Armstrong Whitworth A.W.52
The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.52 was an early flying wing aircraft designed and produced by British aircraft manufacturer Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft.
The A.W.52 emerged from wartime research into the laminar flow airfoil, which indicated that, in combination with the flying wing configuration, such an aircraft could be dramatically more efficient than traditional designs. It was pursued to gather data and experience with the configuration in support of Armstrong Whitworth's ambitions to develop its proposed flying wing jet airliner. Construction of the A.W.52 commenced during the late 1940s; a total of three aircraft, the A.W.52G glider and two jet-powered aircraft, were constructed for the research programme.
On 13 November 1947, the A.W.52 performed its maiden flight. On 30 May 1949, during a test flight, the first prototype encountered severe pitch oscillation that motivated its test pilot, John Oliver Lancaster, to eject from the aircraft; the incident was the first occasion of a genuine emergency ejection by a British pilot. The first prototype recovered and descended to the ground relatively undamaged. Shortly thereafter, Armstrong Whitworth decided to terminate all development work, having lost confidence in the configuration's practicality and the envisioned flying wing airliner that the A.W.52 was intended to lead to. Despite the termination, the second prototype remained flying with the Royal Aircraft Establishment until 1954.