Bristol Wayfarer joins Channel Island Airways
From Flight Magazine 16 May 1946
Channel Islandes Airways are the first on the list of waiting customers for the Bristol Wayfarers and, because of this, it is not surprising that their main routes should be selected for a trial run of the new aircraft.
Piloted by A J Pegg, Bristol's Assistant Chief Test Pilot with Commander J M Keene Miller of CIA in the second pilot's seat, the Wayfarer flew from Filton to Southampton and thence, after the passengers had passed through the customs, to Guernsey. After being inspected by the Lieut-Governor and Bailiff, it was flown over to Jersey and there displayed to Mr Chuter Ede, the Home Secretary, who was in the islands to celebrate the first anniversary of their liberation from German occupation, and to the good Jersey Islanders at large.
In the evening it was flown to Croydon, taking one hour fifteen minutes for the 180-mile journey against a strong headwind. This, it must be understood was a proving — not a delivery — flight. It is expected that the first delivery will be made at the end of May or early in June.
The outstanding impression one gets as the Wayfarer is boarded is of spaciousness and solidity. No other cabin has given such an appearance of roominess and strength since the days of the HP 42 and Short Scylla. Even where the main spar crosses the cabin roof there is plenty of headroom for a tall man.
In width there is ample shoulder room for four people abreast, and the gangway is of such width that passengers do not automatically turn sideways to negotiate it. Only a short stairway of three or four steps is needed to reach the door from the tarmac, and the tail-down floor angle is just right for comfortable progress to one's seat. There is no feeling of climbing, neither is there that climb of eight or nine feet up a ladder to reach the door of a tricycle undercarriage aircraft that passengers so dislike.
The double armchairs, which Mr Rumbold has managed to get down to 501b weight each, are very comfortable. For any flight lasting less than three hours the standard can be considered as luxurious. Each armchair has a square window of ample dimensions from which easy vision is obtained for 120 deg on the fore-and-aft line and 60 deg downward. One has to lean forward slightly to use the windows to their full advantage, and slight movement of the headrests forward in relation to the windows would be an improvement.
Where view is concerned, no one could fail to appreciate the advantages of the high-wing arrangement. They are threefold: The glare from a metal wing is avoided ; each seat has an equally good view, and the shade of the wing is comforting and saves a good deal of eyestrain.
It would be expected that the impact of the slipstream from the airscrews would hammer badly on the slab-sided fuselage. This, however, does not appear to happen. By placing a hand on each fuselage frame in turn it was impossible to detect excessive vibration in any particular member.
Two persons sitting side by side in one of the armchairs are able to carry on a conversation without raising their voices, and the talk going on around one can be heard without straining the ears.
Bold British look
Wayfarer has a bold and very British look about it. It must, of course, be remembered that it is developed from an entirely freight-carrying type.
Nevertheless there is a pronounced drumming which is distinctly unpleasant. Having carefully tested the cabin for slipstream hammer and volume of noise, one can only presume that the trouble lies in the stub exhaust pipes which are fitted. If these were fed into a collector ring and taken by two long exhaust pipes over the wing, it is possible that a big improvement would result. The only other slight criticism which might be made is that when the individual ventilators are unscrewed to admit air, the control plates become loose and rattle in an irritating manner.
The luggage rack is quite exceptionally good. It appears to hold the baggage in a gentle grip, and there is none of the usual vibration dance which moves one's luggage two seats further down the cabin.
A final impression. By the shortness of run taken both for take-off and landing on this proving flight, it is obvious that the Wayfarer can operate from any airfield in the world worthy of the name.