Bristol Aircraft – A Century of Flight
Enjoy this special commemorative edition to mark the re-release of this DVD in April 2010, with a new cover and a 15 minute BONUS FEATURE including previously unseen footage of various Bristol types.
Bristol has been at the heart of Britain’s aircraft industry since the pioneering days of the early 20th century. With the help of rare archive film, fascinating photographs and informed comment this presentation celebrates the city’s proud aviation heritage.
The instigator of Bristol’s aircraft industry was George White, a locally born businessman of humble origins, who was later knighted for his achievements. Already experienced in the manufacture of motor buses and trams, he was an interested observer in the Wright Brothers’ early experiments in powered flight. This provided the inspiration to begin his own aircraft production, and the Bristol and Colonial Aeroplane Company evolved at the top of Filton Hill.
The former tram shed was adapted to house the assembly of Bristol’s first aircraft, the Boxkite. With the outbreak of World War One, the Bristol Scout, a fighter aircraft, defended the country against Zeppelin airships as they crossed the channel. The end of hostilities saw a massive reduction in demand, and the Great Depression spelt hard times for the company, which needed to revert to the production of buses.
However, with another European war looming, in 1935 the government decided to modernise the R.A.F.’s archaic resources. Consequently, the Britain First, a very highly advanced aircraft for the time, was developed at Filton. This led to the production of the Blenheim and the Beaufighter, both of which played a key role in the Second World War. The importance of Filton made it a strategic target for Nazi Germany, and both the works and the surrounding residential area suffered devastating air raids.
Peacetime brought a new challenge, and the company once more diversified with the production of cars and prefabricated buildings. Soon afterwards, the Brabazon and Britannia projects emerged, followed by the Type 188, the last aircraft to carry the Bristol name.
Bristol’s role in the development of Concorde is also featured, together with an overview of the company’s evolution into the Airbus industry of today.
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