The diminutive Bristol Scout was originally referred to as the ‘Baby’ and was a single seat rotary engine biplane designed by Bristol Head Designer Frank Barnwell and Chief Test Pilot Harry Busteed.
It was first flown on 23rd February 1914 where it demonstrated good handling and a top speed of 95 mph on the power of an 80 hp Gnome engine.
This aircraft, fitted with an 80 hp Le Rhône engine and was raced by Lord Carbery in June and July 1914. Sadly it came to grief after running out of fuel whilst crossing the channel during the return flight from Paris on 7th July 1914.
This one-off aircraft was retrospectively designated the Scout A.
Two Scout B variants were built, having underwing hoops to protect the wingtips and a new externally stiffened engine cowling. The main production types were the Scout C (161 built) and the Scout D (210 built) which were operated by both the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).
During the Great War, Capt. Lance Hawker was awarded the Victoria Cross for shooting down two enemy aircraft with a single shot on 25th July 1915, fired from the Martini carbine mounted in a Bristol Scout C .
The Scout D featured various improvements, including adaptation to fit several engine types, relocation of the oil tank, enlarging of the rudder and the use of shorter ailerons.
Engines fitted included the 80 hp Gnome, Le Rhône and Clerget, the 100 hp Monosoupape-Gnome, and the 110 hp Clerget or Le Rhône rotaries.
The Scout D was delivered to RNAS and RFC service in February 1916 and a number of Scout D aircraft were fitted with a single-synchronised Vickers gun, firing through the propeller arc.
Earlier machines were limited by not having interrupter gear fitted, although a range of gun types were fitted to fire outside the propeller arc.
The Bristol SSA was an 80 hp Clerget-powered single seat biplane designed by Henri Coanda to a French requirement, SSA standing for single seat, armoured. This aircraft first flew on 8th May 1914 and was delivered in July 1914.
The Bristol Type 8 S.2A (described separately) was an adaptation of the Scout D seating two occupants side-by-side; two were delivered to the Central Flying School in mid-1916.
|Scout A||Scout C||Scout D||SSA|
|Powerplant||80 hp Gnome||80 hp Le Rhône||100 hp Monosoupape-Gnome||80 hp Clerget|
|Span||22 ft 0 in||24 ft 7 in||24 ft 7 in||27 ft 4 in|
|Maximum Weight||960 lb||1,195 lb||1,250 lb||1,200 lb|
|Capacity & Armament||Single seat, unarmed||Single seat generally unarmed||Single seat some fitted with single machine gun||Single seat unarmed|
|Maximum Speed||95 mph||92.7 mph||110 mph||106 mph|
|Endurance||3 hr||2.5 hr||2 hr||3 hr|
Variants and number built
|Scout A||One only, c/n 206, 80hp Gnome|
|Scout B||Two aircraft, c/n 229, 230, revised wing bracing and externally stiffened cowling|
|Scout C||161 aircraft with 80hp Cnome, Le Rhone or Clerget engines|
|Scout D||210 aircraft - range of rotary engines from 80hp to 110hp.|
Nil, although three replica aircraft are displayed in the UK, and one in New Zealand, as follows:
|‘A1742’||Scout D non-flying replica BAPC38, Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden|
|‘1254’||Scout C flying replica using some original parts, registered G-FDHB, first flown in July 2015|
|unmarked||Scout D built in USA by Leo Opdyke as flying replica; now displayed uncovered at Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, Somerset|
|‘5554’||Scout C flying replica ZK-BTL, ex-N5565, NZ Warbirds Association, Ardmore, NZ|