Bristol 30

One of the first new types to be designed for the private owner after the end of the First World War
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 biplane for use by private-owners and 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, 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 45 hp Viale.  


Engine selection was problematic with the Viale engine having to be resurrected from a storage shed where it had sat for 8 years after being involved in a crash in an Avro Type F in 1911.   Eventually this, and another aircraft, were re-engined with 60 hp Le Rhône rotary engines and were designated as Babe III's. The third aircraft never 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 flying aircraft was briefly modified into a monoplane configuration but 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 Babe II as Type 46 and the Babe II as Type 46A.


Specification 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

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


Bristol Aero Collection, Filton, UK

Other information