Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

In some alternative world, air wars looked like this:

A painting by Daniel Bechennec (for Fana d'Avation magazine cover, April 2010) depicts the Westland-Hill Pterodactyl fighter accompanying a formation of Heyford bombers. In our timeline, the Handley Page HP.50 Heyford served with the RAF, and the Pterodactyl remained a prototype.

Actually, there was a Pterodactyl family, a series of experimental aircraft developed by Professor Geoffrey Hill while working at the Westland aircraft company.

Westland Pterodactyl Mk.IA nbThe 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.

Westland Pterodactyl Mk.IA 3vThe 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.

Westland Pterodactyl Mk.IV 3vThe definitive 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.

Westland-Hill Pterodactyl Mk V side viewThis machine was an impressive two-seater fighter, powered with a 600hp Rolls Royce Goshawk engine, and differed noticeably from previous Pterodactyl designs. The most striking departure was the tractor arrangement of the engine, as opposed to the earlier ''pusher" types, while the wings were in sesquiplane form, with the upper plane raised above the fuselage.

Westland-Hill Pterodactyl Mk V cutawayThe military advantages foreshadowed in the first Pterodactyl were brought to practical form in the Mark V, the rear cockpit, immediately aft of the pilot, being fitted with an electrically-operated twin-gun turret. The unobstructed field of fire from this position has only been equalled by the tail gun-turrets of modern multi-engined bombers and, with a performance equal to that of its contemporary, the Hawker Hart, the Pterodactyl V was an ideal fighter type.

Westland-Hill Pterodactyl Mk V (NYPL)Test flights, by Mr. H. J. Penrose, showed that with this example the tailless type had attained a degree of performance, stability and control equal to the conventional aeroplane. It was demonstrated to be fully aerobatic and even capable of inverted flight, but, although so successful as an experimental machine, certain secondary problems rendered a degree of re-design necessary for production.

Westland Pterodactyl Mk.V 3vUnfortunately 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. And, in at least one of the parallel worlds there could be a Pterodactyl flying boat:
Westland-Hill Pterodactyl Mk VII conceptSources: diseno-art.com, Virtual Aircraft Museum

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Comment by Cap'n Tony on July 30, 2012 at 11:04am

Incredible!  I had no idea such a thing even existed.  I want to live in the alternate world where that flying boat Pterodactyl went into mass production!

Comment by lord_k on July 29, 2012 at 2:30am

And again, my pleasure, Dan.

Comment by Dan G. on July 28, 2012 at 12:11pm

Some Darn Interesting Birds . . .Ah, "Reptiles" ??? LOL

Love X-Planes and those X-Worlds that may yet see them flying! THANKS, Again, Lord K!

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