Monday, February 4, 2008

British Aircraft... just an observation

In keeping with the title of this blog, I have an observation:

I love to read books about aircraft history. I've noticed, however, that those written by Brits always highlight the British aircraft (go figure) and each section usually ends something like "... but the programme was in the end, a failure, as the American plane was more robust, more economical and actually arrived during the right decade." occasionally followed by, "... but the plane did find some success in the Empire's armed forces which spend an unbelievable sum keeping them in flight to this very day."

Pictured above is the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod, a most... unique... looking aircraft that handles maritime patrol duties for the UK. The Nimrod was based on the de Havilland Comet, a plane with an infamous past. Now sure, the US has lots of planes (B-52 anyone) that have been updated etc. for ages, the B-52 is a classic example. But in the history of flight it seems that the UK has had more than its share of crazy machines.

The Bristol Brabazon was a beast of a plane, nearly the size of a modern 747 but able to carry only 100 passengers... you do the math. First prototype was built in 1949, by 1953 it was obvious the bird was a loser and the project was canceled. Fortunately, this is one plane that didn't end up in the military ranks.

-- Update --
Someone in #pros mentioned all the pre-(and during)-WWII British planes that were successful, and I admit the Brits had some great aircraft. However, post-WWII there are very few notable examples. Regardless, my point is that Britain seems to have more than its fair share.

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