Bristol Boxkite replica at Old Warden Air Show 2003. Photo by Bob Franklin
The Bristol Boxkite built as a two-seat trainer aircraft in 1910 by The British and Colonial Aeroplane Company (now the Bristol Aeroplane Company) was an improved version of the Henri Farman Biplane. The Boxkite was developed in Britain's first aircraft factory in Filton, Bristol. The Boxkite had a 70 horsepower Le Rhone rotary engine. The first Boxkite flew on 29th July 1910 and became Bristol's first successful production aeroplane. 76 Boxkites were built during the build up to the First World War, with 61 of these being the extended military version of the aircraft. Four of these aircraft constituted the first order placed by the British War Office when it was set up in 1911.
The Bristol Boxkite holds a number of records due to it being such an early aeroplane. Some of these records include the first plane to fly into RAF Bicester. Australia's first passenger flight took place at Atlona in February 1911 by Joseph (John) Hammond in a Bristol Boxkite, his wife was the first woman to fly in Australia. It was also the first plane to fly into RAAF Williams in Point Cook, Victoria and the first aeroplane to fly into Perth Airport.
Bristol Boxkite replica at Old Warden Air Show 2009
Avro Triplane replica and Bristol Boxkite replica at Old Warden Air Show 2009
Images courtesy of Colin Sayce - Airshowphotomania.ifp3.com
One of the early pioneers of British flying, a Flight Lieutenant Pizey gained his certificate No 61 in a Bristol Boxkite on Salisbury Plain on 14th February 1911. He also took place in the Daily Mail Air Race that year.
No original Bristol Boxkite aeroplanes survive today, although three authentic flyable reproductions were created for the film Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.
One was sent to Australia, one to the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, and one to The Shuttleworth Collection in Bedfordshire which is still flown during their flying displays whenever the weather permits.
Bristol Boxkite replica based at The Shuttleworth Collection in Old Warden, Beds. (Shown left - photo Bob Franklin)