Blackburn Mercury I 50hp Isaacson flying Filey 1911
The Mercury I monoplane (50hp Isaacson) flying at Filey in 1911.
The Blackburn Mercury Monoplane was a two-seat pilot trainer development of the Blackburn Second Monoplane and is regarded as the first truly successful aircraft made by Blackburn Aeroplanes of Leeds.
The Blackburn Mercury I, powered by a 50 hp Isaacson radial engine, was displayed at the Olympia Aero Show in March 1911, after which it began flying from the beach at Filey, as part of the newly formed Blackburn Flying School.
The date of its first flight is not recorded although on 17th May 1911, it carried out a return flight from Filey to Scarborough, returning in just 19 minutes. It set an average speed of 50 mph and recorded an altitude of 1200 feet. Unfortunately, the following day the engine seized, resulting in the loss of the propeller.
After being repaired, this machine continued in use with the Blackburn Flying School, making other cross-country trips to and continuing in use at least until October 1911. The Blackburn Mercury I can be identified by the presence of two cylindrical external fuel tanks mounted across the fuselage close to the wing leading edge.
Blackburn Mercury II Gnome Filey 1911
One of the Gnome-powered single-seat Mercury II aircraft flying at Filey.
The Blackburn Mercury I was followed by two single-seat Mercury II aircraft, powered by 50 hp Gnome engines, built with a view to competing in the £10,000 Daily Mail Circuit of Britain race.
The first of these was flown at Filey in July 1911, although it was subsequently destroyed in a take off accident at Brooklands on 22nd July.  
Blackburn Mercury II July 11 1st s-seat FC Jenkins
F Conway Jenkins in the first single-seat Mercury II at Filey in July 1911.
The second Blackburn Mercury II was flown for the first time on 7th July 1911, whereafter it was converted to a two-seat configuration in August that year. As a two-seater, it conducted a popular tour of the West Country including making the first double-crossing of the Bristol Channel by air.
It flew in this form (also known as the Blackburn Type B) until it was damaged at Eastbourne on 30th March 1912. Following this incident, it was reverted to a single-seat configuration (with wing-span increased to 36ft 0in) and flown at Hendon where it remained until June 1913.
Blackburn Mercury III Filey
The fourth Blackburn Mercury III flying at Filey in May 1912.
There followed 6 x two-seat Mercury III aircraft, fitted with a number of different engines as seen below. The first Blackburn Mercury III (sometimes known as the Blackburn Mercury Passenger Type) flew for the first time on 9th November 1911, powered by a 60hp Renault engine.
Blackburn Mercury III 60hp Renault
The first Mercury III with 60hp Renault engine and the initial rectangular wing.
Sadly, this aircraft crashed following a failure of the wing fabric and structure, after a sudden pull-up at high speed on 6th December 1911. Pilot Hubert Oxley and passenger Robert Weiss were sadly killed in the accident. It was reported that at some point, the wings had been modified from a rectangular to a tapered planform, with the aircraft being fitted with these new wings at the time of this accident.
Five further Blackburn Mercury III aircraft were built in 1911 /12 with either a 50hp Gnome, Isaacson or Anzani engines. These aircraft differed in their details and continued in use, in some cases into mid-1913.
Blackburn Mercury III passenger taper wing
The first Mercury III with tapered wing planform outside the hangar at Filey.

Variants & Number Built

Blackburn Mercury I
One aircraft, 50 hp Isaacson radial, twin external fuel tanks above wing leading edge
Blackburn Mercury II
Two aircraft, 50 hp Gnome, built as single seaters; second aircraft modified to two-seater, then reverted to single seat Type B and used at Hendon.
Blackburn Mercury III
Six aircraft as follows: No1 - 60hp Renault initially with rectangular wing. Fitted with tapered wing and destroyed in fatal accident 6th December 1911.
Blackburn Mercury III
No 2 - 50hp Isaacson radial. First flew May 1912 used at Hendon until June 1913. Fitted with raised upper rudder.
Blackburn Mercury III
No3 - 50hp Gnome rotary. First flew Brooklands 25th December 1911. Used by Lt Spenser Grey and then at the Hendon School.
Blackburn Mercury III
No4 – 50hp Gnome rotary. First flown in March 1912. Featured cut-away trailing edge wing roots.
Blackburn Mercury III
No5 – 50hp Anzani radial
Blackburn Mercury III
No6 – 50hp Gnome rotary. First flown at Filey in June 1912. Cutaway wing roots and modified undercarriage.
Total built
Nine: one Mercury I. two Mercury II, six Mercury III



Mercury I
Mercury II
Mercury III
50 hp Isaacson              
50 hp Gnome                   
Various engines (listed in Number & Variants Table)
38 ft 4 in
32 ft 0 in
32 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight
1,000 lb
700 lb
800 lb
Pilot only
One or two seats
Maximum Speed
60 mph
70 mph
75 mph with Renault engine



None, although the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, displays a full-size replica of the  Blackburn Mercury I, built for Yorkshire Television for the Edwardian drama series ‘Flambards’
12 Default Profile Image
BAE Systems
The information shown is based on that available at the time of the content creation. If you have any additions or corrections then please contact us via email - All images BAE Systems / Ron Smith copyright unless otherwise shown.