C.Barnes Bristol Aircraft since 1910 (Putnam)
The Bristol Tourer
In January 1919 a request was made by Sir Frederick Sykes, Controller of Civil Aviation, for three of the Bristol Fighters still in production to be delivered as unarmed communications two-seaters, with extra tankage for 5 hours' duration and dual controls. Another of the same batch was fitted with a hinged coupe cover over the passenger's seat, specially furnished to provide maximum comfort; the cockpit enclosure gave a useful reduction in drag, resulting in a top speed of 128 m.p.h. In this aeroplane, H1460, Uwins flew Herbert Thomas from Filton to Hounslow on 1 May 1919 to meet General Seely in London; on that day civil aviation became lawful in the United Kingdom for the first time since August 1914. The Bristol Coupe, as H1460 was called, was purchased by the Air Board on 19 May 1919.
Three days later, Barnwell crashed the Badger X, which had been intended both as a laboratory machine and as his personal runabout; it was not repaired and Barnwell installed the Puma engine from it in a Fighter airframe converted to civil standards, in the same way as the three Falcon-engined dual-control Fighters, H1687 to H1689, which were delivered in July 1919. The Puma-engined version, No. 5867, was registered as G-EAIZ on 7 August and received a certificate of airworthiness on 16 September 1919. It was used at first as a Puma test-bed and soon became so popular as a general Company hack that it was named the Tourer, and a second Tourer, No. 5868, was built and registered as G-EANR on 23 September. This was exhibited at the Paris Salon in December 1919 with a four-bladed airscrew. Barnwell had never liked the underslung cooling system designed by the R.A.E. for the Puma-engined Bristol Fighter, and preferred a nose radiator high up, where pump and thermal siphon effects were complementary, with vertical shutters for temperature control. The pilot's view for landing was unaffected and the system could be kept working even if the pump failed; moreover, the damage in a forced landing was less extensive and easier to repair. Both these considerations were of prime importance for world-wide operation over undeveloped terrain.
For its peacetime design programme, the Company aimed at producing a two- or three-seat biplane suitable for such applications, and Barnwell had begun to design one with a three-cylinder Cosmos Lucifer engine of 100 h.p., at first known as the Rancher and later renamed the Colonial. This design had made little progress by July 1919, when an enquiry came in for a version of the Tourer to carry two passengers. Barnwell designed a simple modification of the Tourer with a wide rear cockpit seating two passengers side-by-side; a coupe top was an alternative to the open cockpit. This was so simple to produce that the Colonial was abandoned and both two-seat and three-seat Tourers went into production for demonstration and sale in the U.S.A., where the Company's New York agent had reported a promising market, including enquiries for seaplanes. He had already sold No. 5868 (G-EANR) which was shipped to New York in May.
Two open three-seaters, Nos. 5873 and 5874, were put in hand as twin-float seaplanes with interchangeable wheeled chassis, together with five open three-seaters (Nos. 5876-5880) and one two-seater (No. 5881). The New York agent then asked for a three-seater Coupe, so the first of these, No. 5891, not yet completed, was substituted for No. 5876 and the rest of the batch (Nos. 5877-5881) were shipped to New York at the end of May. For the American market, Tourers were finished in dark battleship grey with pale blue undersurfaces, with the word 'Bristol' in longhand style painted on the fuselage sides. One of them, probably 5868, was sold to Joseph F. Thorne, who used it to fly bullion to the coast from his silver mines in Nicaragua, but the fate of the others is unknown. The three-seater COUPE No. 5891, was exhibited at Olympia in July 1920, before being shipped to New York in August. Meanwhile No. 5876, the first of the batch, was purchased by the Instone Air Line on 3 June 1920, with the registration G-EART. G-EAIZ and a new two-seater, No. 5892 (G-EAVU), had been successfully demonstrated in Belgium and Norway, so 15 more Tourers, comprising six open and six coupe three-seaters and three open two-seaters, Nos. 6108-6122, were laid down in anticipation of an expanding market. But only initial deposits had been paid on the Tourers ordered in America, and when difficulties arose over import duties the New York agency was closed down, so no more machines were shipped. The two seaplanes were amongst those cancelled, but later an order was received from Siberia and work on them continued. The first seaplane was flown from Avonmouth on 15 October 1920, when Uwins took-off from calm water in 400 yds. with two passengers and 40 lb. of ballast. The floats, designed by Major Vernon, were built of mahogany with a single step and six watertight compartments in each; they weighed 200 lb. each, and, since they were 19 ft. 6 in. long, no tail float was required. The Siberian order for the two seaplanes was cancelled before delivery, and they were then offered to Canada but apparently not sold there. However, a final two-seater Tourer, No. 6123, was shipped to Canada in May 1921 for the Newfoundland Air Survey Company; it took part in the gold rush to Stag Bay, Labrador, later that year and was flown on skis.
