Photo © Günter Grondstein
Photo © Günter Grondstein
The following tale was written by Gerry Hatt, a Beverley Flt Eng.
"A famous aircraft designer saw a dutch barn blow past in a gale. The basic concept of the Beverley was born at that moment.
The original design of the machine was intended to fulfill single-seater specifications, but as full power was required to taxi the aircraft forward at a slow walking pace, another engine was added. The resulting increase in all up weight necessitated the addition of two further engines to enable it to move at all.
By this time, the general dimensions had increased somewhat, and the work was often delayed for several days at a time while the a/c was utilised by the airport manager as a spare hanger for visiting aircraft. This state of affairs continued for such a long time, that by the time the prototype was ready for flight, other types of aircraft were jet powered.
The rather embarrassed designer, fearing to appear behind the times, had the propellers placed much higher than he had originally intended, in the hopes that they would not be noticed. This entailed the raising of the mainplane and the fuselage sides (the production manager raised the roof) and accounts for the immense height of the machine.
As no adequate runway was available, the undercarriage was adapted to take locomotive wheels, and the first take-off was from the Brough – Hull railway. It was in fact airborne by the time it had reached the passenger station at Beverley: hence its name.
A conversion kit for this purpose is still in existence. While the aircraft is in use in this role, the Flight Deck should be at all times be referred to as the drivers cab, and the VHF should be re-crystallized to include the frequencies of Crewe signal box, and the head office of the National Union of Railwaymen.
Spinning the aircraft is not recommended, as the torque reaction involved causes the Earth to rotate in the opposite direction to the spin, to the accompaniment of terse notes from Greenwich Observatory.
The aircraft is extremely versatile, and may be employed in many roles, particularly those, which do not include flying or movement of any kind. It is also highly amenable to modification. For example, wind tunnel tests have shown that the wings could be placed at the bottom, and the wheels at the top, without any appreciable drop in performance.
Taken all in all, the Beverley is an ideal aircraft for a civilian enthusiast with a million pounds, a private oil well, and a total abhorrence of flying."
The Beverly's first flight was in June 1950 and Blackburns Chief Test Pilot is reported to have said to his co-pilot at the moment of lift off " Well my sides airborne, how about yours ?"