Westland Lysander Mk II Wheel Spats

Westland Lysander Mk II Wheel Spats

Westland Lysander Mk II Wheel Spats

One of the streamlined wheel spats on the Westland Lysander Mk II. This picture shows the landing light at the front of the spat and the winglet bomb rack. Here it is shown carrying a food container, designed to drop supplies to isolated troops.

Westland Lysander Mk II Wheel Spats - History


It was an odd sight in the skies over Europe and Asia during the Second World War. At a time when the latest fighters were designed with sleeker looks, more powerful engines and heavy armament, this particular aircraft, the Westland Lysander was the anti-thesis of the philosophy. It had a stubby fuselage with a radial engine in the front, two non-retractable undercarriage legs. High wing monoplane supported by V struts, and would be flying along at speeds that today&rsquos motorcars would exceed by miles!

The aircraft was the result of the Air Ministry Specification A.39/34 calling for a two-seater Army Cooperation role replacement of the Hawker Hector. The Army Cooperation Squadrons of that time were cooperating directly with the Army, and tasks like reconnaissance, artillery spotting, communication, liaison etc were to be the responsibilities of the Army Co-operation squadrons.

Westland Aircraft Limited, based at Yeovil, Somerset, England submitted a proposal called the P.8, by engineer Arthur Davenport, under the technical direction of Edward (teddy) Peter, the famous aircraft designer. Petter himself was instrumental in gathering opinions from the Army and RAF Army Cooperation squadrons that went into the final development of the aircraft. Good visibility from the cockpit and special performance from small airfields and areas, and slow flying speeds were the essentials of Army Cooperation work.

Prototypes and Production Orders

Westland received the order for the aircraft and two two prototypes were given the go ahead in June 1935. The first prototype (K6127) was flown on June 15, 1936. It was powered by a 840 hp Bristol Mercury IX radial engine. The second prototype (K6128) flew six months later, on December 11, 1936. The second prototype had a more powerful 905 hp Mercury XII Radial.

The Air Ministry finally chose the Westland design in September 1936 and ordered for its first batch of 169 aircraft the same month. It was about this time, the aircraft was named the Lysander - in the tradition of naming Army Cooperation aircraft after classical warriors. (Lysander was a Spartan admiral who defeated the Athenian fleet in 405 BC). The production was carried out in two versions, the Mk I and Mk II, respectively powered by Mercury XII and the Bristol Perseus XII engines. The latter engine was tested on the first prototype before actual production began.


The Lysander was a 'modern' design as far as Army Cooperation aircraft were concerned. For the first time, it featured an enclosed cockpit that provided some crew comfort. It was a high-wing monoplane design with a fixed undercarriage, powered by a radial engine.

The pilot sat high in his cockpit and had an excellent field of view from his position. The position of the pilot was such that the wings on the aircraft were at his eye level to the sides, so he had a good view above and below the wings. The pilot&rsquos cockpit had a aft-sliding roof and vertically sliding side windows. The entire cockpit was a long glass house with the air gunner / observer sitting in tandem to the pilot. The gunner sat on a swivel seat that would allow him to face forward as well. The gunner could also double up as the bomb &ndashaimer with access to a bomb sight that could be aimed through a clear glass panel in the fuselage. A 95 gallon self sealing aluminum main fuel tank is placed just behind the pilot&rsquos seat dividing the space between the two crew members.

The Cockpit and Instrument panel of the Lysander. Click on the images above and on the right to see larger views and explanation of the numbers.

The undercarriage was a unique design. it was built around an upside down horse shoe shaped strut that had internally sprung Dowty wheels at either end. The strut was covered panels to give it some stream lining. The Pilot had step holds and hand holds inserted in wheel spats to allow him to climb into his cockpit. Rather uniquely, each of the wheel spats housed a .303 Browning machine gun with about 500 rounds each. These fired outside the propeller arc and this eliminated the requirement for synchronising gear. Additionally Stub wings can be fixed to the wheel spats to which a variety of bombs can be fixed. The stub wings were stressed to carry either a single 250lb bomb , or four 20lb bombs each, or two 112lb bombs. The spats also housed two powerful landing lamps that helped the pilot land the aircraft without any external lighting aids, even on rough ground.

A period Cutaway drawing of the Lysander as published in FLIGHT magazine. Note the prone position of the air gunner in a 'bomb aiming' role on the floor of his position.

The wings were an advanced design of their own. The wings tapered outward from the tip towards the root and at a point tapered inwards. The aircraft featured automatic slats - that deployed whenever the aircraft's speed fell below a point. The slats would also deploy the trailing edge flaps - This was the first aircraft in which the pilot didn&rsquot have to remember to operate the flaps!. It also relieved the pilot the burden of retracting them before the safe speed was exceeded.

The automatic slats and flaps gave the aircraft tremendous low speed performance. It could hang in the air at just 55miles per hour! The aircraft was almost impossible to stall in level flight. As the speed was lowered, the aircraft would go into a nose high attitude and there was no wing drop or spin that develops. The stall would be delayed to an exceptionally large angle of attack and is not usually reached in the normal envelope of flight operations. During take off, the aircraft did not require the tail to be lifted and would lift off straight once take off speed of 80 mph was reached. The aircraft was cleared for a maximum diving speed of 300 mph, and aerobatics as well as spinning were prohibited. Sudden maneuvers and heavy loads were prohibited when flying at high speed.

