Bristol 30 Babe uncovered
Bristol Babe at Filton in October 1919 awaiting covering of lower wing and tail surfaces.

The Bristol Type 30 Babe was a small built for use by private-owners. 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 Aeroplane Company, 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 French built / Italian designed 45 hp Spirito Mario Viale engine.  


Engine selection was problematic. with the Spirito Mario Viale engine having to be resurrected from a storage shed. It had been sat under a tarpaulin for 8 years after being involved in a crash in an Avro Type F in 1911.  


Eventually this, and another aircraft, were eventually re-engined with 60 hp Le Rhône rotary engines and were designated as Bristol Babe III's. The third of the original group never actually 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 built aircraft was briefly modified into a monoplane configuration, although it was never actually flown in this form.


All three aircraft were broken up in 1924.


Bristol 30 Babe front three quarter view
Front three quarter view of the diminutive Bristol Type 30 Babe.
Bristol 30 Babe replica
Full size replica of the Bristol Babe G-EASQ in the Bristol Aero collection


A final act of confusion occurrs when looking at the Bristol Type Numbers as the Babe 1 was designated Type 30, the Bristol Babe II as Type 46 and the Babe II as Type 46A.


  Babe I Babe III
Powerplant 45 hp Viale radial 60 hp Le Rhône
Span 19 ft 8 in
Maximum Weight 683 lb 840 lb
Capacity  Single seat
Maximum Speed 85 mph 107 mph


Variants built

Bristol Babe III (G-EASD) 60 hp Gnome rotary                                                       
Bristol Babe 1 (G-EASD) monoplane 60 hp rotary
Bristol Babe 1 (G-EASQ) 45 hp Viale
Bristol Babe III (G-EASQ) 60 hp Gnome
Bristol Babe II (Unregistered) Ounce engine - Not flown



Bristol Babe III Replica
Bristol Aero Collection, Filton, UK                


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