The Hawker Heron was an experimental metal version of the wooden Woodcock II fighter, designed by Sydney Camm early in his career with Hawker.
The Heron was originally begun as the third prototype for the Woodcock, and the second for the Woodcock II, but in 1924 Hawker were given permission to build it with a metal framework. George Carter, then the chief designer at Hawker, gave the task to Sydney Camm. It soon became clear that the new aircraft would be significantly different to the Woodcock, and it was renamed as the Heron.
The main visible differences between the two aircraft were the 4ft shorter fuselage of the Heron, and its modified wings. The Woodcock had equal-span, slightly swept back wings, both with the same dihedral and with very little stagger. The Heron had straight wings of unequal span, with a shorter lower wing. The lower wing had a pronounced dihedral and was mounted further back, increasing the stagger (the same basic layout would be used in the Hawker Fury of 1929)
Although the Heron was 147lb heavier when fully loaded it had a more powerful Jupiter VI engine, and a top speed of 156mph at 9,800ft, 15mph faster than the Woodcock II. It made its maiden flight during 1925, and its public debut at the 1925 Royal Air Force Display on 27 June. The aircraft was then sent to Martlesham Heath for tests, remaining there for most of the next two years. The aircraft was returned to Hawker in May 1928, and was in the process of being prepared for air racing when it was badly damaged in a collision with a parked car. Although the aircraft was repaired it never raced and was instead placed in storage.
Engine: Bristol Jupiter VI
Wing span: 31ft 10in
Length: 22ft 3in
Height: 9ft 9in
Empty Weight: 2,120lb
Loaded Weight: 3,126lb
Max Speed: 156mph at 9,800ft
Service Ceiling: 23,300ft
Endurance: 3hr 30min
Armament: Two fixed forward firing Vickers guns