The Lysander was produced in three distinct variants - the Marks I, II and III. There were subvariants within each mark - the differences as illustrated below

Type Power Plant Details, Variants, Conversions Number Produced End User
Prototype 2 RAF
Mk I 664-kW (890-hp) Mercury XII radial Conversions include TT.Mk1 variant (Target Towing) 169 RAF
18 EAF
Mk II 675-kW (905-hp) Bristol Perseus XII radial Conversions include TT.MkII variant (Target Towing) 399 RAF
36 Turkey
Mk III 649-kW (870-hp) Bristol Mercury XX or 30 radial Twin 7.7-mm (0.303-inch) Browning machine guns in the rear cockpit for the observer instead of a single Lewis machine gun.
  • Mk IIIA - Mk IIIs with Additional Armour protection·
  • Mk IIISD - Special version for clandestine operations. No armament, long range fuel tank under the fuselage, fixed external ladder at Observers position.
  • TT.Mk III - Mk IIIs converted into target tugs.
  • TT.Mk IIIA - New production target tugs built upto Mk III standards. Armament removed, attachments for drogue targets and a winch in the rear cockpit.

Of the above, only the Mk.II and Mk.IIIs ever served with in numbers with operational squadrons in India.

Service with the RAF

The Lysanders entered squadron service in May 1938. The first RAF Unit to get them was No.16 Squadron, RAF based at Old Sarum, UK , the birth place of Army Cooperation training.

The first Indian to fly in a Lysander was IND/1560 Pilot Officer Surendra Nath Goyal (later AVM). He did this as a passenger in Lysander Mk.I L4691 on 13th September, 1938. He had only received his commission from RAF Cranwell in June 38 and arrived at Old Sarum for Army Cooperation training. Goyal was attached with No.16 Squadron in August 1938. He was with the Squadron for three months, during which time he flew Hawker Harts and Furys. He never got to fly the Lysander directly, though he did fly as a Passenger in two flights on this day, each lasting half an hour. He remembers that at that time the Lysander was the 'latest' as far as Army Cooperation aircraft went. It would be quite some time before Indian pilots would get to see or fly the aircraft.

The other two graduates out of Cranwell after Goyal, Arjan Singh and Prithipal Singh, had to finish their course in an accelerated mode as war had broken out and they never got to fly the Lysanders. It would be another two years before Indian pilots got to solo in and make their first flights in this aircraft.

At the onset of the Second World War, seven squadrons of the RAF were operating the Lysanders in England. When the British Expeditionary Force went to France, six of these squadrons formed part of the BEF. However most of these units suffered badly when the Germans invaded the low countries and subsequently France. Only about 50 odd out of a total of 174 Lysanders that were sent to France made it back to the British Isles.

From then on, Lysanders would equip additional squadrons, including those in Australia and Canada. Starting from 1941, the "Lizzie" as it was affectionately known, were employed in full force in the Special Operations role. No. 138 (Special Duties), was formed to operate missions for the Special Operations Executive to maintain contact with the French Resistance. They were used to drop covert agents in Occupied France, and on many occasions to also evacuate Agents, downed allied airmen etc back to the UK. These Special Operations Lysanders were modified Mk III Variants - with a long range fuel tank underneath, and a fixed Ladder to assist the rear passenger to get in and out of the aircraft with ease. These aircraft were also painted black overall to take advantage of the night sky.

Lysanders in India

The first Lysander arrived in India in March 1938, when the second prototype aircraft K6128 was dispatched for the Aircraft Depot India, Karachi for carrying out tropical trials. The aircraft was attached to No.5 Squadron RAF during this period was tested in Peshawar and Kohat. The aircraft ended its life somewhere in the Indian Subcontinent as a Ground Instruction airframe by July 1940, probably at Ambala in the Technical school.

The second prototype K6128 seen at Miranshah in Northern Waziristan, in current day Pakistan. The aircraft was attached to No.5 Squadron whose Westland Wapitis can be seen in the background. Photo Courtesy - Profile Publications - Harold Penrose
The Second Prototype Lysander on temporary gun butts erected by No.31 Squadron RAF at Drigh Road Karachi. Note the Indian labourers using brute power to lift up the tail! Photo Courtesy - A Pictorial History of the RAF - Vol 1 - JWR Taylor

India remained the haven for biplanes till August 1941, when the first batch of 48 Lysander IIs arrived at Aircraft Depot, Drigh Road. These were allotted to Nos.28 Squadron RAF and No.1 Squadron IAF. Subsequently, No.20 Squadron, RAF, Nos. 2 and 4 Squadrons IAF were also re-equipped with the Lysanders.

Two examples briefly served with No.104 (GR) Squadron IAF (more about this later!). By mid-43, all front line Lysander units had given them up for the Hawker Hurricane and the type was relegated to training establishments like the 151 OTU, No.1 AGS(I) and No.22 AACU.

No.28 Squadron RAF under Sqn Ldr P N Jennings received its Lysanders at about the same time as No.1 Squadron, IAF. Lysander Mk II N1273 of No.28 Squadron RAF over the Khyber. This particular aircraft crashed on take-off at Kohat on 19 Dec 1941. Photo Courtesy - Eyes of the Phoenix - Geoff Thomas
Three Lysanders in a flypast over Kohat in late 1941 / early 1942. Another aircraft can be seen on the ground.
Two Lysanders of No.28 Squadron seen at Kohat before the far eastern front flared up. Lysander &ndash &ldquoBF-M&rdquo P1686 or similar in the foreground & BF-Y behind, of No.28 Squadron.

No.28 Squadron was always considered as the 'rival' squadron to No.1 Squadron IAF. Both units flew into Burma within days of each other. P1686 was one of the aircraft flown by No.28 to Burma. It was lost when Bombs fell off and destroyed it on take off at a Landing Ground near Mingaladon (Rangoon)17/2/42. Frank Powley Collection

Westland Lysander

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/08/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

In 1934, the British Air Ministry released a requirement for a new "Army Co-Operation / Liaison Aircraft" (Specification A.39/34). The role called for a platform capable of rough-field / short-field operation, long loitering times and excellent vision out-of-the-aircraft. The result of the new initiative became the high-winged, two-seat (tandem) Westland "Lysander" of which 1,786 examples were produced. Service introduction came in June of 1938 following a first-flight recorded two years earlier on June 15th (1936).

