Blackburn Type I
Monoplane

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 Blackburn Aeroplane Company two-seat Blackburn Type I was powered by an 80hp Gnôme rotary engine, with just three aircraft being built and all 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), although this was subsequently modified to have separate cockpits for each occupant. 
 
Despite Dr Christie failing to gain his Royal Aero Club licence, the aircraft was much more successful, gaining publicity by winning a 100-mile race, sponsored by the Yorkshire Evening News on 2nd October 1913. The aircraft was piloted by Harold Blackburn, who was no relation to company founder Robert Blackburn.
 
The race was staged between just the Yorkshire-built Blackburn Type 1 Monoplane and a Lancashire-built Avro 504, quickly becoming 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, covering a circuit which visited control points at Doncaster, Sheffield and Barnsley. 
 
Following the race, two large circular apertures on the Blackburn Type 1 Monoplane were opened in the front cowling to improve engine cooling whilst 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 in this revised form on 14th December 1913, again with Harold Blackburn at the controls.
 
The Blackburn Type 1 Monoplane continued flying through the 1913-14 winter, before a period flying at Sheffield from 29th March to 4th April 1914. At its 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 in the latter part of 1914 and was 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'. This was initially flown with an 80hp Gnôme engine and featured undercarriage modifications with a different tailplane design. It flew in late May or early June 1914, being also 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 Royal Flying Corps (RFC) did not regard the aircraft as being suitable for military use, selling it to W Rowland Ding of The Northern Aircraft Company Ltd at Lake Windermere. They converted the aircraft to a floatplane, fitted it with a 100hp Anzani radial engine and operated giving pleasure flights to wealthy tourists.
 
The company also ran a flying school, which advertised itself as ‘The Seaplane School - The go-ahead school' and they boasted 'The Northern Aircraft Café, which adjoined to the School Hangars. At the Cafe,
breakfasts, luncheons and teas were offered at moderate prices to student and trainee RFC pilots. Before long work commenced on the Dormy House in the School Grounds, which offered 20 bedrooms, a spacious Dining and Billiard Room. All the rooms 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, becoming 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, being subsequently 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 & Number Built


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

 

Specification


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

Survivors


None