View Full Version : Blackburn aircraft???

31st Jan 2004, 03:21
Hi, in conversation this week, a chap mentioned that his mother used to work in the drawing office of an aircraft company called Blackburn (not sure of spelling and might have an extra 'e') before WWII.

She was living in Muswell Hill, North London at the time and so it must have been close and available by public transport. At the outbreak, she went to a drawing office in the Ministry of War and he knew nothing more than the aircraft company.

Ring any bells? (or should that be, push any pencils?) :p

Malcolm G O Payne
31st Jan 2004, 03:47
Many aircraft manufacturers had outsourced work during the war and she may be at one of these outstations, known as Shadow Factories. Blackburn, unfortunately went the way of many of our
aircraft companies, but their last product was the Buccaneer, which followed such aircraft as the Skua, Roc, and Beverley. Not many of their designs were successful, the Botha having a poor record of servicer, as did the Firebrand. I thinkl the two-seat biplane trainer, the B2 is still flying. Rather unusual for its day in having side-by-side seating.

31st Jan 2004, 04:11
The oldest flying British a/c is the Blackburn Monoplane of the Shuttleworth Collection (http://www.shuttleworth.org)

Both the Fleet Air Arm Historic Flight's Swordfish are Blackburn built machines - and thus known as 'Blackfish'.

BAe Brough (IIRC) was a Blackburn factory, restored / rebuilt the second machine, W5856, 'City of Leeds'

There's a good little Sutton book 'Blackburn Aircraft IIRC, worth getting as a primer.
James K

2nd Feb 2004, 01:36
The main Blackburn factory was Brough, still operated by BWoS. It was located there, because, being next to the Humber, it could have a slipway for the seaplanes, which were the core of their activities in the '20's. Before that they operated from the Olympia works in Leeds, which later became an icerink, and then in the '80's was knocked down to become a Tesco :-(

BWoS still operate that sole remaining B2, although I don't recall having seen it for a few years.

As was said above, the London operation was probably a shadow factory. Although, like most aircraft manufacturers in the '20's, Blackburn did have a sales operation in London.

It is fair to say that most of their products in the '30's were mediocre, but the Skua did record the first British kill in WW2. And the Bucc had an extremely successful career, and was loved by most of its aircrew, as a look on the Military forum will attest.



2nd Feb 2004, 02:22
The oldest flying British a/c is the Blackburn Monoplane of the Shuttleworth Collection

you mean this one


Taken on the morning of the 100th Anniversary of Aviation.

2nd Feb 2004, 18:26
Gday Man
What a beautiful photo, who ever took it should be very proud.
Cheers Q :ok:

3rd Feb 2004, 12:25

That has got to be the best and most atmospheric picture I've ever seen of the '1912'.

Well done, MOTF.

Rhys S. Negative
8th Feb 2004, 07:17
It is fair to say that most of their products in the '30's were mediocre

I heard once that an A&AEE report said,

"Access to the cockpit of this aircraft is difficult, and should be made impossible."

I believe the subject was a Blackburn type - does anyone know which?


PS The Blackburn B2 was in the '100 years of flight' line-up at RIAT last year.

9th Feb 2004, 15:54
The Blackburn Cirrus Major and Minor engines live on today in a variety of Austers, Miles etc.

They are excellent engines that seem to have gained an unfair reputation for poor reliability. Spares are an increasing problem because the series were not progressively developed in the same way as the more numerous DH donks.

Poor reliability is invariably caused by running poorly maintained & [email protected] out engines.

On the plus side - If you find an Auster for sale with a Cirrus engine, it is likely to be a lot cheaper than a Pikey-Powered equivalent.


9th Feb 2004, 16:37
Rhys S Negative:

I have heard that quote too; I believe it was referring to the Botha.

9th Feb 2004, 21:33
I'll agree with HP regarding the Cirrus, I've had no problems with mine except normal wear and tear. Not only cheaper than Pikey Power (nice one HP) but they drink less juice as well!

10th Feb 2004, 05:02
If we are covering Blackburn Aircraft, mention MUST be made of the remarkably, no, really ugly and oddly named 'Blackburn Blackburn'. No my finger han't got stuck, that's the name. Google or similar for a pic...

10th Feb 2004, 05:07
So good they named it twice, eh? ;)

10th Feb 2004, 05:43
What a beautiful photo, who ever took it should be very proud.

Man on the fence is far too modest, he took that himself. And I agree, it is on of my favourites too.


10th Feb 2004, 11:52
Did some flight testing of the Beverley at Boscombe Down in the late 50s.

It was like flying a block of flats from a third floor window!!

Epic was a flight of one of the monsters from Edmonton, Canada via Goose Bay, Labrador, then Bluie West 1, Greenland, then Keflavik, Iceland terminating at Blackburns airfield at Brough.

10th Feb 2004, 21:24
Nice one Milt, I had to chuckle! A flying block of flats indeed....

I spoke to another ex-Beverley pilot a few years back and asked him how he managed to navigate over miles of featureless desert.

'No problem' he said, 'we never got lost'.

'sheer dead reckoning or astro??'

'Nope. To get home we just flew low and followed the outbound oil slick'

Tee Hee!!