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Roe II Triplane


After A.V.Roe moved his entire operation back to Brooklands, he constructed the first aircraft to be built by the company; the Roe II Triplane, named Mercury. It was designed by Alliott Verdon Roe as a sturdier development of his wood-and-paper Roe I Triplane.
It was a single seat triplane powered by a 35 hp Green water-cooled, four cylinder engine. The engine’s radiators were mounted flush along the side of the front section of the triangular shaped fuselage, which was constructed from ash, with silver spruce struts and spars, all covered in Pegamoid fabric. The three wings were of equal length, as was the triplane tail section, from which control of climbing and diving by means of pivoting the entire section, which was in turn linked to the centre mainplane variable incidence gear, was carried out. Control of the mainplane was by a single cntrol stick in the pilot’s cockpit. The two wheeled undercarriage was secured to the axle by rubber shock absorber cord, which in turn was fixed to a rigid, tubular steel triangulated structure.
On 4 March 1910, the aicraft appeared in public for the first time at the Olympia Aero Show in London. A.V.Roe showed the Prince and Princess of Wales around the machine himself. Priced at £550, including instruction, an order was received while at the show, from Sir Walter Windham, MP, who also manufactured car bodies.
First flown in April 1910, the show aircraft was retained by the company for training and experimental purposes. During a flight training sessions, student pilots crashed on landing, rolled twice on take-off, resulting in a number of modifications being made. After the second crash the centre of gravity was corrected by moving the pilot’s seat forward, the wing warping control was abandoned and large, unbalanced ailerons were fitted to the upper wing. The work was completed in ten days, and tests carried out proved to be more than satisfactory.




At the beginning of May, Sir Walter Windham’s aircraft was ready and after some initial instruction he took control of his aircraft. The taxying trials were successful, and Sir Walter took to the air a couple of days later. Not much is known about what happened to the aircraft, but it is known that on one of his landings the ground turned out to be too soft and the aircraft flipped on to its back.
The performance of the aircraft improved and it was finally dispatched by rail to the Blackpool Flying Meeting with the Roe III but on the journey the goods train set fire due to sparks coming out of the engine and landing on the truck. Both the Roe III and Mercury were totally burnt-out.
The longest recorded flight made by the II Triplane was only 600 ft (180 m).


Engine: × Green C.4 4-cylinder inline water-cooled, 35 hp (26 kW)
Propellers: 2-bladed
Wingspan: 26 ft (7.9 m)
Wing area: 280 sq ft (26 sq.m)
Length: 23 ft (7.0 m)
Height: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Empty weight: 150 lb / 68 kg
Gross weight: 550 lb (249 kg)
Maximum speed: 45 mph (72 km/h; 39 kn)
Seats: 1




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