On this day in 1935, the prototype K5083 (Hawker Hurricane) took to the air for the first time at the hands of Hawker’s chief test pilot, Flight Lieutenant (later Group Captain) George Bulman.
Bulman was assisted by two other pilots in subsequent flight testing; Philip Lucas flew some of the experimental test flights, while John Hindmarsh conducted the firm’s production flight trials.
The Hawker Hurricane British single-seat fighter aircraft was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Although overshadowed by the Supermarine Spitfire, the aircraft became renowned during the Battle of Britain, accounting for 60% of the RAF’s air victories in the battle, and served in all the major theatres of the Second World War.
The 1930s design evolved through several versions and adaptations, resulting in a series of aircraft which acted as fighters, bomber-interceptors, fighter-bombers (also called “Hurribombers”), and ground support aircraft. Further versions known as the Sea Hurricane had modifications which enabled operation from ships. Some were converted as catapult-launched convoy escorts, known as “Hurricats”. More than 14,583 Hurricanes were built by the end of 1944 (including at least 800 converted to Sea Hurricanes and some 1,400 built in Canada by Canadian Car and Foundry).