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Percival Piston Provost T. Mk.1
|Crew||1 Pilot, 1 Student|
|Power Plant:||One 550-hp Alvis Leonides 126 radial piston engine|
|Max Speed (sea level):||174 Kts (322 Km/h)|
|Service ceiling:||25,000ft (7,620 m)|
|Dimensions:||Wing Span: 35ft. 2in.|
Length: 28ft. 8in.
Height: 12ft. 2.5in.
|Weight Empty:||3,350 lbs., Max|
|Weight Take off:||4,400 lbs. (1995 Kgs)|
Hunting (Percival)P.56 ProvostAt the end of the 1940s the British Air Ministry issued Operational Requirement 257, this defined the need for a new, higher performance, piston-engined trainer. The Air Ministry were convinced that the existing training sequence of Percival Prentice to Harvard was inadequate preparation for their jet pilot trainees for frontline flying duty. While speed was not a prime concern of O.R.257, a cruising speed of 110 knots was required, along with an endurance of at least two hours flying time. Of the 15 companies involved in the fierce competition for design approval, Percival led the pack because it had privately developed a mockup trainer that anticipated many of the RAF's requirements. Called the P.56 the Percival entry also had the edge because their early start made them the only firm able to meet the time limits specified by the RAF for delivery of a prototype. Thus, an initial order for 200 of the aircraft was placed with Percival in May, 1951.
The Provost was a two-seat, side-by-side low-wing monoplane with fixed landing gear of the tailwheel variety, powered by a 550hp Alvis Leonides 126 radial engine.
In 1953, the first production P.56s joined the Central Flying School's Basic Training Squadron at South Cerney as the RAF's standard basic trainer, called the Provost T.Mk.1.
More than 330 of the aircraft were eventually delivered to the RAF over a period of 3 years, during which time (1954) Percival became part of the Hunting Group. The Provost remained in service until they were replaced by a major revision of the design that evolved the P.56 Provost into the Jet Provost trainer, which eventually evolved into the Strike Master multi-role trainer and light attack aircraft in 1967. A total of 461 Provosts were built by the time production ended in 1959.
|Basic flying trainer|
30/10/1954 - Awaiting collection from Percival Aircraft, Luton
06/12/1954 - to 12 MU Kirkbride
29/12/1954 - 3 FTS Feltwell
23/04/1958 – CATC Shawbury
05/10/1959 - to G.I. as 7618M at Halton
c1975 to Kidlington for storage
c1979 spares for XF690 of the Leicester Preservation Group
19/08/1984 - Loss of Leicester Preservation Group Vickers Varsity - WJ897/G-BDFTF with the loss of 11 souls of 14 onboard. Mostly stalwarts of the group and included the then Editor of ‘Flypast Magazine’.
This prompted the sale of:
XF 690 to G-BGKA 05/03/1979, to G-MOOS 05/04/1991, to Yeovilton, still current,
WV442 to someone then ‘The Swan’ PH Hemel Hempstead c1987
Supplied to the museum by Nev Martin from Bruntingthorpe. This airframe
came from "The Swan" public house in Herts and arrived at the museum on the 26th of
April 1999. It is believed that WW442 was retired from RAF service in
1959. If anyone has any information or history on its whereabouts for
the 40 years in between please let us know! Some work has been carried
out since it arrived, Most of the opaque cockpit glazing has been replaced
and the instrument panel holes have been filled with the appropriate
instruments. The propellor was changed, but the engine really needs removing
to correct problems with the engine mounts. The tail wheel is also in
need of some attention.
|Additional information added July 2008.|
WW442 at "The Swan" public house 1989 (From the landlord Rex Draper 2008)