Percival
Prentice

A two- or three-seat basic trainer for the RAF and for export.
Percival Prentice prototype RAF TV163 The Percival Prentice prototype TV163 with the initial Proctor-style fin and rudder.
 
The first prototype Percival Aircraft Company Prentice (TV163) was flown for the first time on 31st March 1946, the type being designed against RAF specification T.23/43, to replace the De Havilland DH82 Tiger Moth in Flying Training Command. By comparison to the much simpler DH Tiger Moth, the Percival Prentice had a variable pitch propeller, significantly more power, flaps and a radio. In all, five prototypes were built.
 
Percival Prentice G-APJB G-APJB is one of four Prentice civil conversions that remain active in the UK.
 
The Percival Prentice was an all-metal low wing monoplane, on which the most characteristic feature of the design was the unusually large, glazed cockpit enclosure. The Percival Prentice required several modifications during its development to achieve predictable spinning characteristics. These included an increase in rudder area, a large cut-out in the elevator, anti-spinning strakes ahead of the tailplane and turned-up wing tips.
 
Full scale production followed the end of service trials with six pre-production aircraft (VN684, 687, 691, 701 and 702). Percival Aircraft Company who were based at Luton (Now Luton Airport) built 124 aircraft with serials between VR189 and VR324. Since the Percival Aircraft factory was concentrating on production of the Percival Proctor and the Merganser light transport aircraft, production was sub-contracted to the Blackburn Aircraft Company who built some 225 aircraft at Brough, spread across two batches.
 
The Blackburn Aircraft Company orders were later cut back somewhat to just 125 aircraft in batch 1 (from an original order for 180) and 100 aircraft in batch 2 (from an original order for 140).
 
Total production for the RAF was therefore 349 aircraft, plus eleven prototypes and pre-production aircraft.
 
The type was also sold to Argentina (100 aircraft) whilst three ex-RAF aircraft were operated in the Lebanon. Additionally, the more powerful Percival Prentice T.3 was built under licence by Hindustan Aircraft Ltd in India.
 
Percival Prentice G-AOLK Prentice G-AOLK is one of those converted for civil use by Aviation Traders Ltd.
 
As the type was withdrawn from RAF service, Aviation Traders Ltd acquired 252 Percival Prentice in 1956, which became a 5-seat civil conversion. Twenty-eight of these were eventually sold on to the UK civil register.
 
Percival Prentice G-AOLP N1041P Percival Prentice G-AOLP photographed at Exeter prior to its export to the USA to become N1041P.

 

Specification


Feature Specification
Powerplant
One 250 hp DH Gipsy Queen 30-2
Span
46 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight
4,350 lb
Capacity
Two or three seats (military); five seats (civil)
Maximum Speed
167 mph
Cruising Sped
127 - 150 mph
Range
396 miles


Variants & Numbers built


Variant Description and number built
RAF production
Prentice T.1: Five prototypes, six pre-production, and production batches of 124, 125 and 100 (total 360 aircraft)
India
66 Prentice T.3 aircraft (345 hp Gipsy Queen 70-2) were built under licence by Hindustan Aircraft in India
Argentina
Ordered 100 Prentice T.1 in 1948
Total production
Approximately 500 aircraft


Survivors


Variant Location
Prentice T.1
(VR189)
Airworthy with private owner at Biggin Hill Airport in London
Prentice T.1
(VR192)
Brenzett Aeronautical Museum, Ivychurch Road, Brenzett, Romney Marsh, Kent
Prentice T.1
(VR249)
Newark Air Museum in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire
Prentice T.1
(VR259)
Aero Legends (Headcorn) ,The Carriage House, Mill Street Maidstone, Kent
Prentice T.1
(VS316)
Prentice T.1 National Transport and Toy Museum in Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand 
www.nttmuseumwanaka.co.nz
Prentice T.1
(VS618 /G-AOLK)
RAF Museum, Hendon, London
Prentice T.1
(VS610 / G-AOKL)
Neil James Butler, Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire
Prentice T.1
(VS621)
South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum in Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Prentice T.1
(VS623)
Midland Air Museum in Baginton, Warwickshire
N1041P / G-AOLP Van Nuys Airport, Los Angeles, California

 

Airworthy


In 2020, four aircraft appeared on the British civil register.