Blackburn RT.1 Kangaroo
The Blackburn Kangaroo was originally designed as a naval reconnaissance and bomber seaplane in 1916, but was later converted to a landplane.
Two complete prototypes were produced, the first flying in July 1916. These prototype aircraft, known collectively as the Blackburn GP ("GP" for "General Purpose"), featured floats and were designed for use as anti-submarine aircraft
From this, a land-based version was developed as the Blackburn R.T.1 Kangaroo (Reconnaissance Torpedo Type 1). Despite the sub-par performance output of the Rolls-Royce Falcon II series engines (250 horsepower), the Royal Air Force deliveries began sometime in January of 1918 with units made combat-ready the same year. After the sixth production aircraft was complete, an attempt to boost performance was made with the introduction of the Rolls-Royce Falcon III engines developing 270 horsepower each.
Externally, the Kangaroo featured a long box-type straight fuselage. A crew of three was positioned about the forward portion and consisted of the pilot in the center cockpit, a gunner in the forward cockpit and a rear gunner in the far aft cockpit. All three positions were separated from one another. The fuselage was straddled by two engines with either a two- or four-blade propeller. The undercarriage was fixed and featured individual two-wheel bogie front landing gear systems and a tail skid. The main landing gears were positioned just under the engines. Wings were biplane and featured three bays with parallel struts and associated cabling. The wings were of an unequal span. The wings - outboard of the engines - could be swiveled back via hinges and folded against the tail section. The long empennage was fitted with twin vertical tail fins and horizontal plane.
10 were issued to No 246 Squadron (the only unit to operate the type) at Seaton Carew, on the Durham coast, from January 1918. Operations began on 1 May, the Kangaroos flying more than 600 hours on anti-submarine patrols over the North Sea between then and 11 November. During that time they were credited with 12 U-boat sightings and 11 attacks, one of which, on 28 August, resulted in the shared destruction of UC 70 with the destroyer HMS Ouse.
After the war, Kangaroos were used in limited numbers as dual-control trainers up to 1929, when the aircraft was officially retired from service. Several also made their way into the civilian passenger market for a time, ferrying up to 8 people.
The Blackburn Kangaroo was operated exclusively with No. 246 Squadron of the British RAF as well as the Peruvian Army Flying Service. Only 20 of the type were ultimately produced.
Blackburn R.T.1 Kangaroo