Ward Gnome

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Ward Gnome (15410061279).jpg
The unflown Gnome at the Newark Air Museum
Role Single seat sports aircraft
National origin United Kingdom
Designer Michael Ward
First flight 4 August 1967
Retired by 1984
Number built 1

The Ward Gnome is a very small single seat sports monoplane, designed for amateur construction in the United Kingdom in the 1960s. Only one is known to have flown.

Design and development[edit]

Michael Ward was a carpenter by profession and an enthusiastic aeromodeller. In April 1966 he began the design of an extremely small single-seat aircraft, the Ward P46[notes 1] Gnome, with one of the smallest spans (15 ft 9 in or 4.80 m) of any monoplane. It was intended for home construction.[1]

The Gnome is an all wood low-wing monoplane, each wing braced from above with a slender strut to the upper fuselage longeron. The wood skinned wings, which are straight tapered and built around box spars and D-section leading edges, carry 2° of dihedral. There are wooden ailerons but no flaps.[1]

The fuselage is built around four 3/4 in (19 mm) square longerons, with diagonal bracing and ply formers. The skin is 1/16 in (1.6 mm) ply, with flat surfaces apart from curved decking. There is a single seat open cockpit. The fixed tailwheel undercarriage has each mainwheel mounted on a pair of steel tubes forming a narrow 'V' and fixed under the fuselage. Single bracing struts run forward from the wheel mountings to the lower longerons forward of the wings. Go-Kart wheels and tyres are used, without brakes. A two-cylinder, horizontally-opposed 14 horsepower Douglas motorcycle engine, built in 1925 and driving a two blade fixed pitch propeller, was the original powerplant though this may have been replaced later by a Sachs-Wankel motor.[1]

The Gnome flew for the first time on 4 August 1967.[1]

Operational history[edit]

The prototype Gnome was sold to a new owner who registered it as G-AXEI in April 1969 and flew it under a Permit to Fly. The registration was cancelled in 1984.[1][2] At least one other Gnome was partially built, but never flown nor registered.[3]


The prototype, no longer airworthy, is currently with the Real Aeroplane Company at Breighton, East Yorkshire.[4] The unflown Gnome is on display at the Newark Air Museum, fitted with a Citroen 2CV engine.[3]


Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1970-71[1]

General characteristics

  • Capacity: 1
  • Length: 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m)
  • Wingspan: 15 ft 9 in (4.80 m)
  • Height: 4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
  • Wing area: 49 sq ft (4.6 m2)
  • Empty weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 380 lb (172 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Douglas air cooled flat twin, 14 hp (10 kW)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed


  • Maximum speed: 55 mph (89 km/h; 48 kn) at maximum take-off weight
  • Cruise speed: 55 mph (89 km/h; 48 kn)
  • Range: 50 mi (43 nmi; 80 km) approximately
  • Rate of climb: 300 ft/min (1.5 m/s) approximately


  1. ^ a b Jane's All the World's Aircraft quotes P46; on the CAA registration form the type is noted as P45.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Taylor, John W R (1970). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1970-71. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd. p. 236.
  2. ^ "CAA registration documents for G-AXEI". Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  3. ^ a b Ellis, Ken (2014). Wrecks & Relics. Manchester: Crecy. p. 182. ISBN 978-08597-91779.
  4. ^ Ellis. Ibid. p. 287.

External links[edit]