The Inflexible was designed by Adolf Rohrbach as the Rohrbach Ro VI. The Beardmore Company (mainly shipbuilders by the 1920s) developed the Inflexible to demonstrate the then-innovative stressed-skin metal construction. Unusually for 1928 it was also a mid-wing monoplane at a time when most large aircraft were still wood and fabric biplanes. With a wingspan of 158 ft it was the biggest aircraft of it’s day. Before being allowed to make the attempt to fly it had to be fitted with support cables from the wing roots to nearly the wingtips. It was also decided that it would need more than the length of the existing airfield at Martlesham Heath to take off and an extra 400 yards of heath was cleared for the initial flight.
The extra 400 yards was not nearly needed and the Inflexible took off well before the end of the existing runway, no strain was evident on the cables and according to those on board, the flight was uneventful and the aircraft flew well.
The Inflexible's maiden flight proved it was too heavy for its three Rolls Royce Condor engines.
Beardmore Inflexible Serial n° J7557
Within two years its flying career was over and it was dismantled to save space, ending its days in experiments to investigate airframe corrosion.
Engines: 3 x Rolls-Royce Condor, 650 hp.
Take-off weight: 16783 kg / 37000 lb
Wingspan: 48.01 m / 157 ft 6 in
Length: 23.01 m / 75 ft 6 in
Height: 6.40 m / 20 ft 12 in
Max. speed: 175 km/h / 109 mph