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The SCOTT VIKINGs - 1938

From the files of the
Vintage Gliding Club

BGA 416 was one of four Viking 1's built and received its first BGA C of A in June 1939. The first was taken to the Argentine by Philip Cooper, where it flew some records and proved to be rather faster than a Condor 1 which, until then had been the highest performance sailplane in Argentina. The other two Viking Is were impressed at first into the Special Duties Flight in July 1940 to try out radar off the South Coast. They did not survive their wartime military service. The 4th, BGA 416 is still with us. After the war, it was flown from a bungee launch into a 70 knot wind, to 4,721 metres in wave by George Thompson. Thompson followed this with a similar ascent a few weeks later.

The Viking 1

In 1937 Hans Zander and Roy Scott set up a new business in England and, in 1938, Scott's Viking sailplane was advertised. Scott avoided expensive features such as gull wing dihedral. The wing root required no detachable fairings, the Viking's wings being attached by a vertical steel expanding bolt, inserted and tightened from above. A strong "carry through" structure was built in to the main fuselage frame. The small pin at the rear attachment point was also inserted from above. Rigging was easy. The ailerons were automatically linked when the wings were attached. The ailerons themselves were differentially geared. Instead of the usual central hinge line with round plywood tube aileron spar, the Viking's hinges were located on the top wing sur- face, perhaps not so efficient aerodynamically, but cheaper to make and easier to dismantle for maintenance. By means of a ratchet lever in the cockpit, the ailerons could be trimmed Up or Down together to act as camber flaps. The Aerofoil section was Gottingen 535 at the root but was symetrical at the tip, while the tail was somewhat like that of the Minimoa, the tailplane being carried on a sub-fin, lifting it well clear off the ground. A skid was provided for landing, and the seat had space for a "back type" parachute. Performance claims were moderate with a best Glide Ratio of about 1/20 and a Minimum sinking speed of 0.76 mlsec. The Viking was test flown at Dunstable in November 1938. The prototype was sold and exported to the Argentine where it broke several local records.

Scott designed and built a 2-seat Viking 2, of 18.6 m span, with side by side seating. This was flown in 1939 and survived for some years until, when it was being test flown at Farnborough, its wing developed a flutter and the glider broke up and crashed, the pilots escaping by parachute.

Wing span was 15.34 metres, wing area was 15.89 sq.m., aspect ratio was 15,2, empty weight was 167.83 kgs, flying weight was 244.94 kgs, wing loading was 15.38 kgs/sq m.

The British Soaring Movement, despite the difficulties which followed its inception in the early thirties, made steady progress, and in the two years before the outbreak of war, was firmly established on a sound basis. This was due in some measure to the introduction of a small Government subsidy which, even to the unbiased observer, can be seen to have yielded results up to the period of hostilities. With a settled background, the leading members of the soaring movement could at last plan for future development instead of merely carrying out short term policies which, up to that time, were unworthy of a great air power. Under the new circumstances, it became increasingly obvious that the particular conditions of climate, geography, and prevailing winds affecting Great Britain, called for a slightly different soaring technique as compared with that adopted in large land masses such as Western Europe, the USA, and Northern Asia. This, in turn, led to a different approach to the design of high performance sailplanes and 1938 found Britain at the beginning of a new phase; new ideas were being discussed and in many cases tried out, but the outbreak of war and its subsequent duration largely nullified the work which was carried out.

Among the new types of sailplanes introduced, were the Viking Mkl single seater, followed by the VIKING 2 2-seater.



W.R.Scott, designer of the Vikings 1 and 2, founded the firm of Scott Aircraft Ltd at Dunstable, and the first machine to be put into production was the Viking 1. This was specially designed to give a high performance, without excessive wing span and to maintain a low rate of sink at high cruising speeds. In addition, it incorporated several novel features not previously installed on any production sailplane.

Construction throughout was of wood on conventional lines, with all attachment fittings made from steel to aircraft specification. The ply on the rear fuselage skin was attached with the grain running diagonally ie. in any bay, the grain went from top front to lower bottom corners, thus substantially increasing the strength and stiffness in flight and, equally important on sailplanes, when ground handling. In the lower half of the fuselage, two light stiffeners between each bulkhead to further reinforce the ply against buckling. The cockpit was upholstered with leatherette and the nose fairing detached to permit adjustment of the rudder pedals. The tailplane was attached to the fuselage by 3 bolts which picked up on hank-nuts permanently fixed to the fuselage. The elevator control connected automaticaliy, although this latter refinement was not fitted on the prototype. The main-planes were attached to reinforced bulkheads in the fuselage with two tapered pins in the main spar, and one parallel pin in the light rear spar. When rigged, the wings had a slight dihedral angle. Spoilers of hinged plate type were fitted and together with the ailerons, connected automatically to the controls in the fuselage when the wings were assembled.

