Percival Vega Gull

Percival Vega Gull

Infobox Aircraft
name=Percival Vega Gull

type=Civil touring aircraft, military trainer and communications aircraft
manufacturer=Percival Aircraft Limited
designer=Edgar W. Percival
first flight=November 1935
primary user=Royal Air Force
more users=Fleet Air Arm
produced=November 1935-July 1939
number built=90
unit cost=
developed from=Percival Gull
variants with their own articles=Percival Proctor
The Percival Vega Gull was a 1930s British, four-seater touring aircraft built by Percival Aircraft Limited. It was a single-engine, low-wing (Folding), wood-and-fabric monoplane with a fixed tailwheel undercarriage.

Design and development

Built by Percival Aircraft of Gravesend and Luton (after 1936 when Percival Aircraft became a Limited Company), the P.10 Vega Gull was a development of their earlier Gull. The major changes from the earlier design were the provision of an additional fourth seat, dual controls and flaps. To effect these changes, the fuselage was widened, and the wingspan increased. The resulting increases in drag were largely negated by a very extensive clean-up of parasitic drag from detailed exterior fittings such as hinges etc. This work was largely attributable to the arrival at Percivals of the very talented aircraft designer Arthur Bage. [ [ "An Aviation Pioneer" (Obituary).] A Record of the Bage Family History, 1987. Retrieved: 22 July 2008.] Thus, the Vega Gull was very nearly as fast as the more svelte Gull Six. Payload, range and usability were likewise all much-improved. The prototype "G-AEAB" first flew from Gravesend in November 1935. [ Fleet Air Arm Archive] ] .

The Vega Gull retained the de Havilland Gipsy Six air-cooled inline engine introduced in the D.3 Gull Six of 1934. Most examples were fitted with the optional DH Gipsy Six Series II engine in conjunction with the DH-PD30 VP airscrew. The final Mk II examples were fitted with a curved windscreen (the earlier examples had a multi-faceted windscreen of flat panels) similar in appearance to the early marks of the Proctor. [Ellison 1997, p. 30.]

Operational history

Two early production Vega Gulls were entered into the "Schlesinger Race" from England to Johannesberg, South Africa. Charles W.A. Scott and Giles Guthrie flying Vega Gull "G-AEKE" was the only finisher landing at Rand Airport on 1 October 1936. [ [ "British Civil Aviation in 1936".] Royal Air Force Museum, 2008. Retrieved: 22 July 2008.] The aircraft had left Portsmouth 52 hours 56 minutes 48 seconds earlier. With the publicity of the win, Percival set up a production line at larger premises at Luton. The new type was an immediate success with production running to 90, the last production aircraft had its maiden flight on 27 July 1939.

The Vega Gull was widely used by British and Commonwealth aviators during the latter years of the "Golden Age" of record-setting aviation during the 1930s. Alex' Henshaw, Jim Mollison, Amy Johnson, Beryl Markham, C.W.A. Scott and others, won races and broke records to South Africa, South America, Australia and New Zealand, to name but a few.

In addition to civil orders, 15 were ordered by the Air Ministry. Of these, 11 served with 24 Squadron Royal Air Force on communications duties and two were issued to the Fleet Air Arm, which was yet to come under Admiralty control. The remaining two were used by the British air attachés in Buenos Aires and Lisbon. A third aircraft for use by the British air attaché in Berlin was seized by the Germans at the outbreak of the Second World War. It remains unclear whether the Luftwaffe subsequently used this machine.

After the outbreak of war, some numbers of Vega Gulls were requisitioned for military use. In the UK, 21 were impressed in 1939-40, 14 for the RAF and seven for the FAA. Two aircraft were impressed in each of Australia and India, while one other was "called to the colours" in New Zealand. [ British Aircraft of World War II] ]

By the end of the war, the Vega Gull had been largely supplanted by its younger sibling, the Proctor, of which more than 1,100 were manufactured. Most Proctors, especially the later examples, were much slower and more cumbersome than the original Vega. Despite the obvious drawbacks of its wooden airframe in terms of weather resistance, the Vega Gull still compares very favourably with, and indeed often surpasses, many much more modern designs even today. It was capable of transporting four adults, full fuel and baggage, at a good cruise speed over a considerable distance, on a modest 200 hp at about nine gallons (Imp.) per hour fuel consumption. It could do all this out of a small grass airfield. Added to all this, to save space in the hangar, the wings could be folded with great ease to enable the aircraft to fit into a small space. All these feats are still noteworthy today, - a full 72 years after the design first flew.


* Type K.1 Vega Gull : Single-engined, four-seat touring aeroplane.


Military operators

*Royal Australian Air Force
**Governor-General's Flight RAAF;NZL
*Royal New Zealand Air Force
**No. 42 Squadron RNZAF;UK
*Royal Air Force
**No. 24 Squadron RAF
*Fleet Air Arm

pecifications (Vega Gull)

aircraft specifications
plane or copter?= plane
jet or prop?= prop

ref={British Aircraft of World War II}
capacity=3 passengers
length main= 25 ft 6 in
length alt= 7.77 m
span main= 39 ft 6 in
span alt= 12.04 m
height main= ft in
height alt= m
area main= 184 ft²
area alt= 17.09 m²
empty weight main= 1,740 lb
empty weight alt= 789 kg
loaded weight main= 3,250 lb
loaded weight alt= 1,474 kg
useful load main= lb
useful load alt= kg
max takeoff weight main= lb
max takeoff weight alt= kg
more general=

engine (prop)=de Havilland Gipsy Six six-cylinder air-colled inline
type of prop=2-blade
number of props=1
power main= 200-hp
power alt= 149-kW
power original=
max speed main= 151 knots
max speed alt= 174 mph, 280 km/h
cruise speed main= 130 knots
cruise speed alt= 150 mph, 241 km/h
never exceed speed main= knots
never exceed speed alt= mph, km/h
stall speed main= knots
stall speed alt= mph, km/h
range main= 574 nm
range alt= 660 mi, 1,062 km
ceiling main= 17,000 ft
ceiling alt= 5,182 m
climb rate main= ft/min
climb rate alt= m/s
loading main= lb/ft²
loading alt= kg/m²
power/mass main= hp/lb
power/mass alt= W/kg
more performance=


ee also


*Percival Gull
*Percival Proctor
similar aircraft=
*Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun
*Miles Messenger

*List of aircraft of the Royal Air Force
*List of aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm

see also=




* Ellison, Norman H. "Percivals Aircraft" (The Archive Photographs Series). Chalford, Stroud, UK: Chalford Publishing Company, 1997. ISBN 0-7524-0774-0.
* Jackson, A.J. "British Civil Aircraft since 1919, Volume 3". London: Putnam, 1974. ISBN 0-370-10014-X.
* Percival, Robert. "A Portrait of Percival." "Aeroplane Monthly", Vol. 12, No. 9, September 1984.
* Silvester, John. "Percival Aircraft 1933-1954 (Parts 1-4)." "Aeroplane Monthly", Vol. 11, No. 1–4, January-April 1983.

External links

* [ British Aircraft Directory]

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