GER­MAN LIN­EAGE

Pilot - - OWNER REPORT -

‘Bri­tish Air­craft Man­u­fac­tur­ing Com­pany Ltd, Swal­low II’. De­spite the name the Swal­low is re­ally of Ger­man lin­eage, a di­rect de­scen­dant from the Klemm L.25 two-seater of 1927, powered by the 75hp Salm­son ra­dial. This mo­tor proved to be very re­li­able com­pared to many power plants of the day and this, com­bined with Klemm’s rugged wooden con­struc­tion tech­niques, meant the L.25 soon be­came a favourite mount for tour­ing. It is no sur­prise there­fore that the mer­its of these ma­chines were soon recog­nised in the UK, and be­tween 1929 and 1933 some 27 Ger­man Klemms were im­ported by a Maj E F Stephen. The last two im­ports were fit­ted with the Bri­tish geared 75hp Pob­joy ‘R’ mo­tor which greatly in­creased their al­ready im­pres­sive per­for­mance. En­cour­aged by this, and the al­ready buoy­ant sales, Maj Stephen ac­quired the rights to build and set up the Bri­tish Klemm Aero­plane Com­pany (BK) at Han­worth in 1934. The Bri­tish ver­sion of the L.25 was beefed up to meet UK air­wor­thi­ness re­quire­ments and called the Swal­low 1. Some 28 BK Swal­lows were built at Han­worth and sold for £695 fit­ted with the Pob­joy. Un­able to meet the con­sid­er­able de­mand, the Swal­low II was in­tro­duced Be­ing much more an­gu­lar than the BK ma­chine, the straight-edged fly­ing sur­faces and flat-sided fuse­lage greatly speeded pro­duc­tion with­out im­pact­ing per­for­mance. Co­in­ci­den­tally, the com­pany name changed to Bri­tish Air­craft Man­u­fac­tur­ing Com­pany (BA). This new ma­chine made its in­au­gu­ral pub­lic ap­pear­ance at the Royal Aero So­ci­ety’s Gar­den Party at Heathrow in May 1935, sell­ing for £725. BA went on to build an­other 105 ma­chines be­fore the war stopped ev­ery­thing.

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