The beginning of 1921 found the Company with 14 unsold Tourers on hand, only one of the two-seaters, No. 6122, having been bought, in December 1920, by a private owner, Alan S. Butler, and registered G-EAWB. In this he left Croydon on 2 April 1921 to tour southern Europe and returned in June having had no mishaps of any kind. He entered it in the Aerial Derby on 16 July and completed the course in the fourth fastest time at an average speed of 106 m.p.h., thereby winning the third prize of ?50 in the Handicap Race. These exploits so convinced Alan Butler of the value of private flying that he joined forces with Geoffrey de Havilland and was for many years Chairman of the de Havilland Aircraft Company.
Meanwhile, in April 1921, a Spanish customer, Senor Bayo, ordered two three-seaters, one closed and one open, through the Company's agents at Bilbao. These, Nos. 6114 (G-EAWQ) and 6112 (G-EAWR), re-registered M-AAEA and M-AEAA, were flown out to Spain by Andrew Forson and Major Hereward de Havilland, respectively, at the end of April. The only authorised route of entry into Spain was via San Sebastian, whose airfield, Lasarte, was surrounded by mountains. Forson arrived safely in the Coupe, cleared Customs and then took-off into a cloud-bank; minutes later he crashed into a mountainside near Anzuola and was killed. Major de Havilland delivered the open Tourer to Madrid without incident, but found he had to give flying lessons to Senor Bayo, so the Company's dual-control demonstrator G-EAVU, which had taken the place ofG-EAIZ in November 1920, went to Madrid until September 1921, when it was replaced by No. 6121 (MAFFA) together with two more open three-seaters (6109, M-AAAF and 6110, M-AFFF). The remaining two-seater, No. 6120 (G-EAXA), was retained as a demonstrator to replace G-EAVU, which was scrapped after its return from Madrid. The remaining eight three-seaters were all sold in Australia; the first (6117, G-AUCA) was supplied in June 1921 to Colonel Brinsmead, Controller of Civil Aviation, who toured over 9,000 miles in it while surveying new air routes; six more were bought in September 1921 by Major Norman Brearley, who had secured the Federal Government's air mail contract for a weekly service between Geraldton and Perth. The six Tourers, all with coupe tops (Nos. 6108,6111,6115,6116, 6118 and 6119), registered G-AUDF to G-AUDK, respectively, were shipped to Fremantle in time to start the service on 4 December 1921, but G-AUDI crashed the next day, killing its pilot and mechanic; after an enquiry, the service restarted and thereafter achieved 97% regularity. Five Tourers were not enough to maintain the service, and the last remaining Tourer airframe, No. 6113, supplied as a spare, is believed to have been combined with the wreck of G-AUCA (crashed in March 1923) to produce G-AUDX, which continued flying until September 1930. Another of the Western Australian Airways fleet, G-AUDH, which crashed in July 1924, was rebuilt as G-AUDZ and survived until February 1931. A famous 'Tourer', G-AUEB, was converted from a 300 h.p. Hispano-Suiza Fighter (H1248) and flown