Working to meet the same Admiralty requirement that resulted in the Airspeed A.S.39 Fleet Shadower, for a carrier-based aircraft that could remain in contact with an enemy naval force by night,
General Aircraft was no more successful than Airspeed, and only a single prototype General Aircraft G.A.L.38 Fleet Shadower was built. General Aircraft adopted a
sesquiplane configuration, the lower wing having about one-third the span of the upper. Of all-wooden construction, the G.A.L.38 had a conventional tail unit with a tall fin and rudder, fixed tricycle landing gear and four Pobjoy Niagara V engines mounted in nacelles on the leading edge of the foldable upper wing. The fuselage accommodated the pilot in an enclosed cockpit on top of the fuselage, forward of the wing; an observer in the nose of the aircraft; and a radio operator below and behind the pilot.
Both contending companies used similar blown-flap techniques (by propeller slipstream) to attain the desired
minimum control speed and, in addition, the G.A.L.38 had full-span split trailing-edge flaps on the lower wing. However, flight testing proved disappointing and only the single prototype was built.
| ENGINE||2 x 130hp Pobjoy Niagara V 7-cylinder radial piston engines|
| Take-off weight||4290 kg||9458 lb|
| Wingspan||17.02 m||56 ft 10 in|
| Length||11.00 m||36 ft 1 in|
| Height||3.86 m||13 ft 8 in|
| Wing area||43.85 m2||472.00 sq ft|
| Max. speed||185 km/h||115 mph|
| Ceiling||1830 m||6000 ft|
What's in a name ? .. Forget shadowing a non-existant enemy fleet .. just think how valuable these aircraft would have been stooging about in mid-ocean spotting for submarines. If each of the convoys from Halifax had two or three ships fitted with a wooden deck to make them into temporary escort carriers there would be more eyes in the sky. Planes might be capable of carrying smoke markers or small bombs, rockets or a 20mm cannon. Submarines found it difficult to launch torpedoes in rough seas, so the planes would be able to fly in calmer weather when the danger was greatest. A pity the 130hp engines gave trouble and caused such delay. Liberators arrived on the scene when the greatest danger was past .There was a big hole in our air cover which the submarines exploited for several years.
Although this looked like a 4-engined bomber, it was actually designed to fulfill a highly specialized Naval role. Although the plane the company built did exactly what it was designed to do, the plane's intended mission was misconceived. nowadays they would probably carry out this sort of mission this plane was do with satellites or UAVs.
Correct, please, "Specífication": 4 x Niagara Engines... Best wishes...
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FACTS AND FIGURES
© The observer sat in a glazed
compartment in the nose and the
radio operator was housed below
and behind the pilot's cockpit.
© The engine airflow supplied by
the two-bladed propellers was
blown over the full-span flaps,
permitting a minimum speed of
surface ships to be followed.
© The unusual tricycle undercarriage
was non-retractable for simplicity
and the wings were folding.