Westland Lysander Reconnaissance/Covert Operations Aircraft

Westland Lysander

The Lysander was a slow-flying, high-wing, monoplane with a fully glass enclosed dual cockpit, that provided it with a good field of view. The Lysander was designed to cooperate with the army, although this proved to be a bad concept, for the Lysander was too lightly armed to be much help and too slow to survive. It had a landing speed of around 45 mph, and a short take off, which allowed it to land in very small areas. This ability is what forged it’s reputation as an excellent covert operations and liaison aircraft flying arms, two-way radios, money and operatives into and out of occupied France. It first flew in 1938, 1652 were built.

Technical Details
As a army cooperation aircraft it carried a crew of two, although when it was used in covert operation the rear gunner, and gun, were left out in favour of a larger fuel tank and room for gear or a passenger. It was powered by the 655kW Bristol Mercury XII radial aircooled engine.It had a maximum speed of 220 mph (370km/h), a ceiling of 27,000 ft (8080m) and a range of 480 mi (800km). In it’s army cooperation role it was armed with up to three 0.303 machine guns (two in the wheel spats and one in the rear) or sixteen 9 kg bombs in racks attached to the wheel spats. As a covert operations plane it was armed only with forward firing guns, if at all.

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Image From: With permission of Herve Champain. Check out his excellent airphoto site.