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  • Bristol 170 Freighter




    The Bristol Type 170 Freighter was a British twin-engine aircraft designed and built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company as both a freighter and airliner.

    General Information

    It's best known use was as an air ferry to carry cars and their passengers over relatively short distances. A passenger-only version was also produced, known as the Wayfarer.


    The Freighter was developed during the Second World War, having attracted official attention from the British Air Ministry, which sought the development of a rugged vehicle capable of carrying various cargoes, including a 3-ton truck. Various changes to the design were made to accommodate their requirements, but being completed too late to participate in the conflict, the majority of sales of the Freighter were to commercial operators. In response to customer demand, an enlarged version to maximise vehicle-carrying capacity, known as the Bristol Superfreighter, was developed.


    The Bristol Type 170 Freighter was a twin-engine, high mounted-wing monoplane that was developed specifically for the economic carriage of freight by air. It was a visually distinctive aircraft, possessing a 'boxy' fuselage, rounded nose, and a high-set flight deck.


    The lower nose of the Freighter was covered by a pair of large clamshell doors, for easy access to the main hold; as a direct consequence of this arrangement, the unpressurised fuselage was somewhat breezy during flight. The doors, which are hinged outwards, led into a main hold that had an internal volume of 2,020 cu ft; it was capable of being loaded with heavy payloads, up to a maximum of 350 cu ft per ton.


    Bristol 170 Freighters were operated in Australia by Ansett ANA,, Ansett MAL, Air Express and TAA, and the RAAF.


    For more information on the design, operational history and 10 variants, click here.









    Crew: 3 Capacity: 22,300 cu ft (630 m3) cargo hold; Mk.31E passenger payload plus fuel 13,783 lb (6,252 kg) (4 crew, 44–56 pax)
    68 ft 4 in (20.83 m) Mk.32 length 73 ft 6 in (22.40 m)
    108 ft 0 in (32.92 m)
    Height: 21 ft 8 in (6.60 m), Mk.32 height: 25 ft (7.6 m)
    Wing Area:
    1,487 sq ft (138.1 m2)
    Empty Weight:
    26,910 lb (12,206 kg), Mk.32 cargo/passenger empty weight 29,435 lb (13,351 kg)
    Gross weight: 44,000 lb (19,958 kg) all marks
    Fuel Capacity:
    1,170 imp gal (1,410 US gal; 5,300 l) total (2 x 350 imp gal (420 US gal; 1,600 l) + 2 x 135 imp gal (162 US gal; 610 l) + 2 x 100 imp gal (120 US gal; 450 l)
    2 × Bristol Hercules 734 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines, 2,000 hp (1,500 kW) each
    Maximum speed: 225 mph (362 km/h, 196 kn) at 3,000 ft (910 m)
    Cruise Speed:
    164 mph (264 km/h, 143 kn) recommended, at 5,000 ft (1,500 m)
    820 mi (1,320 km, 710 nmi) with 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) payload, Mk.31E cargo/passenger range: 1,080 mi (940 nmi; 1,740 km) with 32 pax plus 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) freight
    Takeoff Dist.:
    to 50 ft (15 m): 2,500 ft (760 m) in a 5 mph (4.3 kn; 8.0 km/h) wind
    Landing Dist.:
    from 50 ft (15 m): 2,300 ft (700 m) in a 5 mph (4.3 kn; 8.0 km/h) wind
    Rate of Climb:
    250 ft/min (1.3 m/s) On one engine at fully loaded weight
    Service Ceiling:
    23,000 ft (7,000 m) at max. continuous power and 38,000 lb (17,000 kg)

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    As I child, I flew in Bristol Wayfarer's in West Africa - fairly sure that at least some of them carried freight as well as passengers - I can dimly remember the cargo doors being opened and being very noise inside.
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    The heading photo is one I took at RAAF Museum Point Cook in 2007, Of the 1100 photos I have on airport-data.com, this is the most viewed photo with almost 3000 views. The second most popular is Tiger Woods' Gulfstream G550 at Essendon with just over 1500 views.
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