Percival
Proctor

A successful design, serving throughout World War Two and continuing in production post-war for civil use.
Percival Proctor II G-AOGE Henstridge Percival Proctor II G-AOGE taking off; the square rear window indicates that this is a Proctor Mk I - III.
 
The Percival Aircraft Proctor was a military communications and training derivative of the four seat Percival Vega Gull to Air Ministry Specification 26/38, powered by a De Havilland Gipsy Queen II engine.
 
1,142 Proctors were produced for military service, the type being first flown (P5998) at Luton on 8th October 1939. The Percival Proctor I was arranged with three seats
 
Percival Proctor production was also sub-contracted to F. Hills & Sons, of Manchester, who built 812 aircraft. The Percival Proctor was also built in a several variants, as detailed in the table below. There was a significant change in the design with the Percival Proctor IV, which featured an increase of 28 inches in fuselage length, and a small increase in wing area.
 
The first Percival Proctor IV flew on 16th March 1942.
 
Percival Proctor IV LA589  2nd prototype An air-to-air photograph of LA589, the second of two Proctor IV prototypes.
 
Percival Proctor IV and V variants can be distinguished externally by a rectangular rear window, compared with the square window of the Percival Proctor I to III variants. Post-war, some 225 Percival Proctor I, II and IIIs were sold for civil operation, together with some 60 Percival Proctor IV aircraft after these were declared surplus to RAF requirements in 1955.
 
Total Percival Proctor production, including 154 P.44 Proctor V built post-war specifically for civil use, was 1,296 aircraft.
 
The success of the Percival Proctor is reflected in the following advertisement for the Percival Proctor V, published in April 1948: ‘The most popular British Light Aircraft in the World today’. Countries of operation - Iceland, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Portugal, Algeria, Syria, Great Britain, Iraq, Egypt, India, Kenya, Belgian Congo, Northern and Southern Rhodesia, Australia and South Africa.
 
A one-off Percival Proctor VI was equipped with 'Edo floats', specially built for the use of the Hudson’s Bay Company and it bore the experimental registration (X1), prior to being registered in Canada (CF-EHF).
 
Percival Proctor on Edo floats X1 X1 is the one-off Percival Proctor V1 (later CF-EHF) for the Hudson's Bay Company.
 
Reflecting its Percival Gull and Vega Gull heritage, the Percival Proctor was used for a number of long-distance flights including to New Zealand, Australia and Brazil. In late 1948, British female pilot Mrs Richarda Morrow-Tait, together with her navigation Michael Townsend, flew the Percival Proctor IV (G-AJMU ‘Thursday’s Child’) from Croydon Airport to India, Japan and then across the North Pacific to Alaska.
 
Many Percival Proctor aircraft began to disappear from the UK civil aircraft register during the late 1960s , normally following inspections. These were instigated as a result of the CAA issuing Airworthiness Notice 50 concerning 'the long-term airworthiness of wooden aircraft' especially those built using casein-type glues.
 
As a result of this, many aircraft were grounded or scrapped and relatively few remain flying today.
 
Percival Proctor V G-AHBD Blackbushe Many Proctors were withdrawn from use due to glue deterioration, this is Proctor V G-AHBD at Blackbushe.

 

Specifications


 
Proctor III
Proctor IV
Proctor V
Powerplant
One 210 hp DH Gipsy Queen 2 (Gipsy Six Srs II)
Span
39 ft 6 in
Maximum Weight
3,250 lb
3,500 lb
3,500 lb
Capacity
Three seat communications (Srs 1) or two seat R/T trainer (Srs 2)
Four seat communications or three seat R/T trainer
Four seat civil touring aircraft
Maximum Speed
165 mph
160 mph
157 mph
Cruising Sped
150 mph
140 mph
135 mph
Range
540 miles
500 miles
500 miles

 

Numbers & Variants


Proctor I
141 built by Percival, 25 by Hills & Sons; Mk IA for Fleet Air Arm
Proctor II
As Percival Proctor IA mainly for FAA; 100 by Percival, 100 by Hills & Sons
Proctor III
Prototype by Percival (Mk II conversion), 437 production by Hills & Sons
Proctor IV
Two prototypes and 6 production by Percival, 250 by Hills & Sons
Proctor V
154 civil aircraft built by Percival post-war
Proctor VI
One only, modified Percival Proctor V equipped with Edo floats, X1 later CF-EHF
Total
1,296 aircraft of all variants; 484 by Percival Aircraft, 812 by F Hills & Sons

 

Survivors


In 2020, six aircraft appeared on the UK civil register. Three aircraft are airworthy in New Zealand and  other examples can also be found in museums both in the UK and in Australia.