The Bristol Aeroplane Company Type 130 Bombay was a large, twin-engine, high-wing monoplane British Troop Transport, built to meet to Specification C.26/31, which called for a Bomber / Transport Monoplane to replace the Vickers Valentia and to carry 24 equipped troops during the Second World War.
Problems of wing torsional stiffness experienced with the earlier Bristol Bagshot led to the use of a seven spar, stressed skin cantilever wing with a fixed undercarriage whose long main legs were attached from the engine mounts. Twin Pegasus engines were used and the empennage featured twin fins and rudders mounted inboard from the tailplane tips. Defensive armament was provided by a nose-mounted turret with a Lewis gun and a rear mounted gunner’s station.
The type also had provisions for bomb-carriage with a bomb-aiming station in the nose. The crew was made up of a pilot in an enclosed cockpit, a navigator / bomb-aimer in the nose and a radio operator / gunner who moved between the radio post behind the pilot and the gun turret in the nose. If operating as a bomber, the crew would be supplemented with an additional gunner for the tail gun.
The prototype Bristol Bombay Type 130 (K3583) was first flown on 23rd June 1935, powered by two 750 hp Pegasus III engines and twin bladed propellers. Flight testing was successful and an order being placed for 80 aircraft in July 1937, although in the end only 50 were ever completed.
Several changes were incorporated into the production Bristol Bombay aircraft, including revisions to the fin shape, more powerful engines, three-bladed variable pitch propellers and the use of front and rear hydraulically-operated turrets equipped with single Vickers guns.
Production comprised the single Bristol-built prototype and 50 production Bombay aircraft. These were built by Short & Harland Ltd, in Belfast, as Filton was fully occupied at the time with production of the Bristol Blenheim.
The complexities of the Bristol Bombay's wing design caused delays and the first production aircraft never flew until March 1939. That said, the Bristol Bombay gave valuable wartime service, in both its transport and bombing roles, mainly in the Middle East before being superseded by more modern types.
The type also operated with RAAF No 1 Air Ambulance Unit in Egypt.
In Europe, its bombing capabilities were outclassed so it was utilised extensively in its transport role and during the Sicily Campaign of 1943, it evacuated over 2,000 wounded servicemen. One Bristol Bombay Air Crew is credited with the evacuation of over 6,000 troops from Sicily and Italy, before the type was finally retired from service in 1944.
|Bristol 130A Bombay I|
|Powerplant||Two 1,010 hp Bristol Pegasus XXII|
|Span||95 ft 9 in|
|Maximum Weight||20,180 lb|
|Capacity & Armament||Pilot and two crew and 24 troops. Forward and rear turrets, each with a single Vickers gun. Carriage of up to eight 250 lb bombs on racks beneath fuselage.|
|Maximum Speed||192 mph|
|Cruise Speed||160 mph|
|Endurance / Range||2,230 miles (with overload fuel)|
Variants and number built
|Type 130 (K3583)||
|Type 130A Bombay I||50 production aircraft built by Short & Harland Ltd|
No Bombay aircraft survive.