To advance the science of aerodynamics, the Royal Aeronautical
Establishment (RAE) commissioned an 'infinitely adjustable' aeroplane
from Armstrong Whitworth, that by addition and adjustment of various
parts would 'provide all the answers' to problems of aircraft design. By
varying the length and rake of various struts on the resulting biplane, named
the Ape, the wing position, stagger, gap and dihedral could be varied. The
fuselage length could be increased by inserting extra bays. Despite all the
ingenuity in its construction, the first Ape only had a 180hp engine
and, unsurprisingly, performance was poor, limiting its utility in exploring
the effects of various configurations. The second Ape was later fitted with a
more powerful Jupiter engine, but extra gadgets increased the weight and
largely nullified the effect of the greater power. It lasted for nine months of
'somewhat protracted' trials before crash-landing near Farnborough in May
1929. A third aircraft was
completed but saw little use,
the RAE having become
with the whole idea.
| ENGINE||1 x 180hp Napier Lynx III radial piston engine|
| Take-off weight||1225-1474 kg||2701 - 3250 lb|
| Wingspan||12.19 m||40 ft 0 in|
| Length||8.61/11.66 m||28 ft 3 in / 38 ft 3 in|
| Height||3.96/4.57 m||13 ft 0 in / 15 ft 0 in|
| Max. speed||145 km/h||90 mph|
|A three-view drawing (800 x 621)|
|Ray Houghton, 11.05.2016|
I believe that the name was chosen in accordance with British Air Ministry nomenclature in relation to the manufacturer's name and the aircraft's design mission (e.g. the name must begin with a certain letter - usually the initial letter of the manufacturer's name - and it must be the name of, say, a certain kind of animal. The number of syllables in the word is sometimes important too).
This contraption has to be the ugliest, and strangest, airplane ever built. In addition, it also must have had the oddest name ever bestowed upon an airplane as well. Whoever got the idea of naming an airplane an "Ape"?
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?
FACTS AND FIGURES
© The tailplane incidence could
be altered in the air by the
pilot by pulling levers in the
cockpit. Oddly the fin tilted
along with the tailplane.
© Four different sizes and shapes
of rudder and tailplane could
be fitted and the fuselage length
could be changed. About the
only thing that couldn't be
done was change the Ape from
a biplane to a monoplane.
© On the second aircraft a
rather odd arrangement of
struts was attached to the
landing gear to prevent the
propeller striking the ground
if the Ape tipped forward.