General Aircraft Hotspur
When Winston Churchill ordered the creation of an airborne fighting force in June 1940, the RAF and Army had no gliders at their disposal. The Air Ministry issued the specification for an eight-man assault glider in late July, and General Aircraft Limited flew the prototype Hotspur in November – just four months from starting the design. Over a thousand all-wooden Hotspurs were built, but early in the Hotspur’s service it became apparent that it was really too small to carry an effective fighting force and the Horsa became the mainstay of the British glider fleet. Never used on operations, the Hotspur became the main training aircraft used by the Glider Pilot Regiment.
Although a heavy glider with a high ‘sink’ rate, the Hotspur would glide for 80 miles if released from high altitude, and was in fact quite aerobatic. After initial training on Tiger Moths or Miles Magisters, trainee pilots would transfer to the Hotspur where around ten hours dual flying would see them ready to solo. After further training they would move on to the much larger Horsa.
Although a replica Hotspur is displayed at the Museum of Army Flying, our cockpit section is the only remaining original section of a Hotspur left.
The Hotspur can be found displayed inside the Airborne Forces Collection building.