C.Barnes Bristol Aircraft since 1910 (Putnam)
The Admiralty's order for a landplane was fulfilled by converting monoplane No. 144 to a T.B.8. This was first flown as a biplane on 12 August 1913 and was delivered to Eastchurch as number 43 on 7 October 1913. After a crash it was rebuilt with a two-wheeled Vee landing gear as No. 225, and redelivered to the R.N.A.S. in this form in April 1914, still with its original number 43.
The remarkable success of the T.B.8 quickly eclipsed the remaining Coanda monoplanes, and ten of the latter delivered earlier in the year to Italy, Germany and Rumania were brought back at the end of 1913 for conversion to biplanes. One of them was the special Olympia show model, No. 153, which underwent a record number of metamorphoses. It had gone to Halberstadt, together with Nos. 150 and 151, in April and in August Nos. 151 and 153 were returned to Filton and converted to biplanes. No. 151, equipped with a simple form of bomb rack, was sent to Rumania in October, but No. 153 was taken to Spain by Sippe, where it beat all comers in trials at Cuatros Vientos, and in particular took-off from the ploughed field, always a favourite test with the Spaniards, in 60 yd. from axle-deep mud. Even these severe conditions had no effect on No. 153, which returned to Filton intact in February 1914 and was overhauled for another lease of life as No. 227. Its later career included tests with an 80 h.p. Clerget rotary engine at the Royal Aircraft Factory; modification to take a 100 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome engine, in which form it was sent to compete at Vienna in June 1914; finally it was purchased by the Admiralty (917) in October 1914 and ended its days at Eastchurch as a trainer.
The first two T.B.8's built from scratch as biplanes were Nos. 197 and 198, completed in November 1913. No. 198 was specially finished for the Paris Salon de l'Aeronautique and was the sole British exhibit there. It had a number of improvements over the earlier monoplane conversions, notably a simpler landing gear with shorter skids and a separate tail skid, also a new aerofoil section characterised by a flattening of the upper surface between the spars. This had been developed by Coanda, who had also designed a new type of airscrew with tapered wide-chord blades, a complete change from the square-tipped Lang type. At one stage it was proposed to fit double rudders to both the B.R.7 and the T.B.8, as on the German Daimler-engined biplane, but this modification was never carried out in practice. No. 198 had single controls in the aft cockpit only, the forward cockpit being equipped with a prismatic bomb-sight and a bomb release trigger which operated a revolving carrier for 12 small bombs mounted below the cockpit floor. Each bomb weighed 10 lb. and contained 2 lb. of T.N.T.; the trigger released the lowest bomb and then revolved the carrier to bring the next into the release position; it also fused the bombs, which had to fall about 100 ft. before a wind-mill arming vane rendered them live.
The French military authorities were attracted by the workmanlike appearance of No. 198 and would have bought it outright, but their terms of reference limited them to the purchase of French-built aircraft. They urged the Company to arrange for Bristol aeroplanes to be built in France, and a few weeks later a licence was granted to the Societe Anonyme des Ateliers d'Aviation Louis Breguet, with factories at Velizy near Paris and at Douai.
After returning from the Paris Salon on 9 January 1914, No. 198 was equipped with a two-wheeled undercarriage and purchased by the Admiralty as number 153, being delivered to Eastchurch on 19 March 1914. Meanwhile No. 197, which had been tested with an 80 h.p. Gnome engine at Larkhill in January and February, was fitted with an 80 h.p. Le Rhone engine and sent to the Breguet works at Velizy on 4 March for demonstration to the French army. Flown by Sidney Sippe, it climbed to 3,000 ft. in 7t min. with a useful load of 715 lb. and attained 74 m.p.h. It was damaged at the end of the demonstration, but repaired at Filton in July 1914 and eventually delivered to the Admiralty as number 916 on 17 September 1914. Satisfied with the T.B.8's performance, the French government approved it for manufacture by Breguet, and the Company supplied their licensee with the same range of data and manufacturing aids as in the case of Caproni & Faccanoni, including a complete sample skeleton airframe, No. 228, delivered to Douai in May 1914. In this month also was delivered the only T.B.8 ever sold to a private owner; this was No. 143, originally built in January 1913 as a Coanda monoplane, converted to a biplane in October 1913, modified to increase the wing stagger in January 1914, overhauled and equipped with an 80 h.p. Clerget rotary engine in May 1914 and finally purchased by Mr. R. P. Creagh, a graduate of the Brooklands school, on 3 July 1914 for ?700. Mr. Creagh hoped to convert it to a seaplane like No. 205, but was frustrated by the outbreak of war in August.
The Admiralty also invited tenders for two larger Bristol seaplanes, but specified the use of the 200 h.p. Canton-Dnne radial engine, and R.N.A.S. numbers 147 and 148 were reserved for them. Several layouts were investigated, but neither a price nor a satisfactory design could be agreed and in June 1914 the Company asked to be allowed to decline the order. A feature of this design, carried over from the earlier B.C.2 project, was a clutch-controlled two-speed airscrew reduction gear to permit maximum engine revolutions for take-off and direct drive for cruising.
