Aviation Archive - British X-Planes

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GLOSTER E28/39

On 15 May 1941, a small aircraft took off from RAF Cranwell and entered the history books. What made this unassuming machine special was that it had no propeller…

DE HAVILLAND DH108 SWALLOW
The aptly-named Swallow was the first British swept-winged jet aircraft. However, its story did not have a happy ending

SAUNDERS-ROE SRA1
Famous as the world’s first jet-powered flying boat fighter, the SRA1 was a triumph of engineering… but the end of the flying boat era was nigh

ARMSTRONG WHITWORTH AW52
The Armstrong Whitworth AW52 has the distinction of being the first and only British jet-powered flying wing to have flown

GLOSTER E1/44
Born from a World War 2 requirement, this compact single-engined fighter was too late and too slow to succeed

HAWKER P1052
The Hawker P1052 was the genealogical link between the Sea Hawk and Hunter and provided valuable research into swept-wing technology

SUPERMARINE TYPE 510
Essentially a swept-wing version of the Attacker, the Type 510 was to evolve into the less than successful Swift

AVRO 707
The Avro 707 family of experimental aircraft were ‘proof of concept’ scaled-down versions of the Avro 698, better known as the Vulcan

SUPERMARINE TYPE 528/535
Morphing out of Supermarine’s Type 510 experimental prototype, the Type 528 was the second aircraft in the ancestral lineage of the Swift

HAWKER P1081
The P1081 was the final step in the long-development of Hawker’s first jet fighter to enter RAF service, the Hunter

BOULTON PAUL P111
Designed for research into the delta wing planform, this diminutive aircraft was one of the most ‘cutting edge’ shapes to ever fly

FAIREY DELTA 1
This stubby delta was one of the most ambitious research jets built in the wake of World War 2, but it was destined to fail from the start

SHORT SPERRIN
This conventional four-engined jet bomber was a fall-back option in case the more radical jet designs of the ‘V bombers’ were delayed

SUPERMARINE TYPE 508/529
The kindest thing to say about these experimental Supermarine jets is that their legacy lived on in the Scimitar

BOULTON PAUL P120
Even in the perilous world of aviation research flying, the P120 had a remarkably short career, signifying the end of Boulton Paul as an aircraft manufacturer

SHORT SB5
It looked fast but it wasn’t. However, it was slow by design and ironically this machine played a critical role in Britain’s supersonic research

SHORT SB4 SHERPA
This was one of the most unorthodox aircraft to grace the skies in the 1950s, its design shaped around its so-called ‘aero-isoclinic’ wing

ENGLISH ELECTRIC P1
When the first English Electric P1 thundered into the skies, British aviation entered a new era… the supersonic fighter had truly arrived

FAIREY DELTA 2
Futuristic and perfectly formed the FD2 was capable of exceeding 1,000mph and was a World Air Speed Record holder

SHORT SC1
The Short SC1 was aviation’s answer to the humming bird and was the first fixed-wing aircraft to transition from vertical to forward flight

SAUNDERS-ROE SR53
Part turbojet, part rocket, the Saunders-Roe 53 was a short-range zoom fighter designed to intercept high-altitude bombers

HANDLEY PAGE HP115
The Handley Page HP115 was an odd looking beast, but it played an integral part in the development of Concorde

BRISTOL 188
The futuristic Bristol Type 188 was every school boy’s dream of a record breaking aircraft, but ultimately looks were deceptive

BAC TSR2
Everybody’s favourite ‘What if?’ aircraft, the TSR2 was shrouded in controversy from the start