Bristol Type 133 open cockpit after 1st flight
The Bristol Type 133 after its first flight, showing open cockp...
 
The Bristol 133 was a prototype single-seat monoplane fitted with a single engine and retractable undercarriage. It was the second offering from the Bristol Aerplance Company (after the Rolls-Royce Goshawk-powered Bristol Type 123 biplane) against Air Ministry Specification F.7/30 calling for a four-gun day and night fighter.
 
The Type 133 used a 620hp Bristol Mercury VI engine and was that of an inverted gull-wing configuration, with fairings for the retractable main wheels, mounted from the ‘knuckle’ of the wing.
 
The first Type 133 (R-10) with an open cockpit, was first flown by Bristol test pilot Cyril Unwins on 8th June 1934. A cockpit enclosure was subsequently fitted. Another striking feature 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 cockpi...
 
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...
 
Sadly, the Type 133 did not actually reach the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Martlesham Heath for official trials, being lost in a spinning accident on 8th March 1935, with the pilot escaping by parachute. Apparently, the problem occurred whilst spinning with the undercarriage down and  it was evident that when the aircraft entered a flat spin, it had very little forward speed when it struck the ground.
 
Bristol Type 133 post-accident
The promising Bristol Type 133 came to a sad end during its spi...
 
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. However, Specification F.7/30 was eventually awarded to the Gloster Gladiator
 
Consequently, it is considered unlikely that despite its initial potential, the Type 133 would ever have 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

None (prototype destroyed during spinning trials in March 1935).

 

Other information

 

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