General Aircraft Ltd GAL. 38 


The General Aircraft Ltd GAL 38 was designed to meet Air Ministry specification S.23/37 which, in turn, was drawn up to meet a specific Admiralty requirements for a carrier-based aeroplane suitable for shadowing, or maintaining contact with, enemy fleets at night. This called for an exceptionally low cruising speed and a long duration. The requirement to maintain contact of an enemy fleet at night and the requirement to operate from an aircraft carrier flight deck imposed severe restrictions on this design.

The GAL 38 was a high-wing monoplane with wings and fuselage of wooden construction,  with spars of compressed wood and plywood, spruce and plywood ribs and an overall covering of plywood. The tail unit was of cantilever monoplane type. Single tail and rudder, of Spruce and plywood spar and ribs, pl ywood covering. The landing gear was of a fixed tricycle type. The crew consisted of a pilot, observer and radio operator.

The GAL 38 was powered by four 130 h.p. Pobjoy Niagara V seven-cylinder radial air-cooled geared engines driving two-blade fixed-pitch wooden airscrews, in response to the S.23/37 specification which called for an aircraft that would operate at low altitudes at slow speed, the specification called for 38 knots at 1500 ft for not less than 6 hours.

Two GAL.38 prototypes, P1758 and P1759, were ordered, but only one was completed, which first flew on 13 May 1940 with Niagara III engines, pending delivery of Niagara V's. In February 1941, the Admiralty decided to cease development of the S.23/37 aircraft, mainly because of the unavailability of suitable engines other than the Niagara V, only a small number of which were ever built. A proposal by GAL to produce a modified design powered by two Cheetah IX engines was not taken up.

Fleet Air Arm history
     Total FAA 1939-1945:       0
     First delivered to RN:         0
     First squadron 1939-1945:   0
     Operational squadron:         0
     Last served with RN           0
Aircraft Type:
General Aircraft Ltd GAL 38
Primary Role:
Carrier-based aeroplane suitable for shadowing, or maintaining contact with, enemy fleets at night
First Flight:
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
None - only trialed as prototype
General Aircraft Ltd 
Prototype - Four Niagara III engines
Proposed to use four 130 hp Pobjoy Niagara V seven-cylinder radial air-cooled geared engines 
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Span 55 ft 10 in (17.02 m)
Length 36 ft 1 in (11 m)
Height 12 ft 8 in (3.86 in)
Width folded wings 17 ft 11 in (5.46 m)
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
Empty 6,153 lbs. (2,791 kg)
 Loaded 8,501 lbs. (3,897 kg)



Maximum speed: 115 mph (185 km/h)
Cruising speed: 94 mph (151.3 km/h)
Stalling speed: 39 mph (62.7 km/h)
Rate of climb: 390 ft/min (118.8 m/min)
Service ceiling: 6,000 ft (1,830 m)
Endurance: 11 hours
Range: 990 miles (1,593 km)
Battle honours:
Additional references and notes:

Battle Honours and Operational History
None with FAA

Surviving aircraft and relics

Associations and reunions
No information
Intriguing Aircraft by John  GAL. 38 History and photographs
The British Aircraft Specifications File by KJ Meekcoms & EB Morgan
Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000


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