Technically a fighter, the Blackburn TB was one of the most specialized
aircraft ever built - a long-range twin-engined anti-Zeppelin floatplane.
This was Blackburn's first twin-engined aircraft (TB stood for Twin
Blackburn), but more resembled the collision of two single-engined types.
In fact, the rear fuselages and tails came from the BE.2c, then being licence-produced
Designed for a pair of 150hp Smith radial engines, the TB
wound up with units giving a third less power. Its war load was only 32kg of steel incendiary darts. The TB's attack method was to climb above
enemy airships where the observer would fling the darts at them in the hope
of causing and igniting a fatal gas leak. The TB had no other armament, but
it was unlikely to get within gun range of a Zeppelin, let alone above one.
Jim Winchester "The World's Worst Aircraft", 2005
| ENGINE||2 x 100hp Gnome Monosoupape rotary engines|
| Take-off weight||1588 kg||3501 lb|
| Wingspan||18.44 m||61 ft 6 in|
| Length||11.13 m||37 ft 6 in|
| Height||4.11 m||14 ft 6 in|
| Max. speed||138 km/h||86 mph|
|A three-view drawing (658 x 664)|
Among the problems with this airplane was that there was too much flexing between the two fuselages, as well as in the control cable runs, which made it difficult for the pilot to maintain control. Also, starting the engines was awkward, to say the least. The observer had to stand on the floats while the engines were started. The rotary engines often spilled gasoline onto the floats, which could then catch fire, so the observer also had to bring a fire extinguisher with him while he started the engines.
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FACTS AND FIGURES
© The TB's structure flexed in flight,
moving the two fuselages relative to
each other and slackening the
aileron cables, giving poor lateral
control. Aileron inputs in one
direction warped the wing, causing
movement in die opposite direction.
© The TB had two main floats, one
under each fuselage, and auxiliary
floats under each tail. Priming the
engines caused fuel to drip on the
floats, which usually caught fire
on engine start.
© The observer and pilot could
only communicate by hand
signals due to the great distance
between their cockpits.
© The last TB had 110hp Clerget engines,
but this did little to cure the