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Bristol
Type 133

A single-seat all-metal fighter prototype, whose potential was unfulfilled due to its loss during spinning trials..
Bristol Type 133 open cockpit after 1st flight The Bristol Type 133 after its first flight, showing open cockpit and full span ailerons/flaps.
 
The Bristol 133 was a prototype single-seat monoplane fitted with a single engine and retractable undercarriage. It was the company’s second offering (after the Goshawk-powered Type 123 biplane) against Specification F.7/30 for a four-gun day and night fighter.
 
The type used a 620hp Bristol Mercury VI engine and was of inverted gull-wing configuration with fairings for the retractable main wheels mounted from the ‘knuckle’ of the wing.
 
The Type 133 (R-10) was first flown by Cyril Unwins with an open cockpit on 8th June 1934 - a cockpit enclosure being subsequently fitted. Other striking features included a monocoque rear fuselage and (initially) full span ailerons that could be symmetrically drooped as flaps.
 
Bristol Type 133 side view ground A side view of the Type 133 R-10 fitted with an enclosed cockpit canopy.
 
The aircraft later reverted to more conventional ailerons with split flaps under the centre-section. The clean engine cowling featured a long-chord Townend-ring cowling, with an integral exhaust collector-ring.
 
Bristol Type 133 in flight The Bristol Type 133 looked elegant in flight, like a precursor of the Vought Corsair.
 
Sadly the Type 133 did not reach Martlesham Heath for official trials, being lost in a spinning accident on 8th March 1935 with the pilot escaping by parachute. The problem occurred whilst spinning with the undercarriage down.  It was evident that the aircraft was in a flat spin and it had very little forward speed when it reached the ground.
 
Bristol Type 133 post-accident The promising Bristol Type 133 came to a sad end during its spinning trials.
 
The Hawker Hurricane, which flew barely six months after the Bristol Type 133 was a much more mature design and carried twice the gun armament although Specification F.7/30 was eventualy awarded to the Gloster Gladiator
 
Consequently, it is considered unlikely that despite its initial potential, the Type 133 would have ever been selected for RAF service.

Specification

Powerplant One 640 hp Bristol Mercury VIS.2 
Span 39 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight 4,738 lb
Capacity and armament Pilot only; four forward firing Vickers machine guns
Maximum Speed 260 mph equipped

Variants

Single example only, flown marked as R-10.

Survivors

Nil; aircraft destroyed during spinning trials in March 1935.

Other information