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Great Britain's Vickers Wellesley bomber

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Vickers-Armstrong Wellesley bomber:
Great Britain's Vickers-Armstrong Wellesley bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Vickers-Armstrong Wellesley bomber:
Great Britain's Vickers-Armstrong Wellesley bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Vickers Wellesley bomber:
Great Britain's Vickers Wellesley bomber
Vickers Wellesley bomber:
Great Britain's Vickers Wellesley bomber

Design

The Vickers Wellesley was the first Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft designed to used Barnes Wallis' geodetic construction method.1,2 The Air Ministry put forth a specification for a biplane torpedo bomber.1 Vickers submitted a design for a biplane and monoplane aircraft.1 The monoplane was superior and was selected.1

Wings

The wings had a long span and high aspect ratio, which allowed for cruising efficiency.1 Panniers under the wings housed the bombs.1

Prototype

The Wellesley prototype first flew on June 19, 1935.1,2 An order for 96 was placed in September 1935.1,2

Production

The first Wellesley Mk I flew on January 30, 1937.1 The Wellesley entered service in April 1937.1 The last Wellesley was delivered in May 1938.1

  • Prototype: 11
  • Wellesley Mk I: 1761,2
  • Total: 1771

Variants

  • Prototype:
  • Wellesley Mk I:
  • Wellesley Mk II: Some Mk Is were fitted with a continuous canopy glazing and were referred to as the Mk II.1

Usage

Ten RAF squadrons were equipped with the Wellesley.1

Record Breaking

In November 1938 three Wellesleys took off from Ismailia, Egypt and flew to Darwin, Australia non-stop.1,2 They had extra fuel tanks installed.1 Two of them made the journey of 7,162 miles / 11,526 km in a little over 48 hours.1,2

Start of World War II

At the start of the war there were about 100 Wellesleys based in the Middle East and Africa.1 They such much action against the Italian's in East Africa, Italian Somaliland, and the Western Desert.1

Later these aircraft were used for shipping reconnaissance until the middle of 1943.1

Specifications

  Vickers-Armstrong Wellesley
Type Long range bomber3
Crew  
Engine (Type) 1: Bristol-Pegasus XX3
Cylinders Radial3
Cooling  
HP 8003
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 74' 7"3
Length 39' 3"3
Height 12' 4"3
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 11,000 lb3
Performance  
Speed 225 mph3
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range 1,100 miles3
Armament  
Rear cockpit 1: MG3
Wing 1: MG3
  Vickers Wellesley Mk I
Type General purpose bomber1, Bomber2
Crew 21,2
Engine (Type) Bristol Pegasus XX1,2
Cylinders Radial 91,2
Cooling  
HP 9251,2
Propeller blades 31
Dimensions  
Span 74' 7"1,2
22.73 m1
Length 39' 3"1,2
11.96 m1
Height 12' 4"1,2
3.76 m1
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 6,369 lb1
2,889 kg1
Loaded 11,100 lb1,2
5,035 kg1
Performance  
Speed  
Speed at sea level 178 mph1
286 kph1
Speed @ 19,680' 228 mph2
Speed @ 19,700' /
6,005 m
228 mph1
370 kph1
Cruising speed 160 mph1
257 kph1
Climb 1,200'/minute1
365 m/minute1
Service ceiling 26,100'1, 33,000'2
7,955 m1
Range 1,110 miles2, 1,335 miles1
2,148 km1
Armament 2: MGs2
Nose 1: 0.303" MG1
Rear cockpit 1: 0.303" MG1
Bombs 2,000 lb2
Bombs - under wing pods 2,000 lb1
907 kg1

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  3. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
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