The General Aircraft Limited GAL.58 Hamilcar X was a powered glider developed (converted from) the GAL.49 Hamilcar I, produced in 1942 as a large British Miltary Transport aircraft.
The Hamilcar X was designed to Specification X.4/44 and was intended for use in theatre in the war in the Pacific although the conflict came to an end before it saw active service.
The prototypes (LA704 and LA728) were flown for the first time at Lasham, Hampshire in February 1945.
The type did not see operational service, although one example (TK735) was still in use by the Transport Command Development Unit at Brize Norton until June 1947.
The Hamilcar X could be launched by tow behind a Halifax bomber at weights up to 47,000 lb. With this payload and at full power, once released the Hamilcar X descended at about 150 ft / min. Level flight could also be maintained at weights up to 42,000 lb.
The main advantages were seen to be improved take off performance, longer range operations (less fuel required in Halifax tug aircraft) and once unloaded, the ability to return the aircraft back to base, for further operations. The maximum payload on such a return journey had to be restricted to 3,000lb.
The aircraft was also reported to be less sensitive to load variations than the Hamilcar I and not to require ballast at any load condition.
Variants & Numbers
|Hamilcar X||Two prototypes and 20 additional conversions from Hamilcar I gliders|
|Powerplant||Two 965 hp Bristol Mercury 31 engines|
|Span||110 ft 0 in|
|Maximum Weight||47,000 lb (max weight for solo take off 32,500 lb|
|Capacity||Two crew and 60 troops or cargo loads up to 17,500 lb (as Hamilcar I)|
|Max speed||145 mph|
|Cruising Speed||120 mph|
|Range||705 miles (1,675 miles with overload tanks)|