Sprite was an historical British brand of off-road motorcycle, built by Frank Hipkin, of Hipkin & Evans, trading as Sprite Motor Cycles at Cross Street, Birmingham and by Sprite Developments Ltd. Halesowen, Worcester; the Sprite slogan was "Built by riders—for riders". Frank Hipkin died in August, 2012. Sprite manufactured trials and scrambles frames which were available as a kit-form motorcycle to avoid UK Purchase Tax; the first machine was developed as a scrambler with Alpha 246 cc two-stroke engine and a modified Cotton frame, followed by their own Sprite-framed version and a larger frame-only option to use a 490 cc Triumph unit construction engine/gearbox for the larger class of scrambling. The trials machine was developed for production in late 1964 using a Villiers 36A/37A 246 cc engine with iron barrel or at a higher cost, a Greeves light-alloy cylinder, a Miller magneto; the frames were distinguishable from one another. A fibreglass fuel tank and seat/tailpiece/race number plate were all available as required.
The trials version had an extended tailpiece with mounting for a road number-plate necessary in Combined trials which had timed road-stages linking with the several-to-many Observed Sections which could be scheduled as a typical part of a traditional UK trials event. Under UK Construction and Use Regulations, competition machines intended for road-use were required to comply with statutory basics of sound engineering, a test certificate, seat, audible warning device and number plate. Lighting was not required; the frames were available with AMC and Norton telescopic front forks and British Hub Co. brakes front and rear. The pivoting rear-forks on all models were fitted with Silentbloc bushes. A option was Metal Profiles front forks, they were built for 123, 244, 405 cc two-stroke engines. The Sprite marque should not be confused with the older British Spryt, a small-capacity two-stroke engine produced by Excelsior in Coventry and fitted to the historic Corgi minibike. Wolverhampton History and Heritage website
De Havilland Sprite
The Sprite, was a British rocket engine built by de Havilland for use in RATO applications. For RATO use only a short burn time is required, with light weight as major virtues; the intended market was for assisting take-off of de Havilland Comet 1 airliners and for V bombers carrying heavy nuclear weapons. 30 successful test flights were carried out by Comets, from May 1951, but gas turbine performance improved and so RATO was not required in service. A hydrogen peroxide monopropellant was used, decomposed into oxygen and steam over a metallic calcium catalyst; the maximum thrust was 5,000 lbf, varying over the 16 second burn time for a total impulse of 55,000 seconds. A technology update took place with the proving of silver-plated nickel gauze packs as catalysts with the establishment of optimum loadings and flows; this practice was replicated in all future applications with the catalyst no longer consumed. In April 1952 the DSpr.2 proved this modification impressively in Comet demonstrations with clean exhaust.
The next stage was pursued with the Super Sprite following the ATO development precedent with'hot' operation but now enhanced in simplicity by ability to inject kerosene fuel once chamber pressure was established by the catalysed peroxide flow. The units, flight approved in August 1953, reverted to the practice of being parachuted after firing for routine re-use in service operations with the Vickers Valiant V bomber. DSpr.1 Sprite DSpr.2 Sprite silver-plated nickel-gauze catalyst, tested in Comets during April 1952 DSpr.3 Sprite DSpr.4 Super Sprite The Super Sprite was a re-development of the Sprite application, using a different'hot' propellant technology, that of hydrogen peroxide / kerosene. Although the peak thrust was reduced, burn time was 2.5 times longer, with a proportionate increase in total impulse. For simplicity, there were no fuel pumps and the tanks were pressurised by nitrogen from nine cylinders wrapped around the combustion chamber; the Super Sprite was packaged as a self-contained engine in its own nacelle, jettisoned after take-off and retrieved by parachute.
Inflatable air bags cushioned its impact with the ground. To obtain a clean separation from the carrier aircraft, the production engines fitted to the Vickers Valiant had a small canard vane at the nose, pitching the nacelle downwards on separation. De Havilland regarded the 166 units manufactured as a standard production item, supported by their Service Department alongside piston and turbojet engines, it was the first rocket engine to gain formal type approval. The Super Sprite project was cancelled in October 1960, at a reported total cost of £850,000
Sprites are large-scale electrical discharges that occur high above thunderstorm clouds, or cumulonimbus, giving rise to a quite varied range of visual shapes flickering in the night sky. They are triggered by the discharges of positive lightning between an underlying thundercloud and the ground. Sprites appear as luminous reddish-orange flashes, they occur in clusters above the troposphere at an altitude range of 50–90 km. Sporadic visual reports of sprites go back at least to 1886, but they were first photographed on July 6, 1989 by scientists from the University of Minnesota and have subsequently been captured in video recordings many thousands of times. Sprites are sometimes inaccurately called upper-atmospheric lightning. However, sprites are cold plasma phenomena that lack the hot channel temperatures of tropospheric lightning, so they are more akin to fluorescent tube discharges than to lightning discharges. Allusions to transient optical phenomena above thunderclouds can be found in anecdotal reports by Johann Georg Estor as early as 1730.
