|BOMBER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / United Kingdom / Hawker|
The Horsley was produced for the RAF as a bomber and torpedo bomber, entering service in these roles in 1927 and 1928 respectively after severe competitive tests against the Westland Yeovil, Bristol Berkeley and Handley Page Handcross. The Greek Naval Air Service also received six in 1928, and it was licence-built in Denmark as the Dantorp (military designation H.M.III). In total 121 Horsleys were built, most powered by 499kW Rolls-Royce Condor IIIA geared engines and with all-metal airframes, although early production aircraft were of wooden and then mixed construction. In its class, it had an excellent performance. Apart from its speed and climb, it possessed the manoeuvrability of a scout and the aerodynamic design was such that the machine could be flown 'hands off' for periods of more than i^ive minutes. The range, of course, varied according to the mixed load of bombs and fuel, and day or night operations were possible.
The excellent range and load-carrying ability of the Horsley made it suitable for very-long-distance flying: a special Horsley was produced with extra fuel tanks with a view to carrying out RAF training for duration and non-stop long-distance work. In fact the Horsley made three long-distance flights. The first was carried out by Flt Lt Carr as pilot and Flt Lt Gillman as navigator, who had expected to cover more than 6,440km from Cranwell to India. However during 20-21 May 1927 they covered a distance of 5,502km, landing short near Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf because of problems with the oil system. A second effort by Carr and Flt Lt Mackworth ended after one hour's flying; while a third attempt by Carr and Fl Officer Dearth ended in Austria, alighting in the River Danube. For the attempts 5,000 litres of fuel were carried in seven tanks and it is a remarkable fact that, with an overload of nearly 200% of the structure weight, the Horsley could land safely.
Pete, e-mail, 09.01.2021 Duncan
Peter Theobald, e-mail, 09.01.2021 John Smith
The Horsley name was chosen as a tribute to T.O.M. Sopwith, his home was Horsley Towers, the Horsley was named after that.