The Blackburn T3 Velos was a development of the Blackburn Dart designed to meet a Greek Navy requirement for a Coastal Defence Seaplane with a combination of roles including torpedo dropping, reconnaissance, bombing and training.
Four aircraft were built by Blackburn Aircraft Company, two of these being demonstrated at Brough on 28th October 1925 in front of a distinguished audience. This included senior British officers and representatives from several countries and their navies including the United States, Italy, Australia, Argentina and Spain.
The Blackburn T3 Velos differed from the T2 Dart in having a two-seat cockpit with a rear-mounted .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis Gun, an increased weapons load with four 230 lb bombs carried under the wings and provisions to fly as either a seaplane with floats or with a conventional undercarriage.
In 1925, four aircraft were built at Brough Aerodrome for the Greek Navy and this led to licenced production of twelve more aircraft at the Greek National Aircraft Factory at Old Phaleron.
The two aircraft that had been demonstrated in October 1925 were temporarily fitted with dual controls for use as trainers prior to the availability of the Greek production aircraft.
The Greek-built aircraft (designated T3A Velos) featured a raised rear cockpit to give an improved field of fire for the observer and a larger radiator. The first of the aircraft flew on 17th March 1926.
When carrying a torpedo, the Velos was operated as a single-seat aircraft although when used for long-range reconnaissance it had two external fuel tanks fitted under the lower wings.
One aircraft was retained at Blackburn’s for trials of metal floats made from Duralumin although this aircraft (G-AAUM) was later converted into a civil trainer in 1931. One further T3A Velos was built by Blackburn for use as a company demonstrator which featured a raised rear cockpit, torpedo gear, long range tanks and metal floats. In early 1927 it was used for an extensive Sales Tour of South America.
Sadly the tour failed to produce orders and the aircraft was also converted to a civil trainer (G-EBWB) and it joined another aircraft (G-AAUM) in the fleet of the North Sea Aerial and General Transport Co Ltd. It was later operated as a seaplane trainer with the RAF Reserve Flying School at Brough and these two aircraft were to be joined by four further civil machines (G-AAAW, G-AAAX, G-AAAY & G-AAAZ) that had been built as trainers from the outset.
After 1929, all of the remaining British aircraft were converted to landplane configuration and most were withdrawn from use and scrapped from 1933 onward.
One aircraft (G-AAAW) was sold to a private owner in 1933 and it was then passed on to the Shuttleworth Collection. Sadly by then the aircraft was not fully airworthy and it was scrapped in 1935, becoming a source of aircraft quality timber for the rebuilding of the collection’s Bleriot and Deperdussin monoplanes.
Variants & Numbers Built
|Prototypes||Four T3 aircraft for Greece. One retained by Blackburn was used for float trials and converted to a civil trainer as G-AAUM|
|T3A Velos||Twelve aircraft built in Greece|
|T3A (UK built)||One aircraft built for South American demonstration tour (subsequently G-EBWB). Four aircraft for North Sea Aerial and General Transport Co Ltd G-AAAW – G-AAAZ.|
|Total production||Blackburn: 4 (for Greece, one retained in UK), 5 (Used as trainers in UK); Greek National Aircraft Factory: 12 aircraft. Total 21 aircraft.|
Specification (T3A Velos torpedo version)
|Powerplant||One 450 hp Napier Lion V engine|
|Span||48 ft 6 in|
|Maximum Weight||6,370 lb||7,000 lb|
|Capacity & Armament||Two crew; Lewis gun in rear cockpit; one torpedo or 920 lb bomb load. Operated as single-seater when torpedo carried.|
|Maximum Speed||107 mph||100 mph|
|Endurance||4.5 hours||3.5 hours|
No Blackburn Velos aircraft survive.