Beagle B.206/CC.1 Basset
Un altro dei miei favoriti made in UK, ma solo ed esclusivamente per ragioni estetiche (vedere piu’ sotto).
Il CC.1 Basset, designazione militare britannica del Beagle B.206 da trasporto leggero, venne inizialmente adottato dalla RAF quale aereo da collegamento per il trasporto degli equipaggi dei V-Bombers distaccati nelle basi decentrate. La Royal Air Force ne ordino’ venti esemplari (su un requisito iniziale di 80) che andarono a tre squadron: il No. 26, 32 e 207. Questi aeromobili prestarono servizio fra il 1965 e la meta’ degli anni settanta.
Il Basset, purtroppo, non solo non si dimostro’ all’altezza, ma mise anche in cattiva luce MoA e RAF, accusate di non essere in grado di fornire agli equipaggi del Bomber Command (dal 1968 Strike Command) un piccolo ed affidabile aereo da collegamento. Leggete quanto riportato da Aircraft Illustrated del marzo 1972:
“On ondulating natural surfaces the ground clearance of the propeller tips was insufficient when the nosewheel oleo compressed, resulting in damage to the aircraft and powerplants. Although the leg was stiffened it did not prevent the re-occurrence of the problem and ultimately the Basset was banned from operating from these grass airfields. This new transport could not meet the original operating requirement for carrying the V-bomber crew unless the RAF broke with its tradition for two crews operation of its light transports.
To be more significant in the long run, however, were the engineering problems with the new aircraft. From the outset serviceability was way below the accepted norm, and allowing for it being a completely new aircraft, quite markedly worse the Devon. The blame for this is hard to apportion. On one hand the MoA went for a basic configuration with the mininum of extras, thus placing a greater burden on the equipment installed on it. Take, for example, the radio. Only 12 UHF frequencies were available on the sets fitted, crystals being picked out for every flight. These sets are now only just being replaced by new multi-channel equipment.
On the Beagle side the design team could have learnt a great deal from the Americans about functional design and straightforward engineering. As one servicing officer put it, “if ever there was an example of Mickey-Mouse engineering, you will find it in the Basset”. It is in fact a case where gimmickery should not have taken precedence over functions.”