|A Percival P.40 Prentice T.1 of No. 16 Reserve Flying School based at Derby (Burnaston) Airport in service in May 1953|
|Role||Military trainer aircraft|
|First flight||31 March 1946|
|Primary users||Royal Air Force|
Argentine Air Force
private pilot owners after disposal by the RAF
The Percival Prentice was a basic trainer of the Royal Air Force in the early postwar period. It is a low-wing monoplane with a fixed tailwheel undercarriage. Front seating was in a side-by-side configuration with a rear seat provided.
Design and development
Designed to meet Air Ministry Specification T.23/43, the Prentice was the first all-metal aircraft to be produced by the Percival Aircraft Company. The prototype Prentice TV163 first flew from Percival's factory at Luton Airport, Bedfordshire on 31 March 1946. Early trials revealed inadequate rudder control, resulting in a revised rudder and a large cutout in the elevators. The aircraft were later modified with turned-up wingtips. Over 370 were delivered to the RAF between 1947 and 1949.
An unusual design feature was the provision for three seats. While the instructor and pupil were equipped with dual controls in a side-by-side arrangement in the front, a second pupil sat in the rear seat without controls to receive "air experience". Both pupils could communicate with the instructor. Night flying training was to be carried out in daylight by means of amber screens incorporated into the canopy and the use of special goggles. The amber screens were folded back when not in use.
Several hundred Prentices were ordered for RAF use. Since the Percival factory was concentrating on production of the Percival Proctor and the Merganser light transport aircraft, production was sub-contracted to the Blackburn Aircraft works at Brough.
After these modifications, the Prentice was passed into RAF service, initially with the regular Flying Training Schools (FTS) including the RAF College, Cranwell where they replaced the remaining de Havilland Tiger Moths. Later deliveries went to the Reserve Flying Schools (RFS). The type was used as a pilot trainer until 1952 at the RAF College where it was replaced by the de Havilland (Canada) Chipmunk and in late 1953 at the other schools, when it was replaced by the Percival Provost. Two Air Signals Schools also operated the type to train air signallers, until the last were withdrawn from No.1 ASS at RAF Swanton Morley, Norfolk, in mid 1956.
252 redundant RAF Prentices were later bought in 1956 by Aviation Traders Ltd, a company owned by Freddie Laker. and were stored at Stansted and Southend. Most were eventually scrapped but 28 were converted for civil use with two seats and two jumpseats behind the two pilots' seats, separated by a structure which housed the original 4-channel radio. This conversion had quite poor performance with four passengers. One aircraft (G-AOKL) was based at Stansted Aerodrome near London around 1963 and used by the Parachute Club for parachuting with at least three jumpers. One aircraft was converted to a seven-seat layout for pleasure flights. One (G-AOPL) was acquired from Shackleton Aviation at Sywell by Captain Jon Cousens, a Desert Intelligence Officer in the Trucial Oman Scouts and flown to Sharjah in 1967; later being flown on to South Africa where it remained until it ceased flying.
The aircraft had a poor performance with any load at high temperatures and initially had poor spin recovery.
Three fictional civilian Percival Prentice are featured in The Black Island (French: L'Île noire), the 7th volume of The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. The planes are used by money forgers, flying over Sussex and Scotland.
- Prentice T.1
- Standard three-seat trainer for Royal Air Force and export. 251 hp (187 kW) de Havilland Gipsy Queen 32 engine.
- Prentice T.2
- Fitted with supercharged 296 hp (221 kW) Gipsy Queen 51. One built.
- Prentice T.3
- Fitted with 345 hp (257 kW) Gipsy Queen 70-2. 62 built.
- Royal Canadian Air Force – One aircraft was evaluated and tested by the RCAF in 1948.
- Indian Air Force – Received 20 Percival-built T.3s plus 42 built under licence by Hindustan Aircraft.
- Royal Air Force
- Central Flying School
- No.1 FTS
- No.2 FTS
- No.3 FTS
- No.6 FTS
- No.7 FTS
- No.22 FTS
- No.16 RFS
- No.22 RFS
- No.23 RFS
- No.24 RFS
- No.25 RFS
- E-390 – Prentice T.1 on static display at the Museo Nacional de Aeronáutica de Argentina in Morón, Buenos Aires.
- New Zealand
- VS316 – Prentice T.1 on static display at the National Transport and Toy Museum in Wanaka, Otago.
- United Kingdom
- VR189 – Prentice T.1 airworthy with private owner at Biggin Hill Airport in London.
- VR192 – Prentice T.1 on display at the Brenzett Aeronautical Museum in Brenzett, Kent.
- VR249 – Prentice T.1 on static display at the Newark Air Museum in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinhamshire.
- VR259 – Prentice T.1 airworthy with Aero Legends in Headcorn, Kent. It was previously owned by the Classic Air Force.
- VS610 – Prentice T.1 under restoration with Neil James Butler of Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire. It was previously owned by the Shuttleworth Collection.
- VS618 – Prentice T.1 on static display at the Royal Air Force Museum London in London.
- VS621 – Prentice T.1 on static display at the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
- VS623 – Prentice T.1 on static display at the Midland Air Museum in Baginton, Warwickshire.
