Vickers Wellington

The Vickers Wellington was a British twin-engine, long range medium bomber designed in the mid-1930s at Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey, by Vickers-Armstrongs' Chief Designer, R. K. Pierson. It was widely used as a night bomber in the early years of the Second World War, before being displaced as a bomber by the larger four-engine "heavies" such as the Avro Lancaster. The Wellington continued to serve throughout the war in other duties, particularly as an anti-submarine aircraft. It was the only British bomber to be produced for the entire duration of the war. The Wellington was popularly known as the Wimpy by service personnel, after J. Wellington Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons and a Wellington "B for Bertie" had a starring role in the 1942 Oscar-nominated Powell and Pressburger film One of Our Aircraft Is Missing. The Wellington was one of two bombers named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, the other being the Vickers Wellesley.

The Wellington used a geodesic construction method, which had been devised by Barnes Wallis inspired by his work on airships, and had previously been used to build the single-engine Wellesley light bomber. The fuselage was built up from 1650 elements, consisting of aluminium alloy (duralumin) W-beams that were formed into a large framework. The geodesic structure also gave a very strong but light structure for its large size, which gave the Wellington a load and range to power ratio advantage over similar aircraft, without sacrificing robustness or protective devices such as armour plate or self-sealing fuel tanks.

The Wellington was initially out-numbered by its twin-engine contemporaries, the Handley Page Hampden and the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, but would ultimately outlast them in productive service. The number of Wellingtons built totalled 11,461 of all versions, the last of which rolled out on 13 October 1945.

General characteristics
  • Crew: six
  • Length: 64 ft 7 in (19.69 m)
  • Wingspan: 86 ft 2 in (26.27 m)
  • Height: 17 ft 5 in (5.31 m)
  • Wing area: 840 ft² (78.1 m²)
  • Empty weight: 18,556 lb (8,435 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 28,500 lb (12,955 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2× Bristol Pegasus Mark XVIII radial engines, 1,050 hp (783 kW) each

  • Maximum speed: 235 mph (378 km/h) at 15,500 ft (4,730 m)
  • Range: 2,550 mi (2,217 nmi, 4,106 km)
  • Service ceiling: 18,000 ft (5,490 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,120 ft/min (5.7 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 34 lb/ft² (168 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.08 hp/lb (0.13 kW/kg)

  • 6-8× .303 Browning machine guns:
  • 4,500 lb (2,041 kg) bombs

** Vickers Wellington - Warbird Fare

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