The Scud 2 was very deceiving in appearance, with its square sectioned fuselage set on edge and straight tapered wings. It appeared to be a very easy machine to build but in practice, it was not. A number of individuals started to build them but none were actually finished and flown. Eric Collins, at this time, was trying to earn a living entirely from gliding, and David Dent, of the Dent Cup, helped him considerably by giving him a contract to build a Scud 2 at his cottage in Flamstead, where he lived with his wife. But, sad to say, David Dent did not survive to see it finished. In the late autumn of 1933 his health broke down, and he died during an acute illness shortly before the end of the year.
It’s construction must have started during 1932 or 3 and It was finally finished by Slingsby c/n 215B BGA 231 (G-ALOT). First flight is believed to have taken place in August 1935. This Scud 2 is still airworthy and owned by a VGC member and is the oldest flying glider in Britain. Errors had been made and so the machine was taken apart and rebuilt from scratch, like new, which put up the bill.
Unfortunately, the Scud 2 had only been flown a few times when it was wrecked by landing out. It was rebuilt like new but the owners claimed that the machine was faulty and an unpleasant scene took place with Slingsby vowing to have nothing further to do with amateur built aircraft. He had already finished the GB-I started by the late Louis Dessoutter, for which he got neither thanks or recognition. All records refer to it as the Dessoutter Grunau and no mention is made that Slingsby finished it.
After the war, the Slingsby Scud 2 is known to have been rebuilt at least once and so after all those repairs and replacements, it is possible that the ailerons do not match the originals. It is doubtful if they have warped to any great extent. I feel that any discrepancy might have taken place during repairs and rebuilds.
From Gliding and Motorgliding International
“We asked Derek Piggott, one of the world’s most experienced glider and power pilots with more than 170 sailplane types in his logbook, to choose a glider each month that he has particularly enjoyed, or for various reasons remembered, flying. He starts with the Scud 2″ :—
Pilots often ask me what is my favourite glider and I am never able to answer. I like them all. But the ones I remember most are the ones which have some kind of incident related to flying them.
The Scud 2 is a very special glider which I had always wanted to fly. Not only is it the oldest glider still flying in the UK but it is also one which, as a schoolboy, I had made a scale model of back in the middle 1930s. This particular Scud 2 was built in 1932 and seems to have escaped the war relatively unscathed. The Scud 2 was a slightly larger version of the original Scud 1 with a much more sophisticated wing of 40ft span.
Like many duration model aircraft of that time it featured a diamond fuselage with the wing mounted on a parasol. Apart from the struts and control fitting, it is a all wooden airframe with birch ply and fabric covering. The all moving stabiliser and all moving fin are identical, enabling them all to be made in the one jig. I never found out if you could actually fit the fin on as one half of the tailplane but it certainly looked like it.
They just slide on to tubes and are retained with a pin. They are all hinged close to the leading edge and I anticipated some interesting stick forces, because ideally all moving surfaces need to be hinged about the quarter chord point or the stick forces are all wrong.
The centresection of the wing is permanently rigged to the parasol struts and rigging is commendably simple as the wings are so light. I was half expecting the wing to be held on with the usual rubber bands like my models, but two horizontal main pins, plus a further one at the rear spar, hold each wing to the centresection and make it easy to assemble.
There is no dihedral but the wings are swept back and tapered, and this has much the same effect as dihedral. The aerofoil is the Gottingen 652, an incredibly bulbous, highly under cambered, high lift section capable of a fair L/D at low speeds but vast drag when flown faster.
In 1932 you could buy it new for £150 ($225)
The total weight was originally given as 150lbs, but when weighed in 1936 it was 220lbs, and that is considered nearer the truth. Incidentally in 1932 you could buy it new from Abbott-Baynes Sailplanes Ltd of Farnham, Surrey for the princely sum of £150 ex-works ($225).
A small two wheeled dolly is used to help the ground handling, but the glider rests on the long nose skid and is rather awkward to move about without the dolly. At first it is quite a problem to get into the cockpit and the solution is to feed one leg in and then to squeeze between the cockpit walls and the wing above.
