2. Dronza
    Dronza 21 July 2013 13: 23
    Very controversial aircraft, and no specifications.