Bristol F.2B “Brisfit”
- : Great Britain
- : Rolls Royce Falcon I, II & III and many others
- 190 - 275
- 39 ' 6"
- 123 mph (197 km/hr)
- : Active
- : Reproduction
Following months of development and testing with various engines, the Bristol F.2A appeared at the front in the Spring of 1917 powered with the Rolls-Royce Falcon. Its unique design with the fuselage suspended between the two wings, gave early crews a mistaken sense that its fragile appearance would not stand the rigors of combat and so they suffered accordingly during what became known as “Bloody April”. In short order, the later F.2B version, would earn the confidence of its crews as a rugged, fighter-like aircraft and the victories quickly piled up for both pilots and observers. For example, in 1918, 2nd Lt. Charles Gass became the highest scoring observer in the RFC-RAF with 39 victories, all while flying the Bristol F.2B. On two occasions, May 7 and 9, this 22 Squadron ace, shot down 5 enemy aircraft on each day!
Over 3,000 were built during WW1 with production continuing until 1926, yet the type remained in service until 1932. In the US, an American version, built by Curtiss, and powered with a 400hp. Liberty engine was begun. The contract was cancelled when tests proved that the engine made the aircraft nose heavy and difficult to fly.
Our Bristol is one of six built in the US by Vern Ohmert for the 1983 movie, “The High Road to China.” Production delays forced the Bristols into moth balls and eventual replacement by other biplanes. It did manage a starring role in the 1981 film: “Death Hunt.” It was then stored away in California with five others to be rediscovered by Graham Orphan, who purchased four. The fifth Bristol came to the Aerodrome, thanks to the owner, Chris Prevost, and generous donations by the Cazenovia Restoration Corporation and other supporters. It is powered by a 200hp Ranger 6-440-I engine. Following a general restoration, it began flying in the Spring of 2022. British roundels and a finish in aluminum dope are typical of the post-WW1 era. The red-yellow-red fuselage bands link this “Brisfit” to ‘B’ flight of No. 2 Squadron RAF serving in England between 1924-28.
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