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Bristol B.138A


In the 1920s and 30s Bristol was closely associated with attempts on the world altitude record. During the ten years spanning 1928 1938 the record changed hands nine times and on six of these occasions the aircraft was powered by Bristol engines.
The Air Ministry ordered the Type 138 as a high altitude research aircraft to specification 2/34, calling for an aircraft capable of reaching 50,000ft.

Twice, in 1936 and 1937, the special Bristol Type 138 high altitude monoplane captured the record for Britain with heights of 49,967ft (15,230m) and 53,937ft (16,640m) (June 1937). It didn't last as 18 months later this was broken by a Caproni 161bis which reached 56,000ft.



The 138A, powered by a 372.6kW Bristol Pegasus P.E.6S radial engine and flown by Sqn Ldr F. R. D. Swain, achieved a height record of 15.223m on 28 September 1936. On 30 June 1937 it raised the record to 16.440m/52,937 ft at the hands of Flt Lt M. J. Adam. The flight lasting 2 hr 15 min.


Bristol 138A
Engine: 1 x 500hp Bristol Pegasus P.E.6S
Take-off weight: 2411 kg / 5315 lb
Empty weight: 1994 kg / 4396 lb
Wingspan: 20.12 m / 66 ft 0 in
Length: 13.41 m / 43 ft 12 in
Height: 3.12 m / 10 ft 3 in
Wing area: 52.77 sq.m / 568.01 sq ft
Max. speed: 198 km/h / 123 mph
Ceiling: 16459 m / 54000 ft





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