RAY WATKINS COLLECTION
No. 10174. Westland Wizard Mk.I (J9252) Royal Air Force
Photograph from Westland

Westland Wizard Mk.I

11/30/2010. Remarks by Ray Watkins: "The Wizard was a private venture designed to comply with the Air Ministry Specification 4/24 which differed considerably from Westland's own Westbury, and the Bristol Bagshot, which had been produced against development contracts. The design, intended to be a 'racer', was developed as a spare time activity by a group of enthusiasts in the design office.

To reduce costs the construction was wooden but, having seen Sydney Cammís method of metal construction on the Hawker Heron, the front of the fuselage was removed and replaced with a metal-framed structure using a modified version of the Hawker system which became known as the 'Westland system'.

Construction was completed in early 1926 with the first flight, appropriately taking place 'out of office hours' on a Sunday, watched by the team who had developed the design. The photo shows the Wizard Mk.I in 1928 before being delivered for testing by the A & AEE at Martlesham Heath where it was given RAF serial J9252.

It made an impressive appearance at the RAF Display at Hendon on 30 June 1928 before King George V and 200,000 spectators. A modest Air Ministry contract allowed Westland to develop an all-metal wing, of greater span and reduced chord, to overcome criticism of the limitation to the pilot's upward view. A supercharged Roll-Royce F XIS engine was also fitted. The modified aircraft was designated the Wizard Mk.II."

Created November 30, 2010