in 1922 and 1923 by Hudson Fysh and other pilots of Queensland and Northern Territories Aerial Services; later it became one of the first Flying Doctor ambulances in Northern Territories, and its career ended in the goldfields at Wau, New Guinea, in April 1928. The Tourers of Western Australian Airways had flown over 200,000 miles by September 1923 and nearly 485,000 miles by June 1926, when they were replaced in regular service by D.H.50's; during this period they had logged 6,400 flying hours and had carried more than 3,000 passengers and 400,000 letters and parcels, including valuable consignments of pearls from the north-west coast fisheries. Two of the retired Tourers were bought by a syndicate of W.A.A. pilots and No. 6119 (G-AUDK) was flown 2,300 miles from Perth to Sydney, carrying the first trans-Australian woman passenger, Mrs. J. W. Marshall; then it was flown round the entire continent, a distance of 7,500 miles, in 10 days and 5 hours, by Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles DIm, in June 1927. An attempt a year later to fly the same Tourer to England was less successful, for three days after leaving Camooweal on 9 September 1928, Keith Anderson and his passenger, Hitchcock, crashed at Pine Creek, N.T., the aircraft being totally wrecked. None of the Australian Tourers escaped crash demolition in the end; but, for so worthy a scion of the Fighter breed, this was a more fitting fate in a pioneering country than to decay in a hangar, unwanted, unfuelled, and unswung.
SPECIFICATIONS AND DATA
Manufacturer: The British & Colonial Aeroplane Co. Ltd., and The Bristol Aeroplane Co. Ltd., Filton, Bristol
Type Coupe 2-Seater 3-Seater Coupe 3-Seater Open Seaplane
Power Plant 275 hp 230 hp Siddeley Puma
Span 39 ft 3 in 39 ft 5 in 39 ft 5 in 39 ft 5 in 39 ft 5 in
Length 25 ft 10 in 26 ft 1 in 26 ft 1 in 26 ft 1 in 29 ft 6 in
Height 9 ft 6 in 10 ft 10 ft 10 ft 11 ft 5 in
Wing Area 405 sq ft 407 sq ft 407 sq ft 407 sq ft 407 sq ft
Empty Weight 1,900 lb 1,700 lb 1,900 lb 1,900 lb 2,100 lb
All-up Weight 2,800 lb 2,800 lb 3,000 lb 3,000 lb 3,000 lb
Max. Speed 128 mph 120 mph 120 mph 117 mph 110 mph
Absolute Ceiling 24,000 ft 22,000 ft 20,000 ft 20,000 ft 17,000 ft
Accommodation 2 2 3 3 3
Production 1 12 10 8 2
Sequence Nos. 5178 5867 5868 5891 6108 5876-5880 5873 5874
5881 5892 6111 6113 6109 6110
6120-6123 -6119 6112
A.Jackson British Civil Aircraft since 1919 vol.1 (Putnam)
Bristol Tourers, Seely and Puma Trainers
The Bristol Tourer was a brave attempt at producing a commercial aeroplane at low cost during the financially difficult period which followed the First World War. It was essentially a cheap, war surplus Fighter F.2B fitted with lower-powered engines in order to reduce running costs. Four distinct types were built, all flown from the front seat, but permitting a choice of enclosed cabin or open cockpit for one passenger, or in a widened rear fuselage, a similar choice for two passengers side by side. For convenience these will be referred to by the retrospective Bristol type numbers 27, 29, 28 and 47 posthumously allotted to them in 1923.
