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Blackburn civil flying boat 1934

Schneiderman

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Here is a project that needs a little detective work.
In the July 5th 1934 edition of Flight there is a poor quality photograph of a model flying boat project on the Blackburn stand at the RAF show. The text describes this as a six engine civil flying boat. Four tractor engines can be seen so the other two must be pushers. There are obvious similarities to the earlier Nile flying boat, abandoned before completion, but this one may have sponsons. Imperial Airways had issued no specs. for a six engine aircraft at this date and the aircraft is unlikely to be a simple civil derivative of the company’s R.2/33 (Sunderland) tender as that had four engines. There is no mention of the project in Putnam’s Blackburn volume.
So, who can provide further information?
Cheers
 

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JFC Fuller

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Perhaps not a coincidence that it seems similar to this: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1575.msg133662.html#msg133662 ?

Of the proposed civilian monoplane version of the Short Sarafand?
 

Jemiba

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I would agree to the enlarged Nile, Looking closely at the blurry photo, the line of windows
in the fuselage seems to be partly blanketed by, what only can be the auxiliary floats then.
So sponsons seem not to be very probably to me, but an arrangement very similar to that
of the Nile, I think Engine arrangement maybe as in the Latécoère 520 series.
 

Schneiderman

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Possible, but the dates make it a little unlikely. The Sarafand and Supermarine Type 179 were both built in response to Air Ministry specifications issued in 1928 and only a single example of each was built as it was found that there was no actual requirement for a flying boat of that size. The Type 179, of course, was cancelled before completion a couple of years before this Blackburn model was displayed. This Blackburn project could have been based on a tender to the same spec. as the Type 179 but by 1934 it would have been very outdated.

Having looked at the photo again I am less sure about the model having sponsons, Nile-type floats do seem more plausible
 

JFC Fuller

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Consider that things were fairly slow moving in the late 1920s/early 30s. Its entirely possible the model dates to a much earlier proposal. Of course it could relate to something later but the size and engine count seems very similar.
 

Schneiderman

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Not so slow by 1934, the specs. for both the Sunderland and 'C' class flying boats had been issued and the Sikorsky S42 had flown. I find it strange that Blackburn chose to display a mix of modern concepts and distinctly dated designs on the same stand. But you can only show what you have, I guess
 

hesham

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Amazing find Schneiderman,


and I agree with you,the British Spec. R.2/33 was for a civil flying boat and the Blackburn
submitted a proposal,and a bigger sight.
 

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hesham

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Hi,


but it did mentioned in Blackburn book of Putnam,and powered by only four engines not six;
 

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Jemiba

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Schneiderman said:
... I find it strange that Blackburn chose to display a mix of modern concepts and distinctly dated designs on the same stand.
Principally, that design wasn't that outdated for its time, I think. A pylon mounted wing can be found on
the Consolidated PBY Catalina and still on several of its successors, strutted wings were still in use,
as well as triple fins. Those fixed auxiliary floats (if they are) could have been replaced by sponsons
maybe (don't know about possible patent problems with Dornier), but it probably was quite up-to-date
in the mid-30s.
 

Stargazer2006

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Jemiba said:
Schneiderman said:
... I find it strange that Blackburn chose to display a mix of modern concepts and distinctly dated designs on the same stand.
Principally, that design wasn't that outdated for its time, I think. A pylon mounted wing can be found on
the Consolidated PBY Catalina and still on several of its successors, strutted wings were still in use,
as well as triple fins. Those fixed auxiliary floats (if they are) could have been replaced by sponsons
maybe (don't know about possible patent problems with Dornier), but it probably was quite up-to-date
in the mid-30s.

I couldn't agree more. The Nile design was very sound and never got its chance.

Allow me to cross-reference our topic on the Blackburn Sydney and Nile:
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5028.0
 

Schneiderman

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As a basic configuration that is indeed true, but if the project is little more than an enlarged Nile, as it would appear, then the design would date back to 1928 and six years is a long time in an era of rapidly developing technology. Long established and competent flying boat manufacturers who failed to meet the challenge suffered a lack of orders as a consequence, and it looks like Blackburn may have been one of them.
 

Schneiderman

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Further research suggests that this is a model of a project that dated back to mid 1929 named Oceanic. The Oceanic was a six-engine civil flying boat tendered to meet spec. 20/28, the spec. to which the Supermarine Type 179 'Giant' was ordered. Here is a drawing of the cabin layout and some weight and perfromance data.
 

