Bristol Brabazon and Bristol Britannia


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4 June 2006
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A few qustions.......

What were the specifications for the Britannia at the time the Centaurus engine possibility was dropped and how would it have compared to the Constellation, DC4/6 etc?

When the Brabazon was being designed, was there any noises coming out at all about the lack of airline intrest in the Lockheed R6V?

Many sites discussing the Brabazon say the upgrades to Filton proved useful for later projects.

However, to allow the Proteus to be used on the Brabazon and the Princess, the engine’s design introduced problems which delayed its introduction.

If the Brabazon and the Princess had been cancelled before the Proteus was considered, how soon could that engine have been introduced assuming it no longer has the cooling problems associated with it neededing to be fitted to the Brabazon and Princess.

Would the Filton site have been upgraded to the extent it was with an early Brabazon cancellation?

If it had been the Britannia that had been developed in place of the Brabazon with the Britannia’s first flight in 1949, what would that have done for the sales of the Britannia?
If the Britannia hadn't had the problems it historically had with its Proteus engines, what kind of market is their for a long range turboprop?
Hmmmm, to be honest with you to answer those questions would involve a lot of speculation and (please don't interpret this as rudeness, I'm just trying to give an example through a rather crass Yankee expression), "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts then we'd all have a merry Christmas."

IIRC, the Brabazon was dropped because it just became overbudget, people failed to see the value of bulk passenger transport (despite its voluminous interior similar to a 707, it was designed for only 100 passengers or so) and the future was given to the jets. Another influencing factor was the wide availability of American late-war long-range airliners and even some British ones like the York and Lancastrian, you can imagine what so many aircraft at relatively cheap prices would do to airlines looking at a very brand new, very complex aircraft. Either way, engine selection and piston vs. turboprop probably wouldn't have changed much of an outcome.

At the very least, the Brabazon was useful as a technology demonstrator and a great deal was learned from it, so the airframe was far from a waste. As for your second question, long-range turboprops were out as soon as jets came in. The Britannia (and the Electra) proved that much already. Today, if anything, the market belongs to short-range, high-capacity turboprops, a market niche that can make better use of STOL capability and the efficiencies that play into a turboprop's favor.

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