As already stated, the six Coanda monoplanes originally built for Rumania early in 1913 were all delivered later that year as T.B.8 conversions. They comprised Nos. 118, 147, 148, 149, 151 and 152, and Prince Cantacuzene was sufficiently satisfied with their performance to place an order for a much improved derivative, for which he provided a new 75 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome engine. This biplane, No. 223, designated G.B.75, was a complete redesign with only a superficial resemblance to the T.B.8, incorporating many features due to Frank Barnwell. The fuselage was faired above and below and the streamline shape was continued forward by a large hemispherical spinner and cowl enclosing the engine, to which cooling air was admitted by louvers in the spinner. Warping wings were fitted and the tail unit had a fixed vertical fin. Equipment included an electric intercommunication system for the crew. The G.B.75 was first flown at Larkhill on 7 April 1914, but the spinner gave trouble and was removed, and the wings were rigged with increased stagger to compensate for nose-heaviness. It was flown again on 28 April and offered for delivery to Bucharest on 15 June, but never dispatched, the order being cancelled a fortnight later. The reason for this is obscure, but may be related to a single general arrangement drawing which has survived of a biplane with a single cockpit containing two staggered seats, and is dated 27 May 1914. There are also records of requests by Prince Cantacuzene to deliver a new biplane, which could not be done during the war, and it is probable that this is a reference to Type RB, which may have been substituted for the G.B.75. At all events, Type RB was never built, and the G.B.75 was delivered with a standard 80 h.p. Gnome to the R.F.C. at Farnborough on 2 August 1914, receiving number 610.
After the outbreak of war, 12 improved T.B.8's, Nos. 331-342, were built, with ailerons instead of warp control; initially they were intended for the R.F.C., but were all diverted in October 1914 to the RN.A.S. at Gosport and Eastchurch, receiving numbers 1216-1227. Three T.B.8's went to France with the Eastchurch Squadron and one bombed German batteries at Middelkerke on 25 November 1914. When No.1 Squadron RN.A.S. went to France from Gosport on 26 February 1915, one T.B.8 was still on its strength; but in general, apart from a period of coastal patrol duty by four T.B.8's of No. 1 Squadron detached from Gosport and based on Newcastle-on-Tyne in the winter of 1914-15, the type's war service was confined to training duties. It proved sufficiently valuable in this role for 24 more to be ordered by the Admiralty in August 1915. These were built at Brislington and delivered between 24 September 1915 and 24 February 1916. The first eight, Nos. 870-877 (8442-8449), were fitted with 50 h.p. Gnomes and went to Chingford and Redcar. The next 13, Nos. 878-890 (8450-8453 and 8562-8570), had 60 h.p. Le Rhones, and were issued to Barrow-in-Furness, Killingholme and Kingsnorth as well as Chingford and Redcar. The last three, Nos. 891-893 (8571-3), were delivered as airframes to the White City stores depot.
SPECIFICATIONS AND DATA
Type: Coanda Two-Seat Biplanes
The British & Colonial Aeroplane Co. Ltd., Filton and Brislington, Bristol
Deutsche Bristol-Werke, Halberstadt, Germany
Societe Anonyme des Ateliers d'Aviation Louis Breguet, Velizy and Douai, France
Model T.B.8 G.B.75
Power Plant 80 hp Gnome 75 hp
80 hp Le Rhone Mono-
100 hp Mono-
50 hp Gnome
60 hp Le Rhone
Span 37 ft 8 in 37 ft 8 in
Length 29 ft 3 in
Wing Area 450 sq ft 420 sq ft
Empty Weight 970 lb 970 lb
All-up Weight 1665 lb 1650 lb
Speed 65-75 mph 80 mph
Duration 5 hours 5 hours
Accommodation 2 2
Production 53 1
Sequence Nos. 118, 121, 143 223
225, 227, 228
F.Manson British Bomber Since 1914 (Putnam)
It is generally accepted that the first British aeroplane to carry bombs aloft did so in 1914. Only vestiges of circumstantial evidence remain to support claims that the event occurred in the previous year. (A photo survives showing a Coanda BR.7 biplane at Larkhill, dated July 1913, with a mechanic nearby holding a light bomb; this has been suggested as indicating that the aircraft carried the weapon on that date, but no substantiating record has come to light to indicate that the B.R.7 ever carried a bomb) Weighted objects had been dropped from a Short aeroplane in 1913 to examine the effects on handling and performance of the aircraft on being suddenly relieved of its warload.
At the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company the Franco-Romanian designer, Henri Coanda, had since 1912 been developing military monoplanes and biplanes for the British and foreign governments, and early in 1913 produced a central-float seaplane, which attracted the British Admiralty's attention. It was, however, to be a land biplane that came to be ordered as the T.B.8, this being converted from a Coanda monoplane and first flown with the naval serial number 43 on 12 August 1913. At the same time a Romanian Coanda monoplane was returned to Filton tor conversion to T.B.8 biplane configuration, and returned to Romania in October, equipped with a simple bomb rack. It is not known for certain, however, whether this aeroplane carried a bomb into the air before the end of 1913, although suggestions have been made that it did so.
The success with which the first T.B.8 conversion progressed through its initial trials encouraged British & Colonial to build further examples from scratch, and the first of these was completed with flying controls in the rear cockpit only, the front cockpit being equipped with a prismatic bomb sight and a bomb release trigger. Twelve small bombs of 10 lb weight were attached to a cylindrical carrier, located in the lower fuselage immediately forward of the cockpit. Actuation of the trigger released the lowest bomb and automatically rotated the carrier so as to bring the next bomb into the release position. A trip ratchet in the trigger gear enabled the observer to release all twelve bombs as a salvo if desired.
Although this T.B.8 is generally accepted as having flown before the end of 1913 there is no evidence that it had carried bombs, yet it was displayed with full bomb gear at the Paris Salon de l'Aeronautique during December. Another example was demonstrated to the French army in March 1914, flying with a 'useful' load of 715 lb, suggesting that at least on that occasion the bombs were being carried.
The Admiralty, in the meantime, had purchased the 'Paris' aeroplane which now carried the naval number 153. Shortly afterwards the War Office ordered twelve improved examples, with ailerons in place of wing warping, but these aircraft were transferred to Admiralty charge in October 1914 as Nos 1216-1227.
