The wartime trainer nobody wanted

Not only did Heston’s T1/37 trainer look faintly outsized for its role, but the requirement to which it was built seems to have been taken less than seriously by the Air Ministry

Make a successful Royal Air Force trainer and you will be onto a winner. This was the mantra of many an aircraft manufacturer in the 1930s. The increasing need for rapid RAF expansion would, after all, create a growing demand for training pilots.

The truth of this assumption was already to be seen in the pattern of orders which the established aviation industry was receiving. Of course, behind every successful aeroplane there were inevitably the losers — types that existed merely as expensive hand-made prototypes, built to impress the examiners while getting as close as possible to the Air Ministry’s specified characteristics.

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