|Andres Erdos, 10.06.2013|
The Blackburn F3 (also called the Blackburn F.7/30) was a British single-engined fighter aircraft produced in response to Air Ministry Specification F.7/30.
Following the release of Air Ministry Specification F.7/30 for a single-seat day and night fighter, eight different companies proposed 12 different designs and three, including Blackburn Aircraft, received contracts to produce a prototype. Blackburn's design, the F.3, was a single-bay biplane of unequal wingspan and with an unusual configuration, the upper wing being mounted approximately half-way way up the stressed-skin fuselage and the lower about two feet below it, the gap being occupied by an enclosure for the condenser of the evaporatively-cooled Goshawk III engine. The undercarriage was attached to the lower wing's front spar, with diagonal struts transmitting the landing loads to the fuselage longerons. Initially the wheels were fitted with spats, but these were later removed. The four Vickers machine guns were fuselage mounted, two in mid-position on the fuselage and the other two either side of the top of the condenser housing.
Taxying trials of the F.3 began on the 20 July 1934, but the aircraft was difficult to taxi safely, due to the combination of a short fuselage and a high centre of gravity. Additionally, the engine suffered from cooling problems. Further development was stopped when, after an inspection revealed damage to the rear fuselage resulting from the taxying trials, the Air Ministry withdrew support for the project since the aircraft would have been too delayed to take part in the evaluation trials. Following evaluation of F.7/30 designs an order was placed for the Gloster Gladiator.
Length: 27 ft 0 in (8.22 m)
Wingspan: 36 ft 10.75 in (9.02 m)
Height: 10 ft 0 in (3.05 m)
Empty weight: 2,500 lb (1133 kg)
Gross weight: 3,960 lb (1,794 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce Goshawk III V-12 eraporatively cooled, 695 hp (519 kW) each.
Maximum speed: 180 mph (290 km/h)
4 synchronised Vickers MkIII .303 machine guns, 200 rounds per gun.
This airplane was one of several day-and-night fighter designs, all of which were to be powered by the steam-cooled Rolls-Royce Goshawk engine, that were evaluated by the RAF. In the end, none of them proved to be successful.
This peculiar airplane was configured the way it was in order to provide the pilot good visibility during night flying. In the end, however, it was never actually even flown. Cracks developed in the landing gear during taxi tests and, before the problem could be rectified, the entire project was cancelled.