On the outbreak of war the Eastchurch Squadron, under Squadron Commander Charles Samson, left for France, among its complement of aircraft being a single T.B.8 the 'Paris' aeroplane. No 153. This was, however, to be damaged in a gale at Ostend in September, and was returned to Eastchurch the following month. Two other T.B.8s were sent to the Squadron in October, one of them making a bombing attack on German gun batteries at Middelkerke on 25 November 1914.
Although two further orders, each for a dozen aeroplanes, were placed later, the aircraft was deemed to be too slow for further operational use, and it is believed that the above attack was the only offensive sortie flown by the T.B.8. Instead, it was considered to be an ideal 'school' aircraft, and by early 1915 the remaining aircraft were being delivered to RNAS training units at Newcastle-on-Tyne, Gosport and Hendon.
Type: Single tractor engine, two-seat, two-bay biplane
Manufacturer: The British & Colonial Co Ltd, Filton and Brislington, Bristol.
Powerplant: One 50 or 80hp Gnome, 60 or 80hp Le Rhone, or 100hp Gnome monosoupape engine.
Dimensions: Span, 37ft 8in; length, 29ft 3in; wing area, 450 sq ft.
Weights: Tare, 970 lb; all-up, 1,665 lb.
Performance: Max speed, 75 mph at sea level; endurance, 2 hr.
Production: Total Service aircraft built: 41: Admiraltv Nos 43, 153, 916 (previously War Office No 620), 948 (previously War Office No 614), 1216-1227, 8442-8453 and 8562-8573.
Summary of Service: T.B.8s served with the Eastchurch Squadron during 1914; as trainers they later served with No 1 (Naval) Squadron at Newcastle-on-Tyne, No 2 (Naval) Squadron at Gosport and the RNAS Training School, Hendon.
P.Lewis British Bomber since 1914 (Putnam)
1913 was a year in which the attempt was made to produce bomb-carrying aeroplanes by equipping existing designs with sights and racks. The British and Colonial Aeroplane Company were early in the field when they converted the Coanda Improved Military Monoplane works number 151 into a T.B.8 biplane on its return to Filton from Halberstadt, Germany, in August, 1913, and sent it out to Rumania in the following October fitted with a bomb-rack.
Number 198, built from the beginning as a T.B.8, was more ambitious in its equipment and was finished specially for the firm’s stand at the Paris Salon de l’Aeronautique in November, 1913. The work of improvement was carried out under the direction of Mons. Henri Coanda and gave the machine controls in the rear cockpit only, leaving the front cockpit free to accommodate the bomb-release mechanism and a prismatic type of bomb-sight. The offensive load consisted of twelve 10 lb. bombs housed in a revolving container beneath the fuselage. As the lowermost bomb left its mounting, the rack turned to place the next bomb in position and automatically set the fuse. In addition to being released individually, the bombs could also be dropped in one batch.
Although a conversion from the Coanda Military Monoplane design, the T.B.8 turned out to be a great improvement over its predecessor and a very successful machine in its own right. A fairly long fuselage contained the two cockpits in tandem and carried normal equal-span, two-bay, unstaggered wings. The standard tail assembly and four-wheel main undercarriage unit of the monoplane were retained. The T.B.8s built, numbering fifty-three, were powered by various engines, including the 50 h.p. Gnome, 60 h.p. le Rhone, 80 h.p. Gnome, 80 h.p. le Rhone and the 100 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome. The T.B.8 was not a design which attempted anything spectacular or unusual in construction and used the conventional wire-braced and fabric-covered framework of the period, a style which, owing to its many merits, was to remain firmly entrenched for many years ahead.
The T.B.8 was evolved by Bristol to meet the Admiralty’s order for a land-based biplane version of the Coanda Military Monoplane, to accompany the central-float biplane works number 120 which the Admiralty had contracted to buy if the machine passed its acceptance tests satisfactorily.
The landplane T.B.8 was produced by converting monoplane works number 121. Number 121 eventually became a seaplane taking the place of works number 120, and a fresh landplane was obtained by taking yet another monoplane - works number 144 - and using it as the basis for the replacement T.B.8 biplane. This eventually made its first flight on 12th August, 1913, and entered naval service as No. 43. Through placing its order for the T.B.8 landplane, the Admiralty was thus responsible to a considerable degree for the machine’s existence as a design which its builders were then encouraged to develop. It was, perhaps, the earliest example of a British bomber aeroplane suitably equipped for its task, as far as the knowledge of design would permit at the time of its conception.
Cdr. Samson’s renowned Eastchurch Squadron had three Bristol T.B.8s on strength while it was stationed in France. One, 153, was of earlier type with modified undercarriage and tailskid and fitted with the old-style semicowling over the Gnome, while the two later machines were from the batch of twelve improved versions, incorporating four ailerons replacing the outmoded wing-warping for lateral control, a full engine cowling of circular form and destined originally for the R.F.C. under a War Office order of 4th August, 1914. The first few were completed on 26th September, but, of this batch, all twelve were absorbed instead by the R.N.A.S. bases at Eastchurch and Gosport and numbered from 1216 to 1227.
One of Samson’s new T.B.8s was used as a raider on 25th November, 1914, when it took-off from Dunkirk and successfully bombed the German gun batteries at Middelkerke. The German batteries installed to the south of Ostend were treated to a fine example of the audacious and buccaneering Samson’s spirit when on 21st December, 1914, making the War’s first flight at night, he took-off in the dark to bomb the U-boats ensconced in Ostend harbour. His Maurice Farman was loaded with eighteen 16 lb. bombs which he unleashed on the enemy’s gun emplacements after being unable to sight the submarines. The furious Germans let fly at the intrepid and aptly-named Samson with a devastating barrage, but, with only a Very pistol and his torch, he landed safely in the night on the sand at Dunkirk.
