Bristol M1.C, Old Warden 2007, ©Nigel Key
14th July 1916.
The prototype of the Bristol M.1, designated 'M.1A' was designed by Frank Barnwell in 1916 and built by Bristol Aeroplane Corporation. Its design prompted the War Office to order four aircraft, designated 'M.1B' for evaluation purposes.
The M.1 is a single-seat monoplane with a distinctive large spinner and a circular cross-section fuselage made from wood and fabric.
The shoulder-mounted wing has a semi-elliptical sweep at the tip, a 0.303" Vickers machine gun mounted on the port wing and a cut-out through the Starboard wing to give the pilot some degree of visibility below the aircraft.
The high wing position, stream lined fuselage and spinner gave the M.1B an excellent performance, some 30 to 50 mph fast than the German Fokker Eindecker monoplanes of the time.
However due to the high speed landing characteristics of the M.1 the aircraft was rejected as unsuitable for the France's 'short' runways.
Although the M.1B was not considered suitable for the Western Front, the obvious merits of the aircraft were plain to see and an order for 125 aircraft was placed. The production model had the engine changed to a Le Rhone rotary engine, the 0.303" Vickers machine gun was positioned centrally for better accuracy and the aircraft was designated 'M.1C'.
The Bristol M.1 was produced from 1916, with 130 built.
Le Rhone rotary engine, producing 110 hp.
1 x Vickers 0.303” machine gun.
The Bristol M.1C had some 33 aircraft sent to the Middle East and the Balkans between 1917 and 1918. The rest of the aircraft were used with training units based in Britain with some being 'acquired' by senior officers as their personal aircraft.
Towards the latter part of 1918, 12 Bristol M.1C's were sent to Chile as part payment for battleships Almirante Latorre and Almirante Cochrane which were being built in Britain for Chile but had been commandeered by the Royal Navy.
On the 12th of December 1918, one of the Bristol M.1C's sent to Chile was flown by Lieutenant Godoy from Santiago to Mendoza and back which was the first flight across the Andes Mountain range.
|Crew - 1|
|Wing Type - Monoplane|
|Length - 20ft 5in (6.24m)|
|Wingspan - 30ft 9in (9.37m)|
|Height - 7ft 9in (2.37m)|
|Empty Weight - 900lb (409kg)|
|Max. Weight - 1,348lb (611kg)|
|Max. Speed - 130 mph (209 km/h)|
|Range - 226 miles (364 km)|