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GAF Pika

Built as a piloted version of the Jindivik pilotless aircraft, the GAF Pika was the first jet engined aircraft designed and built in Australia. To date the only Australian designed and built manned jet aircraft, two Pikas logged over one hundred flying hours in testing. When the UK Ministry of Supply Specification E.7/48 for the development of a high-speed pilotless target aircraft was accepted by the Australian Government, a decision was also made to produce a piloted version. A Government Aircraft Factory design team, leaded by I. B. Fleming began work on two such aircraft for which the aboriginal name Pika, or flyer, was chosen.

Known initially as Project 'C', the Pika differed little from the Jindivik pilotless target apart from a pilot's cockpit with controls and instruments, and a retractable undercarriage; a jettisonable take off trolley and a fixed skid for landing were used for Jindivik. In addition, fuselage-side intakes, for the single Armstrong Siddeley Adder ASA1 turbojet, were positioned on the Pika as against the submerged entry in the top of the Jindivik fuselage.

The Pika had a maximum speed of over 755 km/h. The addition of the pilot reduced the fuel load available for the aircraft, reducing its endurance to around 30 minutes. In addition, the aircraft could be both flown by the pilot or a ground station, as per the Jindivik, and provided excellent training for operators of the Jindivik with the added safety net of a pilot in the cockpit. Although the Pika suffered several minor accidents, the trials were a success, and among other results, proved that the Jindivik design did not require a rudder, saving cost and weight.

The Pika made its maiden flight from the Woomera airfield on 31 October 1950 [some sources report October 1951]. Although the two Pikas were allocated RAAF serials A93-1 and A93-2, the prototype continued to fly as C-1. It was soon joined by A93-2 which was fitted with an elongated streamlined nose. GAF test pilot J. Miles carried out the initial tests, and was later assisted by Flight Lieutenant F. O. Knudson who was badly injured when C-1 crashed on 5 April 1951. Flight Lieutenant F. W. Barnes then took over RAAF testing with A93-2, and was subsequently joined by Squadron Leader. K. V. Robertson and Flight Lieutenant F. J. Inger. As a result of the Pika tests several modifications and improvements were incorporated in Jindivik Mk 2. A93-2, otherwise known as aircraft C-2, was received at the RAAF's Aircraft Research and Development Unit at Woomera, South Australia in October 1951, and flew during the Jindivik test program. A93-2 is the sole survivor of its type, and ended its flying career in June 1954. In August 1955, the aircraft was issued to the Weapons Research Establishment after conclusion of flight testing. Transported to RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, A93-2 made its way to Point Cook for the RAAF Museum in the late 1970s. Pika A93-2 remained at RAAF Edinburgh and in the 1970s went on display at the RAAF Museum, Point Cook.

Pika Pika

DESCRIPTIONSingle-seat research aircraft.
POWER PLANTOne 476 kg (1050 lb) thrust Armstrong Siddeley Adder ASA1.
Span 5.79 m (19 ft);
Length 7.49 m (24 ft 7 in);
Height 1.92 m (6 ft 3.5 in).
Empty 1043 kg (2300 lb);
loaded 1315 kg (2900 lb).
Max speed 756 km/h (408 kt);
Rate of climb 1271 m (4170 ft)/min;
Ceiling 32,000 ft (9754 m)

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Page last modified: 27-03-2012 18:13:12 ZULU