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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 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.



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 at the hands of Flt Lt M. J. Adam.

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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