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Boulton & Paul Bobolink Warbird Information

Boulton & Paul P.3 Bobolink

Manufacturer: Boulton & Paul Ltd
First flight: 1918
Status: Prototype
Number built: 1

The Boulton & Paul P.3 Bobolink was a World War I British single-engined single-seat fighter aircraft. It was built by Boulton & Paul Ltd.

Development and design

The Bobolink was the first aeroplane designed by Boulton & Paul Limited of Norwich. The company was a manufacturer of wooden buildings but during World War I it, like many other companies, built aircraft under Ministry contracts. Aircraft built included the Sopwith 1 Strutter and Sopwith Camel.

The British Air Ministry requested proposals to replace the Sopwith Camel. Boulton & Paul designed and constructed the Bobolink and entered it in that competition. The prototype first flew in early 1918, undergoing official trials in March of that year.

The Bobolink had two-bay biplane wings and was powered by the same Bentley BR2 rotary engine as used by the competing Sopwith Snipe. An unusual feature of the aircraft was the use of jettisonable fuel tanks. These were fitted behind the pilot and separated by a sheet of armour, allowing an individual tank to be jettisoned in the event of a fire. While the Bobolink and Snipe had similar performance, the Snipe was easier to build, while the Bobolink was claimed to have poor ground handling, with the Snipe winning the Camel replacement competition. Only a single prototype was produced.


Data from War Planes of The First World War, Volume 1

General characteristics

Length: 20 ft 0 in (6.10 m)
Wingspan: 29 ft 0 in (8.84 m)
Height: 8 ft 4 in (2.54 m)
Wing area: 266 ft (24.71 m)
Empty weight: 1,226 lb (557 kg)
Loaded weight: 1,992 lb (904 kg)
Powerplant: 1 x Bentley BR2 rotary engine, 230 hp (172 kW)


Maximum speed: 125 mph (201 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m)
Service ceiling: 19,500 ft (5,945 m)
Wing loading: 7.49 ft (36.6 m)
Power/mass: 0.12 hp/lb (0.19 kW/kg)
Endurance: 3 hours
Climb to 10,000 ft (3,050 m): 9 min 20 sec


Guns: 2 x 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun

Comparable aircraft

Armstrong Whitworth Armadillo
Austin Osprey
Nieuport B.N.1
Sopwith Snipe


Bruce, J.M. (1965). War Planes of the First World War: Volume 1 Fighters. London: Macdonald.
Mason, Francis K. (1992). The British Fighter since 1912. Annapolis, Maryland, US: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing.

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Source: WikiPedia

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