Stacking prototypes 3 high in a plane fuselage??

Discussions relating to pre-production prototype Mokes.
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59Prototype
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Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 15:18
Location: Itabuna, Bahia, Brazil

Stacking prototypes 3 high in a plane fuselage??

Post by 59Prototype » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:16

I think that many of you reading this will be aware of my interest in the history of the Moke and in particular the early prototypes that included the short wheelbase version (SWB) made around 1961.

It must now go back many years but somehow I found out that BMC worked out that by stacking the SWB Mokes 3 high they could get a total of 36 in the fuselage of a Blackburn Beverley transport plane. By the way I am pretty certain it was the SWB version and not the original 1959 80” wheelbase prototype. I could be wrong.

For years I have never questioned the idea. However only a few days ago something cropped up in conversation that I had never previously thought of. In practical terms just how do you get 36 Mokes into and out of the fuselage of a transport plane when they are stacked 3 high?!

First of all think about that stack of three. It was achieved by removing the windscreen as well as lowering the steering column (U bolts loosened). If three high, how stable would the unit have been? Surely there would be a danger of it toppling over? That’s valid question for a start. Ok, then what? How do you get a unit of 3 up the ramp and into the fuselage? You can’t drive the bottom Moke. Would that then mean that the unit is pushed in by hand? What then if you want the unit to sit across the fuselage? Other than having some sort of turntable under the bottom Moke I can’t see how they could have done it. All of these comments are also true when attempting to remove the Mokes from the fuselage.

All of this begs the following question. Did BMC in theory work out how it could be done but without ever trying to do it practically? I sense that it seemed a really good idea but they never fully thought it through.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

Graham

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Halfpint
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Location: North East Victoria. Australia

Re: Stacking prototypes 3 high in a plane fuselage??

Post by Halfpint » Thu Dec 27, 2018 20:07

Hi,
These are very interesting questions, and I had briefly wondered how they would move them around.
I did read somewhere that Mokes were to be parachuted out of planes in some circumstances, and even this scenario posed questions of how to do it.
Unfortunately I dont have answers to your questions, but have seen pictures of later Mokes stacked for transportation.

There is a thread on the Aussie forum with a few pics that could help explain a few things.
https://www.mokeforum.com.au/index.php?topic=7382.0

Cheers
Halfpint

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59Prototype
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Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 15:18
Location: Itabuna, Bahia, Brazil

Re: Stacking prototypes 3 high in a plane fuselage??

Post by 59Prototype » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:21

Thanks Halfpint for your comments. It looks as though there is no easy answer to the question posed. The link you give yields other thoughts on the subject but once again no definitive answer. Although most of the discussion is about stacking Mokes in a container the principle is still the same. For a container stacking two Mokes would be the maximum so stacking them three high would not come into the thinking anyway.

Unless my memory is playing tricks, because we are going back around 35 years when I started looking for information on the prototypes, I am sure it was always stacking three high that was talked about. Going two high is relatively simple but going three high surely throws up several problem? In the main, as I said in my first post, it is that of stability.


Here's a photo that was posted with that Australian Moke Forum thread:
 
Mokes - Stacked two high.jpeg

As you can see they were reverse stacked to distribute the weight more evenly. Note that they used wooden supports between the bumpers and block supports on top of the wings. It looks as though by using the bumper supports they were able to raise the top Moke off its suspension thereby giving more clearance. In giving more clearance the top Moke didn't foul the steering wheel of the bottom Moke. Of course the larger wheels on the Australian Moke will also have helped in terms of clearance.

Back in the 1960s they initially attacked the problem in a different way. They fitted a half steering wheel as you can see from this 1959 photo taken at Longbridge:
 
Moke Prototype 1959 - 14 BT 18 - Half steering wheel- REV.jpg
 
In theory it was an easy solution but in practice it didn't really work. Trying to drive it was not easy, I was told. They then reverted to loosening the steering rack U bolts and temporarily dropping the steering column. Presumably they could have done that with the doubled-up Australian Mokes but they chose not to.

Sadly as time goes on we are less and less likely to ever find an answer to the question. Most, if not all, of those involved with the prototype Mokes in the early 1960s are no longer with us.

Graham
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