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Bristol Aeroplane Company

The Bristol Aeroplane Company (formerly British and Colonial Aeroplane Company) began building primitive Boxkites in a former tramshed and became famous for the production of the Brabazon prototypes, the Britannia and Freighter airliners and the Belvedere and Sycamore helicopters. A stainless steel test plane, the model T188, was also constructed in their factory next to Filton aerodrome to the north of Bristol city centre. In 1959 Bristol was forced to merge with English Electric, Hunting and Vickers Armstrong to form the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC), later to become part of British Aerospace.

UK Ministry of Defence Bristol Brittania makes a visit to the makers factory at Filton (Bristol, England) in 1983. As a civil airliner it had flown for BOAC, British Eagle and Air Spain.

The Bristol Engine Company was originally a separate entity, Cosmos Engineering, in turn formed from the pre-WW1 automobile company, Brazil-Straker. In 1917 Cosmos was asked to investigate air-cooled radial engines, producing the Mercury, a 14 cylinder two-row (helical) radial, which they launched in 1918. This engine saw little use, but a smaller and simpler 9 cylinder version known as the Jupiter was clearly a winning design. In the post-war rapid downsizing of military orders the company went bankrupt, and the Air Ministry let it be known that it would be a good idea if Bristol purchased them. The Jupiter competed with the Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar through the 1920s, but Bristol put more effort into their design, and by 1929, the Jupiter was clearly superior. In the 1930s they developed a new line of radials based on the sleeve valve principle, which would develop into some of the most powerful piston engines in the world, and could continue to be sold into the 1950s. In 1956 the division was renamed Bristol Aero Engines, and then merged with Armstrong Siddeley in 1958 to form Bristol Siddeley as a part of the airframe mergers that formed BAC. In 1966 Bristol Siddeley merged with Rolls-Royce, leaving only one major aero-engine company in England, Rolls-Royce.

In 1946, with the surplus capacity after WW2, the company started an offshoot, Bristol Cars, using pre-war BMW designs as the basis for a new car, the Bristol 400. The car company became independent in 1960, around the same time as the consolidation the British aircraft industry, but is still based at the Filton site.

The Bristol Type 192 Belvedere twin-blade helicopter. The Belvedere was a twin rotor helicopter designed to meet a requirement by the Royal Air Force for a general purpose land-based helicopter. Twenty six were built.

Bristol Aeroplane designs include:

WWI types:

inter-war and WWII types: post-war types: helicopters: Bristol Engine designs include:

original series:

sleeve-valve series: turbine-based types:

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