De Havilland D.H.103 Hornet / Sea Hornet
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De Havilland D.H.103 Hornet / Sea Hornet

The twin-engined Hornet fighter was designed to Specification F.12/43 and the first prototype flew on 28 July 1944. It entered production at the end of 1944 and deliveries were made to the RAF from February 1945. Four versions were produced for the RAF as: the Hornet F.1 medium-range single-seat fighter with four 20mm cannon and provision for carrying two 450kg bombs or two 455 litre drop tanks; Hornet PR.2 long-range unarmed photographic reconnaissance aircraft; Hornet F.3 long-range single-seat fighter with the increased fuel tankage of the PR.2; and Hornet FR.4 with a vertically mounted camera. More than 200 were built. The Hornet was the fastest twin piston-engined operational combat aircraft in the world while in service and the first aircraft to demonstrate a cartwheel manoeuvre. Operated in Malaya in the early 1950s, the type was finally withdrawn from service in 1955.

The Sea Hornet was a naval adaptation of the RAF Hornet. It was fitted with folding wings and had provision for deck arrester and RATO gear. Air-draulic shock-absorber legs replaced the rubber-in-compression legs to eliminate bounce in carrier landings. Three versions were built as: the Sea Hornet F.20 carrier-based medium-range single-seat fighter/reconnaissance/strike aircraft, capable of carrying eight 27kg rockets, bombs, mines and drop-tanks; Sea Hornet NF.21 carrier-based two-seat night fighter/reconnaissance/strike aircraft fitted with an A.I. radar scanner in a thimble radome in the nose; and Sea Hornet PR.22 carrier-based medium-range photographic-reconnaissance version of the F.20. The F.20 first entered service with No.801 Squadron, FAA and joined HMS Implacable in 1949. A total of 200 Sea Hornets were built.

De Havilland D.H.103 Hornet / Sea Hornet

 MODELHornet F. Mk 3
 ENGINE2 x Rolls-Royce "Merlin" 130/131, 1544kW
    Take-off weight9480 kg20900 lb
    Empty weight5840 kg12875 lb
    Wingspan13.72 m45 ft 0 in
    Length11.18 m37 ft 8 in
    Height4.32 m14 ft 2 in
    Wing area33.54 m2361.02 sq ft
    Max. speed760 km/h472 mph
    Ceiling10670 m35000 ft
    Range4820 km2995 miles
 ARMAMENT4 x 20mm cannons, 900kg of weapons

Comments1-20 21-40
Brian M Phillips, 16.12.2017

I am very proud to have worked on Sea Hornets whilst a member of 809 squadron RN. we embarked on HMS Eagle and regrettably lost an aircraft over the side in a deck incident, we were put ashore on Gibraltar operating from North Front whilst we were housed at the Toc H holiday camp ?? We last saw the aircraft when they left North Front to fly back to RNAS Culdrose and we all took passage on a carried for transit home. We never saw our aircraft again and instead the squadron reformed with Venom 20s at RNAS Yeovilton.

Barry, 27.06.2016

The late great Eric "Winkle" Brown's favourite aeroplane ever.

Paul Scott, 26.01.2015

Classic 'plane, like a lot, came too late to make a real impact.

david burns, 09.12.2014

I was completely unaware of this aircraft until I bought 1 off e bay.It's a shame that not 1 was saved for historic reasons, it looks to me that De Havilland would have a Hornet and a Sea Hornet in their museum. It would be great to see 1 at an airshow

Aaron, 27.02.2014

If you haven't had any luck with finding a 1/48 scale model yet, there are three Hornets and one Sea Hornet 1/48 scale models for sale on ebay right now.

almont baltzer, 11.03.2013

Repeating my request for a 1/48 scale model of the D.H.Hornet.

almont baltzer, 05.01.2013

Would like to know if anyone has any 1/48 scale Hornets for sale or know where I might abtain such models.

alan White, 17.05.2012

saw dozens of sea hornets waiting to be scrapped at RNAS ABBOTTSINCH


Dave, 09.03.2012

Well known Australian Test Pilot Brian "Black Jack" Walker was flying one when Geoffrey De Haviland tragically disappeared in the DH108. Brian maintained the DH103 was the first (maybe only) prop a/c to top 500 mph in level flight.He showed me an original Test Paper documenting 501 mph. He told me he was leaving it to the RAAF Museum at Point Cook

almont baltzer, 29.02.2012

The most aerodynamic aircraft ever built a true thoroughbred.A good book on this beast:Sea Hornet,from the cockpit #5 Alan J.Leahy. Have photos of the Hornet in the short lived Aerobatic Sqdn and with Spartin Airways.

Klaatu, 07.08.2011

The British equivalent to the Lockheed Lightning. An excellent fighter, but about three years too late.

Capt Earle FlemingCPAIR, 21.03.2011

More Mossie Hornet Operational Info. and Addresses of MODELs

Barry, 24.02.2011

The length of the F3 was 36ft 8in and not as stated above. The naval equivalent of the F3 was the Sea Hornet F20 which first equipped 801 Naval Air Squadron at Ford in 1947. The Sea Hornet NF21 was a two seater with a thimble nose carrying the radar observer behind the wing. This model was slightly longer at 37ft and had an increased tail span and flame dampening exhausts. There were 74 of this model produced plus a further 24 unarmed PR22 models.

George E. Smith, 12.01.2011

Without a doubt the prettiest twin engined monoplane ever built. It's sad that there seems to be almost no video footage of them either. A Hornet was entered in the England to New Zealand air race; circa 1960; but did not make the race, which was won by a Canberra Bomber (aka B-57). I believe that a Twin Mustang, P-82, was also a no-show entrant in that race. The Vickers Valiant bomber that made the race, evidently had inherent airframe reliability problems, and was the least successful of the RAF V-Bombers.

dominic, 22.10.2010

i am building a model of the mk4 made by frog in the seventies

Ali Duncan, 21.09.2010

I'd love to see one fly, but they've gone, alas. The apex of the piston aeronautical engineers efforts, ten years service says a lot, considering fighters were first in line for jet propulsion. I suppose it's just the minimal fuselage, and massive engines which give it the right look, marvelous machine.

Dave DiBona, 24.08.2010

I just think this is such a unique aricraft with such a long range and good speed the De Haveilland mind set is what makes progress in any field and that is the ability to seek the best possible end without marching in the current parade of ideas

Ron, 28.05.2010

Initial climb was 4,000'/min. It was a real delight to fly even off a carrier. Too bad it wasn't treated like a winner.

Eric Loveland, 31.01.2010

Had the honour taking a dual control Mossie to 64 Sqdn. (a P51 Mustang Sqdn.)Converting them to the brand new Hornets in order for the Sqdn. to lead the Victory Fly-past over Buckingham Palace Without doubt the best flying plane I`ve ever flown

paul scott, 19.10.2009

What the Whirlwind could've been, if sorted out earlier.

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