View Full Version : The Flight of the Mew Gull

29th Apr 2003, 19:11
Inspired by the article in this month's Aeroplane monthly I have just finished re-reading Alex Henshaw's account of his 1939 record breaking flight to the Cape and back in the Percival Mw Gull which is now at Breighton.

As I understand it the record remains unbroken today and was wondering why nobody had attempted to beat it. He was clearly operating at the limits of man/machine performance in 1939 but I would have thought things would have improved since then. There seem to be plenty of round the world flights but it surprises me that nobody has risen to the challenge before now.

Anybody have any thoughts on whether it might be feasible today and in what?


Saab Dastard
30th Apr 2003, 03:56
Interesting question

Assuming that the exact terms and conditions of the record are along the lines of single seat, single piston engine land plane, I think that a P51D would be the ideal candidate to have a go at the record due to its combination of range and speed.

Having said that, I wonder how easy it would be nowadays to get all the clearances necessary to fly through all the various jurisdictions in a veteran warbird!

Of course that isn't much younger than the Mew Gull! So reliability might be a big problem.

I too would be interested to hear what other people's suggestions would be for a modern aircraft to attempt the record. I can't think of anything that would combine the requisite speed and range, even with mods to increase fuel capacity.

Post-war, fast single seat aircraft seem to be geared more towards aerobatics and have limited range, whereas 2 or 4 seat tourers might have more provision for fuel but haven't got the speed.

And what other restrictions would the modern would-be record breaker face?


astir 8
30th Apr 2003, 15:28
a) Given that Alex Henshaw was clearly at (or beyond) the limits of endurance when he landed back in England, should anybody try to break his record? (Boring safety warning)

b) In the age of GPS etc would it be a fair comparison with his incredible navigation and flying capability?

c) When you can do Cape Town - return in 24 hours simply by buying a ticket on SAA, would a new record really have any meaning?

Let's leave that record for Henshaw and G-AEXF - they deserve it