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21st of June 1921

Another first flight on today's glance at aviation history. After yesterday's look at TurboProp power today we look at a "W" powered aircraft.


Exactly 100 years ago today, the Bristol Tenseater (Bristol Brandon in the RAF) made its first flight.

Initial design work had started a few years earlier, but after government funding was approved Frank Branwell (Chief designer at the Bristol Aeroplane Company got the assignment to design a single-engine transport aircraft, and that became the Bristol Tenseater. Although the factory called the prototype the Bristol type 62, it became known as the Bristol Tenseater, giving away its capacity in his name.

It was supposed to be powered by a Bristol Jupiter engine. However, this engine was not certified yet, so an alternative was found in the Napier Lion W12 engine (3 banks of 4 cylinders in a "w" configuration. It was a 23.9 litre, water-cooled engine. Providing 480 hp at 2200rpm, at 5.000ft. Installed in the nose on a fireproof bulkhead its cowlings could be fully opened to provide all-around access for maintenance.


The Bristol Type 62 was a biplane with place for 9 passengers and 1 pilot, in two separate compartments, with the pilot in an open cockpit. it received its Certificate of Airworthiness on the 14th of February, 1922. Nearly 2 1/2 years later, on the 16th of July, 1924, the second aircraft of the series received its Certificate of Airworthiness, after making its first flight 2 years earlier. The Bristol type 75 was now powered by the Jupiter Radial engine, as per the initial design of the aircraft. Not much changed, besides the engine in comparison to the Bristol Type 62, although it now accommodated 8 passengers and two pilots.

The third, and final, aircraft of the series was the Bristol Type 79, ordered by the Air Council as a single-engine ambulance plane for the RAF. It had space for three stretchers, 4 sitting patients and 2 attendant, apart from the two pilots. The big change from the two previous versions was the wings that had a greater chord.


Some aircraft specifications for the Bristol Type 75: Crew: 2

Capacity: 8 passengers / 1,800 lb (816 kg) payload

Length: 40 ft 6 in (12.34 m)

Wingspan: 56 ft 0 in (17.07 m)

Height: 11 ft 0 in (3.35 m)

Wing area: 700 sq ft (65 m2)

Empty weight: 4,000 lb (1,814 kg)

Gross weight: 6,755 lb (3,064 kg)

Powerplant: 1 × Bristol Jupiter IV 8-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 425 hp (317 kW)

Propellers: 2-bladed fixed-pitch propeller

Maximum speed: 110 mph (180 km/h, 96 kn)

Endurance: 5 hours 30 minutes

Service ceiling: 8,500 ft (2,600 m)




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