The Museum’s exhibit, acquired in 1975, is a hybrid consisting of the cockpit of a Mk.II Horsa and the forward fuselage of a Mk.I Horsa. The fuselage shows the port side ramp/door, the interior plywood bench seating for the troops along the sides, a folding bicycle for use after landing, the extra section of ramp needed to fill the doorway, and the main skid. Also on view are Horsa wheels, and compressed air cylinders for the flaps.
Plus, the Sud Caravelle used the nose of the Comet, under license from DH. Therefore you could have a pub quiz question of naming the only glider on which the nose sections of two different airliners were tested - quite a claim to fame!
It is not all that well known that the Horsa (along with the Hotspur and Hengist) had the requirement to drop parachutists written into their specification. The Horsa's container bomb cells were positioned such that to allow the inner containers to be dropped the main undercarriage had to be dropped first - the main reason the Horsa had a landing skid.
The attached figure is from the AFEE report of the parachuting trials conducted from the Horsa showing a full load of 20 paratroops with kit bags. Strict despatch sequence was required as exit was simultaneously from both the front and rear doors to maintain the cg. Probably the reason why paratroop operations were never carried out from the Horsa.
The Horsa also had trials conducted with the dropping of a full load of supply panniers from the cabin, to achieve this a two track roller conveyor (as wooden as the aircraft itself) was devised, mechanically linked to maintain the sequence and cg. It is possible that these supply drop trials from the Horsa were the first ever use of an aircraft mounted roller conveyor to drop stores, a method which is almost universal today as the Horsa trials pre-date the use of a similar roller conveyor installation (metal) in the Dakota.
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