Bristol Blenheim

The Bristol Blenheim was a British light bomber aircraft designed and built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company that was used extensively in the early days of the Second World War. It was adapted as an interim long-range and night fighter, pending the availability of the Beaufighter. It was one of the first British aircraft to have all-metal stressed-skin construction, to utilise retractable landing gear, flaps, powered gun turret and variable pitch propellers. A Canadian-built variant named the Bolingbroke was used as an anti-submarine and training aircraft.

The Blenheim Mk I outshone most biplane fighters in the late 1930s but stood little chance against the German Messerschmitt Bf 109 during daylight operations, though it proved successful as a night fighter. The Mark IV variant was equally unsuccessful, suffering major losses in the early stages of the war.

On the day that war was declared on Germany a Blenheim piloted by Flying Officer Andrew McPherson was the first British aircraft to cross the German coast and the following morning 15 Blenheims from three squadrons set off on one of the first bombing missions. With the rapid advances in technology which had taken place in the late 1930s, by then the aircraft was already obsolescent. The Blenheim was regarded as a pleasant aircraft to fly, although it did have some characteristics which could catch even experienced pilots by surprise. It had become heavier as extra service equipment was installed; much of this was found to be needed through operational experience. This, coupled with the rapid performance increases of fighters, had eclipsed the Blenheim's speed advantage.

General characteristics
  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 42 ft 7 in (12.98 m)
  • Wingspan: 56 ft 4 in (17.17 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 10 in (3.0 m)
  • Wing area: 469 ft² (43.6 m²)
  • Empty weight: 9,790 lb (4,450 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 14,400 lb (6,545 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2× Bristol Mercury XV radial engine, 920 hp (690 kW) each
  • Propellers: Three-bladed Hamilton Standard propeller

  • Maximum speed: 266 mph (231 kn, 428 km/h)
  • Range: 1,460 mi (1,270 nmi, 2,351 km)
  • Service ceiling: 27,260 ft (8,310 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,500 ft/min[citation needed] (7.6 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 30.7 lb/ft² (150 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.13 hp/lb (.21 kW/kg)

  • 1 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine gun
  • 2 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning guns
  • 2 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning guns in dorsal turret
  • 4 × 250 lb (113 kg) bombs or
  • 2 × 500 lb (227 kg) bombs internally and 8× 40 lb (18 kg) bombs
** Bristol Blenheim - Warbird Fare

Other Warbirds

Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Delicious Digg More Favorites

Back To Top