The series went on to see operational service during all of World War 2 (1939-1945) and was ultimately taken on by the forces of Australia, British India, Canada, Egypt, Finland, France (Free France), Ireland, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The aircraft was given a high-mounted monoplane wing arrangement sitting the wings well-forward of midships. The high wing mounting allowed for excellent lift properties needed for Short-Take-Off and Landing (STOL) operation. V-shaped struts secured the underside of the wing (at about the midway point) and reached down to the fixed undercarriage fairings. The main leg wheels were spatted to preserve aerodynamic efficiency while the tailwheel was fixed during flight. The crew cabin was extensively glazed for the vision out-of-the-aircraft needed. The engine was fitted to a compartment at the nose in the usual way (driving a three-bladed propeller unit) and the tail consisted of a single vertical fin with low-set horizontal planes.

Two prototypes were used to prove the design sound - the first flying with a Bristol Mercury XII radial engine of 890 horsepower. It proved successful and this led to adoption of the aircraft as the Lysander Mk.I of which 169 of the type followed into service.

There were ten notable variants of the Lysander line: Lysander Mk.I was armed with 2 x .303 Browning machine guns in fixed, forward-firing mounts at the wheel fairings and a trainable Lewis or Vickers machine gun for the rear observer / gunner. Additionally, this mark could carry a modest bombload totaling nearly 600lb of conventional drop ordnance. Lysander TT Mk.I marked target tug aircraft converted from retiring Mk.I airframes.

The Lysander Mk.II was powered by the Bristol Perseus XII radial piston engine (sleeve valve) of 905 horsepower. Its target tug forms were known as Lysander TT Mk.II. 517 were built to the Lysander Mk.II standard.

The Lysander Mk.III (also 517 examples built) was fitted with the Bristol Mercury XX or Mercury 30 (347 aircraft) series radial engines of 870 horsepower. These carried a twin .303 machine gun installation for the rear gunner. The Mk.IIIA was based on the Mk.I model but carried the Bristol Mercury 20 series engine. It also showcased a dual-machine gun arrangement for the rear gunner. A special forces variant of Mk.III was the Mk.III SCW (Special Contract Westland). This platform lacked all armament and fitted additional fuel stores as well as an external ladder for quick entry / exit. TT Mk.III was the target tug form of Mk.I, Mk.II and Mk.III conversions. Mk.IIIA marked dedicated Mk.III conversion forms.

Structurally, the Lysander Mk.III held a length of 9.29 meters, a wingspan of 15.24 meters and a height of 4.42 meters. Empty weight was 2,000 kilograms against a MTOW of 2,875 kilograms. Performance-wise the aircraft could reach speeds of 212 miles per hour out to a range of 600 miles and a service ceiling of 21,500 feet. It required a take-off run of just 50 feet to get airborne. This variant was armed through 2 x .303 Browning forward-firing machine guns and one or two such guns at the rear cockpit (on a trainable mounting). Additionally, 4 x 20lb bombs could be affixed to the rear fuselage and 500lb across optional wing stubs for conducting light bombing of ground targets.

The P.12 Lysander Delanne (also "Westland Wendover") was a proposed Lysander II model installing a Nash & Thomson powered tail turret featuring four machine guns. A twin-tailed arrangement was needed to help clear the turret firing rearwards. Trials with a mocked up turret were had but little progress beyond this was seen on the project.

With service entry in mid-1938, the Lysander was on-call in number when World War 2 came to Europe. Early-use found the aircraft limited in the face of aggressive tactics and a heavy fighter presence over France. Then followed limited exposure in both the Middle East and Far East theaters but the design's limitations over contested airspaces continued to show through. As such, the series was eventually relegated to second-line roles in due time. For its part in the war, the Lysander did provide great short-field / rough-field performance and was particularly useful for special missions in and around German-occupied France where agents could be picked up and dropped off in short order under the nose of the enemy.

British Lysanders was given up rather quickly after the war as soon as 1946. The Royal Air Force (RAF) was also its largest user with dozens of squadrons assigned the type. The USAAF fielded the aircraft in five total squadrons including the 496th Fighter Training Group. Canada showcased the aircraft in ten total squadrons, British India in six squadrons and Australia in two squadrons.

Mutley's Hangar

The Westland Lysander was designated an army co-operation aircraft replacing Hawker Audaxes and Hectors during 1939. Like other British army air co-operation aircraft, it was given the name of a military leader in this case, the Spartan general, Lysander. In the forces it was affectionately known as "Lizzie"

This two-seater, high wing monoplane has many interesting features. It excels in it's ability to operate from a small improvised airstrip, its take-off run to clear a fifty-foot obstacle being only 245 yards. This made possible clandestine missions behind enemy lines that placed or recovered agents, particularly in occupied France. The MkIII included in this package were fitted with a fixed entry/exit ladder on the port side to hasten access to the rear cockpit and a large drop tank under the belly.

MkII Lysander's had a 905 hp Bristol Perseus sleeve-valve air-cooled radial engine. The MkIII had a 870 hp Mercury radial piston engine. Some MkII's were fitted with twin machine guns in the rear cockpit, these being designated MkIIA.

A restored, flying Lysander can still be seen in the world-famous Shuttleworth Collection based at Old Warden Airfield north of London and it is also a regular participant in the Flying Legends Airshow at Duxford, last appearing on July 11, 2010. This model, MA-B is included in this package. A non-flying version can be seen suspended in the Airspace hangar at Duxford.

9193 Lysander Mk.II of No. 28 Squadron
Mk.III with long range tank and step ladder

The virtual Lysander - Special Operations package
As the title suggests, this product is based around the clandestine flights into and out of France. You get a Secret Operations Guide which has a full descriptive history of 5 missions, with flight briefings and maps. When I say missions, this is the old fashioned type not the FSX type although you do get flight plans and weather files installed.

