Most Ugly Aircraft

Westland PV.4

westland-pv4 - 3.jpg

 

Yokel

LE
Like the illegitimate father of the Sea Mew
View attachment 673566

The Seamew was intended for RNVR ASW squadrons which were axed after the 1957 Defence White Paper. Presumably it was meant to be cheaper and easier to land on a carrier than the contemporary Gannet. Much has been written about carriers and their value to NATO - such as on these threads: CVF and Carrier Strike - ARRSE, Future Carrier - PPRuNe, and Late 1970s US Congress Report - The US Sea Control Mission (carriers needed in the Atlantic for Air Defence and ASW - both then and today) - ARRSE.

However at about the same time the Royal Navy took the decision to phase out fixed wing ASW aircraft and replacing them with ASW helicopters as they had the ability to use dipping sonar.

Rear Admiral A.N.C. Bingley, Fifth Sea Lord, expected that their ability to operate in poor weather could be improved and helicopters 'will then be a better A/S vehicle in almost every way than the fixed wing aircraft'. The latter could cover a greater area but the fact that submarines now spent little time on the surface meant that aerial radar search was of limited use, while the number of sonobuoys that they could carry was restricted. The helicopter with dipping sonar had an 'overwhelming advantage', and although it could not currently carry weapons, it should be able to do so by I960.

From The Impact of Air Power on Navies: The United Kingdom, 1945 - 1957 by Tim Benbow

Not only was the Seamew a poor design, but it was designed to perform mission that no longer existed. Using CTRL+F to search for Seamew in the paper by Tim Benbow finds this on page 113:

In 1953 the Admiralty carried out trials on the anti-submarine Seamew, which would be lighter and cheaper than the Gannet and could operate from small carriers. Thomas explained that with it, 'a resolute attempt is being made to halt the trend towards large and complicated aircraft'. However, its small payload and limited endurance meant that its performance against rapidly improving submarines was inadequate and it never entered service.
 

tiv

LE
The Seamew was intended for RNVR ASW squadrons which were axed after the 1957 Defence White Paper. Presumably it was meant to be cheaper and easier to land on a carrier than the contemporary Gannet. Much has been written about carriers and their value to NATO - such as on these threads: CVF and Carrier Strike - ARRSE, Future Carrier - PPRuNe, and Late 1970s US Congress Report - The US Sea Control Mission (carriers needed in the Atlantic for Air Defence and ASW - both then and today) - ARRSE.

However at about the same time the Royal Navy took the decision to phase out fixed wing ASW aircraft and replacing them with ASW helicopters as they had the ability to use dipping sonar.

Rear Admiral A.N.C. Bingley, Fifth Sea Lord, expected that their ability to operate in poor weather could be improved and helicopters 'will then be a better A/S vehicle in almost every way than the fixed wing aircraft'. The latter could cover a greater area but the fact that submarines now spent little time on the surface meant that aerial radar search was of limited use, while the number of sonobuoys that they could carry was restricted. The helicopter with dipping sonar had an 'overwhelming advantage', and although it could not currently carry weapons, it should be able to do so by I960.

From The Impact of Air Power on Navies: The United Kingdom, 1945 - 1957 by Tim Benbow

Not only was the Seamew a poor design, but it was designed to perform mission that no longer existed. Using CTRL+F to search for Seamew in the paper by Tim Benbow finds this on page 113:

In 1953 the Admiralty carried out trials on the anti-submarine Seamew, which would be lighter and cheaper than the Gannet and could operate from small carriers. Thomas explained that with it, 'a resolute attempt is being made to halt the trend towards large and complicated aircraft'. However, its small payload and limited endurance meant that its performance against rapidly improving submarines was inadequate and it never entered service.
It also had bad handling characteristics, from Wiki:

The handling characteristics of the Seamew were poor. The prototypes were heavily modified with fixed leading-edge slats, slots added in the trailing-edge flaps, alterations to the ailerons and slats added to the tailplane roots. Although something of an improvement over the initial models, the handling was never wholly satisfactory. Arthur Pearcy wrote "only Short Brothers' test pilot Wally Runciman seemed able to outwit its vicious tendencies and exploit its latent manoeuvrability to the limit.
 
