C.Barnes Bristol Aircraft since 1910 (Putnam)
The Bristol Gordon England Biplanes
Eric Gordon England gained his Royal Aero Club aviator's certificate (no. 68) on 25 August 1911 at the Bristol flying school at Brooklands. Previously he had helped Jose Weiss in gliding experiments at Amberley in Sussex, and before joining the Bristol school he had had some experience of flying a Hanriot monoplane at Brooklands. Soon after gaining his certificate he joined the Company as a staff pilot and almost his first assignment was to fly a T-type biplane in the Circuit of Britain race. Later the same year he made several demonstration tours on a Boxkite with Graham Gilmour in Dorset and Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
He soon showed promise as a designer, and his conversion of T -type biplane into a tractor machine, No. 59, has already been described. His second venture, the G.E.1 biplane (No. 64), was entirely original and much more successful. The design was begun as early as August 1911 m an attempt to provide a sturdy military two-seater with wings which could be quickly detached to facilitate transport m an army column. Most of the structure was of spruce and the front of the fuselage was plywood-covered. Side-by-side seating with dual hand-wheel control was provided and a Bosch self-starting trembler coil and battery were installed. A sturdy undercarriage with a central skid gave good taxying qualities on rough ground and protected the large slow-running airscrew, which was driven at half-engine speed through a chain by a neatly installed 50 h.p. Clerget upright four-cylinder watercoo1ed engine, with a frontal radiator and hinged bonnet like a car. The wings were of equal span and the tail surfaces were long and tapered. It was an advanced and logical design, but the engine was hardly powerful enough to do it justice. After tests during May and June it was fitted with a large balanced rudder to improve stability, and on 19 June 1912 it was sold to the Deutsche Bristol-Werke, who, however, found it unsuitable for school use and returned it on 21 September 1912 to Filton, where it was scrapped.
The G.E.1 was at one point taken as the basis for Lt. C. D. Burney's hydrovane seaplane, and the X.1 derived from it is described later.
SPECIFICATION AND DATA
Type: Gordon England Biplanes
Manufacturers: The British & Colonial Aeroplane' Co. Ltd., Filton, Bristol
Power Plant 50 hp Clerget
Span 33 ft 8 in
Length 29 ft
Wing Area 320 sq ft
Speed 65 mph
Sequence Nos. 64
M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
The G.E.I military biplane was designed by E. C. Gordon England and was built during 1912. One machine, works number 64, was constructed and was a side-by-side two-seater powered by the four-cylinder in-line 50 h.p. Clerget engine with chain drive to the propeller. In its original form, the lower wings passed below the fuselage but rested against the longerons. Later, fairings were added to blend the wings smoothly into the underside of the machine, the fin was removed and the rudder was modified in shape to resemble that of the later G.E.2, the area of the radiator at the nose was reduced, and wing-tip skids were added.
The G.E.I was designed to be dismantled easily for transport and was demonstrated to both Army and Naval authorities. Lt. C. D. Burney, R.N., made it the basis of a design study for a seaplane, the X.1, to be carried on a warship, but eventually the aircraft itself was sold to Germany. Span, 33 ft. 8 ins. Length, 29 ft.