By Karel Susa
Publisher: 4+ Publication 2000 37 Pages
PDF 7 MB
From the late 1920s the name Hawker, represented by a wide range of fighter, bomber and army co-operation aeroplanes, was ubiquitous at the majority of military airfields throughout the country and overseas, as well as on the flight decks of the Royal Navy carriers then in service. The aircraft were designed by the H.G. Hawker Engineering Company which was founded in 1920 on the ruins of the well-known WWI aeroplane manufacturer, the Sopwith Aviation Company. It made good use of the former firm's engineer-designer knowledge and skill in aeroplane construction. The common feature of Hawker new designs was that only one single configuration was kept at a time and then developed to its extreme limits. A significant improvement in aircraft design came up in the mid-twenties when a metal construction was introduced. At first a mixed wood and metal structure had been employed. The Hawker's addition was a new form of primary structure assembly - instead of welding, end plate joints were used to connect the tubular structure of the fuselage airframe. Soon afterwards another innovation was patented by Hawkers - a new design of the wing spar giving a greater strength-to-weight ratio. The first aircraft to prove these pioneering ideas were the late production Horsley torpedo bomber and the Heron fighter respectively. The new structure assembly was then employed in all subsequent company designs up to 1943. The firm's "supremacy" in the RAF/FAA inventory began with the family of Hart bombers followed by the Demon fighter, the Osprey naval reconnaissance aircraft, the Audax, Hardy army co-operation aeroplanes and Hind general purpose machines. In the 1930s a similar place among fighter aircraft was taken over by the Fury biplane and its naval equivalent the Nimrod.