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Bristol F.2B Fighter

The Bristol Fighter was one of a new generation of British aircraft deployed on the Western Front in 1917, Designed by Captain Frank Barnwell, it was a solid, versatile, two-seater fighter-reconnaissance aeroplane with excellent all-round performance. The first version, the F.2A, made its maiden flight on 9 September 1916; the faster F.2B followed shortly after. When the Bristol Fighter first entered service with the […]

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Bristol Brabazon

The Bristol Brabazon airliner was a gian of an aircraft larger even than a Boeing 747. It was also in many ways a strikingly advanced design for its day. Yet, commercially, this huge piston-engine airliner was a total failure for the British aircraft industry. The aircraft was named after Lord Brabazon of Tara, who headed a committee that produced a government report on […]

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Albatros D.V

Entering service in May 1917, the Alhatros D.V was Germany’s answer to the British S.E.5 and French SPAD fighters, which were dominating the air war on the Western Front. Broadly similar to its forebear, The Albatros D.III, the D.V had an elegantly streamlined monocoque fuselage with a cowled Mercedes water-cooled engine and a large spinner over the propeller boss. It was an […]

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Bristol Beaufighter

Bristol’s pugnacious Type 156 Beaufighter was a heavy two-seater, long-range fighter that proved a formidable night interceptor and anti-shipping aircraft. A hastily improvised concept combining the flying surfaces and rear fuselage of the Beaufort torpedo bomber with a new front fuselage and higher-powered engines, the Beaufighter progressed from design to prototype in just six months. The Mk 1F nightfighter entered service in August […]

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Bristol Type 138A

The Type 138A was purpose-built for record-breaking high-altitude flights, which were the object of intensive research and considerable national rivalry in the 1930s. It was commissioned by Britain’s Air Ministry,  which turned to the Bristol Aeroplane Company because its engines Had powered many of the aircraft used in previous attempts on the world altitude record. Designed by Frank S. Barnwell for […]

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Sopwith Pup

Awell-proportioned single-seater with delightful handling qualities, the Sopwith Pup was a “pilot’s aeroplane”, loved and remembered with fondness by all who flew it. Formally called the Sopwith Scout by the Royal Flying Corps and t he Type 9901 by the Royal Naval Air Service, the Pup acquired its familiar name because it gave the appearance of being a diminutive offspring of Sopwith’s larger […]

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Airco D.H.4

Designed by Geoffrey dc Havilland, the Airco D.H.4 is regarded as the best single-engine day bomber of World War I. It outpaced all but the fastest German fighters and defended itself effectively; the pilot operated a fixed forward-firing Vickers gun and there was a moveable Lewis gun on the observer’s gun ring. The one major design drawback was the distance between […]

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Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a

It is debatable whether the nifty S.E.5a or the Sopwith Camel was the finest British single-seat fighter of World War I. Certainly, the former was easier to fly, killing and maiming far fewer Allied pilots than the unforgiving Camel. The S.E.5 (“S.E.” for “Scout Experimental”) was designed to exploit the potential of the innovatory Hispano-Suiza in-line engine; the S.E.5a, which was […]

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Felixstowe F.2A

The Felixstowe F.2A was a first-rate flying boat that gave sterling service to Britain’s Royal Naval Air Service on anti-submarine and maritime patrol missions. It derived from the Curtiss H2 “Large America” flying boats supplied to the Royal Navy in early 1917. These American aeroplanes were excellent flyers, but the hull was structurally weak. Squadron Commander John Porte of the Royal Naval Air […]

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Saunders-Roe Princess

The epitome of those large, elegant commercial flying boats that had reigned supreme on intercontinental air routes in the 1930s, the Saunders-Roe Princess had the misfortune to be born into a postwar world whose requirements had changed. Certainly, the aircraft had ample power, with ten Bristol Proteus turboprop engines installed as coupled pairs in each of the four inboard nacelles, and as single […]