Started by Rheged, January 10, 2011, 06:50:30 AM

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Another backstory  pleading for your additions, amendments and improvements.  

Please tell me (politely if possible) if this is posted in the wrong area, I'm new here and I don't want to offend or inconvenience anyone

         Following its successful test flight performance, there was much discussion over the future of the Bristol Brabazon. A huge amount of data had been assembled and infrastructure constructed. This data was extremely useful in the development of the Britannia and later designs. Even the infrastructure associated with the Brabazon was not wasted, contributing to the Concorde programme.  However, in 1952 the prototype airframe was sitting in a hanger at Bristol doing nothing and the mark 2 version was held in suspense, partly constructed, in the same hanger.

         Initially, scrapping was suggested as the only solution and had that proceeded the Brabazon would have joined the list of British designs that nearly succeeded. It was at this point that the Meteorological Office intervened. They had been using high altitude research data gathered by a small but very weary fleet of Boeing Fortress III   aircraft that were, in the words of the senior Met Flight pilot, held together by little more than habit. Ideally, the Met Office needed an aircraft with a large cabin area, capable of long range flight at or above 25,000 feet in order to undertake long term research into cloud formation. Hastings Met Mk1 aircraft were coming into service with 202 Sqn R A F Coastal Command but their size, range and ceiling were all less than ideal.    Lateral thinking by the Met Office resulted in the conversion of the prototype to the Bristol Brabazon Met 1.   As some of the instrumentation fitted required piercing the cabin skin, reinforcing members were added. Despite this extra weight, the Brabazon Met 1 could cruise for nine hours at 31,000 feet.  The size of the aircraft and strange instrument pods resulted in the tabloid newspapers referring to the "strato-whale". To its crew, it was "the high altitude blockhouse"  In operational service from 1953, the Brabazon Met 1 provided a large, exceptionally stable research platform until a hard landing in late 1961 damaged the undercarriage and the aircraft was withdrawn.  It eventually reached the RAF museum Cosford, where it is displayed in the same hanger as the last of the Saro Princess flying boats.

         The second Brabazon had a much more exciting career.  Eventually completed as a Met 2 aircraft with 4 Tyne turboprops, it entered service in 1960, after long pauses in construction due to financial stringency.  Capable of reaching 36,500 feet, it was fitted with equipment to air launch the Hermes meteorological research rocket, which could then lift a comprehensive instrumentation package to 200,000 feet.   Scorched on at least two occasions by malfunctioning Hermes launches, the Brabazon Met 2 was withdrawn in 1976 and became a gate guardian at Boscombe Down  having been replaced by a Hercules W 2.

          Documents released under the UK Government "30 year rule" have recently confirmed that at least 75% of Hermes launches after 1965 were in fact Polaris missile warhead related, the success of the Chevaline programme   owing much to the Brabazon.  Similarly, many of the meteorological research flights by both aircraft studied "Radio Wave Propagation in High Arctic Regions"   near the USSR Nova Zemleya nuclear test site.  I would be grateful if anyone can supply information on any of  these flights.

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you....."
It  means that you read  the instruction sheet


Wonderfull - love the fact that the Fortress III's were  "held together by little more than habit"  ;D

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Excellent idea. The running cost would have been huge with only one example in service, but who cares?


"Excellent idea. The running cost would have been huge with only one example in service, but who cares?"  --Hobbes  has a good point here.

I'd assumed that Uncle Sam  would have chipped in to the  running costs.  The plan was that every Comrade would go North to gawp at the  "огромный капиталистический самолет"  *     whilst  other things happened more discreetly elsewhere.   Perhaps the Canberras were out to play, or do I detect traces of  "that Meteor" being involved?  

I'm sure that someone  else can take on this chapter of the backstory .

I once saw a 1/72 model of a Brabazon, it took up a vast acreage of show bench and  totally overshadowed a Bristol Brigand but I can't remember where or when it was.  If I was stupid enough to  model one, where would the kit come from?  LATER MODIFICATION -----Where would the kit come from without expending the entire contents of Fort Knox?

*" Huge capitalist aircraft"   I think.
"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you....."
It  means that you read  the instruction sheet


Quote from: Rheged on January 11, 2011, 01:57:44 AM

Perhaps the Canberras were out to play, or do I detect traces of  "that Meteor" being involved?  

Funny yoiu should mention that...........  ;)

The original PR19s, the black ones with the smaller engines, flew the last direct overflights of the USSR and Eastern Bloc countries after the Gary Powers U-2 'event' on May 1st 1960. These were aimed at high priority targets and continued through the Summer and early Autumn of 1960, with the aircraft usually operating from Watton, although occasionally the Meteors were forward based at Gutersloh when assigned for a deeper penetration flight. The Brabazon flights were very useful in providing a large diversion for the PVO Strany, who knew that something was operating in their skies even though they couldn't prove it or get up anywhere near the intruders. As the PR19s were flying single manned at the time, they were able to fly above the max. intercept height of the SA2 Guidline missiles that downed the U-2.

Apparently 13 Sqdn. Ops, after recieving a mission target from RAF Planning at High Wycombe, would contact the Brabazon Operational Office and request a 'diversion flight', the two flights being timed so that the Brab would be approaching Soviet airspace about an hour before the PR19 would cross over, but of course much further south. For the limited time that the overflights continued and the diversion plans worked very well.
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Kit's Rule 2) The backstory can always be changed to suit the model

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Ah, more info enters the lore of the PR19.  I expect the CIA will add that to their files soon.   :wacko:
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