Bristol Fighter


The versatile Bristol Fighter was a manoeuvrable, heavily armed two-seater biplane designed by Frank S. Barnwell. One of the most successful fighters of the war, it got off to a poor start during "Bloody April" when it was introduced to the Western Front by the inexperienced pilots and observers of 48 Squadron. In the mistaken belief that the aircraft was structurally weak, pilots were instructed to avoid violent manoeuvres during combat. Heeding this advice, the pilots of six B.F.2a fighters encountered Manfred von Richthofen and his flight of five Albatros D.IIIs near Douai. In a fight that lasted almost 30 minutes, four of the Bristol Fighters were shot down. The fight with Jasta 11 almost convinced the British to withdraw this aircraft from service.

Canadian ace Andrew McKeever achieved the highest score with the Bristol Fighter, downing 31 enemy planes.

Country: Great Britain
Manufacturer: The British and Colonial Aeroplane Company
Type: Fighter/Bomber
Entered Service: 5 April 1917
Number Built: 3,101
Engine(s): Rolls-Royce Falcon III, 12 cylinder, liquid cooled inline V, 270 hp
Wing Span: 39 ft 3 in [11.96 m]
Length: 25 ft 10 in [7.87 m]
Height: 9 ft 9 in [2.97 m]
Empty Weight:
Gross Weight: 2,779 lb [1,261 kg]
Max Speed: 123 mph [198 km/h] at 5,000 ft [1,524 m]
Ceiling: 21,500 ft [6,553 m]
Endurance: 3 hours
Crew: 2
Armament: 1 Vickers machine gun, synchronized, forward firing
2-3 Lewis machine guns on a Scarff ring, rear cockpit
240 lb [108.9 kg] of bombs