M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)
Bristol T.B.8 and G.B.75
THE full history of the Bristol T.B.8 is a varied and interesting one. The type underwent many modifications in the course of development; so much so that it appeared to exist in several different forms.
The designation T.B.8 was derived from the initial letters of the words Tractor Biplane and from the first digit of the nominal horse-power of the standard engine, the 80 h.p. Gnome.
The first T.B.8 was a biplane conversion of the monoplane designed by Coanda for the 1912 Military Trials. The basic airframe on which the conversion was made was that of the Coanda monoplane which had the Bristol works Sequence No. 121. Two-bay biplane wings were fitted, and wing-warping was used for lateral control; the aeroplane retained the characteristic four-wheel undercarriage and Coanda tail unit. The first T.B.8 was test-flown on Salisbury Plain during July and August, 1913, by Howard Pixton and Henri Jullerot, and proved to be satisfactory.
Bristol No. 121 had a varied career, for it was soon converted to a seaplane. To provide it with floats, use was made of the large single float which had been designed by Oscar Gnosspelius for the Coanda seaplane, Bristol No. 120. (This earlier seaplane had been exhibited at Olympia, where it was ordered by the Admiralty and had been officially numbered 15. The Gnosspelius float was replaced by a Saunders float in April, 1913, but on the 15th of that month the Bristol seaplane was wrecked.) The Gnosspelius float was divided down the centre line to form two separate floats; a tail float, water rudder, and fin surfaces were added to the T.B.8; and the modified machine was sent to Dale for test on September 20th, 1913.
After being successfully flown by Harry Busteed and G. Bentley Dacre, No. 121 was sent back to the British & Colonial Aeroplane Co.’s workshops in December. There it was rebuilt and re-emerged with the new works number 205. It was delivered to the Admiralty on January 2nd, 1914, and was thereupon allotted the official serial number originally earmarked for the ill-fated machine which had provided its floats: No. 15.
The seaplane was flown at Calshot, but was found to fly tail-high and was returned to the manufacturers for modification in February, 1914. The stagger was increased, ailerons replaced wing-warping, and a single large fin was fitted above the fuselage in place of the original upper and lower fins.
The Admiralty were so pleased with this T.B.8 seaplane that they ordered two more, to which the official serial numbers 147 and 148 were allotted. Later, the Admiralty wanted the two machines to be enlarged and fitted with the 200 h.p. Salmson engine. The manufacturers declined to do so, but in the meantime sold the Admiralty two T.B.8 landplanes, Nos. 43 and 153.
No. 153 had originally been a special machine which was exhibited at the Paris Aero Salon in November, 1913. It then had a bomb rack containing twelve bombs which could be released singly or simultaneously, and a bomb sight was fitted. After its return from Paris, this T.B.8 was given a plain vee undercarriage and was delivered to Eastchurch on March 19th, 1914.
The T.B.8 proved to be so successful that towards the end of 1913 several of the Coanda monoplanes which had been supplied to Italy, Germany and Roumania were returned for conversion to T.B.8s. Six of these converted machines were returned to Roumania, where they saw active service during the Balkan wars; and one was delivered to the Admiralty. This last machine was No. 43, and had a plain vee undercarriage. Up to this time all T.B.8s had had the 80 h.p. Gnome engine.
Some examples of the early T.B.8 were built under licence in France by the Breguet company, and were powered by the 80 h.p. Le Rhone engine. A sample Bristol-built T.B.8 was modified to have the Le Rhone and was sent to Villacoublay on March 4th, 1914. It crashed on completion of the French official trials, but was taken back to the works at Bristol, rebuilt with an 80 h.p. Gnome, and was ultimately delivered to the R.N.A.S. at Eastchurch on September 17th, 1914, with the official serial number 916.
With it went No. 917, a T.B.8 which had been flown in Spain late in 1913; had been rebuilt with an 80 h.p. Clerget engine; was later fitted with a 100 h.p. Gnome Monosoupape and sent to the Vienna competition on June 10th, 1914; returned on July 30th; was fitted with an 80 h.p. Gnome, and was delivered to the R.F.C. at Farnborough on August 6th. It was given the official serial number 620, was rejected by the A.I.D. on August 19th, but was subsequently accepted by the Admiralty and renumbered 917. In similar case was No. 948, which had been No. 614 before rejection by the A.I.D.
It seems probable that a similar fate befell the twelve T.B.8s which were ordered by the War Office on August 4th, 1914. The serial numbers 691-702 were allotted for these aircraft and some at least bore their original numbers. Deliveries began on September 26th, 1914. The entire batch was diverted to the Admiralty, however, and the T.B.8s were then renumbered 1216-1227.
Some of the R.N.A.S. machines had modified undercarriages: the front wheels were removed, the chassis lengthened by 4 1/2 inches, and the main wheels moved six inches forward. On the later T.B.8s ailerons took the place of wing-warping, and a full-circular open-fronted cowling replaced the semi-enclosed engine cowling which had been fitted to earlier machines. The tail-unit was also completely redesigned: the rudder had a rounded outline and extended to the bottom of the fuselage, and divided elevators were fitted.
Contemporary with the “pure” T.B.8s was a slightly different type of Bristol two-seat biplane which later came to be regarded more or less as a T.B.8. Designated Bristol G.B.75, this biplane first appeared at the Aero Show of 1914 held at Olympia in March of that year. It was a development of the basic T.B.8 design and was of similar general appearance, having two-bay wings and the characteristic Coanda four-wheel undercarriage. In the design of the fuselage, considerable care was taken to reduce drag: the 80 h.p. Gnome Monosoupape engine was completely enclosed, and a large blunt spinner was fitted to the airscrew. The spinner had twelve louvres to admit cooling air. The rounded contours of the spinner were continued along both top and bottom of the fuselage by fairings. The G.B.75 a and rudder of unique appearance, quite unlike any vertical tail assembly fitted to the T.B.8.