The 5 included missions are:

  • Dec 23, 1942 – Operation Jaguar – flight to Cluny
  • Jan 26/27 1943 – Operation Prawn – flight to ‘Courgette’
  • July 17/18 1943 – Operation Rénoir – flight to Bouillancy
  • July 19/20 1943 – Operation Athlète – flight to ‘Grippe’
  • Aug/16/17 1943 – Operation Diplomat – flight to ‘Torticolis’

A Pilots notes manual is included too which you need for whatever type of flying you intend to do, at 40 pages it is quite long and reasonably comprehensive but there were only 11 pages on actual aircraft operation. There are a few pages about the developer and his company and to their credit some interesting pages on the history of the aircraft and the missions. I have mentioned before that I enjoy researching aircraft I review and their history, so the extended history and video links were a great addition for me, you can tell the developer has more than a fondness for the Lizzie!

  • P1901 Lysander Mk.II, of Escadrille ‘Rennes’ ,Groupe ‘Bretagne’ of the Free French Air Force, attached to Gen. Leclerc’s forces in North Africa, 1941-1942
  • P9193 Lysander Mk.II of No. 28 Squadron, based in Kohat, North West Frontier Province, India in the latter part of 1941
  • R1992 Lysander Mk.II of an unidentified unit in North Africa, used to transport Maj.Gen. Ginbachan Singh on troop visits
  • V9297 Lysander Mk.III(SD). Special Duty Lysander in the factory fresh paint scheme, as applied at the Ilchester Dispersal Factory
  • V9289 Lysander Mk.III(SD) of ’C’ flight (special) of No 357 (SD) Squadron, attached to the 14th Army, South East Asia Command

Download and Installation
The product reviewed here is the Aerosoft download, this product is available elsewhere but in common with a lot of simmers out there, Aerosoft would be my most trusted supplier.

Download is brief given a semi-fast connection. Installation is just a question of following screen prompts and you are under way in a few minutes. The FSX locations are automatically selected but can be overridden if required. The Tangmere scenery is not optional and activates itself in the scenery library. If it conflicts with existing installed scenery then it is easy to remove for the average experienced FSX user.

When first climbing into the cockpit and looking around you can't help but notice how good the visibility is. Unlike other high-wing aircraft the wing does not obscure the view above the cockpit. The wings are tapered out from the cockpit which gives you the feeling of being further forward than you really are. The stick is very reminiscent of the Spitfire and Hurricane stick being of the same era, the rudder pedals are in almost a V shape so your toes point out rather than a straight ahead position.

On the left hand side of the pit are the expected throttle and mixture controls and the all-important trim wheel. All of these are mouseable as well as keyboard/Joystick controlled. Also, there is a flaps indicator which I couldn't really see was indicating anything so I checked it out later in flight and can confirm it is inoperative. The flaps by the way are automatic as well as the leading edge slats.

The panel is a muted black but there is some detailing around the main six. The rusted and knurled screws keeping the gauges in place is very realistic. The layout is fairly typical, to the left are the electrical controls, magnetos, lights etc and and four switch boxes which are completely blacked out and marked as inoperative, apparently these are bomb selector switches.

in front of the left knee is the rudder trim but it is not a wheel it is a plunger, I wasn't expecting that! Also on this side is the prop pitch, again a plunger, with a bright red knob and a carb cut-out control. Behind the stick is the compass which you cant really read very well unless you lean over the stick, there is a whiskey compass in the lower middle of the main six for everyday use. Just below the main six is the busbar current and voltage indicators.

To the right are the temperature and pressure gauges along with heating, engine priming and starting controls and the cockpit floodlight switch. Confusingly, there is a switch on the right and side window ledge that is marked Flight - Ground, the manual claims this is a tail lock lever but then goes on to say it could be an electrical service switch fir a ground-cart, ground/flight, get it!? The manual also mentions that some of these unsubstantiated controls would be researched further and corrected if necessary. So it could be worth while keeping an eye on FSAddon's web site, I have included links below.

Cockpit general view
Morse code switch operating the starboard landing light
Below the "tailwheel" lever is the Morse code switch, there are two of them and they operate the left and right landing lights independently on the wheel spats, this is modelled exactly here and is a nice touch. In the above right picture you can see this in action. Of course this was used at night to respond to the French ground forces before landing.

So overall, not a complex cockpit, all the controls are clear and the wheels and switches are toggled with a left mouse click only (Except the overhead lamps) or the scroll wheel, I found this quite useable.

She sure is a strange looking thing, almost pre-historic. The Lysander is easily recognised by its "dragonfly" wings braced by V-struts, the centre section of the leading edge tapers inboard to give better observation. The trailing edges are fully tapered on the outboard section only. The pilot is perched way up high, great for ground visibility which was essential. The glazed roof of the large cockpit separates the wing roots which were detachable. In each of the wheel spats is a .303 browning machine-gun firing forward clear or the airscrew.

There are two models available, the MKII basic model and the MKIII model which has long range tanks and a step ladder permanently affixed next to the rear cockpit. Both models have the auto slats and flaps so when on the ground these are deployed and can easily be seen.

The included liveries are superb, she really looks like she has been operation from rough fields and has suffered lots of hits by debris, possibly bullets. All the variations above were painted by another Dutch talent, Jan Kees Blom a well known and top-rated re-painter. To have these as standard is a real bonus. You will find yourself searching for more of Jan's repaints after seeing these, here are two examples of a clean version and a beaten up version painted by Jan Kees, these are available from sim-outhouse.com as well as a paint kit for you to use.

Flying the Lysander
This is where you need to start paying attention! Anything shaped like this is bound to be quirky to fly and the Lysander does not disappoint. For me, this is where this product really excels.

Starting the engine was really easy so long as you have the mixture set and pushed the buttons in the correct sequence, there is a start up procedure in the manual from the real thing. I followed this and I also tried an abbreviated made-up version and they both worked so I wonder if the sim is really bothered so long as you have fuel and ignition. I would have like a cold and dark option but it's not that difficult to set up in the sim and save as a flight. Of course there is always the Ctrl+E option if you want to get airborne quick.

