Percival Mew Gull | BAE Systems | International

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Percival
Mew Gull

A single seat racing aircraft which did so much to publicise the Percival company name.
Percival Mew Gull G-AEXF in pre-war racing trim Alex Henshaw's Percival Mew Gull G-AEXF in pre-war racing trim
 
The prototype of the Percival E1 Mew Gull high-performance, single seat racing monoplane (G-ACND) was flown at Gravesend in March 1934 and was specifically designed for racing and long distance touring. Developed into a number of sub-variants (Percival E2, E2H and E3H), six aircraft were built, of which the last aircraft (G-AFAA) was built at Luton (Percival Aircraft Ltd having moved there in October 1936).
 
 
Percival Mew Gull G-AEXF in 1986 at Thruxton Mew Gull G-AEXF in 1986 at Thruxton prior to King's Cup Air Race

 

The prototype of the Percival E1 Mew Gull high-performance, single seat racing monoplane (G-ACND) was flown at Gravesend in March 1934 and was specifically designed for racing and long distance touring. Developed into a number of sub-variants (Percival E2, E2H and E3H), six aircraft were built, oFar and away the most famous Mew Gull was the E2H (G-AEXF), which was raced by Alex Henshaw (who became Chief Production Test Pilot for Spitfires made at Castle Bromwich).
 
In racing trim, it achieved a maximum speed of 247 mph and Henshaw took the aircraft on many further adventures, including a record attempt on the England to Cape Town route in 1939, a round trip which he completed in 4 days, 10 hours and 16 minutes. During all his exploits, Henshaw never damaged the aircraft and eventually sold it to Frenchman Victor Vermoral who, along with many successive owners, managed to hide it from the Germans during World War II.  
 
Despite a number of post war incidents which saw the aircraft written off at least twice, it still survives today, over 80 years after her original configuration.f which the last aircraft (G-AFAA) was built at Luton (Percival Aircraft Ltd having moved there in October 1936).
 

 

Percival Mew Gull G-AEXF at Old Warden in October 2014 Percival Mew Gull G-AEXF flying at Old Warden in October 2014
 
Although it has had to be rebuilt on several occasions, G-AEXF is still flying over 80 years after her original configuration and is currently based at The Shuttleworth Trust at Old Warden, Bedfordshire.
 
In 2013, a replica aircraft (G-HEKL) emerged in private ownership and is now airworthy in the UK.

Specification (Percival E.2 Mew Gull)

Powerplant One 205 hp DH Gipsy Six Srs II 
Span 24 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight 2,125 lb
Capacity  Pilot only
Maximum Speed 230 mph
Cruising Sped 205 mph
Range 800 miles

Variants & Number built

Mew Gull E.1
1 built
Prototype with Napier Javelin engine
Mew Gull E.2
1 built
Powered by DH Gipsy Six
Mew Gull E.2H
3 built          
Powered by DH Gipsy Six (later re-engined to Gipsy Six Series II)
Mew Gull E.3H
1 built
Often called the Super Mew, built specifically for Edgar Percival

Survivors

Mew Gull (G-AEXF)
The Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden, Bedforshire
Mew Gull (G-HEKL)
Amateur-built new-build aircraft first flown in 2013