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Hawker Tomtit

The Hawker Tomtit is a British training biplane from the late 1920s.

The Royal Air Force in 1927 required a replacement for their current elementary trainers, the elderly Avro 504Ns.

They specified that the powerplant should be an Armstrong Siddeley Mongoose engine, a radial five-cylinder type, and the design should “have regards to the elimination of the Woodworking Fitter trades, ” In other words: the airframe, though not its covering had to be metal.

This led Sydney Camm, then chief designer at Hawker to design the Tomtit, a single bay biplane whose frame was of steel and duralumin tubes.

The spars were made of tubular dumbbell sections, the whole aircraft fabric covered.

Automatic slats of the Handley Page type were fitted to the leading edges of the upper wing.

It had the standard fixed main wheel and tail-skid undercarriage of its day.

The engine was uncowled.

Instructor and trainee sat in open tandem cockpits.

The latter, at the rear, was provided with the then-new blind flying panel and a cockpit hood was fitted so blind flying instruction was possible.

The RAF Tomtits had 150 hp (112 kW) Mongoose IIIC motors.

The prototype was first flown by George Bulman in November 1928.

Hawker also produced five civil registered Tomtits. 

The first two of these started with Mongoose IIIA engine and the third with an upright in-line 115 hp (86 kW) A.D.C. Cirrus Major.

It was thought that this latter, lower power engine choice might appeal more to public sporting owners.

Three of this group were later owned by Wolseley, who fitted them with their cowled A.R. 7 and A.R.9 radial motors.



Two-seat training, club, sports and personal aircraft.

Tomtit Mk I

Two-seat primary trainer for the RAF.





23 ft 8 in (7.21 m)


28 ft 6 in (8.69 m)


8 ft 8 in (2.64 m)

Wing area

238 sq ft (22.1 m2)

Empty weight

1,100 lb (499 kg)

Gross weight

1,750 lb (794 kg)


1 × Armstrong Siddeley Mongoose IIIC,

5-cylinder radial engine,

150 hp (110 kW)


Maximum speed

124 mph (200 km/h, 108 kn) at 1,000 ft (300 m)


350 mi (560 km, 300 nmi)

Service ceiling

19,500 ft (5,900 m)

Rate of climb

1,000 ft/min (5.1 m/s)

Time to altitude

14.5 min to 10,000 ft (3,000 m).



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