C.Barnes Bristol Aircraft since 1910 (Putnam)
The Bristol Glider
The Bristol Glider was a biplane designed by George Challenger for presentation by Sir George White to the Bristol and West of England Aero Club, of which Sir George was elected President in October 1910; this was a thriving organisation boasting over 75 members. The Glider was designed to carry two persons and was intended to take an engine of 30 h.p. at a later stage. It was sturdily constructed, with double-surfaced mainplanes and tailplane; ailerons were fitted to the upper wing only and the forward and aft elevators were coupled. Two very small rudders were mounted between the upper and lower tail-booms forward of the aft elevator and a conventional control system was used. The Glider was first flown at the Club's flying ground near Keynsham, Somerset, on 17 December 1910, with Challenger at the controls; it was hand-towed down a slope by ropes attached to the lower wing-tips, and a two-wheeled dolly was used for uphill retrieval. On 27 February 1911 it was damaged and was repaired by the Company for the nominal cost of l2s. 6d., but on 4 September 1911 it was more severely crashed and the repairs then cost ?30. No engine was ever installed, but the Glider appears to have survived at least until 1912 ; as it was constructed to Sir George's private order, it had no Bristol sequence number.
SPECIFICATION AND DATA
Manufacturers: The British & Colonial Aeroplane Co. Ltd., Filton, Bristol
Power Plant: Nil (provision for 30 hp later)
Span: 32 ft 4 in
Length: 33 ft 10 in
Height: 6 ft 8 in
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)
A single-seat biplane glider, similar to the classic Wright Brothers type, was designed by G. H. Challenger and built early in 1911. On completion it was presented by Sir George White to the Bristol and West of England Aero Club, of which he was the president. The glider was used for primary training on a hillside at Keynsham, near Bristol.
Flight, December 31, 1910
PROGRESS OF FLIGHT ABOUT THE COUNTRY.
Bristol and West of England Ae.C. (STAR LIFE BLDGS., BRISTOL)
ON Saturday, the 17th inst., a fair muster of the members of the club motored out to Keyusham to commence gliding operations. This was the first opportunity the members had of testing the new glider which has been presented to the club by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Co., of Bristol.
Unfortunately the weather was not all that could be desired, and the conditions were unfavourable for carrying out experiments on an extended scale, the surface of the ground being so wet and soft that it handicapped the members during the starting operations.
The glider was brought out of the hangar and much admired, it being beautifully constructed and fitted with all the latest improvements. The machine is of the biplane type and so constructed that it can be fitted with engine, propeller and chassis. The main planes have a span of 32 ft. 4 ins., and the overall length from elevator to tail is 33 ft. 10 in. The height to the top of the planes is 6 ft. 8 in. The control of the elevator and tail is by means of forward and backward movement of the hand lever, and the control of the ailerons by moving the same lever to the right or left, whilst the rudder is worked by a foot lever. A detachable chassis has been supplied on which the glider can be mounted for pulling it up the hill.
The ground, which is situated near Keynsham, is almost ideal for gliding purposes. The aspect is north-west, and on the top of the hill there is a slight decline for 20 yards of about I in 12, then the hill suddenly dips for a distance of 100 yards at a decline of about 1 in 4. At the bottom there is a flat piece of land extending for about another 150 yards, which makes a good landing place, the width of the ground being 120 yards.
The glider is kept in the hangar which has been erected by the club at the foot of the hill.
After the glider had been photographed it was taken a short distance up the hill, and an endeavour was made to fly the machine as a kite. Ropes were attached to the two outside corners of the main planes, and two members towed the machine down the hill, but owing to the lack of wind the machine only lifted a couple of feet off the ground. The next attempt, however, was far more successful, and the glider was taken up to the top of the hill, and on being towed quickly down it rose to a height of about 12 ft., and would undoubtedly have flown higher had the tow ropes been longer. It was then decided to take the glider to the top of the hill, and see if it would fly with a passenger. Mr. G. H. Challenger took his seat in the machine, and two of the members towed the machine down the hill. The wind, however, had dropped considerably, and was insufficient to lift the machine more than two or three feet from the ground. However, the glider descended safely, and there is no doubt whatever that with sufficient wind the machine will be capable of gliding with a passenger.
By this time the rain had commenced to fall and the light was failing, so it was decided to give up operations for the day. The glider was taken back to the hangar, and the members were quite satisfied with their first attempt, and expressed the hope that they would soon be able to have another opportunity of using the machine.
Wednesdays and Saturdays will be general club days for gliding, but no further trials will be made until Saturday, December 31st.
It is hoped that next year the membership of the club will be considerably increased, and the honorary secretary (Mr. A. Alan Jenkins), Star Life Buildings, Bristol, would be glad to receive the names of any gentlemen who would like to join.