port pilot


Vickers Type 161

This plane is not actually weird, if it was 1916! But in 1931, it was plenty strange.  It was created to carry the 37mm COW (Coventry Ordnance Works) gun for use against bombers. The gun is mounted in a fixed position to fire forward and upward at an oblique angle of at least 45°. Provision was made for oversize and automatically-fed ammunition clips totalling 50 shells, the entire COW gun mechanism had to be easily accessible to the pilot and steadiness as a gun platform was a prime requisite. An unequal-span two-bay biplane with comparatively high aspect ratio wings with duralumin plate and tube structure, it had a metal monocoque nacelle, accommodating the pilot to port and the COW gun to starboard, which was faired into the upper wing and raised above the lower wing by splayed N-type struts. The Type 161 was flown for the first time on 21 January 1931, and after provision of a broader-chord rudder, it flew extremely well. The whole idea of a cannon armed airplane to attack bombers was abandoned shortly thereafter. 

General characteristics
         Crew: 1
         Length: 23 ft 6 in (7.16 m)
         Wingspan: 32 ft 0 in (9.75 m)
         Height: 12 ft 4 in (3.76 m)
         Wing area: 270 ft2 (25.1 m2)
         Empty weight: 2,318 lb (1,051 kg)
         Gross weight: 3,350 lb (1,520 kg)
         Powerplant: 1 × Bristol Jupiter VIIF 9-cylinder radial, 530 hp (395 kW)

         Maximum speed: (at 10,000 ft, 3,048 m) 185 mph (298 km/h)
         Rate of climb: (to 10,000 ft, 3,048 m) ft/min (8.76 m/s)

         1× 37 mm (1.46 in) COW automatic gun