The G.B.75 had not flown at the time of its appearance at Olympia. Its first flight was made at Larkhill on April 7th, 1914, but modifications had to be made almost immediately. As might have been expected, the enclosed engine installation was not a success: the spinner was removed, and a new cowling was fitted. The stagger of the mainplanes was also increased. In its modified form, the G.B.75 Aew again on April 28th, 1914.
The War Office was interested in the G.B.75, and began negotiations for its purchase soon after the Olympia show. The aircraft was finally delivered to the R.F.C. at Farnborough on August 2nd, 1914. It was given the official serial number 610 but, as the illustration shows, a painter’s error temporarily gave the machine the false identity of No. 601 (which number rightly belonged to a B.E.2a).
One Bristol T.B.8 went to France on August 28th, 1914, as part of the equipment of the Eastchurch Squadron of the R.N.A.S. under Commander C. R. Samson; and two more were sent to the unit in October. One was shot down over Dixmude before reaching the squadron, however. One of the unit’s T.B.8s bombed batteries at Middelkerke on November 25th, 1914.
No. 1 Squadron, R.N.A.S., was formed at Gosport in October, 1914, and the first complete Flight was equipped with four T.B.8s. On November 18th this Flight was sent to Newcastle-on-Tyne for coastal reconnaissance duties. The T.B.8 Flight remained at Newcastle and was eventually detached from No. 1 Squadron. When No. 1 Naval went to France on February 26th, 1915, its equipment included one T.B.8.
The T.B.8 proved to be suitable for use as a trainer, and some had been used in that capacity at Hendon and Gosport. In August, 1915, twenty-four were ordered for the R.N.A.S. specifically for training duties. These were the last T.B.8s to be built, and were constructed at the Brislington works of the British & Colonial Aeroplane Company.
Manufacturers: The British & Colonial Aeroplane Co., Ltd., Filton and Brislington, Bristol.
Other Contractors: Societe Anonyme des Ateliers d’Aviation Louis Breguet, Velizy per Chaville (Seine et Oise), and at Villacoublay.
Power: 80 h.p. Gnome; 80 h.p. Le Rhone; 80 h.p. Clerget; 100 h.p. Gnome Monosoupape.
Dimensions: Span: 37 ft 8 in. Length: 29 ft 3 in. Chord: 6 ft 1 in. Span of tail: 8 ft 9 in. (early version).
Areas: Wings: 450 sq ft.
Weights: Empty: 970 lb. Loaded: 1,665
Performance: Maximum speed: 75 m.p.h. Initial rate of climb: 573 ft per min. Climb to 3,000 ft: 11 min. Endurance: 5 hours.
Service Use: France: No. 1 Squadron, R.N.A.S.; Eastchurch Squadron of R.N.A.S. Coastal Reconnaissance: Detached Flight of No. 1 Squadron, R.N.A.S., at Newcastle-on-Tyne. Training: No. 2 Squadron, R.N.A.S., Gosport; R.N.A.S. Training School at Hendon. Also used by the Roumanian Army.
Production and Allocation: Twelve T.B.8s were produced by reconstructing various Coanda monoplanes: one of these was the seaplane and another was a side-by-side two-seater built for the Bristol School of Flying. Six were sent to Roumania; one was sold to R. P. Creagh; and the side-by-side T.B.8 went to Larkhill. The seaplane was delivered to the R.N.A.S. with serial number 15; one of the three remaining landplane T.B.8s (serial number 43) had been delivered to the R.N.A.S., Eastchurch, on April 29th, 1914; another was sent to Farnborough on August 3rd, 1914, but was transferred to the R.N.A.S. on August 27th; and the third went to Farnborough on August 6th, 1914, but was transferred to Eastchurch on September 16th, 1914, with the serial number 917. The T.B.8 rebuilt from the G.B.75 was delivered to Farnborough on August 2nd, 1914.
Three other early T.B.8s were built. The 1913 Paris Salon machine was delivered to the R.N.A.S. on March 19th, 1914, serial number 153; the Breguet demonstration machine was sent to the R.N.A.S. on September 17th, 1914, serial number 916; the other was sent in skeleton form to the Breguet works.
The first true production batch of twelve were diverted to the R.N.A.S.: two were sent to Gosport and three to Eastchurch. The twenty-four T.B.8s of the second production batch were built for the R.N.A.S. in 1915 and early 1916.
Total production, including rebuilds: 52
Deliveries to R.F.C.: 3 (two later transferred to R.N.A.S.)
Deliveries to R.N.A.S.
14 diverted from R.F.C.
Serial Numbers: 15 (seaplane); 43; 153 (supplied under Contract No. C.P.36217/14/x); 610, the Bristol G.B.75; 614, renumbered 948; 620, renumbered 917; 691-702, ordered for the R.F.C. under Contract No. A.2594, but diverted to the R.N.A.S. under Contract No. C.P.63528 and renumbered 1216-1227; 916 and 917 (formerly 620), supplied under Contract No. C.P.53505/14/x; 8442-8453 and 8562-8573, supplied under Contract No. C.P.57306/15/x.
P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
The sole aeroplane representing Great Britain at the 1913 Paris Aero Show was theT.B.8 Biplane, works number 153. It had been developed by Mons. Henri Coanda from the military monoplane and embodied refinements and modifications suggested from experience of the Coanda machines employed during the Balkan War of the previous year. Twelve bombs could be carried inracks under the fuselage, signal lamps were fitted and an additional item of equipment was a drift sight for calculating the ground speed. Number 153 was one of ten Improved Coanda Military Monoplanes which had been returned to Filton from the Naval Wing of the R.F.C. and from Roumania for conversion to biplanes, the others being works numbers 118, 143, 144, 147, 148, 149, 151, I 52 and 196. Wing warping was retained on the batch, as also was the 80 h.p. Gnome engine for power.