Small hinged cockpit doors fold down to make it possible to get in and make the cockpit cosier for flight. The seat is a curved piece of ply running from the side longerons almost to the bottom one. Care is needed to avoid putting a foot through the thin ply floor.
The cockpit was adequate size for me and had no altimeter, only a Cosim variometer and a hand-held anemometer mounted ahead on the top of the cockpit. Goggles are essential as there is no windscreen and you don’t want to catch an eyeful of dust or flies during take-off.
I should mention that the object of the day’s flying was to get some really good photos, both on the ground and in flight. Mike Beach, one of the most amazing renovators of historic gliders and home builder of Vintage Gliding Club fame, kindly invited me to help. On our first attempts to get air to air shots, I flew the photographer in the Lasham 180hp Super Cub and Mike flew the Scud. With a max. aerotow speed of 60mph and a plea to keep it much slower (or he would pull off), we climbed up to about 2500ft. Then the problems began.
I put down the flaps and pulled up the nose with about half throttle and put myself well behind him and just shot past. This continued with monotonous regularity with the Cub at nearly full throttle, nose high and with nothing reading on the clock. The only time we could stay with it for more than a few seconds was by being on the outside of the turn. Having done a lot of film work including photographing many other vintage gliders, I was surprised by these difficulties. That we obtained any worthwhile photos is entirely due to the skill and quick reactions of the cameraman Melvis Hitchcock.
At this point we went for a quick lunch to think things over. By this time there were a few thermals about and I thought it wiser to take a winch launch rather than risk problems of turbulence on the aerotow. Mike had never made a winch launch and did not know what it would be like, except that it would need only about half the speed of any normal glider.
Anticipated turning at a safe height to land
Even though I had briefed the winch driver that it would need a very slow launch, it was off in a few yards. While I was still trying to get the speed down to under 40mph by signalling with the rudder, the cable released itself at about 600ft. Our aim was to take pictures of it while circling low overhead so I flew back into position and started circling. I found the handling at 25-30mph quite adequate and normal, and when I had got down to an estimated 200ft I picked up speed and flew downwind a little way, anticipating turning at a safe height to land into wind.
All went well until I started to bank over for the final well-banked turn. With full aileron it just about refused to bank over more than a few degrees, not at all what was needed, and I was forced to straighten up at right angles to the wind and the runway and land across it. Fortunately, it slid only a few yards after touchdown and I landed without drift. Greatly relieved that I hadn’t done any damage except to my ego.
Why did it happen? I think I must have put the speed up to about 50mph to be quite sure that there was plenty to make a well banked final turn safely, if on the low side. Probably the wing was twisting slightly and causing the beginnings of aileron reversal and reducing their effectiveness. I believe that Melvis got some passable shots of it flying taken from the ground, so perhaps it was all worthwhile.
My next flight in it was on aerotow taking-off into a 5-10mph wind. The glider leapt up off the ground rolling off to the right as it went. However, this was soon tamed and the rest of the tow was uneventful. I concluded that I ought to have briefed the tug pilot to open up very slowly. Picking up the full towing speed in a few seconds made the Scud leap off and zoom up too high and almost out of control. It was only towards the end of the tow that I realised that there was no altimeter and since we pay for our launches by height, I kept on until it looked about right for 2000ft. In fact, as I found out later, it was 2500. In spite of the very low flying speed it handled remarkably well. The adverse yaw is much the same as most other old machines, but there is enough rudder power to make getting in and out of turns reasonably easy. I didn’t try it at 50mph. That’s for next time, if there is one.
I approach the stall rather cautiously as I thought the all moving tail might be powerful and that the sharply tapered swept back wings would produce a healthy wing drop at the stall. However, apart from the incredibly low stalling speed of 18-20mph, the stall seemed fairly docile. Most open cockpit gliders are draughty and cold, but this flew so slowly that it was a real pleasure to be out in the fresh air.
