|Parnall Hendy Heck G-AEGI at Wolverhampton (Pendeford) airfield on 17 June 1950 after being damaged beyond repair by a landing Supermarine Spitfire|
|Manufacturer||Parnall Aircraft Limited|
|Designer||Basil B Henderson|
|Retired||17 June 1950|
|Primary users||Parnall Aircraft|
Royal Air Force
The Parnall Heck was a 1930s British four-seat cabin monoplane built by Parnall Aircraft Limited at Yate, Gloucestershire. Originally a Hendy design, few were built. It combined the strength and comfort of a cabin aircraft with the speed of a racer.
The Heck was designed by Basil B. Henderson as a single-engined, conventional low-wing cabin monoplane, built of spruce with a plywood covering, initially with a two-seater in tandem layout. It had a manually operated retractable undercarriage, leading edge slats and slotted flaps, giving it good short-field performance in spite of its high wing loading compared to contemporary aircraft in this class.
Parnall Aircraft Limited was formed in May 1935 when George Parnall and Company merged with the Hendy Aircraft Company and the armament engineering firm Nash and Thompson Limited. The Heck was redesignated the Parnall Heck. A number of problems with the undercarriage led to it being locked down and covered with 'trouser' fairings. The aircraft set a new record for the flight from Cape Town to England of 6 days, 8 hours and 27 minutes in November 1936.
A small production line was started at Yate, Gloucestershire and the production version was designated the Heck 2C. The production aircraft were three-seaters with fixed spatted undercarriages. None of the aircraft was sold, and four (G-AEGH, G-AEGI, G-AEGJ and G-AEMR) were operated by Parnall Aircraft for communications and liaison with RAF squadrons in connection with Parnalls armament contracts. When the Second World War started, the aircraft were repainted from dark grey to a brown and green camouflage scheme but retained civilian registration markings.
The fifth production Heck 2C, registered G-AEGL, was flown as serial K8853 under contract 486334/36, and was used for trial installations of engines and armaments, including the development of the gun sight installation for the Spitfire and Hurricane. It was later allocated the M serial 3125M.
The Parnall 382 was a newly designed two-seat open cockpit trainer, with some Heck components to meet Air Ministry Specification T.1/37. It was flown in February 1939 and later assessed at Martlesham Heath as the Heck III, but was not ordered.
The last surviving Heck was G-AEGI which was damaged beyond repair in a taxying accident on 17 June 1950. The aircraft had just come seventh in the King's Cup Race at Wolverhampton's Pendeford airfield (with a speed of 159 mph) when a landing civil Supermarine Spitfire hit the rear of the Heck and demolished it. Attempts at reconstruction failed and the aircraft was broken up in 1953.
Specifications (Heck 2C)
Data from British Civil Aircraft 1919–1972: Volume III 
- Crew: 3
- Length: 26 ft 1½ in (7.96 m)
- Wingspan: 31 ft 6 in (9.60 m)
- Height: 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
- Wing area: 105.2 ft² (9.78 m²)
- Empty weight: 1,750 lb (795 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 2,700 lb (1,227 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × de Havilland Gipsy Six inline piston engine, 200 hp (149 kW)
- Maximum speed: 161 knots (185 mph, 298 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 135 knots (160 mph, 258 km/h)
- Range: 526 NM (605 miles, 974 km)
- Service ceiling: 16,700 ft (5,090 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,100 ft/min (5.6 m/s)
- Lukins 1944
- Jackson, 1974, pp. 90/91
- Moss 1962
- Jackson, 1974, p. 91
- Jackson 1988, p.92.
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