Bristol Aircraft Since 1910
By Christopher Henry Barnes
Publisher: Putnam 1964 415 Pages
PDF 165 MB
Like most successful enterprises, the Bristol Aeroplane Company grew from small beginnings. It was not the first to manufacture aeroplanes in Britain, being antedated by Short Brothers Limited and Handley Page Limited, but was distinguished by the very ample financial and commercial footing on which it was placed at its inception by its founder and first Chairman, Sir George White, Bt., the millionaire Bristol-born pioneer of electric tramways. While other firms began as syndicates of sportsmen and engineers, having a common interest in flying but little idea of business organisation, and were often on the verge of bankruptcy, Sir George formed his company with the express intention of developing reliable aeroplanes capable of useful and profitable operation in both peace and war.
The manner in which he announced the enterprise, and the consternation he caused among his less imaginative business colleagues, have been well described by John Pudney in Bristol Fashion, which admirably conveys the atmosphere of that heroic age in which the first 'Bristol' aeroplanes began flying. It is the purpose of this book to record the design philosophy, manufacture, performance and achievements of the multitude of Bristol aeroplanes which have spanned the half-century since then. Indeed a book of this size cannot contain more than the bare facts of the record, even if the manufacture of aeroplanes were the whole of the story. But although aeroplanes have been the continuing product, they have not always been the only one or even the most important one; nor has manufacture been the Company's sole activity.
From the first year of its existence the Company set up flying schools at Brooklands and Larkhill which provided a standard of tuition unmatched between 1910 and 1914. In 1923 the Bristol flying school was restarted at Filton to train R.A.F. Reserve pilots, and this developed into management by the Company of both Elementary and Instructors' Flying Training Schools, which remained active until 1953. Experimental work also began at an early date, and one of the most interesting projects of those days was the collaboration between the Company and Lt. Charles Burney, R.N., whose novel ideas on sea-going naval aircraft led to a series of hydrofoil experiments. Even more imaginative was Burney's proposal for an aerial torpedo to be fired from large-calibre smooth-bore naval guns, and a great deal of pioneer work was done by the Company on this project also.