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 Military Transport aircraft.
The GAL.58 Hamilcar X was designed to Specification X.4/44, being intended for use in theatre, during the war in the Pacific. As it transpired however, the conflict came to an end before it actually saw active service.
The prototypes (LA704 and LA728) were flown for the first time at Lasham, Hampshire in February 1945.
Although the type did not see operational service, although one example (TK735) was still in use by the Transport Command Development Unit at RAF Brize Norton until June 1947.
The GAL.58 Hamilcar X could be launched by tow from behind a Halifax bomber, at weights up to 47,000 lb. With this payload and at full power, once released the GAL.58 Hamilcar X descended at about 150 ft per minute. Level flight could also be maintained at weights up to 42,000 lb.
The main advantages were seen to be an improved take off performance, longer range operations (less fuel was 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 GAL.49 Hamilcar I as it did not require any additional ballasting 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)|