Slingsby Hengist

The Slingsby Hengist was a British military glider designed and built by Slingsby Sailplanes Ltd. Like other British troop carrying gliders in the Second World War, it was named after military figures whose name began with H, in this case the Jute invader Hengist.

Slingsby Hengist
Slingsby T.18 Hengist Mark I (DG676), on tow while with the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment based at Sherburn-in-Elmet, Yorkshire, 25 April 1943
Role Troop-carrying glider
Manufacturer Slingsby Sailplanes
Designer John Frost
First flight January 1942
Retired 1946
Produced 1942–1944
Number built 18

Design and developmentEdit

The use of assault gliders by the British was prompted by the use by Germany of the DFS 230 transport glider, which was first used in May 1940 to land assault troops on the Eben Emael fort in Belgium.[1] Their advantage compared to parachute assault was that the troops landed in one place, rather than being dispersed.

The Slingsby T.18 Hengist was designed by John "Jack" Frost. It was a 15-seat glider designed to meet Specification X.25/40 (in accordance to O.R.98), issued in February 1941. The specification was issued in case sufficiently powerful tugs were not available for the larger Airspeed Horsa.[2] Four prototypes were ordered in late 1940, the first prototype DG570 flying in January 1942, towed by an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley.[3]

A total of 14 production Hengist Mk I were delivered to the Royal Air Force (RAF) between February 1943 and March 1944. One of Frost's unique[citation needed] design touches was to fit the Hengist with a rubber bag as a landing device. A strengthened undercarriage was used on the production aircraft and was called the Mk III, but this name was not carried over to the RAF.[3]

The Hengist had a distinctive appearance with curved upper and lower surfaces and a flat sided fuselage.

Operational historyEdit

Two Hengist Mk Is were delivered to the Glider Pilots' Exercise Unit while others were issued to experimental units or remained in storage. Production was halted when Waco Hadrian gliders became available under lease-lend.[2] As a back-up type, it saw no operational service and was phased out of service in 1946.[3]

Specifications (Hengist Mk I)Edit

Data from Slingsby Sailplanes,[4] British Gliders and Sailplanes 1922–1970[5]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 14
  • Length: 56 ft 6 in (17.22 m)
  • Wingspan: 80 ft 0 in (24.38 m)
  • Wing area: 780.0 sq ft (72.46 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 8.2
  • Airfoil: NACA 2415 (root), NACA 4412 (tip)
  • Empty weight: 4,630 lb (2,100 kg)
  • Gross weight: 8,351 lb (3,788 kg)


  • Stall speed: 48 mph (77 km/h, 42 kn)
  • Towing speed: 130 mph (209 km/h)
  • Lift-to-drag: 14:1
  • Wing loading: 10.7 lb/sq ft (52.3 kg/m2)

See alsoEdit

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists



  1. ^ Simons 1996, p. 99.
  2. ^ a b Ellison 1971, p. 188.
  3. ^ a b c Swanborough 1997, p. 89.
  4. ^ Simons 1996, p. 101.
  5. ^ Ellison, Norman (1971). British Gliders and Sailplanes 1922–1970 (1st ed.). London: Adam & Charles Black. p. 188. ISBN 0 7136 1189 8.


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