Percival P.6 Mew Gull
The Percival Mew Gull G-AEXF was designed by Captain Edgar W. Percival and produced in 1936. This clean, low-winged monoplane, with a finely streamlined cockpit cover and a spatted undercarriage, was designed for racing and six were built.
Alex Henshaw exchanged his de Havilland Leopard Moth for a Mew Gull in 1937, and achieved the fastest times in many air races and won the Folkestone Aero Trophy in the same year.
During this period Alex met Jack Cross of Essex Aero Ltd who made mechanical and structural alterations to XF in order to win the 1938 King's Cup. The effect was a dramatic increase in performance and resulted in winning success in the King's Cup at a speed of 380.2km/h (236.25mph).
Alex then decided to attempt the solo records on the England to Cape Town route. He set off from Gravesend on 5 February 1939 and after four days returned having broken all records on this route. They remain unbroken to this day for an aircraft in this class. Each leg took 39 hours 23 minutes at an average speed of approximately 334.7km/h (208mph).
The Mew Gull was sold in the late summer of 1939 to a Frenchman. XF remained hidden from the Germans throughout the Second World War occupation of France. It then passed through a number of different owners before eventually being bought by Robert Fleming in 2002. In 2008 XF was still operated by The Real Aeroplane Company at Breighton in Yorkshire.
Engine: 165 hp Napier Javelin
Length: 18.23 ft (5.56m)
Wing span: 24 ft (7.32m)
Weight empty: 1,000 lb (450 kg)
Max speed: 195 mph (314 kph)
Range: 550 miles (885 km)