Nobel laureate C. T. R. Wilson had suggested in 1925, on theoretical grounds, that electrical breakdown could occur in the upper atmosphere, in 1956 he witnessed what could have been a sprite, they were first documented photographically on July 6, 1989, when scientists from the University of Minnesota, using a low-light video camera, accidentally captured the first image of what would subsequently become known as a sprite. Several years after their discovery they were named sprites after their elusive nature. Since their 1989 discovery, sprites have been imaged from the ground, from aircraft and from space, have become the subject of intensive investigations. Sprites have been observed over North America, Central America, South America, Central Africa, the Sea of Japan and Asia and are believed to occur during most large thunderstorm systems. Three types of sprites have been categorized by Matthew'Geoff' McHarg Ph. D. of the US Air Force Research Academy. Using an image intensifier on the front of super slow motion camera McHarg and his researchers have named the sprites based on their visual appearance.
Jellyfish sprite – large, up to 30 by 30 miles. Column sprite – large scale electrical discharges above the earth that are still not understood. Carrot sprite – a column sprite with long tendrils. Sprites are colored reddish-orange in their upper regions, with bluish hanging tendrils below, can be preceded by a reddish halo, they last longer than normal lower stratospheric discharges, which last a few milliseconds, are triggered by the discharges of positive lightning between the thundercloud and the ground, although sprites generated by negative ground flashes have been observed. They occur in clusters of two or more, span the altitude range 50 to 90 kilometres, with what appear to be tendrils hanging below, branches reaching above. Optical imaging using a 10,000 frame-per-second high speed camera shows that sprites are clusters of small, decameter-sized balls of ionization that are launched at an altitude of about 80 km and move downward at speeds of up to ten percent the speed of light, followed a few milliseconds by a separate set of upward moving balls of ionization.
Sprites may be horizontally displaced by up to 50 km from the location of the underlying lightning strike, with a time delay following the lightning, a few milliseconds, but on rare occasions may be up to 100 milliseconds. In order to film sprites from Earth, special conditions must be present: 150–500 km of clear view to a powerful thunderstorm with positive lightning between cloud and ground, red-sensitive recording equipment, a black unlit sky. Sprites are sometimes preceded, by about 1 millisecond, by a sprite halo, a pancake-shaped region of weak, transient optical emissions 50 kilometres across and 10 kilometres thick; the halo is centered at about 70 kilometres altitude above the initiating lightning strike. These halos are thought to be produced by the same physical process that produces sprites, but for which the ionization is too weak to cross the threshold required for streamer formation, they are sometimes mistaken for ELVES, due to short duration. Research carried out at Stanford University in 2000 indicates that, unlike sprites with bright vertical columnar structure, occurrence of sprite halos is not unusual in association with normal lightning discharges.
Research in 2004 by scientists from Tohoku University found that low frequency emissions occur at the same time as the sprite, indicating that a discharge within the cloud may generate the sprites. Sprites have been blamed for otherwise unexplained accidents involving high altitude vehicular operations above thunderstorms. One example of this is the malfunction of a NASA stratospheric balloon launched on June 6, 1989 from Palestine, Texas; the balloon suffered an uncommanded payload release while flying at 120,000 feet over a thunderstorm near Graham, Texas. Months after the accident, an investigation concluded that a "bolt of lightning" traveling upward from the clouds provoked the incident; the attribution of the accident to a sprite was made retroactively, since this term was not coined until late 1993. Aurora Catatumbo lightning Cosmic ray visual phenomena "Red Sprites & Blue Jets" – a digital capture of the VHS video distributed in 1994 by the University of Alaska Fairbanks that popularized the terms "Red Sprites and Blue Jets" at the Library of Congress Web Archives – webpage by Univer
The Sprite class were a class of spirit tankers that served with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, supporting the Royal Navy during the Second World War. They allied fleet units during the Cold War. Two ships were built by the Blythswood Shipbuilding Company Ltd and Nasprite, they entered service in the during the Second World War and were used to carry aviation fuel and petroleum. Both survived the war, serving in British waters and the Mediterranean Sea, continued in service until being retired in the early 1960s and scrapped soon afterwards. Colledge, J. J. Ships of the Royal Navy: An Historical Index Volume 2: Navy-built Trawlers, Drifters and Requisitioned Ships. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II. New York: Crescent Books. 1989
The Austin-Healey Sprite is a small open sports car, produced in the United Kingdom from 1958 to 1971. The Sprite was announced to the press in Monte Carlo by the British Motor Corporation on 20 May 1958, two days after that year's Monaco Grand Prix, it was intended to be a low-cost model that "a chap could keep in his bike shed", yet be the successor to the sporting versions of the pre-war Austin Seven. The Sprite was designed by the Donald Healey Motor Company, with production being undertaken at the MG factory at Abingdon, it first went on sale at a price of £669, using a tuned version of the Austin A-Series engine and as many other components from existing cars as possible to keep costs down. When the Mk. II Sprite was introduced in 1961 it was joined by a badge-engineered MG version, the Midget, reviving a model name used by MG from the late 1920s through to the mid 1950s. Enthusiasts refer to these Sprites and Midgets collectively as "Spridgets." The MG-badged version of the car continued in production for several years after the Austin-Healey brand ceased to exist.
