Bristol Coanda Hydro No 120 Cowes March 1913
The Bristol Coanda Hydro biplane afloat at Cowes in March 1913.
After the temporary Royal Flying Corps (RFC) ban on the use of the monoplane, designer Henri Coanda turned his attention to a series of two-seat biplanes configured as a single float sea plane. One of these was the Bristol Coanda Hydro 120  (build number 120), built by British & Colonial Aeroplane Company
Others included the Bristol Coanda BR.7 biplane and the very successful Bristol TB.8.
In January 1913, Coanda commenced the design of a seaplane with a single central float, known as the Bristol Coanda Hydro. The aircraft bore some resemblance to the Gordon England GE.3, having a fuselage of circular cross-section mounted midway between its biplane wings.
The Bristol Coanda Hydro (build number 120) initially failed to fly when fitted with its original central float, designed by Gnosspelius of the Lakes Aircraft Company. However, it eventually succeeded in doing so on 15th April 1913 after the float had been replaced by one designed by SE Saunders & Co and manufactured using their wire-sewn 'Consuta' construction.
Bristol Coanda Hydro No 120 before first flight
The Bristol Coanda Hydro biplane (build number No 120) prior to its first flight.
Test Pilot Harry Busteed was at the controls when unfortunately the engine overheated shortly after take-off and the aircraft was destroyed in the subsequent forced landing. Thankfully, Busteed survived the crash and escaped, having been in the water for more than half an hour before being rescued.
The Bristol Coanda Hydro had been purchased by the Admiralty and was replaced by a twin float seaplane conversion of the prototype Bristol TB.8.
This was a land plane derived from the Coanda monoplane, the prototype being a conversion of the monoplane variant (No. 121). It was tested at Larkhill from July 1913 and proved much superior to the BR.7.


Powerplant 80 hp Gnome
Span 38 ft 8 in
Maximum Weight  
Capacity  Two seat
Maximum Speed 54 mph



Single example only, flown without markings.



Nil; aircraft destroyed following engine failure during first flight on 15th April 1913.


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