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Bristol Brabazon

alertken

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If the Axis had known of all the gargantua being developed by the Allies in 1943/44, just as the Bombing Campaigns were disrupting their own output, they might have decided to pack up and go home. Saro Princess did not become metalwork until 1946, but was consuming "draughtsmen's" efforts. T.167 was authorised for prototype construction in 11/44, 57 sleepers or 94 seats. UK did both because we perceived 2 things: Transatlantic has a Blue Riband, luxury market; and "Empire" has a steady business market, tied to the Motherland. Nobody in UK worried in their minds about economy, or competition. Picture the picture-promenades of pre-War flying boats, cruising gently with night stops, all passengers on expenses.

US 1940/41 embarked on Very Heavy Bombers, Very Heavy Transports, which were actually Very Long Range: US enemies were far away. So to reach Japan, Germany, from Alaska, Maine, Big was needed. US made no distinction between Transatlantic and Empire routes: everywhere was far away. So they started B-29, B-32 (deploying both), B-33, B-35, B-36, JRM Mars; and troop/cargo transports: L-89, CV104, C-74, C-97, C-99.

So, what went wrong? Only B-29 and C-97 were significant; B-36 was not deployed until technology had overtaken it. Yes, hostilities ended with benefit of smaller types, but why did so few Giants see production? Because those Wright and Pratt radials, on structure well-pressurised, with invisible, dull, efficient mechanical components ("rotables")...worked fabulously (after some teething!), economically, reliably. DC-6 and L-749 were simply unbeatable.

Biggest Brabazon Committee mistake during its rundown in 1946 was to be less than supportive of Bristol/Lockheed Centaurus/L-849.
 

JohnR

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Was there a proposal to fit a Centaurus to the Constellation?
 

alertken

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R.Higham,Speedbird,Tauris,2014,P.85; R.Payne,Stuck on the Drawing Board,Tempus,2004,P.33; and Me. I have also seen L-649 and L-849 as for this.

Brabazon Type III had finally been made Definitive 4/46 with Avro 693 (Clyde, 11/46: Avon), but that had to be chopped 7/47 to admit (to be) Vulcan. BOAC's Medium Range Empire was out to Tender 12/46, to which Bristol intended to bid both indigenous T.175 (though alert to BOAC/BSAAC/MoS assertions of overload with parallel work on Centaurus/, then maybe Proteus/T.167 Brabazon), and Lockheed Project X: 5 new L-749 to be re-engined Centaurus by Bristol, then Bristol Project Y to licence-build it, for territories yet to be defined, Commonwealth and maybe more. MCA+BOAC put that to Cabinet, for FOREX sanction, 22/4/47: already much of US 7/46 Reconstruction Loan had gone up in Virginia baccy smoke; Minister of Housing wanted $-timber to rehouse the bombed...and...and...we all wanted $. Cabinet said No. Centaurus/T.175 was chosen 14/7/47 (12/50, all T.175 Britannia: Proteus).

Theseus turboprop had run 18/7/45; HP Hermes V would fly with it 23/8/49 and we now know it was even more canine than early Proteus...but we did not know that, then, and Lockheed would have kicked Bristol to fix it, for a US/UK turboprop Connie, c.1950. This was a profound missed opportunity.

It's no consolation that France did the same. Sud Avn, struggling to resurrect Armagnac, reached agreement in principle with Douglas to licence DC-6. That was killed, 2/48, in the politics of Red Unions in Nationalised Industries. TAI and UAT took DC-6, AF L-749, from California. (H.Chapman,State Capitalism & Working Class Radicalism in the French A/c Industry,U.Cal.P,1991,P282).
 
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