A further pair of 80 h.p. Gnome T.B.8s were built for the Admiralty under works numbers 197 and 198, becoming naval aircraft 916 and 153 respectively. Yet another biplane conversion carried out was on the side-by-side Coanda Military Monoplane number 177, which became T.B.8 School number 218 and was in use in 1914 at the Larkhill School. Two further T.B.8s were supplied to the Admiralty by rebuilding the War Office T.B.8s army aircraft 144 (works number 225) and 153 (works number 227), which then flew as naval aircraft 43 and 917 respectively. Another T.B.8, works number 228, as number 197 for the War Office, was supplied to Breguet, who undertook the manufacture of the type in France.
A final production batch of T.B.8s, of improved type with ailerons, was ordered for the R.N.A.S. and was delivered after the outbreak of the 1914-18 War. Thirty-six of these were built, works numbers 331-342 inclusive, and 870-893 inclusive. The T.B.8 was used by No. 1 Squadron, R.N.A.S., and by the Roumanian Army, total production of all versions of the type being fifty-two.
Description: Two-seat tractor training and reconnaissance biplane. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
Manufacturers: The British and Colonial Aeroplane Co. Ltd., Filton, Bristol.
Power Plant: 80 h.p. Gnome.
Dimensions: Span, 37 ft. 8 ins. Length, 29 ft. 3 ins. Wing area, 450 sq. ft.
Weights: Empty, 970 lb. Loaded, 1,665 lb.
Performance: Maximum speed, 75 m.p.h. Climb, 3,000 ft. in 11 mins. Endurance, 5 hrs.
An improved version of the T.B.8, designated G.B.75, works number 223, was designed by Mons. Henri Coanda and Frank Barnwell and was exhibited at the Olympia Aero Show of 1914. The engine was the seven-cylinder 75 h.p. Monosoupape Gnome fitted with a large shallow spinner which blended into the circular engine cowling and which incorporated radial louvres for the entry of cooling air. Other alterations from the basic T.B.8 included the addition of rounded deckings above and below the fuselage, a fixed fin and wing-tip skids. The G.B.75 was bought by the War Office and was employed by the R.F.C. as No. 610. Span, 37 ft. 8 ins. Wing area, 420 sq. ft. Weight empty, 970 lb. Weight loaded, 1,665 lb. Maximum speed, 62 m.p.h. Landing speed, 33-5 m.p.h. Endurance, 5 hrs.
O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)
First flown in 1913. The first T.B.8 for the Admiralty, delivered in January 1914, had twin floats: subsequent aircraft were landplanes. Forty-five T.B.8 landplanes went to the RNAS (including 14 diverted from the RFC) and served until 1916. The aircraft illustrated (No.1216) was the first of a batch of twelve (Nos.1216 to 1227) diverted from the RFC to the RNAS at the end of 1914. Two T.B.8s served with Eastchurch Squadron at Ostend and Dunkirk and four with NO.1 Squadron at Gosport and Newcastle-on-Tyne. Others were used at Barrow-in-Furness, Chingford, Hendon, Killingholme, Kingsnorth and Redcar. One 80 hp Gnome, Le Rhone or Clerget engine. Loaded weight. 1,665 lb. Maximum speed, 75 mph. Climb, 11 min to 3.000 ft. Span, 37 ft 8 in. Length, 29 ft 3 in.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1913
BRISTOL. The British & Colonial Aeroplane Co., Ltd., Filton House, Bristol. Founded 1910. Capital (1913), Have very extensive works (area. sq. feet) on the outskirts of Bristol, employing over 300 men, where they manufacture to their own designs practically every type of flying machine. Flying grounds: Salisbury Plain, Brooklands. 105 Royal Aero Club certificates won on Bristol machines during 1912 (of which 86 were officers of His Majesty's Forces).
Military Military Tractor School
mono. mono. biplane mono.
2-seater. 2-seater. 1913 Side by side.
80 h.p. 50 h.p.
Length feet (m.) 28-1/4 8.60 23-2/3 7.20 27-3/4 8.47
Span feet (m.) 42-1/3 12.90 39-1/3 12 34-1/3 10.44
Area sq. feet (m^2.) 221 20.6 226 22 370 34.4
Total weight, machine, lbs. (kgs.) 1719 771 1323 600 1764 800
Total weight, useful lbs. (kgs.) 710 322 551 250 1200 544
Motor h.p. 80 Gnome 50 Gnome 70 Renault 50 Gnome
Speed, max. m.p.h. (km.) 73 118 62 100 70 112
Speed, min. m.p.h. (km.) ... ... ...
Endurance hrs. 4 3-4 ...
Number built during 1912 ... ... ...
Notes.--Monoplane: Box section fuselage convex on bottom side to minimise resistance. Mounted on 2 wheels and 2 skids with smaller wheels attached at the forward end. Bristol tractor. Biplane: Box section fuselage, convex on top and bottom sides. Mounted as monoplane. Bristol tractor. This machine is the latest production of the Bristol Co., and has proved an exceptionally successful flyer. Designed by M. Coanda.
Flight, December 13, 1913.
THE STANDS AT THE PARIS AERO SHOW.
AGAIN, this year, the only firm to represent Great Britain is the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company, who are showing a two-seater tandem military tractor biplane, fitted with an 80 h.p. Gnome engine, driving a Bristol propeller of very novel design, which has the inner part of the blades of streamline section, so that evidently the propulsion effect is obtained by the outer portion of the blades only. Some interesting fittings are to be seen on this machine, one being a pair of sights, by means of which the machine may be kept on a certain course when headed for a landmark such as a church tower. Another very interesting fitting is a new bomb-dropping device, invented by Mr. Coanda. This device, which is situated under the fuselage and observer's seat, contains 12 bombs, which maybe dropped at any desired interval, by means of a hand lever in the observer's cockpit. Needless to say the workmanship is up to the usual high "Bristol" standard, which compares very favourably with that seen on French machines.
