In the 1920s and 30s Bristol was closely associated with attempts on the world altitude record. During the ten years span-ning 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. 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 - 18 months later this was broken by a Caproni 161bis which reached 56,000ft.