BRISTOL M. 1 - A FIGHTER AHEAD OF ITS TIME

BRISTOL M. 1 - A FIGHTER AHEAD OF ITS TIME

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It is hard to resist the temptation to postulate what the possible future of the Bristol M.1 monoplane would have been, had things been different from the start. While its potential was clearly evident to pilots from its first appearance, the M.1 was summarily dismissed by the Royal Flying Corp's (RFC) most senior officer even before it had undergone its initial full Service assessments. Had the troublesome Le Rhône engine been replaced with a more reliable Clerget or Bentley rotary and twin synchronised Vickers guns been installed, the M.1 could well have created a potent front-line fighter, and a variant with increased fuel tankage might have proved a formidable longer-range escort fighter to protect reconnaissance and bomber aeroplanes delivering attacks beyond the enemy's lines.

Sadly, as recounted in this book, this potential was unrealised. No M.1s ever served on the Western Front, and although some of the small number produced went to squadrons in the Middle East, many were relegated to training units in the UK. Ironically, it was there that they gained popularity and prominence, becoming the chosen personal mounts of senior pilots and instructors.

Curiously, a small number ended up in South America, equipping the nascent Chilean air arm in the early interwar years and being used for pioneering flights across the highest point of Andes into Argentina. In addition, a few went on to the British civil register, one went to the USA and another to Australia, where it survived to become the sole remaining original example of the type.

As well as providing a comprehensive account of the M.1's development and usage, in this lavishly-illustrated volume Philip Jarrett includes official period documentation regarding performance, first-hand pilots' impressions of the type, the known individual histories of the 125 M.1s that were eventually produced, accounts of the airworthy and static reproductions, a set of specially prepared general-arrangement drawings, and colour artwork illustrating a selection of the schemes applied, some of which can only be described as extraordinary. For the latter a degree of informed speculation has sometimes been necessary owing to the lack of colour imagery in the period with which we are concerned, but every effort has been made to achieve the most accurate results possible - the current trend for 'colourisation' of black-and-white images, with its very suspect results, has not been indulged in.

450 illustrations in both colour and black and white including general arrangements and colour side view drawings.

Paperback

120 pages