Flight, December 20, 1913.
THE PARIS AERO SALON - 1913.
THE BRITISH AND COLONIAL AEROPLANE CO., LTD.
The very fine machine exhibited by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Co., Ltd., is a development of the biplane shown by this firm at the last Olympia Aero Show, and has incorporated in it a number of improvements suggested by tests in actual warfare carried out with several of these biplanes in the Balkan. From the accompanying illustrations it will be seen that the machine belongs to the tractor type, which possesses many advantages, and which, therefore, has been frequently adopted. Constructionally the machine is as interesting to the student of aeroplanes as its outlines are pleading to the eye of the artistically minded.
The fuselage, which is of rectangular section, consists of four longerons of ash connected by struts and cross members of spruce, the whole being made rigid in the usual way by means of diagonal cross wiring. A turtle back which gradually flattens out towards the tail, and a boat-shaped structure underneath the fuselage, gives that member a good streamline shape. In the front portion of the fuselage is mounted on overhung bearings the engine, an 80 h. p. Gnome, which is partly covered in by an aluminium cowl. Under this cowl and behind the engine are the oil and petrol tanks, whilst another tank behind the pilot's seat contains an additional supply of petrol which is pumped to the service tank in front by means of a pressure pump. The seats are of the bucket type, and are sprung by means of bent malacca cane supports; they are arranged in tandem, the pilot occupying the rear seat. In front of him are mounted the controls, which consist of a rotatable handwheel mounted on a single tubular column. Rotation of the wheel operates the warp, whilst a to-and-fro movement of the column actuates the elevator. A foot bar is fitted for steering in a horizontal plane. Let into a very neat dash in front of the pilot are all the instruments for cross-country flying, such as compass, clock altimeter, petrol and oil gauges, revolution indicator, and air speed indicator. Well out in front, from where he has an excellent view, is the observer's seat. Mounted in front of this, and projecting down through the fuselage, is the apparatus by means of which the observer determines the speed of the machine in relation to the earth. It consists, roughly speaking, of a rectangular box pointing downwards. In the upper end of this box is a sight through which the observer looks at the ground and at two transverse lines running across the lower end of the box. The distance between these two lines, as well as the distance from the upper sight to the lines is known. From the altimeter the observer knows the height of the machine above the ground, and by determining by means of a stop-watch the time it takes for an object, such as a tree or a house, to pass from one of the transverse lines to the other, it becomes a matter of trigonometry to work out the speed of the machine. A small table giving the necessary figures is mounted on the apparatus so that the determination of the speed may be accomplished in less time than it takes to describe the, in reality, very simple device. A bomb-dropping apparatus, situated in the floor of the fuselage, and consisting of a cylindrical drum on which are mounted twelve cigar-shaped bombs, is worked from the observer's seat by means of a small lever, so that the observer can release a single bomb, or, if necessary, all the twelve bombs with very short intervals. In order to steer the machine over any desired spot, two sights are mounted on top of the fuselage, in front of the observer's seat. The rear sight can be moved sideways for a distance of about 6 ins. If the observer finds that steering a dead straight course for some prearranged landmark will not bring him right over the desired point, he can slightly alter the course by sliding the rear sight to one side or the other so that although the pilot sees the landmark and the two sights in line, the machine is not actually heading straight for the landmark, but slightly to one side or the other. For use at night when the pilot is unable to see the two sights, an electric signalling system is employed, consisting of a series of push buttons in the observer's cockpit and a series of lamps in front of the pilot. Pressing one button lights a lamp which indicates: turn to right whilst passing; another indicates: descend and so on. We have described what might be termed the military portion of this machine at some length because it appears to be the most complete and well thought-out arrangement that has yet been shown to the public.
The chassis consists of four struts of spruce, carrying two ash skids, from which the two pairs of wheels are slung by means of rubber shock absorbers. The wheel axles, which are of strong steel tubing, are streamlined, with wooden pieces lashed on. Stranded cables have taken the place of the usual radius-rods, and the band-brakes which, it will be remembered, were fitted on the machine exhibited at Olympia have been discarded. The extensions of the skids to the rear of the chassis struts have been done away with, and in their place is fitted a tail skid of laminated wood. The main planes, which are of a new section, which has been found to give a very good lift-drift ratio, are separated by six pairs of struts, cross-braced in the usual manner. Both main spars are hinged on the fuselage, and warping is employed for lateral control. The tail planes consist of a semicircular fixed tail plane mounted on top of the fuselage. To the trailing edge of this is hinged the elevator, which is undivided, as the rudder is situated wholly on top of the fuselage.
Tin workmanship is of the usual high "Bristol" quality, and altogether it would have been difficult to find a more worthy representative for this country, but one can only regret that the British and Colonial Aeroplane Co, Ltd., were the only British firm showing, as neither of our leading firms need have feared comparison with the French manufacturers.
Flight, March 14, 1914.
WHAT THERE WILL BE TO SEE AT OLYMPIA.
Bristol (British and Colonial Aeroplane Co., Ltd.). (43.)
THIS firm of constructors, who were our sole representative at the recent Paris Aero Exhibition, are showing two machines, one of which is a two-seater with the seats arranged in tandem, and the other a single-seater, as well as their travelling motor-repair workshop. Both machines exhibited are 80 h.p. Gnome-engined tractor biplanes, the engine on the two-seater being of the new Monosoupape type mounted upon supporting plates of pressed steel, and entirely enclosed in an aluminium shield that is continued forward in advance of the propeller for which it forms the boss and with which it rotates.
