Bristol 167 Brabazon


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Bristol 167 Brabazon

The Type 167 Brabazon was designed as a fully pressurised passenger airliner specifically for operating the direct London to New York service without having to refuel en route in the west-bound direction. Designated Mk 1, the first aircraft (the second not being completed) began its flight trials on 4 September 1949 powered by eight 1,863kW Bristol Centaurus 20 18-cylinder two-row radial engines. The second aircraft would have been powered by Bristol Proteus turboprops in coupled pairs. It was expected that the Mk 1 would be retained for experimental flight research into the problems associated with very large aircraft, while the Mk 2 would be furnished to carry 100 passengers by day or night, plus a flight crew of seven and eight stewards. However, although the Mk 1 flew well and BEA wanted to use it between London and Nice, France, fatigue cracks in the propeller mounting and other problems ended the project.


© The Brabazon was the first aircraft with 100% powered flying controls, necessary due to the great size and distance of the control surfaces from the pilots' muscle power.

© The extremely thin nacelles only covered the propeller shafts. The coupled Centaurus engines were mounted within the thick wing. The wings were so long and heavy that they needed bumpers to prevent scraping on landing.

Bristol 167 Brabazon

© The passenger cabin would have mainly been arranged in small compartments, with a cinema, cocktail bar and lounge. The space per passenger was about the same as the interior of three modern saloon cars.

Bristol 167 Brabazon on YOUTUBE

Bristol 167 BrabazonA three-view drawing (700 x 549)

 MODEL167 "Brabazon"
 ENGINE8 x Bristol Centaurus 20, 1863kW
  Take-off weight131542 kg290002 lb
  Empty weight65816 kg145100 lb
  Wingspan70.1 m230 ft 0 in
  Length53.95 m177 ft 0 in
  Height15.24 m50 ft 0 in
  Wing area493.95 m25316.83 sq ft
  Max. speed483 km/h300 mph
  Cruise speed402 km/h250 mph
  Ceiling7620 m25000 ft
  Range8850 km5499 miles

Bristol 167 Brabazon

Comments1-20 21-40
Liz Francois, 08.12.2017 18:47

I saw the Brabazon land at Prestwick in 1951.
I was staying with my granny in Troon and my friend and I went on the bus and in those days the runway ran across the road so we sat and waited for it to land.It was magnificent and I have a photo to prove it!


Ian Hay, e-mail, 03.01.2022 Liz Francois

I was born in 1948 and lived in Troon. I am confident that my parents took me in my pram to the runway at Monkton to see the magnificent Brabazon….do you still have your photo and what was the date? I would love to see that photo! Cheers..Ian.


ivan croker, e-mail, 08.11.2017 10:33

Edward Croker, Was Employed At filton after Serving in WW1, and Help Build the Brabazon,


ivan croker, e-mail, 08.11.2017 10:28

My father help build the brabazon, after serving in ww1,


John mackins, e-mail, 18.03.2017 20:01

Watched her flying west across the sea from Westgate on sea, Kent. She was flew along the south coast in about 1949 /50. Was described at the time, as the largest plane in the world.


Pete thomas, e-mail, 27.02.2017 01:41

I seam to remember the Brabazon led the around Briton Air Race 1951 /2(?) I was at Deal watching it.Can someone please verify this for me.


Peter, e-mail, 20.10.2015 10:51

I recall seeing the Brabazon on its first flight. We were on the Army Cadet Force firing range at Pilning and I remember the CO taking his telescope to confirm that it was the Brabazon. Later the Sunday Express printed a full centre page article saying the aircraft was a waste of public money as there would be no market for a a hundred seater aircraft when existing 30-40 seater aircraft would be adequate for all future requirements.


Adrian King, e-mail, 20.08.2015 20:16

I remember the Brabazon flying directly overhead when I was a young lad living in Letchworth. We moved there in 1950, so I guess it was some time after that. I understand the village of Charlton was demolished to make a longer runway at Filton, but as it turned out, the Brabazon didn't actually need the extra length! Sad for the residents of Charlton... PS (to V.L.) the Brabazon was not built until after WW2.


