The Bristol Type 30 Babe was a small biplane for use by private-owners and it was one of the earliest British aircraft designed specifically for this role after the end of the First World War.
Its creator Frank Barnwell, Chief Designer at Bristol, was also a major enthusiast and it was almost as though it was designed around his ideas of what a 'private aircraft' should feature.
Three aircraft were built although only two were actually flown.
The first to fly (which was the second built) flew on 28th November 1919, powered by a 45 hp Viale.
Engine selection was problematic with the Viale engine having to be resurrected from a storage shed where it had sat for 8 years after being involved in a crash in an Avro Type F in 1911. Eventually this, and another aircraft, were re-engined with 60 hp Le Rhône rotary engines and were designated as Babe III's. The third aircraft never flew although just to confuse the engine issue further it appeared at the 1919 Paris Aero Show fitted with an incomplete Ounce engine.
During the first flight Bristol Chief Test Pilot Cyril Unwins reported that the aircraft was an 'easy aircraft for an experienced pilot but rather unstable for a novice'.
The second flying aircraft was briefly modified into a monoplane configuration but was never actually flown in this form.
All three aircraft were broken up in 1924.
A final act of confusion occurrs when looking at the Bristol Type Numbers as the Babe 1 was designated Type 30, the Babe II as Type 46 and the Babe II as Type 46A.
|Specification||Babe I||Babe III|
|Powerplant||45 hp Viale radial||60 hp Le Rhône|
|Span||19 ft 8 in|
|Maximum Weight||683 lb||840 lb|
|Maximum Speed||85 mph||107 mph|
|Babe III (G-EASD)||60 hp Gnome rotary|
|Babe 1 (G-EASD) monoplane||60 hp rotary|
|Babe 1 (G-EASQ)||45 hp Viale|
|Babe III (G-EASQ)||60 hp Gnome|
|Babe II (Unregistered)||Ounce engine - Not flown|
Bristol Aero Collection, Filton, UK