Gloster E.28/39 W4046: Dawn of a New Age (part ii)

[Would you like to see this in-game?]
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Introduction: In my previous suggestion, which you can read in the link below, I mentioned that two E.28/39s were built, W4046 being the second. This differed mainly by having a different engine, giving different performance. Despite its short story, it is intriguing nonetheless.

Description: W4046 differed from its stablemate by having a more powerful engine, the Rover W2B engine in place from the outset, being flown from Edgehill on 1st March 1943, being demonstrated to Winston Churchill on the 19th April. Performance was found to be better than that of W4041/G, which at the time still had the less powerful engine installed. The aircraft was flown from Edgehill to Farnborough for tests, where the aircraft was put through its paces by the test pilots, with even aerobatics being performed. At high altitudes, it was found that it was necessary to throttle back in order to reduce the chances of engine surges from occurring. Negative g was also found to have had an effect on the fuel tanks, starving the engine of fuel, though it was found that it was possible to restart the engines at altitude. In addition to this, the aircrafft tended to zigzag at high speeds. W4046’s service life was relatively short (the main reason behind why photos of it are rare), being lost on 30th July, 1943. At 36,000 feet, the ailerons jammed, forcing the pilot, Sqn Ldr D.B.S Davie, to bail out, in what must have been one of the highest bailouts and longest parachute descents up to that point. After this incident, W4041 was modified appropriately in order to prevent such an accident from occuring to it.

Just like its stablemate, W4046 proved extremely valuable to the British jet engine research program, providing valuable information to it despite its short service life and loss.


Type: Single-seat jet-powered Research aircraft
Powerplant: Rover W2B
Span: 29ft 0in (8.84m)
Length: 25ft 3.75in (7.71m)
Gross Wing Area: 146.5sq ft (13.62m2)
All-up Weight: 3,950lb (1,792kg)
Rate of Climb: Over 3,000ft/min (914m/min) at 1,000ft
Maximum Speed: 446mph (750km/h)
Service Ceiling: 36,000 feet
Armament: None fitted,

Provision for four Browning .303in (7.7mm) machine guns, as specified under Specification E.28/39|

Conclusion: As mentioned in my previous suggestion, the importance of the E.28/39 to British aviation history is immeasurable, providing new insights into high speed flight and the performance of jet engines upon which the basis of the Jet Age in Britain was built.



“British Experimental Combat Aircraft of World War II: Prototypes, Research Aircraft and Failed Production Designs” by Tony Buttler

“British Secret Projects 3: Fighters 1935-1950” by Tony Buttler

Power Jets W.1 - Wikipedia

Gloster E.28/39 | BAE Systems

Gloster-Whittle E.28/39 | This Day in Aviation

Air Warfare: an International Encyclopedia: A-L - Google Books

Technology and the Air Force: A Retrospective Assessment - Google Books

Would love to be able to fly this aircraft, however did anyone actually think of putting an armament on the prototypes? If there were no plans to arm the plane then unfortunately I don’t see it being added.

Yes, there was a plan to fit both prototypes with armament to evaluate their use as combat aircraft, however, this never happened, as it was decided to use them for testing purposes and because the Meteor had already began development by 1942, and offered superior armament and performance. The E.28/39s had the ability to carry guns but these were never fitted.