The first Tourer was G-EAIZ, a Type 29 converted at Filton in August 1919, which was followed by a similar machine, G-EANR, for exhibition at the Paris Aero Show in the December. In the following September ’NR was sold abroad, and is believed to have gone to Newfoundland with F. S. Cotton’s Aerial Survey Co. Very few orders were received from the infant air transport industry, and of the mere 11 registered for use in the United Kingdom, none was Type 27 and only three fulfilled their designed role. First came the blue-and-silver Type 47 G-EART acquired by the pioneer Croydon airline operated by S. Instone and Co. Ltd. in March 1920. For a period of about a year it was used on charter work, probably its most notable assignment being on 3 May 1920, when the late Capt. F. L. Barnard flew it from Croydon to Cramlington, Newcastle, in four hours, carrying the Controller General of Civil Aviation, Maj.-Gen. Sir Frederick Sykes, and his bride on their honeymoon. The first private owner to use an aeroplane for extensive touring was Mr. A. S. Butler, who bought the Type 29 G-EAWB in November 1920, one of his first trips being to the French Riviera via Le Bourget, Lyon and Aix on 2-3 April 1921. With fairings closing the gap between the fuselage and the lower mainplane, he raced it in the Aerial Derby at Hendon on 16 July 1922, coming second at 107-12 m.p.h. Thereafter it was based at Croydon, and became a familiar sight in the London area until its C. of A. expired in the following year.
Much more use was made of the Tourer in Australia, where a fleet of eight Type 28s formed the equipment of Western Australian Airways, whose inaugural service between Geraldton and Derby was flown on 4 December 1921. As shown in Appendix D, one of this fleet was formerly a British-registered aircraft for which no market existed at home, although a few had found individual customers in Belgium and Spain.
Competing aircraft in the Air Ministry’s development competition for small commercial aeroplanes which opened at Martlesham on 3 August 1920 were required to reach certain standards of design, performance and economy of operation. Consequently the Bristol entry, known as the Seely Puma, although resembling a Tourer superficially, was specially designed to meet these requirements and was, in fact, a different aeroplane known as the Type 36. It used many Fighter F.2B detail parts and retained the Puma engine, but the fuselage was deepened with the bottom longerons attached directly to the lower wing. The main structural members of the front fuselage were of steel tube instead of wood, to protect the pilot in a crash, and the three bay wings were of 7 ft. 10 in. greater span to improve take-off and slow flying characteristics. The ailerons were wheel operated, and a steel skid was fitted to the undercarriage to prevent nosing over when the multi-disc Ferodo brakes were applied. On 7 August 1920 it reached a speed of 108-3 in.p.h. and a week later achieved a slow speed run of 49-07 m.p.h., and although it did well in the remaining trials, failed to carry off any of the prize money. It was used in later years for Bristol Jupiter radial engine development at Filton, and in 1928 was fitted with an experimental exhaust turbo-blown Jupiter III and handed over to the R.A.E. as J7004 with the new designation Type 85.
In 1922 a two-seat Tourer G-EAXA, built as a Type 29 in May 1921, was fitted with dual controls and evaluated as a trainer. Experience with ’XA resulted in the construction of four more dual-control Tourers in 1923-24 for advanced flying instruction at the newly formed Reserve Flying School at Filton. These gave several years’ service and were designated Type 81; they were also known as Puma Trainers, and the last two had oleo undercarriages, as on the export Fighter Type 17A. A further seven with Frise ailerons and larger, horn-balanced rudders, built in 1924, were known as the Type 81 A, one being G-EBIH and the other six being exported to Greece in the following year.
Manufacturers: The Bristol Aeroplane Co. Ltd., Filton, Bristol.
Power Plant: One 240-h.p. Siddeley Puma.
Type 28 Type 29 Type 36 Type 47
Span 39 ft. 5 in. 39 ft. 5 in. 47 ft. 1 in. 39 ft. 5 in.
Length 26 ft. 1 in. 26 ft. 1 in. 29 ft. 6 in. 26 ft. 1 in.
Height 10 ft. 1 in. 10 ft. 1 in. 12 ft. 10 ft. 1 in.
Wing area 407 sq. ft. 407 sq. ft. 560 sq. ft. 407 sq. ft.
Tare weight 1,900 lb. 1,700 lb. - 1,900 lb.
All-up weight 3,000 lb. 2,800 lb. 3,000 lb. 3,000 lb.
Maximum speed. 120 m.p.h. 120 m.p.h. 128 m.p.h. 120 m.p.h.
