Percival Prentice vs De H Chipmunk…and the winner is…
Tags: ab initio trainer, aircraft, Aviation, Aviation Traders Ltd, Chipmunk, Coventry, De Havilland, Freddy Laker, Gipsy Queen engine, L hangar, Percival, Percival Prentice, RAF, Royal Air Force, warbird
Percival Prentice T.1
The Percival Prentice T.I was a direct contemporary of the De H Chipmunk in RAF service. Both of them were used as ab initio trainers, but there really was no contest, in many respects. The Prentice first flew in 1946, entering service in 1947, but all three hundred plus aircraft were withdrawn by 1953. Many of these aircraft were bought by Aviation Traders Ltd (the brainchild of Freddie Laker) and an attempt was made to convert them to four-seat touring aircraft – they were not a success. Powered by a 251 hp De H Gipsy Queen Six engine, this relatively large aircraft had marginal performance under some conditions (especially ‘hot and high’). There was also a history of difficult handling, including poor spin recovery, hence the sharp dihedral of the wingtips.
VR259 is shown hangared in one of the L-type hangars at Hullavington, although it usually is to be found at Coventry, the home of Air Atlantique.
In contrast the ‘Chippie’ looks elegant and a picture of efficient design. There are only five Prentices on the British register – dozens and dozens of Chipmunks!