The Lysander by default just wants to climb, climb, climb. The engine is quite powerful for the weight and aerodynamic design so using the elevator trim along with precise throttle control is essential in normal flight. The take off roll is about, what? 50 feet?! look at the shot below, normal procedure taking off from the numbers, I am already 1ft off the ground!

1ft off the ground, having started on the numbers!
She does veer off to the left on her take-off run and there is rudder trim as noted above to counteract it. My advice is just use the foot rudder control as you are going to be on the ground for such a brief period you won't need it and she will react in a bad way in the air for having so much rudder trim you will be fumbling to get it back to neutral and believe me, at this stage of the flight you want to be paying attention to the elevator trim!

Once you pass about 80mph you will hear and see the slats and flaps retracting, from hereon-in she is fairly predictable to fly excepting the tendency to keep climbing. In normal flight I was impressed on how fast she is, maintaining 200mph in the cruise was no problem. Of course, if you were flying a covert mission deep into France you would lean her off more and cut the revs for greater range.

Apparently, the allowed diving speed is 300mph I didn't try that but I did perform a rather good Immelmann loop and roll-out! I'm not sure this is allowed but the powerful engine will cope with it fine, just don't spend too much time inverted!

So now I am happy with being in the air, I want to get back onto terra-firma. The main trauma is getting her to slow down, on my first attempt at landing I bounced down the runway like I was on a space hopper, this was purely in the name of research of course! My first decent landing was made with a very long approach, almost gliding in with a very slight nose up attitude, at 80, the slats and flaps deploy and will sent you skyward if you are not prepared! On final, the best way to control the GS is with the throttle, by now you have to have her trimmed as any big control surface inputs could have serious consequences.

I found the best touch down speed to be just over 60mph, she will almost drop out of the sky at 50 so throttling back at the correct time is essential and you should be able to land her on all three and keep the stick back whilst gentle breaking otherwise you could tip over. Turning on the ground has to be done at low speeds too to otherwise the wing will drop and you will crash!

The overall flying characteristics, for me, were as expected from what I have read about the real Lizzie. I feel spurred on to try more difficult approaches, cue the special operations!

Special Operations
Did I mention navigation? You're right, I didn't! Map, compass, eyeball. Totally VFR by day and really the same by night helped along by the artificial horizon and attitude indicators. Considering night ops were made when there was a new moon you have to admire these pilot's homing instincts.

There are 5 special operations included, They all have their own pdf flight plans and maps. The flight plan includes headings, distances and times flying that heading at 155mph / 1900ft (ETE) The maps, depending on which operation were varied.

As these are not missions in the true sense of the word you will not know if you are successful, it's like flying any FS flight, it is up to you to judge if you were successful and did not cheat!

One of the flights, "Operation Athlete" comes with a Google Earth kmz file so you can see the waypoints on a photoreal background. This did not serve any purpose for me but was a kind thought.

More missions are promised but as yet hey have not materialised on the FSAddon's site although the downloads page simply say the page was taken off-line due to a hack attack, I hope they recover from this soon.

Sim performance
All I can say is this is easy on frames and easy on the eye. I didn't have to step back any of my scenery setting to accommodate this aircraft, an overall high set up should be ok for most users.

Extra Scenery
One of the FSAddon's team, Japp van Hees, has contributed a 1940's period version of RAF Tangmere. On first view it looks very nice with a couple of blister hangars, anti-aircraft balloon, DC3's etc but there are two clusters of Hurricanes on the the ground that keep flickering on and off. Scenery and traffic adjustments made no difference. This is annoying and should be fixed in my view. If you disregard the Hurricanes then the scenery is a welcome edition. It can also be disabled in the scenery library if needed.

I really enjoyed flying the Lizzie, it is such an unusual flying experience that you will want to keep trying to perfect that short-field landing. The flight model seemed suitably realistic and quirky, that is a compliment by the way!

The external quality is excellent, it is a shame the cockpit was a bit dark and dull on the panel but it may well be like that in the real world.

I liked the old fashioned "missions" and I hope FSAddon keep to their promise of publishing more.

All in all, a neat little package, I feel as though it is a little overpriced at €29.69. The Gladiator, also a FSAddon product I have, being priced at €16.00 is bang on the money (If not a bit too cheap), this one deserves to be more like €20 in my book.

I am going to award this a Mutley's Hangar score of 8.5 /10.

Joe Lawford
Review machine Spec:
Core i7 Extreme 965 @ 3.6 Ghz | 12Gb Tri-Channel Corsair DDR3 Ram |GX260 Graphics |Windows 7 64bit Pro
nVidia 64bit driver 258.96 WHQL | - nHancer 2.5.9

  • Flight Simulator X (Acceleration or FSX SP2 required)
  • Windows XP / Vista / Windows7 with the latest Service Packs
  • Pentium 2 GHz (Duo2Core Intel or equivalent recommended)
  • 1 Gb RAM (2 Gb recommended)
  • 256Mb graphic card (512 MB recommended)
  • 150Mb Download size
  • 600Mb hard drive space

Bonus Review Content
I was contacted about this review by Bob Lomas who has a vivid recollection of this aircraft and he wrote the following.

"You are to be congratulated both for your website and your extensive review of Francois' Lysander and SOE game.

Please allow me to introduce myself.

I am very old having grown up during WW II under the Battle of Britain, not far from Tangmere and along side one of its satellite airfields, Parham, now the home of the Southdown Gliding Club. I saw Lyzzies several times a week. Our farm barn was requisitioned for warplane final fitting, the aeroplanes had to be dispersed from the factories. This allowed me to fly the aeroplanes for all hours providing I never flew out through the barn doors. One such aeroplane was the Lyzzie which quickly became my firm favourite and my walls have carried pictures of them to this day."

Bob also sent in a semi-biographical story relating to the above, please click here to read on.

