The Bristol Aeroplane Company Type 81 Puma School Trainer was a British two-seat utility biplane and was a dual control adaptation of the Bristol Tourer aircraft, fitted with Frise ailerons and oleo landing gear.
Its origins were with a two-seat Bristol Type 29 Tourer (G-EAXA), which was produced in the years following World War I, using as many components as possible from the successful Bristol F2B Fighter. The Bristol Type 81 however, was fitted with dual controls in 1922, and evaluated as a trainer.
Four similar aircraft were built for use by the Filton Reserve Flying School (registered G-EBFR to G-EBFU) and known as the Type 81.
First flown around May 1923, these aircraft had mixed fortunes; One aircraft (G-ABFR) crashed during landing at Yeovil Aerodrome in June 1923, prior to the issue of its Certificate of Airworthiness. Meanwhile, another (G-EBFS) was scrapped in May 1924, and whilst a third (G-EBFT) crashed at Filton in March 1925. The fourth G-EBFU also crashed at Filton in 1928.
In parallel, the Greek government had ordered six Tourers, as advanced trainers, specifying that it should be possible to convert them to fighters, if required. These aircraft were flight tested in April and May 1925 using a single Siddeley-Deasy Puma engine, supplied by the Greek customer.
These airframes (designated Bristol Type 81A) were shipped without engines to Greece, where Siddeley-Deasy Puma engines were fitted locally.
These aircraft differed from the Bristol Type 81, having enlarged rudders and being radio-equipped. All the Greek aircraft were subsequently converted to Rolls-Royce Falcon power in 1931.
(Data in parentheses relates to Greek Type 81A with Rolls-Royce Falcon engine)
|Powerplant||230 hp Siddeley Puma (or 275 hp Rolls-Royce Falcon)|
|Span||39 ft 5 in|
|Maximum Weight||2,800 lb (3,000 lb)|
|Capacity & Armament||Pilot and student; provisions for armament (Greek Type 81A).|
|Maximum Speed||120 mph (125 mph)|
|Endurance||5 hr (4 hr)|
Variants and number built
|Type 81||Four Puma engined aircraft for Filton Reserve Flying School|
|Type 81A||Six aircraft for the Greek Navy; initially Puma-powered, later re-engined with Rolls-Royce Falcon.|
|Total built||Ten aircraft|