Blackburn Type I

A two-seat derivative of the 1912 monoplane; three were built, one of which was operated on floats from Lake Windermere.
Blackburn Type I Monoplane open cockpit The Blackburn Type I monoplane was initially flown with the crew occupying a single open cockpit.
The two-seat Blackburn Type I was powered by an 80hp Gnôme rotary engine with just three aircraft being built, differing from each other in their details.
The first aircraft, a two-seat version, was ordered by Blackburn Flying School student Dr M.G. Christie and was flown for the first time at Lofthouse Park, Leeds on 14th August 1913.  It initially featured a single long open cockpit for the pilot and passenger (with the passenger in front) but was subsequently modified to have separate cockpits for each occupant. 
Despite DR Christie failing to gain his Royal Aero Club licence, the aircraft was more successful, gaining publicity by winning a 100-mile race sponsored by the Yorkshire Evening News on 2nd October 1913. Piloted by Harold Blackburn who was no relation to company founder Robert Blackburn.
The race was staged between the Yorkshire-built Blackburn and a Lancashire-built Avro 504 and soon became known as The War of the Roses Air Race.
Blackburn Type I original form The first Type I 'Yorkshire Rose' prepares to take-off in the 'War of the Roses' air race.
The 100-mile course began and ended at Moortown, near Leeds, in a circuit which visited control points at Doncaster, Sheffield and Barnsley. 
Following this race, two large circular apertures were opened in the front cowling to improve cooling and in December 1913, the aircraft was further modified to provide separate cockpits for the two occupants.
Type I monoplane twin cockpit stbd side The first Blackburn Type I monoplane in its final form with twin cockpits.
The second aircraft however, still featured a single pilot with the front cockpit being used as a freight compartment for the carriage of goods or mail. The kingpost supporting the bracing wires above the wing was also changed from an inverted-V structure to a single faired structure (like that used on the contemporary Bristol Coanda monoplanes). It flew on 14th December 1913 with Harold Blackburn at the controls.
It continued flying through the 1913-14 winter before a period flying at Sheffield from 29th March to 4th April 1914. At it's peak the flying displays attracted 10,000 spectators despite the often poor weather conditions at that time of year. Eventually however, it was damaged beyond repair later in 1914 and subsequently scrapped in York.
The success of these machines led to the development of a third aircraft, referred to as the 'Improved Type I monoplane' which was initially flown with an 80hp Gnôme engine and featured undercarriage modifications and a different tailplane design. It was flown in late May or early June 1914 and is known to have been flying at York as late as 9th July 1914.
When the First World War broke out it was commandeered and taken to Scarborough along with the Type L biplane (described separately).
Blackburn Type I Land Sea monoplane The Anzani-powered Blackburn Land / Sea monoplane operated by the Northern Aircraft Co at Windemere.
Sadly the RFC did not regard the aircraft as being suitable for military use and so it was sold to W Rowland Ding of The Northern Aircraft Company Ltd at Lake Windermere, who converted the aircraft to a floatplane and fitted it with a 100hp Anzani radial engine.
The company ran a flying school, which advertised itself as ‘The Seaplane School - The go-ahead school' which boasted The Northern Aircraft Café, which adjoined to the School Hangars. Breakfasts, Luncheons and Teas at moderate prices were on offer to students and trainee RFC pilots and before long work commenced on the Dormy House in the School Grounds. It offered 20 bedrooms, a spacious Dining and Billiard Room which featured the luxury of central heating throughout, a big attraction considering the austerity of the darkening war clouds over Europe.
The converted aircraft flew on floats for the first time on 26th October 1915 and became known as the ‘Blackburn Land / Sea monoplane’. It continued in use as a training aircraft for some six months before it unfortunately capsized at Bowness on 1st April 1916 and was written off.
Blackburn Type I Land Sea Windermere The Land / Sea Monoplane was used for seaplane training from October 1916 until 1st April 1916.

Variants & Numbers Built

Type I
Two aircraft. Two-seater followed by a single seat aircraft with a freight compartment.
Improved Type I
One two-seat aircraft with minor improvements, later modified as a floatplane with 100hp Anzani radial and known as the Land/Sea monoplane.
Three aircraft as detailed above


Type I monoplane
Land / Sea monoplane
One 80 hp Gnôme rotary engine
One 100 hp Anzani radial engine
38 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight
1,500 lb
1,733 lb
Pilot and passenger
Maximum speed
70 mph
82 mph
4 hours


No examples survive.