Funded by Nat Somers and designed by Hugh Kendall the Somers Kendal SK-1 was planned to win a Royal Aero Club prize for the design of a light aircraft, and to race, all with acrobatic abilities.
The tandem two-seat SK-1 is made of wood. The wings each hold a structural tank. Both tanks have a total capacity of 227 liters. The leading edge and wing tips are made of synthetic fiber impregnated fiberglass. The laminar wing has an aspect ratio of 8. The flaps extend over the entire span and contribute to the high lift by simultaneously operating down.
The only metal parts of the aircraft are the engine mounts, the landing gear and butterfly tail. The undercarriage front wheel was a Miles Gemini tail wheel, with a singe main wheel. Side outriggers fully retracted into the wing.
The butterfly tail is full flying and smaller trailing edge flaps act as servo trim tabs.
The first flight of the SK-1 was flown by Hugh Woodley Kendall, its designer, on Oct. 8, 1955.
The lack of market opportunity (either as aircraft race or as training aircraft for the RAF) terminated the project.
Circa 2010, the Somers-Kendall SK-1 was bought by Peter Bishop of Hamburg, Germany. The body is in good condition and it was transferred to Classic Aero Services in France for restoration.
Some other elements exist, but the wings and canopy were missing.
Engine: Turbomeca Palas, 160 Kp
Span 22 ft 9 in / 6.93 m
Wing area: 6.25 m²
Length 20 ft 10 in / 6.35 m
Height: 1.62 m
Fuselage weight: 217 Kg
Engine and accessories weight: 90 Kg
Equipment and oil weight; 35 Kg
Empty weight: 343 Kg
Aerobatic mauw 1300 lb
Fuel capacity: 228 lt
Vne: 645 km / h
Max speed: 332 mph / 535 Km / h (at sea level)
Max cruise: 450 km / h
Initial climb rate: 1850 ft / min
Range: 1160 km at 20,000 ft at 190 kts
Take-off (50 feet, 750 Kg): 685m
Landing dist (50 feet to 650 Kg): 595m
Load factor: + / - 6 g