Straight & Level 19.2.1954

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Avro Fighter/Bomber

Though it has often been remarked that the Avro 707 research aircraft appears to have the makings of a first-rate fighter, it will come as a surprise, even to many who share that view, that this fascinating little aircraft is, at last, being developed into a lightweight fighter/bomber. As yet unnamed, the new machine has been designed to meet NATO requirements as laid down by General Norstad; its rivals appears to be a version of the Folland Gnat (Bristol Orpheus turbojet) and France's trolley-launched, skid-landing S.N.C.A.S.E. Baroudeur. Sir Roy Dobson, managing director of A.V. Roe and Co., Ltd., puts forward the comment that the delta plan form offers such easy landing characteristics that it is "ideally suited" for use on temporary airstrips. "Our aircraft," he says, "can land without trouble on a minimum NATO P.S.P. runway with room to spare, and can take off in half the minimum requirement." He goes on to claim that the delta offers not only low cost but great strength.

India Orders Viscounts

Although formal confirmation was not available at the time of going to press, it appears certain that the Vickers-Armstrongs have won the long "sales battle" waged in India against Convair. A report from New Delhi last Saturday stated that a $2m order would shortly be signed for six Viscounts, for service with the nationalized Indian Airlines Corporation. This contract would bring the number of Viscounts firmly ordered to 94, including 53 for overseas airlines. Other Viscount contracts are under negotiation, and at least one more overseas order is likely to be announced in the near future.

The Elba Search

On Friday last the frigate Wakeful, from which a search is being made for the main wreckage of the Comet that crashed in the sea off Elba on January 10th, made her first major "find". Manoeuvring his vessel over a position at which trawlers had reported contacting heavy objects with their sweeps at a depth of about 400ft, Cdr. Morrow arranged for the lowering of an underwater television camera, and for several hours the experts on board were able to study four major portions of wreckage. Numerous photographs of the television screen were taken and, after processing, passed to Mr. Bertram Morris (M.C.A.) and Mr. Peter Detmold (de Havillands) for identification. At the time of writing it is believed that this wreckage consisted of the major parts of the wing and its centre-section.