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Hawker Fury I (replica)

1931, Flight Shed, On long term display

The Hawker Fury fighter was designed and built by H.G. Hawker Engineering Ltd, (renamed Hawker Aircraft Ltd in 1933) in Canbury Park Road, Kingston on Thames. Chief Designer, Sydney Camm (later Sir Sydney Camm, CBE, FRAeS), joined the company in 1923, was appointed Chief Designer in 1925, Director of Hawker Aircraft Ltd in 1935 and Chief Engineer in 1959. He died in March 1966.

The Hawker Fury was renowned for its elegant lines and powered by a Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine (the forerunner of the Merlin). It was the first frontline aircraft in the Royal Air Force capable of exceeding 200 mph in level flight. Later variants were the High Speed Fury II and the Nimrod Fleet Fighter supplied to the Fleet Air Arm from 1932. The prototype, built by Hawker as a private venture and first named ‘Hornet’, made its first flight in March 1929 flown by ‘George’ Bulman. Fury production began in 1931 and 118 RAF Fury Is were made. Another 31 Fury Is were exported.

This is a replica (BAPC 249) of a Hawker Fury I built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd, in late 1935, as part of the 5th production batch. It was assembled in the Hawker Flight sheds on the south west side of Brooklands. The original K5673 was delivered in early 1936 to No. 1 Squadron, RAF, where it was flown by the ‘A Flight’ Commander (whose colours and markings this exhibit now bears). In 1938, K5673 moved to No. 3 Flying Training School, but was ‘written off’ in a landing accident at RAF South Cerney on 7th December.

The replica is externally accurate but for cost and convenience, it has wooden (not metal) struts and the internal structure differs from the original. The fuselage structure is geometrically the same, but instead of steel tubing with bolted/riveted joints, riveted light alloy channel extrusions (surplus Wellington geodetic material) are used.

Construction of this replica was the ambition of the late Robin Balmer, MBE, FRAeS, C.Eng., who retired as Chief Designer of the Harrier GR3 at British Aerospace Kingston, where he was once a senior Project Engineer under Sir Sydney Camm. Robin was responsible for funding this project and also produced many drawings in the absence of most of the originals.

DATA: One 525hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel; wing span 30ft (9.2m); length 26ft 8in (8.1m); height 10ft 2in (3.1m); wing area 252 sq.ft. (23.4sq.m.); weight (empty) 2,623 lbs. (11,89.81kg); weight (loaded) 3,490 lbs. (1,542kg); max. speed 207 mph at 1,400ft. (331 kph at 4,267m); range 305 miles (408km).