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Bristol B.170 Freighter




An immediate postwar civil aircraft project, Type 170, was a freighter derived from the Bombay military transport. The Type 170 was designed as a passenger, freight/passenger or all-freight transport aircraft to Specification 22/44 to carry a high payload on short-range flights. Because the campaign against the Japanese in Burma was still under way, a second Specification (G.9/45) was issued to provide a military transport capable of carrying into jungle areas a three-ton payload, including heavy trucks, guns, 28 stretchers and attendants, 36 fully equipped troops, 23 paratroops or other military loads. Large twin nose-doors facilitated loading and unloading of cargo.

The first of the two prototypes flew on 2 December 1945, by which time it was too late to see service during World War II. But surveys had shown that there was a genuine need for a similar aircraft for post-war commercial services and so the Freighter and Wayfarer were put into production, with nose-doors for loading freight or mixed passenger/freight-carrying and without nose-doors but seating for 36 passengers respectively.

Of the 214 Bristol Type 170 built between Decem-ber 1945 and March 1958, the the Mk 32 with a lengthened fuselage, was ordered by Silver City Airways. This version could accommodate two or three cars and 23 passengers.




Apart from the large numbers of commercial versions which were supplied for use in all parts of the world for a variety of duties, the Type 170 was also produced as a military transport and served with the RAAF, and RCAF (Mk 31 freighter version). A major user of the B-170 was the Pakistani Air Force, buying 38 in all.

The RNZAF also became one of the major users of the B-170, buying 12, and operating them in the tactical transport role in New Zealand and South East Asia and flying them with a single pilot, a navigator and a signaller; and eventually losing two in accidents before retiring of the remainder in 1977.

The biggest civil user was Safe Air who operated 14 in all with a maximum of 11 at any one time. The penultimate Bristol Freighter was built in early 1958 and delivered to Safe Air as ZK-BVM.


Woodbourne, New Zealand, 1976




Engines: 2 x Bristol Hercules 734, 1455kW
Take-off weight: 19967 kg / 44020 lb
Empty weight: 12415 kg / 27371 lb
Wingspan: 32.9 m / 107 ft 11 in
Length: 20.8 m / 68 ft 3 in
Height: 8.6 m / 28 ft 3 in
Wing area: 138.1 sq.m / 1486.49 sq ft
Max. speed: 360 km/h / 224 mph
Cruise speed: 254 km/h / 158 mph
Ceiling: 7000 m / 22950 ft
Range w/max.fuel: 3800 km / 2361 miles
Range w/max.payload: 1200 km / 746 miles
Crew: 2-3
Passengers: 44-56


Engines: 2 x Bristol Hercules 735, 1980 hp.
Wing span: 108 ft.
Empty wt: 27,760 lb.
MAUW: 46,000 lbs.
Max speed: 230 mph @ 3,000 ft.





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