Initial climb - - 900 ft./min. -
Ceiling 20,000 ft. 22,000 ft. - 20,000 ft.
Range 400 miles 400 miles - 400 miles
Flight, October 23, 1919.
THE "BRISTOL" COUPE:
275 H.P. ROLLS-ROYCE FALCON
DURING the War the "Bristol" aeroplanes, notably the Bristol Fighter, type F. 2B, have established an excellent reputation for performance, stability and ease of handling. As every pilot who has flown the F. 2B knows, this machine is exceptionally easy to fly in straightforward flight, having a very great amount of inherent stability, and yet it is sufficiently quick on the controls to respond readily and perform any manoeuvre required in aerial fighting. For civilian flying stability is of far more importance than manoeuvrability, and as the "Bristol" Coupe illustrated below is a development of the F. 2B, it may safely be assumed that its stability is as good as was that of the War machine. This fact should render it particularly suitable for commercial flying, especially as it combines with this stability an excellent performance, both as regards speed and climb.
From the illustration it will be seen that the Coupe is to all intents and purposes an F. 2B, in which the gunner's seat, gun ring, and other paraphernalia of the trade have disappeared to give room for a comfortable cabin in which the passenger is completely protected from the wind. The pilot, as before, sits in the front seat, from which he has an excellent view, while at the same time he is well protected from the weather by means of suitably shaping the cowl around his cockpit and by a wind screen. Thus by the simple expedient of adding a roof to the rear portion of the fuselage the machine is converted from an up-to-date fighting machine into an equally up-to-date touring aeroplane.
With regard to the machine as an aeroplane, there is really no need for any comment, since it follows so closely the lines of the standard F. 2B which is already well known. The main feature distinguishing the F. 2B from other two-seater fighters, and which has been retained in the Coupe, is the high placing of the fuselage. Instead of attaching the two halves of the bottom plane to the sides of the fuselage, as is the usual practice, the bottom plane runs right through underneath the body. In this manner the maximum cross section of the body has been kept comparatively small, with, it may be assumed, a considerable saving in body resistance. It is, we think, to a very great extent to this arrangement that the "Bristol" owes her good performance and stability.
Dealing with the cabin of the "Bristol" Coupe, this, although small, is very comfortable, the seat being well upholstered and the head room sufficient for all practical purposes. The cabin is entered from the top, the roof being hinged along the top port longeron, as shown in the illustrations. Not only the sides of the cabin but also the hinged roof is provided with windows so that the passenger can look sideways and downwards through the side windows and upwards through the skylight. There is, further, a small window in the front wall of the hinged roof, through which the passenger can give his instructions to the pilot, communication being facilitated, if desired, by the employment of a speaking-tube. Small cupboards are provided both in the front and in the rear of the cabin, suitable for the stowage of light luggage, while the upholstered arm rests are hinged to give access to two smaller receptacles in which may conveniently be placed papers and other light articles likely to be wanted during the journey.
Hinged to the front wall of the cabin is a small writing-desk, which folds up flat against the wall when not in use. To ensure thorough ventilation of the cabin, adjustable ventilators have been fitted in the roof, ensuring that even during a long flight the air is fresh and pure. To the business-man who has to do a great amount of travelling the "Bristol" Coupe should offer an excellent means of doing so in comfort and at great speed. A very complete set of instruments is provided with this machine, including compass, altimeter, revolution indicator, air speed indicator, electric lighting set, starting magneto, oil pressure gauge, air pressure gauge, radiator thermometer, watch, cross level, and a Rolls-Royce doping pump with reservoir. The weight of the machine empty is 1,700 lbs.; fully loaded (including 200 lbs. of luggage), 2,800 lbs. The wing span is 39 ft. 3 in., and the overall length 25 ft. 9 in.; the maximum height is 10 ft. 1 in., and the total wing area 405 square ft. At ground level the maximum speed is 128 m.p.h., at 5,000 ft. 125 m.p.h., and at 10,000 ft. 115 m.p.h. The machine climbs to 6,000 ft. in 5 minutes, to 10,000 ft. in 11 1/2 minutes, and to 15,000 ft. in 21 ? minutes. The landing speed is 48 m.p.h. These figures relate to the machine as fitted with a 275 h.p. Rolls-Royce Falcon engine. If desired it can be modified to take either of the following engines: 300-h.p. Hispano-Suiza, 200 h.p. Hispano-uiza, 240 h.p. B.H.P. (Siddeley) Puma.
