Bristol Scout

The Bristol Scout was a single-seat biplane, which was originally designed as a racing aircraft, after the outbreak of the First World War, however, the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service served as reconnaissance aircraft.


Development and construction:

In the second half of 1913, the designers Bristol Frank Barnwell and Harry Busteed developed the unfinished aircraft for Italy a prototype under the serial number SN.183. The small and light biplane was later to participate in flight competitions and shows.

The construction consisted of staggered parallel wings and the trunk with rectangular cross-section was an orthodox wooden construction of ash and spruce, the front part was covered with aluminum sheet and the rear part with fabric.

The aircraft was equipped with a 80 hp Gnome Lambda rotary engine.

The first flight of the prototype took place on February 23, 1914 in Larkhill. In March 1914 it was then presented on the Aero Show in London. After a few more test flights, larger wings and rudders were fitted and the engine cover changed. At the same time, two more prototypes were made in the Bristol factory, one of which was sold to Lord Carbery without an engine. He had an 80 hp Le Rhône 9C eight-cylinder rotary engine installed and reported the plane for June 20 for a race from London to Manchester. After some repairs and improvements, the plane was also registered for a race from London to Paris back to London. This took place on July 11th. However, as the aircraft in France was not fully refueled, Lord Carbery had to land in the English Channel near a ship. He could be saved, but the plane sank.

With the outbreak of World War I, these types of aircraft, retroactively referred to as Scout A and Scout B, were confiscated by the British Ministry of Defense and assigned to the Royal Flying Corps in France.

When the aircraft had proven there, the RFC awarded further orders for the construction of the aircraft. For this type, classified as Scout C, some changes have been made. Thus, the fairing was replaced with one with a small frontal opening and no stiffening ribs, and the pilot's front cover was lowered for better visibility.



Bristol Scout prototype


Bristol Scout B


Bristol Scout C


Bristol Scout D




Use in the First World War:

Of the improved Scout C version reached from November 1914 to March 1915 139 pieces to the Western Front. The aircraft with the numbers 1609 and 1611 were first equipped with weapons by Captain Lanoe Hawker. On the side of the fuselage he had a Lewis machine gun mounted and was able to shoot down two German planes on July 25, 1915, and force another to land. After this mission Hawker was awarded as the first British pilot with the Victoria Cross.

Other Scout C aircraft were equipped with machine guns at both the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. These were partially mounted under the fuselage or on the engine cover. Some of the aircraft also received flying arrows or small bombs.

In November 1915, the Scout D version was delivered to the fronts. This version had changed cooling and tank systems, other engine mounts, modified struts and sometimes larger tail rudders. Some of the aircraft were also equipped with synchronized Vickers machine guns.

The aircraft were used in addition to the Western Front in Macedonia and Egypt. From May 1916, these were replaced for the most part by newer aircraft. In early 1917, the last aircraft was withdrawn and served as a training aircraft.

A total of 374 aircraft of versions A, B, C and D were built.



Bristol Scout D with two side mounted machine guns


Bristol Scout with a synchronized Vickers machine gun




Technical specifications:

Designation: Bristol Scout
Country: Great Britain
Typ: Reconnaissance aircraft, fighter plane
Length: 6,02 meters
Span: 8,33 meters
Height: 2,59 meters
Mass: 345 kg empty
Crew: Max. 1
Engine: One air-cooled rotary engine Clerget or Le Rhône with 80 hp
Maximum speed: 138 km/h
Reach: Max. 2 hours
Armament: One 7,7-mm Lewis or Vickers machine gun






You can find the right literature here:


The First Air War, 1914-1918

The First Air War, 1914-1918 Hardcover – December 1, 1990

In this concise study, Kennett tells the complete story of World War I's air battles, from Eastern to Western front, from the skies of Europe and its seas to those of the Middle East and Africa.

Click here!



