1930 to 1939



In its day, the Siskin was a revolutionary aircraft.  The Atalanta, which appeared in 1932, was an even greater sensation.  This aircraft was to set the trend for modern multi engine aircraft design.


The Atalanta was the first four engine cantilever monoplane to fly and the first aircraft to have its engines mounted directly on the wings.  Its whole appearance was revolutionary.  The undercarriage was still fixed, but the oleo legs, radius rods and most of the axles were contained in the fuselage and the protruding Wheels covered with streamlined spats.  The crew had a streamlined enclosed cockpit in the nose.


Eight aircraft were built for Imperial Airways, and served on African, Far Eastern and Australasian routes.  The last of these aircraft were still flying under arduous conditions in Africa as late as 1946.


Another innovation introduced on the Atlanta was a device described as a servo rudder.  Unfavourable reports from the test pilot led to this being dropped only for it to be rediscovered years later under the title of the "spring tab".


Although the monoplane had thus made its impact on the civil field, the biplane was still the Services' choice. In addition to producing large numbers of the famous Hawker Hart under sub-contract, A.W.A. produced the Type 19 (1934) and, in the same year, the ultimate in biplane design, the Scimitar.


The Type 19 was built as a private venture to a complex Air Ministry specification but, although the type put in many hours of flying, the project was cancelled.


The Scimitar brought biplane streamlining to the peak of the art.  The electrical generators were built into the fuselage and the navigation lights were streamlined into the wing and rudder.  It did not go into production, but a number were built under licence and in Norway and gave a good account of themselves in the extreme temperatures in which the Norwegian Air Force operated.  Incidentally, the Scimitar was the first aircraft to fly from Baginton, which took place on 25th May, 1936.


In 1935, the AW 23 first flew.  Only one of these aircraft was built, to a Ministry specification, but it marked another great step forward in design.  A twin engine bomber transport monoplane, it formed the basis of design for the famous Whitley bomber.


The AW 23 was the first A.W.A. aircraft to have a retractable undercarriage and the first aircraft to have a major component made of light alloy, which was the famous box spar construction wing.


After three years of test flying, it was converted to a flying laboratory, acting as receiver and tanker in Flight Refuelling Limited's early experiments until enemy bombs simultaneously flattened it and the Flight Refuelling works in 1940.


One more aircraft appeared before the great Whitley. This was a single engine monoplane, the AW 29, designed as a day bomber with a retractable undercarriage, enclosed pilot's cockpit and an Armstrong Whitworth designed transparent cupola gun turret.  Only the prototype was built, which was flown for the first time in 1936, but was soon forgotten in the momentous events of that year.


Armstrong Whitworth, together with Armstrong Siddeley Motors and A. V. Roe and Company Limited, was controlled by the Armstrong Siddeley Development Company Limited.  In 1935, this company amalgamated with Hawker Aircraft Limited to form the Hawker Siddeley Aircraft Company Limited.  In 1936, this became the great Hawker Siddeley Group, with A.W.A. a member company.


In that same year the Whitley first flew. Another great airliner, the Ensign approached the jig stage at Whitley, and, to cope with the company's continuing expansion, a new factory was opened at Baginton.






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 AW 19

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AW 23

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AW 29

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