The Bristol Racing Biplane was an attractive design that, like the Avro Type D, anticipated a number of features that were to become standard on later designs. It was a single-seat aircraft constructed to amalgamate the performance of a monoplane with the strength and durability of a biplane.
Although designed by Robert Grandseigne and Leon Versepuy, it was under the close supervision of George Challenger and the type is regarded as the first British built design in what became the conventional tractor biplane layout.
An unequal-span tractor biplane, with a neatly-cowled 50 hp Gnome engine, mounted in the nose, the Racing Biplane was exhibited at the 1911 Olympia Aero Show in March 1911.
It featured steel wing spars at around the quarter chord point of a double surfaced cambered wing. The fuselage was of rectangular cross-section and fabric covered for its entire length. Unusually, single vertical struts were used for both the centre section and main wing struts.
The wings were designed to be folded for storage and used wing warping for lateral control. A conventional tailplane and elevators were fitted, with a small all-moving rudder.
After being shown at Olympia, the Racing Biplane (sometimes referred to as 'The Racer' or 'Biplane 53', the aircraft was moved in April 1911 to Larkhill for trials.
Unfortunately, it had the misfortune to turn over on landing at the end of its first attempted flight and was not repaired.
|Powerplant||One 50 hp Gnome rotary engine|
|Span||27 ft 0 in|
|Length||25 ft 0 in|
|All up weight||750 lb|
|Speed||55 mph (estimated)|
|Capacity||Single pilot only|
Single example only, damaged beyond repair during initial trials at Larkhill in April 1911.