More details from this 1940 edition of the American Soaring magazine
George Thompsons Wave flight in a Viking

In order to obtain a large speed range, the aileron neutral position could be drooped to give flap

effect at low speeds and raised above the normal position to reduce drag at high cruising speeds. The mechanism was operated by a ratchet lever in the cockpit coupled up to an indicator thereby enabling the pilot to droop or raise the aileron to a known effective position. As lowering of an aileron too far at low flying speeds may initiate stalling of the wing, the aileron differential movement (normally 6\;I) was arranged to increase in ratio as the droop. With ailerons fully drooped, the differential ratio was 10:1 ie. as aileron moved up 19 degrees, the other one moved down only 1 degree. This device gave the Viking 1 a max. LID of 19.4 to 1 and the sinking speed at 33 mph with ailerons normal was 2.5 ft/sec. With ailerons raised a few degrees and at 65 mph, the sinking speed only increased to 5.1 ft/ sec. The prototype first flew and soared at Dunstable on the 6th November 1938, but was requisitioned during the war as one of a number of private gliders for the Glider Training Squadron.

During this wartime period, it was to give a glider display in front of the King and Queen following a factory visit by them. The pilot was to be John Sproule who carried out aerobatics in the Viking, with a smoke-candle on his tail. Starting with a loop off the towrope, he ended with a down-wind beat-up, stall-turn, and spot landing as near to the royal toes as was allowed. As the slight, bespectacled figure emerged, the King remarked
"Good Lord! I expected a great tough chap with whiskers!"
(This paragraph is from the book, The Wooden Sword, found on this website and this episode is shown in the video below)

It was later taken to Argentina by Mr R.P.Cooper, where it continued to perform with outstanding success, notably on the 30th January 1944, when, piloted by Roberto M. Madson, a flight of 120 miles was carried out.

Technical Data – Viking 1
Wing Span:
51 ft.
20.5 ft.
Root Chord:
4.1 ft.
Tip Chord:
2.3 sq. ft.
Taper ratio:
1.78 :1
Wing Area:
169 sq. ft
Aspect Ratio
Empty weight:
370 lbs.
Wing Loading:
3.2 lbs /sq.ft.

This comment from Paul Williams :

I recall seeing the Scott Viking at various VGC rallies and at Husbands Bosworth, when it was owned by their local glider repairer Lou Glover (Lou the glue). The glider didn't fly all that often and it seemed to me that the fabric was pretty ancient.

Anyway, the rudder had a really spectacularly warped trailing edge, like a lazy 'S' when viewed from the rear. Wandering accross the airfield on some mission or other, I was briefly within hearing range of Lou energetically defending the state of the rudder, to Dick Stratton , the BGA Chied Technical Officer................. might be warped but its off skew as much to the right as it is to the left, so the bloody thing's aerodynamically balanced isn't it ?.........

Great characters


As soon as the Mark I was in production, Scott Aircraft Ltd commenced work on the MK 2. a side by side two seater sailplane. The success of the VIKING I amply demonstrated the soundness of the basic design and, in the main, the same aerodynamic and structural features were retained.

The wing was slightly thickened at the extreme root to permit a deeper spar, thereby giving more elbow room to the occupants and modifying the wing section at that point to bi-convex and smoothing out the air flow along the fuselge. Attachment was similar to that on the VIKING I and the joint to the fuselage was so clean that fairing strips were not requirted. Aileron Control, which incorporated drooping mechanism, spoiler and elevator control were all automatically connected on assembly. The machine could be erected by three men in six minutes.

A simple fixed wheel was fitted forward of the Centre of Gravity and incorporated a brake. All working joints in the control system were fitted with ball bearings and the rudder pedals could be rapidly adjusted for varying pilots without disconnecting the controls.
The machine could be flown solo and to avoid the use of special ballast weights, the nose fairing could be detached and filled with earth. The VIKING 2 was test flown only a few days before the outbreak of war and created an extremely favourable impression. When the ban on gliding was imposed, it languished in obscurity for a period and was then resurrected for the Special Duties Flight testing the radar off the South Coast during July 1940. It was unfortunately badly damaged and it was never rebuilt. Two pilots during aerobatic manoeuvres caused an aileron to flutter. They then abandoned it using their parachutes. The Max. L/D was approx. 1/23 and its Mm sink, was 2.4 ft/sec. at 35 mph. With ailerons raised and flying at 65 mph, its sinking speed was 5 ft/sec.

Technical Data – Viking 2
Wing Span: 61 ft.
Length: 22.1 ft.
Root Chord: 4.95 ft.
Tip Chord: 1.94 sq. ft.
Taper ratio: 2.55 :1
Wing Area: 235 sq. ft
Aspect Ratio 16.3.
Empty weight: 510 lbs.
Wing Loading: 3.8 lbs /sq.ft.