The Sprite became affectionately known as the "frogeye" in the UK and the "bugeye" in the US, because its headlights were prominently mounted on top of the bonnet, inboard of the front wings. The car's designers had intended that the headlights could be retracted, with the lenses facing skyward when not in use, but cost cutting by BMC led to the flip-up mechanism being deleted, therefore the headlights were fixed in a permanently upright position, giving the car its most distinctive feature. This gave the car its appeal as a result of its much loved cute appearance; the body was styled by Gerry Coker, with subsequent alterations by Les Ireland following Coker's emigration to the US in 1957. The car's distinctive frontal styling bore a strong resemblance to the defunct American 1951 Crosley Super Sport. 48,987 "frogeye" Sprites were made. The problem of providing a rigid structure to an open-topped sports car was resolved by Barry Bilbie, Healey's chassis designer, who adapted the idea provided by the Jaguar D-type, with rear suspension forces routed through the bodyshell's floor pan.
The Sprite's chassis design was the world's first volume-production sports car to use unitary construction, where the sheet metal body panels take many of the structural stresses. The original metal gauge of the rear structure specified by Bilbie was reduced by the Austin Design Office during prototype build, however during testing at MIRA distortion and deformation of the rear structure occurred and the original specification was reinstated; the two front chassis legs projecting forward from the passenger compartment mean the shell is not a full monocoque. The front sheet-metal assembly, including the bonnet and wings, was a one-piece unit, hinged from the back, that swung up to allow access to the engine compartment; the 43 bhp, 948 cc OHV engine was derived from the Austin A35 and Morris Minor 1000 models BMC products, but upgraded with twin 11⁄8 inch SU carburettors. The rack and pinion steering was derived from the Morris Minor 1000 and the front suspension from the Austin A35; the front suspension was a coil spring and wishbone arrangement, with the arm of the Armstrong lever shock absorber serving as the top suspension link.
The rear axle was both located and sprung by quarter-elliptic leaf springs, again with lever-arm shock absorbers and top links. The wheels were 13" fitted with 520X13 crossply tyres or upgraded with 145HR13 Pirelli Cinturato radial tyres. There were no exterior door. There was no boot lid, owing to the need to retain as much structural integrity as possible, access to the spare wheel and luggage compartment was achieved by tilting the seat-backs forward and reaching under the rear deck, a process likened to potholing by many owners, but which resulted in a large space available to store soft baggage. Engine: 1958–1961: 948 cc A-Series I4, 43 hp at 5200 rpm and 52 lbf·ft at 3300 rpmA car was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1958, it could accelerate from 0 -- 60 mph in 20.5 seconds. Fuel consumption of 43 miles per imperial gallon was recorded; the test car cost £678, including taxes of £223. The BMC Competition Department entered Austin Healey Sprites in major international races and rallies, their first major success coming when John Sprinzel and Willy Cave won their class on the 1958 Alpine Rally.
In 1959, the Sprite was introduced to the U. S. market by winning its class in the 12-hour race at Sebring. Private competitors competed with much success in Sprites; because of its affordability and practicality, the Austin Healey Sprite was developed into a formidable competition car, assuming many variants by John Sprinzel, Speedwell and WSM. The Sebring Sprite became the most iconic of the racing breed of Austin Healey Sprites. Many owners use their Austin Healey Sprites in competition today, fifty years after its introduction. Austin-Healey Sprite Mk I Gallery The Mark II announced at the end of May 1961used the same 948 cc engine, but with larger twin 11⁄4 inch SU carburettors, increasing power to 46.5 bhp. A close-ratio gearbox was fitted; the bodywork was revamped, with the headlights migrating to a more conventional position in the wings, either side of a full-width grille and a conventional bonnet. At the rear, styling borrowed from the soon-to-be-announced MGB gave a more modern look, with the added advantages of an opening boot lid and conventional re