Aircraft of World War I 1914-1918 (Essential Identification Guide)

Aircraft of World War I 1914-1918 (Essential Identification Guide) 2nd Edition

Illustrated with detailed artworks of combat aircraft and their markings, Aircraft of World War I: The Essential Aircraft Identification Guide is a comprehensive study of the aircraft that fought in the Great War of 1914–18. Arranged chronologically by theatre of war and campaign, this book offers a complete organizational breakdown of the units on all the fronts, including the Eastern and Italian Fronts. Each campaign includes a compact history of the role and impact of aircraft on the course of the conflict, as well as orders of battle, lists of commanders and campaign aces such as Manfred von Richtofen, Eddie Rickenbacker, Albert Ball and many more. Every type of aircraft is featured, including the numerous variations and types of well- known models, such as the Fokker Dr.I, the Sopwith Camel and the SPAD SVII, through to lesser-known aircraft, such as the Rumpler C.1, and the Amstrong Whitworth FK8. Each aircraft profile is accompanied by exhaustive specifications, as well as details of individual and unit markings. Packed with more than 200 color profiles of every major type of combat aircraft from the era, Aircraft of World War I 1914–1918 is an essential reference guide for modellers, military historians and aircraft enthusiasts.

Click here!



World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF

World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF Hardcover – June 13, 2011

Jack McCleery was born in Belfast in 1898, the son of a mill owning family. He joined the RNAS in 1916 as a Probationary Flight Officer. During the next ten months he completed his training at Crystal Palace, Eastchurch, Cranwell, Frieston, Calshot and Isle of Grain, flying more than a dozen landplanes, seaplanes and flying boats, gaining his wings as a Flight Sub-Lieutenant. In July 1917 he was posted to the newly commissioning aircraft carrier HMS Furious, which would be based at Scapa Flow and Rosyth. He served in this ship until February 1919, flying Short 184 seaplanes and then Sopwith 1½ Strutters off the deck. He also flew a large number of other types during this time from shore stations at Turnhouse, East Fortune and Donibristle.

He served with important and well-known naval airmen including Dunning, Rutland (of Jutland) and Bell Davies VC. He witnessed Dunning’s first successful landing on a carrier flying a Sopwith Pup in 1917 and his tragic death a few days later. He also witnessed the Tondern raid in 1918, the world’s first carrier strike mission. He took part in more than a dozen sweeps into the North Sea by elements of the Grand Fleet and Battle Cruiser Fleet. He carried out reconnaissance missions off the coast of Denmark, landing in the sea to be picked up by waiting destroyers. He witnessed the surrender of the High Seas Fleet. Promoted to Captain, he acted as temporary CO of F Squadron for a time postwar.

Click here!



A World War 1 Adventure: The Life and Times of RNAS Bomber Pilot Donald E. Harkness

A World War 1 Adventure: The Life and Times of RNAS Bomber Pilot Donald E. Harkness Paperback – June 25, 2014

A deeply personal and revealing eyewitness narrative of one airman's life as a bomber pilot in England 's RNAS (Royal Naval Air Service) in WWI. It is a true story, an adventure, and a war memoir carefully constructed from Captain Donald E. Harkness's unpublished diaries, letters, sketches and photographs - only recently uncovered nearly a century later - that documented his remarkable experiences and military adventures over England, France and Belgium. The first book written by a highly decorated WWI flyer from New Zealand that captures the "behind the scenes" life of RNAS pilots, as well as the surprises, terrors, traumas, humor, and sheer excitement of an aerial form of combat never before experienced by anyone, anywhere - and only eleven short years after the Wright Brothers historic flight at Kitty Hawk. With a talent for writing, Don begins an epic journey at a major turning point in history when the world is poised at the dawn of flight, and bracing itself for unknown dangers of unprecedented sophistication and savagery. Don's journal reveals unique insights and vivid imagery of another time and experience, to wit: - the terror and devastation of a Zeppelin bombing raid in London - the training regimen of early flying schools, and their serious & comic episodes - the wonder, awe, and poetry of flying aloft in the majestic heavens - vivid bombing raids, plus the raid that earned him the DSC - his crash-landing and capture - working with the underground to help downed pilots evade capture - London's unrestrained exuberance on Armistice Day; . . . and much, much more.

Click here!






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