Portsmouth Aerocar

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National origin UK
Manufacturer Portsmouth Aviation
Designer Major F. L. Luxmoore (concept)
First flight 18 June 1947
Number built 1

The Porstmouth Aerocar was a British light utility aircraft design of the late 1940s. It was intended to be an aircraft that could be used for a variety of tasks including transport "mobile office" but only one prototype was built being scrapped in 1950.

Design and development[edit]

The Aerocar was a high-wing monoplane with gondola fuselage and twin-boom tailplane and tricycle undercarriage. The cabin could hold five passengers in addition to the pilot. Four doors were fitted to the cabin. The manufacturer claimed that as well as taking off in 160 yards on (dry) grass, it could climb on one engine at full load at 230 ft/min.[1]

It was of composite construction; fabric-covered wooden wings, tail booms and tail fitted to a metal fuselage but the production model would have been all-metal.[2] Clamshell doors at the rear of the fuselage were advertised.[3]

Construction of both a Major and Minor variants was started but the company decided that the Minor would not have enough power and construction was abandoned.[4] The Major prototype was completed and started taxying trials at Portsmouth on 18 June 1947, Frank Luxmoore was pleased with the trials so he undertook the maiden flight the same day.[4]

It was exhibited at the SBAC but funding for the development of the Aerocar was dependent on an agreement for licence manufacture in India. With the uncertainty arising from the partition of India in 1947, this became unlikely and Portsmouth Aviation was unable to continue with development. With Lionel Balfour, the driving force behind the Aerocar, no longer part of the company the Aerocar was stored until scrapped.[5]

To support planned production in India the uncompleted Minor was sent to act as a pattern aircraft, the Indian financial backers failed to support the project and the idea of production in India was abandoned.[4]


Aerocar Major
Powered by two 155hp Cirrus Major engines and a retractable landing gear, one prototype built and flown.[4]
Aerocar Minor
Planned variant powered by two 101hp Cirrus Minor II engines and a retractable landing gear, construction of a prototype abandoned and moved to India to act as a pattern aircraft for local production.[4]
Aerocar Senior
Proposed variant of the Major with a fixed landing gear and lower level of equipment fit.[4]
Aerocar Junior
Proposed variant of the Minor with a fixed landing gear and a lower level of equipment fit.[4]

Specifications (Aerocar Major)[edit]

Data from Flight Sept 1947 p280

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Capacity: 5 passengers
  • Payload: 1000 lb ()
  • Length: 26 ft 3 in ()
  • Wingspan: 42 ft ()
  • Height: 10 ft 7 in ()
  • Loaded weight: 3,950 lb ()
  • Powerplant: 2 × Blackburn Cirrus Major piston engine, 155 hp () each
  • Propellers: Rotol two-bladed "variable pitch airscrews" propeller


See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ Flight
  2. ^ Flight 1947
  3. ^ http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1946/1946%20-%201018.html Flight
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Partington, David (2013). "Head-on View No. 49 - The Portsmouth Aerocar". Archive. Air-Britain. 2013 (4): 151–154. ISSN 0262-4923. 
  5. ^ http://www.portav.co.uk/Downloads/PAAerocar.pdf