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JFC Fuller

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Schneiderman said:
Further research suggests that this is a model of a project that dated back to mid 1929 named Oceanic. The Oceanic was a six-engine civil flying boat tendered to meet spec. 20/28, the spec. to which the Supermarine Type 179 'Giant' was ordered. Here is a drawing of the cabin layout and some weight and perfromance data.

Exactly as I suggested above in the first reply to this thread. Fascinating though, we now have pictures of two of the designs to this specification, Blackburn and Supermarine, and we know about the proposed monoplane version of the Sarafand.

Oceanic is an interesting choice of name, at about the same time the White Star Line were building (ultimately unsuccessfully due to the financial collapse of their parent company) an ocean Liner called the Oceanic III that would likely have been the largest and fastest in the world- and well known.
 

Schneiderman

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I do find it a little odd that Blackburn were still displaying a model of this project in 1934, over two years after construction of the Type 179 had been abandoned and coincident with Imperial Airways issuing the spec. for what became the Short 'C' class. Certainly the parasol style still had plenty to offer but construction techniques had moved forward considerably in five years, so I assume that the Oceanic had been revamped accordingly. Supermarine's tender to the Imperial Airways spec. was also a parasol monoplane, pretty much a Sikorsky S42 clone.
 

JFC Fuller

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Schneiderman,

Thanks for your research on this (and other topics) your findings have been fascinating. As to why this model was still being shown in 1934- the preceding years had not seen significant development, the C-Class would not fly for another two years) and this design would still have been far more modern than the vast majority of aircraft flying in the world at that time (especially in the RAF). It was probably just displayed as a general indicator that Blackburn knew how to build large flying boats.
 

Schneiderman

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Thanks guys. After the Air Ministry had effectively strangled the Nile along with Blackburn's airline aspirations in conjunction with Cobham they seriously considered dropping flying boats from their business, which, in common with almost all companies, was in serious financial trouble in the early 1930s. But all in all the Oceanic looked like a superior design to Supermarine's Type 179, at least on paper, so it is a pity that they did not get the opportunity to build it.
 

lark

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Excellent piece of research Schneiderman.Thanks.
Jus a little question puzzles me...
Where do you have the name 'Oceanic' from ?
 

Stargazer2006

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lark said:
Excellent piece of research Schneiderman.Thanks.
Jus a little question puzzles me...
Where do you have the name 'Oceanic' from ?

It appeared on the plan published in the period magazine!
 

Schneiderman

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More information.

Major Rennie, Blackburn's designer for marine aircraft, wrote a paper on long-range flying boats for Flight magazine, here

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1931/1931%20-%200445.html

A version of the Oceanic design is in the second part of the article, here

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1931/1931%20-%200466.html

(Hesham posted this image some time ago under the topic on high-speed flying boats)

Note that the extra cockpit on the wing, discarded from the later version of the design
 

ursrius

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Excellent stuff, Schneiderman, but evidence please!
What is the source of the images you posted? On what do you base the assumption that it was a submission to 20/28 (or possibly the earlier 6/28)? I have never seen mention of a Blackburn submission to either of these specifications.
 

Schneiderman

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Evidence? Well the images of the interior come from the Air Annual of the British Empire 1930. As for submission to specifications you have to be mindful of the economic state of the industry at the time and the Air Ministry process for issuing specifications.
It is highly unlikely that any aircraft company at the time had the staff, time or resources to draw-up an aircraft, in considerable detail, without the possibility of obtaining orders. These were stark and difficult times for the industry. The Air Ministry, for both civil and military aircraft, supported a competitive tendering process and each specification, except in exceptional circumstances, was issued to several companies capable of meeting the requirement. This was certainly true for 6/28 and it is not unreasonable to assume it would have been so for 20/28 too, which was for a broadly similar aircraft. The size and style of the Oceanic, and the date that is was drawn-up, would appear to me to be more than coincidence. What I do find odd, however, is that Blackburn persisted with the design through until at least 1934, by which time it must have been clear that no orders were likely to be forthcoming.
 

Schneiderman

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After a brief visit to the Blackburn archive I now believe that the blurred image is actually of the Oceanic. The initial design for this aircraft, drawn in Feb 1929, had tractor and pusher pairs in the inner nacelles and single tractors in the outer. On the image it is not possible to see the pusher props.
Blackburns R2/33 design remains elusive but from the other projects of that era that I saw I doubt that it was part of the Nile-Sydney-Oceanic trend.

Sorry, no images to share at this stage.
 
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