In the first week of July, 1935, F. G. Miles decided to race
for the King's Cup in the following September, even though
at that point there was no machine available for him, and
with only eight weeks until the race, there was little time
to produce a suitable aircraft!. However, in those few weeks
Mrs. Miles devised and directed the construction of a racing
aircraft which was both fast, manoeuvrable, and pleasing to
First, a standard Hawk fuselage was taken from the
production line and shortened by two feet, then standard
Hawk outer wings were fitted direct to the fuselage, without
the usual centre-section. Long range fuel tanks and a low,
single-strut type undercarriage were next fitted, together
with a standard Hawk tail, the job being rounded off with a
140 hp high compression Gipsy Major engine. With a highly
polished cream and red finish, the machine was ready on time
and was named the Sparrowhawk.
The 1935 Race was flown over two courses, the first, on one
day, being a circuit of Britain, while the second day's
flying was over seven laps of a triangular course of 50
miles, both events starting and finishing at Hatfield. The
first day's racing resolved itself into a thrilling duel
between the only designer-pilots in the competition - F. G.
Miles and Edgar Percival.
Fifth man to leave Hatfield, Mr. Miles dead-heated for
second place at the Glasgow control and had achieved that
position outright by the time he reached Belfast, which was
the only point at which he had to refuel, thanks to the
long-range tanks. At the last control, Cardiff, Mr. Miles
touched down as the leader, Mr. Percival, took off on the
last stage to Hatfield, but, stopping there only three
minutes, he continued the pursuit and caught his rival
literally "on the post", thus winning the speed prize, at an
average of 163.84 mph for the 953 miles circuit.
In the following day's speed race the Sparrowhawk finished
eleventh, at 172.38 mph, but the pilot was quite happy, as
his designs had taken the first three places in the Race!
Several Sparrowhawks were built, including two for special
high-lift flap research.