Saunders-Roe S.36 Lerwick
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Saunders-Roe S.36 Lerwick

The twin-engine Saṛ Lerwick was an attractive and compact design intended to meet a medium-range maritime reconnaissance requirement, Specification R. 1/36, but was a total failure, First flown before the end of ̀938, the prototype featured twin fins and. rudders but from the outset was found to be seriously lacking m lateral stability, and displayed a determination to roll and yaw in cruising flight, making the aircraft impossible to fly 'hands off, a damning indictment for a maritime patrol aircraft. In due course a single fin and rudder was fitted, but not until this was considerably enlarged was any improvement in the handling characteristics discernible. Starting with the seventh production example, wing incidence was increased and enlarged propellers fitted to the Hercules II radiais, but the latter were found unsuitable for operating on rough water. Moreover, stalling tests showed the Lerwick to have vicious traits, the stall under alighting conditions being accompanied by sharp wing-drop. Nevertheless 21 examples were produced and the Lerwick was first delivered for service with No, 209 Squadron m December 1939 at Oban, but after the type had flown a small number of semi-operational patrols it was decided to abandon further efforts to rectify its problems. The last eight aircraft were powered by Hercules IVs and the final example was completed m November 1940; one aircraft was flown by No, 240 Squadron but was lost on 20 February of that year, and some flew with No. 4 Operational Training Unit at Invergordon.

Saunders-Roe S.36 LerwickA three-view drawing (648 x 882)

Barry, 12.04.2016

Reallocated to R.C.A.F. squadrons Nos. 422 and 423 for operational training on Loch Erne in the summer of 1942 at the end of that year they were declared obsolete and early in 1943 they were scrapped. Lord knows what the Canadians thought of them!

Span 80'10" Length 63'7 1/2" Height 20'0" Wing area 845 sq ft. Loaded weight 28,400 lb Maximum take off weight 33,200 lb
Maximum speed 214 mph Cruising speed 166 mph
Range 1,540 miles Service ceiling 14,000 ft.
Armament 1 x .303" Vickers 'K' gun in bow turret
2 x .303" Browning in dorsal turret and 4 x .303" Browning in tail turret. 2000 lb bombs or depth charges.

John B., 18.12.2014

The rear fuselage is too short so the tail surfaces do not exert enough leverage.

gez wood, 20.05.2014

Interesting article - may not have been many of the Lerwick in service but they still made a Bakelite recognition model - I bought one at the weekend!

VinceReeves, 05.03.2013

Quite an achievement to produce an aeroplane that was hopeless on every parameter of performance, really.

Klaatu, 23.06.2011

During World War II the U.S. offered to supply the RAF with Martin PBM Mariner flying boats. Although the PBM proved to be a very successful aircraft the RAF, for reasons that nave never been entirely clear, ultimately rejected them. I can't help wondering whether the fact that the Mariner bore a superficial resemblance to the unfortunate Lerwick may have had something to do with that.

Leo Rudnicki, 08.08.2009

It was too much of an embarassment for the Air Ministry to admit that a large segment of their maritime patrol requirements relied on one aircraft that failed to run on water and failed to fly. American Liberators and Catalinas would fill the void eventually. See also the Blackburn Botha.

JK, 07.08.2009

As an minded school boy throughout WW 2, I read all the available literature but could never find performance figures for the "Flying Pig". It was always "Not released". It is interesting that you provide nio figures either.
Another aircraft whose performance was kept secret throughout WW 2 was the Westland Whirlwind.

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