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Miles Kestrel Aircraft Information

Miles Kestrel

Kestrel

National origin: United Kingdom
Manufacturer: Phillips and Powis Aircraft Ltd
Designed by: F. G. Miles
First flight: May 1937
Retired: August 1941
Number built: 1
Variants: Miles Master

The Miles M.9 Kestrel was a single engined tandem seat monoplane, designed as an advanced trainer. Though only one Kestrel was built, it went into production as the Miles Master for the RAF in large numbers at the start of World War II.

Contents

Development

Whether the Miles Kestrel advanced trainer was named after a bird of prey like many aircraft designed by F. G. Miles, or after its Kestrel engine is not recorded. It was Miles' first high powered aircraft and was an aerodynamically clean monoplane with cantilever wings and tailplane. The Kestrel had thick wings, perhaps influenced by the experiments with the Miles Hawcon, with a root thickness to chord ratio of about 23%. They had inverted gull form, with anhedral inboard giving way to dihedral on the outer part. The wings carried ailerons immediately outboard of Miles split trailing edge flaps in two sections on each wing. The main undercarriage was attached at the lowest point of the wing, keeping the legs short; they retracted backwards, with the wheels rotating into the plane of the wings. A tail wheel was fitted. Both rudder and elevators were horn balanced and fitted with trim tabs. The aircraft was wooden throughout, with spruce frames covered in beech ply and a doped fabric sheath.

Instructor and pupil sat in tandem under a simple perspex canopy with the minimum of framing and with extra clear panels in the fuselage sides behind the rear seat. The forward seat was positioned at about mid-chord. The 745 hp (556 kW) Kestrel engine drove a three bladed propeller and had a chin radiator under the nose.

The sole Kestrel, built as a private venture was registered (as G-AEOC) in 1936 first flew in May 1937. It appeared soon after at the RAF Hendon display on 26 June. Its performance was remarkable especially for a two seater; it reached 295 mph (475 km/h) at 14,000 ft (4,270 m), only 15 mph slower than the contemporary single seat Hurricane with its much more powerful engine. The Kestrel, of course did not carry the same military load, though there was provision for a single 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine gun in the starboard wing outboard of the landing gear, and for a camera in the matching port side position. There is no record that this gun was fitted. There was also provision for eight practice bombs on two centre section racks.

After Hendon it flew on manufacturer's trials, carrying the Class B civil test marking U-5 until it was transferred to military markings as N3300. It was test flown at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough and by the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down Wiltshire. It was struck off RAF charge on 20 August 1941 and was scrapped at the Miles base at Woodley Aerodrome near Reading in 1943.

The Kestel had not been built to an Air Ministry specification and did not immediately go into production, being described by some as "premature"; but when the winner of the Air Ministry specification T.6/36 contract, the very different de Havilland Don failed, orders for a production development of the Kestrel called the Miles Master were placed. At the time it was the largest ever order for an RAF training aircraft. The Master I had some noticeable differences from the Kestrel, particularly in the shape of the rear fuselage and fin, the rudder and elevator balancing, the cockpit glazing and the relocation of the radiator from nose to belly, but was otherwise very similar.

Specifications

Data from Lukins & Russell 1945, pp. 40

General characteristics

Crew: 2
Length: 29 ft 6 in (8.99 m)
Wingspan: 39 ft 0 in (11.88 m)
Height: 9 ft 5 in (2.87 m)
Wing area: 235 ft (21.8 m)
Empty weight: 4,159 lb (1,886 kg)
Gross weight: 5,337 lb (2,421 kg)
Powerplant: 1Rolls Royce Kestrel XVI liquid cooled V-12 x , 745 hp (556 kW) each

Performance

Maximum speed: at 14,000 m (4,270 m) 296 mph (475 km/h)
Cruise speed: 245 mph (394 km/h)

Bibliography

Halley, J.J. (1993). Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-N9999. Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-208-4.
Jackson, A.J. (1960). British Civil Aircraft 1919-59. 2. London: Putnam Publishing.
Jackson, A.J. (1974). British Civil Aircraft since 1919 - Volume 3. Putnam & Co Ltd. ISBN 0-370-10014-X.
Lukins, A.H.; Russell, D.A. (1945). The Book of Miles aircraft. Leicester: Harborough.
Thetford, Owen (1957). Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918-57. London: Putnam Publishing.

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Source: WikiPedia

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