The Percival Provost

The Percival Provost

The Percival P.56 Provost was a British basic trainer that was developed for the Royal Air Force in the 1950s as a replacement for the Percival Prentice. It was a low-wing monoplane with a fixed, tailwheel undercarriage and like the Prentice had a side-by-side seating arrangement.

The Provost design is attributed to the Polish-born Aeronautical Engineer, Henry Millicer. Millicer later moved to Australia where he also designed the award-winning Victa Airtourer light aircraft. The Provost was designed to Air Ministry specification T.16/48 for a single-engined basic trainer aircraft to meet Operational Requirement 257 for a Percival Prentice replacement. The specification was issued on 11 September 1948 and the ministry received over 30 proposals. Two designs were chosen for prototype construction, the Handley Page H.P.R. 2 and the Percival P.56. Percival was given a contract dated 13 January 1950 to build two Cheetah-powered prototypes. The company also built a third prototype with an Alvis Leonides Mk 25 engine.

The Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah-powered prototype serial number WE522 first flew on 24 February 1950. After evaluation against the H.P.R. 2 at Boscombe Down, the Leonides-powered P.56 was selected for production as the Provost T.1, with an initial order for 200 aircraft being placed on 29 May 1951. In 1961, production of the type ended with a total of 461 aircraft having been completed. The Percival Provost eventually formed the basis for the Jet Provost trainer which replaced it in RAF service.

The Percival P.56 Provost was a British basic trainer that was developed for the Royal Air Force in the 1950s as a replacement for the Percival Prentice. It was a low-wing monoplane with a fixed, tailwheel undercarriage and like the Prentice had a side-by-side seating arrangement.

The Provost design is attributed to the Polish-born Aeronautical Engineer, Henry Millicer. Millicer later moved to Australia where he also designed the award-winning Victa Airtourer light aircraft. The Provost was designed to Air Ministry specification T.16/48 for a single-engined basic trainer aircraft to meet Operational Requirement 257 for a Percival Prentice replacement. The specification was issued on 11 September 1948 and the ministry received over 30 proposals. Two designs were chosen for prototype construction, the Handley Page H.P.R. 2 and the Percival P.56. Percival was given a contract dated 13 January 1950 to build two Cheetah-powered prototypes. The company also built a third prototype with an Alvis Leonides Mk 25 engine.

The Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah-powered prototype serial number WE522 first flew on 24 February 1950. After evaluation against the H.P.R. 2 at Boscombe Down, the Leonides-powered P.56 was selected for production as the Provost T.1, with an initial order for 200 aircraft being placed on 29 May 1951. In 1961, production of the type ended with a total of 461 aircraft having been completed. The Percival Provost eventually formed the basis for the Jet Provost trainer which replaced it in RAF service.

Variants

Percival P.56 Mark 1
Two prototypes with Cheetah engines for evaluation; both later fitted with Leonides engines.
Percival P.56 Mark 2
One Leonides-engined prototype for evaluation.
Provost T.Mk 1
Two-seat, Leonides-powered basic trainer for the Royal Air Force.
Provost T.51
Unarmed export version for the Irish Air Corps.
Provost Mk 52
Armed export version for the Rhodesian Air Force and Sultanate of Oman.
Provost Mk 53
Armed export version for Burma, Iraq, Ireland and Sudan.

Specification

Speed

200 mph

Wingspan 

10.7 m

Height

3.7 m

Wing Area

19.9 m2

Empty Weight

1,523 kg

Powerplant

Alvis Leonides 126 9-cylinder

Performance

Range

560 nm

Speed

200 mph

Endurance

4 hours

Rate of climb

2,200 ft/min

BAE Heritage

Aircraft built

461

The last piston-engine basic trainer aircraft by the RAF

Produced

1950-1956

Planes built

461

The last piston-engine basic trainer aircraft by the RAF

Produced

1950-1956

Aircraft