Fairey Seals Lined Up At Fairey's
Aerodrome At Harmondsworth
The first public appearance of the new
Fairey " Seal " was made on March 10 at the Fairey aerodrome at
Harmondsworth, when Fit. Lt. C. Staniland and Lt. S. H. G. Trower,
H.N., flew two of the new machines. Staniland demonstrated very
effectively the manouvreability and performance of the machine,
which was quite remarkable for an aeroplane of some 6,000 lb.
weight, while Mr.. Trower's rule was mainly confined to acting as
aerial chauffeur for a number of press photographers bent upon
getting pictures from the air.
A strong family resemblance links the " Seal " with such earlier
famous types as the III F and " Gordon," but many detail differences
are to be found if the " Seal " is examined closely. For example,
the tail has been re- designed and is no longer of the typically
Fairey shape. Frise ailerons are used, and altogether the controls
are claimed to be nearly as light as those of a smallsingle-seater.
The hinged trailing edge flaps used for varying the camber of the
wings have been retained, and Staniland gave a convincing
demonstration of their effectiveness by flying extremely slowly
across the aerodrome at low height.
SLOTTED AND FLAPPED : The Fairey " Seal
" (" Panther ") is fitted with Handley Page automatic wing tip slots
and Fairey trailing edge flaps. The ailerons are of the Frise type.
As a Fleet Air Arm machine the " Seal " is, of course, a three-seater,
and can be used for bombing, fighting, reconnaissance, gunnery
spotting, photography, etc. It is of all-metal construction and
incorporates features already well tried in hundreds of Fairey III F
and other types.
The fuselage is a tubular structure of steel, welding being employed
for making joints. The particular method of welding used by the
Fairey Aviation Co. is based upon welding the vertical and
horizontal struts together into a rectangle, on each corner of which
is a small curved plate on which the longeron ruts, and to which it
is pinned. In this way the cheapness and rapidity of welding is
fully exploited, while at the same time no stresses of any magnitude
are taken by a welded joint working in tension. In the forward
portion of the fuselage pinning or bolting is used for assembling,
and the ' ` spools " which were a familiar feature of Fairey wooden
machines are retained in the " Seal," these spools serving as very
neat and convenient centres on which to converge a number of
The large-span biplane wings of the " Seal " are also of metal
construction, and have main spars of " double-eight " section to
which the very simple ribs are attached by friction straps, which
avoid piercing ,the spar with holes and also make it possible to
locate the ribs anywhere on the spar without previous laborious jig
work for drilling holes. As a production job the Fairey wings as
used on the III F and " Seal " are just about as simple as anything
could be, but the simplicity has not been arrived at except at the
expense of very extensive tooling and jigging. The enormous numbers
of III F's delivered to the R.A.F., the Fleet Air Arm and to foreign
air services has made real mass production methods possible, and
these are utilised to the full in the building of the new " Seals."
The Armstrong - Siddeley ' ` Panther " engine is mounted on a very
neat engine ring, formed of a tube bent to circular shape and
carrying a number of brackets welded and pinned on, in which are
drilled the holes fen the engine supporting bolts.
As a Fleet Air Aim machine the " Seal "
is liberally supplied with flotation bags, of which there is one
large bag in the rear portion of the fuselage, a slightly smaller in
the forward part, and an inflateable rubber dinghy folded and
stowed in the upper starboard wing, just outside the centre section.
Additional flotation is provided by the main petrol tank in the
fuselage, which has a jettison valve which enables the tank to be
emptied quickly in case of emergency.
Both a landplane and a floatplane
version is produced for the Fleet Air Arm. The landplane is for
operation from aircraft carriers, and is fitted with Dunlop wheels
and Bendix brakes. The seaplane version is of the twin- float type,
the floats, like all the rest of the machine, being designed and
built at the Hayes (Middlesex) works of the Fairer Co. A feature of
the floats is that much of the riveting is done externally. That is
to say, where the float top joins the chines the two are flanged
outwards. This makes the riveting very accessible, and as the rivets
have both ends exposed to the air they dry very quickly and
corrosion risks are reduced. In the construction of wings and
fuselage also, every precaution against corrosion is taken. All
steel parts are protected by being Cadmium
plated, while aluminium and Duralumin members are anodically
treated. One of each type of " Seal " is at present being tried out
under service conditions on the spring cruise of the Royal Navy. The
landplane version is on board the aircraft carrier Courageous, while
the floatplane machine is
on the Valiant. The latter machine is fitted with stubs for
The Fairey " Seal '' has a wing span of 45 ft. 9 in. The gross
weight of the landplane is just under 6,000 lb., while the
floatplane weighs approximately 6,400 lb. loaded. The normal range
is in the neighbourhood of 600 miles, but by fitting outboard petrol
tanks in place of the bombs this range can be very considerably
Left: Flt. Lt. C. Staniland and Lt.
S. H. G. Trower, R.N., flew two of the new machines.