Blackburn Blackburn

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R.1 Blackburn
Blackburn Blackburn II in Flight.jpg
Blackburn Blackburn II
Role Carrier-based reconnaissance
Manufacturer Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Company Limited
First flight 1922
Introduction 1923
Retired 1931
Primary user Fleet Air Arm
Number built 44
Developed from Blackburn T.2 Dart

The Blackburn R-1 Blackburn was a 1920s British single-engine fleet spotter/reconnaissance aircraft built by Blackburn Aircraft.

History[edit]

The Blackburn was developed to meet a naval requirement (Specification 3/21) for a carrier-based reconnaissance aircraft and gun spotting aircraft. Blackburn designed a new fuselage and used the wing and tail surfaces from the Blackburn Dart. The pilot sat in an open cockpit above the engine, a navigator sat inside the fuselage and a gun position was located at the rear of the fuselage cabin. The aircraft's two-bay wings could fold for stowage aboard aircraft carriers, with the upper wing attached directly to the fuselage, which filled the interplane gap. Armament was a single forward-firing Vickers machine gun mounted externally to the left of the pilot, with a Lewis gun on a Scarff ring for the gunner.[1]

Three prototypes were flown during 1922, leading to an initial production contract for 12 aircraft.[2] The production aircraft were designated Blackburn I and the first deliveries to the Fleet Air Arm at Gosport began in April 1923. 18 more Blackburn Is were built in 1923-4.[3] Its first operational deployment was with No. 422 Fleet Spotter Flight, which deployed aboard HMS Eagle in the Mediterranean in 1923.[4]

A further order for 29 Blackburns was placed with the more powerful Napier Lion V engine, designated the Blackburn II. The upper wing was raised 22½ in (0.57 m) to improve handling.[3] A few Blackburns were used as dual-control trainers and all the Blackburn Is were converted to II standard before the type became obsolete in 1931, when they were replaced by the Fairey IIIF.

Variants[edit]

Blackburn
Prototype, three built.
Blackburn I
Production version with a 449 hp (335 kW) Napier Lion IIB engines, 33 built.[4]
Blackburn II
Improved production version with a 464 hp (346 kW) Napier Lion V, and increased gap between wings. 29 built.[5]
Blackburn Blackburn Trainer
Blackburn Trainer
Trainer version of Blackburn I, fitted with side-by-side cockpit and dual controls. Known by the Fleet Air Arm as the Bull. Two out of Blackburn I batch.[6]

Operators[edit]

 United Kingdom

Specifications (Blackburn I)[edit]

Data from British Naval Aircraft since 1912 [5]

General characteristics

Performance

Armament

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jackson 1968, pp.160-161.
  2. ^ Jackson 1968, p.162.
  3. ^ a b Jackson 1968, p.164.
  4. ^ a b Thetford 1978, p.48.
  5. ^ a b Thetford 1978, p.49.
  6. ^ Thetford 1978, p.50.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Jackson, A.J. (1968). Blackburn Aircraft since 1909. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-00053-6. 
  • Thetford, Owen (1978). Aircraft of the Royal Navy since 1912 (Fourth ed.). London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-30021-1. 
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing.