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PARNALL PANTHER: Windsock Datafile 142

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    Posted: 27 Apr 2011 at 14:07

PARNALL PANTHER: Windsock Datafile 142

Colin Owers

Albatros Productions Ltd, 110 Long View, Chiltern Pk Est, Berkhamsted HP4 1BY

36pp, 210x297mm, softback.

ISBN 978-1-906798-09-3. £10.90 + p&p

Parnall & Sons of Bristol built numerous Avro 504s, Shorts and Fairey Hamble Babys for the Admiralty, who were so impressed with their work that in 1916 they requested them to undertake original designs. The first was the ‘Scout’, unfortunately a large overweight single-seat biplane intended for anti-Zeppelin duties. The Admiralty then released Mr Harold Bolas from their Air Department and his design, the prototype for a two-seat Fleet reconnaissance ‘spotter’ suitable for carrier deck-landings, appeared as the ‘Panther’ in 1917. It was unique in many ways with a deep monocoque fuselage which folded aft of the rear cockpit, the tail assembly hinged to starboard for compact stowage. Though production numbers were cut back by  the armistice,  it  proved a stable and reaonably successful aircraft with some interesting history.

The Panther’s development is covered in detail by this master researcher; he includes the fitting of hydrovanes, flotation air bag and deck landing tests, which resulted in numerous accidents, and a fascinating number of contemporary comments and interesting photographs which illustrate the type’s history in depth. It remained in service with the Fleet Air Arm until 1924, while two were tested in the US and numbers went with the British Air Mission in 1921 to assist the Imperial Japanese Navy.

CH Volume 41 Number 4

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