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Blackburn Type E Aircraft Information

Blackburn Type E

Type E

National origin: United Kingdom
Manufacturer: The Blackburn Aeroplane Co. Ltd, Leeds
Designed by: Robert Blackburn
First flight: April 1912
Number built: 2

The Blackburn Type E was a development of the earlier Blackburn Mercury single engined monoplanes but using an all metal fuselage. Two were built; the second was intended to meet the first ever British military aircraft specification. A single seat version flew, but the military two seater did not.

Design and development

The Type E was a natural development of the line that led from the Blackburn Second Monoplane through the Mercury series. The main difference was in the construction of the fuselage, designed for military and overseas use and built with an aluminium covered steel frame. It was the first British aircraft to have an all metal fuselage, and with steel used in both wings and tail structures was referred to as an all-steel aircraft.

The wings of the Type E, like those of the earlier Mercurys, were thin in cross section and rectangular in plan. The span was the same as that of the Mercury I, but they used the construction methods of the Mercury III, with twin tubular steel spars and wooden ribs, the whole fabric covered. Lateral control was by wing warping. The wing, mounted in mid position was wire braced from above via a kingpost and below from the undercarriage. The fuselage used three steel longerons, arranged so the cross section was a downward pointing triangle. The Type E used the same deep chord, strongly swept, empennage used by the Mercurys that descended from the Antoinette, the fixed surfaces fabric covered over a steel frame with ash trailing edges. The tailplane carried a single wide elevator of almost semicircular shape, but the fin carried two rudders on the same axis, one above and one below the fuselage. Both were wide chord and triangular in shape.

The Type E sat high off the ground to accommodate a large propeller and almost horizontally because of a long tail skid from the fuselage to the end of the rudder post. The main undercarriage was rather complicated; on each side a hockey stick shaped skid reached from forward of the propeller almost to the trailing edge of the wing. Each skid carried, towards the rear, a stub axle with a pair of wheels. The skids were attached parallel to the upper fuselage with a pair of near vertical struts on each side and by further bracing to the lower fuselage.

Two rather different versions of the "all-metal" Type E were built. The first was a single seater made for a private buyer (Lt. W. Lawrence) for use in India. It was powered by a 60 hp (45 kW) four cylinder water cooled inline Green engine. It first flew in April 1912. Painted grey, it acquired the name L' Oiseau Gris and was entered for the round-London Aerial Derby of June 1912, but scratched as unready. It seems that engine cooling problems caused Lawrence to abandon the aircraft.

Perhaps because of these engine problems, the second Type E, intended for the upcoming Larkhill military trials used a 70 hp (52 kW) aircooled V-8 Renault engine. It was built in response to the first specification issued by the War Office for a military aircraft. As required, it was a tandem two seater; the pilot's seat, with its Blackburn style triple control wheel was at the trailing edge and there was a second cockpit at mid chord, immediately behind the kingpost. On this "military machine", as it was sometimes known, there was a curved fuselage decking that extended back to the fin root as well as an additional streamlined fuel tank mounted under the fuselage at about mid chord. This was intended to increase endurance from four to five hours; the specification called for 4.5 hours. Apart from these changes the military machine was very like the first Type E, but when tested in June 1912 it was overweight, failed to fly and was withdrawn from the Larkhill trials. Despite this failure, it attracted crowds when displayed on a Leed's school playing field late in 1912.

Specifications (military)

Data from Jackson 1968, pp. 75

General characteristics

Crew: 2
Length: 31 ft 2 in (9.50 m)
Wingspan: 38 ft 4 in (11.68 m)
Wing area: 290 sq ft (27 m)
Gross weight: 950 lb (431 kg)
Powerplant: 1 x Renault air cooled V-8 piston, 70 hp (52 kW)


Maximum speed: 80 mph (130 km/h; 70 kn) estimated
Endurance: 5 hrs estimated

Goodall, Michael H.; Tagg, Albert E. (2001). British Aircraft before the Great War. Atglen, PA, USA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0 7643 1207 3.
Jackson, A.J. (1968). Blackburn Aircraft since 1909. London: Putnam Publishing. ISBN 0 370 00053 6.

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Source: WikiPedia

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