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Barling NBL-1




Designer Walter Barling went to America, where General ‘Billy’ Mitchell provided him with a $375,000 contract to build a bomber capable of carrying a 2268-kg 5000-lb) bombload for 12 hours at 160 kph (100 mph). Not surprisingly the Barling NBL-1 bore a strong resemblance to the Tarrant Tabor, though its triplane wings spanned 3.35 m (11 ft) less and its six 12-cylinder Liberty engines were all mount-ed on the same level, between the lower and middle wings.
On 22 August 1923 from Wilbur Wright Field at Dayton, Ohio, whence it had been railroaded from the Witteman-Lewis Aircraft Company’s works in New Jersey. Barling was aboard for that 20-minute maiden flight and later that year the Barling bomber flew to the Inter-national Air Race at St Louis with Major General Mason Patrick, chief of the Army Air Service, as a passenger. It later carried a 2000-kg (4408-lb) load up to 2,050 m (6722 ft). But with Billy Mitchell’s proposed bomb load the burly Barling could not top 160 kph (100 mph) and had a range of 275 km (170 miles) rather than the 1930 km (1200 miles) the general wanted. It flew around (slowly) for years, appearing as a curiosity at airshows, and was eventually broken up in 1928, save for its ten huge undercarriage wheels which are preserved at Wright-Patterson Air Force base from where the triplane made its first flight.

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