Bristol had found initial success with the Farman-inspired Boxkite, of which some 78 aircraft were built. The company was less fortunate however with their later designs. The Racing Biplane and the 1911 Monoplane were both unsuccessful, with the Type T only being built in small numbers.
After this, the company turned to the monoplane, with successful designs being designed by Pierre Prier, followed by Henri Coanda.
Pierre Prier joined the company in June 1911, from the Bleriot Company at Hendon, to take charge of tractor type monoplane design and development with Gordon England taking over biplane design.
Prier led the design of five types of monoplane, which were first flown between July 1911 and the end of 1912. The first two aircraft were the P-1 and the School monoplane, both being single-seaters. Three P-1 and seven School monoplanes were built, the first P-1 (build number 46) flying in July 1911.
Of the two P-1 aircraft, build numbers 56 and 57 were entered in the 1911 Circuit of Britain Race but eventually however they failed to take part; Prier himself crashed No 56 on the morning of the race whilst the other pilot (O.C. Morison) suffered an eye injury and was unfit to fly.
The P-1, powered by a 50hp Gnome, had a slightly more complex undercarriage than the School monoplane, which was powered by a 35hp three-cylinder Anzani radial engine. Both aircraft had all-moving tail surfaces, with no separate rudder or elevators.
P-1 No 56 was subsequently re-engined with a 40 hp Isaacson engine for its owner James Valentine for entry in the second British Empire Michelin Cup Race.
The P-1 and School machines were mainly used at the British & Colonial Flying School at Larkhill, although one (No 81) was later sold in Spain and two in Italy.
A two-seater version was then developed, in collaboration with Bertram Dickson and James Valentine with the first aircraft being build number 58. A total of 11 examples of this version were built and proved to be very successful with and examples being exported to Spain, Italy (four aircraft) and Germany.
One example (build number 75) was also ordered by the Central Flying School and received RFC Serial number 256.
Next came a lengthened two-seater (the first example being build number 82) in which Bertram Dickson had a greater role. This type is generally referred to as the Prier-Dickson monoplane and flew in July 1912. After Prier had left the company a total of 10 were built.
The RFC’s machine (build number 75) was subsequently modified to this standard, receiving, like the other Prier-Dickson monoplanes, a fixed tailplane and conventional elevators in place of the original all-moving design.
The fuselage of the two-seater was lengthened by 2 feet 6 inches and the wingspan increased to 34 feet with power provided by a 70 hp Gnome rotary. One additional aircraft was delivered to the Royal Flying Corps (build number 91) receiving serial number 261. Examples were also exported to Germany, Turkey and Bulgaria.
The final development, the Prier-Coanda monoplane was completed by Henri Coanda. This was a side-by-side two-seat aircraft, of which three were built. Two were exported to Germany, with No 108 being retained for use by the Larkhill School, until it was written-off in July 1913.
The total number of aircraft built in this family was 34 aircraft between July 1911 and December 1912. Most of these aircraft had very short lives and no examples have survived.
|Prier P-1||School||Two Seat Short||Prier-Dickson||Prier-Coanda|
|Powerplant||50 hp Gnome||35 hp Anzani||50 hp Gnome||70 hp Gnome||50 hp Gnome|
|Span||30 ft 2 in||30 ft 2 in||32 ft 9 in||34 ft 0 in||35 ft 6 in|
|Maximum Weight||820 lb||780 lb||1,000 lb||1,080 lb||1,080 lb|
|Capacity||Pilot only||Pilot only||Two seat||Two seat||Two seat|
|Maximum Speed||68 mph||58 mph||65 mph||65 mph||65 mph|
Variants and number built
|Prier P-1||Three, 50 hp Gnome, build numbers 46, 56, 57|
|School Monoplane||Seven, 35 hp Anzani, build numbers 68, 81, 95-98, 102|
|Two Seat Short||Eleven, 50 hp Gnome, build numbers 58, 71-76, 83, 84, 90, 94|
|Two Seat Long||Ten, 70 hp Gnome, build numbers 82, 85-89, 91, 130, 155, 156|
|Prier-Coanda||Three, side-by-side, 70 hp Gnome, build numbers 107, 108, 109|
|Total||34 aircraft in five variants|
No Prier Monoplanes survive.