Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

This will be a short one. Meet a Bristol monoplane built in 1922 but looking a good ten years "younger".

Wilfrid Thomas Reid designed this ship in 1921, trying to come up with a "Super Racer" to enter into the Aerial Derby of 1922. The aircraft, designated Type 72, proved to be spirally unstable because of oversensitivity of any aileron input. They were way too big and caused oscillating vibration with minimal input. The Bristol 72 was then modified with smaller ailerons to race against the French in the 1922 Deutsch de la Meurthe Cup.

Ed Coates wrote on his website:

The two Bristol Aeroplane Company images on this page illustrate the very advanced (and very ugly) experimental racer developed in 1922 to exploit the new Bristol Jupiter IV nine cylinder air cooled radial engine. Note odd open ended spinner and ducted cooling, clearly visible on the shot below. The craft featured a manually retractable undercarriage. It turns out that the wings were too flexible and hence use of the ailerons produced a reverse effect when applied. The test pilot, Captain Cyril Uwins was able to effect turns using the rudder only. Flaps were virtually unknown at this time and hence the high landing speed, coupled with other control problems persuaded Bristols to abandon the project.

Well, success it wasn't - by all means. But I can't help thinking the Bristol 72 forestalled a lot of 1930s-1940s aircraft literally "built around the engine".

Sources: Ed Coates Collection, Virtual Aircraft Museum

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Comment by Deven Science on May 19, 2012 at 7:14pm


That "race as method of technology development" seems to be in the future, as well. Specifically that I can think of, many companies developing electric motorcycles for future production are testing their tech in the newer alternate powered race classes at such prostigious racing events as the Isle-of-Man. Brammo, whom I've been following for two years, tested many options for their upcoming Empulse on the race track.

Comment by Pablo J. Alvarez on May 19, 2012 at 6:07pm

The use of race as a method of technology development, belongs to the past, but produces very nostalgic thinking about those brave thinkers on getting themaximum performance from their machines, if I could, for a moment to share that kind of creativity, would have justified many hours of love of aviation

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