THE LYMPNE TRIALS: Searching for an Ideal Light Plane

In the 1920s a series of trials took place at Lympne Aerodrome in Kent. These were promoted to try to find a design of light aeroplane that could be made available to newly-formed flying clubs. Sponsored in part by the Daily Mail newspaper, these competitions were held in 1923, 1924 and 1926 and have gone down in the history of the British light plane as seminal events. Many aircraft entered, few were able to compete – and all were blighted by a common problem – a lack of suitable engines. But that was not all. The rules and regulations were uncompromisingly severe with weight and power constraints. The result was as much acrimony as triumph. But triumph there was in the achievements of our designers in being able to built extraordinarily lightweight aircraft that would fly on (in some cases) well under ten horsepower. Despite successes, one man recognised that the true club and training light aircraft had to be strong (meaning heavier) and have plenty of power in reserve, He was Geoffrey de Havilland. Few of the other competing aircraft are remembered today – but de Havilland's Moth, excluded from the 1926 contest, proved that 'DH' was right all along and the contests were all a bit futile. A fascinating story told with rare photographs and extended captions. Published by Stenlake Publishing Ltd, Catrine, 2012. 181 illustrations, 104 pp, decorative paper covers, ISBN 978 184 0335736. £16.00 direct from the Author or contact the publisher at