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In derivative works [ edit | edit source ]

In the graphic novel Squadron Biggles, Biggles flew a Lysander to occupied France in order to retrieve a set of important blue prints. The use of the Lysander for missions such as this is historically accurate. In the original story, The Love Song, Biggles used a Spitfire, which which would have been much more difficult given the unknown and unprepared ground he had to land on. The adaptation also has Biggles shooting down a Messerschmitt with his Lysander. Again this is plausible as the Lysander had two Browning machine guns mounted in its wheel spats.

A plausible choice of aircraft by artist Francis Bergèse here. The Lysander was so much more suitable than the Spitfire for this mission. Note the small holes above the landing lights on the wheel spats. These are the Browning gun ports. Biggles in a previous picture used his guns to shoot an Me 109.

In another derivative work, Le vol du Wallenstein (The Flight of the Wallenstein), Air Commodore Raymond obtained a Lysander for Biggles and his crew when they needed an aircraft for scouting the rough countryside and coastline of Western Scotland to search for signs of the Wallenstein.

Another plausible choice of equipment, this time by Oleffe and Loutte. The Lysander would be ideally suited to land in the rough country of west Scotland during Biggles' mission there. As always, Oleffe and Loutte pay close attention to details. V9724 was the serial of an actual Lysander. Ώ]

In the derivative work, L’Épée de Wotan, a Lysander is seen at an airshow in St. Omer which Biggles and co. were attending in the early part of the story.


In 1934 the Air Ministry issued Specification A.39/34 for an army co-operation aircraft to replace the Hawker Hector. Initially Hawker Aircraft, Avro and Bristol were invited to submit designs, but after some debate within the Ministry, a submission from Westland was invited as well. The Westland design, internally designated P.8, was the work of Arthur Davenport under the direction of "Teddy" Petter. It was Petter's second aircraft design and he spent considerable time interviewing Royal Air Force pilots to find out what they wanted from such an aircraft. Less clear was whether he or the pilots understood the army co-operation role and what the army wanted, which was tactical reconnaissance and artillery reconnaissance capability – photographic reconnaissance and observation of artillery fire in daylight – up to about 15,000 yards (14 km) behind the enemy front. The result of Petter's pilot enquiries suggested that field of view, low-speed handling characteristics and STOL performance were the most important requirements.

Davenport and Petter designed an aircraft to incorporate these features with unconventional results. The Lysander was powered by a Bristol Mercury air-cooled radial engine and had high wings and a fixed conventional landing gear mounted on an innovative inverted U square-section tube that supported wing struts at the apex, was in itself resilient, and contained (internal) springs for the faired wheels. The large streamlined spats also each contained a mounting for a Browning machine gun and for small, removable stub wings that could be used to carry light bombs or supply canisters.[1] The wings had a reverse taper towards the root, which gave the impression of a bent gull wing from some angles, although the spars were straight. It had a girder type construction faired with a light wood stringers to give the aerodynamic shape. The forward fuselage was duralumin tube joined with brackets and plates, and the after part was welded stainless steel tubes. Plates and brackets were cut from channel extrusions rather than being formed from sheet steel. The front spar and lift struts were extrusions. The wing itself was fabric covered, and its thickness was maximized at the lift strut anchorage location, similar to that of later marks of the Stinson Reliant high-winged transport monoplane.

Despite its appearance, the Lysander was aerodynamically advanced being equipped with fully automatic wing slots and slotted flaps[2] and a variable incidence tailplane. These refinements gave the Lysander a stalling speed of only 65 mph (104 km/h, 56.5 knots).[3] It also featured the largest Elektron alloy extrusion made at the time: the one-piece frame, already mentioned, that support the wings and wheels. (This was a feature of British-built aircraft only – Canadian-built machines had a conventionally fabricated assembly due to the difficulties involved in manufacturing such a large extrusion.) The Air Ministry requested two prototypes of the P.8 and the competing Bristol Type 148, quickly selecting the Westland aircraft for production and issuing a contract in September 1936.

Hawk 1/48 Westland Lysander Mk.II Kit First Look

In the mid-1930s, the British Army was looking for a liaison aircraft to replace the Hawker Hector. The Air Ministry released the requirement to selected companies and Westland was not on the initial list of invitees. When they did receive their opportunity, Westland's designers went beyond the specification and interviewed the pilots to see what capabilities were the most important. The key features they wanted were visibility, low-speed handling, and short take-off and landing (STOL) capabilities.

The resulting design, internally designated as P.8, featured a high wing, an advanced aerodynamic wing with leading edge slats, slotted flaps, and an adjustable tailplane for low-speed pitch trim authority. Powered by an air-cooled Bristol Mercury engine rated at over 800 horsepower, the aircraft could take-off and land in very small fields, climb at over 1400 feet-per-minute, had a useful load of nearly 1800 pounds, and a range of 600 miles.

Compared to the German equivalent - the Fieseler Storch, the Lysander was twice as fast, could climb about 50% more per minute, and had more than double the range. While the empty weight of the Lysander was also twice that of the Storch, that also made the aircraft more tolerant of less-than-ideal field conditions where a stray gust of wind could flip a lighter aircraft on the ground.

In case you missed the news last year, Round 2 Models acquired the tooling and brands for the former Hawk and Lindberg kit lines and have been steadily rolling out subject we haven't seen in a while. Here is one such example, the 1/48 Lysander kit. I've built a few of these kits many decades ago including one of the 'chromed' kits (if you remember those).

This kit is very simple to assemble and is perfect for younger and/or less experienced modelers wanting to gain a little more experience with the basics. The kit assembles into a nice model though more experienced modelers will be looking for more details such as the Gavia/Eduard 1/48 Lysander kit. But if you're looking for a fun project, you've come to the right place.

