BERNHARD C.F. KLEIN COLLECTION
No. 10620. Blackburn B-54 Y.A.7 (WB781 c/n 5615) Royal Navy
Photographes from Blackburn

Blackburn B-54 Y.A.7

05/31/2011. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "The Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Company Limited designed a shipboard ASW aircraft to meet British Air Ministry Specification GR.17/45 for use by the Royal Navy. The design was started before the end of WW II in 1945, in its original form, the design was known as the Model B-54 Y.A.5, and was to have been powered by the Napier Double Naiad N.Na.C.1 turbine engine. A mock-up was constructed, but the subsequent non-availability of the power-plant led to the abandonment of this particular version in favor of the Y.B.1, powered by the Armstrong-Siddeley Double Mamba propjet engine.

To get the airframe flying as soon as possible, the company (by 1949 known as Blackburn & General Aircraft Limited) took the decision to fit in the first two prototypes a 2,000 hp Rolls-Royce Griffon 56 twelve-cylinder V-engine driving two co-axial contra-rotating three-blade propellers.

The first of these aircraft, s/n WB781, was a two-seater, designated Model B-54 Y.A.7, it made its first flight at Brough on September 20, 1949. The first carrier landing was made by this aircraft on February 8, 1950, on H.M.S. Illustrious. Later modifications included a taller vertical tail and rudder unit, and an extended rear fuselage. It was struck off charge on May 18, 1955, transferred to the Farnborough fire dump, and since has perished.

The second Griffon-engined prototype, s/n WB788 c/n 5616, was a three-seater and had a longer rear cockpit canopy. It also featured revised outer wing panels with increased sweep-back on the leading edge and the taller fin and rudder of the first prototype. Designated the Model B-54 Y.A.8, this aircraft was first flown on May 3, 1950, and deck-landed on June 19, 1950. This aircraft was struck off charge on September 15, 1954, and also was transferred to the Farnborough fire dump, it remains were sold as scrap in 1959.

First flight of the proper Model B-88 Y.B.1, s/n WB797, was made on July 19, 1950. Apart from re-contoured nose and the 2,950 hp Armstrong Siddeley Double Mamba engine, each "half" of which droves one of the co-axial contra-rotating four-blade propellers, the Y.B.1 was similar to the Y.A.8. The first deck-landing was made on H.M.S. Illustrious on October 30, 1950, in 1951 the aircraft was transferred to Armstrong Siddeley Motors and used as engine test bed. Struck off charge on December 20, 1955, the aircraft was scrapped at Fleetlands circa 1963.

The Y.B.1 was an all-metal inverted-gull low-wing three-seat monoplane. Internal stowage was provided for the war stores in a bomb-bay in the fuselage, and aft of this was a retractable radome providing 360 scan in azimuth. Power folding was provided for the wings, each of which had a double fold, the main panels folded upward and the tips downward. The aircraft was stressed for catapult or rocket-assisted take-off."

Created May 31, 2011