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The Fairey Seal Demonstrated At Harmondsworth
A New Type For The Fleet Air Arm
(Flight  March 1933)
 

The Fairey Seal Demonstrated At Harmondsworth
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
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 structural members.

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.
 

Fit. Lt. C. Staniland and Lt. S. H. G. Trower, H.N., flew two of the new machines. 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 catapulting.

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 increased.

Left: Flt. Lt. C. Staniland and Lt. S. H. G. Trower, R.N., flew two of the new machines.