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Bristol
Racing Biplane

A clean tractor biplane, whose promise remained unfulfilled due to an accident at the end of its first attempted flight.
Bristol Racing Biplane 1911 front port The neat Bristol Racing Biplane photographed in March 1911.
 
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.
 
Bristol Racing Biplane 1911 No33 The Bristol Racing Biplane 1911 carried the Bristol build number 33 on its rudder.

Specification

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

Number built

Single example only, damaged beyond repair during initial trials at Larkhill in April 1911.

Survivors

Nil.

Other information