Flight, November 6, 1919.
THE "BRISTOL" TOURER
THIS machine, which is a development of the famous Bristol Fighter, has been designed primarily to provide a machine of great dependability, and capable of maintaining a fairly high speed for a considerable period of time. Its petrol tanks, which carry 70 gallons, are sufficient to allow of the machine remaining in the air for a distance of about 560 miles.
Dual controls are normally fitted to enable the passenger to take over the pilotage during a lengthy flight if desired, although the machine can be supplied fitted with pilot's controls only. When used for the transport of mails or cargo a load of some 300 lbs. can be carried in addition to the pilot and full complement of fuel and oil, although this weight can be increased should it be desired only to carry fuel for a shorter range of flight. The machine can be fitted either with a 275 h.p. Rolls-Royce Falcon III engine or with a 230-240 h.p. Siddeley Puma engine. Fitted with the former the machine can attain a speed of about 125 m.p.h., with a normal cruising speed of about 90 m.p.h. When the latter engine is fitted the maximum speed is 120 m.p.h. and the cruising speed 85 m.p.h. With either engine the petrol consumption for the distance traversed is the same, although taking into consideration the difference in speed the consumption with the Rolls-Royce engine is 15 1/2 gallons per hour, and with the Siddeley Puma 15 gallons per hour.
Specification. (Weights and dimensions).
Weight, empty 1,750 lbs.
Weight, loaded 2,800 lbs.
Wing span 39 ft. 3 ins.
Wing area 405 sq. ft.
Wing loading 6.92 lbs, per sq, ft.
Chord of wing 5 ft. 6 ins.
Overall length 25 ft. 9 ins.
Maximum height 10 ft. 1 in.
Tankage - petrol 70 gallons
Ceiling 20,000 ft.
Flight, December 18, 1919.
THE PARIS AERO SHOW 1919
PRELIMINARY REPORT ON BRITISH SECTION
The British and Colonial Aeroplane Co., Ltd.
The Bristol "Tourer"
The third complete machine to be exhibited on the Bristol stand will be a two-seater of standard type, i.e. the "Tourer." This machine is a development of the famous F2B, and differs from it chiefly in regard to the rear cockpit, which is now minus the gun ring, while the flat fuselage deck aft has given place for a top fairing. The machine has already been described and illustrated in FLIGHT, and no lengthy reference to it will be required here. Its general lines will be clear from the accompanying illustrations, and it will suffice to point out that the machine is one of great dependability, with a cruising radius of about 560 miles. Owing to the fact that the firm, through the cancelling of War contracts, have on their hands considerable quantities of well-seasoned materials which are being employed in the construction of a large number of machines of the "Tourer" type, it has been found possible to place this machine on the market at the extremely moderate price of L1,200. Added to this it should be pointed out that quick delivery can be guaranteed and it would, therefore, appear probable that the demand for this machine should be very considerable. The machine can be supplied either as a two-seater, dual-control touring machine with a radius of 560 miles, or as a cargo and/or mail carrier, when the cargo capacity is 300 lbs., which can be considerably increased if the machine is to be used for shorter flights than the distance of which the standard machine is capable. The "Tourer" can be supplied either with 275 h.p. Rolls-Royce Falcon or with 230-240 h.p. Siddeley "Puma" engine. With the former engine the maximum speed is about 125 m.p.h., and with the latter 120 m.p.h. The cruising speeds are 90 and 85 m.p.h., respectively. The overall length is 25 ft. 9 ins. and the wing span 39 ft. 3 ins.