Model Airplane News
July, 1957

Model Airplane News Cover for July, 1932 by Jo Kotula Hawker Fury    Model Airplane News Cover for July, 1957 by Jo Kotula Hawker Fury (Hornet)

Hawker Fury
Model Airplane News Cover Art for July, 1932 and July, 1957
by Jo Kotula
What a difference 25 years makes...
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The Hawker Fury was a British biplane fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force in the 1930s. It was originally named the "Hornet" and was the counterpart to the Hawker Hart light bomber.

 The Hawker Fury    The Hawker Fury      The Hawker Fury

Hawker Fury
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The Hawker Fury was a development of an earlier prototype fighter by substituting an inline engine for a radial engine, allowing for greater streamlining. Originally known as the Hornet, it was a single engined biplane, with single bay wings, initially powered by a 480 hp Rolls-Royce engine, which was soon stepped up to 525 hp. It was evaluated against the similarly powered Fairey Firefly II, being preferred because of its better handling and its all metal structure. The Hornet was purchased by the Air Ministry at the start of 1930, with a small initial production order for 21 aircraft (to be designated Hawker Fury - as the Air Ministry wanted fighter names that "reflected ferocity"). The Fury made its maiden flight at in March of 1931.

The Fury was the RAF's first operational fighter aircraft to be able to exceed 200 mph in level flight. It had highly sensitive controls which gave it superb aerobatic performance. It was designed partly for the fast interception of bombers and to that end it had a climb rate of almost 2,400 ft/min. The Fury entered squadron service with the RAF in May 1931. Due to financial limitations owing to the Great Depression, only three squadrons were equipped with he Fury. Furies remained in front line service with the RAF until 1939, replaced with, amongst other designs, Gloster Gladiators and Hawker Hurricanes, but continued to be used for training purposes.

Although phased out from RAF squadrons, the Fury was still used by some foreign air forces in the early 1940s; Yugoslav Furies saw action against Axis forces in the German invasion of 1941 They were slaughtered to a man by the Messerschmidt Bf 109. Ex-RAF Furies were also used by the South African Air Force against the Italian forces in East Africa in 1941 and despite their obsolescence destroyed two Caproni bombers as well as strafing many airfields, destroying grounded fighters and bombers.

A total of 262 Furies were produced, of which 22 served in Persia, 3 in Portugal, at least 30 in South Africa, 3 in Spain, at least 30 in Yugoslavia and the remainder in the United Kingdom.

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