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Ground Test.


The new amphibian aeroplane. Widgeon II., was put through a test at Mascot yesterday afternoon. The machine taxied about the aerodrome for some time. To all appearances the test was entirely,satisfactory, and Wing Commander L. J. Wackett'a remarks, when he brought the machine to a standstill, left no doubt on this point.

Yesterday's test was but the first of a series which the aeroplane will be put through, and it Is possible that, on the next occasion, the machine will bo taken Into the air.

Widgeon It. was designed by Wing-Comman der Wackett, and built under his supervision at the R.A.A.F. experimental workshops at Randwick. It is said by those who bave an expert knowledge of aircraft that the machine Is remarkable both for Its workmanship and the Ingenuity of its design. It is asserted that no other aeroplano In the world Is more com- pletely equipped '.Vidgeon II. is bigger than Widgeon L, and the Slddeley-Jnguar engine de- velops about 400-n.p., compared with 300-h.p. developed by the engine of the original Wid- geon. In nddltion, it has an Improved am- phibian gear, giving It the same clearance as on ordinary land machine, an Ingenious bow rudder for steering on the water, ana a complete motor-driven wireless transmitting set, with aerial and mast, so that it can be used Just as efficiently on water or on land as In the air. It also carries an Improved type of dinghy, with mast and sall.

There was a hum of excitement among offi- cials and mechanics at Mascot yesterday when the Widgeon II. was wheeled from the hangar and the engine started. Wing-Coramander Wackett climbed Into the cockpit, with a me- chanic, while two other mechanics seated themselves in the rear cockpit. The chocks were removed from the wheels, the machine was sĀ»vung round, and with a roar from the engine the Widgeon taxied the length of the aerodrome. After these manoeuvres had Been executed for about IS minutes, enabling the controls to be thoroughly tested, the machine was returned to the hangar.

Wing-Commander Wackett looked very happy as he alighted from the machine, and he snld that he was very plensed with the way it had'behaved during the test.

"She rides much more smoothly than any motor car." he said. "It was like gliding in the air. With tho slightest touch 1 could have taken off at any time. I did not take a cap or goggles with me. as I had no Intention or taking off to-day; but I'm afraid if I had I could not have resisted the temptation, although the machine was not responding as sharply as I would like owing to dirt in the

petrol pipes."

He explained that yesterday'B test was made for the purpose of giving the controls a thor- ough "try-out," and to ascertain the effect on the tyres of the wheels, which were not aero- plane tyres, but ordinary motor car tyres.

Further tests will bo made with Widgeon II. this week._^^^

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
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