The kit as a basic rendering of the Mercury engine but with some painting and remembering to replicate the distinctive bronze exhaust collector that is the front of the cowling, you'll be off to a good start. The cockpit is basic but does offer two optional crew figures. The rear cockpit has a stowed machine gun provided.

The wheel spats don't have the landing light lenses provided but a little drilling and some Krystal Klear will fix that.

The decals render a 16 Sqn Lysander from RAF Cambridge (UG-E/L4806). The color callouts in the painting instructions are a bit off, but you're simply using the early-war RAF Dark Green and RAF Dark Earth on the upper surfaces with black and white on the lower surfaces. You'll find camouflage patters online (and we'll try to get some in our paint guides soon).

It is nice to see these kits reissued as they are an inexpensive way to teach modeling skills before exposing your new modeler to the more expensive (and intimidating) projects out there.

Hawk 1/48 Westland Lysander Mk.II Kit Build Review

As I mentioned in my first-look at this kit, I remember building this kit many, many years ago. Since I had several tests I wanted to accomplish, I decided to build this kit and use it for some of these tests. I didn't take any in-progress shots of this build since there isn't much to the kit. The interior is basic, but I assembled it according to instructions and painted it with Italeri Interior Green. The fuselage halves came together and the cockpit transparencies were installed. There is a clear cap that is used to attach the two wings and this was kept separate until the end.

Much of the time spent on this project was simply masking all of the windows. I used Tamiya yellow masking tape and carefully cut the frames from the mask using a new X-Acto knife blade. Once the masks were in place, I sprayed the frames with the Italeri Interior Green as well.

The wing halves are assembled around that clear center section, these were clamped and set aside to dry. Again I masked the windows, removed the frames from the mask, and painted the frames with Italeri Interior Green.

I assembled the wheel spats and then took a Dremel and removed the area on the front of each spat where the landing lights would be located. These remained open until the final steps.

The rest of the aircraft was assembled according to instructions, though the wing subassembly and the engine/cowling were not glued into place until the end. The underside of the aircraft was painted with Testors Model Master Sky (Light) Gray followed by Italeri Dark Earth and Dark Green on the upper surfaces. The exhaust collector ring on the front of the cowl and the exhaust stack were painted Tamiya Bronze.

When everything was dry, the model was given a gloss coat of Future. The kit decals were applied and though they didn't include the requisite fin flash, I decided to keep this build straight out of the box. When the decals had set up, I gave the model a coat of Gunze Sango Aqueous Clear Flat.

I used thick cyano to close off the openings on the front of each wheel spat that I'd opened earlier. I built up layers of cyano and created lenses that conformed to the shape of the spats without sanding or shaping.

The final subassemblies were glued together and this simple kit turned out to be a fun project. What is nice about a project like this is that you can put aside most temptations to do corrections or super-detailing since you can start with the Gavia/Eduard Lysander for a project like that. This was an opportunity to evaluate a new homemade acrylic thinner, re-evaluate Italeri acrylic paints, and look at some of the adhesion problems that several of us have noted recently using acrylic paints.

If you're looking for a starter kit for your kids or something fun for yourself, you can't beat the price and as you can see, with some basic skills the model turns out very nice!

1/48 scale
Kit No. 804
Cost: $15.00
Decals: Two versions – Royal Air Force and Free French
Comments: Old kit 1994 re-issue of 1960’s Hawk kit under Italeri label raised panel lines basic cockpit nice stressed fabric effect on wings high quality decals by Italeri


The Westland Lysander was a short take off and landing (STOL) aircraft that was initially employed in the forward observer/artillery spotter/army cooperation role. It would later provide air support for what would subsequently be called covert operations in Occupied Europe. It first flew on June 15, 1936 and was a factor in the post-war development of a STOL requirement by the world’s major air forces. Entering service with the Royal Air Force in June 1938, its design was significantly influenced by the German Henschel Hs 126, a similar aircraft in the Luftwaffe inventory. The Lysander was fully operational with No. 16 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at the time of the Munich Crisis in September 1938, and began the R.A.F’s process of phasing out its then designated artillery spotter aircraft, the Hawker Hector bi-plane.

By the time war broke out a year later, it was in service with seven squadrons, six of which deployed to France in the first months of the war (Nos. 2, 4, 13, 26, 613 and 614). When hostilities in the West began in earnest in May 1940 with Germany’s invasion of France and the Low Countries, Lysanders began reconnaisance and artillery spotting operations, with Nos. 2 and 4 Squadrons re-deploying to Belgium.

On occasion, Lysanders gave a surprisingly good account of themselves when pitted against state-of-the-art German fighters. In one action, a group of Lysanders was attacked by six Messerschmitt Bf 110s over Belgium, and the rear gunner of one of them, L.A.C. Gillham, shot down one of the 110’s, before his pilot could escape at low level. In the coming weeks, Lysanders were frequently set upon by Bf 109’s, particularly when unescorted by their own fighters. While not fast, they were highly manueverable if they were lucky, they would escape with mere battle damage. But between May 10 and May 23, 1940, nine crews and 11 aircraft were lost to enemy action. On the 25th still more were caught on the ground in a strafing attack at Clairmarais and destroyed.

By the time of the Dunkirk evacuation, the Lysander squadrons had been decimated, having virtually no serviceable aircraft. Often their crews flew against intimidating odds, being called upon to air drop supplies without fighter escort to British or French troops, or provide ground support with their loads of 40 lb. bombs, all in skies increasingly dominated by the Luftwaffe. They inflicted damage along the way on May 22 Flying Officer Dodge shot down a Henschel Hs 126 with his forward machine guns, while his rear gunner downed a Junkers Ju 87 Stuka. But this was the exception. Of 174 aircraft deployed to France, 88 were lost in air combat and 30 more destroyed on the ground by the time the French capitulated.

