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Wight Quadruplane

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1916


Wight - Bomber / Converted Seaplane - 1916 - Великобритания<– –>Wigram - flying boat - 1913 - Великобритания

P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)

J. Samuel White were among the few aircraft companies to attempt to exploit the quadruplane form and did so with their single-seat scout of 1916. The three upper wings were equal in span but the lowest was shorter than the others. Differing chords on each set of wings were incorporated and the 110 h.p. Clerget-engined machine was modified several times in efforts to improve it but N546 remained the only example of one more of the various unacceptable quadruplane types built.

F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)

Wight Quadruplane Scout

  Towards the end of 1916 the Isle of Wight company, J Samuel White & Co, was engaged in work on a diminutive quadruplane single-seat scout, occasionally referred to as the Wight Type 4. Originally designed by Howard Wright (who had already left the company) the aircraft was powered by a 110hp Clerget rotary in a narrow-chord ‘oil sling’ cowling and, in its initial form featured wings of two different spans, the lowest being the shortest. Wing chord was only 2ft 9in, and tiny ailerons of some nine inches chord were fitted on the three upper wings. The undercarriage comprised single struts well raked outwards and wheels slotted into the lower wings’ leading edge; this arrangement, however, demanded an exceptionally long mounting for the tailskid in order to provide ground clearance for the lower wing’s trailing edge.
  In order to employ an uninterrupted rectangular elevator, the horn-balanced rudder was hinged high on a fixed, triangular fin. As originally designed, the Scout featured twin parallel tubular interplane struts, but lack of side area resulted in these being crudely faired together by the simple expedient of wrapping them with fabric to create a single broad-chord surface; the struts in the lowest wing gap were not so treated. In all likelihood the aircraft was not flown in this somewhat dangerous configuration.
  Early in 1917 a complete rebuild of the aircraft was begun. A much altered tail unit was designed, employing a split
elevator with cutout, thereby allowing an unbalanced rudder to be fitted, together with a much enlarged fin. The fuselage was less tapered in side elevation, resulting in a longer sternpost. A more conventional undercarriage was substituted with twin V-struts, the aft members passing through the lower wing to anchor on the lower longerons, allowing the wheels to be located well below the leading edge of the lower wing and thus permitting a conventionally-mounted tailskid.
  Wing and aileron chords were increased so that the spars and interplane struts could be moved further apart and, with the increased side area of fuselage and tail, there was no need to fair the struts with fabric. A third and final configuration featured wings moved slightly further aft with progressively shorter spans from top to bottom, and with similar outward rake on the interplane struts; ailerons were only fitted on the two top wings.
  Indeed the Scout appeared as a much safer-looking aeroplane, and Marcus Manton went ahead with flight tests. At some time towards the end of 1917 the prototype was purchased by the Admiralty, allotted the naval number N546, and evaluated at Martlesham. Manton stated that N546 ultimately crashed into a cemetary.
  It is inconceivable that, despite its innovatory approach, the Quadruplane was ever seriously considered as a realistic operational fighter.

  Type: Single-engine, single-seat, single-bay quadruplane scout.
  Manufacturer: J Samuel White & Co, Cowes, Isle of Wight.
  Powerplant: One 110hp Clerget rotary engine driving two-blade propeller.
  Dimensions: Span, approx 19ft.
  Prototype: One, N546.

W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters


  Confusingly, aircraft of original design produced by the J S White company bore the appellation Wight, to link them with the location of the works at Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The last of some eight types developed under the direction of Howard T Wright as chief designer was the only Wight aircraft in the fighter category. This was a quadruplane of most unusual layout, in which the fuselage filled the gap between the two middle wings, with the upper and lower mainplanes carried above and below it on struts. At first, single wide-chord struts were used for the cabane and for the single wing bays between the upper, mid-upper and mid-lower wings, all of which had ailerons. The bottom wing, of shorter span, was carried on pairs of struts under the fuselage, and from the mid lower wing. The main wheels were carried on single struts each side and were notched into the bottom wing, with which the axle was in line. Construction was of wood, with mixed fabric and plywood covering. The engine was a 110 hp Clerget 9Z nine-cylinder rotary, but there is no record of the planned armament. Early flight testing, in mid-1916, led to a complete redesign and rebuild, by Howard T Wright and his team, with a fuselage of increased cross-section area and changed profile in side elevation, an enlarged tail unit and a new set of wings of varying chord. The original broad-chord struts gave way to pairs of narrow struts throughout and the undercarriage was lengthened. Possibly first tested at Martlesham Heath in February 1917, the Quadruplane acquired a third set of wings, with span progressively decreasing from top to bottom and ailerons on the two upper sets only. Further tests in July 1917 were unsatisfactory and the Quadruplane was written off in February 1918. No data have survived other than the dimensions.

Span 19 ft 0 in (5,79 m).
Length (final form), 20 ft 6 in (6,25 m).
Height, 10 ft 6 in (3,20 m).

F.Mason - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
The Wight Quadruplane on its long tailskid mounting, as it originally appeared with high-set rudder, small fin, wrapped wing struts and short undercarriage.
F.Mason - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
After rebuilding with modified tail, wings, and lengthened undercarriage with conventional tailskid. The lack of forward view for the pilot is readily apparent.
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
For every new type that enters service there are usually at least two rival designs that failed to make it. One such was the sole, single-seat Wight Quadruplane fighter, completed in August 1916. No doubt designed in the belief that if adding a third wing to the Sopwith Pup can have such a beneficial effect, a fourth should do wonders! Sadly this was not to be so with this machine, serial no N546, seen here in its interim, early 1917 form. Following trials that extended into July 1917, the Admiralty lost interest in this 110hp Clerget-engined machine.
F.Mason - The British Fighter since 1912 /Putnam/
The Quadruplane Scout, N549, in its final form with wings reducing equally in span from the top and raked interplane struts, and ailerons on the top two wings only.
W.Green, G.Swanborough - The Complete Book of Fighters
The extraordinary short-span Wight Quadruplane was tested at Martlesham in 1917.