Late war Flight Refuelling Ltd airliner proposals


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14 June 2006
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Actually these were published between August and November 1945 but worked on before, so they can be considered wartime projects. Flight Refuelling Ltd is the well known company that pioneered inflight refuelling and proposed its use for civilian transport. In 1945 FR designed three long-range inflight refuelling liners, using the Brabazon Committee specifications. Designs were FR-10, 11 and 12. I'll start posting the FR-11, a pressurized two-lobe double deck transatlantic liner for 96 day passenger or 48 night ones. The FR-11 was designed using the Brabazon I specs resulting in a 129 ft long plane, with a wingspan of 150 ft and a gross weight off 116.500 lbs (half the Bristol 167) and six RR Merlins. Ultimate source should be The Aeroplane sometime in late summer-early autumn 1945. I only have a page form the article that I found in cyano copy form in the private papers of Alessandro Marchetti in the SIAI archives. Flight covered the three projects in November 22nd 1945 but publishing inboard profiles and accomodation only (no 3 views). Will post them too. If someone has more info, I mean drawings, appreciated... "Stuck n the Drawing Board" has data in the appendix, but no graphics.


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FR 10 and 12. First was a pressurized 40 seater day and 20 sleepers airliner, 4 Merlins. FR-12 was the largest, double-deck, pressurized, 134 day passenger, 100 sleepers. 6 Centauruses.. Forgt to mention that the tankers would have been converted Lancasters with additional tank in the bomb bays and using the two internal tank for refuelling too.


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Re: Late war Flight Refuelling Ltd airliner proposals - request for help

Has anyone acces to The Aeroplane issues from August to December 1945 ? I have reasons to think that some drawings were published there of the FR proposals. And, correction "Stuck on the Drawing Board" has a 3-view of the FR-10 even tough it is described as a "double deckes", which is obviously not.
The Chief Engineer of Flight Refuelling Ltd, C.H. Latimer-Needham, designed these airliner as an investigation into carrying similar passenger loads to the Brabazon requirements but with in-flight refuelling. The proposed flightplan was London-New York with two refuellings from London and one on the return leg.
FR.10, to accomodate 20 sleeping or 40 day passengers and 4,100lbs of freight, four RR Merlin 14.SM, 120 ft span, 99 ft fuselage length, range 2,400 miles ,empty weight 44,705lbs, all-up weight 70,000lbs, passengers and freight as % of all-up weight 10.85%

FR.11, to accomodate 50 sleeping or 100 day passengers and 8,550lbs of freight, six RR Merlin 14.SM, 150 ft span, 129 ft fuselage length, range 2,400 miles, empty weight 73,650lbs, all-up weight 11,850lbs, passengers and freight as % of all-up weight 14.93%

FR.12, to accomodate 100 sleeping or 134 day passengers and 14,000lbs of freight, six Bristol Centaurus, 195 ft span, 146 ft fuselage length, range 2,320 miles, empty weight 116,620lbs, all-up weight 185,200lbs, passengers and freight as % of all-up weight 17.12%

The Bristol 167 Brabazon was estimated as 42 sleeping or 100 day passengers, 4,000lbs freight, eight Bristol Centaurus, 230 ft span, 177 ft fuselage length, range 5,500 miles, empty weight 160,000lbs, all-up weight 275,890lbs and passengers and freight as % of all-up weight was 8.63%. Clearly in Flight Refuelling Limited's minds this proved that in-flight refuelling was more economical to run and required a smaller aircraft. Of course these were proposals only but it did get the Air Ministry to form a committee and begin funding trials.

They looked at the effect of flight refuelling on BOAC's Stratocruiser fleet; during the winter months 36 passengers could be carried London-New York via Gander or 63 with another stop at Shannon (T-O wight 135,000lbs). By using a take-off weight of 127,150lbs and a flight refuelling 240 miles west of Rinenma, Ireland it was thought 114 passengers could be carried. Return only 33 passengers could be carried non-stop, with a refuelling over Gander that would increase to 114. This kind of advantage was also shown on the London-Bermuda route. It was estimated that refuelling costs would be no more than £250 per operation within 100 miles of base or £325 200 miles from base. The total cost per return London-New York flight would be £750, easily covered by the increase in fare-paying passengers. This led to the BSAA trials of 1947 to Bermuda with four converted Lancasters.

Source: 'History of Air-to-Air Refuelling' by Richard M. Tanner
Prior to the arrival of Latimer-Needham the chief designer at Flight Refuelling was Hessel Tiltman, who had just resigned from Airspeed following the take-over by de Havilland. He designed the FR9 for them, a submission to Brabazon specification 3(a) and 3(b)


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Great Info Schneiderman;

we know only from FR.10 to FR.16.
My dear Schneiderman,

can we see the early concept drawings,FR-1 ....... ?
FR1 to FR4, no information published as far as I know
FR5 bomber in In Cobham's Company by Colin Cruddas
FR6 no information published as far as I know
FR7 bomber in
In Cobham's Company
FR8 civil flying boat in Flight 6th April 1939
Thank you my dear Schneiderman,

and any drawings to FR5 or FR7 ?.
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