Hawker’s Chief Experimental Test Pilot, Philip Lucas, gives insights into the problematic development of the Hawker Typhoon, together with his experiences of test flying the Hawker Hurricane and Tempest, and the pressures of developing aircraft in the heat of World War II.
Based at Langley and in Brooklands, Lucas takes listeners through the problems with the Typhoon, most notably the resonance of the tailplane, its compressibility problems and tendency to pitch up due to do the airflow over local part of the body going supersonic. Such problems led potential and actual loss of life when the Typhoon lost its tailplane or fell into dangerous dives only to be able to be rescued once it reached 8,000 ft. Lucas won the George Cross for safely landing a Typhoon after a structural failure.
Lucas also talks about how he wrote off the prototype Westland Welkin when compressibility problems caused it to progressively catch fire.
The interview was conducted by Rodney Giesler and was edited by Mike Stanberry FRAeS.