It also had bad handling characteristics, from Wiki:

The handling characteristics of the Seamew were poor. The prototypes were heavily modified with fixed leading-edge slats, slots added in the trailing-edge flaps, alterations to the ailerons and slats added to the tailplane roots. Although something of an improvement over the initial models, the handling was never wholly satisfactory. Arthur Pearcy wrote "only Short Brothers' test pilot Wally Runciman seemed able to outwit its vicious tendencies and exploit its latent manoeuvrability to the limit.

And it killed him in the end...
 
It also had bad handling characteristics, from Wiki:

The handling characteristics of the Seamew were poor. The prototypes were heavily modified with fixed leading-edge slats, slots added in the trailing-edge flaps, alterations to the ailerons and slats added to the tailplane roots. Although something of an improvement over the initial models, the handling was never wholly satisfactory. Arthur Pearcy wrote "only Short Brothers' test pilot Wally Runciman seemed able to outwit its vicious tendencies and exploit its latent manoeuvrability to the limit.
Seems any aircraft named Seamew was junk
 

Yokel

LE
The Seamew was intended for RNVR ASW squadrons which were axed after the 1957 Defence White Paper. Presumably it was meant to be cheaper and easier to land on a carrier than the contemporary Gannet. Much has been written about carriers and their value to NATO - such as on these threads: CVF and Carrier Strike - ARRSE, Future Carrier - PPRuNe, and Late 1970s US Congress Report - The US Sea Control Mission (carriers needed in the Atlantic for Air Defence and ASW - both then and today) - ARRSE.

However at about the same time the Royal Navy took the decision to phase out fixed wing ASW aircraft and replacing them with ASW helicopters as they had the ability to use dipping sonar.

Rear Admiral A.N.C. Bingley, Fifth Sea Lord, expected that their ability to operate in poor weather could be improved and helicopters 'will then be a better A/S vehicle in almost every way than the fixed wing aircraft'. The latter could cover a greater area but the fact that submarines now spent little time on the surface meant that aerial radar search was of limited use, while the number of sonobuoys that they could carry was restricted. The helicopter with dipping sonar had an 'overwhelming advantage', and although it could not currently carry weapons, it should be able to do so by I960.

From The Impact of Air Power on Navies: The United Kingdom, 1945 - 1957 by Tim Benbow

Not only was the Seamew a poor design, but it was designed to perform mission that no longer existed. Using CTRL+F to search for Seamew in the paper by Tim Benbow finds this on page 113:

In 1953 the Admiralty carried out trials on the anti-submarine Seamew, which would be lighter and cheaper than the Gannet and could operate from small carriers. Thomas explained that with it, 'a resolute attempt is being made to halt the trend towards large and complicated aircraft'. However, its small payload and limited endurance meant that its performance against rapidly improving submarines was inadequate and it never entered service.

Am I a bad person for thinking that it looks like something @MrBane knocked up in his shed after coming back from the pub? Shorts Brothers certainly knew how to design awful looking aircraft.

The requirement for a cheap aircraft does not go with the concept of it being operated by crews not fully up to speed with carrier landing on a small deck - which is what the idea was. They were intended to operate from small carriers that were also kept in Reserve.

The word incongruous comes to mind.
 

HE117

LE
Am I a bad person for thinking that it looks like something @MrBane knocked up in his shed after coming back from the pub? Shorts Brothers certainly knew how to design awful looking aircraft.

The requirement for a cheap aircraft does not go with the concept of it being operated by crews not fully up to speed with carrier landing on a small deck - which is what the idea was. They were intended to operate from small carriers that were also kept in Reserve.

The word incongruous comes to mind.
Call me Mr Cynical, but I suspect this had something to do with the "Flying Club" of ex wartime RNAS pilots who wanted to keep flying at her Majesty's expense..(.. plus all the staff and infrastructure)

There was no way the Navy was going to pony up for conversion to jets for this lot, however if there was a proposed aircraft for them to continue carrier ops the future, all would be good. Match this up with the amount of redundant aircraft manufacturing capacity and loony designers and the result was the Sea Mew..

The fact that it turned out to be impossible to fly was probably irrelevant.. it kept the RNAS(V) in existence for a few more years, hence it was allowed to happen....!
 

Yokel

LE
After independence, the Scottish Air Force will equip with the Westland Seamew Jimmy.

Surely she would want to establish Scottish Aviation (the company - after all the factory is still there so why not nationalise it?) so Bulldogs and Jetstreams only. What other aircraft have been designed or manufactured in Scotland - during the Second World War there must have aircraft production dispersed and subcontracted to Scottish firms.
 
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