Monday, February 18, 2008
The Bristol "Brabazon"
The Brabazon was another one of those impressive but unsuccessful British airliner designs.
After WWII, it was clear to nearly everyone that the future was land planes, not flying boats (despite the recent introduction of the Saunders-Roe "Princess"). The Bristol Brabazon was the British airliner industry's best guess at what a new, long-range luxury airliner should look like.
It was innovative and ground-breaking in many ways, but ultimately it failed to anticipate the requirements of the postwar airline industry. Specifically, it was WAY too luxurious.
The aircraft was the size of a 747, but carried only 100 passengers, each in spaces about the size of small ocean liner cabins, plus a galley, salon, and theater.
Only one prototype was built, and the British airlines, primarily BOAC (British Overseas Airline Company) and BEA (British European Airways) were already looking for smaller aircraft with lots more seats - the incipient trend towards adoption of "tourist class"... another Pan Am innovation.
So only one Brabazon was built, but it paved the way for many very successful subsequent designs, including the Bristol Brittania turboprop - considered by many to be the best turboprop civil airliner of all time, and the deHavilland Comet, the world's first operational jet airliner.