Gateway to Supersonic Flight
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From an aviation legend comes the only personal account of the development of the M.52 and the mystery behind its cancelationIn December 1943, a top-secret contract (E.24/43) was awarded to Miles Aircraft. The contract was to build the world's first supersonic jet capable of 1,000 mph. The only reliable source of data on supersonic objects came from the Armament Research Department and their wind tunnel tests on ammunition. From this, Miles developed an exceptionally thin-winged, bullet-shaped aircraft. The research was inexplicably passed to the Americans in 1944 and by December 1945, one prototype was virtually complete. The second, destined for an attempt at the sound barrier was 80% complete. In February 1946, Captain Eric Brown was confirmed as the test pilot and October 1946 was set for the supersonic trials. However, on February 12, 1946, Miles were ordered to stop production. No plausible explanation was given for the cancelation when Britain was within six months of breaking the sound barrier. Eric Brown and others directly involved including Dennis Bancroft, the Chief Aerodynamicist on the M.52, have now come together to try and finally solve the mystery behind the cancelation.
- The History Press, March 2012
The History Press
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