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Bristol
Type 109

The Bristol Type 109 was designed for long-range record breaking, but subsequently used for engine endurance testing.
Bristol Type 109 G-EBZK on airfield The Bristol Type 109 G-EBZK at Filton in July 1928 as originally flown with Jupiter VIII engine.
 
The Bristol Type 109 was a large single engine, two-bay biplane designed by Frank Barnwell with a view to long-distance record breaking. The single prototype (G-EBZK) flew for the first time on 7th September 1928.
 
The design itself was created as a result of the Air Ministry issuing a tender for a 'special long-range aeroplane'. In the event, Fairey Aviation Company had produced their Long Range Monoplane and it was this design which was the preferred choice.
 
Despite this, Bristol pressed ahead with the construction of the Type 109 prototype on a private venture basis. The primary motivation was to gain publicity for the performance and reliability of the Jupiter engine during the conduct of some long-range flights.
 
Bristol Type 109 side view A side view of the Bristol Type 109 Long Range Biplane G-EBZK.
 
When assembled however, it was found that the integral aluminium fuel tanks in the lower wing were not strong enough to withstand the fuel pressure when the upper wing tanks were also full.
 
By the time of the type’s first flight, the distance record had been extended to 4,500 miles, which with due allowance for adverse winds, was beyond its safe capability. The first flight was made using the original fuel tanks, but only using those in the upper wings.
 
The fuel system was redesigned to accommodate steel tanks of reduced capacity, which reduced the maximum range potential to 3,300 miles. It was felt that the aircraft could still be used for long Point-to-Point flights, or even for a round-the-World flight.
 
In the end however, no long-distance flying took place and the Type 109, like a number of other unsuccessful prototypes, was used solely for engine testing and specifically for an Air Ministry-funded 350 hour endurance tests of the Jupiter XIF engine.
 
Bristol Type 109 R2 Jupiter XIF Bristol Type 109 R-2 in September 1930 with Jupiter XIF engine for endurance trials.
 
For these trials, conducted between September 1930 and March 1931, the aircraft carried the markings R-2 and was fitted with the replacement steel fuel tanks and wheel brakes.
 
The Type 109 was scrapped in late 1931 have never flown beyond the UK shores.

Specification

Powerplant 480 hp Jupiter VIII, later 490 hp Jupiter XIF
Span 51 ft 2 in
Maximum Weight 9,800 lb (originally 11,910 lb)
Capacity  Two pilots with dual controls sat in tandem in an enclosed cockpit
Cruise Speed 90 mph
Design range 3,300 miles (originally 5,400 miles estimated)

Numbers built

One only built (G-EBZG) which was scrapped in late 1931.

Survivors

No examples survive.