Lee- Richards Annular Monoplanes
Model tests of a new design at the National Physics Laboratory gave promising results, suggesting that an annular monoplane would be aerodynamically stable and have benign stalling characteristics. The first full-size monoplane was taken for its maiden flight in 1913 by Gordon England. It was found to be stable in the air but was tail-heavy and crashed when the engine failed. England survived to fly the next one. A second example was built with modified tail surfaces. It was flown by England, C. Gordon Bell and N. S. Percival. It too was stable and was reported to be pleasant to fly. Bell subsequently crashed it, also surviving. The third and last monoplane to fly was further modified and was also pleasant to fly. It was used regularly until the outbreak of war in 1914. Lee himself then tried to fly it but succeeded only in crashing it into a lake before swimming to the shore. Two further examples were under construction in 1914, with the intention of competing in the next planned Gordon Bennett air race, however they were never completed.