Bristol Blenheim IV Bomber Plane
The Bristol Blenheim was initially designed in response to a 1934 challenge issued by Lord Rothermere, owner of the Daily Mail newspaper, to the British Aircraft industry to produce a fast six passenger aircraft capable of re-capturing the title of fastest civilian aircraft in Europe from the Germans. The Bristol Aeroplane Company tasked their designer with developing such an aircraft and he did so by modifying his existing Type 135 design into the Type 142.
The Type 142 first flew in April 1935 and proved to be faster than any of the RAF's current fighters such as the Bristol Bulldog - a military version was requested with a bomb bay and defensive armament. The RAF's new production Bomber was initially called the Bristol Bolingbroke but was soon re-named the Bristol Blenheim.
The Bristol Blenheim entered operational service with the RAF in 1937 in it's Mk I variant, a Mk II long range reconnaissance version followed with a increased visibility nose/cockpit, a lengthened variant, the Mk III, entered service the following year. The best known and most numerous Blenheim variant was the Mk IV, this effectively combined the modifications found on the Mk II and Mk III in a single airframe. It is of note that the Bristol Blenheim Mk IV was made under licence by Fairchild Aircraft Ltd in Canada, their aircraft reverting to the bomber's original name "Bolingbroke".
The Bristol Blenheim was retired from the RAF as a front-line bomber in 1944, the last air-force operating the Bristol Blenheim was the Finnish Air Force who operated them until 1956, although they had been relegated to target tug duties by that time.
Bristol Blenheim Mk I & IV Armament:
- Single .303 in (7.7 mm) Wing mounted Browning machine gun
- One or two .303 in Browning machine guns in a under-nose blister or gun turret
- Twin .303 in Browning machine guns in a dorsal turret
- Four 250 lb (110 kg) bombs or twin 500 lb (230 kg) bombs internally carried and eight 40 lb (18 kg) under-wing mounted bombs
Bristol Blenheim Mk I & IV Specifications:
- 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)
- Empty weight: 9,790 lb (4,450 kg)
- Loaded weight: 14,400 lb (6,545 kg)
- Engines: Twin 920 hp (690 kW) Bristol Mercury XV radial engines
- Maximum speed: 266 mph (231 knots, 428 km/h)
- Range: 1,460 mi (1,270 NM, 2,351 km)
- Service ceiling 27,260 ft (8,310 m)
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