Special attention has been given in the design of the wings, which, on the single-seater machine, are all fitted with double-acting ailerons. The empennage of this machine is non-lifting, and the frames for this as well as those for the elevator flaps and rudder are of steel tubing, the fabric covering being sewn on. On the two-seater the empennage is set at a negative angle and is used as a directive organ. The landing chassis of the latter is of the standard Bristol type, but the single-seater machine has a special two-wheeled undercarriage. Sufficient petrol may be carried to give a flight lasting for 3 hours in the case of the single-seater and 5 hours for the two-seater.
The travelling workshop is fully equipped with every means necessary for the purpose of executing repairs to an aeroplane, and has been kept to the smallest possible dimensions. Winding gear, for the purpose of enabling the vehicle to wind itself or haul a trailer, is provided, as well as a dynamo of 50 amperes capacity at 65 volts, with suitably arranged switches for controlling the machine tools, which are driven by a separate electric motor. These machines include a lathe, band-saw, drilling machine, portable drill and a grinding machine, but a hand-operated shaping machine is also fitted. Increased floor space n obtained whilst the workshop is at rest, by dropping the two halves of each side door.
Flight, March 21, 1914.
THE OLYMPIA EXHIBITION.
BRISTOL. (BRITISH AND COLONIAL AEROPLANE CO., LTD.)
THE two biplanes exhibited on this stand differ considerably from previous models, the two-seater bearing hardly any resemblance to its prototype shown at Olympia last year, whilst the small fast single-seater scouting machine may be said to be the first of a new type to be turned out by this firm.
In the 80 h.p. Two-seater Biplane an attempt has been made to provide a good streamline form of fuselage by adding curved super-and sub structures to the main rectangular portion and by continuing the engine cowl forward in the shape of a hemispherical nose-piece mounted on and revolving with the propeller boss. In order to provide better cooling, this nose-piece is louvred, so that although the engine is totally enclosed the cooling should present no difficulties. The engine, an 80 h.p. Gnome monosoupape, is mounted on overhung bearings in the nose of the fuselage, and drives directly the Bristol propeller. The fuselage is built up in the usual way of four longerons, which are of ash in the front portion, and of spruce, spindled down to an I-section, at the rear, connected by struts and cross-members of ash and spruce. The turtle back on top of the fuselage is constructed of three-ply wood up to a point behind the pilot's seat, whilst the rear portion of it is formed by longitudinal wooden stringers covered with fabric. The structure underneath the fuselage is formed in the same way by fabric-covered stringers.
The chassis is of the already well-known Bristol type, consisting of four struts carrying two skids, from which are in turn sprung the four wheels, the only noticeable alteration in the chassis appears to be that the rear pair of struts are now sloping backwards instead of coming straight down, an arrangement which, we feel inclined to think, would impose considerable strain on the diagonal cross-wiring. Now, as before, the chassis struts are made of spruce and the skids of ash, whilst the tubular steel axes are streamlined with wood.
The wings appear to be similar to those fitted on the machine exhibited at the Paris Show, and are of a peculiar section, being practically flat on the upper surface between the two main spars. By means of quickly detachable fittings the wings can be readily removed from the centre section for purposes of storage or transport. The main spars are attached to the fuselage by means of a steel clip and horizontal bolt, as illustrated by one of the accompanying sketches. Cane skids are fitted to the wing tips in order to protect them against contact with the ground. The pilot's and passenger's seats are arranged very comfortably, tandem fashion, in two separate cockpits, the pilot occupying the rear seat. The controls are of the usual Bristol type, consisting of a wheel mounted on a central column, for warp and elevator, whilst a pivoted foot-bar operates the rudder. In front of the pilot it an unusually neat instrument board, on which is mounted in addition to the usual set of instruments, an electric signalling device, consisting of a series of small electric bulbs marked in the following order: "Up," "right," "left," "circle," "steady," "return," "down," "land." By means of a series of buttons in the observer's cockpit, similarly marked, the observer can give the pilot orders unhampered by the noise of the engine.
The tail planes consist of a fixed tail plane, set at a negative angle of incidence, and to the trailing edge is hinged the undivided elevator, while it is surmounted by a small vertical fin to the trailing edge of which the rudder is hinged.
A tail skid of laminated wood similar to that fitted on the Paris Show machine protects the tail planes against contact with the ground.
Flight, May 22, 1914.
THE AERIAL DERBY.
THE PILOTS AND HOW TO RECOGNISE THE MACHINES.
No. 9. The 80 h.p. Bristol Biplane
will be somewhat difficult to distinguish from machine No. 13, the Avro biplane, but may be identified by its peculiar four-wheeled chassis.
THE MACHINES AND HOW TO RECOGNISE THEM.
No. 9. The 80 h.p. Bristol Biplane is a standard Bristol tractor machine, and is similar to the machines exhibited at the last Paris and Olympia Aero Shows. Although these machines have done a great amount of flying in the west of England, and on Salisbury Plain, they are not so well known to Londoners as they deserve to be, and should, therefore, be watched with interest by those of our readers who will watch the Aerial Derby, either from the starting place at Hendon Aerodrome or from one of the turning points.
Flight, August 7, 1914.
The 80 h.p. Bristol tractor biplane purchased by Mr. Creagh is doing some very good work at Brooklands. On Thursday of last week Mr. Sippe went out for altitude accompanied by the owner of the machine. After being away beyond the eye of man for about an hour the "Bristol" was seen to be returning in beautiful spirals, and when she was sufficiently low it was also seen that the propeller was stopped. After executing some exceedingly small spirals and steeply banked turns, Mr. Sippe made a perfect landing without re-starting his engine. 11,000 feet was the total of this little climb.