Apart from confirming that it became more sluggish in roll at 30-35mph, and that it descended like a brick at these speeds, it all seemed very normal and easy to fly. According to the old books, at 25mph. it has a glide ratio of 22:1 and a rate of descent of about 150ft/min. With its tiny circling radius, it is no wonder it is to be seen at the top of every stack of gliders whenever it is flying.
So this was another long time ambition fulfilled thanks to Mike Beach who restored her into the perfect vintage glider. It was a day never to be forgotten.
A single seat high-performance sailplane designed by L.E. Baynes built by Abbott Baynes Sailplanes Ltd., Farnham, and later by Carden Baynes Aircraft Ltd., Heston, Middlesex. When fitted with an engine, the type was known as the Auxiliary.
Written by Martin Simon in Australian Gliding Dec. 1974
“Regarding the symptons of claustrophobia I would point out that this machine was not designed for people suffering from mental diseases, but rather for those with an instinct for self preservation.” These words were written in defence of the Scud 2 by Mr.L.E. Baynes, its designer, in January 1934. He was not joking. The criticisms he was answering came from a pilot who complained of having experienced symptons of claustrophobia because of his position under the wing. Mr. Baynes pointed out the safety of such a situation, for, as another defender said “In most ordinary gliders the pilot is definitely too near the accident”.
The first Scud appears in 1931 with a wingspan of only 7.72m. and the Very low aspect ratio, for a sailplane, of 7.5. The intention was to produce for the English market a small, very lightweight glider, which might be used for soaring once the pilot had learned to handle the relatively clumsy BAC, Prüfling or Falke types. The wing was of fairly orthodox two spar wooden construction except that the plywood covering extended back from the leading edge to the rear spar, while the trailing edge was a simple wire joining the ends of the ribs. (Baynes once said to C. Wills that he first had the idea to use ply covering to preserve accuracy of profile over most of the wing and that this idea was later used for the world’s first laminar-flow profiled sailplanes.) Mungo Buxton became inspired by this and used the same technique for the Hjordis and King Kite. C.W.
The accuracy of profile was preserved by the elastic casein glue and the very thin plywood in bending, at least round the leading edge. However, post-war use of aerolite glue “pulled” plywood in between the ribs, which were not nearly close enough together. Even if they had been, aerolite glue would probably still have “starved” the wing. (This technique was used on all three Scud versions. C.W.) For such a short span, the ailerons were exceptionally large. The fuselage was a simple box set on edge to give a diamond cross-section. It was suspended beneath the wing on a cabane of steel struts, with the cockpit amongst them (for pendulum lateral stability – C.W.).
“Getting in and out, whatever the mental state of the pilot, required a good deal of physical agility. The tail unit was ingenious. The rudder and each of the two elevator surfaces were completely interchangeable, enabling some saving in manufacturing time, since all three could be built in one jig.
The British gliding movement in 1931 was only just born and apart from a fairly high demand for primary trainers, no market for sailplanes existed. Nonetheless, after the prototype had been built by Baynes’ own small aircraft at Croydon, he went into partnership with E.D. Abbott, a coachbuilder. The Scud was advertised in May 1931 as “The Private Owner’s Sailplane” – price Y-95 ex works, with a trailer and canvas cover at £20 extra. This, readers wore assured was “the craft for the man who wants to soar., for the private owner or club member who values portability; for the practical man who asks for simplicity of repair, and the pilot who demands really effective control”. Hire purchase terms could be arranged.
Contemporary photographs of the Abbott Works at Farnham show at least four Scud I’s simultaneously under construction. Counting the prototype, and another built at home by a member of the Jersey Gliding Club in the Channel Islands, this suggests that at least six were completed (two of the type were flying in Jersey as late as 1937). Compared with other machines available in Britain, the Scud seemed to offer something new and cheap.