- United States
Specifications (T.1 - Gipsy Queen 51)
- Crew: 2-3
- Length: 31 ft 3 in (9.53 m)
- Wingspan: 46 ft 0 in (14.02 m)
- Height: 12 ft 10.5 in (3.924 m) with tail in rigging position
- Aspect ratio: 6.94
- Airfoil: RAF 48
- Empty weight: 2,891 lb (1,311 kg)
- Gross weight: 3,860 lb (1,751 kg)
- Fuel capacity: 40 imp gal (48 US gal; 182 l) fuel in two wing tanks ; 4.9 imp gal (6 US gal; 22 l) oil
- Powerplant: 1 × de Havilland Gipsy Queen 51 6-cylinder air-cooled inverted in-line piston engine, 296 hp (221 kW) supercharged
- or 251 hp (187 kW) de Havilland Gipsy Queen 32 un-supercharged engine
- Propellers: 2-bladed de Havilland constant-speed propeller
- Maximum speed: 171 mph (275 km/h, 149 kn) at 6,800 ft (2,073 m)
- 153 mph (133 kn; 246 km/h) at sea level
- Cruise speed: 160 mph (260 km/h, 140 kn) at 5,400 ft (1,646 m) maximum continuous
- 147 mph (128 kn; 237 km/h) at sea level maximum continuous
- 154 mph (134 kn; 248 km/h) at 12,200 ft (3,719 m) maximum economic
- 129 mph (112 kn; 208 km/h) at sea level maximum economic
- Stall speed: 62.4 mph (100.4 km/h, 54.2 kn) flaps up
- 51 mph (44 kn; 82 km/h) flaps down
- Range: 505 mi (813 km, 439 nmi) at sea level maximum economic
- 517 mph (449 kn; 832 km/h) at 12,200 ft (3,719 m) maximum economic
- Endurance: 3 hours 55 minutes maximum economic at sea level ; 3 hours 43 minutes 139 mph (121 kn; 224 km/h) at 5,000 ft (1,524 m)
- Service ceiling: 19,000 ft (5,800 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,070 ft/min (5.4 m/s) initial
- 960 ft/min (4.88 m/s) at 5,000 ft (1,524 m)
- Wing loading: 12.65 lb/sq ft (61.8 kg/m2)
- Power/mass: 0.0769 hp/lb (0.1264 kW/kg)
- Take-off run: 600 ft (183 m) from grass in still air at sea level ISA
- 525 ft (160 m) from hard runway in still air at sea level ISA
- Take-off distance to 50 ft (15 m): 1,110 ft (338 m) from grass in still air at sea level ISA
- 1,035 ft (315 m) from hard runway in still air at sea level ISA
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era
- Thetford 1976, p. 429.
- Marsh, Jeff. "Percival "Prentice" T1". Air Atlantique Classic Flight Project, 20 September 2005. Retrieved: 14 May 2009.
- Sturtivant 1997, p. 61.
- Jackson 1974
- Birtles Aircraft Illustrated December 1975, p. 489.
- Birtles Aircraft Illustrated December 1975, p. 487.
- Birtles Aircraft Illustrated December 1975, p. 492.
- Halley 1985, pp. 76–82.
- "Airframe Dossier - Percival Prentice T.1, s/n E-390 FAA, c/n PAC/F/280". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- "Airframe Dossier - Percival Prentice T.1, s/n IV336 IAF, c/n IV336". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- "The Museum Collection". National Transport & Toy Museum. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- "Airframe Dossier - Percival Prentice 1, s/n VS316 RAF, c/n PAC-252, c/r ZK-DJC". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- "Percival Prentice". Demobbed. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- "Aircraft List". Newark Air Museum. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- "THE AIRCRAFT". Aero Legends. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- "OKAY, WHAT'S ALL THE HURRY?". Classic Air Force. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- "Airframe Dossier - Percival Prentice T.1, s/n VS610 RAF, c/r G-AOKL". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- Simpson, Andrew (2013). "PERCIVAL PRENTICE T.1 VS618 /G-AOLK MUSEUM ACCESSION NUMBER X005-0834" (PDF). Royal Air Force Museum. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- "Aircraft Listing". Midland Air Museum. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- "Airframe Dossier - Percival Prentice T.1, s/n VS385 RAF, c/n 5840/7, c/r N1041P". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- "FAA REGISTRY [N1041P]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- Bridgman, Leonard, ed. (1947). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1947 (35th ed.). London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co.
- Thetford 1976, p. 430
- Bridgman 1951, pp. 70c–71c.
- Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". m-selig.ae.illinois.edu. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
- Birtles, Philip J. "The Percival Prentice". Aircraft Illustrated, Vol. 8, No. 12, December 1975. pp. 487–493.
- Bridgman, Leonard. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1951–52. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, Ltd., 1951.
- Ellison, Norman H. Percivals Aircraft (The Archive Photographs Series). Chalford, Stroud, UK: Chalford Publishing Company, 1997. ISBN 0-7524-0774-0.
- Halley, J.J. Royal Air Force Aircraft SA100-VZ999. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. 1985. ISBN 0-85130-136-3.
- Jackson, A.J. British Civil Aircraft since 1919, Volume 3. London: Putnam, 1988. ISBN 0-85177-818-6.
- Silvester, John. "Percival Aircraft 1933–1954 (Parts 1���4)." Aeroplane Monthly, Vol. 11, No. 1–4, January–April 1983.
- Sturtivant, Ray. Royal Air Force Flying Training and Support Units. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1997. ISBN 0-85130-252-1.
- Thetford, Owen. Aircraft of the Royal Air Force. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1976. ISBN 0-370-10056-5.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Percival Prentice.|
- "Prentice in the Air" a 1948 Flight article