The Hawker Tomtit was designed by Sydney Camm to meet an Air Ministry specification for a new generation of training/communications aircraft to supersede the long serving Avro 504 series of trainers in RAF service.
The aeroplane was of conventional configuration with a fabric covered steel tube airframe and aluminium panels around the forward engine casing.
Provision was made for an instructor and pupil pilot in tandem open cockpits. Reid and Sigrist blind flying instruments were fitted and a hood was provided for the rear cockpit.
The prototype and production aircraft were powered by Armstrong-Siddeley Mongoose radial engines giving speeds of up to 124 mph.
About 40 Hawker Tomtits were delivered to the RAF in 1930 and served with the Central Flying School and No 3 Flying Training School, with other aircraft going to Technical Training Stations.
By 1932 all the Tomtit trainers were withdrawn from training programmes in favour of the Avro Tutor and distributed to various units for use as communication aircraft.
THIS EXHIBIT: K1786/G-AFTA
This aeroplane was the last Tomtit to be built and is the sole surviving example. It was flown as a â€˜hackâ€™ during WW II by Alex Henshaw, of pre-war Mew Gull fame, and in 1949 it was owned by Neville Duke who displayed it regularly until being purchased by Hawker Aircraft in 1951. It was presented to the Shuttleworth Collection in 1956 and returned to Hawker-Siddeley at Dunsfold in 1967 to be repainted in the original service livery displayed here.