The Vickers Venture was an improved version of the Vixen II, designed to act as reconnaissance aircraft in an army-cooperation role. After testing the Vixen in February 1924, the Air Ministry ordered six modified aircraft to test the type out in the reconnaissance role. The change of role required a change of name, something that always caused Vickers a certain amount of difficulty (Air Ministry rules required the names of Vickers aircraft to begin with V). Vulpes and Vortex were considered, before Venture was accepted.
The Venture was a mix of elements from different versions of the Vixen, with the main wings, controls and propeller of the Vixen II, the fuel system and wing rigging of the Vixen I, and the longer fuselage, radiator, tail and chassis of the Vixen III. The first aircraft was complete in time to make its maiden flight on 3 June 1924, while the remaining five were completed during July 1924.
The Venture was tested at Martlesham from 17 June 1924. It was found to have a good top speed (135mph) and docile handling characteristics, essential in a reconnaissance aircraft of its type. In others ways it was not suited to the corps reconnaissance role – the pilot’s downward view was not good, the aircraft was too large and needed too long a space to land, a serious flaw in an aircraft designed to operate with the army in the field. The six Ventures were used for service tests and experimental work, before eventually fading out of service.
Engine: Napier Lion I twelve-cylinder water-cooling in-line engine
Height: 13ft 3in
Empty Weight: 3,140lb
Full Weight: 4,890lb
Max Speed: 129mph at 10,000ft
Service Ceiling: 19,200ft
Armament: Two synchronised 0.303in Vickers guns and one Lewis gun in rear position
Bomb load: Four 112lb bombs, total 448lb