The little machine proved extremly sensitive on all the controls. With its very small span, huge ailerons and all-moving tail surfaces, this was not surprising. Its performance inevitably was poor even by the standards of 1931. In 1932, Baynes proudly announced the successful first flights of a new prototype, the Scud 2. The fuselage remained basically the same, though slightly longer, and the tail surfaces were similar. Wire trailing edges were replaced with wood. The wing, however, was completely re-designed. It spanned just over 12 metres, with a much increased aspect ratio of 16. It was tapered and swept back in plan form, with a single spar. The original Goettingen 535 wing section of the Scud I was replaced with the much more cambered profile used on the Fafnir, (Rhönadler, etc.), Goettingen 652. (Mungo Buxton used this also for his 1935 Hjordis.~ C.W.) Baynes was delighted to learn on the grapevine that the Darmstadt students too had decided that 12 metre wingspans were the coming thing. There was much talk of thermal currents and the need for light, manoeverable and small sailplanes to make use of them. Although, when it appeared, the Darmstadt D.28 “Windspiel’ was far more refined than the Scud, and Baynes felt that he was on the right track. What he did not know was that the wing section that he had just abandoned, Goettingen 535, was coming rapidly into fashion (used on Grunau Baby, Rhönsperber, Rhönbussard, Kranich 2 – C.W.) and the older, thick and highly arched 652 was on the way out.
The new wing, as before, was mounted on a little forest of struts immediately above the cockpit, but the rigging system was simplified. A short centre section of wing was normally left mounted on the cabane, and only the outer wing portions were removed for trailering. The aileron hook-up was semi-automatic, and a simple chain-driven differential gearing was employed. After test flying, the original narrow ailerons were increased in area, giving the outer wing its characteristic lobed plan form. Even then, it seems, aileron control was rather poor, while rudder and elevators remained very sensitive. Once again, several machines were to be built in a batch. The advertised price at first was £135 ex factory and £31.10/- for the trailer. Blueprints for the homebuilder were also available at £8.10/the set, and kits of finished parts (spars, ribs, frames, etc.) were offered at half the price of a finished aircraft. Orders, however, did not pour in.
G.M.(Mungo) Buxton, who bought the prototype, flew it regularly at Dunstable and occasionaly went on tour with it. At an Easter camp in North Yorkshire in 1933, he set a new British altitude record of 2,350 ft. The publicity should have helped sales but in June of the same year Abbott and Baynes dropped the price for new Scuds to £98, warning that the offer applied only to orders placed within a few weeks. Possibly, after having built, or partly built, a few aircraft without orders, the price cutting was in the nature of a clearance sale. One buyer at least took advantage of it. The Ulster Gliding Club took delivery of their new Scud 2 in August. They reported that the ailerons were a bit stiff and “she likes a little rudder to fly straight”. Perhaps something had become a bit warped during storage at the factory. The most surprising thing, said the new owners, “is that the machine is under perfect control at 27 mph. the official stalling speed”. In rough weather, the pilot found his head repeatedly banging against the undersurface of the wing, but, despite the snags, the Scud 2 in Ulster flew successfully for several years.
Buxton, in ownership of the prototype, had extra leg-room built in. In October 1933 a successful meeting was held at Sutton Bank in Yorkshire, and Baynes was delighted to see two Scuds soaring together, the Ulster men having shipped theirs across the Irish sea for the occasion. Buxton and Wills carried off most of the prizes: £10 for distance (12 miles), £3 for altitude (800 ft.) and £3 for duration (2 hrs. 39 mins.). But the big adventures were yet to come.
