Miles Gemini

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Miles Gemini
Miles Gemini in flight.JPG
Role Twin-engined touring aircraft
Manufacturer Miles Aircraft
First flight 26 October 1945
Introduction 1946
Produced 1945-1947
Number built 170
Developed from Miles Messenger

The Miles M.65 Gemini was a British twin-engined four-seat touring aircraft designed and built by Miles Aircraft at Woodley Aerodrome. It was the last Miles aircraft to be produced in quantity.

It was described by the manufacturer as the "safest light aeroplane in the world"[1]

Development[edit]

Designed as a twin-engined retractable landing gear version of the earlier Miles Messenger the Gemini first flew on 26 October 1945. The Gemini was a four-seat low-wing cantilever monoplane of plastic-bonded plywood construction. It had twin vertical tail units. Originally powered by 90 hp (67,5 kW) Blackburn Cirrus Minor engines, the aircraft was put into large scale production straight away and 130 Geminis were sold in the first year. Later variants were fitted with different engines.

After the collapse of Miles Aircraft in 1947 eight aircraft had not been completed and they were assembled by Handley Page (Reading) Limited at Woodley (two in 1950); Wolverhampton Aviation at Wolverhampton's Pendeford Aerodrome (five in 1951); and by F. G. Miles Limited at Redhill Aerodrome (one).

Gemini 1A

Operational history[edit]

Gemini 1A of Sivewright Airways operated from Manchester (Ringway) Airport on light charter work 1947 until 1950

The aircraft was popular with private owners for touring throughout Europe and many were exported to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other Commonwealth countries. In the late 1940s and early 1950s they were frequently entered in air races, with G-AKDC flown by J.N. 'Nat' Somers AFC winning the 1949 King's Cup Air Race (a handicapped event) at 164.25 mph, this aircraft was fitted with de Havilland Gipsy Majors rated at 145 hp each.[2]

Several aircraft were used as light business transports by commercial firms including Shell-Mex and B.P. Ltd, Fairey Aviation and B.K.S Engineering. Other examples were flown by UK independent airlines on light charter work within the U.K. and Europe.

Two examples completed in 1951 by F. G. Miles were fitted with 155 hp (116 kW) Blackburn Cirrus Major III engines and provided with enlarged and heightened fins. These were re-designated the Miles M.75 Aries

Variants[edit]

Gemini 1
Prototype with two 100 hp Blackburn Cirrus Minor 2 engines and fixed landing gear, one built.
Gemini 1A
Production version with two 100 hp Blackburn Cirrus Minor 2 engines, 134 built, plus one assembled by Handley Page (Reading).
Gemini 1B
Production version with two 100 hp Blackburn Cirrus Minor 2 engines, one built.
Gemini 2
Version with two 130 hp Lycoming O-290-3/1 engines, 2 built.
Gemini 3
Version with two 145 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major 1C engines, 1 built, plus one assembled by Handley Page (Reading) and one by F.G.Miles.
Gemini 3A
Version with 145 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major 10 Mk 1 engines, 2 built plus 5 assembled by Wolverhampton Aviation.
Gemini 3B
Version with 145 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major 10 Mk 1-3 engines
Gemini 3C or 7
Version with 145 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major 10 Mk 2 engines, two built
Gemini 8
Early aircraft modified to Aries standard with two 155 hp Blackburn Cirrus Major 3 engines.
Aries
Version with two 155hp Blackburn Cirrus Major 3 engines driving Miles-Reed propellers.

Operators[edit]

 Israel
 New Zealand
 United Kingdom
  • Air Contractors
  • Blue Line Airways
  • Culliford Airlines
  • Derby Aviation
  • Hornton Airways
  • International Airways
  • Lancashire Aircraft Corporation
  • Loxhams Flying Services
  • Sivewright Airways
  • Starways
  • Ulster Aviation
  • Wirral Airways
  • Wright Aviation

Survivors[edit]

Six aircraft are currently registered on the British Civil Aircraft register as of 2017.[5] One Gemini 1A is also active in the Swedish aircraft register.

Specifications (Gemini 1A)[edit]

Data from British Civil Aircraft 1919-1972: Volume III [6], Jane's all the World's Aircraft 1947[7]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 3 passengers
  • Length: 22 ft 3 in (6.78 m)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft 2 in (11.02 m)
  • Height: 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
  • Wing area: 191 sq ft (17.7 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 6.86
  • Empty weight: 1,910 lb (866 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 3,000 lb (1,361 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 36 imp gal (43 US gal; 160 l) in two centre-section tanks + optional 24 imp gal (29 US gal; 110 l) in two cabin tanks; 4 imp gal (4.8 US gal; 18 l) oil
  • Powerplant: 2 × Blackburn Cirrus Minor II 4-cyl inverted air-cooled in-line piston engines, 100 hp (75 kW) each
  • Propellers: 2-bladed fixed-pitch airscrews

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 150 mph (241 km/h; 130 kn) at 2,800 lb (1,300 kg)
  • Cruise speed: 130 mph (209 km/h; 113 kn)
  • Stall speed: 35 mph (56 km/h; 30 kn)
  • Range: 520 mi (452 nmi; 837 km) still air with 36 imp gal (43 US gal; 160 l) fuel
  • Ferry range: 820 mi (713 nmi; 1,320 km) still air with 60 imp gal (72 US gal; 270 l) fuel
  • Endurance: 5.8 hours
  • Service ceiling: 13,500 ft (4,100 m)
  • Rate of climb: 870 ft/min (4.4 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 15.7 lb/sq ft (77 kg/m2) at MTOW
  • Power/mass: 15 lb/hp (9.124 kg/kW)

See also[edit]

Related development

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Cover page advert", Flight, Volume L (No. 1969), 19 September 1946 
  2. ^ "Elmdon Results in Detail" Flight 11 August 1949 p152
  3. ^ Nordeen 1991, p.195.
  4. ^ http://www.edcoatescollection.com/ac2/NZNZ/ZK-AQO.html
  5. ^ https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/modalapplication.aspx?appid=1 CAA GINFO
  6. ^ Jackson 1988, p.88.
  7. ^ Bridgman, Leonard, ed. (1947). Jane's all the World's Aircraft 1947. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. pp. 3c–4c. 

References[edit]

  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985), 1985, Orbis Publishing
  • Jackson, A.J. British Civil Aircraft 1919-1972:Volume III.London:Putnam, 1988, ISBN 0-85177-818-6.
  • Nordeen, Lon. Fighters Over Israel. London:Guild Publishing, 1991.