Bristol 21 Scout F | BAE Systems | International

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Bristol 21 Scout F

A promising fighter design that appeared too late for service in the First World War
Bristol 21A Scout F1 at Filton around 1919 The Bristol 21A Scout F1 at Filton around 1919.
 
The Bristol Scout F was designed as a high performance fighter that used a conventional, rather than rotary, engine. It was a single seat fighter with excellent handling qualities - sadly that potential did not come to fruition due to the lack of suitable engines and a lack of requirement after the end of the First World War.
 
It was a single-seat biplane of unequal span and the initial design by Frank Barnwell had been based upon the 200 hp Hispano Suiza engine.  Unfortunately for Bristol Aeroplane Company, and despite government promises, these were not avialable due to the need to fulfil SE5A production.  
 
As a result, the first aircraft appeared with the Sunbeam Arab liquid-cooled engine which proved to be an unsatisfactory compromise in terms of performance, vibration and reliability.
 
The Scout F was eventually tested in March 1918 followed by a 2nd aircraft, also being flown with the Arab engine.
 
A third aircraft, designated Scout F.1, was flown with the Cosmos Mercury radial engine on 4th September 1918 and demonstrated a promising performance and high top speed.  Sadly, this was the final and last Scout to fly as although a 4th airframe had been constructed, the Armistice bought an end to wartime production and the type was abandoned.
 

 

Another view of the Bristol 21A Scout F1 at Filton around 1919. Another view of the Bristol 21A Scout F1 at Filton around 1919.

Specification

  Scout F Scout F.1
Powerplant 200 hp Sunbeam Arab 315 hp Cosmos Mercury
Span 29 ft 7 in
Maximum Weight 2,200 lb 2,260 lb
Capacity & Armament Two seat, one forward firing 0.303 Vickers machine gun and one Scarff-mounted 0.303 Lewis gun
Maximum Speed 138 mph at sea level, 128 mph at 10,000 ft 145 mph

Number built

 4 aircraft              One aircraft not flown and used for structural test 

 

Survivors

No aircraft survive

Other information