View Full Version : Harry Hawker and spin recovery

Jim Davis
20th Jun 2003, 09:41
Anyone have any info not readily available on the net about Harry Hawker's spin recovery experiments in 1914. I know he was working for Tom Sopwith at the time and that he eventually suceeded in entering and recovering from a spin on about 14 June. Apparently he had been injured in a prang 4 days earlier - what was that all about? was it a deliberate or accidental spin? Any other info on the subject? - other than look for a second-hand copy of his biography "Hawker".

Genghis the Engineer
21st Jun 2003, 17:06
I'm at a slight disadvantage because my Spinning files are all at work and it's the weekend - but I think that you are probably mistaken.

My understanding is that the spin recovery was first cracked around 1915-1916 by a chap called (Alan?) Parke, leading to it being known as Parkes dive for a while. I've never come across any reference (including in Tommy Sopwith's biography which I read recently) to Hawker doing much work in that direction.

Also if we're talking about 1914 and thus pre-WW1 aircraft they had very little tendency to spin. Their problem was excessive directional stability tending to cause them to lock into a nonrecoverable spiral dive.

It may be that what you are investigating (I honestly don't know) is Harry Hawker doing work on the excessive directional stability / spiral dive issues of the time, leading to less directionally stable aircraft which were thus much safer in normal use but would spin.

If you wish give me a day or two, and I'll post a list of references on the spin mode - albeit not so much from a historical perspective it is one of my research interests. In the meantime, you might find some useful stuff on the NACA reports server.


21st Jun 2003, 18:12
Just having a quick read of "Flight Fantastic - the Illustrated History of Aerobatics" by Annette Carson.

Lt Wilfred Parke RN is credited as the first person to recover from an accidental spin in an Avro G on 25 August 1912 at Military Trials on Salisbury Plain. His eventual use of right rudder stopped the left hand spin.

In another chapter, Harry Hawker is credited as likely being the first person to deliberately spin an aeroplane and recover: on 27th June 1914, he spun deliberately in a Sopwith Tabloid, failed to recover and crashed with damage to the machine and later said "I know what I should have done... I'll go up and prove my theory", took the repaired Tabloid up and did just that!

Carson's references were "Early Birds" by H C Miller (Angus & Robertson, 1968) and "The Brooklands Story" by Howard Pixton, AV Roe & Co 1955.

There's more! Carson's book is a great read if you can get hold of a copy: published by Haynes in 1986.


Jim Davis
23rd Jun 2003, 03:39
Genghis - thanks mate, gladly wait till Monday to see what else you have on the subject - Jim

Treadders - Thanks very much - just the sort of thing I was looking for. it will be interesting to see what Ghengis turns up. Jim

Genghis the Engineer
23rd Jun 2003, 15:02
Interesting stuff - looks that my mental picture of the relationship between WW1 and early spinning work was slightly out.

Anyhow, here's an inital list of references for you, if I dig anything else up I'll let you know. One or two of them may be almost impossible to obtain, but you may as well have my more or less complete referencese list...


D Stinton, Flying Qualities and Flight Testing of the Aeroplane, ISBN 0-632-02121-7

USAF Test Pilots School Notes, Part 10 High Angle of Attack Flight

Empire Test Pilots School, Fixed Wing Flight Test Manual, Chapter 2.8 - Spinning

UK Ministry of Defence, Stalling Post-Stalling Gyrations and Spins and Miscellaneous Flying Qualities Post Stall Gyrations and Spins. Def-Stan 00-970 Part 1 Section 2 Leaflet 52 issue 2 Dec 99

Yangos and Yangos, Spin: Angles and Inertial Moments, Aeronautical Journal July/Aug 1981 pp270-276

T E Archer, Are you ready for LOC?, Cockpit (magazine of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots), April/May/June 1991 pp5-12

A&L Welch, Flying Training in Gliders, Published by British Gliding Association Sixth Edition 1975

UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch, Report of Fatal Accident to Aviasud Mistral G-MYST on 23 June 2001, AAIB Bulletin No: 6/2002 Ref: EW/2001/6/9

UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch, Report of Accident to Taylor J.T.1 Monoplane G-BEEW on 2 September 2001, AAIB Bulletin No: 11/2001 Ref: EW/G2001/09/03

UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch, Report of Fatal Accident to Whittaker MW6S (modified) G-MZIN on 28 March 1999, AAIB Bulletin No: 8/99 Ref: EW/C99/3/1

UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch, Report of Accident to Europa G-KWIP on 21 March 2000, AAIB Bulletin No: 4/2001 Ref: EW/C2000/3/4

UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch, Report of Fatal Accident to Jodel D112 G-BCOG on 26 July 1998, AAIB Bulletin No: 12/98 Ref: EW/C98/7/8

UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch, Report of Fatal Accident to Rallye Club 880B, G-AYKF on 26 August 1996, AAIB Bulletin No: 2/97 Ref: EW/G96/8/9

Royal Air Force, Flying AP3456

N Williams, Aerobatics, ISBN 0950454303

J S Denker, See How it Flies, http://www.monmouth.com/~jsd/how/

R Stowell, Innovations in Stall/Spin Awareness Training, Presented to (USA) Second Annual Instructor Conference, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, April 9-10, 1999. http://www.richstowell.com/erau.htm

UK Air Accidents Investigation Board, Spectrum Microlight G-MWWY, Bulletin 3/98 EW/C97/8/8

Minutes of the 24th meeting of the Airworthiness Requirements Board Light Aircraft Committee (Nov 1998)

British Microlight Aircraft Association, Guidance on Spin Testing Microlight Aircraft, TIL 025 issue 1 dated December 1999.

G B Gratton and S J Dyde, Tucano T Mk 1 - Assessment of possible unified spin recoveries, Report D/A&E/BD/95/128, Dec 1995

Philip W Neihouse, Jacob H Lichtenstein, Jacob H Pepoon, Tail-design requirements for satisfactory spin recovery, NACA TN-1045(April 1946)

Sales literature by Ballistic Recovery Systems Inc, USA. http://www.airplaneparachutes.com/

E Arnold, Certification of Spin Resistant Aircraft, Society of Experimental Test Pilots Report to the Profession 1999, pp58-73.

FAA, AC23-8, certification flight test guide for normal, utility and acrobatic category airplanes.

24th Jun 2003, 23:09
Initial list !! Strewth Genghis!

I know not what to ask you about if I ever catch you in a beer tent! ;)


Jim Davis
25th Jun 2003, 17:03
Genghis - thanks again.

Had a look through the web -sites you suggested but none of them get near to the subject. Doubt that I will be able to lay my hands on most of the others, but I appreciate your efforts.

All the best

Jim Davis