Westland Lysander Mk I
The Westland Lysander might not have been a successful combat machine, but it's very distinctive and
graceful shape make it both unique and interesting. Like other British Army Air co-operation aircraft it
was given the name of a mythical or legendary leader, in this case the Spartan general "Lysander". The
Lysander was the first British combat airplane stationed in France during World War II but was soon
found to be vulnerable and an easy target for the German Luftwaffe because of its relatively slow speed.
After the evacuation at Dunkirk it's combat missions were relegated to the more suited P-40's and
Hawker Huracane's. With it's exceptional short and rough field performance, the Lysander was widely
used for special clandestine night missions to place and recover agents and supplies behind enemy lines
in occupied Europe. In this role the aircraft served until the end of hostilities, thus deserving itself a
rightful place in aviation history. There were 1,786 Lysanders built with approximately 20 surviving
today mostly in museums. Only 2 are known to be airworthy.
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