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Westland Pterodactyl MKV
Westland Pterodactyl MKV
Westland Pterodactyl MKV

Westland Pterodactyl MKI


The Westland Pterodactyls were a series of experimental aircraft developed by Professor Geoffrey Hill while working at the Westland aircraft company.

The first Pterodactyl, the MKI, made its maiden flight in 1928 powered by a 70 horsepower Armstrong Siddeley Genet engine. The MKI, a high wing tailless monoplane was significantly different in appearance to later versions.

The MKII and MKIII versions were planned but never actually developed. Instead the program leapfrogged onto the MKIV model which flew in 1931. This aircraft was powered by a superior 120 hp engine.

The definitive Westland Pterodactyl model was the MKV. This version differed greatly from its predecessors in a number of ways. The propellor was relocated to the front instead of the rear, and the engine was upgraded to a much more powerful (600 hp) unit. Shape of the aircraft was also comprehensively redesigned and unlike the single wing MKI, the MKV had a biplane like appearance due to the stubby strut supports which stuck out from the center of the fuselage.

The MKV Pterodactyl was designed to fulfill a need from Britain's Air Ministry for a new fighter aircraft. It had a two seat configuration with a dedicated gunner's cockpit.

Unfortunately the Pterodactyl program suffered problems from the start. The most significant of which was the unstable flight characteristics of the aircraft. It also proved to be slower and less reliable than its competitors.

However unlike its extinct dinosaur namesake, the Westland Pterodactyl MKI prototype still survives. It can be seen at the Science Museum in London.



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