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Miles Magister

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The Magister or 'Maggie', as it was nicknamed, was used to train Royal Air Force pilots during the 1930s, with around 700 in service at the outbreak of the Second World War. Sold aboard a number of Miles Magister aircraft would also be used as test beds for various ideas.

Quick Facts
Miles Magister side profile image
First flight
20th March 1937
Entered service
October 1937
Total built

Front view
Magister front view photo
Side view
Magister side view photo
Rear view
Magister rear view photo

With the Miles Hawk Trainer being a success for the Phillips & Powis, which would become Miles Aircraft, Elementary Flying School as well as on the civil market the Air Ministry was interested in an improved version to become the Royal Air Force's standard elementary trainer to replace the Avro Tutor.

This new aircraft would be built to Specification T.40/36 and the design of the aircraft saw the two open cockpits back to back, fixed under carriage and was the first RAF trainer to have a low-wing. Further changes were made to the design which saw the cockpit size increased and blind flying equipment supplied. With these new changes a new Specification, T.37/37, was issued for production aircraft.

The M.14 Magister was powered by the 130-hp de Havilland Gipsy Major I engine which gave it a top speed of 132 mph, a range of 380 miles and a service ceiling of 18,000 ft. This made its first flight on the 20th March 1937 with F.G. Miles at the controls. The prototype was then sent to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Martlesham Heath for trials. It was on its first test flight that an issue with the type was discovered. Sent into a spin the pilot was unable to recover the aircraft and had to bail out. This issue would affect the RAF's early Magisters which they had started to receive during October 1937, with a number lost in this way. This would lead to modifications to the design.

This would lead to the M.14A Magister which had the same range and service ceiling of the M.14, but with a top speed of 142 mph was 10 mph faster. Design changes to the aircraft saw the tailplane raised, the rear fuselage re-designed and anti-spin strakes fitted in an effort to make the aircraft recoverable in a spin. These changes did not eradicate the problem so the rudder was re-designed with a higher aspect ratio and increased area and this would solve the issue.

During its Royal Air Force career it equipped the Elementary Flying Training School and the Central Flying School. The Magister would also serve with the British Army, training glider pilots and used by Army Co-operation Command. The type, like its training counterpart the de Havilland Tiger Moth, had a few examples fitted with bomb racks able to carry eight 25lb bombs during 1940 when the threat of a German invasion of the UK was considered likely. The Fleet Air Arm would also use the aircraft.

The Miles Magister was also used for testing various ideas, one of which was a new type of landing gear. Early RAF airfields were mainly all grass allowing an aircraft to land in any direction, but these were now being phased out in favour of runways. So a Magister was fitted with castored wheels and landing gear to see if this helped with landing in cross winds. During 1941 a Magister tested a new wing by towing it. This was to be considered for use on medium bombers and allow them to carry an increased bomb load. But with the introduction of larger numbers of four-engined bombers the idea was redundant.

In total 1,229 examples were built between 1937 and 1941 with 100 built under license in Turkey. The Magister was also sold overseas with Egypt and New Zealand buying a small number. After its retirement from the Royal Air Force in 1948 a number would end up in civilian hands and were known as the M.14B Magister.

Technical Details

Click on the aircraft image to view a larger version.

Top Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
M.14 Magister 132 mph 380 miles 18,000 ft none
M.14A Magister 142 mph 380 miles 18,000 ft none
M.14A Magister side profile image
M.14B Magister Civilian version powered by a 135hp Blackburn Cirrus II engine.


Click on a photo to view a larger version.
M.14A Magister

See This Aircraft

(C) = Cockpit only exhibit. (F) = Fuselage only exhibit. (R) = Remains of an aircraft.

M.14A Magister Imperial War Museum, Duxford
M.14A Magister Museum of Berkshire Aviation
M.14 Magister Shuttleworth
M.14A Magister

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