It was almost a year after this first Sutton Bank meeting that Wills, in the Scud, had his first brief experience of cloud flying. On a cross country from Dunstable, he was sucked into a cumulus as 5,500 ft. and, immediately disorientated, he found himself climbing rapidly even with the airspeed up to 60 mph. He came out of the mist a few minutes later with 70 mph on the clock at a height unknown. The record could not be promulgated since he had no barograph. A few weeks later, however, he did set an official record with a climb of 4,514 ft. in clear air, but this did not last long. On September 4th Buxton’s turn came yet again, and, during the second Sutton Bank competition, he was bungeed off into the slope lift on a day with thunderstorms much in evidence. As one of the storms approached, several of his competitors gained height beneath the wispy clouds ahead of the main mass. Buxton alone allowed himself to be drawn inside. As he disappeared, one of the spectators shrugged his shoulders helplessly and said “Oh well, Buxton was a nice chap”. There were no blind flying instruments in British sailplanes at that time. The Scud 2 had an altimeter, a rate of climb indicator and an airspeed indicator. News had reached England only a few months previously of Heini Littmar’s world record climb in his Condor during a thunderstorm flight in South America. He had proper instruments, an enclosed canopy and a great deal of experience. Buxton had none of these. Inside the cloud, Buxton concentrated in retaining control. He turned in his seat to look at the rudder to check that it was straight. At times he found the airspeed building up even with the stick back but he managed to straighten up. As he passed through 5,000 ft. the rate of climb indicator went off the top of the dial and the altimeter wound up steadily. Suddenly, he shot out into dazzling sunlight. The cloud had more or less sucked him up and spat him out 8,323 ft. above his take-off point. He was, of course, extremely fortunate. If the cloud had been more turbulent he would have lost control. As it was, he set course northwards and landed near Middlesborough. His height record stood for four years until Wills broke it with his Minimoa. A third Scud 2 appeared at the same meeting, having been brought “on spec” by Baynes from his factory. It was sold to some of the London Club members and shortly took up residence alongside the prototype at Dunstable.
(At this time, Wills had been going around the countryside visiting hillsides and getting his wife to bungee him over the edge, using an open Lee Francis sports car usually for yet another unsuccessful attempt on the distance record. He never did see what happened to his wife, but she turned up with the car in one piece to give him another try – usually 11-14 miles. C.W.)
By August 1935, there were four Scuds in operation, the fourth having been partly built at home by Erie Collins and finished by Slingsbys after Collins, death. However, the total dropped again to three when the Ulster Club lost their Scud in a spinning accident.
In 1938 the prototype was involved in the first aerial collision between two gliders in Britain. The site was again Sutton Bank. A Grunau Baby and the Scud met with a crunch. The Grunau’s tail was almost knocked off, while the Scud’s pilot found his feet dangling in mid-air. Both crashed into the trees, but neither pilot was injured. The Scud was repaired and remained active at Dunstable. On one occasion in 1939, Lawrence Wright landed the Scud in Whipsnade Zoo, hitting a bush and turning upsidedown in the Bison enclosure but the Scud and Bison all survived. Unhappily, in June 1939, Wright was involved in a winch launching incident (a car drove over the cable during his launch) and, although he was unhurt, the Scud was written off. The other two, neglected, were still in their trailers when war broke out.
After the Second World War both Scud 3’s and one of the Scud 2’s were restored to use. The surviving Scud 2 was the Collins/Slingsby machine. In 1946/7 it flew regularly at Portsmouth alongside one of the Scud 3’s, but was then sold to a group at the Southdown Club (among which was Ray Brigden who flew his Silver C in it). There, on August 7th 1948, it was crushed by a hangar roof that collapsed on the club fleet in a gale, and its flying career seemed over. It was surprisingly the beginning of a new career. Painstakingly rebuilt by Vic Ginn, the Scud 2 was flying regularly again by 1950 at Dunstable and, in the subsequent two years, it logged over 200 hours. John Jeffries, the new owner, completed his Silver C in the old aircraft, and, among other flights, he made several of 65 miles or more, which were actually further than any of the prewar pilots had managed. Jeffries still flew the Scud occasionally until, in 1972, it was finally decided to present it as a museum piece to the Shuttleworth Collection.* Both the Scud 3’s are also still existent.
Baynes the designer, continued his career in aviation, until, by the time the old Scud was achieving its new victories in the 1940’s and 1950’s, he was carrying out research into variable-sweep supersonic aircraft and designing interiors for airliners. Mungo Buxton, in 1935, inspired by the Scud and recognising its limitations, went on to design a new sailplane, the Hjordis, which his partner Philip Wills put to good use in the next three years.
TECHNICAL DATA from Martin Simons.