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Bristol Tourer

The Aircraft On Display

Norman Brearley's Western Australian Airways was the first air operation in Australia to commence regular air services. It carried airmail and passengers to Derby, to and from Geraldton where the railway terminated. The Bristol Tourer replica represents one of the first aircraft of his fleet. However, the very first Tourer used, G-AUDI, crashed during the inaugural flight, on 5th December, 1921. Regular operations did not commence until the following year, on 21st February.

According to Ed Coates (See References / Links, below), the aircraft represented was later operated by Charles Kingsford Smith's Interstate Flying Services, and was working in New Guinea when it crashed in 1927.

The description with the replica states:

BRISTOL TOURER Type 28 G-AUDK  of Western Australian Airways

This replica aircraft is a Civil Aviation Historical Society (WA Division) project to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the first regular transport flight in australia and the first long distance airmail flight in the world. Constructed by Frank and Lyn Matthews of Maddington WA, it was made possible by the generous support of the following organisations:

ANSETT AUSTRALIA
ANSETT WA
AUSTRALIAN GEOGRAPHIC PTY LTD
AUSTRALIA POST
CASTROL AUSTRALIA PTY LTD
CIVILIAN AVIATION AUTHORITY
FEDERAL AIRPORTS CORPORATION
SKYWEST AVIATION
MAURICE BREARLEY
MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF THE SOCIETY

Type / History

Type One/two-passenger light transport
Manufacturer Bristol Aeroplane Company
Maiden flight January 1919
Introduced 1921
Retired (W.A. Airways) about 1926
Primary users Small commercial operators


General Background

The Bristol Tourer was a minimal conversion of the successful Bristol F.2B fighter aircraft of the Great War (World War I), with a change to the lower-rated Siddeley Puma engine, and covered accommodation for the pilot and passenger(s). Initial versions provided accommodation for only one passenger, but those operated in Western Australia show evidence of adaptation to carry two passengers, in (presumably narrow) side-by-side seating.

Western Australian Operations

Norman Brearley's airline operated several Bristol Tourers on its W.A. route. After the initial disastrous start, it operated successfully until 1934, when the contract for the north-west run was won by MacRobertson Miller Aviation. Western Australian Airways also won the first contract for flights between Perth and Adelaide, South Australia, which it performed using the much larger DH-66 Hercules aircraft. Reflecting the more leisurely pace of air operations in those days, the flight included two lunch stops and an overnight stay at Forrest, on the Nullarbor.

General Characteristics

General characteristics

Length: 26 ft 1 in (7.95 m)
Height: 10 ft 1 in (3.07 m)
Wingspan 29 ft 5 in (12.01 m)
Powerplant: Siddeley Puma, 240 HP (179 kW)
Weight: empty 1900 lb (850 kg), gross 3000 lb (1400 kg)

 

Performance

Maximum speed: 120 mph (192 km/hr)
Range: 400 mi (644 km)
Service ceiling: 20,000 ft (6,100 m)