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Rare, working De Havilland Sea Venom Smiths KAE 0701W Accelerometer

The De Havilland Sea Venom’s Ghost 104 centrifugal-flow turbojet engine could deliver over 5,300 lbf (24 kN) of thrust, giving it a climb rate of 5,750 ft/min to a service ceiling of over 39,500 ft with a maximum speed in excess of 927 km/h. In a dive, this would be far greater.

The G forces exerted by such rapid acceleration on both pilot and aircraft can be enormous and need to be constantly monitored to keep within the limitations of the human body’s tolerance and that of the jet's airframe.

Military pilots have long worn pressurised G suits which work to counteract the acceleration forces on their bodies but an aircraft’s components and airframe have no such protection and are rated for operation within defined G force loading parameters.

Too high a G force can cause a pilot to loose consciousness whilst continual and constant G forces that are beyond the safety parameters of an airframe will rapidly deteriorate its service life and at worse, could cause a catastrophic break up of the aircraft in midair.

To monitor the stresses imposed on both pilot and airframe, an Accelerometer is mounted at the pilot’s eye level on the main flying panel  

Whilst primarily used to monitor the forces acting on the airframe, accelerometers are also used as part of the aircraft’s inertial reference navigation system.

Most accelerometers are mechanical with direct-reading instruments calibrated to indicate force in Gs. One G being equal to one times the force of gravity and the dial face of an accelerometer is scaled to show both positive and negative forces on the aircraft.

When an aircraft is put in a rapid climb, a positive G force pushes the pilot back into their seat. The faster the climb the greater the G forces exerted. A rapid descent will apply force in the opposite direction resulting in a negative G force.

The accelerometer operates on the principle of inertia. A mass, or weight, inside slides freely along a shaft in response to the slightest acceleration force in either direction. When a manoeuvre creates an accelerating force, the aircraft and instrument move, but inertia causes the weight to stay at rest in space. As the shaft slides through the weight, the relative position of the weight on the shaft changes. This position corresponds to the G force experienced. 

Through a series of pulleys, springs, and shafts, the instrument’s pointers are moved around the dial to indicate the relative strength of the acceleration force. Although most cockpit gauges are of the single-axis type. Inertial reference navigation systems make use of multi-axis accelerometers to continuously, mathematically calculate the location of the aircraft in a three dimensional plane

Most accelerometers have three pointers. One is continuously indicating the acceleration force experienced. The other two contain ratcheting devices. The positive G pointer follows the continuous pointer and stays at the location on the dial where the maximum positive force was experienced.

The negative G pointer does the same for negative forces experienced. Both max force pointers can be reset with a knob on the instrument face.

The instrument’s ability to capture the highest and lowest G load during the Sea Venom's flight was critical to monitoring the stresses on the aircraft; never more so than carrier-launched aircraft that experienced massive acceleration at launch and often, even great deceleration as their tail hooks snagged the carrier’s arresting wire.

This Smiths KAE 0701W Accelerometer has a rating between 5 and minus 2 G and was installed beside the Sea Venom pilots gunsight. Service markings on its rear casing indicate it had an operational life of approx. six years, being serviced annually. 

The carrier-launched Sea Venom was still a relatively new jet interceptor for its day and certainly nowhere near as fast as the more advanced aircraft that proceeded it, such as the RAF’s Buccaneer, Harrier and Tornado fighters which carry accelerometers with far higher G force ratings between +10 and - 4 G’s.

With a clear glass face and relatively unmarked casing, this Smiths KAE 0701W Accelerometer appears to be in full working order after we mounted it on the dash of our trusty Nissan X Trail and floored the pedal before then stomping on the brakes. No chance of loosing consciousness from an over abundance of G forces but all the needles moved in the right directions and pressing the reset button took them back to zero again.

If anyone would like to loan me their Maserati Levante sports car, I’d be quite happy to take it for a spin and tell you it’s G force readings!

With a highly detailed 1/72 or 1/48 scale model of the Sea Venom perched atop its hand crafted mango wood stand, this would make a fantastic gift for any aviation enthusiast.

This De Havilland Sea Venom Instrument comes complete with detailed 1/72 Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instrument in aircraft cockpit. 

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Your Sea Venom Smiths KAE 0701W Accelerometer, Original Recovery Curios Warbird Collectable includes:

  • Original Warbird instrument
  • Highly detailed hand-built and airbrushed 1/72 plastic scale model of the aircraft,* 
  • Hand-crafted and beautifully finished 100yr, Far North Queensland Mango Wood display stand
  • Detailed, 2-sided, printed and laminated Instrument Fact Sheet detailing aircraft and instrument
  • Removable Magnetic Display Arm

*An upgrade to the larger and more detailed 1/48 scale model is also available in the hand-built and airbrushed plastic version for an additional $35 (Click on the 1/48 scale option)

Both the 1/72 & 1/48 scale hand-built and airbrushed plastic models are available with 'wheels & flaps up or down', 'canopy open or closed' and Wings 'folded or extended' options with a choice of two Squadron markings and camouflage.

Upon order placement you will receive an email asking for your preferred configuration.

Your complete Recovery Curios Original Instrument Collectable is securely packed and delivery normally takes between 4 - 6 weeks approx.

Did you fly, crew or maintain a Sea Venom or have a friend, colleague or family member who did? Check out our PERSONALISED ORIGINAL INSTRUMENT COLLECTABLE OPTION here.