After Dunkirk, contemplating a loss rate of 63 percent, the RAF had little choice but to withdraw the Lysander from front line service — at least for daytime operations. The Lysander would go on to its greatest fame as the aircraft of choice for Special Operations Executive, a covert auxiliary of (and competitor to) the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), charged by Winston Churchill with covert operations in the Occupied Countries and a mandate to “set Europe ablaze.” Soon, on a regular basis, Lysanders of No. 138 Squadron (Special Duties), painted matt black, inserted agents and their weapons, ammunition, explosives and other supplies, and withdrew shot-down airmen. Sometimes they withdrew people wanted by the Gestapo, or brought Resistance leaders back to London for briefings. Lysanders would later be used by both the British Commandos and the American Office of Strategic Services on similar operations in Europe and the Far East.

Landing in unprepared clearings or meadows at night, the landing ground identified by small torches lit by members of the Resistance, Lysanders helped sustain hope in Occupied Europe and Asia. By 1942 they were equipped with larger fuel tanks (starting with the Mk. IIIa) to allow penetration deeper into France, and their ladders touched up with flourescent paint to allow quicker ingress and egress from the plane. There was constant danger – one on occasion, a Lysander guided to a landing by torches touched down, only to be met by German machine gun fire. The pilot, Squadron Leader Conroy, slammed the throttle open and struggled to get airborne, stemming the blood from a neck wound by clamping his hand over it. Brushing the treetops at the edge of the landing field, he managed to return safely to England.

In the Middle East, Lysanders were able to operate longer in their original roles of artillery spotting and reconnaisance since Axis fighter aircraft were not as readily available. In Palestine, they flew throughout 1940 doing aerial blackout inspections, coastal watch, and general co-operation with the Palestine Police. In North Africa, No. 6 Squadron was deployed to Libya and was ordered to remain in Tobruk when the British retreated from Rommel’s Afrika Korps, providing close air support over the beseiged garrison, which continued to hold out. During the war, Lysanders were operated by Britain, France, Ireland, Canada, Finland, Egypt, and South Africa. By war’s end they were a rarity, except in Canada, where relatively large numbers of them persisted until the 1950’s.

The original Lysander kit released by Hawk in 1967.

The Kit

Italeri’s Westland Lysander is a re-issue of the old Hawk kit, first issued in 1967. Italeri’s dramatic box art and new decals are the key differences. The kit is injection molded in white and consists of 64 parts, three of which are clear plastic for the canopy and windshield. The kit features a basic interior, rather boxy seats, and a fairly well-detailed pilot figure for its vintage. The fuselage, wings, and rudder feature very nice stressed fabric effects otherwise the kit is adorned with raised panel lines and raised rivet detail, betraying its age. The engine face is basic but has above average raised detail.

There are fifteen 40 lb. bomblets (the number is probably supposed to be 16) for mounted underneath the sponsons which form part of the landing gear. For the gear themselves, they must be assembled with the wheels inside the spats – but on the actual aircraft the outboard spat covering was optional.

There is a ladder to be cemented at the rear of the cockpit, which was put to good use when the type flew secret night missions into Occupied France and elsewhere. In addition, there is an auxiliary drop tank for extra fuel. The cowling is decent but not particularly detailed, the cockpit as noted above is basic and features a decal for the main instrument panel. The rear machine gun is well detailed, but appears to be either a Lewis or a Vickers gun, both of which required a top-loading flat drum magazine, which is not provided.

The decals sport both Italeri and Testors labels, but clearly indicate that they were printed in Italy, so can be expected to be above average in quality. They have excellent color and are perfectly in register. Some Testors-Italeri kits feature Scale-Master decals which are of fairly good quality and have excellent color, but being American made, they often contain a milky carrier film that requires extra effort to remove before they can be applied, but there is no danger of that with this kit.


This is an accurate if basic kit of the Westland Lysander, and should provide a few enjoyable, trouble-free hours of model building. One can’t help feeling that in this scale, it ought to be more detailed, even given its age. Fortunately, Eduard produces an aftermarket detail set to dress up the cabin interior, which cries out for at least a little detailing.


The Westland Lysander: Profile Publications No. 159 Copyright 1967 Profile Publications Ltd.

Westland Lysander in Detail

Westland Lysander might not have been a successful combat machine, but it's very distinctive and graceful shape make it both unique and interesting. The Lysander was something of a bridge between old and new, the biplane and monoplane era, the classic and modern way of conducting aerial warfare. And, unsurprisingly, it had to hastily give way to more modern aircraft as soon as these became available.

The Lysander was designed to fulfil a role of army co-operation aircraft, a direct replacement of the ageing Hawker Hector and Audax biplanes. The prototype first flew in 1936, and proved to be of excellent handling qualities. Three main versions of the Lysander were produced in total. The Mk. I and later Mk III where powered with Bristol Mercury engine, whereas Mk II featured a Bristol Perseus, which gave it slightly better performance at altitude.

During the hectic spring of 1940, many Lysander squadrons where sent to fight in Belgium and France. It soon became apparent that the concept of the slow army co-op aircraft was completely outdated and the Lysander squadrons suffered terrible losses. After the Battle of Britain they where gradually equipped with more modern aircraft.

Later on the Lysander found it's true element. With it's excellent short and rough field performance, the type was widely used as special night mission aircraft to ferry agents and supplies to and from the occupied Continent. In this role the aircraft served until the end of hostilities, thus deserving itself a rightful place in aviation history.

Westland Lysander has been produced many times in plastic kit form. Most of these kits are quite old, but some are neat and accurate. First, there is a plethora of Lysander kits in 1/72nd scale. Old Airfix and Frog offerings are quite rude, but the early Matchbox kit (a Mk. II) is very accurate in outline and can be turned into a little gem, if you don't mind filling those oversized panel lines. In 1/48th scale, I remember only a Testors/Italeri kit, but I can't comment on it except for that it has some accuracy glitches, judging from the photo of an assembled model. Then there is a 1/32 Matchbox kit, which is definitely the best Lysander kit ever made, and needs perhaps only some minor detailing to turn it into a beautiful model.