Derek Waugh, e-mail, 14.06.2015 14:03

I am pretty sure I saw the Brab overfly Elmdon (now B'ham International Airport) when I was a kid. Huge aircraft with a very distinctive engine sound. Am I mistaken ?


Peter Fox, e-mail, 01.05.2015 02:58

As a 10 yr old, I remember coming home from church on a Sunday morning and seeing the Brabazon on its maiden flight above the village of Old Down. The village was halfway between Rudgeway and Olveston, where Bill Pegg and Walter Gibb lived. I don't remember which pilot lived in which village.


Lionel W. Bell, e-mail, 27.03.2015 17:39

Yes, I really well remember seeing the Brabazon fly over Prestwick around 1950 or so. I was probably about five at the time and in a group. I think I still have a drawing of it hidden away somewhere in the loft, done at Prestwick High School in class next day - looks like a fat sausage with two thinner sausages stuck on the sides and something like a triangular sausage at one end!


Irene Allan, e-mail, 26.01.2014 17:21

I thought that I had imagined this plane, my Dad was an aircraft welder at Prestwick Aerodrome, he used to talk about the Brabazone, nobody I spoke to seemed to remember it. The name stuck in my mind, just had to google it.


Mike Scott, e-mail, 12.11.2012 01:53

Family history seems to believe my grandfather ronald dudley scott was on board when it crashed & was an engineer,would be gratefull for any info or anyone who may remember him. Thanks mike Scott


Helen Hutcheson, e-mail, 20.08.2020 Mike Scott

Dear Mr Scott,

The brabazon never did crash to my knowledge



Dimitri Pavlowitch, e-mail, 29.04.2012 20:34

Way ahead of it's time, but as mentioned by another reader, Bristol had a habit of designing new types using bits and pieces from earlier models. Absolutely beautiful aircraft.


Allen Barnett, e-mail, 03.03.2012 19:29

I only saw - and heard the Brabazon once and it was a sight that I will never ever forget. As a 16 year old student at Lawers College of Agriculture at Comrie in Perthshire, we were working in a potato field when this magnificent plane totally dominated the environmentsor several minutes. The air was still one moment and for the next few minutes nobody could take their eye off the Brabazon as the sound was like nothing I had ever heard and the sheer size was amazing. I have always had a great interest in aviation and still have. I feel very privileged to have witnessed the Brabazon flying directly overhead.


Gerry Edwards, e-mail, 18.01.2012 22:07

I watched many brabazon flights as a school boy but joined Bristol Aeroplane Co as an apprentice to become a Concorde Flight Test Engineer. I worked with people like Ken Fitzgerald and Malcome West. The aircraft that came down on the Severn was a Britannia w Bill Pegg at the controls. Interestingly the Boeing 777 is almost the same size as the Brabazon. It took 50 years to show that Bristols were ahead of their time


Charles Fraser, e-mail, 01.10.2011 17:27

Bill Graham - I wonder if you met my uncle - Laurie Atkinson - he was the flight engineer on the Brabazon and went on work on fast patrol boats powered by aero engines.


Ron, 26.05.2011 02:53

I was told that during fuselage pressure testing at Filton, a door blew out and landed quit far away. This accident resulted in all pressure tests being performed in water tanks as an industry standard.


Bill Graham, e-mail, 27.04.2011 00:17

The Brabazon did come down on the mud flats around the Severn. No one was hurt. It took a while to get it carted back to Filton for repairs. I remember the first flight, it was supposed to be taxi trails only but the test pilot, Bill Pegg, decided to take her up and do a circuit. All was fine on that first flight. How do I know? I was an apprentice at Bristol at the time and worked on the Brabazon, the Freighter, the Brigand, and some reconditioned Beaufighters circa 1946 to 1949. After WWII the aircraft industry was all up and down with frequent lay-offs. Looking back, Bristol could have done so much better if they had been a bit more forward thinking and not canabalized wings and other structures from earlier designs, because their engines were so much better than anything else at the time. Was still Fun!


Tom Chytil, e-mail, 04.12.2010 17:47

It was Bristol Britannia G-ALRX which came down on the Severn mud flats in 1954. Many on board but no injuries as it was a slide-on gear up forced landing due to engine fire.


Sgt.KAR98, 19.04.2010 01:00

This plane looks fantastic


1-20 21-40

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