The Fleet Model 60K Fort was the only aircraft designed and built by Canadians in the Second World War. The Fort was also the first all-metal monoplane built by Fleet Aircraft of Canada (Fort Erie); it was intended to be a cheaper alternative to the North American Harvard trainer. Although it served with the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, the Fort ended up training wireless operators and had a relatively short operational career.
Design and development
The Fort was originally designed as an advanced flying trainer and in 1940 orders were placed for 200 to be built for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The Fleet 60 was designed as a monoplane with a low elliptical wing and a raised rear cockpit. An unusual feature was the fixed undercarriage. Although fixed, the undercarriage was fitted with a retractable fairing. This feature was intended to familiarize student pilots with an undercarriage retraction mechanism but without causing external damage by a forgetful student.
Production was delayed, however, as the first Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) model was not flying until 18 April 1941. The availability of the Fairchild Cornell, and a change in what constituted an "advanced" trainer, led to the contract's being sharply cut back, and only 101 Forts were ultimately delivered to the RCAF between June 1941 and June 1942.
Initially, the RCAF did not want to order the Model 60K, and their concerns proved valid. Pilot trainees found the Fort relatively easy to master, thereby making it unsuitable for transition to combat aircraft (e.g., Hawker Hurricane). Also, the RCAF decided that pilots who had soloed in Fleet Finches and de Havilland Tiger Moths could proceed to Harvards without training on Forts. The Forts were then used to train wireless operators at No. 2 Wireless School, Calgary and No. 3 Wireless School, Winnipeg.
Two models were built, one having a Template:Convert Jacobs engine and the other having a Template:Convert Jacobs. The more powerful engine gave the revised Fort a top speed of Template:Convert and the cruising speed Template:Convert. It then climbed at Template:Convert per minute and had a range of Template:Convert. Loaded weight was slightly increased to 2,900 pounds.
The last Forts saw active service in 1944 and they were phased out of use by 1945; the last Model 60K was retired in 1946.
- Model 60 : Proposed advanced trainer version, powered by a Jacobs L-7 radial piston engine. Not built.
- Model 60K : Two-seat intermediate training aircraft for the RCAF. RCAF designation Fort Mk I.
- Fort Mk II : All 101 production aircraft were converted into wireless training aircraft for the RCAF
- Model 60L : Proposed version, powered by a Jacobs L-4MB radial piston engine. Not built.
- Cite error: Invalid
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- Holmes, Tony (2005). Jane's Vintage Aircraft Recognition Guide. London: Harper Collins. ISBN 0 0071 9292 4.
- Molson, Ken M. and Taylor, Harold A. Canadian Aircraft Since 1909. Stittsville, Ontario: Canada's Wings, Inc., 1982. ISBN 0-920002-11-0.
- Page, Ron D. and Cumming, William. Fleet: The Flying Years. Erin, Ontario: Boston Mills Press, 1990. ISBN 1-55046-019-6.
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It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Fleet Fort".