Westland Racer / Wizard


The first attempt by Westland to develop a monoplane fighter evolved from a private venture prototype designed - by the company's draughtsmen in their spare time - during 1926 with high speed performance the primary objective. Known simply as the Racer, this unarmed parasol monoplane of mixed construction was powered by a 275hp Rolls Royce Falcon III inline engine and flew in November 1926. Badly damaged in a forced landing in 1927, the Racer was rebuilt in much modified form as the Wizard fighter. In this form, it was primarily of metal construction and had a 490hp unsupercharged Rolls-Royce F.XI 12-cylinder Vee-type water:cooled engine in a more streamlined nose cowling, with a retractable radiator in the underside of the fuselage. The Wizard - which was flying by late 1927 - used a similar parasol wing to that of the Racer, this being mounted close to the fuselage on tandem pylons on the fuselage centreline. Two 7.7mm Vickers guns were mounted semi-externally in the fuselage sides. The Wizard's performance, and particularly its rate of climb, attracted a modicum of Air Ministry interest and a contract to cover testing at Martlesham Heath. There, the pilot's forward view was found unsatisfactory, leading Westland to design and fit a new wing with changed planform outboard, new inset ailerons and a thinner centre section, mounted on more conventional cabane strutting. A supercharged 500hp Kestrel II (F.XIS) was fitted, but in this final form, the Wizard II, as it was sometimes known, demonstrated a reduced performance and failed to persuade the Air Ministry to change its policy towards monoplane fighters.

Max take-off weight: 1486 kg / 3276 lb
Empty weight: 1067 kg / 2352 lb
Wingspan: 12.04 m / 40 ft 6 in
Length: 8.18 m / 27 ft 10 in
Height: 2.84 m / 9 ft 4 in
Wing area: 22.11 sq.m / 237.99 sq ft
Max. speed: 303 km/h / 188 mph

Westland Wizard