Airspeed AS.31: The final fantasy, maybe.

Airspeed’s out-of-this-miserable-world answer to RAF F35/35 specification. The firm submitted this highly unconventional -so say the very least- design with the pilot in a egg-shaped cockpit nacelle positioned well behind. Among the supposed advantages were the improved pilot view (?!) and the reduction in propeller airstream disturbance and drag. Like the Hurricane and Spitfire of the era, the AS.31 was to be powered by a 880hp Rolls-Royce Merlin E engine and armed with eight Browning MGs. Curiously there was no rudder or fin surface to be seen.

Imagine the “fortunate” pilot’s sensations due to g-loads on any relatively tight manoeuvre…. Simply too incredible, this marvel remained a dream.


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