07/31/2011. George William Shield of Conisbrough, Yorkshire, UK, was Headmaster of the Grammar School at nearby Mexborough, where this large wooden single-seater was built as a school project. The Xyla (Greek for wood) was registered as G-AWPN on September 13, 1968 where after construction was started. Finished in an overall black paint scheme and powered by a converted GPU (ground power unit) engine the aircraft made its first flight at Helmswell on October 30, 1971.
Early test flights indicated that the aircraft performed satisfactorily at low levels, but that some modification to the areas of the vertical and horizontal tail surfaces might improve overall handling and performance. Hence, to prevent leakage of air, the tail-surface hinge lines were sealed with fabric; the fin was relocated at an angle of 4° to port; and a three-blade wooden propeller replaced the original two-blade one.
Shield sold the aircraft seven years after the first flight and it was seven times reregistered:
October 13, 1978, to Terry Girvon of Roterham, Yorkshire
February 19, 1986, to Alan Price of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
January 29, 1991, to Michael Herlihy of Haywards Heath, West Sussex
December 9, 1997, to Kenneth Snell of Uckfield, East Sussex
April 28, 2006, to Paul Stacey of Ventnor, Isle of Wight
September 3, 2009, to Stacey Aviation of Ventnor, Isle of Wight
October 15, 2010, to Peter Gasson of Reading, Berkshire
In 1980 the Xyla was damaged when it ground-looped at Finmere, Buckinghamshire, it was grounded and sold in 1986. The new owner did not manage to repair the aircraft and it was stored at the attic of a paint shop. When Schnell bought the aircraft in 1997, he started a restoration to airworthiness that took 1,500 hours. Finished in a new yellow livery with polished metal cowlings, and fitted again with a two-blade propeller the Xyla participated in the PFA Rally in 1999.
The aircraft is pictured at the PFA Rally at Leicester in an overall white paint scheme which was apparently worn only briefly before its 1980 mishap. The Xyla in this color scheme was however documented (among numerous other well and lesser-known aircraft) in volume 4 of Ron Smith's book series
"British Built Aircraft".
TYPE: Single-seat homebuilt light aircraft.
WINGS: Cantilever low-wing monoplane. Wing section NACA 4418 at root with a chord of 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m), NACA 4416 at junction of centre-section and outer panels (3 ft, 0.91 m from aircraft centre-line) and NACA 4412 at tip with a chord of 3 ft 9 in (1.14 m). Dihedral 4° 30' on outer panels. Incidence 3°. All-wood structure of spruce, with birch plywood covering. Wooden Frise-type ailerons. No flaps or tabs.
FUSELAGE: All-wood structure, of Warren-girder construction; plywood-covered to rear of cockpit.
TAIL UNIT: Cantilever type, of similar construction to wings. Tail-plane incidence adjustable on ground. No tabs. Tail-plane span 9 ft 0 in (2.74 m).
LANDING GEAR: Non-retractable tail-wheel type. Cantilever main legs attached to wing front spar. Steel coil-spring shock-absorption. Spitfire tail-wheels, of 1 ft (0.305 m) diameter, are used as main wheels. Tire pressure 30 lb/sq in (2'11 kg/crri'). Wheel track 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m), No brakes.
POWER PLANT: One 92 hp Continental converted PC60 GPU engine, driving initially a Shield two-blade wooden propeller with diameter of 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) propeller, subsequently a 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m) diameter three-blade wooden propeller, in 1999 refitted with two-blade type. Fuel in two wing tanks, total capacity 13.21 gal (50 l), and one gravity-feed fuselage tank forward of cockpit. Refueling points in fuselage top and each wing. Oil capacity 1 gal (4.5 l).
ACCOMMODATION: Single seat in initially open cockpit behind one-piece windshield, later cockpit was covered with canopy.
EQUIPMENT: Provision to fit generator and radio.
Span: 27 ft 3 in (8.31 m)
Length: 19 ft 3 in (5.87 m)
Height: 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Wing area: 126 sq.ft (11.7 sq.m)
Max weight: 1,000 lb (454 kg)
Max never-exceed speed: 200 mph (322 kmh)
Max cruise speed: 110 mph (177 kmh)
Econ. cruise speed: 98 mph (157 kmh) at sea level
Stall speed: 47 mph (76 kmh)
Climb: 400 ft (122 m)/min
Takeoff run: 150 ft (46 m)