The commercial use of Bristol F2b Fighter derivatives, notably the Puma-powered Bristol Types 28, 29, 47, 48, 81 and 88 Tourers, began in January 1919. It followed a request sent to Bristol Aeroplane Company by Sir Frederick Sykes, Controller of Civil Aviation, for three Bristol Fighter aircraft to be delivered for unarmed communications duties.
These aircraft were to be provided with dual controls and to have their fuel capacity increased to provide up to five hours endurance. They were otherwise unarmed standard Bristol F.2b Fighters.
A further aircraft from this batch (H1460) was additionally modified with a glazed and hinged cover to the rear cockpit and was also fitted out with a writing table for the passenger. These differences resulted in this aircraft being known as the Bristol Coupé and was retrospectively allocated a separate type number as the sole Bristol Type 27.
On the 1st May 1919, this aircraft was used by test pilot Cyril Uwins to fly Herbert Thomas from Filton to Hounslow to meet General Seely. This date was significant as it was the first day on which civilian flying became legal once again in the UK, following its suspension in August 1914 for the duration of the Great War.
As well as increasing comfort, the rear canopy enclosure reduced the aircraft’s drag and increased its maximum speed to 128 mph, compared with a standard Bristol Fighter figure of around 123 mph.
The Bristol Type 27 Coupé led on directly to the Bristol Type 29 Tourer – an unarmed Bristol Fighter fitted with a Siddeley Puma engine. The Tourer series was subsequently produced in two and three seat configurations, as summarised below.
When Bristol type numbers were allocated, the following type numbers were retrospectively allocated to the Bristol Tourer series;
- Bristol 27 Coupé: conversion of Bristol Fighter H1460
- Bristol 28 Tourer: three-seat with coupé passenger cockpit
- Bristol 29 Tourer: two seat open passenger cockpit
- Bristol 47 Tourer: three-seat open passenger cockpit
- Bristol 48 Tourer: seaplane, three-seat open passenger cockpit
Further developments for Greece (Bristol Type 81) and Bulgaria (Bristol Type 88) are described separately.
|Bristol Type 27 Coupé|
|Powerplant||275 hp Rolls-Royce Falcon III|
|Span||39 ft 3 in|
|Maximum Weight||2,800 lb|
|Capacity||Two occupants; passenger in enclosed rear cockpit|
|Maximum Speed||128 mph|
Single example only, serial H1460. Preceded by three dual control Bristol Fighters with long-range tanks.