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Percival Sea Prince T.1.

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Manufacturer: Hunting Percival
Purpose: Royal Navy Navigation and anti-submarine training
Crew 2 PILOTS, 1 INSTRUCTOR and 3 PUPILS
Max Speed (sea level): 194 knots (359 Km/h)
Cruising speed: Approx 159 knots (294Km/h)
Dimensions Wing Span 56ft: Length 46ft 4ins: Height 16ft 1ins
Engines: Two Alvis Leonides 125
Service ceiling: Approx 22,000ft (6,700m)
All-up weight: 11,850 lb (5,375 Kg)
Weapons: None
Range: 400 nautical miles (741 Km)




Type History

The Sea Prince first flew on the 24th of March 1948. Two variants were ordered by the Fleet Air Arm - one version was to be used for communication and the other as a training aircraft. The first Sea Prince C1 entered service in February 1953. It was soon followed into service by the trainer version which was given the annotation of Sea Prince T1. Sea Prince aircraft were based upon the civilian Percival Prince. The first order for the Sea Prince was placed in 1949 and consisted of twenty one aircraft, three for communications and eighteen to be used in the training role. An improved version of the C1 was produced as the Sea Prince C.2. This first flew on the 1st of April 1953 with the final aircraft being delivered in September 1953.

The Sea Prince C.1. continued in service until 1965 when it was replaced by the Sea Devon and Sea Dove aircraft. However it wasn't until 1970 that the Sea Prince C.2. was retired from service. A further two orders for the T.1. were placed, one order in early 1951 for an additional eight aircraft followed later that year by a second order for another fifteen.

Some Sea Prince T.1.'s were scrapped in the 1960's when the RNVR (Air Divisions) were disbanded, but other Sea Prince T.1.'s continued in service for many years. For those that continued, their airframe fatigue life was enhanced by being re-sparred in the early 1970's. They were finally retired from service in 1979 when the Jetstream was introduced to replace them.

Role

The Sea Prince was used in two roles. The first was as a communications aircraft. In this role one flew the Atlantic ocean to Washington D.C. for use by the Joint Services Mission. Another was fitted out as an "Admirals barge".

The second role was to train navigators and radar operators. For this role the Sea Prince T.1. was fitted with ASV 19a as its primary search radar for training radar operators and observers.



Gatwick Aviation Museum History - WP308

WP308 was delivered to No. 750 squadron at St. Merryn, Cornwall in February 1953. She later moved with 750 Sqdn to R.N.A.S. Culdrose, Cornwall. It served 750 squadron from October 1958 until May 1979 when it was withdrawn from service. It was moved to Kemble where it was put into storage and later moved to Gloucester/Cheltenham. Here it was allocated the civilian registration code G-GACA. Finally WP308 was moved to Charlwood where it arrived on the 12th of November 1989. While serving with 750 squadron it wore the code 572/CU.

The full history is available via the link. Full History

The Sea Prince as it is now. The colour scheme is also authentic and more durable!

Click for a full size image (Large!)

A recent engine run (2011) of both of the Alvis Leonides on Sea Prince T1 572 (WP308). Both engines started without any problems, the usual oil smoke was in evidence but that soon cleared and both ran succesfully.

 

A couple of internal views
Sea Prince T1 cockpit Crew training compartment