General Aircraft G.A.L.38 Fleet Shadower


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General Aircraft G.A.L.38 Fleet Shadower

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.


© 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 63km/h, allowing surface ships to be followed.

© The unusual tricycle undercarriage was non-retractable for simplicity and the wings were folding.

 ENGINE2 x 130hp Pobjoy Niagara V 7-cylinder radial piston engines
  Take-off weight4290 kg9458 lb
  Wingspan17.02 m56 ft 10 in
  Length11.00 m36 ft 1 in
  Height3.86 m13 ft 8 in
  Wing area43.85 m2472.00 sq ft
  Max. speed185 km/h115 mph
  Ceiling1830 m6000 ft

BHH, 23.08.2022 17:50

The entire aft fuselage, including the tail reminds me of the Me. 321 Gigant.


jomab, e-mail, 19.01.2012 16:46

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.


Klaatu, e-mail, 25.06.2011 01:43

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.


grandpa, e-mail, 05.04.2010 10:26

Correct, please, "Specífication": 4 x Niagara Engines... Best wishes...


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