Basil Smith: Westland Wessex Airplane
The outbreak of the first World War brought an urgent need for powerful and effective war planes. As a result, numerous small aircraft manufacturers haphazardly sprang up throughout the world. One such company was the Westland Aircraft Works of Yeovil, Somerset, England. This tiny manufacturer consisted of a small factory -- converted from a farm hut -- and a staff which had never even seen an airplane up close! However, this seemingly unlikely company was responsible for turning out some of England's most remarkable airplanes, including such famous aircraft as Sopwiths, DH4s, Vickers, Hawkers, and Supermarine Spitfires ... to name just a few. Yet Westland's most successful airplane was a low powered, three-engined commercial aircraft -- known at first as the Westland IV. When the aircraft was later redesigned with more efficient engines, it was renamed the Westland Wessex. This remarkable airplane was envisioned, designed and built in just a matter of a few months. Capable of carrying four to eight passengers and crew, this aircraft proved to be such a success that it was widely used across Europe as a small commercial airliner.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® Trains & Boats & Planes & More Collection Description Card for the Westland Wessex.
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