The Bristol Aeroplane Company Tourer series of civil utility aircraft were developments of the Bristol F.2b Fighter for civilian use following the end of the First World War.
A standard but unarmed Bristol F2b Fighter (H1460) was ordered for communications duties and was fitted with a hinged cover over the rear passenger seat. This became known as the Bristol Type 27 Coupé.
The next development was the Bristol Type 29 Tourer – an unarmed Bristol Fighter with a Siddeley Puma engine. It was initially used as a company communications aircraft whilst a second machine was sold to a private owner in the United States.
The type was subsequently produced in two and three seat configurations. In the three-seat variants, the passengers sat side-by-side in either open or enclosed (coupé) cockpits. A two-seat variant was also produced with either an open or enclosed passenger cockpit as well as a three-seat seaplane variant.
When Bristol type numbers were allocated, the following type numbers were retrospectively allocated to the Bristol Tourer series:
- Bristol 27 Coupé: conversion of Bristol Fighter H1460
- Bristol 28 Tourer: three-seat with coupé passenger cockpit
- Bristol 29 Tourer: two seat open passenger cockpit
- Bristol 47 Tourer: three-seat open passenger cockpit
- Bristol 48 Tourer Seaplane: three-seat open passenger cockpit
The Bristol Type 28 Tourer was similar in concept with two passengers sat side-by-side in the rear cockpit under a glazed and hinged cover. The rear cockpit was accessed by an agricultural-looking ladder bolted to the port side of the fuselage and allowing access over the exhaust pipe, which extended beyond the rear cockpit.
Ten Bristol Type 28 Coupé Tourers were built, all of which were exported. Most notable of these was to Australia, where a number gave excellent service with West Australian Airways.
The first three seat Bristol Type 28 Coupé aircraft (constructor’s number 5891) was exhibited at Olympia in July 1920, before exported to the United States in August. This aircraft (and other Tourers exported to the USA) was painted dark grey with blue undersides and the word ‘Bristol’ painted in longhand on the fuselage sides.
One aircraft (G-EAWQ - 6114) was sold in Spain (as M-AAEA) but it was destroyed at San Sebastian during its delivery flight in April 1921.
The remaining eight aircraft were all delivered to Australia. The first aircraft (G-AUCA - 6111) went to Colonel Brinsmead, the Director of Civil Aviation in June 1921. This aircraft was used for extensive route surveys, covering some 9,000 miles.
Six aircraft (registered G-AUDF to G-AUDK) were operated by West Australian Airways. Regrettably, oone aircraft (G-AUDI) crashed on 5th December 1921 as the airline started its services, with the loss of its pilot and engineer.
The service resumed however, and operated with considerable regularity. By June 1926, the fleet had flown some 485,000 miles carrying mail and parcels, as well as over 3,000 passengers.
In 1927, one aircraft (G-AUDK) was flown from Perth to Sidney, a distance of 2,300 miles, with the first Trans-Australian female passenger Mrs JW Marshall. The same aircraft was then flown 7,500 miles around Australia by Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm in just over ten days, during June 1927.
The remaining airframe (6113) was supplied as a spare and used, together with parts (from G-AUCA) to produce one final aircraft (G-AUDX).
An unrelated Bristol F2b Fighter (H1248) was rebuilt locally in Australia in a similar Bristol Type 28 Coupé configuration and used by QANTAS, initially with the Flying Doctor Service and finally in New Guinea, until 1928.
|Bristol Type 28 three seat Coupé Tourer|
|Powerplant||230 hp Siddeley Puma|
|Span||39 ft 5 in|
|Maximum Weight||3,000 lb|
|Maximum Speed||120 mph|
|Total built||Ten aircraft: c/n 5891 (to US), G-AUCA, G-AUDF – G-AUDK, c/n 6113 (spare airframe later flown as G-AUDX), G-EAWQ / M-AAEA. One similar aircraft H1248 / G-AUEB converted in Australia.|